|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
England's tour of Zimbabwe next year could be stopped if the team's
sponsors Vodafone get their way.
The England and Wales Cricket Board's former chief Lord MacLaurin is
now chairman of the telecommunications group.
And he believes a tour to the strife-torn country - ruled by
controversial President Robert Mugabe - could damage the reputations of both
his company and Michael Vaughan's side.
England hosted Zimbabwe earlier this year and are set to visit the
African nation at the end of 2004.
MacLaurin, 66, told The Guardian: "We do not want to support a side
that goes and plays in a country with the sort of regime that is reviled not
just by this company but by many in the country.
"To do so would be abhorrent and would be good
for the brand image
neither of Vodafone nor England cricket.
"We have told the ECB that we would rather the team did not go to
"We believe in the cold light of day, and having had the experience of
the World Cup, that it would be inappropriate for the tour to take place and
as major sponsors we would certainly urge them to withdraw."
England pulled out of a World Cup fixture in Harare earlier this year
for safety reasons.
They also received political pressure to pull out on moral grounds.
ECB chief executive Tim Lamb admitted his board would consider the
sponsor's views and insisted the tour was under constant review.
Lamb told the same newspaper: "Of course we have concerns too and have
expressed them. It is a regular item of discussion at meetings that deal
with England matters.
"We are very mindful of the issues that arose before the World Cup,
and we will need to give serious consideration to concerns expressed by our
"There has been no suggestion that Vodafone would pull the plug
although we fully understand their image concerns."
Sunday Times (SA)
Church leaders hit out at Zimbabwe government
Friday September 26, 2003 07:07 - (SA)
HARARE - Zimbabwean church leaders have hit out at the government's
"irresponsible, inhuman, violent (and) partisan" methods of land
redistribution, and accused it of fuelling a culture of violence.
In the strongly-worded statement put out by more than a hundred clergymen
from 59 churches, the church leaders said that "draconian pieces of law",
such as the country's security and press laws were stifling fundamental
"We acknowledge the historical imbalances in respect of land redistribution.
However, we do not approve of irresponsible, inhuman, violent, partisan and
non-transparent methods of addressing the problem," it said.
In 2000 President Robert Mugabe's government launched a fast-track
programme of redistributing white-owned farms to new black farmers, which
aid agencies say is partly to blame for chronic food shortages here.
The church leaders also strongly criticised the government's two-year-old
national youth service programme, saying its members were responsible for
serious human rights abuses.
Zimbabwe is deeply politically divided between supporters of Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party and those of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).
Three church bishops are currently trying to get the two parties talking.
The church statement acknowledged their efforts, but said it was concerned
at the lack of progress. "We therefore urge all parties concerned to treat
the talks with urgency," said the statement, which came from a meeting held
earlier this month.
It said South African delegates were also present at the meeting. The
church leaders called for the immediate abolition of the youth service, "the
immediate repeal of POSA (Public Order and Security Act) and AIPPA (Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act)" and a new constitution.
A WFP official who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity said the U.N. agency had agreed with the government that food would be distributed solely on the basis of need, irrespective of political, racial, tribal or religious affiliation.
The official said that the WFP would continue working with the non-governmental groups they had been working with in the past.
The agreement affects only the WFP and its affiliates, and it is unclear how other donor groups involved in food aid would be affected. Government officials were unavailable for comment.
According to the latest estimates, more than five million Zimbabweans will need food aid this year. Poor harvests and President Mugabe's controversial land reform program are being blamed for Zimbabwe's dire shortage of food.
Foreign ministers of the 54-nation Commonwealth agreed to
salvage a world trade pact after the collapse of negotiations in Cancun,
Mexico, this month.
"There was a strong feeling that a lot has been lost as a result of
Cancun," Secretary-General Don McKinnon told a news conference on Friday.
"If the Commonwealth, with the force of 54 countries, can get things back on
track, it should do that."
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Commonwealth leaders
would unite at a summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in December to seek a more
liberal global trade agenda.
He said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had urged Commonwealth
countries, which are mostly former British colonies, to press the European
Union, of which Britain is a member, to reduce its farm subsidies.
The Commonwealth's mixture of rich and poor nations made
industrialized states such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Britain
more aware of the sensitivities of developing countries, Downer said.
He said a ministerial action group would meet separately on Saturday
to review the cases of Zimbabwe and Pakistan, both of which are suspended
from the Commonwealth over their record on democracy and human rights.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Sule Lamido said there was no consensus to
invite Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to the December summit.
Commonwealth officials said Pakistan had made progress toward
restoring democracy, but the fact that President Pervez Musharraf, who
seized power in a bloodless 1999 coup, remained a serving general and head
of the armed forces was unacceptable to some Commonwealth members.
I know no one who's died of Aids, says Mbeki
September 26, 2003
By Peter Slevin & Mercury correspondent
Despite 600 people dying every day in South Africa of Aids-related
illness, President Thabo Mbeki says he does not know of anyone close to him
who has succumbed to Aids.
But his spokesman, Parks Mankahlana, died after being diagnosed HIV
positive, according to the ANC's "Castro Hlongwane" document.
Mbeki, who has been severely criticised for his dealings with Aids
denialists, told the Washington Post he knew of no person who had died of
In an interview in New York, where he was attending the opening of the
UN General Assembly, Mbeki talked expansively about Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe, the Bush administration's Iraq policy and South Africa's Aids
One in 10 South Africans - about 5.3 million people - is infected with
HIV, according to government statistics. Mbeki said, however, no one close
to him had died from the disease.
"Personally, I don't know anybody who has died of Aids," Mbeki said.
Asked whether he knew anyone with HIV, he added quietly: "I really, honestly
have as tangled a history with the Aids virus as South
Mbeki refused for years to recognise the link between HIV and Aids and
long denied the value of anti-retroviral drugs.
Mbeki said, however, his government was days away from completing a
study about how to make anti-retroviral drugs more available to Aids
Specialists are studying guidelines from the US National Institutes of
Health and have begun to conclude that South Africa is badly unprepared for
The country "does not have the health infrastructure to make these
drugs available to whoever needs them'', said Mbeki.
The study was considering proposals to concentrate treatment
programmes at teaching hospitals, he said.
"Because of the nature and sensitivity of these drugs, it's important
that the people who dispense them and supervise their use must be specially
trained. You can't just give them to some doctor or nurse,'' Mbeki said.
Local News Friday, 26 September 2003
Legality of MIC challenged by Misa
THE Media and Information Commission which last week denied Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe a publishing licence may be improperly constituted
and failing in its duty to deliver on its statutory obligations.
MIC chairman Dr Tafataona Mahoso in an interview
his organisation saying it was improper to accuse it of failing to deliver.
The commission must, under the Access to
Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa), devise a code of ethics and set up a trust fund.
In terms of Aippa, the MIC should
consist of no fewer that five
members but not more than seven, at least three of whom should be nominated
by an association of media journalists and media houses. Media organisations
have said they were not consulted when the commission was appointed.
In addition to Mahoso, the com-mission includes former Sunday Mail
editor Pascal Mukondiwa, former Chronicle assistant editor Jonathan
Maphenduka, University of Zimbabwe Media Studies head Rino Zhuwarara, Mkoba
Teachers College principal Sephath Mlambo, and retired civil servant Alpinos
This week the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) in its High
Court application for a declaratory order that it is not a media
organisation, averred that the MIC was not properly constituted as set out
by the law.
Annexured to the Misa applications were affidavits by the
Journalists Association of Zimbabwe and the Federation of African Women in
Zimbabwe confirming that they were not consulted when the commissioners were
Three current executive
members of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
and two former executive members also signed affidavits to that effect.
disputed this saying media organisations were
"It is improper to say the commission is not properly constituted,"
said Mahoso. "Firstly it's not true because there was consultation. At the
time the commissioners were appointed there was no association of media
owners. Journalists' organisations were consulted," he said.
out of the six commissioners were nominated by the
journalists' associations, Mahoso declined to answer saying that was the
prerogative of the Information minister.
Mahoso said journalists had the misconception that
the MIC was a
journalists' organisation, hence their making too many demands.
"The MIC is not a journalists' organisation. We also
advertisers and filmmakers. That's what it is," he said.
Under the law the MIC is also expected to devise a code
of ethics for
the media and this has not happened. Mahoso said the delay had been caused
by media houses not submitting their in-house codes to the MIC.
"We requested everybody to submit their codes but this has
area of disappointment because this has not happened," said Mahoso.
"By January we should have had copies and we asked
those who did not
have codes to adopt some from their associations and unions. We will convene
meetings to analyse them before coming up with a code," he said.
The MIC has also not set up a Media and
Information Fund as required
in the Act. The objects of the fund are to standardise mass media services
and maintain high standards of quality in the provision of such services.
The fund should also assist in the training of persons in the
provision of mass media services; and promote and contribute towards
research and development in the field of information and mass media. It
should also be used to promote public awareness on the right of access to
information and protection of privacy.
According to the law all media organisations covered by Aippa must
contribute to the fund in annual levies.
Mahoso said this would be in place in "a matter of weeks".
"We are currently circulating the
deed of trust among member for them
to sign. It is a matter of weeks before we have a trust account," he said.
Zanu PF, MDC ready for talks
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's embracing of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in his speech at the burial of Vice-President Simon
Muzenda on Wednesday comes against a background of progress made towards the
resumption of dialogue between the two parties, the Zimbabwe Independent has
Informal talks between the two parties are reported to be making progress on
constitutional issues - despite spirited denials of an accord in the South
African media this week - and there has also been progress in the parallel
The ruling Zanu PF
party, after at first rejecting the church troika working
towards a negotiated settlement, has reconsidered its position and gone back
to the church leaders, the Independent gathers. It has committed itself to
cooperating with the church initiative and has submitted proposals for the
"Zanu PF has since submitted its proposals for
the agenda to the church
leaders, who we understand have forwarded them to the MDC," said a source
close to the exchanges.
"The next step is
to combine the two parties' proposals to come up with a
framework under which dialogue can resume. There is consensus from both
parties and the ground is laid for talks to begin."
The church troika comprises Bishop Trevor
Manhanga of the Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Bishop Patrick Mutume of the Zimbabwe Catholic
Bishops Conference, and Bishop Sebastian Bakare of the Zimbabwe Council of
Meetings have been held over the
past couple of weeks by the church troika
and the two parties. The church leaders are expected to issue a statement in
the coming weeks, which is likely to announce the resumption of formal
submitted its agenda proposals last month and agreed to enter talks
without raising the issue of Mugabe's legitimacy.
Emissaries from Mugabe to
the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai are understood to
have succeeded in securing an assurance from him that the opposition would
withdraw its court challenge to Mugabe's reelection last year if dialogue
showed tangible progress. The opposition has also, upon the insistence of
the ruling party, agreed to cooperate with Zanu PF in the search for a
negotiated settlement. It has agreed not to approach the international
community to seek Zimbabwe's further isolation.
Mugabe said in a rambling and often contradictory speech
at Heroes Acre on
Wednesday that the opposition had to work with the ruling party by, among
other things, pointing out where it might have erred.
However, the 79-year-old Zanu PF leader added that the opposition needed to
seek solutions to the country's crises together with the ruling party at
home instead of going to Western countries. He described himself as the
MDC's "big brother".
MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi
welcomed Mugabe's call for unity and said
that the opposition was committed to working towards a negotiated
But Nyathi told the
Telegraph that: "Mugabe is leading a country where 70%
are unemployed, 80% live below the poverty line and more than five million
people require food aid. If he was serious about rectifying the situation he
would take practical steps." -
Muzenda's death upsets Mugabe's plans
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's succession battle is expected to intensify ahead
of the ruling Zanu PF's annual conference in Masvingo following the death of
party stalwart, Vice-President Simon Muzenda.
Zanu PF sources said horse-trading has been gathering pace over the past few
months and is likely to accelerate in the aftermath of Muzenda's death that
has left Mugabe in a dilemma about how to re-arrange his party line-up.
party hierarchy shows that Zanu PF chair John Nkomo, who was
acting vice-president during Muzenda's long illness, is the next in line for
However, Nkomo's elevation is not possible in the
context of the 1987 Unity
Accord between Zanu PF and PF Zapu in which the two vice-presidents come
from the two constituent wings of the party.
Vice-President Joseph Msika is a former PF Zapu deputy to the late
Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
Promoting Zanu PF secretary for
administration Emmerson Mnangagwa,
who is the next in line from the old Zanu crew, has its own problems. It
would upset the party's existing pecking order as he would suddenly become
senior to Nkomo who defeated him in the race for the chairmanship during the
party's congress in 1999.
Mnangagwa was rescued by Mugabe from the political scrapyard
where he was
dumped in the 2000 parliamentary election by an opposition Movement for
Democratic Change candidate. He was imposed both as Speaker of Parliament
and in his current party position.
It is thought Mugabe
could leave the vice-presidency post vacant for some
time. Following Nkomo's death in July 1999, he did not appoint his
replacement for over six months. There was controversy over Msika's
appointment as the Zanu PF Women's League tried to push its leader, Thenjiwe
Lesabe, as Nkomo's replacement.
"The current situation is interesting because Mnangagwa
and Nkomo are the
frontrunners in Mugabe's succession race," a source said. "Although
Mnangagwa is seen as Mugabe's favourite, the odds are heavily stacked
Sources said after Mugabe declared his
succession debate open in April,
three Zanu PF heavyweights, retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru,
retired Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai and politburo supremo Dumiso Dabengwa
approached Mugabe to ask him about speculation that Mnangagwa was the
simply denied the rumour," a source said. "But he tasked them to
make an input on how to deal with the succession and they later submitted a
document to him on that. They made it clear that if Mnangagwa was imposed,
they would have nothing to do with the party anymore," the source said.
introduced new dynamics into the whole issue. It is understood some of
the 10 Zanu PF provinces had already nominated their candidates who will be
presented to the Masvingo conference if the issue arises. The ruling party
will soon elect new provincial and districts leaders ahead of the Masvingo
But Zanu PF elects new leaders at congresses
that occur every five years and
not annual conferences. The next congress is next year.
Dealers want fuel price hike
GOVERNMENT and fuel dealers are set to enter fresh negotiations on pump
prices as tariffs set last month have failed to improve availability of
Transport minister Amos Midzi last month announced the deregulation of the
fuel industry saying private companies were now allowed to import their own
fuel and sell at service stations.
minister also announced a new tariff structure that pegged the price
petrol at $1 170 a litre and $1 060 for diesel. He said fuel imported by
government for public transporters and government departments would continue
to be sold at $450 for petrol and $200 for diesel.
Marketers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Masimba Kambarami this week
said meetings with government had started to review the prices.
"The review of prices is monthly," said Kambarami. "The last price increase
was on August 27 and the next one is due," he said.
Kambarami said the dealers held a
meeting with government on Tuesday and
another meeting was scheduled yesterday. He said the proposed new tariffs
would still keep the price of fuel below $2 000 a litre. He said the
government and marketers were negotiating with financial institutions for
the availability of fuel currency.
Indigenous Fuel Marketers chairman Gordon Musarira could
not comment on the
issue, saying "there is nothing to say at the moment".
The deregulation was last month shot down by indigenous
players who said the
new prices were untenable. The dealers said the prices did not take into
cognisance that oil companies were obtaining foreign currency on the
parallel market. The deregulation has not improved availability of fuel,
which has remained available only on the black market.
Multinational companies sold fuel for less than a week after
announcement of the fuel prices on August 27 but have now stopped. Most of
the fuel had been kept in storage in anticipation of price increases.
Indigenous fuel dealers have on the other hand elected to defy the
government directive and are selling fuel at prices as high as $3 000 a
Zim in fresh row with EU
ZIMBABWE is engulfed in a fresh row with the European Union (EU) after a
damaging dispute over President Robert Mugabe last week threatened to split
the Commonwealth into two camps.
That dispute was resolved by a Nigerian decision to block Mugabe's
attendance at December's summit of Commonwealth heads of government.
But now, Britain's Conservative Party is campaigning to force the EU to ban
Zimbabwe from attending the EU/African Caribbean Pacific meeting scheduled
to take place in Rome from October 11-15.
The Tories this week demanded that British Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw take
measures to bar Harare from attending the meeting as the Commonwealth did
Commonwealth foreign ministers
yesterday held a meeting in New York chaired
by Australian Foreign minister Alexander Downer at which the Zimbabwe issue
was expected to be discussed. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group of
the Harare Declaration will also hold a meeting tomorrow to work on a report
on Zimbabwe ahead of the organisation's summit in Abuja. The New York
gathering will be chaired by Botswana Foreign minister Mompati Merafhe.
Zimbabwe stands accused of
breaching Commonwealth principles on democracy,
human rights and elections enshrined in the Harare Declaration and ancillary
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is
attending the United Nations
General Assembly in New York, said this week that "quiet diplomacy" was the
best way to resolve the Zimbabwe issue.
In Britain, Conservative Party foreign affairs spokesman,
said on Wednesday he had been told by his Zimbabwean sources that Mugabe was
determined to attend a meeting with fellow African leaders organised by the
EU's Italian presidency in Rome.
Ancram said he
had already written to Straw urging him "to ensure that the
EU never again rolls out the red carpet for Mugabe". But the British Foreign
Office said Mugabe personally would not attend the meeting since it was not
for heads of state.
"African ministers are already vowing to resist fresh attempts
by the EU to
bar Zimbabwe from attending Rome ... Why have we heard nothing from the
British government in response to this?" Ancram asked Straw.
"Last week you were rightly criticised for failing to condemn the attack by
Mugabe on Zimbabwe's free press. I hope that the meeting in Rome is not
another instance where you will only speak up in the face of severe
criticism from the British media."
Straw was heavily
criticised for his muted protests against the recent
closure of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers of the Daily
News and Daily News on Sunday.
"We were all appalled at the sickening sight of
Mugabe shaking hands with
Jacques Chirac in Paris earlier this year. Britain must use its influence to
ensure that the EU never again rolls out the red carpet for Mugabe," Ancram
"You must take immediate action
to make clear that no member of his regime
will be welcome in Rome next month."
Despite an EU travel ban, Mugabe visited Paris in February
Franco-African summit amid a storm of international protests. He left
yesterday for the UN General Assembly where he is expected to attack his
The conflict over Zimbabwe resulted in the EU
shifting its meeting with the
Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders last November from
Copenhagen to Maputo. An EU/Africa summit that was scheduled for April in
Lisbon had to be postponed indefinitely due to a storm over Zimbabwe's
Meanwhile, reports that Mugabe
could not obtain visas for a stopover for his
party in Paris en route to New York, have been denied by the French Embassy
embassy said no applications had been received and Mugabe would probably
be flying directly to New York.
WE have heard much talk recently of "clean hands" and "dirty hands". One of
our columnists, Tawanda Hondora, a legal practitioner in the civic sector,
today provides a useful view of the "clean hands" doctrine which was cited
by the Supreme Court as grounds for refusing to hear Associated Newspapers
of Zimbabwe's challenge to the constitutionality of Aippa.
In such cases, courts are expected to determine whether the law in question
breaches constitutional freedoms before abusing the applicants for having
the temerity to refuse to obey the law!
The applicants were accused of approaching
the court with "dirty hands" - an
accusation which, couched in the same language as that used by government
officials, may discourage future applicants from testing their rights in
It will be recalled
that the current chief justice, then a High Court judge,
publicly rebuked his predecessor for inviting aggrieved parties to approach
the courts for redress.
The closure of the Daily News is clearly part of a wider
campaign to close
down what's left of democratic space. The Daily News has had its
constitutional right to freedom of expression abridged by a media commission
that is of dubious legal provenance. Firstly, nobody asked for the law which
established it. And secondly its members appear to be willing collaborators
in silencing critical voices.
None of them has been
appointed with the consent of the media itself,
despite a provision for this in the original legislation. They represent
nobody except the minister who appointed them. We hope they understand that.
If anybody has dirty
hands it is those that are currently, wittingly and
unwittingly, advancing the state's agenda to deprive Zimbabweans of their
liberties. That includes the holders of public office who have accepted land
obtained as a result of a programme that has been characterised by violence
and lawlessness. How can such individuals be expected to fulfil their
mandate to uphold justice when they are the beneficiaries of a regime that
is corrupt and brutal; that uses militias to employ violence in preventing
the opposition from registering as candidates in elections; and closes down
newspapers because their exposure of its gross misrule has proved
We have a number of
people today in public life who are unable to see more
than a few feet ahead of them. They are moved by ambition, settling scores
with their critics, and, in some cases, the prospect of loot.
Do they really think Zanu PF
will retain power forever? That they will never
be asked how they acquired their farms and other properties; or why they
collaborated with a delinquent state in depriving Zimbabweans of their
liberties when they had a manifest duty to defend those liberties?
I said last week Zimbabweans would be
reluctant to return to the days when
they had only one source of information. At least then we had editors in the
so-called public sector that were mildly critical of the government and
permitted the publication of the occasional dissenting view or embarrassing
We don't even have
that now. Recent stories relating to Simon Muzenda's
health in the period leading up to his death last weekend, the number of
people resettled on farms, the prospects of economic recovery, and the
support this country is receiving abroad have been deliberately deceitful.
It is galling to
think that a media commission appointed supposedly to
uphold ethics in the media has studiously ignored these examples of
dishonest and unethical reporting and instead focused its attention
exclusively on closing down an independent paper for refusing to register
The head of
the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Brian Raftopoulos, has said
the civic group would discuss how to go forward from here, with one
possibility being the boycott of the state-run Herald.
"If you are in a situation where
your so-called government prevents you
having the right to seek alternative sources of information," Raftopoulos
was quoted as saying, "then we have the right to call for the boycott of the
existing monopoly of information sources."
The coalition said the banning of the Daily News "deprives
large numbers of
Zimbabweans of a daily source of information and an alternative to the
virulent propaganda disseminated by the state-controlled media.
Govt aims to bleed ANZ to death
THE closure of the Daily News and its sister publication, the Daily News on
Sunday, exposes the frailty of the media industry in Zimbabwe.
In fact the private media in Zimbabwe has always been under threat from
powerful politicians who can use the law to cripple publications.
Since the enactment of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (Aippa) media houses have spent huge sums of money to defend journalists
arrested on spurious charges.
The closure of the two papers, media industry watchers said, was another
ploy to hamstring the private media and kill off dissent. There is a real
possibility that the two newspapers in the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
stable would be forced to scale down operations, and possibly discontinue
its Sunday paper if and when operations resume.
In the two weeks the papers have been closed, the company has lost revenues
amounting to over $500 million. ANZ boss Samuel Sipepa Nkomo admitted that
the structure of the organisation was bound to change if the two papers do
The two newspapers were closed two weeks ago and had their computers and
photographic equipment seized by police. The High Court last Thursday ruled
the police should return the ANZ computers and photographic equipment and
allow the papers to carry on with their business. The state immediately
appealed and the police have continued to withhold the ANZ property on the
strength of the appeal.
Last Friday the Media and Information Commission (MIC), fronted by
government apologist Tafataona Mahoso, refused to register the papers saying
the ANZ had failed to meet the requirements of the law.In its ruling, the
MIC argued that the group had been publishing illegally as the ANZ had filed
its application for registration eight and a half months after the expiry of
the December 31 deadline.
The ANZ has said it will appeal to the Administrative Court to have the
decision overturned. But under Aippa, the process of appeal has been
deliberately made cumbersome and protracted.
The understaffed Administrative Court is already overwhelmed by cases,
mainly to do with disputes emanating from the land reform exercise. On the
other hand Aippa does not prescribe a timeframe by which the Administrative
Court should make a ruling. Even if the court rules in favour of the ANZ,
that decision is still subject to review by the MIC, which under the law has
Analysts have said the state is keen to delay as long as possible the return
of the two publications by ensuring that the case degenerates into a long
and hard-fought legal battle which will not only frustrate investment but
also drain the company of its financial resources through legal costs.
“There is financial rationale behind the state strategy to close the Daily
News,” said political activist Brian Raftopoulos.
“They (the state) have realised that the Daily News is the largest paper in
the country and by cutting a strategy to close it using the law, they assume
that advertisers will switch to the Herald,” he said.
This has put paid to hopes of the papers coming back soon. With it the
company’s financial position is bound to be under severe threat, which
should have severe consequences for the future of the organisation.
The Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, like most newspapers in the
country, are operating on a shoe-string budget supported mainly by
advertising revenue, which has been dwindling due to the contraction of the
economy, particularly in the last four years.
The revenue of most newspapers comes from advertising, which contributes up
to 75% of income. The other revenue comes from direct copy sales.
The revenue is however quickly absorbed by newsprint and printing costs
which make up between 60% and 70% of the total costs.
In its court papers challenging the seizure of equipment and forced closure
of its papers last week, the ANZ said it had a daily gross income of about
$38 million from street sales and advertising revenue. Press reports in May
this year said the Daily News was making losses and key investor Strive
Masiyiwa had helped keep it afloat last year by an injection of his personal
wealth. This is unlike the state media which is subsidised by the taxpayer.
The ANZ employs 270 workers at its two publications and at the printing
factory in Southerton. The company has said it will pay this month’s
salaries but cannot guarantee future payments when it is not publishing.
Nkomo said the organisation was losing as much as $40 million a day. He said
production costs constituted almost 75% of revenue and this left the paper
with little revenue.
“By not publishing we are obviously losing about $40 million daily,” said
He said the company would try to pay the workers using its reserves, which
he said would not last forever.
“If we do pay our workers we will have to pay them from our reserves but
reserves do not last forever. We will have to see how to proceed from
there,” he said.
It is generally believed that the company’s monthly wage bill is over $100
million, which would be a mammoth task to accomplish if the newspapers
Apart from paying the workers, the company has an obligation to pay rent for
its offices in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare.
The company, which had invested extensively in the latest Apple Macs, fears
that the confiscated equipment might have been extensively damaged during
the seizure and the period when it was stored at Chikurubi. The equipment
includes at least 50 Apple Mac workstations and scanners.
Asked about the safety of the computer equipment, Nkomo said there was no
guarantee that it would be returned in good working order.
“The police have guaranteed us nothing. I am sure that most of the equipment
has been damaged. A single Apple Mac has a replacement value of over $5
This week the government charged ANZ directors under Aippa for publishing
without a licence. The police have also indicated that they might charge
individual journalists for operating without accreditation. In the event of
conviction, this might further stretch the company’s financial resources if
the company is made to pay fines.
The situation unfolding at the ANZ requires journalists to set up
instruments to safeguard their welfare in the event that a publication is
forcibly shut down by government.
“There is definitely need for a safety net for journalists who should start
working out parameters for that as a matter of urgency,” said Independent
Journalists Association of Zimbabwe president, Abel Mutsakani.
Media Institute of Southern Africa chairman Reyhana Masters-Smith said the
MIC had made a decision without thinking of the welfare of the workers.
“The decision is clear testimony that they don’t care about the welfare of
the workers,” said Masters-Smith. “All media organisations will need to sit
down with ANZ to discuss how we can assist the journalists.”
Chogm sees chinks in solidarity armour
TWO important meetings of Commonwealth foreign ministers are taking place in
New York this week on the fringe of the 58th United Nations General
Commonwealth foreign ministers met yesterday in line with a decision by
Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in Coolum, Australia, in
March 2002, that the secretary-general “explore opportunities for greater
interaction among Commonwealth foreign ministers”. They met last year in the
wings of the General Assembly gathering and decided to meet annually
On Saturday members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the
Harare Declaration meet to review the situation in the countries on its
agenda and consider its report to Chogm 2003. CMAG has held three meetings
since its reconstitution by heads of government at the Coolum Chogm. It is
chaired by the foreign minister of Botswana, Lt-Gen Mompati Merafhe. The
other members are the foreign ministers of Australia, the Bahamas,
Bangladesh, India, Malta, Nigeria and Samoa.
Nigeria has already said it will not be inviting President Mugabe, who is
also in New York this weekend for the General Assembly meeting, to attend
the December Chogm in Abuja. It was clear his presence would disrupt the
proceedings as other heads of government would stay away in protest.
Despite energetic attempts in the state media to blame Australian prime
minister John Howard for the decision to bar Mugabe, and thereby to portray
it as a white versus black issue, it was in fact the Nigerian government, as
Chogm host, which made the decision.
Both Zimbabwe and Pakistan were not invited because they are still under
suspension for violating the Harare Declaration, Nigeria’s under-secretary
in charge of international organisations, Gbenga Ashiru, said.
It is unlikely the Nigerians would have made such an important decision
without consulting other key members. President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa
would certainly have been informed. South Africa last week said it would
abide by Nigeria’s decision.
But not before its officials had made a number of maladroit statements,
including a misdirected attack on Australia by Aziz Pahad.
Mbeki told parliament last week that he felt the suspension was invalid
because it should have been lifted at the close of the 12-month period in
This would indicate a breach of the accord reached in Pretoria in February
when Mbeki and Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo agreed to continue acting in
tandem on Zimbabwe. After that meeting, Obasanjo wrote to Howard claiming
the situation in Zimbabwe had improved.
If Nigeria has now said Mugabe cannot attend because Zimbabwe is suspended,
it would indicate Obasanjo accepts the reasons for that suspension. It might
also suggest he accepts being misled by Zimbabwean assurances reflected in
his letter to Howard.
It is clear there has been no material change in Zimbabwe except for the
worse. The youth militia still has a free rein, as the recent local
government polls showed. The military is still involved in running
elections. The registrar-general’s office is an instrument of the president,
and the courts have declined to uphold rights which the constitution
The closure of the Daily News has deprived Zimbabweans of their right to
make an informed choice about their future, a fundamental principle of the
Harare Declaration and the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme.
Furthermore, it was a requirement of the Commonwealth Troika in suspending
Zimbabwe in March last year that Harare engage with the Commonwealth
Secretary-General Don McKinnon in resolving the problems that led to
Far from doing that, the government has actually blocked McKinnon from
coming here. Why should Mbeki suppose that Zimbabwe’s suspension should have
been dropped at the end of the 12-month period in March this year when none
of the conditions he and Obasanjo, as Troika members, set out have been met?
The closure of the Daily News shows the government still believes it can get
away with repression because it has the backing of other African states.
Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy has become a carte blanche for incorrigible misrule.
There has been no change in Harare of attitude or behaviour, or indeed any
regard for the basic principles for which the Commonwealth stands.
In the circumstances it would be unconscionable for Commonwealth leaders to
allow Mugabe to flaunt his violation of the Commonwealth’s core values at
its meeting in December. Obasanjo, after a year of ducking the issue,
finally made the right decision. Mbeki was left to catch up.
Chinks are appearing in the solidarity armour. We can expect them to widen
over the next few months.
Official lies as sanctions intensify
AS Zimbabwe’s economy not only continues its downward spiralling, but does
so at an ever-increasing pace, government is fast running out of others to
blame for what it has caused.
It has successively attributed the increasingly great economic collapse upon
adverse climatic conditions, commercial farmers, industrialists, allegedly
unscrupulous, profiteering manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, banks
and other financial institutions, illegal money market dealers, and many
others. Concurrently with its vociferous denial of any culpability in the
destruction of that which had been upon the path towards substantial
economic growth and recovery in 1997, it has sought vigorously to deflect
any possible allegation of any such culpability by casting the blame upon
others, albeit without foundation, and at best as a result of government
self-delusion. For a long time a generally trusting and believing populace,
and therefore a readily gullible one, has unhesitatingly accepted as fact
all that it was told, no matter how spurious it was.
But even the most gullible eventually recognise realities and, as each of
those that government claimed were responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic
miseries were proven not to be, the credibility of those in authority became
ever less. To counter this growing disbelief in government’s continued
efforts to attribute responsibility to others for that which it had itself
wrought upon Zimbabwe, government intensified its fallacious propaganda, and
struggled to cast its net for targets for blame ever wider.
It focused upon its political opposition, its intense hatred for the country
’s white minority, Britain (as the former colonial power) in general and its
prime minister and his government in particular, upon those member states of
the Commonwealth as do not cravenly worship at the feet of the Zimbabwean
leadership, and upon the United States of America and those member states of
the European Union as have been forthright in their criticism of Zimbabwe’s
disregard for law and order, abuse of the fundamental principles of
democracy and of the equally fundamental principles of human rights, and of
Zimbabwe’s unwillingness to resort to economic policies proven frequently to
enable economic wellbeing, but instead rigidly pursuant of economic measures
which have consistently failed wheresoever elsewhere in the world they have
As it became more and more difficult for government to find any to blame
with even the remotest element of credibility, it decided to ascribe the
disastrous failure of all its ill-conceived economic policies to the alleged
imposition of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, being — the Zimbabwe
government claims — the European Union, with the United Kingdom being the
alleged driving force and motivant of those sanctions, the United States,
and a few of the members of the Commonwealth, Australia being foremost in
government’s targets amongst the Commonwealth countries.
In order to convince the Zimbabwean population that yet again no fault is
attributable to government and to the policies it pursues, it has fully
activated its vast, grossly overfunded, propaganda machine, which operates
as if driven by Goebbels of days of yore. The Ministry of Disinformation and
Misrepresentation, led by the Minister of Fiction, Fable and Myth, and aided
and abetted by his cabinet colleagues, the Zimbabwean diplomats abroad, and
the state rigidly controlled print, visual and audial media, are strenuously
promoting the specious contentions that Zimbabwe’s economic ills, whilst
partially a result of adverse climatic conditions, are mainly a consequence
of the unjustified, harsh, and debilitating sanctions imposed solely due to
As with all that Zimbabwe has blamed, it is almost totally false to claim
that sanctions are the catalyst of Zimbabwe’s economic morass. The hard fact
is that none of the sanctions applied against Zimbabwe impact upon
international trade with Zimbabwe, and only trade sanctions can have an
overwhelming effect upon the economy. Any other sanctions can only have
minimal economic repercussions. The first truth is that the dismal state of
Zimbabwe’s economy is because the governmentally created environment is not
For a virile economy to exist, there must be a respect for law and order on
the part of the government as well as of the people as a whole. There has to
be adherence to the principles of market-force direction of the economy,
instead of regulation and command. There needs to be good and sound monetary
policies, justly and effectively applied. There must be real fiscal prudence
and probity, together with stringent actions to contain corruption. There
must also be an economically enabling stance by government, including policy
consistency, meaningful incentivisation, and minimised bureaucracy. Economic
strengths, such as agriculture, must be built upon, instead of destroyed.
The second truth is that those sanctions as have been imposed are targeted
ones, the targets being those who constitute the government of Zimbabwe,
their families, and others renowned for their support of that government and
the ruling party. The sanctions seek to constrict their access to
international travel, and to seize any assets they may have outside
Zimbabwe. None of the countries that have imposed sanctions have legislated
against trade with Zimbabwe. Any reduction in trade as can be claimed to be
due to the sanctions upon Zimbabwe is minimal, being as a result of the more
widespread awareness of Zimbabwe’s negative image, that awareness brought
about by the promulgation of the sanctions, and as a result of the
constraints upon travel impacting upon trade between the countries
implementing the targeted sanctions, and the companies owned by those
prevented from travelling.
Government’s devious purveyors of falsehoods attempt to evidence that
economic sanctions exist by pointing towards Zimbabwe’s suspension from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), its non-receipt of balance of payments
support from the IMF, and the absence of developmental funding from the
World Bank, as well as its exclusion from the councils of the Commonwealth.
The reality is that Zimbabwe has been suspended by the IMF because of the
magnitude of its debt-servicing arrears. Any other country which is as
grievously in arrears in honouring its debt repayment commitments is equally
subject to a suspension decision by the IMF. It is not an issue of
politically-driven sanctions, but of good and sound financial practice. It
is extremely rare for any bank, financial institution, lender or other
creditor to extend further loans or credit to a debtor guilty of continuing
and substantial default. Why should the IMF be any different?
Similarly, the World Bank’s constitution precludes the provision of funding
to countries whose arrears exceed prescribed periods or amounts, and
Zimbabwe is certainly one of them, if not one with the greatest levels of
default. So the World Bank has not imposed political or trade sanctions upon
Zimbabwe. It is merely complying with the provisions of its constitution, as
it is bound to do, whether the defaulter is Zimbabwe or any other country.
The very vocal accusations that sanctions against Zimbabwe are the principal
cause of the derelict state of the economy also highlight discontinuance of
aid to Zimbabwe, by countries in the European Union, as evidence that such
sanctions are being applied. It cannot be denied that some aid programmes
have been discontinued, and others reduced. This has occurred in instances
where the donors were made unwelcome by the Zimbabwean government, and in
other instances where the aid has been abused, diverted to non-approved
purposes, or hindered by interventions of government, the ruling party, war
veterans (actual and pseudo), and others. It has not occurred as a political
or trade sanction.
And, whilst some aid programmes have ceased or been scaled down, others have
been very intensively pursued and extended. The dissemblers of government
who seek to shift responsibility perspectives, are remarkably silent on the
very great aid inputs that continue to be forthcoming from the very
countries whom they seek to blame.
Every patriotic Zimbabwean disappointed
THE Herald’s Beatrice Tonhodzayi seems to be “mixed” up about the just-ended
Miss Malaika event. The audience was not satisfied about the winner, Yolanda
Hall, and kept shouting that they wanted Number 14, Tonhodzayi told us in
her weekend column, “Mixed Bag”. But the judges prevailed and Tonhodzayi
says “it is the hope of every patriotic Zimbabwean that she will lift the
country’s flag high in South Africa”.
We are immediately told the contestants revealed “an amazing lack of
intelligence and depth that was shocking to say the least.
“It was like most of them were just trying out their luck and were not
serious about the pageant. They were immature and showed a disturbing lack
of confidence,” says Tonhodzayi without any sense of irony.
So what has “patriotism” got todo with this evident failure by the
contestants? If Zimbabweans themselves are not happy with their product,
including Tonhodzayi herself, what chance does Hall have with foreign judges
in South Africa?
She accuses the contestants of failing to “talk about important issues” like
how they will “correct the bad image” that Zimbabwe has in the international
community and how they will promote the continent.
Surely you cannot export damaged goods and hope that your patriotic zeal
alone will make them saleable. Tonhodzayi should be telling us how the
pageants can “correct the bad image” that she has of them. Then she can
correct the image of the country, whatever that means.
On the pageants failing to talk about important issues, Muckraker thinks
Tonhodzayi should spare the kids the rod. Has she ever heard the country’s
leadership “talking” about the important issues affecting the country? Even
A classic example was last week when Zanu PF’s politburo held its ordinary
session at Shake Shake building and people expected to hear what President
Mugabe was going to do to those who ignored his ultimatum to surrender some
of their stolen farms. People expected to hear what the party was doing
about the country’s multifaceted crisis, from fuel to food to cash
shortages. Every patriotic Zimbabwean was disappointed.
Information chief Nathan Shamuyarira said they had discussed how Zanu PF had
“lost in the recent council elections” to the MDC and how this could be
reversed. That kind of self-deception should alert patriotic Beatrice
Tonhodzayi as to the real source of the country’s problems — lack of
seriousness and a huge dose of delusional thinking.
On Friday, September 5, the Herald carried a front-page statement by the
Department of Information in the Office of the President saying
Vice-President Simon Muzenda was “on the way to recovery”.
This followed press reports in South Africa, and carried in our own media,
that he was in a critical condition.
These reports were “mischievous”, the Office of the President said.
The Herald story was headed “VP Muzenda on way to recovery”.
The following Friday, September 12, our editor wrote in his weekly Editor’s
Memo that while reports about President Mugabe’s health may be wide of the
mark, “Muzenda’s health does give cause for concern”.
The editor went on to document cases in which the condition of leaders
elsewhere had been disguised by officials so as to ensure stability and
continuity at the top.
Mugabe on Saturday said in his tribute to Muzenda broadcast by ZBC that
“soon after his return from China it was quite clear that the odds against
his recovery were growing insurmountable by the day”.
So why did officials in Mugabe’s office put out the statement on September 5
saying that Muzenda was “on the way to recovery” when his condition, as the
president concedes, was deteriorating?
Here we have a clear example of official dissembling of the sort attempted
when Laurent Kabila was assassinated. Why can’t Mugabe’s officials tell the
public the truth about the health of their leaders? It is possible to be
honest about these things without being insensitive. But there is no excuse
for calculated deception.
Why did the Herald mislead its readers by publishing the Office of the
President’s remarks about “mischievous” press reports without first
satisfying itself that the statement was accurate? Or did it, as we suspect,
just publish what it was told to?
Is this what we can expect from a one-party daily press?
If any proof were needed of official attempts to hoodwink the public, we
need look no further than recent remarks made by Francis Nhema assuring
South Africans of a plentiful supply of petrol.
“At last I can stand here and say,” he told South African motorists, “we do
have petrol. You will be assured. You drive up to Zimbabwe and (we) will
refill your tank.”
Now you will understand how our ministers are able to launch tourism
campaigns in South Africa while their supporters are decimating wildlife in
conservancies and national parks.
Another delusional minister is John Nkomo who gave the Financial Gazette
this account of how the 1987 unity accord between Zanu and Zapu came about.
“Coming back home, we had our teething problems…It quickly became necessary
for the two parties to converge and remind each other of the liberation
movement. We had to convince ourselves that we were one.”
And what were these teething problems? A campaign of ethnic cleansing in
Matabeleland and the Midlands that saw 30 000 people killed. An army brigade
with a licence to abduct, torture and murder. A whole generation scarred and
those responsible granted immunity from prosecution.
And how “quickly” did the two parties converge and “remind each other of the
liberation movement”? Seven years it took them! From then on they “reminded
each other of the liberation movement” by agreeing not to talk about
genocide in public or even address the needs of those traumatised.
Thanks for that reminder John. And just for the record, the Pearce
Commission (not “Pierce”) was 1972, not 1970. It is unlike you to get that
sort of thing wrong!
Which brings us to the Sunday Mirror’s Scrutator who wrote a very funny
column last week pretending the European Union had undergone some Damascene
conversion over Zimbabwe. Borrowing the final paragraph of a strong EU
statement spelling out its position on sanctions, Scrutator managed to
detect a “thaw” in relations.
But at the same time he attacked the EU for claiming sanctions were not
aimed at causing hardship for ordinary Zimbabweans. Pursuing the Zanu PF
line that sanctions were designed to procure regime change in Zimbabwe,
Scrutator said “only a fool would fail to recognise the overt political and
economic objectives of any form of sanctions”.
“Only” if you’re seriously para-noid. Has it not occurred to Scrutator that
the EU might have difficulty justifying to its taxpayers assistance to a
violent, corrupt and lawless regime? How could the EU excuse giving aid to
Zimbabwe when government resources were being diverted to the National Youth
Training scheme and the Borrowdale Brooke mansion?
It was wrong of the EU to ascribe Zimbabwe’s crisis to inappropriate
economic policies and the manner in which the land reform has been carried
out, Scrutator complained. So who is to blame?
“The fundamental causes of the current Zimbabwean political and economic
crisis are to be found in the legacy of European colonialism…”
How silly of us not to have guessed!
The Herald’s Nathaniel Manheru seems unhappy with Muckraker’s criticisms of
the Herald and Sunday Mail. Speaking as their proprietor, he says he will
not dignify our remarks by responding to them, “save to say (Muckraker) is
one of the top readers” of the two papers.
It is kind of Manheru to say so. But that should probably have read “only”
instead of “top”. You know what the Herald is like with typos!
“We shall not bore readers (now there’s a change!) by critically examining
his monotonous bashing of the Herald and Sunday Mail,” Manheru continues
despite his promise. “We know where this is coming from. It smacks of
Ouch! No, please guys. Lay off. Can’t take it any more. Promise not to say
another thing. Wonderful papers. Just love them. Very professional etc…
But seriously folks, is this the best they can do?
Evidently not. The Herald’s Caesar Zvayi, whose journalism represents the
scraping of the very bottom of the government’s empty barrel, asked this
week if John Howard was possibly “Ms Howard since one never knows with Peter
Zvayi is lucky we don’t enquire too closely about Allum Mpofu’s friends.
What government columnists like Zvayi cannot bring themselves to admit is
that it was not Australia’s leader who banned Mugabe from Chogm but his good
friend and ally Olusegun Obasanjo. None of the government’s apologists have
actually got around to explaining that!
Poor old Joseph Made. There he was for three years dutifully parroting
whatever Jonathan Moyo told him to say and what does he get for it: probably
President Mugabe is not known for moving swiftly to axe non-performing
ministers. Some are allowed to stay on for years. Ask Enos Chikowore.
But the politburo is demanding that heads roll. There must be a scapegoat
for the mess in the A1 and A2 sectors. And it looks like poor old Made is
the sacrificial goat. This will all be done under the rubric of
“streamlining” ministerial “overlaps”. There will be “redeployments” you
understand. Whatever you call it, Made must go.
What about moving him to the Ministry of Transport. He likes flying around
looking out the window. Then again a job at the Central Statistical Office
would enable him to make use of his dexterity with figures.
The government, by the way, despite revelations made in the Utete Report, is
still telling Munyaradzi Huni that 300 000 families have been resettled.
They gave the same figure to the gullible Caesar Zvayi this week. Both
“journalists” regurgitated them without question. But then again, if Zvayi
believes blacks are barred from the streets of Perth and Hobart after 10pm,
he will believe anything!
Muckraker has been trying to think of something tasteful to say about the
late Simon Muzenda. So we won’t mention the baboons that stood as
ruling-party candidates in Masvingo, even though all the obituaries
published abroad made reference to them. Or that shooting episode in Gweru.
A fitting tribute we think would be an exhibition at State House of his
collection of sweaters, jerseys and cardigans without which he would never
have seemed quite complete.
RBZ rejects Bill tenders
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), battling to save face after failing to
handle the serious cash shortages, last week rejected all bids for the
91-day Treasury Bill tender.
The Treasury Bill tender was for $2 billion and was held on Thursday.
Analysts contacted yesterday said the RBZ had rejected the bids because the
rates being offered were too high.
comes at a time when Zimbabwe's domestic debt, which stood at $346
billion in December last year, rose dramatically to $546 billion as at June
Bankers say with Treasury Bills accounting for 96% (about
$491 billion) of
the debt, interest costs are likely to continue to be a burden on the
They said the increased borrowing had tied
up a high percentage of the
"In its efforts to
keep rates low, the central bank is refusing to accept
high bids and ironically refusing to give banks overnight accommodation,
which has had the effect of raising interest rates as the banks have been
forced to seek funds from the open market," a Barnfords Securities (Pvt) Ltd
financial analyst said.
The money market has continued to be short and with overnight
significantly to levels between 93% and 110%.
90-day NCD rate on September 5 stood at 82% but increased to 95% on
Friday last week.
The 90-day bank acceptance yield rate increased from 80%
to 95,05%, while
the call rate shot up from 80% to 92% and the interbank overnight rate from
85% to 105% during the same period respectively.
Economist John Robertson said this was not the first
time the RBZ had
rejected Treasury Bills.
In fact, he said, this
was now the norm because of the prevailing
hyperinflationary environment in Zimbabwe.
The country's inflation has soared from 200% at the
beginning of the year to
426,6% for August.
Economists predict it
will continue skyrocketing to hit the 1 000% mark
Zimbabwe is however, surrounded by neighbours with
single digit inflation
Its largest trading partner South
Africa has an inflation rate of 5,7%,
Botswana 8,3%, Tanzania 4,4%, and Zambia 20,3%.
"The RBZ has been rejecting Treasury Bill tenders for
most of the year,"
Robertson told businessdigest.
looking for higher margin levels while the central bank is
only prepared to offer low rates. I guess because they are the government
they can decide to offer whatever they want. Imagine what would happen if
you and me asked for our own rates when applying for a mortgage."
He said the RBZ was only
prepared to pay the least rate because of the
spiraling domestic debt.
"The government has the law in their own hands and can,
whatever they want," Robertson said
said the domestic debt was expected to rise further during the
second half of the year due to the necessity to fund grain imports and to
provide financial support for newly-resettled farmers.
IMF boss leaving Zimbabwe after rocky stint
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s senior resident representative Gerry
Johnson packs his bags next month to return to Washington, after a rocky
stint in Zimbabwe.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the Bretton Woods Institutions - the IMF and
World Bank - have not been rosy during his tour of duty.
In fact, they have been at an all-time low ever since
Mugabe decided to embark on the fast-track land resettlement programme two
While Mugabe points out that his
government was compelled to distribute
tracts of land to the country's "landless peasants" the IMF, World Bank and
major international organisations including the influential European Union
(EU) have blasted the way this was done.
In an interview Johnson confirmed he was leaving Zimbabwe next month.
"I can confirm that I am leaving the country next month," he
businessdigest. "I think the announcement of who will take over from me will
come from Washington as soon as I get there. Right now I do not know who
will replace me. I have enjoyed my stay here and learnt a lot."
Under IMF protocol Johnson cannot openly express his feelings
situation on the ground in the country but can refer to Article IV
Consultations concluded with Zimbabwe.
Insiders however, say
the IMF might not replace Johnson because of the
prevailing political and economic situation.
The IMF on June 6 suspended Zimbabwe's voting and
related rights after
having determined that the country had not sufficiently strengthened its
cooperation with the Fund in areas of policy implementation and payments.
Johnson refused to comment on this.
The last IMF
Article IV Consultation report on Zimbabwe made shocking
reading and riled government so much that Mugabe told his high-ranking
officials to ignore the IMF and World Bank and concentrate on countries in
the Far East for economic aid and advice.
Mugabe openly said his government had dumped the
Bretton Woods institutions
because they were the major culprits bringing "untold economic suffering" to
Under Article IV of the
IMF's Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral
discussions with members, usually every year.
A staff team visits the country,
collects economic and financial
information, and discusses with officials the country's economic
developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a
report, which forms the basis for discussion by the executive board.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the managing
director, as chairman of
the board, summarises the views of executive directors, and this summary is
transmitted to the country's authorities.
On June 6 the IMF report on Zimbabwe resembled the script of a horror movie.
It pointed out that the economic crisis
reflected to a large extent
"inappropriate economic policies: loose fiscal and monetary policies, the
maintenance of a fixed exchange rate in an environment of rising inflation,
and administrative controls".
IMF said increased regulations and government intervention had
economic activity underground and contributed to the chronic shortages of
goods and foreign exchange.
"The impact of these policies have
been exacerbated by the fast-track land
reform programme, recurring droughts, and the HIV/Aids pandemic," the IMF
report said. "Meanwhile, investor confidence has been eroded by concerns
over political developments, weak governance and corruption, problems
related to the implementation of the government's land reform programme, the
push for an increased indigenisation of the business sector, and the
selective enforcement of regulations."
Mugabe bashes business community
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Sunday threatened that his government would pull
up its sleeves, take off its gloves and prepare for a tough fight with the
business community, especially the commercial banking sector which he
accused of letting his administration down.
Mugabe (79) said he felt let down by indigenous businessmen for allowing
Zimbabwe's economy to nose-dive to such shocking levels.
A visibly shaken Mugabe told
mourners gathered at the Lewisam home of late
Vice President Simon Muzenda (81) that some businessmen were teaming up with
the West in a bid to worsen the already precarious economic situation.
confidant since the 1940s, died at Parirenyatwa Hospital
on Saturday after a long illness. He was buried at the Heroes Acre on
address made in Shona, Mugabe said he sometimes even wondered whether
his government had done "something seriously wrong" by allowing indigenous
players to open commercial banks and major businesses.
He said the same individuals who were allowed to operate
were now sneaking
behind government's back to "sabotage the country" by flouting various
Major financial institutions to have
mushroomed after Independence include
NMB Holdings Ltd led by Julius Makoni, Trust Holdings (William Nyemba),
Kingdom Financial Holdings (Nigel Chanakira), Century Holdings (Jefta
Mugweni), Metropolitan Bank (Enock Kamushinda), First Banking Corporation
(Livingstone Gata), Barbican Holdings (Mthuli Ncube), and Intermarket
Financial Holdings (Nicholas Vingirai).
Zimbabwe is going through its worst economic crisis since
The country's main macro-economic problems
to June this year include
hyperinflation (426,6%), a decline in gross domestic product (11,5%), high
domestic debt ($546 billion), a weak balance of payments position, and
crippling foreign currency shortages that have resulted in escalating fuel
and electricity debts.
Mugabe said the
commercial banking sector was now more concerned about
making as much money as possible at the expense of customers and the nation.
He said while
government had gone out of its way to allow indigenous players
to participate in economic reconstruction, the same individuals had now
turned against him and his 23-year-old government.
However, businessmen interviewed at
Muzenda's home stressed that while it
was worrying that some individuals were abusing the financial system,
government officials sometimes operated behind the scenes to manipulate
They said it was unfair for
Mugabe to be hostile to the business community
in general and bankers in particular because government's policies were, in
many instances, unclear and confusing.
They pointed out at the short lifespans of economic
policies such as
Zimprest, the Millennium Economic Recovery Programme, National Economic
Recovery Programme, and the latest National Economic Revival Programme, most
of which were discarded before implementation.
The individuals said instead of taking advice from
the business community,
government tended to become arrogant, accusing it of belonging to the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which led to polarisation.
"This arrogance is going to be very costly for
Zimbabwe," a businessman
said. "Actually this arrogance has resulted in us being where we are right
now. In the pits."
alleged that the 150-member Mugabe-appointed National
Economic Consultative Forum (Necf) had been turned into a "laughing stock"
because some decisions made at its meetings were "twisted" before they
reached the president in order to please him.
The Necf comprises individuals from various
sectors of business, labour, and
government who meet regularly to try and find solutions to Zimbabwe's
In an interview Necf
spokesman Nhlanhla Masuku told businessdigest that the
Necf lacked sufficient funding which was why decisions made could not be
Businessmen also alleged that there was favouritism in
deals, which continued to be awarded to the same individuals/companies just
because they had strong government ties.
They described deals such as those for fuel (Petrofin Bills),
Marketing Board (Grain Bills), Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Megawatt Bills) and those for supplying foodstuffs and manufactured goods
to the army and police as "eyebrow raising".
They alleged that when, on the other hand, institutions
decided to enter
into contracts without government involvement, the deals were, in many
"What (Herbert) Murerwa said in
parliament has now been repeated by Mugabe
and we are going to see many individuals fall by the wayside, especially
those who do not play ball with government," a businessman told
businessdigest. "Government believes it no longer has anything to lose even
if it victimises individuals because it is already isolated by the
Murerwa said in
parliament: "It has been established that a number of
financial institutions are involved in illegal foreign exchange market
activities. It must be noted that, while the Exchange Control (General)
Order of 1996 confers authorised dealership status to all commercial banks
and accepting houses upon registration, authorised dealership is a privilege
and not a right.
"Accordingly, stiffer penalties will be taken against those
that fail to comply with Exchange Control Regulations and Directives. In
this regard, there will be no sacred cows. Repeal of the relevant
legislation to provide for movement away from conferment of status to
granting licences, whose renewal is subject to satisfactory conduct by the
licensed authrised dealers, is also under consideration."
was the first financial institution to face government's wrath when it
was served with a notice for the suspension of its foreign currency trading
While not being a financial institution but a
major publishing empire the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd (ANZ) is also battling with
government for a publishing licence for its two titles - The Daily News and
The Daily News on Sunday.
The ANZ's chairman,
business mogul Strive Masiyiwa, is no stranger to the
wrath of Mugabe's government.
Masiyiwa fought a lengthy and costly legal battle against
government for a
licence to operate Econet Wireless Holdings Ltd.
"It's serious politics at play," a businessman said. "But this
time the game
is getting very very dirty."
Landlords ignore forex rules
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s threat to deal with landlords asking
for foreign currency for their designer mansions seems to have fallen on
deaf ears as they are still advertising their properties insisting they want
payment in hard currency.
However, in a new twist to the development, some of the landlords are now
requesting payment either in foreign currency or the Zimbabwe dollar
equivalent using parallel market rates.
Houses are going for between US$20 000 to more than US$100 000
upmarket suburbs of Harare such as Mt Pleasant, Borrowdale, Helensvale, and
Investigations by businessdigest this
week revealed that landlords were
using parallel market rates ranging from $7 000 to $10 000 for the United
The US greenback is
however officially pegged at $824 against the Zimbabwe
acting governor Charles Chikaura in an interview recently told
businessdigest that the Zimbabwe dollar was the "legal tender in the
country" and, as such, all payments must be made in local currency.
He said a dispensation
was, however, given to hotels and other tourist
specialist services to receive payment in foreign currency.
This measure, he said, became
necessary to improve convenience for the
country's visitors, while at the same time encouraging foreign exchange
payments for rentals, properties or other goods and services in
United States dollars is, however, illegal," Chikaura said.
action by both the RBZ and other law enforcement agents
is critical in dealing with this problem."
The acting RBZ boss said he was working
closely with the ZRP, the National
Economic Conduct Inspectorate, and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to deal
with the serious foreign currency issue.
However, a three-bedroomed flat in Eastlea suburb said to be
condition" was this week advertised for US$40 000 or the Zimbabwe dollar
The agent refused to say how much this
"equivalent was", insisting that the
figure could only be disclosed to "serious buyers".
Another property in Mt Pleasant was going for US$70
000 or the Zimbabwe
The agent said the deal
could only be revealed to serious buyers, but
insisted the owner preferred payment in foreign currency.
In Zimbabwe dollar terms, some of these
mansions are going for between $100
million and $900 million.
house in Ballantyne Park was this week advertised for a cool $1
The property was described as an executive home offering five bedrooms, two
bathrooms (main ensuite), two lounges, fitted kitchen, lockup garage, self
contained cottage, pool and all weather tennis court.
In the high-density areas, on the other hand, houses are
$20 million and $100 million.
Chikaura said due
to persistent mismatches between demand and supply of
foreign exchange, a parallel market for foreign exchange had developed.
for foreign exchange develop whenever demand outstrips
supply, particularly if the official price does not respond accordingly," he
"Whereas in many developing countries, widespread trade
stringent foreign exchange controls have led to proliferation of parallel
markets for foreign exchange, the Zimbabwean situation arose from persistent
macro-economic imbalances, in particular high inflation.
"Speculators have taken advantage of the resultant
exchange shortages to continuously depreciate the exchange rate, for
desperate importers, in the parallel market."
Jonathan Moyo's mission accomplished
I AM sure that when the government enacted the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act its sole intention was to harass the
privately-owned print media.
It stands to reason that the applications for registration by the Herald,
the Sunday Mail and other government-owned papers would be rubber-stamped
whilst all others would receive a royal runaround.
Aippa, along with its equally odious brother Posa, were
enacted solely to
enable government to control those newspapers and individuals it perceived
as a problem.
Has the Herald or the
Sunday Mail or any of their wonderful staffers ever
been charged under Posa, even with some of the outrageous lies they peddle?
Of course not, they are bullet-proof as they no longer have their own voice.
Whether or not
ANZ is guilty of flouting Aippa, the reason for enacting this
piece of legislation in the first place needs to be examined.
Laws are put in
place for the protection of the public and to create an
environment of peace and order, not to repress certain organisations and
individuals that will not toe the party line.
If one looks at many of the laws passed since the
rise of an effective
opposition, both political and social, they were enacted purely to crush
resistance. The Rhodesian Front government did the same thing in the 70s and
look where it got them.
If the government's main
reason for creating a regulatory body was to
monitor fair and accurate reporting, the Media and Information Commission
would not be trying to stop the Daily News from registering. Instead it
would allow the ANZ to register the Daily News, possibly fining it for
contravening the Act. The MIC's refusal to register the ANZ brings into
question their real motives.
Why has the Minister of Information and Publicity in the
Office of the
President allowed the owners of the Daily News to continue operating for so
long after the expiry date for registration with no hint of his usual
vitriol, only to pounce on them once the courts had determined that they
were operating illegally?
Surely he should have ensured that
they were shut down the day after the
prescribed deadline. After all, the application of the rule of law is
paramount in his eyes.
only noted that the ANZ was operating outside the law, a law that
was itself in question. If the ANZ felt the law was unfair, to have
registered would have been an acceptance of the terms of the law and their
case would have been seriously jeopardised.
Surely they have the right to access the
courts to question a law before
they accept its terms. Once the Supreme Court passed judgement, the ANZ
immediately attempted to register to correct the imbalance that existed
according to the court's ruling, showing that they were prepared to play the
It has taken Jonathan Moyo three
years of hard slog using all the state
resources available to him to finally shut the Daily News down. Arrests,
intimidation and harassment all failed. His only way was to create a law and
use it to silence the opposition.
Now that his personal vendetta is over, he will be at a
loss to fill his
Selective application of the law
THE Trustees of the Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) are deeply dismayed by
the decision of the Supreme Court on the application by the Associated
Newspapers Group challenging the constitutionality of Section 66 of the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act Chapter 10:27. In
particular, the Trustees wish to register their concern at the judgment.
The Supreme Court has the vitally important responsibility of ensuring the
protection of the fundamental rights of all the people of Zimbabwe that are
enshrined in the Declaration of Rights.
When there are doubts about the
constitutionality of a new law, persons who
believe that their constitutional rights will be violated by that law should
be entitled to obtain a ruling from the Supreme Court as to whether or not
that legislation is constitutional.
It is well-established law that a person being
prosecuted under a law that
he or she has openly defied is entitled to raise the defence that the law is
invalid because it violates that person's fundamental constitutional rights.
The person can ask the court dealing with the matter to refer the issue of
constitutionality to the Supreme Court for determination. The Supreme Court
will be obliged to make a ruling because if the law is invalid the
prosecution cannot continue.
A person who
believes that a new law is unconstitutional and that compliance
with it will lead to violation of his or her rights should not be in a worse
position than the person being prosecuted under that law. Rather than wait
for a prosecution that person should be able to approach the Supreme Court
in order to obtain a ruling on the constitutionality of the law. This was
the situation in the current case.
The ANZ did not simply ignore the
requirement to register under the law; it
instituted a constitutional challenge to the registration provision and
various other provisions of the Act. It was entitled to expect that the
Supreme Court would decide whether or not the provisions are constitutional.
The LRF also notes with
concern that one of the key cases the court relied
upon in arriving at its conclusion was apparently not referred to by either
counsel in their arguments in court and applicant's counsel was not
subsequently given an opportunity to address arguments to the court about
this case. In fact, on close analysis this case does not support the
proposition for which it was used as the authority by the court in
Trustees are also alarmed by the very heavy-handed manner in which the
police have descended upon the ANZ premises and forcibly removed a wide
range of property including computers and office furniture.
It is the view of
the Trustees that the police action is unjustifiable and
cannot be held to be reasonably necessary to prove the operations of the ANZ
or the publication of the Daily News one day after the Supreme Court ruling
as copies of the newspaper could have been taken as proof of publication
without registration under the Act.
The LRF also points out that in many jurisdictions
around the world the
practice of licensing newspapers has been discarded and is now generally
recognised as being in contravention of the freedom of expression through
the exercise of prior restraint. In some of the countries where it is still
practised the requirements for registration are purely formal, and a fine
rather than closure is the accepted penalty for non-compliance.
The Trustees further note that the ANZ has been on
the receiving end of a
whole succession of illegal activities in the past. Its offices and printing
press have been bombed. Military explosives were used in some of the
attacks. None of the culprits of these attacks have been apprehended.
On numerous occasions over the last few years, lawless elements have
wantonly burnt copies of the newspaper, and in many instances the culprits
were never arrested or prosecuted.
When the police
have been present when these incidents occurred, they often
failed to intervene to protect the vendors and their newspapers and to
arrest those responsible. This has fuelled suspicion of complicity in these
crimes and selective law-enforcement.
Supreme Court's reasoning on ANZ illogical
By Tawanda Hondora
THE Supreme Court's reasoning in the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
(Daily News) judgement is with respect cursory and illogical.
The manner in which the court ignored its constitutional obligation to
enforce the bill of rights is as worrying as it is shocking. The Supreme
Court's handling of this case should be of grave concern to all lawyers and
judges in Zimbabwe.
The Daily News applied to the
Supreme Court for an order declaring
unconstitutional certain sections of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), which obliged all print mass media to
register with the Media and Information Commission (MIC) as a precondition
to continuing operations. In opposition, the State on the basis of what is
known as the "clean hands" doctrine, objected to the court hearing the Daily
News' constitutional application, and the Supreme Court agreed.
The clean hands doctrine is a discretionary rule of practice in terms of
which a court using principles of equity may decline to hear a litigant if
they are in deliberate contempt of a court order, or if their conduct before
the courts has been dishonest or contrary to good morals. The doctrine is
not a rule of law. None of these traditional grounds upon which in the past
litigants have been denied audience in the courts are satisfied by the
conduct of the Daily News.
In terms of Section 24
of the supreme law of the land (the Constitution) all
persons that claim that the Declaration of Rights "is being or is likely to
be contravened" in relation to them has the right to apply to the Supreme
Court for redress. It is debatable whether the Supreme Court has the power
to decline to hear a bill-of-rights application on the basis of the "clean
hands" doctrine. Even assuming the Supreme Court has such discretion, it is
disturbing that it elevated a rule of practice over a constitutional
obligation to hear and determine human rights petitions.
Section 3 of the Constitution
states that any law that is inconsistent with
the Constitution is void. This begs the question: If the Aippa sections that
the Daily News complained about contravene Section 20 of the Constitution,
how can the Daily News be in contempt of the law? Should the Supreme Court
not have determined the validity of the sections, and then delved, if it so
pleased, into the clean hands doctrine?
According to Chief Justice God-frey Chidyausiku, even
if an enactment
violates basic human rights, a person must first comply with the legislation
before complaining to the Supreme Court. Failing to comply with the
legislation, irrespective of its legality, will result in the complainant
being denied the right to be heard on the basis that his hands are "dirty".
Chief Justice Chidyausiku stated that the court will not grant relief to a
litigant with "dirty hands" in the absence of good cause being shown or
until the defiance or contempt has been purged. Assuming the court is
correct, what better reason is there to grant relief than the plea that the
law is unconstitutional?
Chief Justice Chidyausiku stated that
the Aippa sections in question were
not "totally repugnant" or "blatantly unconstitutional". What on earth does
this mean? A law is either constitutional or not; there are no degrees of
constitutionality. So if by implication, he was of the opinion that the
sections were partly unconstitutional or repugnant, why did he not enquire
into the issue of constitutionality in order to ascertain whether the Daily
News should comply with Aippa? And why did it take Chidyausiku more than
four months to come up with a 14-page judgement that suffers from paucity of
relevant authority and substantive jurisprudence?
The Supreme Court's argument is illogical.
Is it not the case that persons
charged with an offence, against which they apply to the Supreme Court for a
declaration of invalidity, would have been in open defiance of the law? In
other words, the allegation against all persons charged with criminal
offences is that they have violated and are in defiance of a law. Does it
mean that such persons have "dirty hands" and will not be heard by the
Supreme Court if they allege that the law under which they have been charged
violates a fundamental human right? How many times in the past has the
Supreme Court heard constitutional applications from persons who had
deliberately violated Zimbabwean law? What is so different with the Daily
News case? It is disingenuous for Chidyausiku to introduce grades of
repugnancy and unconstitutionality to determine whether a litigant can be
heard without first being forced to comply with an enactment.
It is respectfully baffling for the Chief Justice not to
have referred in
his judgment to the 1982 Zimbabwean Supreme Court case of Minister of Home
Affairs v Bickle.
The state in the Bickle case
put forward a proposition that the court should
extend the grounds upon which it will refuse to hear a litigant, from the
traditional instances where a litigant is a fugitive from justice or in
contempt of an order of court, to persons that are not prepared to accept
The Supreme Court rejected the proposition, insisting instead that Section
24 of the Constitution is paramount; that the constitutional right of access
to a court should prevail unless it is plain that the contempt, of which the
applicant may be guilty, itself impedes the course of justice. No such
evidence was established in the Daily News case.
Chidyausiku cited the English
case of F Hoffmann-La Roche & Co AG and Others
v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, which is not even relevant. He
ignored other judgements by Lord Denning - who decided the Hoffmann case -
that stated that only grave considerations of public policy would
necessitate denying a litigant access to courts. And that a denial to hear a
litigant would only be resorted to if the contempt itself impedes the course
of justice and there is no other effective means of securing compliance.
The Hoffmann case relied on
by Chidyausiku was not raised in argument by
either of the litigants, nor were they given an opportunity to respond to
it. In other jurisdictions, such as Namibia, it has been held highly
improper for a court to rely for its judgement on a case that was not used
in argument, or where the litigants' lawyers were not given a chance to make
respect, the principle extrapolated by Chief Justice Chidyausiku in
English case is not relevant to the issues that arose in the Daily News
case, as the two cases are distinguishable both in fact and in law.
The Hoffmann case is not authority for the proposition that a
is challenging the validity of a law must first comply with the law before
the application can be heard. At no time did Hoffmann challenge the validity
of the enactment, as did the Daily News. The court held that Hoffmann had to
comply with the law, when the pharmaceutical company sought to argue that
the relevant enactment was ultra vires the enabling Act. At no time did the
issue of the clean hands doctrine arise. The issues raised were not even
constitutional in nature. In the Daily News case, what was sought was an
order declaring various sections of Aippa unconstitutional.
Additionally, the Chief Justice stated in his
judgement that the Daily News
could purge its contempt of the law by desisting from operating illegally.
Needless to say, the government has taken the pronouncement to be a
declaration that the Daily News is operating illegally and hence its
operations have been forcibly closed. But the court had not been asked to
make such a declaration. It is a well-established principle of our law that
the court cannot grant that which has not been asked.
The Supreme Court's decision, it may be argued, signifies the
death of a
human rights culture in Zimbabwe's judicial system. Critics are likely to
use the judgement to point to, not only the poor jurisprudential quality of
judgements emanating from our courts, but also a flawed judiciary itself.
l Tawanda Hondora is a Harare-based lawyer
Mbeki does all Africa a disservice
By Marcus Gee
TWO weeks ago the staff of Zimbabwe's most-read newspaper were putting the
paper to bed when police with automatic rifles stormed its offices and
ordered everyone out. The Daily News has been a relentless critic of
President Robert Mugabe since its birth in 1999. Its premises have been
bombed twice and its reporters arrested and beaten. So its closure provoked
anger around the world.
In next-door South Africa, though, there was only profound embarrassment.
Since taking office four years ago, President Thabo Mbeki has insisted that
quiet diplomacy is the best way to deal with his wayward counterpart. The
events at the Daily News exposed that policy as the crashing failure it is.
Far from responding to
Mbeki's gentle persuasion, Mugabe has become ever
more oppressive. His corruption, brutality, and racial hate-mongering have
made Zimbabwe a shambles. Only last February, Mbeki said Zimbabwe had
promised to change a harsh new media law that seeks to muzzle brave,
independent media voices such as the Daily News. No such change has come
about. Instead, the Mugabe government used the media law to shut down the
has only himself to blame for this failure. As the rest of the world
moved to shun Mugabe, the leader of the one country with the economic and
political weight to make a difference has refused to apply any real
pressure. When the rest of the world condemned Mugabe for rigging his latest
re-election in March 2002, Mbeki blithely declared "the will of the people
of Zimbabwe has prevailed".
More recently, Mbeki has been trying to get Zimbabwe
invited to a December
meeting of the Commonwealth despite a move by Australia, Canada and others
to have it excluded. Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002
after Mugabe stole his election. Even Nigeria,
Africa's other superpower and until now an ally of South Africa in its
approach to Zimbabwe, now says Zimbabwe will not be invited. Nigeria is
hosting the meeting.
Why Mbeki has persisted in his failing
policy is a bit of a mystery. He has
always argued that confronting Mugabe would push him into a corner, raising
the risk of a violent collapse in Zimbabwe that would destabilise the region
and flood South Africa with desperate refugees. Far better, he says, to keep
ties open and coax the regime to change.
That, of course, is precisely what the
administration of US president Ronald
Reagan argued in the debate about what to do with white-ruled South Africa
in the 1980s. Rather than punish the apartheid regime, he said, the world
must engage it. The policy was called "constructive engagement" and, at the
time, Mbeki, then a leader of the banned African National Congress and
fighting apartheid, roundly condemned it. He urged the US government to slap
sanctions on South Africa instead, and in the end it was sanctions and
isolation that helped bring an end to apartheid.
Why is what was right for white-ruled South Africa wrong
Zimbabwe today? The answer, sadly, seems to have much to do with race. In
his pronouncements on the subject, Mbeki often hints that Zimbabwe is only
feeling so much outside pressure because Western countries are upset about
Mugabe's treatment of the country's white farmers, many of whom have been
harassed and driven from their farms by Mugabe supporters. He also expresses
resentment that Western powers that once colonised Africa are trying to
determine the future of an African country. Far better, says Mbeki, for
Africans to solve African problems.
Fair enough. But what
better African country to take on Mugabe than South
Africa, its powerful neighbour and the undisputed regional power? If Mbeki
fails to do so, the result it fears so much - a messy collapse next door -
becomes more, not less, likely.
By succumbing to the old tendency among African leaders
to close ranks, and
above all, never to criticise each other, Mbeki is betraying the promise of
his country's rebirth. The new South Africa was supposed to represent a
break with the repressive post-colonial regimes that had flourished all over
the continent for so many years. South Africa, it was thought, would be a
beacon of democracy and hope - and in many ways, it has been.
By standing by the odious Mugabe just because he is disliked in
Mbeki shames his country and does all of Africa a disservice. - Globe & Mail
Friends of the Daily News
ANZ officials submitted registration and application forms
officials from Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers of
The Daily News and the Daily News On Sunday, whose newspapers were shut down
last week by the government, yesterday submitted registration and
application forms to the government-appointed Media and Information
Commission in Harare to enable them to resume operations.
The company was represented by its legal advisor, Gugulethu Moyo,
operations director, Innocent Kurwa and finance director, Brian Mutsau.
Speaking after submitting the application forms, Moyo said: “We paid a
registration fee of $500 000 and an application fee of $20 000.”
The Zimbabwe Supreme Court ruled on Thursday last week that it would
not hear an ANZ application on the constitutionality of the section relating
to registration which makes it mandatory for media houses to register with
The Supreme Court ruled that the company should first comply with the
draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act before its
application could be heard.
Friday evening, armed riot police and intelligence officers swooped on
the eight-story ANZ offices in the city centre and its printing factory in
the industrial areas of Harare and ordered all employees out.
The Daily News editor, Nqobile Nyathi and Simon Ngena, the production
manager were questioned briefly by the police on Friday.
Moyo said they had also been ordered to supply all copies of
newspapers published from 31 December 2002 to date.
By yesterday afternoon, the ANZ premises were still sealed off by
heavily armed riot police.
Moyo said according to section Eight of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, after submitting their registration papers, they
were supposed to resume operations.
The Act reads: “During the consideration of its application applicant
shall be permitted to continue to carry on the activities of the mass media
service, operate the news agency, work as a journalist or operate the
representative offices as the case may be until his application has been
Moyo said the ANZ chief executive officer, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, was
expected to appear at the local magistrates court for operating illegally.
Moyo late yesterday said they were preparing an urgent application to
the High Court, compelling the police to allow ANZ employees to continue
SA media meets government over Zimbabwe
September 26, 2003, 09:00 PM
Representatives of the South African news media met a South African
government delegation today to raise concerns over threats to media freedom
A delegation of the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef), the
African Editors Forum (AEF), and the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(Misa) expressed their concern over the closure of the Daily News and the
Daily News on Sunday, the arrest of journalists and threats to the
Zimbabwean chapter of Misa, Sanef said in a statement.
The government delegation was led by Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign
minister, and included senior Foreign Affairs officials.
Sanef urged the government to use its influence to have the actions against
the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, journalists and media
organisations such as Misa reversed.
The delegation also urged the government to insist that the Zimbabwean
government review its media legislation as promised to President Thabo Mbeki
and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Sanef believes the actions of the Zimbabwean government fly in the face of
the Windhoek Declaration, SADC protocols and African Union protocols.
According to the Sanef statement the government delegation noted Sanef's
concerns on developments in Zimbabwe, and undertook to raise these issues
with the Zimbabwean government.
Government briefed the Sanef delegation on its own efforts to help normalise
the situation in Zimbabwe and reaffirmed its commitment to freedom of the
press and the role a free press can and should play in the resolution of the
current situation in Zimbabwe.
Both delegations agreed that the international community should spare no
effort to help the people of Zimbabwe find a solution to the crisis in their
country. - Sapa
A Blush of Burgundy.
Here in Zimbabwe it is early spring. That means we are now 5 months into our
dry winter weather and still 2 months before any chance of rain. But the
cold of winter has come and gone and the days are growing hot and the wind
blows dry across the barren bushveld.
In other more mild climes, the spring rains bring an early flush of green.
Here it is the heat and the longer days that triggers the first signs of
spring. These come not in pale greens, but in an early blush of a deep
burgundy color in the new foliage of the Mountain Acacia (Brachystegia
glaucescens) and the rich cream colors of the Knobthorn (Acacia nigrescens)
in bloom. These are followed by the splashes of deep green as the wild figs
dig deep to find the water for their new foliage.
At this time there are also the bright splashes of yellow flowers as various
shrubs and trees decide that the rains are coming and a new season can be
signaled. In the cities this season is accompanied by the swathes of purple
Jacaranda and the bright, almost incandescent Bougainvillea.
But for me, a true Matebele, it is the pale delicate pastel colors of the
Mountain Acacia in the Matopo hills and the splashed yellow of the
Knobthorns that brings the country alive. How they do it is a mystery,
because the rest of the Veldt lies hot, dry and dead until the rains come.
Zimbabwe is at the end of its long winter and all the signs are there that
Mugabe is preparing to go. The death over the past weekend of the Vice
President must have been a blow. I know that Muzenda was reported "brain
dead" some time ago and that his death was no surprise, but it is always
unpleasant to be reminded of our mortality. After all, Muzenda was only 18
months older than Mugabe.
The decision to close down the Daily News, despite the overwhelming
international reaction that had to follow, was also an interesting decision.
Make no mistake it was a decision and not a consequence of any sort of legal
process - that was simply the pretext used to implement the decision. It
signaled that Zanu PF regarded its influence as outweighing the cost of the
closure in diplomatic terms. Remember the cost - continued opprobrium from
the Commonwealth in November and the possible complete dislocation of the
EU-ACP summit in October. Most people do not appreciate the impact of the
latter but the EU-ACP group is the largest grouping of States outside of the
UN system, the EU is the largest trading bloc and the largest source of ODA
in the world. ACP States enjoy the best market access with any major
developed markets within this arrangement and for Mugabe to single handedly
disrupt this relationship by his delinquency is a very serious matter.
I have seen several reports of the speech Mugabe made at the funeral for
Muzenda - none of them cover what I thought was the most important aspect.
His reference at the end of the speech to the need for one generation (his
own) to pass the flag to a younger generation that must be charged with
carrying on the good work that he and his cohorts started. Perhaps everyone
was so fed up with his long, rambling, diatribe and dozing off at the end
not to have picked this item up. I felt it was important.
We have come to accept dishonesty from our politicians but his attack on a
mythical "white farmers organisation" which had approached the EU with a
request that they suspend Zimbabwe's beef quota was a bit too much. First of
all no such organisation exists, secondly, Zimbabwe lost its access to EU
markets for beef two years ago following the collapse of veterinary controls
in rural areas. This was entirely the fault of the Mugabe government and its
illegal, chaotic violent land exercise.
One mystery to me from the past week has been the continued leak from South
Africa (can we assume Mbeki's office) of talk about an agreement between the
MDC and Zanu PF. The local State controlled rag, the Chronicle, echoed this
on Wednesday when they also said, "agreement reached between the MDC and
Zanu PF". This was immediately denied by the MDC but few people will have
seen and heard that bit of news as there simply is no means of getting it
out there at present. But what does it mean? After all, Mbeki has been
pretty consistent in saying that we are talking and that progress is being
I am apprehensive that the informal talk about talks that have been going on
between the two Parties may suddenly be used to declare that some sort of
agreement has been reached and that Zanu PF is going to unilaterally
implement this "agreement" and press ahead with new elections. African
leaders would support them in this exercise and the international community
tempted to go along with the charade in the hope that it will put the
Zimbabwe question onto the back burner.
As in the past three years the MDC would then have to fight new elections
without any media access, very little money, no protection against State
violence and the abuse of the legal system and the Courts. We would have to
contest on a playing field where we had to play uphill against a strong
headwind with the whole process still in the hands of Zanu PF and its
collection of well versed thugs and crooks. As the elections in Rwanda
showed, you can hold an election with international observers and get away
with a fairly thorough subversion of the whole exercise. I frankly cannot
accept that a Tutsi could get 95 per cent of the popular vote in a country
with an over 80 per cent Hutu majority. But they did and South Africa
declared it "free and fair".
We have consistently underestimated the lengths to which Zanu PF and its
supporters within the region and abroad will go to hang onto power - even
when their abject failure to govern in the interests of the majority is so
obvious. When a skiboat comes in from a fishing trip and heads for the beach
and home, the last 200 metres are the most dangerous. We are on our way
towards the beach and home, lets make sure that we are not tossed out into
And if you think the bush is beautiful at this time of the year - just wait
until the first rains. When that sweet smell of earth and rain and burnt
grass suddenly arrives with thunder and lightning and then the new grass and
leaves on the trees. The bush knows that every winter has its ending, we
need to remember that the same principle applies to the affairs of man. It
is time for a change of the baton to a new team, its just a question of who
gets the baton and making sure it is not dropped in the process.
Bulawayo, 26th September 2003.
Zanu PF succession team sparks row
A FIERCE battle is unfolding in the ruling Zanu PF over a controversial
committee tasked to look into President Robert Mugabe's succession. Official
sources this week said Mugabe's succession struggle - likely to be fuelled
by the death of Vice-President Simon Muzenda last weekend - has intensified
amid clashes over the committee's role.
Zanu PF heavyweights are said to be quarrelling over the committee which
some fear is being used as an instrument to promote personal political
agendas in the escalating power struggle.
Political combat has been rumbling on
within the party structures for five
months, partly reflected in the state media where recently the succession
issue has been given prominence.
The committee, chaired by Zanu PF secretary for legal
affairs and Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa, was formed in March to engage the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in informal talks to resolve the
country's political and economic crisis.
committee originally included Zanu PF secretary for security
Nicholas Goche and secretary for the commissariat Elliot Manyika, but was
later enlarged to deal with the succession issue after Mugabe's April ZBC
interview in which he authorised the debate.
It is understood Zanu PF secretary for
external affairs Didymus Mutasa added
impetus to the succession drama after he approached Mugabe on behalf of
party cadres seeking permission to get the debate rolling.
"Mutasa met Mugabe and suggested the idea of going
around the country
soliciting people's views about the succession," a source said. "He was
given the go-ahead but Mugabe wanted to know what Mutasa's interest was in
the whole issue. Mutasa said he wanted to succeed Mugabe but only after
working under him for some time as vice-president."
source said that explained why Mutasa later appeared in the Herald on
June 28 saying he wanted to be vice-president.
expa-nded his team to include party barons from
different provinces. Politburo members such as Retired Air Marshal Josiah
Tungamirai, Dumiso Dabengwa, Oppah Muchinguri, Ignatius Chombo and Sabina
Mugabe, among others, were brought in.
It was, however, agreed the party's top five -
Mugabe, Muzenda, party second
secretary Joseph Msika, chairman John Nkomo and secretary for administration
Emmerson Mnangagwa - would not be involved.
Sources said Zanu PF political newcomers like Jonathan Moyo
were excluded to
give the committee credibility.
"There were some
like Stan Mudenge who were approached but refused because
they did not know that Mugabe had sanctioned the issue," a source close to
the issue said. "Mudenge and his Masvingo faction members like Shuvai
Mahofa, who later clashed with Chinamasa over the committee, did not join
his exclusion, Moyo is said to have unleashed the state media in a bid
to nip the initiative in the bud.
"When the plot became clear to Moyo,
journalists were deployed to approach
party heavyweights to find out whether they had succession ambitions," the
source said. "That is why the Herald started in June running succession
interviews just from the blue."
The interviews - seen as fishing expeditions to catch the
unwary - started
on June 14 with Mnangagwa, seen as Mugabe's anointed heir, followed by Nkomo
on June 21, Mutasa on June 28, Msika on July 5 and Dabengwa on July 12.
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and ex-Finance
minister Simba Makoni
declined the interviews.
As the succession
plot thickened, Moyo is said to have brought Mahofa, a
politburo member, into the fray to try to sink the initiative. Mahofa was
given considerable space in the Herald to denounce the committee. This is
said to have angered senior Zanu PF members like party spokesman Nathan
Shamuyarira who knew what was going on.
'Biblical beast of anarchy'
September 26, 2003
Members of Zimbabwe's major churches have denounced President Robert
Mugabe's government as the biblical "beast of anarchy".
They vowed yesterday to mount a campaign to force the government to
restore democracy and end its "oppressive" rule.
A statement by 109 pastors, priests and laymen from 59 churches
condemned the government for political violence, the breakdown of the rule
of law, suppression of the opposition and the erosion of democracy.
"Any government that negates these fundamental principles (of the rule
of law, equality of citizens) to which we are committed, forfeits its
God-given mandate to rule," they said.
"It cannot therefore demand submission and obedience of its citizens."
The statement described Mugabe's government as the biblical "beast" of
the Book of Revelations, "which usurps power and terrorises God's
defenceless people, thus fomenting anarchy and lawlessness in the land".
Their tough words came after a meeting of churchmen and women.
Organisers said the declaration was not a formal position taken by the
Klaas Tebogo, from the South African Council of Churches, was also
Conference spokesman Jonah Gokova said the statement was to have been
published as an advertisement in the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent
daily newspape, at the end of a conference two weeks ago.
But the newspaper was banned on September 12, the day the conference
Heavily armed police stormed the Daily News offices and seized its
computer equipment. It was formally banned last week.
Lawyers said yesterday that nine of the newspaper's 64 journalists had
been charged with "assisting in the production of an illegal newspaper".
Police said 45 more journalists were sought for questioning and were also
likely to be charged, according to Gugulethu Moyo, the newspaper's legal
launch in 1999, the Daily News has given a voice to critics
of Mugabe's 23-year rule. The paper, with 300 employees and a daily
readership of more than 940 000, has said it will challenge the ban in
The churches' statement yesterday demanded that Mugabe's government
"immediately" repeal the current constitution which "does not nurture
democracy" and replace it with a "new people-driven constitution".
It also demanded the repeal of all repressive legislation - including
the laws used to ban the Daily News.
It also called for the abolition of Zanu-PF's "youth national service"
which, it said, was used for the "indoctrination and abuse of young ... to
commit serious human rights abuses and violence for party political ends".
The churchmen said the "culture of violence" begun when Zimbabwe was
under white minority rule "has been taken to higher levels with impunity by
the present regime".
They accepted there was a need for a redistribution of land after a
century of white domination, but condemned Mugabe's "revolutionary land
"We do not approve of irresponsible, inhuman, violent, partisan and
non-transparent methods of addressing the problem," they said.
Zimbabwe is classified as having the fastest-shrinking economy in the
Gross domestic product is forecast to drop 15% this year and inflation
has hit 427%.- Sapa-AP