September 28, 2001 Posted to the web September 27,
Staff Writer Bulawayo
About 70 percent of foreign currency
transactions in Zimbabwe are now taking place in the parallel market where
premiums are in excess of 300 percent of the official rate of $55 to the
US$1, Intermarket Discount House says in its results for the six-months to
This has fuelled price increases on goods and services placing
undue pressure on disposable incomes. Critical energy constraints and
foreign currency problems have also compromised the recovery of the
productive sector, casting doubt on prospects for economic recovery in the
short to medium term.
With money supply growth at 73 percent in
May, the discount house says economic stabilisation remains a challenge for
Zimbabwe if sustainable recovery is to be achieved. According to its results,
discount receivable increased marginally from $779.8 million to $811.3
million while interest income dropped from $49.7 million to $30.6
Interest expense however dropped from $680.9 million to $153.6
million leaving net interest income at $688.4 million compared to $148.6
million the previous year. While last year's income was affected by losses in
trading and dealing income of $29.4 million and fees and commissions
totalling $237 000, this year's income was further boosted by trading and
dealing profits of $115.4 million, fees and commissions of $11.8 million and
other income of $18.7 million.
Operating income therefore increased
from $119.4 million to $834.2 million, while net profit shot up from $57.3
million to $516.6 million.
September 28, 2001 Posted to the web September 27,
Staff Writer Bulawayo
Agricultural output from small-scale
farmers in Zimbabwe may have fallen by as much as 50 percent over the past
five years mainly as a result of the killer disease, AIDS, the United Nations
Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) says in its latest report.
says 7 million agricultural workers have died from AIDS since 1985 in the 25
worst affected African countries. Another 16 million could die within
the next 20 years. Namibia seems to be the worst hit losing 26 percent of
its agricultural labour force in the 15 years.
Botswana and Zimbabwe are tied in second spot with a loss of 23 percent,
while Mozambique and South Africa are also tied with a 20 percent loss. The
report says although Africa accounts for only one-tenth of the world's
population, it accounts for nine out of 10 new cases of
Eighty-three percent of all AIDS deaths are in Africa.
The report says while the impact of AIDS on farming communities differs from
country to country, the epidemic is undermining the progress made in
agriculture and rural development over the past 40 years. "The disease is no
longer simply a health problem, it has become a major development issue," FAO
The report says in 1999, overall agricultural production failed to
keep up with population growth for the third consecutive year. It rose by
only 2.1 percent while population growth was 2.5 percent Preliminary
estimates for 2000 were that agricultural production would only increase by
FAO says labour shortages are particularly serious for
agriculture because production was seasonal. Timing was therefore crucial.
The shortfall in household labour meant that land remained fallow and the
household's output declined.
The shortage of labour could lead to less
time being dedicated to weeding, mulching, pruning and clearing of land.
Farmers could also switch to less labour-intensive crops. The epidemic also
had a grave impact on agricultural estates and could lead to a drop in
profitability through absenteeism owing to sickness, substantially reduced
productivity and higher overtime costs as other workers replaced their sick
It says at one estate in Kenya spending on funerals rose
five-fold while health costs shot up ten-fold over an eight-year period.
HIV/AIDS could also have a serious impact on the livestock sector as the
livestock was sold to support the sick and to pay for funerals. Selling
livestock ate into a household's savings, making families more vulnerable to
Medical and funeral expenses forced many of the poorer
families into debt. It also affected extension work as workers got affected.
FAO says in Uganda, considered the most successful country in Africa to
combat the disease, between 20 and 50 percent of all person-hours among
extension staff was lost as a result of the disease.
To coincide with the start of the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday 6 October, there will
be two large, colourful, and peaceful demonstrations - one in London, and one
in Pretoria. It is very important that a strong protest is registered, to
make sure that the delegates to CHOGM fully appreciate the importance of
holding the government of Zimbabwe to the public promises it recently made in
Abuja and Harare. Please make a HUGE effort for this one. We cannot emphasise
this strongly enough.
London : Starts at noon on Saturday 6 October
outside the Zimbabwe High Commission in the Strand, followed by a march to
Trafalgar Square. Tel 01765 607 900 for details.
Pretoria : Starts at
noon at the Union Buildings (corner Vermuelen and Leyds Streets), followed by
a march to the Zimbabwe High Commission at 798 Merton Street, Arcadia. Tel
082 885 0771 for details.
Yesterdays statement from the IMF Board in Washington DC
is yet another clear signal that the isolation of Zimbabwe in political and
economic terms is being tightened by the international community. However, the
statement is less than honest in that it attributes this further suspension of
Zimbabwe from the activities of the fund as being solely due to the fact that we
are in arrears to the Fund.
In fact we are in arrears to our foreign
creditors on a massive scale and the MDC expects that by the end of March 2002,
when the term of office of this present government comes to an end, total
arrears will exceed US$1 000 million. This is the equivalent of half of
Zimbabwe's annual income in foreign exchange.
In fact, if the Minister of
Finance chooses to settle his arrears with the IMF (and he has the resources to
do so) he knows full well that it would not make any difference to the standing
of Zimbabwe in the international financial community. It would also not bring
the IMF to the rescue of the Zimbabwe economy. The reason for this is the fact
that all of the economic fundamentals in the Zimbabwe economy and in respect to
its current budget are so far outside the parameters set by the global economic
system, that the IMF could not under any circumstances justify assistance to
Zimbabwe. They and the world community know they would waste good resources in a
Even if Mr Makoni was able to get the fiscal and
monetary situation under some semblance of order and within reasonable
parameters, it is still certain that no assistance would be forthcoming for the
beleaguered economy, as the political environment is totally negative. The IMF
knows full well that it cannot consider any forms of assistance to a country
that does not respect the rule of law, uses violence and intimidation as
political weapons and totally disregards the fundamental rights of its citizens.
Zimbabwe is guilty on all counts and in addition is treating the fundamental
rights of investors in such a way as to undermine all investor confidence in the
It is a sad indictment on the IMF that the wider aspects of
their position were not made more fully understood for the benefit of those who
suffer under the Zanu PF regime in Zimbabwe.
Below are two different
documents prepared by the MDC Economics Department. The first is on price
increases and the second on unemployment and job creation. They describe the
current situation in Zimbabwe and the MDC's policy to address these issues.
They are in straightforward english and when printed are each about a page
long. Print them out seperately, distribute them to your friends, colleagues,
workers, or acquaintances.
Help us spread the message of the
Together we will complete the change for a better life for all
Zimbabweans! The power is in our hands.
Price Increases in
In the past two years the prices of most products used by
Zimbabweans have more than doubled. Incomes have not kept pace with these price
changes and as a result, the great majority of Zimbabweans are poorer than they
were more than 20 years ago. In fact, recent price changes have created near
crisis conditions in many homes with children going to school without breakfast
and whole families only eating one meal a day. To save on transport costs, many
workers are sleeping at their places of work or walking for hours to and from
There are three main reasons for this state of affairs:
1. Corruption is now on such a scale that prices of certain basic
products such as liquid fuels are being increased to well above regional
averages. 2. Shortages of basic foodstuffs such as wheat, maize and cooking
oils has meant that we have to import these products at much higher cost than if
these were produced by our own farmers. 3. The government continues to
operate beyond it means and must print money to finance its activities. This is
causing inflation in the economy and is also raising the price of basic
Average inflation in the cost of a basket of groceries has been
122 per cent since September 2000. The worst affected have been bread - 213 per
cent, cooking oil - 141 per cent, soap - 260 to 300 per cent, paraffin - 292 per
cent, margerine - 143 per cent. The very rapid rise in bread prices is due in
the main to the need to import wheat using foreign exchange purchased on the
parallel market. Fats and oils are also affected by this situation as is soap.
In the past, all of these products have been produced from raw material produced
by our farmers. In the past year all products have declined in output and the
situation is getting worse.
Studies of the fuel price indicate that as
much as 50 per cent of the current prices at the pump are due to corruption or
inefficiencies in the procurement and delivery system. As a consequence we pay
fuel prices which are three times the level of fuel costs in South Africa. This
impacts on virtually everything we use and consume. It has made paraffin costs
prohibitive with the result that people are being forced to use wood or any
other fuels they can afford.
Price controls are not the answer to these
fundamental problems - they must be dealt with at source - an MDC government has
pledged itself to tackle these issues and to root out corruption and thereby
curb the rise of prices. At the same time, an MDC government will quickly
restore stability and growth to the economy creating jobs and raising incomes.
Only when this happens will the decline in living standards be halted and
reversed. MDC wage policies call for minimum wage strategies that will link
wages to price inflation to protect living standards while inflation
No matter what the people in power will say, the only
conditions under which such a situation can be achieved is one where the rule of
law is re-established, our relations with the international and regional
community are restored and stability comes back to the farming districts. Until
these basic issues are addressed there can be no reduction in the cost of living
or any improvement in incomes and job losses will continue throughout the
In the past two years some 300 000 Zimbabwean workers have
lost their jobs - over a quarter of all the people in formal employment. On top
of this, hundreds of thousands of people who rely on the informal sector for
their income have suffered either a total collapse of the income generating
activities or a serious reduction in their incomes from such
When a man or a woman looses their job, they have nothing to
fall back on and in most cases the entire family is left without income. Such
events as those outlined above represent real hardship for millions of people
throughout the country. This plus the rise in prices and falling incomes, even
for those in paid employment, means that people in the cities do not have the
surplus income to support their extended families and cannot afford to send
money home for essential things such as school fees and food. Instead, the
majority of people in the cities now depend on food from their rural homes to
sustain themselves and their families.
The loss of jobs and income from
informal sector activity is due to the deterioration in the economy as a whole.
This is especially true in sectors such as tourism and agriculture but it also
applies to the mining industry, industry in the cities and in the service
sector. No part of the economy is spared the impact of the present
The MDC has pledged to reverse this situation in the shortest
time possible by restoring the rule of law, stabilise our relations with the
international and regional community and correcting the way the economy is being
managed. These actions will enable the MDC to re-establish all lost jobs in the
formal sector and at the same time create new opportunities by fostering the
growth of key industries and assisting those in self-employment to expand their
The MDC stabilisation and recovery programme, part of the
BRIDGE strategy adopted by the MDC, will create 500 000 jobs in the first three
years - 300 000 of the jobs lost in the past two years under Zanu PF will be
restored and an additional 200 000 jobs will be created by new investment in the
following sectors: -
Mining - it is expected that major new investments
will take place in platinum, gold and chrome industries. Tourism - it is
expected that tourism will recover rapidly once law and order is re-established
and that Zimbabwe will receive 2 million visitors a year by 2004. To handle this
number of visitors we will have to create 200 000 new jobs in this sector
alone; Agriculture - under the MDC agrarian reform programme we expect to
establish up to 50 000 small scale tobacco growers in the tobacco industry, 30
000 new coffee and tea producers, 7 000 sugar producers and up to 1 million
small scale farmers will receive title to their land and support for new forms
of production. Industry - this is expected to recover and then to start
growing rapidly as access to new markets such as those opened up in the USA,
Europe and the SADC become available to our manufacturers and confidence is
You cannot create jobs while you destroy the jobs in
existing industries, you cannot create jobs in an atmosphere of violence and
intimidation, and you cannot create jobs without confidence and peace. Only the
MDC offers the conditions under which job creation can become a reality.
CHOGM to be pressed for Zimbabwe election
Australia needed to press the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting (CHOGM) to push for monitors in Zimbabwe to ensure a free and fair
election there, MPs were told.
A delegation from Zimbabwe, including
farmer Vernon Nicolle, journalist Benhilda Chanetsa and economist John
Robertson, said sanctions against Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe may be
needed if next year's election was rigged.
Members of the group met
government and opposition MPs to highlight the situation in Zimbabwe, where
Mr Mugabe has seized white-owned farms and returned them to so-called
veterans of the independence war of the late 1970s.
That process and
the accompanying breakdown of law and order has been condemned by Zimbabwe's
opposition parties and independent press and by African and western
Mr Mugabe says he will attend CHOGM in Brisbane from October 6-9
but it remains unclear whether he will actually turn up to confront the
expected avalanche of criticism.
Ms Chanetsa, a reporter with the
independent weekly The Standard, said she and her colleagues faced routine
intimidation, threats and violence for reporting the government's
"It should be stressed we need a free and fair election so
election monitors are important," she said.
"If we don't have a free
and fair election, some kind of sanctions are going to have to be imposed on
She said one type of sanction which would not harm the already
suffering Zimbabwean people would be restrictions on travel to foreign
countries by Mr Mugabe and members of his government.
elections are due to be held in Zimbabwe early next year.
Mr Nicolle said
Mr Mugabe had become a dictator and he would almost certainly lose office in
a free and fair election.
"We feel that the only way to bring these
people to book is by freezing their bank accounts. They have got millions,"
"It goes beyond him. His henchmen are there as well."
Robertson said those occupying the farms would become subsistence farmers,
having no title to the land, paying no wages and salaries to former farm
workers and exporting no produce.
He said the nation's food production
was falling and up to a million people faced starvation.
The following email has two different parts: 1) Education Policy discussion 1
October 2) MDC position on Citizenship Amendment Act
You are invited
to the Harare North - Marlborough MP's Clinic
Meet Fidelis MHASHU,
Shadow Minister of Education and discuss the MDC EDUCATION POLICY launched
MONDAY 1st OCT 6 pm Mandel Training Centre crnr
Adylinn/Marlborough Dr opposite CFU
*Meet at Mandel 1st Monday of EVERY
The MDC position on the Citizenship Amendment Act passed
earlier this year follows:
This amendment IS constitutional. It
CANNOT BE CHALLENGED in terms of the present Constitution of Zimbabwe.
However, the MDC's position is that once we come into power, all bad
legislation will be withdrawn. Furthermore, the MDC intends to allow
Zimbabweans to claim and fully enjoy any birthright or other citizenship to
which they are entitled, in the spirit of the United Nations Charter on Human
Rights and other international agreements.
Meanwhile, anyone who is also
a citizen of another country is required to RENOUNCE THAT CITIZENSHIP IN
TERMS OF THE LAWS OF THE OTHER COUNTRY BY 6 JANUARY 2002 if s/he wishes to
remain a citizen of Zimbabwe.
If you renounced your other citizenship at
the Citizenship Office here using the form provided by the Zimbabwe
government, that is no longer sufficient. To remain a Zimbabwe citizen, you
will have to go to the embassy or high commission of the other country and
renounce that citizenship by whatever process the laws of that country
require - and do this by 6 January 2002.
NB If you have NEVER CLAIMED ANY
OTHER CITIZENSHIP, ie. NEVER USED ANOTHER PASSPORT OR ENJOYED THE PRIVILEGES
CONFERRED BY HOLDING ANOTHER CITIZENSHIP, then you are NOT A CITIZEN OF ANY
OTHER COUNTRY. It is important to be aware of this, because being entitled to
another citizenship is not the same as having that citizenship.
has come to our attention that people are being told at the Passport Office
here that if either of their parents was born outside this country, they
will have to renounce the citizenship of that country. THIS IS NOT TRUE,
unless they themselves hold the citizenship in question as described
above. Our Secretary for Legal Affairs, David Coltart, recommends that
anyone in this situation who is not allowed to renew their Zimbabwe passport
seeks relief through COURT ACTION - please contact him or me if you want
further advice about this.
Please also note that in terms of the
Constitution, PERMANENT RESIDENTS of Zimbabwe who have been permanently
resident since BEFORE 31 December 1985 are ENTITLED TO REGISTER TO VOTE,
despite provisions in the Electoral Act which could be challenged. People
who have become permanent residents AFTER 1985 are not entitled to
If you are required to take any action to remain a citizen of this
country and this is your wish, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO SO AS SOON
AS POSSIBLE, otherwise you may not be able to meet the deadline of 6
JANUARY 2002. Remember the Christmas holiday period starts at the beginning
of December, so you effectively have TWO MONTHS LEFT.
Stevenson Secretary for Policy and Research, MDC
Special conditions apply to the
draw: No employees or relatives of employees from LRH and associated
advertising agencies may enter. The draw will take place after November 30th
2001. Judges decision is final.
Nightmarish price hikes put houses beyond reach of most home
By MacDonald Dzirutwe, Staff Reporter 9/27/01 6:35:06 PM (GMT
THE prospect of owning a home for millions of Zimbabweans is fading
into a distant dream, snuffed by a nightmarish rise in the cost of houses
and apartments in the past few months.
Prices have more than
doubled since January.
In Harare's upmarket suburbs of Chisipite and
Borrowdale, for instance, the surge of property prices has been between $15
million and $20 million while in the middle-density suburb of Marlborough a
four bed-roomed house will average around $8 million.
Even in the
capital city's poor high-density areas of Mabvuku and Budiriro, prospective
home seekers now need at least $1.2 million to buy a four-bedroomed
For most home seekers, the problem is compounded by the fact that
building costs have soared beyond their means, leaving them with no option
but to soldier on looking for a house or an apartment.
have shot up an average of 220 percent since January.
Zimbabwean estate agents this week said this had sparked a huge
appetite for residential properties in the high, middle and low-density
areas, creating a serious shortage of properties and pushing up
They said very few residential property owners were now willing
to put their houses on the market because of the high value attached to
"There is high inflation and therefore the cost of building
escalates," a spokesman for Fox and Carney Real Estate Agents told the
Financial Gazette. "This has created a huge demand for already built
property, thus pushing the prices up sharply."
The Association of
Building Societies of Zimbabwe (ABSZ) said the acute shortage of serviced
urban stands in most local authorities had prevented developers from offering
new housing units and this had pushed up demand for houses.
analysts said the factor that had a far reaching impact on residential
property prices this year was the fall in money market interest rates from
over 50 percent at the end of 2000 to 10-year lows of slightly above 10
percent in January.
The decline in interest rates
led to the reduction of the dividend rate on Class "C" tax free shares from
23 percent to 14 percent, which prompted most building societies to cut
mortgage lending rates, making it cheaper for some home seekers to borrow
"Following the reduction in dividend rate on Class "C" tax free
shares payable by building societies from 23 percent to 14 percent, which
was gazetted by the Ministry of Finance on 29 June 2001, most societies
have reduced their mortgage lending rates," ABSZ chairman Ben Chikwanha told
the Financial Gazette.
"Each society determines its own lending rates
and the reduction since January has varied in the range of six to seven
percent. For example, one of the largest societies dropped its lending rates
for owner-occupied property in low-density areas from 26 percent in January
to 19.85 percent in July. Any reduction in lending rates clearly increases
demand from those home seekers who could not afford the previous higher
Soft interest rates have also fuelled a huge
appetite for equities on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, where prices reached
record highs this year, and for foreign currency on the parallel market, also
leading to rapidly depreciating exchange rates.
Many investors making
profits on the stock and parallel foreign exchange markets have poured their
money into property, where they know it will maintain its value in an
environment where inflation has reached a record high of 76 percent and is
expected to close the year at around 100 percent.
"Because of low rates,
people realise that they should put their money into property," said a senior
property consultant with Harare-based Gainsborough Estate Agents.
is not attractive anymore to put your money on the money market. Investors
believe that their investment in property holds its value and it has proved
itself very well - that is why prices of houses have doubled.
and investment houses are giving their staff loans to buy houses so we have a
situation where too many people are now chasing after too
The lucrative rates on the parallel market, which
fell from around $85 against one US dollar at the beginning of the year to
about $300 now, have also attracted investment in the residential property
market from Zimbabweans living abroad who bring in hard currency to sell on
the unofficial market.
Shortage of properties
consultant said: "There are a lot of Zimbabweans living abroad who are
investing in the property market. This has also led to shortages of
properties because now there is not enough to go around."
But the estate
agents said there were also some Zimbabweans who had benefited from the civil
war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where Zimbabwe has troops
and where some local companies and individuals have gone into
These individuals were bringing back hard cash in "bags", which
they would exchange on the parallel market, enabling them to buy properties
with price tags as high as $70 million.
"We are also seeing a certain
quarter of people bringing hard currency in bags from fortunes made from the
DRC war and these have purchased a lot of the upmarket properties," a
spokesman for another Harare-based estate agent said.
"In a way, this
has created high demand for such properties and pushed up prices."
Gainsborough consultant said if interest rates firmed, investor attention
would shift back to the money market and this would help stabilise the prices
"There would be more people disposing of their properties in
order to invest on the money market where there would be higher returns," the
But interest rates are not expected to firm for a
while yet and estate agents warn that the price distortions in the
residential property market will not be eliminated until the rate of
inflation has also eased.
Until then, prices will just stabilise and not
"But who then is going to bring inflation down and make building
materials affordable and available?" asked a spokesman for Gabriel Real
The Fox and Carney spokesman added: "I think if we get
inflation down, it will help a great deal in normalising the prices of houses
but at the moment it does not seem possible."
The government has so
far refused to implement economic policies that would lead to a decline in
inflation, which is blamed for much of Zimbabwe's macroeconomic
UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice chancellor Graham
Hill yesterday threatened to shut down halls of residence at the institution
of higher learning and announced restrictions on students following
destruction of university property on Tuesday night.
chanted their way onto the campus at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, throwing stones and
other missiles at UZ buildings and security personnel whom they accused of
brutalising them during previous demonstrations.
They besieged the
central security control room and vandalised surveillance equipment, smashed
windows, ransacked staff offices and looted a dining hall before the
disturbances were stamped out by riot police, who descended on the campus
armed with rifles and teagas canisters.
Hill yesterday told students that
a repeat of Tuesday night's violent disturbances would lead to the closure of
all halls of residence at the UZ, which has been rocked by student violence
in the past few years, sometimes forcing the complete closure of the
"Just give me an excuse and I'll do it," he warned
The closure of the halls of residence would have a profound impact
on students, especially those from outside Harare, forcing them to
seek alternative and often expensive accommodation.
The UZ head also
announced the suspension of the computerisation of the university's halls of
residence because of what he termed students' irresponsibility towards UZ
Students have also been told that the institution's main
library, which normally only shuts down after midnight, will now be closed to
them at six in the evening.
UZ publicity and information secretary
Elizabeth Karonga told the Financial Gazette that the UZ administration had
not yet established the motive for the disturbances. She said inadequate
funding, which in the past has fuelled student violence, had been addressed
earlier this year when students were granted an extra $5 000 each to be
disbursed before the end of this week.
But riotous students are reported
to have been addressed on Tuesday evening by five recently suspended members
of the student executive council, at Bond Street Bottle Store outside the UZ
campus, before they went on the rampage.
They are also said to have met
opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Learnmore Jongwe. Jongwe,
a former student activist, however denied the allegations, saying: "That is
hogwash. I have no business addressing students clandestinely."
UZ students yesterday met university officials to map out strategies for
dealing with hooligans on campus and overwhelmingly supported the suspension
of those involved in Tuesday night's disturbances, which have scared off some
"Because of the security risks created by the
disturbances, expatriate staff living on campus have refused to turn up for
work today (Wednesday) until the security of their families is guaranteed,"
Commercial banks limit use of international credit cards
Reporter 9/27/01 9:03:16 PM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWEAN commercial banks have
begun cutting off external services such as the use of international credit
cards by clients as the economic crisis of biting shortages of hard currency
grips the country.
Barclays Bank, Zimba-bwe's largest commercial bank,
this week announced that it would stop the use of all international credit
cards such as VISA and Mastercard as from October 15.
The bank said
the move had been necessitated by "the continued limited availability of
foreign currency". The action was also meant to direct foreign currency to
critical areas such as medical and educational requirements, it
A teller at one of the Barclays branches in Harare said the bank
suspended the issuing of international credit cards to new clients in
Some banks, however, were this week still issuing international
credit cards but limiting the amount of money which clients could use for the
An official at the Jewel Bank, also known as the Commercial
Bank of Zimbabwe, said the group was issuing new credit cards of a maximum
value of US$1 000 annually.
Audrey Mpunzwana, the spokesman for
Standard Chartered, said her bank had not yet suspended the use of
international cards but cannot rule out the possibility of doing so in
Zimbabwean commercial banks have been barred by the government
from trading foreign currency on the local parallel market where rates,
though declining, have been at a premium for more than a year.
parallel market remains awash with foreign currency because dealers,
who cannot offload at current managed rates, are playing a wait-and-see
SPIES from the state's Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) and others from the governing ZANU PF party have
infiltrated the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) heavily to
try to dramatically weaken the party before next year's crucial presidential
poll, it was learnt this week.
CIO and ZANU PF machinations have thrown
into disarray the MDC's restructuring exercise that was meant to bolster its
provincial offices and boost party leader Morgan Tsvangirai's chances of
snatching the poll, the sources said, but senior opposition party officials
this week insisted that their election campaign was on target.
MDC polls to inject new blood in key provinces such as Harare and Manicaland
have been torn by strife, with new camps aligned to some of the party's
leaders emerging, much to the delight of ZANU PF's war machine.
Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary-general, said this week his
party was aware of the CIO infiltration but was confident that ZANU PF's
covert operations would fail to derail the campaign to get Tsvangirai elected
into the State House in polls which must be held by March next
"We are aware that the CIO's fulltime job now is to destroy the MDC
and we have the inside information of all their machinations," Ncube told
the Financial Gazette.
He added: "Believe me, they will not succeed
because the MDC is a people's party. The party is as strong as ever and, like
any other party, you will have internal differences, which is
Government media in the past few weeks has been trumpeting the
cracks within Zimbabwe's strongest opposition party that were recently
dramatised by the chaotic and violent provincial elections in
The Harare polls were abandoned two
weeks ago after some party youths stormed the meeting and assaulted
officials. The youths refused to allow the party's interim executive to be
The Herald this week said it had a letter written by three MDC
legislators to Tsvangirai accusing its Member of Parliament for Hatfield
Tapiwa Mashakada of having formed an underground youth movement that was
creating havoc within the party.
Ncube said the state media "had made
a mountain" out of the letter and he was surprised that the letter had found
itself in the newspaper's pages before it had even reached its intended
Celebrated Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove
warned the MDC that ZANU PF had used the same infiltration tactics to great
success when serious political parties such as Edgar Tekere's Zimbabwe Unity
Movement were formed in the late 1980s.
"The mistake that our society
makes is to over-relax and be off guard and also not to realise that an
institution such as a political party is a serious matter. Our politicians
enjoy the glory and forget their duty and commitment to the electorate," Hove
Hove said ZANU PF had since 1980 perfected
tactics to weaken serious opposition parties and the labour movement towards
crucial elections. He urged the MDC to be extra-vigilant in its preparations
for the 2002 presidential poll.
Brian Raftopoulos, a lecturer in
development studies at the University of Zimbabwe, said while it was clear
that the MDC might have been infiltrated by the CIO, the damage to its
structures was still very minimal.
"The effect of the infiltration on
next year's poll depends on how effectively the MDC manages to contain it but
it can get out of hand," he cautioned.
He said it had always been the
pattern in Zimbabwe after independence in 1980 that the governing party would
infiltrate newly formed parties to weaken them before they got
"When you are young and you are trying to establish
structures, infiltration is something you have to live with and learn how to
deal with. The MDC has managed to contain it and I think the government media
is blowing the whole issue out of proportion," he said.
On the issue of polarisation between former trade union leaders
and academics within the MDC, Raftopoulos said while there was obvious
tension between the two camps, it was not that severe to undermine the
coalition of the different groups that form the party.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has quietly tightened his
grip on Zimbabwe as world attention focuses on the United States, and
political analysts say pressure on him to honour a pledge to end land
seizures has eased.
In the last two weeks, the veteran leader has stepped
up an onslaught against opponents and has barely implemented a
Nigerian-brokered deal on Zimbabwe's land crisis, they said.
government insists the deal is alive and dismisses sceptics as "false
prophets of doom and gloom and economic terrorists" bent on sabotaging
Harare-based diplomats say that while it is too early
to write off the agreement reached in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on
September 6, the signs are not encouraging.
"The movement on the
ground does not inspire confidence. You get the impression that the Zimbabwe
government wants the relief (from international pressure) that this agreement
has brought but we are not seeing any enthusiasm beyond interpreting what the
agreement means," one African diplomat said.
"We get the impression
that without continuous pressure from the international community, this
agreement might collapse and . . . the Zimbabwean authorities have been
taking some comfort that since September 11, world attention has been on the
US," he added.
Ending a two-day summit on Zimbabwe's land crisis on the
same day the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington
were hit by suicide attacks, six leaders of the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) gave Mugabe one month to show progress on restoring the rule
Mugabe endorsed the Nigerian plan to end government farm seizures
in exchange for funds from former colonial master Britain to implement a
fair land reform plan.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo went on
state television for about an hour on Tuesday night to assert the
government's commitment to the Abuja agreement, saying there was no reason to
doubt the good faith of all parties.
"We are already implementing the
agree-ment . . ." he said.
The mainly white Commercial Farmers' Union
(CFU), which represents 4 500 members, says the Abuja agreement "can be made
to work as it contains the principles of justice".
Mugabe, 77, has
suggested that some CFU officials are trying to sabotage Zimbabwe's image by
continuing to feed false stories about violence and lawlessness.
white farmers have been killed and scores of black farm workers assaulted
during the invasion of hundreds of white farms in the past 19 months by
militant supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party. They are led by
self-styled veterans of the 1970s independence war against white
minority rule in the ex-Rhodesia.
But since the Abuja accord and the
SADC summit, critics say Mugabe has piled even more pressure on his
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
also welcomed the Abuja deal. But it says dozens of its supporters have been
driven out of their homes in the countryside in a campaign of intimidation
ahead of presidential elections due by next April.
"If this was a
soccer match, we could easily say that Mugabe is scoring some irregular goals
and getting away with some crippling tackles," said Brian Raftopoulos, an
associate professor at the Zimbabwe Institute of
White farmers say violence has continued on their
properties since Abuja but the government says any fresh trouble has been
engineered by farmers to discredit it.
Political analysts say that
even if Mugabe wanted to evict thousands of his militants from white farms,
his task would not be easy. He needs their services to help secure victory in
a presidential poll likely to be fought around the economy.
is in its third year of recession and grappling with a fuel shortage, a hard
currency crisis and looming food shortages which could spark social
The privately owned Daily News, which Harare accuses of
being pro-opposition, said Mugabe had accepted the Abuja agreement to
deflect international sanctions, but had no intention of implementing
In a recent report, the International Crisis Group, a think-tank
in Brussels, said Mugabe and his ZANU PF elite should face targeted
personal sanctions if he did not allow the elections to be free and fair. -
ABOUT 40 more farm invaders, suspected to
be Zanu PF supporters, on Monday forced their way onto Treadour Farm, about
28km outside Harare, and destroyed property worth thousands of dollars before
they started erecting their own temporary structures.
This brings to
about 100 the number of invaders illegally occupying the farm which belongs
to Gordon Christie, a businessman.
Christie is the managing director of
Tauya Coach Services and Freight (Pvt) Ltd. Earlier in the month, more
than 40 invaders, wielding axes and brandishing pistols, pegged the farm and
gave Christie and 500 of his workers 30 days to leave or face unspecified
action. Christie said the invaders have hired people to erect the structures
at $600 each.
Christie said: “Sixty more people who claimed to be war
veterans forced their way on to my farm on Monday. The broke down the gate
and padlocks and pulled down part of the fence before they made their way in.
Although I have not established what the cost of the damage is, I believe it
runs into several thousands of dollars.”
His farm manager went to the
farm to find out if some of their animals had not escaped. Christie
insisted his farm had not been listed for resettlement. A housing project
worth at least $64 million which was to benefit at least 160 families has
been jeopardised because of the invasion, he said. Draughtsmen had completed
the planning stage of the four-roomed houses which cost about $400 000 each,
He said the invaders had ordered all farming activities to
be stopped. “I may have to lay off a number of my workers since they will not
be productive on the farm,” he said. Last year, six of Christie’s coaches
were extensively damaged in suspected acts of arson because they carried MDC
THE National Constitu-tional
Assembly (NCA) was last night expected to file an urgent application with the
High Court barring the government from interfering with the public launch
tomorrow of its draft constitution on Zimbabwe.
Rose Gomo of
Harare law firm Atherstone and Cook was last night preparing court papers for
the application, which is likely to be heard this afternoon.
application cites the Minister of Home Affairs, John Nkomo, as the
first respondent, the Commissioner of Police, Augustine Chihuri, as the
second respondent and the police officers commanding Harare and Bulawayo
districts as third and fourth respondents respectively.
Lovemore Madhuku said the decision to file an application was taken after he
was summoned to Harare central police station on Tuesday, where he was told
that police had been ordered to stop the "illegal" public meetings planned by
the organisation in Harare and Bulawayo tomo-rrow.
Madhuku said he met
the officer commanding Harare central, Chief Superinte-ndent Kudzi
Mandi-mutsa, who told him that police had been instructed to disrupt the
"The public rally does not compromise public order or security
and the action by the police is unlawful," he said.
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said there were security concerns related to plans
by NCA members to march in the Harare city centre tomorrow.
to march from Rotten Row into the city centre and that is what we did not
agree with," he told the Financial Gazette. "There are many reasons for that
(concern), including security-related ones."
The NCA has been drafting a
new constitution for Zimbabwe since March and the final draft is due to be
submitted tomorrow for two months of public debate. Copies will be
distributed at public rallies that will be held throughout the
Madhuku said the public meetings would go ahead despite the
threat of disruption by the police.
"The court order is not a
prerequisite for the public rallies. The rallies are going ahead whether or
not we get any order. We do not need any court order to have these rallies,"
"The order is merely to stop the police from behaving
unlawfully and, if they ignore the order, we can sue them for civil
FRESH allegations of rampant corruption and improper
conduct have surfaced at struggling state airline Air Zimbabwe where
globe-trotting board members and top executives are being accused of elbowing
out confirmed passengers and issuing free tickets to friends.
the accused senior executives confirmed to the Financial Gazette this week
that at least one flight to London was forced to leave behind 32 paying and
confirmed passengers to accommodate board members and senior
Other sources said paying passengers had been left behind on
several occasions to make room for board members, senior managers and their
spouses and children.
The executives are also alleged to have
fraudulently earned thousands of dollars after illegally converting their
hard currency allowances for travelling outside the country on the local
According to official documents shown to this newspaper,
the airline's officials are paid allowances in convertible currencies such as
United States dollars and British pounds when travelling to foreign
Board chairman Patrick Chingoka yesterday vehemently
dismissed charges that his board had allowed rampant misconduct at the
airline, saying it had actually done a lot of work to turn around the
"This time last year the airline was operating on an
overdraft and was running at a loss, but in the past six months we have
achieved positive results so much so that we are not operating on an
overdraft. We are able to service all our requirements in local and foreign
currency," Chingoka said.
But inside sources said Chingoka himself was
one of the culprits implicated in the abuse of facilities and had travelled
in the last 11 months to Britain, South Africa, Italy and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC), sometimes just to tour Air Zimbabwe
According to documents shown to this newspaper, Chingoka was
paid a total 1 574.50 British pounds as allowances when he travelled to
Britain and Italy in December last year and May this year. For the trip to
the DRC last month, he received an allowance of US$570.
he had travelled to Air Zimbabwe's offices abroad to get first-hand
information on how they were operating and the problems they were facing and
had filed reports on the trips to his board.
"All these visits have
yielded positive results for the airline," Chingoka said, adding: "How I am
supposed to chair an airline when I do not have first-and information of what
is going on in the area under my jurisdiction?"
According to the
sources, eight passengers were left behind by the airline on its Harare to
London flight of August 27, allegedly to make room for its general manager
for marketing, Denis Maravanyika, who was travelling with seven members of
his family on free tickets.
Maravanyika had also last month sanctioned
free tickets from London to Zimbabwe to five officials of a London travelling
Maravanyika, who together with his wife and children is entitled
to free air tickets under his contract of employment with Air Zimbabwe,
strenuously denied that paying passengers had to be left behind to
accommodate his family.
"I did not at all cause anyone to be left
behind. When I got to the airport, I proceeded to buy departure stamps only
after checking with the manager on duty that day," he
Maravanyika, who said he only learnt when he got to London that
some passengers had been left behind in Harare, said there were people out
to tarnish his image by choosing to only highlight his August trip to
London while ignoring trips by other airline officials that resulted in
passengers being left behind.
"Why are they not talking, for example,
about flight UM724 when a number of board members travelled to London and 32
passengers were left behind?" he said.
Maravanyika said Air Zimbabwe
was participating in national efforts to resuscitate the tourism sector and
these included the issuing of tickets to travel agents and holiday
consultants, especially from important markets such as London, for them to
see for themselves the improved situation in the country.
said the airline's position was that passengers came first and
that Maravanyika's case was being looked into and that if there was
any misconduct action would be taken.
According to other sources, Air
Zimbabwe is losing money and its reputation has been tainted because
confirmed passengers find themselves without seats due to the huge number of
the airline's executives and workers who are constantly
"The airline is operating virtually without its top
executives as they are always travelling to attend conferences and
conventions. You would think they are also pilots with the way they fly," one
Some workers at the airline who are entitled to free tickets
or heavily discounted ones - reduced by as much as 75 percent of the cost -
were also taking the joy rides on Air Zimbabwe flights, especially on the
popular Harare-London destination.
The airline sometimes leaves Harare
with as many as 30 members of staff on board, including even former workers,
the sources said.
Other sources however said the situation had recently
normalised, with planes to London now expected to carry a maximum of 10
workers a flight.
IF the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting (Chogm) in Brisbane next week fails to grill President Mugabe on his
government’s persecution of the independent Press, then we can discount the
Commonwealth as an ally in the fight against intolerance.
critics might say “persecution” is a rather wrong word to use in
the government’s relentless campaign to cow the independent Press. Many
others, on the other hand, feel that when an entire printing press is
destroyed, when reporters are routinely beaten up and newspaper editors
almost daily vilified as agents of either the British Empire, The Great Satan
or The Imperialist Devil, “persecution” is probably a very mild description
of that unholy campaign. Moreover, when the threat of a defamation suit
hangs over the papers like the Sword of Damocles every time they plan to
publish a story justifiably uncomplimentary of the President, his senior and
junior ministers, their freedom to provide readers with balanced stories of
genuine public interest is circumscribed. In any case, a government which
refuses to remove from the statute books a law as obnoxiously anti-democratic
as the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act has no business belonging to a
respectable group such as the Commonwealth. Loma, to use its notoriously
sinister acronym, was originally designed to snuff out all dissension in the
country, then ruled by white supremacists who did not believe sharing power
with black people was God’s wish. The black supremacist government now in
power has an equally odious design, using the same law to guillotine all
dissent. It wants a one-party, one-leader, one-ideology and one-newspaper
country. The leader would be an emperor or the equivalent thereof. There
is much evidence that this grand design will fail. Since 2000, the ordinary
people have gloried in their power to cock a snook at the men and women who
meet in pompous assemblage in Shake Shake building in Harare to massage the
giant-size ego of this one man, with praise songs and speeches bubbling with
the treacle of sycophancy. The independent Press, against all odds, has
continued to play its avowed role as a disseminator of all information in the
genuine public interest. Attempts to gag the newspapers with massive lawsuits
and the personal vilification of editors have not succeeded in frightening
even the most junior reporters to ease their pressure on the accelerator
pedal of a free and unfettered dialogue with the people. In Brisbane next
week, his colleagues in the Commonwealth should ask Mugabe why he would
describe his party’s system of government as a democracy when it is his clear
desire to have the media singing praises to him and his
aged leadership. They should ask him about details of his government’s
sinister Freedom of Information Bill, about which he and his Minister of
State for Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo, remain darkly reticent.
There are not many journalists in Zimbabwe who know these details. Yet they
are the targets, to be generous, the stakeholders. The contempt with which
Moyo regards all journalists not working for him at Zimpapers and ZBC is
incredible. He seems to regard them as morons, ignoramuses, sell-outs and
spies of the American CIA, Britain’s MI6 and whatever spy network Tony Leon
is alleged to run in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Moyo’s intolerance of the
independent media and his publicly-expressed contempt for them has set many
wondering why he is almost on a personal crusade to crucify the
editors. But Moyo is only a megaphone. His master’s voice is not different
from his. In fact, since independence Mugabe has made no attempt to disguise
his contempt for an independent Press. He did not hesitate to order
the dismissal of any Zimpapers editors whose performance he perceived to
be independent of his own Marxist-Leninist concept of a one-party,
one-leader and one-newspaper system of government. Before Henry Muradzikwa
was dismissed as Editor of The Sunday Mail, Mugabe expressed in very strong
language how he felt about such an editor. Some of us were completely
flummoxed when Muradzikwa turned up later as the Editor-in-Chief of the
government-owned Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency (Ziana). What had
happened? Had Mugabe encountered a revelation of Damascus proportions to
change his mind so drastically? There was equal consternation when earlier he
and his politburo decided that Willie Musarurwa, whose ouster as Editor of
The Sunday Mail before Muradzikwa, he must have applauded as heartily as any
die-hard Zanu PF zealot did (Musarurwa was PF-Zapu), be made a national
hero. His speech at the burial, to which I personally listened in
open-mouthed amazement, was unbelievably . . . sweet. There is no great
mystery to the antipathy between the government and a truly free Press in
Zimbabwe. Up to now, Zanu PF has not accepted that it is the people who must
decide who will rule them and how they will be ruled. As far as Zanu PF is
concerned, these matters are too complicated for the people to understand and
they must wait until they have been thoroughly educated in the intricacies of
governance by Zanu PF. The independent newspapers, going their own merry way,
have decided, nevertheless, to educate the people on the dynamics of
governance. During both the constitutional referendum and the parliamentary
election campaigns in 2000, many voters depended almost entirely on the
independent newspapers for their grasp of the issues. Other organisations,
including the National Constitutional Assembly, ZimRights and the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace, did play crucial roles in both campaigns.
But all of them delivered their messages to the people through the
independent newspapers, which added their own editorial voices to
the debate. In both the referendum and the election campaign, the control
freaks in Zanu PF realised they could not control everything. For a while, in
the aftermath of their humiliation, they resorted to violence, beating up
people at random in all the urban centres they had lost. The presidents
and prime ministers at Chogm should ask Mugabe: why were innocent,
law-abiding citizens, including opposition Members of Parliament, beaten up?
How many of their assailants have been arrested and brought to book? They
should grill him until he is forced to admit that, violence will always be
Zanu PF’s strategy in everything, whether it is land reform,
student demonstrations, industrial action by workers or an election
campaign. If, after all that, the heads of government do not decide to
suspend Zimbabwe or, at the very least, censure Mugabe publicly, then
the independent media will know they have to include the Commonwealth
among their implacable enemies along with the Mugabe regime. email@example.com
ZIMBABWE'S militant war veterans
plan to raise about $200 million from foreign donors to get President Robert
Mugabe re-elected despite a government ban on the use of foreign cash in
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
Association (ZNLWVA) said this week it plans to raise $200 million from
foreign donors from the end of this year to campaign for next year's landmark
ZNLWVA secretary-general Andy Mhlanga said his
association, which has 10 chapters around Zimbabwe, had already met to decide
on the funds it needs from foreign donors.
"We need $20 million for
each of the 10 provinces for the presidential campaign, which we have already
started working on," Mhlanga told the Financial Gazette.
He said his
organisation was seeking money from outside the country because the ruling
ZANU PF party could not provide all the financial resources needed to
campaign for the election, which will pit Mugabe against opposition Move-ment
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The ruling party is
understood to have budgeted at least $150 million to fund Mugabe's
Mhlanga said the countries the war veterans would
approach for funds include the ruling party's long-time allies such as Libya
as well as regional neighbours Mozambique, Zambia, Angola and South
Libya is understood to have already pledged to give US$1 million
- $55 million if using the government's present managed exchange rate or
$300 million if using the parallel market rate - towards Mugabe's
"As you are aware, we have agreed with other countries to form
a regional association for liberation war veterans and these are some of the
countries that we would also approach for the money," the war veterans leader
He said because the ZNLWVA was a welfare organisation, it was not
bound by government regulations banning foreign funding for political
parties, widely believed to be aimed at cutting off funding to the
Mhlanga said when ZANU PF officially launches its campaign at the
end of the year, the party will provide vehicles and $15 million to the war
veterans, who were allocated $20 million in the run-up to the 2000
"ZANU PF will assist with mobility because the
cost of the whole campaign is unbearable, which is why we are looking beyond
our borders for the money," said Mhlanga, whose group has become a crucial
part of the ruling party's election strategy.
The war veterans last
year helped ZANU PF to garner a narrow victory in the parliamentary polls by
unleashing violence and terror against mostly rural voters and opposition
More than 35 people, most of them MDC members, died in the
run-up to the ballot.
Political analysts yesterday said if the ZNLWVA
went ahead with its plans to raise foreign funds for ZANU PF, it would be
breaching the law and should be de-registered for going beyond its mandate as
a welfare organisation.
Lovemore Madhuku, an expert in constitutional law
and the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, said the war
veterans' initiative amounted to indirect funding of the ruling
"That amounts to an indirect way of financing a political party.
The ZNLWVA should be de-registered because they would have undermined their
status of being a welfare organisation."
MDC's information chief
Learnmore Jongwe said his party was aware of ZANU PF's attempts to use the
veterans to raise money on its behalf and thus evade the penalties of 1992's
Political Parties (Finance) Act, amended by the government earlier this year
to ban foreign funding of Zimbabwean political organisations.
want to evade the Political Parties (Finance) Act," he said. "Because of this
fact, it would be a breach of the law to fund raise on behalf of the ruling
"This section of the war veterans being used is the hooligan
element within the ZANU PF membership. The police should investigate the
Brian Raftopolous, a political commentator, added: "I think it's
typical double standards by ZANU PF who are desperate to bolster their
campaign during next year's election.
"They have introduced such
amendments and yet they themselves have been sourcing money from outside the
country. Such an amount of money will definitely affect the campaign because
it gives them more capacity for bribery."
Computer expert warns companies to tighten information security
8:02:45 AM (GMT +2)
Raymond Mgadzah Senior Business
AN information security expert has warned that many businesses
are “wide open” to breaches of their information technology (IT) systems,
and violation of the integrity and confidentiality of information held on
their computer networks.
The expert, Dr John Sheppard said: “There are
some organisations in this country that are wide open. There is room for a
lot of improvement in their IT security. IT security is not a state that you
achieve. It’s something that you work on all the time because there are
always new issues coming up.”
In a recent IT security breach the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s website was hacked into and a link which was
supposed to lead to the Central African Building Society website was replaced
by one leading to a site containing pornography.
Sheppard said often
even the most basic information security measures were not being carried out
effectively. He said: “The general standard of computer passwords in this
country is pretty poor.”
Sheppard warned that electronic mail (e-mail)
could be more easily tapped than phone calls or letters and that anyone who
sends information through the Internet should be aware of the
Internet Service Provider Zimbabwe Online’s managing director,
David Behr, said: “Most people think e-mail is safe and they take huge risks
with the information they transmit. The truth is that, while e-mail is a
fast, efficient system for sharing data, you have to take some precautions.
This is especially true in business communication.”
As a first step
Sheppard urged computer users to ensure the physical security of
Zanu PF supporters invade gold mines in the
9/26/01 7:58:13 AM (GMT +2)
From Zerubabel Mudzingwa
Thousands of Zanu PF supporters from Kwekwe and Kadoma have
invaded three gold mines in the Midlands province in the last few days,
allegedly stealing gold concentrate worth millions of dollars.
invasions are allegedly being co-ordinated from the Zanu PF offices in Kwekwe
where only party card holders are given clearance letters to pan for gold on
targeted mines. The latest victims are Duzi Mine in Kwekwe, Globe and Phoenix
Mine, owned by Kwekwe Consolidated Mines, and Rio Tinto Mine in
Kadoma. Officials at the three mines yesterday declined to comment for fear
of reprisals, referring all questions to the police.
A retired senior
army of ficer has been named as the brains behind the mine invasions which
come a few days after the Nigerian-brokered Abuja agreement which bars
lawlessness and invasions of property. The same retired army officer led the
Zanu PF election campaign team in the Midlands province last year.
ruling party candidates lost heavily to the opposition MDC. It could not be
established yesterday whether it was a deliberate party policy to invade the
mines. Isaac Mugwagwa, the Zanu PF acting provincial chairman, could not be
reached for comment. MDC officials yesterday described the mine invasions as
economic sabotage by Zanu PF. “They have realised that their support base is
waning and they have recruited thugs and gold panners to disrupt production
on mines in the hope that they will add their numbers in next year’s
Presidential election,” said Blessing Chebundo, the MDC MP for
Last Friday, five senior Zanu PF officials from Kwekwe appeared
in court on charges of armed robbery following a raid at Duzi Mine by a group
of about 60 Zanu PF supporters. The group, which arrived at the mine
aboard three hired trucks, assaulted the mine workers and looted grocery
goods and gold concentrate worth $145 000.
According to the police,
the group later gathered at the Zanu PF offices after the raid. Their
leaders, David Mutimwi, 46, Fidelis Bhebhe, 29, Stella Jere, 47, Chrispen
Nhidza, 39, and Matthias Madovi, 43, were denied bail by Gweru magistrate
David Johnston-Butcher and remanded in custody to 5 October.
ago, hundreds of suspected Zanu PF supporters stormed Kwekwe Consolidated
Gold Mines and Rio Tinto Mine in Kadoma, where they allegedly looted several
tonnes of gold alluvial, before they were dispersed by the police. Over
the weekend, armed police officers at Globe and Phoenix Mine allegedly fled
after more than 4 000 Zanu PF supporters besieged the mine again and got away
with millions of dollars worth of gold concentrate. No suspects have been
arrested in the latest incident