Tough media law here to stay, vows minister Fri 2 September
HARARE - Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa on
Thursday said the government will not repeal tough Press laws and was
considering appealing against the acquittal of a journalist on a charge of
working without being registered as required under the law.
Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
journalists and newspapers must register with the government's Media and
Information Commission to operate in Zimbabwe. Journalists face up to two
years in jail for working without being registered while newspapers face
closure and seizure of their equipment by the state for the same
Speaking to ZimOnline after the acquittal of Kelvin
Jakachira, a journalist with the banned Daily News newspaper who was facing
charges of working for the paper without being registered, Chinamasa said
there would be no "going back" on the media registration laws.
"There is no going back on AIPPA. It will be there for as long as we see it
necessary, especially now when we have so many external forces at play," he
President Robert Mugabe and his government
justify clamping down on the media saying it was necessary to counter what
they say is a campaign of misinformation and hostile propaganda by Britain
and its Western allies out to demonise the Harare
Zimbabwe, which also has laws imposing jail
sentences on journalists for criticising or ridiculing Mugabe, is rated by
world press rights watchdog, the Committee to Protect journalists, as one of
three worst places for journalists in the world. The other two are the
former Soviet republic, Uzbekistan and the Islamic republic of
Chinamasa said despite the government losing nearly all the
cases brought against journalists under AIPPA, it would not repeal the law
adding his department was reviewing Jakachira's acquittal by a magistrate's
court with a view to appealing to the High Court.
"There are several cases in which a lower court has acquitted some people
and that ruling has been reversed by a higher court . . . we are still
looking at the ruling to see if there are chances of winning in the High
Court. According to my officers, the magistrate might have misdirected
Apart from Jakachira, about 45 other journalists who
worked for the Daily News and its stable mate Daily News on Sunday before
both papers were banned face charges of violating the registration
Eight of the journalists appear in court for trial on 12
October 2005 but could be acquitted given the precedent set in the Jakachira
The journalists applied for registration but the media
commission never responded to the applications which according to chairman
of the state media body, Tafataona Mahoso, it had rejected because the
newspapers that the journalists worked for were not registered.
Under AIPPA a journalist must be working for registered newspapers for them
to be accredited by the commission.
But the magistrate's court
ruled that Mahoso should have informed Jakachira that his application had
been rejected instead of throwing it away and keeping quiet. The court said
Jakachira therefore acted lawfully by continuing to work while awaiting the
outcome of his application. - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe elections body rules out mayoral polls in
Harare Fri 2 September 2005
HARARE -- The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) says Harare residents can only elect a mayor and
councillors of their choice after four years when the term of a
state-appointed commission running the opposition-supporting capital cannot
The commission was appointed in September last year
after opposition Movement for Democratic Change councilors resigned in
protest against what they said was interference by the government in the
running of the politically crucial capital. Its term has
But Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo extended the
commission's term and has ruled out municipal elections in the city saying
he wants to improve its administration first before a new council can take
In papers filed on Thursday in response to a High Court
application by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) demanding
the ZEC to hold elections in the capital, commission chairman George
Chiweshe wrote: "It is within the powers of the ZEC to postpone elections
for the office of Mayor for a period not exceeding (3) three months at any
"This (the commission) can do until the fourth year, from
the time the Mayor (and council) was elected, when it becomes obligatory to
hold elections and no further postponements are then allowed."
Harare residents accuse the government of stalling on elections in the
capital for fear it could lose the polls to the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party which has consistently won all elections in all
major urban centres since its formation six years ago.
Harare Commission was a back-door means by President Robert Mugabe and his
government to retain control of the capital city, residents say.
The ZEC created by the government is empowered to run elections in Zimbabwe
but critics say the body lacks independence because it was virtually
handpicked by Mugabe and the majority of its members are well-known
supporters of the ruling ZANU PF party.
For example, Chiweshe
himself is a former senior army officer and was appointed to the High Court
after Mugabe purged the bench of independent judges.
In the run
up to the disputed March election, Chiweshe headed the Delimitation
Commission that redrew the country's voting constituencies, abolishing
constituencies from MDC-dominated areas and awarding them to rural areas
where ZANU PF enjoys more support. - ZimOnline.
'breaking vow on Mugabe refugees' By Daniel
THE Home Office was accused yesterday of
trying to deport Zimbabwean asylum-seekers.Human rights groups said that
immigration staff tried to deport three women this week.
Refugee groups protested that Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, agreed to
suspend removals until a court decided if it is safe to send failed
asylum-seekers back to Zimbabwe. All three women admitted arriving in
Britain on fake passports bought in Malawi. They each carried documents to
prove that they were from Zimbabwe and said that it was impossible for
opponents of President Mugabe's regime to get exit visas on their own
passports to seek sanctuary abroad.
After living here
for months, the women were told by immigration officials this week that as
they came from Malawi they should seek asylum there, even though Zimbabwe's
opposition groups have said that Mr Mugabe's secret police operate in
neighbouring countries hunting for those who fled
One of the women, who gave her name as Bula,
24, said that she was taken to Heathrow and avoided being deported only by
creating a violent scene as security guards tried to force her on the
aircraft. She fled from Harare last November after being allegedly abducted
and tortured by the police. They questioned her about her husband and
brothers, who are all involved in the Movement for Democratic Change
opposition party, she said. Her husband and son are
Bula handed her Zimbabwe passport to the Home Office
to prove her identity. Immigration staff at Tinsley House, near Gatwick,
where she is being held, have said that they will try to deport her again in
the next few days. The other two women, who are twins, were given a short
reprieve when a lawyer intervened. Refugee groups were not told of the
attempted deportations. Noble Sikanda, of the United Network of Detained
Zimbabweans, said: "Although Mr Clarke said he would not send anyone back to
Zimbabwe, this is doing just that by the back door."
night the Home Office insisted that it reserved the right to deport failed
asylum-seekers to third countries willing to accept them, but said that it
Harare's water levels drop further, rotational cuts
Municipal Reporter HARARE'S water levels have dropped amid
fears that the situation might deteriorate further and throw into disarray
the city's 24-hour rotational water cuts.
The decline has prompted
the city council and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to
announce a 30-day water rotation timetable, beginning today, that will see
supplies being cut at 7am and reconnected at 7am the following
Only 573 megalitres of water were yesterday pumped into the city's
reservoirs against a demand of 740 megalitres.
Harare usually faces
similar problems in October each year but this year the problem has started
Harare has announced that it is implementing rotational
water cuts following pump faults at Morton Jaffray Water Treatment
In a joint statement, Harare City Council and Zinwa said water
demand management involves cutting water supplies for 24 hours on alternate
days for the southern and northern suburbs.
Although the programme
officially starts today, Harare residents have been experiencing water
problems for the past two weeks.
Today water supplies are expected to be
cut in the northern suburbs of Mabelreign, Marlborough, Belvedere, Milton
Park, Avondale, Mt Pleasant, Highlands, Borrowdale and
Tomorrow supplies will be cut off in Hatfield, Waterfalls,
Queensdale, Cranborne, Eastlea, Hillside, Braeside, Greendale, Arcadia,
Chikurubi, Mandara, Glen Lorne, Chisipite and The Grange.
cuts will alternate on a daily basis between these areas.
water cuts allows the city to divert water to the dry eastern reservoirs to
spread the burden and give these areas water for at least some hours each
The city will reduce water pressure to Highfield, Sunningdale,
Dzivaresekwa, Kuwadzana, Warren Park and Chitungwiza.
officials say the water problems are due to pump failures at Morton Jaffray,
increased consumption because of the onset of the hot season, burst pipes,
unauthorised use of hosepipes and power surges at Morton Jaffray and
inadequate supply of water treatment chemicals like activated carbon were
causing the shortage, according to sources. Owing to the limited supply of
chemicals, a reduced amount of water was being treated.
September 1, 2005 Posted to the web September 1,
Zhean Gwaze Harare
HIGH Court judge Justice Simpson
Mutambanengwe yesterday barred Justice Benjamin Paradza, on trial for
attempting to defeat the course of justice, from giving evidence on the
harassment he alleges judges are subjected to by the
Paradza was explaining his conduct in the high-profile trial
in which he is alleged to have corruptly tried to influence Justice Maphios
Cheda and Justice George Chiweshe to release a passport belonging to his
safari hunting venture business partner, Russell Labuschagne. The suspended
High Court judge had been asked by prosecutor Lawrence Phiri to elaborate,
after he said in his defence outline that he viewed himself as a
non-compliant judge to the government. Paradza argued that "if the court
says I should elaborate then I am ready. My concern is I am a judge and I
have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of my colleagues. I have a
number of cases but I cannot list them because the press is here. If the
court says do it, I can, but it can embarrass my colleagues and the
judiciary as a whole." However, Justice Mutambanengwe said: "His (Paradza's)
confirmation that there are such cases is enough for the purposes of this
trial." Justices Lawrence Kamocha, George Chiweshe and Nicholas Ndou have
already testified in the matter, an unprecedented test of Zimbabwe's
judicial independence. The state and defence yesterday closed their
submissions in the trial, which began last month. Allegations against
Justice Paradza, appointed to the bench in 2001, are that in 2003, he
requested Justice Cheda to grant him a favour by releasing Labuschagne's
passport, which was being held by the Registrar of the High Court as part of
his bail conditions. Labuschagne was, at the time, facing a murder charge
and his passport was being held at the Bulawayo High Court. Later, Justice
Cheda called Justice Paradza to elaborate on the favour he had asked for,
while in the presence of police officers, resulting in the conversation
being re-corded. On the second count, it is alleged that Justice Paradza
telephoned Justice Chiweshe on his mobile phone and told him that
Labuschagne's application for the release of his passport would be placed
before him on that day. Justice Paradza allegedly requested Justice Chiweshe
to do him a favour by ordering the release of Labuschagne's passport to
allow him to travel out of the country to scout for customers for their
joint safari business. Justice Paradza has pleaded not guilty.
TELKOM has pulled the plug on Zimbabwe's telecoms utility
Tel*One for failing to honour an $18m debt, throwing that country's
telecommunications into chaos.
The development is being seen as
further evidence of Zimbabwe's foreign currency woes and the breakdown of
services under President Robert Mugabe's increasingly hardline
Zimbabwe is on the verge of being booted out of the
International Monetary Fund for nonpayment of debts.
action follows a similar situation faced by another South African
parastatal, Eskom, which almost cut off electricity to Zimbabwe when it
struggled to pay off a R100m debt. That debt has since been
Tel*One incurred the Telkom debt after the South African
utility helped to upgrade Zimbabwe's fixed network between SA's border town
of Musina and Harare a few years ago.
SA provided Zimbabwe with
the latest terrestrial technology - synchronous digital hierarchy - which
uses microwave to make the system efficient.
The arrangement was that
Tel*One, which was a net receiver of revenue from Telkom, would pay for the
upgrade of its network by deducting its dues from the money going to
However, traffic from SA to Zimbabwe has dramatically
dwindled, leaving Tel*One in a deficit with Telkom.
investigating the change in the traffic patterns because it suspects SA is
now using alternative routes - such as voice internet protocols - to avoid
paying its dues.
Sources said Telkom's decision had thrown Zimbabwe's
telephone network into chaos.
While South African callers can still
dial directly to Harare, calls from that country to South Africa are now
having to be re-routed to Canada, through a company called
The rerouting explained the poor quality of calls between
Zimbabwe and SA, the sources said.
Phoning through Canada affects the
quality of the calls because it lengthens the distance of satellite feeds
and sometimes goes through voice over internet protocol, which lowers voice
quality. Tel*One public relations manager Phil Chingwaru confirmed Telkom
had disconnected Zimbabwe for nonpayment. "Currently, the company has had
its connectivity to and through SA terminated as it has not honoured its
debt to Telkom SA," he said.
Telkom spokeswoman Lulu Letlape declined
to comment, except to say the parastatal did not discuss its clients with
"Zimbabwe's account (or that of any other customers)
with Telkom is a private matter," she said.
Chingwaru said: "Efforts
are being made to honour the debt as we seek more partnerships with
agricultural producers who are involved on exports." He said Tel*One had
ventured into agriculture to raise foreign currency.
Like most Zimbabwean
companies, especially parastatals, Tel*One is reeling from the shortages of
foreign currency, equipment and spares. This has greatly reduced its
viability and resulted in a deterioration of service locally and
Zimbabwe's calls to the UK have also been
restricted because Tel*One owes British Telecom $14m. The amount totals $28m
if administrative charges are also taken into account.
The UK now
allows only a limited number of calls to avoid Tel*One's debt accumulating.
Its reasoning is that, if it allows more Zimbabwean calls to the UK, the
Zimbabwean firm has to pay British Telecom for termination (delivering of
calls to the receiver).
Traffic of calls to SA and the UK has grown
significantly after many Zimbabweans fled the country's economic hardships
to work in these countries.
Zimbabwe was also recently restricted by
The Zimbabwean system's technical hitches have become a
nightmare for companies and individuals who want efficient and reliable
Making calls in Zimbabwe has become a test of endurance as one
must dial persistently to get through.
During peak hours it is almost
impossible to get connected.
Tel*One's combined debt to foreign banks
and companies is said to be $350m. This makes it technically insolvent as
liabilities outweigh the value of assets.
However, Chingwaru said
the public enterprise's debt was only $100m, "while its estimated asset base
value stands at Z$4,5-trillion".
"The company has entered into a
partnership with a local cotton merchant, Graffax, and the partnership is
yielding results as inflows from cotton exports are helping in reducing the
foreign debt," he said.
AFTER paying the International Monetary Fund (IMF) $120m
earlier this week, Zimbabwe now has a week to come up with an additional
$50m to try to prevent expulsion at an IMF board meeting a week
Although time is short, one source for the additional $50m still
appears to be SA, say diplomats.
The Zimbabwean press said yesterday
that the country's Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, is in SA for further
talks on a possible loan.
But a South African treasury official said
yesterday that although there would be further talks on the loan, no
meetings were scheduled.
SA's principal negotiators on the loan are
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Reserve Bank governor Tito
The IMF said yesterday that Zimbabwe's arrears after this week's
$120m payment stood at $174m.
Sources said the IMF board could give
the country more time if they see co-operation.
But though Zimbabwe
has devalued its currency and is seeking to narrow its budget deficit, the
destruction wreaked by its recent forced removals programme has eroded the
IMF's confidence in the country's economic leadership.
Tel*One in debt crisis Dumisani Muleya THE
state-owned fixed telephony network company, Tel*One (Pvt) Ltd, owes foreign
creditors US$350 million, rendering it technically insolvent.
sources said Tel*One was heavily indebted to British Telecom, South Africa's
Telkom, the African Development Bank, Netherlands's ING-Bank, France's
Banque Nationale de Paris, Kredittanstalt fur Wiederaufbau of Germany,
Norway's Eksportfinans, Overseas Economic Cooperation, Itochu-D and Eximbank
of Japan, the Bank of China and the African Banking
Sources said the debts amount to US$350 million, about
$8,4 trillion at the official exchange rate or $15,8 trillion on the
parallel market. This makes Tel*One all but bankrupt, just like other public
enterprises, despite the fact that it makes up to $60 billion a
However, Tel*One public relations manager Phil Chingwaru said
the company's debt was only US$100 million.
foreign debt arrears stand at US$100 million, which is $3,8 trillion while
its estimated asset base value stands at $4,5 trillion," he
"The company has entered a partnership with a local cotton
merchant, Graffax, and the partnership is yielding results as inflows from
cotton exports are helping in reducing the foreign
However, sources said Tel*One was saddled with debts which
technically make it insolvent.
"The company owes foreign
creditors at least US$350 million and if you consider its balance sheet, its
assets and liabilities, it is bankrupt," a source said.
valuation at the moment is nowhere near its liabilities. The good thing
though is that some of its debts are long-term. Redemption dates for loans
go as far as 2033 in some cases but as we speak it is bust."
Chingwaru maintained Tel*one was solvent because "our problem is not having
Zim dollars but foreign currency".
Sources said Tel*One's debt to
foreign banks and companies, as well as shortages of foreign currency to
replace obsolete analogue equipment, were causing network
Problems of telephone networks - both fixed and cellular
phone - are wreaking havoc in the economy as they make it every difficult to
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in May
raised the issue of telephone networks with government, which controls
Tel*One and one of the three cellu-lar telephony companies,
"The telephone and cellphone networks are giving increasing
problems," the CZI said in a paper to the Minister of Industry and
International Trade, Obert Mpofu. So far nothing has been
The system's technical hitches have become a nightmare for
companies and individuals who want efficient and reliable networks. Making
calls in Zimbabwe has become a test of endurance as one has to dial
persistently to get through. During peak hours it is almost impossible to
Sources said Zimbabwe had been disconnected by South Africa's
Telkom for failing to repay US$7 million. Tel*One owes Telkom US$18 million
in total for the fixed network upgrades between Musina, South Africa's
border town with Zimbabwe, and Harare. Chingwaru confirmed this, saying
"efforts are being made to honour the debt".
provided Zimbabwe with the latest terrestrial technology - synchronous
digital hierarchy (SDH) - which use microwave to upgrade the Harare-Musina
route. But Zimbabweans now phone South Africa through Tele-Globe in Canada
after disconnection of the direct link.
This explains the current
poor quality of calls to South Africa. Rerouting of calls through Canada
affects quality because it lengthens the distance of satellite feeds and
sometimes goes through Voice Over Internet Protocol.
have many hitches - latency and jitter - and this affects the quality of
Zimbabwe is also restricted by the United Kingdom because
Tel*One owes British Telecom US$14 million. The amount could be up to US$28
million if the administrative charges are taken into account. The UK now
allows a limited number of calls to avoid Tel*One debt
"We have got serious telephone problems. Tel*One is
restricted by some of its key partners such as South Africa's Telkom and
British Telecom due to non-payment. We were even once restricted by Kenya,"
a source said.
"The amounts due are inter-administrative settlements
between Tel*One and international operators which accumulate due to the
provision of the service of terminating (connecting to the end user) each
As Zimbabwe's largest trading partner, South Africa,
provides the biggest volumes of telephone traffic. Tel*One expected to make
a lot of revenue out of this and then repay the Telkom
However, lately there has been a significant reduction of
traffic volumes from South Africa to Zimbabwe, affecting Tel*One's
Termination is the service provided by one
network to another on the basis of an agreed payment formula for delivering
calls to end-users. The network that sends more calls to the other pays
Show exposes malaise in agriculture By Chido
Makunike FOR the second year in a row, I have been involved in the media
promotion of the Harare Agriculture Show. It has been very exciting to be
centrally involved in helping to put on the premier mirror of Zimbabwe's
agricultural and general economic state.
The Zimbabwe Agricultural
Society (ZAS) that operates the Exhibition Park and puts on the show makes
every attempt to cover all its costs and make a profit, but this gets more
difficult every year with the escalating costs of maintaining machinery,
infrastructure and keeping up with wages. But this has to be balanced with
ensuring that the rents for stands and the entrance fees charged are
affordable - no easy task in this era of hyperinflation.
consists of paying voluntary members with an interest in agricultural
issues. In between shows the full time staff is involved in the general
upkeep of the Exhibition Park. Many contractors and temporary staff are
taken on just before the show. In recent years, efforts have been made to
ensure the show is not the only source of income. There are increasing
numbers of buildings rented out all year to make revenue generation an
ongoing activity. Plans to incorporate many other all-year business
activities are on the cards.
The problem of escalating costs
outstripping income-generating ability is as evident at the showgrounds as
it is everywhere else in Zimbabwe. Buildings look worn and tired for lack of
comprehensive maintenance; new roads that would have been tarred in a more
stable and prosperous time are left unpaved and so forth. Things are spruced
up a lot in the weeks before the show but the increasingly tattered look of
Zimbabwe is, sadly, inevitably evident at the showgrounds.
number of show-goers was up a little over last year. This was a pleasant
surprise considering the ongoing fuel problem, hyperinflation and the
deterioration of most Zimbabweans' economic well-being. All the available
individual stands were taken up, allaying fears that because of the fuel
situation many who booked stands might be unable to take them up. In fact
considering that there is virtually no fuel station in which you can simply
drive up to re-fuel, it is amazing how little this problem seemed to have
interfered with most exhibitors' preparations and with the general public
wishing to attend. The fuel "black" market has become so widespread and
entrenched that it is really the main source of fuel now!
are several halls in which many small-scale enterprises typically lease a
few square metres of space each. Last year the occupancy of these halls was
good but this year there were large, embarrassing gaps in most of them. Many
of these traders hire trucks or bring their goods by public
The vastly increased costs of transportation caused by the
fuel shortage and the massive decline of the currency since last year made
getting to the show very difficult for many of these small-scale
businesspeople, just as many farmers are having difficulty getting produce
The recent nationwide dislocations and dispossessions of
many of this group of people also affected their ability to exhibit. As an
example, the number and type of exhibitions in the Home Industries Hall were
the poorest I have seen. It was painful to walk in there.
or not there would be cattle this year caused a mini-stir because there were
so few last year, and of terrible quality. There were close to a hundred
this year of reasonably good quality, the beef cattle looking much better
than the dairy ones. Overall, the number that were premier show quality were
few, but any cattle at all after last year's poor showing were welcomed by
everybody, especially considering the expense and effort it took exhibitors
to bring them. Exhibitors of cattle were each given an impromptu cash token
by the ZAS to thank and encourage them.
As in 2004, small-scale
farmers dominated in the agricultural produce sections. There were a lot
fewer of these farmers this year. The cotton and maize sections that they
exhibited in strong force last year were shadows of their former selves,
both in quantity and quality. Ditto for the horticultural crops sections. It
was disheartening and frightening to so starkly see the graphic
representation of Zimbabwe's agricultural malaise.
farmers, new or old, black or white, were hardly in evidence at all. The
turnout of Harare schools was very last minute but good, with 20 schools
taking space in one of the halls in the two days before the show began.
Again, unlike last year there were few exhibits that stood out for their
quality, even though what was judged to be the best of what was on offer
were awarded prizes. Exposing and encouraging young people to farming is
hopefully laying the foundation for a corps of successful commercial farmers
in the future, even if the present looks so bleak.
and therefore the country are in deep trouble were very obvious at the show.
In addition to the numbers of show-goers that thronged the event and the
excellent occupation of stands, this is paradoxically another depressing but
necessary aspect of the success of this year's show: to hopefully show
objectively to everyone who cares to and see how much soul-searching and
work we must do to get our country out of the doldrums and working
Before the show I appealed to the media to delve into
substantive issues to do with aspects of the state of Zimbabwe, rather than
to make the show's main focus the entertainment available, the official
pronouncements made and so forth. The response from right across the media
ideological spectrum was massive and positive.
By and large the
ideological straitjackets from which various media outlets in Zimbabwe view
anything to do with agriculture were largely put aside, at least for the
brief period of the show.
This is not to say they were not in
evidence, but by and large all the media seemed to accept that with as much
trouble as it is abundantly evident the country is in, the issue is no
longer are you pro or anti "land reform" as it has been done in
It is now about putting our heads together to figure out
how to try to stem the effects of what a spectacular failure it has been so
far. The effects of the methods employed on the well-being of the country
have been awful and no longer possible to hide. It is very encouraging that
very few of the media are any longer trying to hide or cover up those
failures we must try to collectively halt and reverse.
has been made even harder because of all the many support systems in our
country that are malfunctioning. For instance, while poor rain over a number
of years certainly contributes to poor farming, in Zimbabwe we really no
longer have any excuse to be surprised by periods of drought. Are we
satisfied that we are doing enough to prepare for them? The very real
possibility of poor rain in any year should seriously influence our
policies, practices and decisions all the time now so we are not caught so
ill-prepared every time.
And let us address all the factors that
we are responsible for in the decline of agriculture instead of constantly
looking for scapegoats for the mess we are in. Even when we really believe
that sanctions, racism, foreign farming subsidies contribute to some of our
problems, the fact is that getting around them is still up to
Thinking calmly about solutions is a lot more useful than enraged
gnashing of teeth, weeping and wailing or the emotionally cathartic but
ultimately useless hurling of insults at those we disagree
Foot and mouth costs Zim EU market Augustine
Mukaro ZIMBABWE is losing out on the lucrative European Union (EU) beef quota
to South American producers because of its failure to come up with a
workable solution to problems rocking the agricultural sector.
industry sources said Zimbabwe's 9 100-tonne annual quota was being met by
Brazil, Argentina and Mexico because of its failure to eradicate the
recurrent foot and mouth disease (FMD) in beef producing
An EU spokesman confirmed that South American countries were
servicing Zimbabwe's quota since government has not taken any initiatives to
have the 2001 ban lifted.
"Zimbabwe has not yet invited Brussels
to come and assess whether Harare has implemented EU-recommended disease
control measures that could see the ban lifted," the spokesman
"It is Zimbabwe which is supposed to take the initiative, but
so far they have not done so and the exports remain banned."
however said the quota remained available to Zimbabwe.
conforms to the EU standards, Zimbabwe can resume exports anytime. The quota
does not change even if a country is not fulfilling it," he said.
expert said the chaos in the agricultural sector had resulted in the
industry falling further away from meeting EU standards, particularly the
system of identification, registration and labelling of bovine
"The first requirement for all operators and organisations
marketing fresh or frozen beef or veal is to label it with individual trace
ability codes which may be the identification number of the animal from
which the meat is derived or an identification number relating to a group of
animals," the expert said.
He said continued farm seizures and
the destruction of equipment had resulted in producers failing to maintain
slaughterhouses and de-boning plants up to export standards.
situation has been exacerbated by the uncontrolled movement of cattle and
wildlife, resulting in FMD outbreaks that caused the suspension of beef
The Cattle Producers Association (CPA)'s latest report
says FMD continued to recur over the past five years because of the
uncontrolled movement of cattle.
"FMD continues to haunt us," CPA
chairperson, Maryna Erasmus, said.
"Veterinary services' ability to
source vaccines from Botswana is directly related to the availability of
foreign currency to pay our debts and this has been a major
"However, vaccination is not the total solution to FMD
control and until the fundamental issue of illegal cattle movement is
addressed, Zimbabwe will continue to see the recurrence of
Before the ban, Zimbabwe was earning around US$38 million
annually from beef exports to the European Union. This accounted for about
4% of the country's total foreign currency earnings.
government's apparent inaction over disease control, Zimbabwe's herd has
declined by a massive 82% from 1,4 million cattle before the land reforms to
about 250 000 at present.
Harare in bid to conceal evidence of blitz Takawira
Mapfumo HARARE City Council's move to fine victims of the government-driven
clean-up exercise for uncollected rubble from their backyards has sparked
massive dumping of rubbish and rubble in public places in the high-density
Residents of Mbare have resorted to dumping rubble and
uncollected refuse at open spaces such as road junctions, schoolyards and
market places to avoid the charges.
At George Stark High School
for example, almost half a soccer pitch is covered with
The commission running the affairs of the city announced
numerous dubious rates, among them a $3 million penalty for uncollected
Civic groups have attacked the commission chaired by Sekasai
Makwavarara arguing that there is no logical justification for the inhuman
treatment of residents, especially at the hands of a local authority which
has failed to provide basic services.
"It's either they (council)
are trying to destroy the evidence that Operation Murambatsvina ever took
place ahead of the much talked about (UN secretary-general Kofi) Annan's
visit to Harare or this is a fund-raising project," said Joseph Ross of the
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA).
Ross said that the
strategies being employed by the council in this seemingly fund-raising
project are pathetic as they cannot sustain long-term goals.
declared that it was broke twice this year, resulting in delayed salaries.
In April, salaries had to be paid directly from rates-collecting
CHRA this week called on the residents to boycott paying
the "unjustified" rates to council saying there was no transparency in the
collection of the penalties.
The city council has threatened
those who fail to comply with arrests or losing their houses, a threat
frowned upon by CHRA.
"Council does not have the legality to
confiscate any house besides the ones that they built for their own workers.
They are just taking advantage of people's ignorance of their rights," CHRA
Masvingo fights for political stability Ray
THE death last week of Josiah Tungamirai has
removed a stabilising factor in Masvingo politics and is poised to test the
political acumen of the current leadership in the faction-prone
The Zanu PF leadership, with the maverick Dzikamai Mavhaire as
political commissar, has a daunting task to choose a successor with the
mettle to maintain a check on Zezuru hegemony and retain plausible Karanga
relevance in national politics.
The late Tungamirai, a close ally
of retired general Solomon Mujuru in the succession dogfight, teamed against
Emmerson Mnangagwa's ascendancy to the vice-presidency last year and
continued to provide crucial Karanga presence in the Zanu
Retired army general Vitalis Zvinavashe is tipped to take over
the Gutu North constituency and enter mainstream politics.
appears the frontrunner among the list of possible candidates because of the
need to come up with a recognised political heavyweight who has appeal among
the warring factions in the province.
Mavhaire says finding a
successor to Tungamirai's role as a godfather posed no
"No one doubts Zvinavashe's credentials as the most senior
politician in the province," Mavhaire said.
"But there is still
the daunting task to select who will take over the Gutu North constituency
as well as choosing senatorial representatives."
Mavhaire said the
provincial executive had formulated a foolproof system to avoid the party
sliding into factionalism.
"We are a taskforce, given a mandate to
restructure and unite Zanu PF supporters in this province in the next two
years before fresh provincial elections. And we are quite clear on how to go
about it without allowing division to rear its ugly head again," Mavhaire
He added: "There are no divisions, there are no factions
because people have realised how costly factionalism is and what a setback
it is. Ordinary party supporters have never been divided on factional lines
but the leadership has sought dominance using petty
Masvingo province has been trying to come to terms with a
reconfigured landscape following the ouster of a provincial executive led by
Daniel Shumba earlier this year.
One of the dominant political
groups ghosting for the late vice-president Simon Muzenda that includes Gutu
South MP Shuvai Mahofa, Masvingo North MP Stan Mudenge, and former governor
Josaya Hungwe, has been seriously hog-tied by its involvement in the
ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting of December 18 last year.
political muscle has been greatly weakened by a shift of influence and power
through exclusion from the interim provincial executive structures that
prescribe the political pace.
Shumba took over the reins in a palace
coup engineered by self-proclaimed Independence war veterans at the behest
of a protégé faction of the late Muzenda. But he was sucked into the
Tsholotsho clique, famed for clandestinely seeking to challenge the
untenable tenets of guided democracy in Zanu PF.
attended the meeting, representing a frightening chunk of Zanu PF support,
sought to derail Joice Mujuru's ascendancy to the
Mavhaire said strangers and newcomers might want to
buy their way into the contest but stood little chance.
simply be an intention but the electorate is much wiser. They have come to
accept that people must reap where they sow," Mavhaire said.
Tungamirai had assumed the godfather role after the death of Vice-President
Muzenda in September 2003.
Zvinavashe commands a lot of respect in
the province. Last year the retired commander of the defence forces turned
down an invitation by the Gutu South leadership to run as the candidate in
the March parliamentary election.
Zvinavashe had been approached to
replace Mahofa who had fallen out of favour with Gutu South traditional
leaders. Mahofa was implicated in the death of war veterans leader Misheck
Maseva and then arrested after diverting maize from the Masvingo Grain
Marketing Board depot for personal profit.
Zvinavashe opted to
play an advisory role. "What they need to understand is that I am a retired
commander of the defence forces. I have been serving the country at national
level so structurally I can't go back to represent a district or province,"
Zvinavashe said then that there were young people in
the constituency that should be given a chance and he would play an advisory
"People are not wrong," he said. "I know what they want. I am
not refusing to help them. I will help them but not as they expected. I will
not take up that post but only advise those who will be on the post," he
But this time, Zvinavashe could have a change of heart given
the void left by his comrade-in-arms Tungamirai and apparent Zezuru clannish
tendencies to dominate Zanu PF politics.
Prior to his retirement
from the army, Zvinavashe had been linked to the late Muzenda's Gutu North
constituency, which was later taken over by the late
After his retirement in December last year, there was
speculation that Zvinavashe would be appointed vice-president to replace
What could also spur Zvinavashe to take up the challenge is the
possibility that the Mahofa trio could want to test its popularity given the
fickle nature of the rural electorate in the province.
of a candidate could revolve around trying to regain lost pride and bruised
egos among rival leaders in the province, with the Mahofa, Hungwe and
Mudenge axis throwing in Gutu district council chairman Silas Matuke in the
They could also come up with candidates for the senatorial
seats from those of their staunch followers who lost pre-poll primary
If Zvinavashe maintains his position and turns the offer
down again, the current Samuel Mumbengegwi-led provincial executive has Gutu
businessman Dzimba Madondo to fall back on.
Matonga raps ZTV Itai Mushekwe DEPUTY Information
minister, Bright Matonga, has lashed out at the mediocre programming and
productions at Zimbabwe television (ZTV), describing them as a challenge
that needs to be addressed urgently.
He called for the involvement of
private players in television and film sectors to improve
"We need more programmes and more independent production
houses," he said.
The minister's remarks come hard on the heels of
in-house squabbles over mediocrity at Zimbabwe's sole broadcasting
Matonga made the assertions while addressing a film audience
last week during the premiere of Zimbabwe's latest feature film,
Tanyaradzwa, at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival.
minister could not hide his disappointment with the deteriorating standards
of productions at ZTV.
"As a minister and a journalist, I'm not happy
with the type of productions we have," said Matonga.
He said the
Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) passed in 2002 remains a major stumbling
block in the way of new players in the sector owing to high service fees
charged in hard currency.
Since its promulgation, no private
broadcaster has been granted an operating licence, casting a dark shadow
over the future of the broadcasting industry in Zimbabwe.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications this week
added its voice to the growing chorus of dissatisfaction over the operations
of the state broadcaster.
The Leo Mugabe-led committee ordered
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) chairman, Rino Zhuwarara, to submit to
it qualifications and remuneration of all ZBH staffers amid revelations of
personnel forging qualifications.
Information secretary, George
Charamba, stormed the Newsnet newsroom last month after his call on the
newsroom hotline went unanswered. Charamba alleged that Newsnet had failed
to capture the gist of President Robert Mugabe's speech during a news
bulletin on Heroes Day.
Sources say the quality of production and
programming at the television station has been affected by the ZBH's delay
in switching over from analogue to digital broadcasting systems.
THE Bulawayo City Council has
written to government requesting that the city be declared a "water shortage
area" as the local authority battles to meet water requirements for
residents where some suburbs have gone for two months without
The two major supply dams for the city, Ncema and Mzingwane, have
virtually dried up, badly affecting Bulawayo's water supplies.
is the first time in the history of the city that the local authority has
written to government seeking an intervention on a non-financial
Health officials this week said the city faced a high risk of
a disease outbreak unless the water situation was addressed as a matter of
Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, confirmed this
week that the local authority was seeking government intervention on the
water situation and hoped that resources would be mobilised to address the
"We have appealed to government to declare Bulawayo a water
shortage area," Ncube said.
"We hope the government will assist
by commandeering resources and by supplying the city with bowsers to reach
as many people as possible who are in need of water
Ncube said the city was now relying on Inyankuni and
Insiza dams for water supplies.
The two dams however supply the
city with water through a gravitational process that moves water from high
ground to lower areas. But the water levels in the two dams are now so low
that the city cannot get adequate supplies.
water consumption is 141 000 cubic metres but the two dams can supplying
only about 90 000 cubic metres a day.
Ncube said the city was also
receiving some water from the Nyamandlovu aquifer.
"We are also
receiving water from 24 boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer. We are working
to repair 77 boreholes at the aquifer that were damaged at the height of
farm invasions," Ncube said.
The water situation deteriorated this
week after a weekend fire damaged electrical cables to the engines pumping
water at Inyankuni dam, resulting in water cuts to some
Cowdray Park, Emakhandeni, Entumbane, Magwegwe and Pumula
North have not had water supplies for two months.
blamed the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) for the damage to
boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer saying the council had warned the water
authority to stop the new farmers from fetching water from the
"Zinwa allowed war veterans to divert water from the
aquifer. The war veterans also damaged pumps and council now has to repair
the 77 boreholes that were damaged," Ncube said.
Bulawayo and the
arid Matabeleland region are plagued with perennial water problems whose
solution lies in the successful construction of a pipeline from the Zambezi
River to the region. - Staff Writer.
Mediagate: more info filters in Dumisani
Muleya MEDIGATE remains hanging over the Mirror Group of Newspapers and the
Financial Gazette as more information consolidating reports that the papers
are controlled by the state security agency continues to trickle
Sources said the Mirror CEO Ibbo Mandaza has confirmed to his friends
in the aftermath of the reports that his papers were owned by the
Although the CIO ownership of the Mirror newspapers has never been
in doubt in intelligence and government circles, sources said Mandaza had
admitted privately that the papers were owned by the intelligence
This came as readers alerted the Zimbabwe Independent to a
Financial Gazette story published last year in January in which central bank
governor Gideon Gono reportedly declared his assets to a parliamentary
The Financial Gazette reported on January 29 last
year that Mashonaland East governor Ray Kaukonde, then Zanu PF chairman for
the same province, had taken Gono to task over his assets.
said Gono "told the caucus that the laws of the land required him to
disclose his interests to President (Robert) Mugabe and the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development, Herbert Murerwa".
Financial Gazette said Gono all the same made disclosures to the caucus that
"he operates a ranch, a flower project and a farm". He did not mention that
he owned a newspaper. This was consistent with what Gono has always
Gono has made it clear from the beginning that he did not own
the Financial Gazette although the paper's editor Sunsleey Chamunorwa has
been struggling to maintain the line that he was the
Chamunorwa himself when he was still Gono's spokesman at the
CBZ said Gono was not the owner. Gono said he was the financial advisor to
the new owners of the paper, whom sources maintain are the intelligence
service. Sources said Gono told senior government officials he was doing the
project for the CIO.
Further information obtained from
intelligence sources shows Mandaza approached Gono in 2002 looking for money
for the Daily Mirror which was first published on September 9 that
It is said Gono agreed that he would give Mandaza money but
would bring other investors into the paper. Sources said Gono then brought
the CIO to invest in the paper at a time when Mandaza was desperately
looking for money to get his project started.
"Gono then brought
in the security guys into the project, apparently without Mandaza's
knowledge," a source said. "He initially wanted four CIO directors on the
board of Southern Africa Publishing House (Sapho) Pvt Ltd, which owned the
papers, but a row erupted after Mandaza realised the CIO was part of the
Sources said the fierce clashes drew in the CIO bosses and
ended up on a compromise in which there would to be only two intelligence
directors instead of four. That was how the CIO came to have two directors
on the Mirror board, the source said.
The Mirror group was
initially registered in 2001 as High-Portfolio Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd. Its
directors were Mandaza and Joyce Kazembe. The company then changed to Sapho
and then to Mirror.
Its directors were Mandaza, Alexander Kanengoni,
Thomas James Meke, Ambassador Buzwani Mothobi, John Marangwanda, Charm Ndaba
Mukuwane, Tendai Mangezi who has resigned, and Jonathan Kadzura. Amy Tsanga
was appointed later. Musi Khumalo resigned.
The two CIO
representatives on the board were Kanengoni and Meke, the immediate past CIO
administration and finance director. Several other CIO officers were
deployed to work on the Mirror project as reported in the original
Sources said Kanengoni, who was suspended by Mandaza on
allegations of causing chaos in the newsroom by threatening journalists and
shouting abuse - claims which insiders say are not true - was due to appear
before a Mirror disciplinary hearing soon.
They said students on
attachment at the Mirror group were this week kicked out because Mandaza was
no longer sure who was a CIO and who was not. This was widely seen as a sign
of growing paranoia by the Mirror managers who are desperate to limit the
The CIO were said to be allowing Mandaza limited
space to manoeuvre in the meantime because they did not want to worsen the
crisis by ousting him from the group before the dust settles.
CIO was reportedly investigating an alleged abuse of funds at the Mirror
which could claim the scalps of managers at the group. It was said the
Mirror got money from the productive sector facility and the CIO that
amounted to $38 billion.
The money was disbursed in tranches of
$10 billion, $6 billion and $22 billion. There was also a fight over the
payment of money from the Mirror group to Mandaza's origination company,
Pre-print. A row was also brewing over a printing machine Mandaza imported
MDC still to decide on Senate Ray Matikinye THE
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has not yet decided whether
or not to take part in polls for the Senate seats.
Indications are that
parliament, after passing the Constitution of Zimbabwe Bill that will enable
the setting up of a Senate, will adjourn until October 11 to allow the
ruling Zanu PF to select legislators to the Upper House.
Morgan Tsvangirai, said his party executive would meet soon to discuss the
22 amendments to the constitution railroaded through parliament with the
assistance of 10 unelected chiefs, eight governors and 12 non-constituency
"Zanu PF is preoccupied with establishing a Senate while
ignoring critical national issues that need attention," said
"They seem keen on running the country through rule by law
and not rule of law.
"One wonders whether the party thinks it can
run the country like a kindergarten centre," Tsvangirai said.
said the executive meeting would decide whether to participate in senatorial
elections or not.
But observers say the party is not prepared to
repeat the mistake that it made by deciding late to participate in general
elections after staying out to protest the "uneven playing
According to media reports, the Zanu PF politburo discussed
the Senate issue at its weekly meeting in Harare on
The assistance Zanu PF received from chiefs riled rights
lobbyists who criticised their participation as undemocratic owing to their
status as unelected members.
"It perpetuates a most undemocratic
principle that the president can appoint legislators to represent Zimbabwe
instead of allowing citizens to exercise their democratic right to do so,"
president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Joseph James, said in a statement
*Meanwhile, human rights groups plan to take before the
African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) their challenge to
provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (Number 17) Bill which
was passed in parliament on Tuesday.
Otto Saki, international
lawyer for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said the civic group was
preparing its heads of argument for the AHPR as the constitutional amendment
passed this week takes away the jurisdiction of local courts.
will be taking the matter to the African Commission," said Saki. "We are in
the process of preparing heads of argument. Our greatest concern is that the
constitutional amendment takes away the duties of the courts, violates
property rights and empowers the government to take away
Corporate FCAs used to pay IMF Godfrey
Marawanyika ZIMBABWE managed to pay US$120 million to the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) by liquidating foreign currency accounts owned by
corporates in a bid to avoid the country's expulsion from the
Legally, corporate accounts for exporters are liquidated over a
30-day period. Central bank governor Gideon Gono said the funds came from
exporters and free funds.
"The forex that was sent to the IMF
could have been used more productively," said a senior merchant banker. "I
think the government made the decision in the knowledge that the South
African loan is on its way."
This is the first time Zimbabwe has made a
substantial one-off payment to the IMF. Analysts yesterday said the debt
repayment however would not open the floodgates for Harare to access funds
from the IMF and the World Bank.
Zimbabwe's economic problems will
remain despite the payment. No balance of payments, new lines of credit or
direct foreign investment will flow in as a result of the
Speaking from Washington on Wednesday, IMF spokesperson
David Hawley confirmed that Harare had paid part of its debt.
August 29, 2005 Zimbabwe made a payment of US$120 million to the
International Monetary Fund to clear some of its arrears to the fund, which
date back to 2001. Following the payment, arrears to the fund now stand at
SDR119 million (about US$174 million)," Hawley said.
previously announced, the IMF executive board will meet on September 9 to
consider the 2005 Article IV consultation with Zimbabwe as well as the
possible issue of compulsory withdrawal, which was last taken up by the
board in February 2005."
An IMF staff mission is in Harare to
review recent economic developments.
The mission is also preparing a
report for the IMF executive board, but the delegation later extended its
The three-member delegation, which comprises Sharmini Coorey,
Sonia Munoz and Kevin Fletcher, was still in the country
Analysts said the payment could have been done ages ago
since government did not use funds from South Africa.
expelled, Zimbabwe would be the second country to be thrown out of the IMF
after the former Czechoslovakia in 1954.
Critics and the opposition
accuse President Mugabe for the country's devastating economic decline,
characterised by triple-digit inflation and sky-high
But Mugabe's government has blamed drought and
sanctions by the European Union and the United States for the country's
Analysts have said although Zimbabwe still owes the IMF, the
reduction in arrears removes the risk of having foreign assets attached by
Economist Eric Bloch said because of the various actions
taken in the monetary policy review statement to remove economic
distortions, the IMF may be motivated to allow Zimbabwe's continued
"Many donor states give assistance to countries that are
members of the IMF, so retaining membership is very important for Zimbabwe,"
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luxon Zembe
said the reduction in arrears signifies Zimbabwe's willingness to settle
"It should alleviate pressure of expulsion since debt issues
weigh more than any other issues at the IMF. We hope it will help spare
Zimbabwe from expulsion," Zembe said.
ZIMBABWE'S governing elite has the unerring instinct for doing
wrong things for the wrong reasons. It has an odd inclination for spitting
the dummy whenever situations appear to overwhelm it through enacting
contentious and debasing legislation. For the past 25 years, Zanu PF has
been amending and degrading the Lancaster House constitution and laws it
deems objectionable more for political expediency than to promote democratic
The constitutional amendment that Zanu PF hurtled to enact
this week illustrates how the ruling elite has let Zimbabwe fly off the
handle through bad governance and are groping about to gain a total
stranglehold on public life.
Legal experts say the welter of
amendments contained in the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill seeks to
curtail the most fundamental principles of democratic government entrenched
in the separation of powers of the Legislature, the Executive and the
Judiciary. In any democratic country the separation of powers provides vital
checks and balances to prevent abuse of power by those who wield it on
behalf of the people.
The constitutional amendments mean Zimbabwe will no
longer be a land of the habeas corpus - a fundamental instrument for
safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state
Says the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ): "The amendment will
seriously erode if not remove the enjoyment of fundamental rights to
property, secure protection of the law and freedom of movement of the people
who rely on the Constitution for protection against unchecked state
In a statement censuring the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
Bill, the LSZ says government intends to oust the jurisdiction of the
courts, while other critics say the amendment will emasculate the judiciary
and raise barriers to independent judgements.
MP for Tsholotsho
Jonathan Moyo says the Bill has nothing to do with Zimbabwe's national
interest as it serves Zanu PF interests only.
"The Bill does not have
ideological, constitutional, institutional or economic principles that are
shared by the body politic. All it has is the principle of political
expediency," he said.
Much more than anything else, amendments to the
Land Acquisition Act regarding compensation need a re-look in the interest
of equity and social justice in order to restore much-needed national and
international confidence in the economy.
Land experts say the
haphazard land reform programme, initiated more out of political expediency
than economic sense, has cost the country an estimated US$15 billion in lost
value over the years.
In any event, the best of the farmland in Zimbabwe
will have no market value as an economic asset as long as the acquired land
is not compensated for.
"Solving an administrative problem through a
constitutional amendment is the height of incompetence and lack of creative
imagination and a government that suffers from this to the point of seeking
constitutional refuge has no business pretending to be in power," Moyo
"The effect of the Bill will elevate to constitutional provisions
legislation which allows the executive to deprive property owners of their
property," the LSZ argues.
Twenty-five years ago the world hoped that
Zimbabwe would learn from the bad example of colonial Rhodesia and chart a
new path of just laws.
It is as ironic as it is dismaying that the Mugabe
government has instead decided to follow the example set by Rhodesia in
creating repressive laws that restrict individual freedoms.
offensive laws are upheld by a compliant judiciary that appears to act from
a position of threatened privilege.
"Zimbabwe's judiciary has not been
left to interpret legislation independently. The Supreme Court has been
fully packed with those who are Mugabe's acquiescent adherents. The High
Court has also been 'transformed' into one that largely upholds the
government's wishes," says the International Bar
Besides, the Bill will allow the Executive to restrict the
movement of the people, depriving citizens of such a basic human right.
Legal experts fear that the Executive could act on the basis of vague and
ambiguous criteria which can easily be abused such as national
It allows for the reinvention of a Senate stuffed mostly by
also-rans in the last election as a reward for their membership of the
ruling party. More significantly, the reintroduction of the Senate where
President Mugabe appoints six members will perpetuate the undemocratic
practice of allowing an individual to usurp the electorate's right to select
representatives of their choice.
Legal Affairs minister Patrick
Chinamasa assured the Zanu PF politburo that the Senate was a stop-gap
measure until year 2010.
The Senate proposed under the Bill signifies a
penchant for profligate use of taxpayers' money without adding justifiable
value to democratic practice during a time when the national economy is
tottering on the edge of the precipice.
Moyo says the Zanu PF
government has lost a glorious opportunity to prove their detractors wrong
by demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the rule of law and there
cannot be any rule of law where the courts are ousted from their
constitutional role of interpreting the law.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the
opposition Movement Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for information says
the passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill represents a flagrant
disregard for democratic processes.
"The creation of a Senate is in no
way a move to improve legislative oversight. It has simply been created as
an extension of presidential patronage, aimed at soothing bruised egos
within the ruling party," Nyathi says. He says a constitution should be
formulated in full consultation with the people.
"It rejected this
opportunity and instead doggedly pursued a piecemeal approach to
constitutional reform. This is an approach aimed to ensure that the
constitution is shamelessly corrupted to support the political objectives of
the ruling elite at the expense of the people," he says.
LSZ president, in a seperate statement said lawyers had, for the first time,
taken a stance against the new legislation. "It is worse than Posa and Aippa
as the current legislation attacks the very basis of our constitution," he
says in reference to two controversial laws that limit freedoms of
association and expression. With the new law, government will be able to
seize the passports of its critics. "This will take away the right of those
people to go outside the country and ask other countries to impose sanctions
on Zimbabwe," said Chinamasa, who is among 200 of Mugabe's cronies slapped
with an EU travel ban.
Chinamasa says amendments to the Land
Acquisition Act will stop evicted white farmers from frustrating land
redistribution to black Zimbabweans. "It will close the chapter of
colonisation," Chinamasa said during a stormy debate before the vote on
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly which mobilised opposition to Mugabe's attempt in 2000 to entrench
his rule indefinitely, said the amendments add to a host of repressive
measures already imposed by Mugabe's 25-year-old regime. "But in time, it
will eventually collapse," he said. "Do you think the people are going to
accommodate this for all time?"
Zim now a typical mad house case By Rejoice
Ngwenya THE intoxicating and numbing displeasure of being an "inmate" of
Zimbabwe could be likened to four distinct scenarios: a penitentiary, a
sanatorium, a casualty ward and a spiritual church.
Not that I am one
of those cowards who will escape at the first sight of an unguarded exit
door, no ways! Neither will I dig a tunnel under the Limpopo River only to
emerge somewhere between Musina and Naboomspruit.
I am determined to
stick around until the perpetrators of this inhuman justice are either
democratically discharged or brought to account for their transgressions.
For the time being, the word "diaspora" applies to them (others) - not
I am of the breed whose vocabulary does not include the word
"defeat", especially by a mere mortal who breathes exactly the same type of
oxygen as I do. From dust to dust, from dawn to dusk, the struggle
continues. Back to the four cases.
In a typical penitentiary,
inmates respond only to a rigid disciplinary programme imposed on them by
their incarcerators. They are not expected to have a choice, think,
rationalise or act according to their will.
The masters bark orders
and prisoners respond with immaculate submission and where there is a sign
of dissent, justice is meted out instantly in full view of others. At any
one time, even when inmates "think" they are free to roam around the
courtyard, armed guards are perched high up in cages waiting to sniper-shoot
any details that break the strict penitentiary routine.
words, in prison you are entirely at the mercy of your guardians. Such is
the case in Zimbabwe. We now all put on similar clothes - a uniform of
distress, frustration and heartache. Zimbabweans are fed on one diet - that
of suffocating, nauseating state propaganda with a proven propensity to
choke the life out of one.
Our routine has become one of queuing
and begging for foreign currency from a totally dysfunctional auction
system. When we vote, the masters of our destiny stand guard over the ballot
box to ensure we place the cross where it suits them most.
and "demonstrate" your disapproval and see how much pressure your head can
take from a baton stick! Just like an inmate in solitary confinement, all we
can do is scream and bang on the walls, hallucinating on what might have
been that never was.
Our very conscience has been colonised, and we
can only sing praises to the ruling party, thanking them each time they
"reward" us with tentative devaluation, Chinese deals and service stations
that dispense petrol in foreign currency.
We have lost our
individual personality, assuming the nature of our controllers, like dogs,
hoping that perhaps one day, a prison chaplain will bestow mercy on us, and
recommend our commitment to a sanatorium. At least people there laugh all
A cousin who has worked at both Parirenyatwa Annex and
Engutsheni tells me that inmates literally have fun or at least think they
Some laugh all night, others joke about their "love
affairs" and most talk of past victories. When relatives bring goodies,
there is momentary jubilation and tinges of normalcy in their lives. And yet
the moment they walk towards the main gate, strong men in white apprehend
them with pungent doses of sedation and dump them in secure
Life at the sanatorium, from the outside, looks normal. That
is what (SA president Thabo) Mbeki, (former Mozambican president Joaquim)
Chissano and (Zambian president Levy) Mwanawasa say of Zimbabwe - things are
fine, Zimbabweans can look after themselves.
If only they could
listen more carefully to the inmates, they will know to what extent their
dialogue and debate is out of context.
Zimbabwean political leaders
simultaneously gloat about a successful agrarian revolution and importing
food in the same sentence. They talk about colonial imperialists, foreign
currency shortages and declining tourism in one paragraph.
leaders hallucinate about past victories in the liberation war and give each
other medals while children starve and their mothers die of HIV and
They fly to all sorts of conferences while hospitals run
out of drugs and school children are thrown out into the streets. Just like
in a sanatorium, our leaders feel, act and behave normal, but deep inside
they are deranged, intellectually bankrupt dictators who have lost all
conscience and rational judgement.
They have been sedated by
their own lies and snore in deep sleep, oblivious of the popular
revolutionary storm coming their way. As they fight imaginary battles and
bask in illusive victories in their sleep, they inflict mortal wounds on
their bodies, taking the country with them to casualty ward.
is in a typical casualty ward situation as at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto
- the largest centre for death, blood and pain in the southern hemisphere. I
am told medical interns and courageous doctors come from all over the globe
to experience first-hand the nature of self-inflicted human
The variety of diseases and wounds is bewildering -
inflicted from bullets, axes, automobiles accidents, fires, knives, blunt
instruments, you name it.
In other words, the Baragwanath Hospital
casualty ward is the global first port of call for human anguish. Men, women
and children scream as they plead to be put out of their misery. Relatives
hold their heads in despair as they count the vital seconds towards the
imminent departure of loved ones.
But the good news is that the first
thing a nurse or doctor needs to do there is to prevent loss of blood,
reduce pain and save lives - then one can talk of a fully-fledged
The Zimbabwe casualty case is mind-boggling. As the
country bleeds to death, our leaders look out of the windows of the ward and
count the number of cars with new "A series" number plates. No shame, no
sense of remorse or compassion whatsoever.
Aeneas Chigwedere talks about uniforms while (Finance minister) Herbert
Murerwa refers casually to new ministries.
Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono dishes out money to local authorities while his party compatriot
urges the government to promulgate a holiday called "Land Day". Our economy
is bleeding through the mouth and the energy sector has been
The blood pressure of inflation is running into three
digits while our foreign reserves are breathing directly from an oxygen
cylinder. Our education system struggles from a dialysis machine, as
agriculture lies unconscious from a severe asthma attack.
tourism sector is on a life-support system while the pharmacy of our theatre
system boasts only of painkillers and crepe bandages.
Government minister Ignatious Chombo is obsessed with a film actor named
Garikai while (his counterpart at Science and Technology) Olivia Muchena
refers to hitherto unheard of scientific breakthroughs.
It's a mad
house - Zimbabweans screaming in pain everywhere for mercy while their
leaders sit and watch Studio 263. Now there is only one thing that can save
our souls - Prayer.
My context of the term "spiritual church" is
borrowed directly from that of Satanism ie where members actually believe
that they are worshipping God when in fact their leaders are hiding behind
satanic doctrines. Such is the case in Zimbabwe - while the rest of us are
speaking in tongues and cry out for the Lord to redeem us, the big boys have
their hands in the pulpit till, counting the offerings and stashing the
money in their back pockets. In church, Zimbabweans sing, pray and give
offerings as an expression of faith. Others dance, cry and roll on their
bellies in anguish for their transgressions.
We have accepted our
weaknesses - complicity in the crime of letting dictators ruin our lives for
25 years without so much as casting the first stone. Now they have judged us
and seen us to be weak, spineless mortals who fear to lose their worthless
Our leaders can plunder the vessels from our temple and we
have no power to even cough. But the good news is that God is on the side of
the weak and he does not, like man, lie.
The Lord looks after his
flock, even if it has wondered far from the others. Like Job says, I know my
redeemer liveth. If you worship a dead god, it is your fault. Vengeance is
mine, says the Lord.
My God is watching this vicious, heartless pack
of greedy hounds. Keep praying, let them plunder the altar and the taxes, it
belongs to them - for the time being. Our time will come, where there will
be gnashing of teeth (if they still have any).
ought to tell these guys. Men, boys, say it in the bus, the pub, the church,
canteen, supermarket, everywhere. Condemn this evil. Do not be afraid of
mere mortals. They can only break your bones, but not your
They are just as miserable and petrified one-leg-at-a-time
men as you are. We are tired of suffering slaves in our own country. What
have we done to deserve this type of treatment?
Our lives are
controlled by gangsters who come every five years to wring out allegiance in
the form of so-called elections.
Their legitimacy is as valid as the
talons of an eagle in the back of a day-old chick. Tell them to go now,
today, yesterday, in March, last year, long back. Their time is up, we want
to live, not leave. We want to live, not merely exist. We have rights too,
just like their spoilt, over-fed dependants.
The gong is
swinging, like a pendulum; the people of Zimbabwe are waiting with bated
breadths as it makes the last swing. When it hits the down stroke, popular
excitement will drown the muffled cries, even those of state-sponsored
propaganda about the virtues of a satanic, perforated, senatorial
We voted in March that was enough, we are not going for yet
another political joy-ride. No ways!
Reforms first before any debt relief for Zim By
Tinashe Chimedza ZIMBABWE and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s love
and hate relationship comes under focus as the government hosts an IMF team
in the hope of avoiding being axed from the institution.
comes after the government presented a supplementary budget that has become
a permanent feature of its insatiable appetite for resources, the adverse
effect of which has been to drive a spiral of deficits that have eaten into
an economy that is already on a yo-yo fall-out, especially after the
controversial land grab of 1999/2000.
This far, Zimbabwe has
miraculously escaped being axed from the IMF. This visit thus bears pressure
on the government to start showing its commitment to reform and respect the
rule of law.
The visit brings into focus a rather tumultuous love and
hate relationship that has characterised Zimbabwe's relations with the IMF
since Zimbabwe became a member in September 1980.
It is a
relationship clogged with spectacles including the failure of the Economic
Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) initiated in 1991 and the
government's rhetoric rejecting policy advice from the international
The visit will be informed by an adverse
economic environment which includes the harrowing effects of the
government's controversial land-grab, massive unemployment, increasing
poverty and more recently, the man-induced tsunami infamously dubbed
The social and economic situation in
Zimbabwe is worse than a country at war and the country's global competitive
index stands at 99, meaning investing in Zimbabwe is as risky as investing
in a war-torn country.
Inflation has surged with a vengeance to
254,8% and with the partial dollarisation of the economy through the sale of
fuel in foreign currency, the inflation rate will predictably surge
The IMF will certainly take interest in several policy
announcements made by the government including the supplementary budget
presented on August 16, the taxes that the minister imposed on companies
trading on the stock exchange, continued price controls and the prescription
by the government that pension funds invest 35% of the value of their stocks
in government bonds.
On the side of the government, policy
options are severely constrained by a ballooning domestic debt and a US$306
million that is due to the IMF, not including debts owed to other
international financial institutions and banks.
What makes the IMF
debt more urgent is that the IMF has recalled its debt, meaning that
Zimbabwe must repay what it owes the fund as of July 31 - an impossible task
considering empty foreign currency coffers, a contracting economy,
increasing oil prices and a shrinking tax base.
attempt to repay its loans has led to an intractable spectacle that has seen
emissaries off to Iran, South Africa and China where the "Look East" policy
has attracted muted response from the Chinese.
The IMF's visit also
comes at a time when a global coalition of non-governmental organisations
have been united and acting under the banner of "Make Poverty History",
urging debt relief, more and unrestricted aid for developing countries and
The IMF's visit therefore puts into focus not only the
IMF/Zimbabwe relations but also the outcomes that IMF-supported policies
have brought, especially to Africa.
The challenging question
therefore revolves around how Zimbabweans are supposed to engage with the
IMF under the present conditions in which Zimbabwe is massively indebted to
the IMF and a difficult social and economic situation in which the
government has made investment - local and international - almost impossible
by its disregard of the rule of law and property rights.
global level, policies supported by the IMF and other international
financial institutions like the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) have come under increasing pressure.
organisations like the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd)
have been critiquing the emphasis that structural adjustment policies (Saps)
place on market interventions rather than comprehensive human-centred
Other critics have charged that Saps have appropriated a
particular Western discourse of human rights and democracy to the effect of
imposing neo-liberal economic policies that override particularities of
developing countries, making human development almost
The critics have ranged from radical campaigners calling
for total disengagement with the international financial institutions and
other reform initiatives, arguing that these must have a thorough democratic
outlook so that they become more open to make participation by civil society
This is in the hope that there will be
policies that are focused on human development initia-tives rather than a
somewhat blind emphasis on economic growth that has, this far, not always
resulted in social and economic development.
The debate of other
radicals has summarised the Bretton Woods policies as perpetuating
"imperialist" relations that are no longer maintained by armies - at least
in southern Africa - but are embedded in decision-making processes and hence
the outcomes of the policies of these institutions.
These critics, at
least in general, charge that the economic policies that are imposed on the
developing countries in exchange for loans, more aid and preferential trade
deals have become the "new colonialism", the effect of which has been to
entrench a global economy that exacerbates poverty, damage the environment
and accelerates the subordination of developing economies to a global
economy structure where the rich and powerful thrive while the poor are
exploited and excluded.
This radical debate has become seductive to
the Zanu PF government that has suddenly remembered its "anti-imperialist"
credentials and has scurried for all the cover it can find to try and
mobilise a limited and utopian nationalist and authoritarian response, in so
doing, attempt to break the opposition that it has unsuccessfully painted as
a lackey of this "new colonialism".
In light of these critiques,
it becomes important to debate under what framework Zimbabweans must engage
or disengage these international financial institutions.
debate must however be informed by a critical understanding of how
globalised economic exchanges, and that the building of national, regional
and a global market that works cannot be sidestepped.
that campaigns and advocates disengagement or one that advocates reform face
severe constraining challenges.
First, Zimbabwe is massively indebted
to the IMF and secondly, its social and politico-legal framework is under
severe strain to achieve what both camps would call
Disengagement with the IMF will mean expulsion from the IMF and
with this comes the seal of international pariah status and other creditors
would scrum into the line demanding that Harare pay its dues.
second one that calls for reform and human-centred development suffers from
one limiting factor which is: the influential members of the IMF, the WB and
the WTO have this far seemed disinterested in aid and debt relief for
Zimbabwe on the evidence of its human rights record, disregard of the rule
of law and unsustainable economic policies.
of the IMF and WB like Britain, the US and Australia have imposed smart
sanctions on Zimbabwe some of which make impossible the granting of aid or
debt relief to Zimbabwe.
At the G8 meeting in Scotland, Zimbabwe only
featured when there were discussions on how to pile pressure on Harare to
recommit itself to democracy, respect and protection of human rights and the
rule of law.
On September 10, I will join millions of other people
across the globe urging world leaders to do more for debt-relief, increase
aid and make trade fair but I shudder to think what debt-relief, more aid
and fair trade would do in the Zimbabwean situation.
give life to a regime that has a callous disregard of human rights, has
bludgeoned the judiciary, militarised the electoral processes and pursued
policies that have resulted in the homelessness of its own
In Zimbabwe's case, a sustainable deal for debt-relief and
increased strategic aid can only become part of a deal that will be offered
once there is a new government committed to constitutional and economic
reform, democracy, human rights and the protection of private
It becomes therefore clear that unless and until the
political questions in Zimbabwe are settled or partially resolved, various
interventions on, and in Zimbabwe, will remain limited if not
The loan by the South African government will be one
such initiative that has no other effect than to sustain an embattled
government that is not taking interest in urgently-needed
These cut and paste patchworks: a red patch from Beijing, a
"rainbow" patch from Pretoria and a yellow patch from Beirut will never have
the needed comprehensive effect of helping Zimbabweans move away from an
The Zimbabwean meltdown has already been
spilling into the southern African region, making impossible economic
integration of the region and making Nepad objectives look like child's play
thus pushing further into the horizon Zimbabwe's millennium development
Zimbabwe's reconstruction therefore largely depends on
how political blockages being built by Zanu PF's laager mentality are dealt
with, including negotiations where possible, mass pressure if needed and
international brokering which is much-needed.
is a Zimbabwean at the University of Technology in Sydney,
AS has been
demonstrated painfully often, brute force alone, while it can preserve power
and influence, is often impotent when faced with the ingenuity and real
commitment of oppressed people. Mirroring in many ways the disasters of
Vietnam, Romania and Ethiopia, despotism eventually fell through popular
Insecurity is the fuel that drives rulers to come up with
dense political decisions which negate the plight of the suffering
This irrationality was the hallmark of the rule of
Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, who Rastafarians believed was a messiah of
whom the Psalmist says a "prince shall come out of Egypt, and Ethiopia shall
soon stretch out her hand unto God". Under his adopted titles "Lion of
Judah", "King of Kings" or "Lord of Lords the Saviour", he is still
venerated by many Nazarenes who regarded him as the emancipator and an
epitome of black power. But Selassie's followers should also see in their
emancipator the image of a power-drunk leader who made monumental errors of
governance and became the embodiment of autocracy which runs in the veins of
many African rulers today.
That notwithstanding, he had many
positive accomplishments in the horn of Africa where he managed to lobby for
and built a modern Africa state with the support of European powers.
Founding fathers of African nationalism had no hesitation to lay the
foundations of the OAU in Ethiopia.
But the deity did err. During his
rule, Selassie advocated land redistribution. Arable land was scarce and
what better way to empower his people than give them the means of
production. He handed out over five million hectares of land to his people
but only 21% of it got to poor peasants who had no land. The rest was
distributed amongst nobles, the church, government officials, and army and
police officers. Overall, he retained absolute control of
For a country prone to droughts, the weather had a lot to do
with the fate of a population that was largely agrarian. The effects of a
drought that occurred in 1972 were devastating. But this could have been
alleviated if government had acted promptly.
It is estimated that
over 250 000 people died from the famine, and over 1,6 million were affected
by it. When famine strikes a population, it is almost always accompanied by
disease and epidemics. Ethiopia fell victim to diseases that commonly plague
a malnourished people.
Selassie's neglect of the famine did not go
unnoticed. How could the King of Kings spend millions of dollars
entertaining representatives of other countries, and neglect this widespread
Selassie was swept away by public discontent and in 1974 the
Dergue led by Mengistu Haile Mariam took over the reigns. The King of Kings
left only 2% of Ethiopia accessible by paved road. The rest of the country
remained a series of dirt paths and mud villages.
Mengistu on the
other hand pursued the Communist ideology of collectivisation and
villagisation. Years of unsustainable farming practices were allowed to
continue until in 1984-5, with the added effects of war and drought,
half-a-million lives were lost in famine.
Mengistu kicked the people
while they were on the ground by obstructing international relief efforts.
It took a heart-rending Bob Geldof live concert, Live Aid at Wembley Stadium
in London, to raise the profile of the famine and marshal international
Mengistu's retrogressive attitude lives on among many
African leaders. There are African leaders today who would rather see their
people going without food than lose face.
Only last month Niger's
President Mamdou Tandja was thumbing his nose at aid agencies wanting to
feed his people despite evidence of widespread hunger caused by the
destruction of crops by locusts.
"The people of Niger look well-fed,
as you can see," he told BBC. Even during a famine, there are well-fed ones.
Tandja claimed that reports of a food crisis were "false propaganda" that
had been used by the UN, aid agencies and opposition parties for political
"It is only by deception that such agencies receive funding,"
Do I sense the same uncanny behaviour among our leaders
They have blocked the UN from launching an appeal to help people
affected by Operation Murambatsvina. The government does not agree with the
UN on the wording of the food appeal document, hence the stupid
Zimbabwe's UN Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku, according to
AP reports, said the government believes the humanitarian crisis the UN is
trying to address in Zimbabwe "is non-existent".He said the countries the UN
would seek money from "are the countries that are very vocal in trying to
bring a regime change to Zimbabwe", he said. There you have it. Selassie,
despite aberrations in his rule, still has followers.
should at least be enlightened by Selassie's wise words: "We must become
members of a new race overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate
allegiance not to nations, but to our fellow men within the human
recent announcement by the town clerk of Harare municipality, Nomutsa
Chideya, of the reopening of flea markets at suburban shopping centres there
was a sigh of relief among those who had successfully undergone the rigorous
Unfortunately, the siting of the areas is a mockery of
basic business concepts. The council should have taken into consideration
the nature of flea market business is a daily trade
as opposed to a weekend retreat type. Business, including flea markets, is
not a hobby to be only undertaken during weekends for there are traders
earning livelihoods on full-time basis from the informal
taking the flea markets to various suburban areas lacks
basic rationale of business. For example, traders who are trading at
Avondale and Sam Levy Village trade in wares which target the class of their
potential customers. Which taste varies from those in Mabelreign or Glen
It remains pertinent and imperative that a couple of flea
market sites be identified around the city centre as this is the largest
customer-catchment zone. That would be convenient for both traders and
AGRICULTURAL research in southern Africa together with hundreds of
years of commercial farming experience have revealed that the correct land
use for sustainable economic production is most closely achieved when
large-scale ownership of land is practised. This applies in all the
ecological regions of the subcontinent.
The components which have
proved to be essential for sustainable and profitable land use are listed as
secure tenure of properly surveyed holdings;
correct-sized economic units for each ecological region;
a ready supply of low interest short and long-term
summer supplementary irrigation
where crops are grown; and
If the first
component is ignored the application of the other six is unlikely to produce
prosperity no matter how much money is poured into commodity enterprises. If
all seven are ignored the prognosis for the farmers and their homeland can
only be terminal illness.
Prior to 2001, the commercial sector of
Zimbabwean agriculture was based on the seven precepts and exceptional care
was taken to preserve and enhance the environment while at the same time
producing the prosperity that drove the economy.
With the advent of
the politically-inspired agrarian reform the seven components were abandoned
and were deemed by politicians to be irrelevant to Africa and Africans.
After four disastrous years the claims of success for the reform programme
are becoming more and more muted and the cries for secure land tenure (the
most important component) become louder.
The Reserve Bank governor has
many times listed secure tenure as a prime requirement for his "turnaround"
economic policy. The Finance minister in his mini-budget called for the
issuance of 99-year leases.
The minister and the governor are in the best
positions to observe the economic disaster which ill-advised policies have
wrought on Zimbabwean agriculture and both have called for 99-year leases to
be issued to new farmers to rectify matters. A lease, however, is not worth
the paper it is written on if the leaseholder has no permanent boundaries to
As suggested above, secure tenure is only the first step
towards sound agriculture. Another aspect of a legally correct lease is that
it confers freedom of action and independence to the holder, both anathema
to a command-oriented and sycophant-dependent
Ninety-nine-year leases will bring back value to the
land, buying and selling of farms would again be possible and, in the
long-term, prosperity would have a chance of returning to
The totally unsustainable A1 holdings will have to be enlarged
and surveyed before any economic production can be expected from them. In
the meantime, they are becoming unproductive rural slums.
pleas of the minister and the governor are ignored or delayed, further
deterioration of agriculture will be assured, regardless of whether the
rains are good, bad or indifferent.
The excess production that often
sustains southern Africa comes from commercial agriculture in South Africa
and when, in the past, commercial agriculture thrived in Zimbabwe, the two
countries provided a large measure of food security for the subcontinent. If
land policies in South Africa lead to fragmentation of economic units, food
security in the region will be in permanent jeopardy.
No takers for 'Proudly Zimbabwean' concept Godfrey
Marawanyika ZIMBABWE'S poor credit rating and a negative perception have been
blamed for failure by companies to pin the much-touted "Proudly Zimbabwean"
tag on their products, four months after the idea was mooted.
concept is in line with the labelling of goods which meet laid-down
guidelines in South Africa.
It is hoped the concept will entice
locals to buy locally-made products rather than
Industrialists said although the concept, borrowed from
South Africa by central bank governor Gideon Gono, was noble, its
implementation was bound to take time as firms were worried about their
Industrialists said exporting firms were mostly
worried "xenophobic" tendencies towards Zimbabwean products would hurt their
businesses, leading to reduced earnings.
At least two CEOs of
firms listed on the local bourse said they were still to adopt the concept
due to perceived repercussions it would have on their export performance and
The "Proudly Zimbabwean" idea was mooted by Gono in May after
raising concern over the influx of foreign goods into the
While acknowledging the concept was noble on paper, captains
of industry felt its implementation faced hitches because of the "bad boy"
tag pinned on the country.
Gono's concept was carried in the "Buy
Zimbabwe" campaign meant to promote local goods.
concern on the influx of substandard goods which he said posed a huge threat
to the country's battle against inflation and industrial
However, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
vice-president Calisto Jokonya attributed the failure of the concept to huge
amounts of money involved.
"While we are proud to be Zimbabwean, in
my opinion if there are people who do not want to buy our products then we
should not sell to them," Jokonya said.
"We as the CZI encourage
people to adopt that idea as we are proud to be Zimbabweans. There might be
challenges in terms of implementation as labelling takes time since this is
an investment. But if there are problems then people should come forward and
Early this year, the Standards Association of Zimbabwe
started inviting bids to monitor and control goods which were finding their
way into the country.
Most of the substandard goods which have resulted
in industry virtually grinding to a standstill originate from West Africa
Over the years, government has been lobbying that business
shift attention to do business with the East instead of the
However, business leaders argue that they cannot look east and
exclude others, saying it is contrary to the spirit of
Most of the products are easily finding their way
into the country since unscrupulous nationals of Asia and West Africa, among
others, abuse the friendly relations that exist between Zimbabwe and their
Debt surges Eric Chiriga GOVERNMENT'S domestic debt
has ballooned to $16 trillion, an increase of about $13,3 trillion since the
beginning of the year, as government fails to rein in
According to statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
on December 31, 2004 government's domestic debt stood at $2,79
Recently, Finance minister Herbert Murerwa announced in his
mid-term fiscal policy review that the National Social Security Authority
(Nssa) should increase its investment in the prescribed asset ratios from 15
to 35%. This is government's move to widen its
Government's domestic debt has for some time been on an
upward trend. As of June 24, the debt was $11,6 trillion while on May 27,
the debt stood at $10,08 trillion.
In his 2005 national budget
statement, Murerwa said the expenditure outturn and net lending up to
September 2004 was $6,25 trillion against a target of $6,59
This year the country is expected to have a GDP growth of
2-2,5%, down from the initial forecast of 3-5%. The revised decline in the
GDP has been blamed on the decline in performance of the agricultural
GDP is one of the key components of measuring a nation's
economic performance. Over the past four years, major contributors towards
the GDP - mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing - have been in a
freefall since the government embarked on the ill-planned land reform
The manufacturing sector has declined by more than 35%
with the situation being compounded by the fuel crisis. Tobacco production,
once the country's major foreign currency earner, has gone down by
The tourism sector at its peak contributed 6,5% towards the GDP,
while agriculture and manufacturing contributed 16 and 18%
The country is currently in its sixth consecutive year
of economic recession.
Price increases not enough - Natfoods Roadwin
Chirara PRICE increases approved on controlled products by government have
been insufficient to maintain target margins for listed food processor,
National Foods Holdings.
In its half-year results National Foods
declared an operational profit of $157 billion while its net profit for the
period under review closed at $105 billion compared to last year's figure of
National Foods company secretary, Andrew Lorimer, said
the approved price increases failed to reflect the continued rise in
operational and production costs.
"Since elections, the
authorities have granted some relief, however, the price increases allowed
have been insufficient to maintain target margins and do not reflect
underlying raw material and overhead cost increases," Lorimer
National Foods' strategic purchase over the 2004 period, which
saw its real volume increasing by 56%, has resulted in pressure reduction on
its gross profit margins.
"The resultant pressure on gross profit
margins has been mitigated by a programme of strategic purchase which has
resulted in real volume growth over 2004 of 56%. If the group had not
achieved this volume growth, an operating loss would have been incurred,"
In the period under review the company's foreign
currency allocations from the central bank fell by 73%, a position which
impacted on some of its operations.
"Current allocations are only
for critical inputs, which excludes spares. Spares availability is now
becoming a serious risk to the productive capacity of the business," Lorimer
He said serious shortages of various raw materials were of
growing concern to the operation of the business.
of raw materials is a growing concern both for imported stocks and
locally-produced goods such as packaging, soya beans, cotton seed, wheat and
maize," Lorimer said.
He said the company had resorted to flour
rationing as of May, mainly due to erratic supplies of wheat, a situation
which has also been worsened by the shortages of foreign currency on the
"From May, production has fallen and our customers are
currently subjected to flour rationing. Imported wheat has been limited as
allocations from the auction have been relatively small and infrequent,"
He said the company's Harare maize mill plant remained
closed since the beginning of April due to non-availability of maize while
its Mutare and Masvingo plants were reopened after negotiations with the
"In co-operation with authorities, our Mutare and Masvingo
maize mills were re-opened, and after some early logistical difficulties
these two mills are now receiving consistent weekly allocations of maize,
and are now making a positive contribution to divisional results," said
The company's oil operations were impacted by increases in
crude oil and soya bean prices which increased by 200 and 164%
National Foods agribusiness increased in sales volumes in
the period under review mainly as a result in demand for poultry feed and
raw material sales while the packaging business sales picked in the second
quarter but were affected by the restricted supply of foreign
National Foods declared an interim dividend payment of $250
per share for the first six months.
Govt ignored ZSE advice on new tax Godfrey
Marawanyika/Thomas Mutswiti THE Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange (ZSE) met on Friday last week in an effort to end the
standoff caused by the introduction of a 10% withholding tax on tradable
It is understood that during consultative meetings between
the ZSE and the MoF, government was advised against the withholding tax.
This was ignored, forcing the current stalemate where there has been no
trade on the bourse, causing a serious erosion of the nation's
On a daily trading basis government rakes in at least $500
million in stamp duties.
ZSE chairman Bart Mswaka confirmed they
had met MoF officials to find a solution to the crisis sparked by the
introduction of the 10% withholding tax.
"It's not correct that they
ignored our advice because there is a difference between hinting at
something and policy implementation. But when you implement that policy it
becomes different altogether," he said
"We met the ministry on Friday,
but we write and talk to the ministry everyday. Consultations will always be
there but we made our own input and they (Minister Herbert Murerwa and
permanent secretary William Manungo) have their jobs to do."
ZSE crisis has been compounded by government's decision to force pension
funds to increase their minimum capital requirements as they are the key
players on the bourse.
Mswaka said the same reasons that led to
the non-implementation of the Capital Gains Tax in 2001 had again stalled
operations on the bourse, but said a solution should be found
The bourse failed to trade from Wednesday to early this
There are 79 firms listed on the local bourse, but on Monday
only First Mutual Life traded.
Stockbrokers are clamouring for a
review of the tax rate which they say will drive them out of
"Stockbrokers are realising a decrease in business as
volumes traded are minimal. Revenue levels have already started falling,"
said one stockbroker.
"Traditional buyers are the pension funds and
currently they are selling. Speculators are selling, investors are selling,
all creating a glut as no one is buying?"
said no communication had been received from the ministry on how the tax
would be collected.
"We don't know how the tax will function. We
might subsequently see the reintroduction of Capital Gains Tax at 15%," one
"Investors will pay 10%, but when Capital Gains Tax is
introduced, and if they are found to have realised an assessed loss, they
will have to claim rebates. Given the red tape, by the time the investor
gets the rebate, he/she would have wasted money and
Brokers said information technology preparedness was key as
they would have to customise their information systems to capture the tax
They said Murerwa assumed that by forcing insurance
firms and pension funds to increase their holdings of government securities,
they would liquidate their shares and in the process pay the 10% withholding
tax, raising billions of dollars for a gluttonous
"Unfortunately for him, no revenue is flowing to the
government. Hopefully, Murerwa will realise that he collects more money by
levying 2% stamp duty than by levying 10% withholding tax," a broker
"What this effectively means is that investors venturing into
the stock market will now pay transaction costs amounting to 14%, that is
the new 10%, 2% stamp duty and 2% brokers commission," said a market
Currently, the appetite for equities is at its lowest
"The alternative would be to borrow from the money market. This
too is unsustainable given that minimum lending rates are in excess of 300%
due to rate hikes by the RBZ," one banker said.
impact will be on those institutions that will be floating rights issues to
conform with new capital requirements. There will be no takers for their
shares and some will be forced to pursue mergers or wind up."
banker said the downside was the added cost when a firm attempts to balance
its weighted average cost of capital, since any share buyback decision by
the company must take into account the potentially huge bill generated to
investors by having to pay 10% tax on shares sold.
"No modern economy
imposes such a burden on its wealth-generating companies," the banker
"Zimbabwe is not a particularly rich country and needs
wealth-creating investment to become one. Zimbabwe has long suffered from
under-investment and is today significantly less capital-intensive than its
Because of increased transaction costs, a
shift by foreign investors out of Zimbabwean equities is more
Analysts also noted that high tax rates are a barrier to
"Investors will allocate less capital to Zimbabwean
registered securities than would otherwise be the case because of increased
transaction costs," an analyst said.
"The tax will fuel parallel
market activities as investors seek financial freedom. For wary investors
who are thinking twice about buying shares, a reduction in withholding tax
remains at the top of their wish-list."
Zim to disclose terms of SA loan Godfrey
Marawanyika FINANCE minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
governor Gideon Gono will today meet the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
delegation and perhaps explain the status of South Africa's R6,5 billion
loan to Zimbabwe.
The meeting comes ahead of a September 9 deadline
by the IMF executive board to consider Harare's continued membership of the
The three-member delegation, which came into the country this
week, comprises Sharmini Coorey (head of delegation), Sonia Munoz, an expert
on monetary and balance of payments, and Kevin Fletcher, a fiscal policy
Coorey and Munoz were in the country last month during
Article IV consultations, which found that Zimbabwe's financial position was
far from sound.
The trio is expected to head back to Washington
on Monday and make a formal report on their findings.
findings will be incorporated in the executive board's final decision on
Harare's continued status with the international financier.
Monday, the delegation met with Ministry of Finance and central bank
representatives to review the country's balance of payments and external
The R6,5 billion is part of external loans and Gono
and Murerwa have to disclose the terms to the IMF team.
is expected to be disbursed in phases, with the first tranche of US$160
million being used to settle just half of the country's US$295 million debt
to the international financier.
At least US$160 million will be
sufficient to save Harare from expulsion, but will not necessarily open
lines of credit with the IMF and the World Bank.
external arrears amount to US$4,5 billion.
Washington officials said
the Coorey delegation was expected to ask about the loan issue since part of
the money would be used to offset Zimbabwe's debt.
month, a Zimbabwean team of experts from the central bank and the Ministry
of Finance has been shuttling between Harare and Johannesburg to negotiate
the disbursement of the loan.
On Tuesday, the IMF met with central
bank officials to review the monetary, exchange rate regulations, forex
inflows, and the auction system.
However, while acknowledging
discussions between himself and the Zimbabwean team, on Wednesday South
African central bank governor Tito Mboweni disputed the reported $1 billion
loan, saying it was a media creation. "Yes, there have been discussions
about that, and the discussions are nowhere near a billion dollar
Loan discussions involving himself, Finance minister
Trevor Manuel and their Zimbabwean counterparts were not yet concluded,
"The discussion really has centred around what policies
need to be undertaken in Zimbabwe to help boost economic performance,
control inflation, bring about a more stable exchange rate and improve the
production sector of the economy."
AN intensifying hindrance to the long-desired but very elusive
economic turnaround is a fast-growing divide between management and
As if it does not suffice that productivity within almost all
sectors of the economy has been in free-fall as a consequence of inadequate
availability of foreign currency, growing obsolescences, frequent energy
load-shedding, fuel shortages, and much else, the pace of the productivity
decline is severely exacerbated by the increasing tension that has
developed, and continuing friction that exists between management and
Almost entirely, the divide is created by the desperation to
which labour has been reduced in trying to provide for the bare essentials
of survival for his family and himself, and a perception of the labourers
that employers have unlimited resources and can pay whatsoever the workers
may demand - or at least may need - for that survival.
desperation of the workers is readily understandable. Since late 1997,
inflation has almost continuously surged upwards, save for a period from
February 2004 to January (but even during that period the annual rate of
inflation was at three-digit levels).
Inflation peaked in January
2004 at 623,8%, and fell progressively to a relative low of 123,7% in March.
However, in contrast to governmental expectations and projections, the rate
then rapidly moved upwards once more, reaching 254,8% in July, and is still
As bad as those circumstances are, those of the lower income
bracket in society are very markedly worse off. This is so because the
magnitude of inflation on essential goods and services has, in the main,
been considerably greater than on those of somewhat lesser priority for
inclusion in a spending basket.
Year-on-year inflation, as advised by
the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in July in respect of rentals was
598,1%, and educational fees reached a horrendous 1 211%, whilst medical
services sustained 543,2% inflation, and passenger transport services rose
by 497,5%, and pharmaceuticals were subjected to a gargantuan inflation of
In contrast, costs of recreation and culture rose by the
relatively "low" extent of 144,8%, household appliances 87,4%, and
glassware, tableware and household utensils 77,1%. But low-income earners
cannot afford to spend upon any of those items.
According to the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a monthly consumer basket for the low-income
urban family of six amounted to $5,4 million in July, representing an
increase of 27% over the June cost of $4,2 million.
Since then, increases
have been agreed between the Ministry of Industry and International Trade
and Commerce and Industry, for diverse price increases of basic commodities,
including increases of $3 000 for a loaf of bread, from $4 500 to $7 500, $6
200 for a 2kg packet of white sugar, from $8 300 to $14 500, $14 100 for a
375ml bottle of cooking oil from $8 100 to $22 200 and $3 900 for 500 ml of
milk, from $4 600 to $8 500.
On average, the increases agreed in respect
of basic commodities are 174%.
The never-ending steep rise in the cost of
living for the average worker has turned his life into misery. His children
cry from the agony of hunger pangs caused by insufficiency of food and
dietary imbalance, his wife is resentful of the family's discomforts, and
gives vent to her resentment upon her husband who is exhausted from walking
anything up to three hours to work in the morning, and again to go home at
the end of the day, in order to save the costs of transport.
family has had to surrender all semi-luxuries and focus only upon trying to
make ends meet. Were this not sufficiently untenable, workers were
devastated when the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture suddenly
announced a 1 000-fold increase in school fees, retrospective to January
and, at the end of August, were also confronted with a 100% increase in
Moreover, with the already scarce availability
of accommodation having been very considerably worsened by the disastrous,
inhumane Operation Murambatsvina, rental charges have risen to levels as
high as $2 million per month for a single room in Chitungwiza, Highfields,
Glen Norah and elsewhere.
With all the adversity confronting them,
workers have developed myopia to the fact that the employer enterprises are
also catastrophically affected by the abysmal economic circumstances
Turnovers, in real terms, have fallen sharply in response to
foreign currency shortages, reduced domestic market consumer spending,
shrunken exports, surging overheads and massive rises in interest rates,
among many other factors - including decreased productivity.
workers believe that most employers have unlimited resources. After all,
management does not have to walk to work (not even in times of fuel
shortages!), and instead arrives in executive motor vehicles. Management
continues to live in up-market housing in elitist suburbs, and to patronise
restaurants, and so forth.
The distinction in lifestyles is so marked
that it is almost inevitable that the workers should believe that the
employers are possessed of horns of cornucopia.
The facts that those
houses and vehicles were acquired in better days, and that the restaurant
patronage is invariably linked to entertaining customers in order to obtain
orders, are disregarded. So too are the facts that most enterprises are
under-capitalised, as the effects of inflation upon the extent of required
funding for stock-in-trade, extension of credit, and so forth, have been
In consequence, almost all businesses are now reliant upon
bank overdrafts and loan facilities, attracting interest charges of about
300% per annum.
In such circumstances, the employers are confronted with
very conflicting emotions and business decisions. On the one hand, and
despite any beliefs of labour to the contrary, most employers are very
sympathetically disposed towards their employers, wishing to accord them the
maximum possible wages to enable them to survive the very trying economic
difficulties that constitute their lives today.
On the other hand,
they must strive to ensure that their businesses survive for the benefit of
all stakeholders, including owners and the workers.
Regrettably, all too
often, within the lead-up to collective bargaining negotiations, and in the
course of those negotiations, labour does not recognise the employer
circumstances. Instead, the labour negotiators become embittered. More often
than not, there is little or no willingness to compromise and militancy
becomes pronounced among not only the worker representatives at the
negotiations, but among all the affected workers.
One of the key
contributants to the divide between management and labour is that workers
contend that their minimum wage should be no less than the poverty datum
But the PDL pertains to a family unit, and not just the
worker and, as a general rule , in economic environments such as Zimbabwe's,
most families have at least two income generators - albeit at inadequate
levels. This inadequacy is especially so as, very often, the second income
earner has to operate within the informal sector. Nevertheless, there would
be more credibility to worker demands if the minimum wage sought would be,
say, 60% of the PDL.
Another key contributant is the low level of
productivity that characterises most operations within the Zimbabwean
Many of the causes are beyond involvement of workers, being
extraneous circumstances relating to availability of inputs, customer demand
levels, and the like. But the stresses and the demoralisation of labour,
compounded by the militancy flowing from wage disputes, lower worker
motivation to maximise productivity and ensure highest possible quality
levels, with a minimum of quality deficiencies and product
Labour needs to work as team players with management, for the
higher the productivity and the operational efficiencies, the greater is the
enterprise's ability to pay higher wages (preferably on formulae linked to
productivity). Enhanced productivity also maximises the prospects of
In particular, when labour negotiates wages, it
needs to be borne in mind, but very often is not, that an inadequate wage is
better than no wage, and if demands are such that the businesses fail and
cease to exist, then the workers lose employment, receive no wages, and
often cannot even receive retrenchment packages due to the total insolvency
of the employers' businesses.
THE Zanu PF government this week pushed the frontiers of
demagoguery to absurd lengths after it used its numerical advantage in the
House to pass the egregious Constitutional Amendment Bill no 17 which will
seriously erode our basic rights.
The contentious amendment removes
the rights of individuals to secure the protection of the law where such
rights have been violated by the state in the name of so-called national
It strips landowners of their right to appeal against
expropriation of their land in the courts and puts all real estate on a
99-year lease from government. It empowers government to confiscate
passports from political opponents, especially those criticising it outside
The amendment also establishes a 66-member Senate, 50 of
whom will be elected while the rest will be made up of 10 traditional chiefs
and six presidential appointees.
Zanu PF MPs, straitjacketed by
political dogma and blind allegiance to the incumbent, broke into song to
celebrate a pyrrhic victory which only confirms our worst fears that the
party cannot lead any economic recovery. They were celebrating
constitutional tyranny which has nothing to do with economic
Leader of the House and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
told parliament the passage of the Bill would "close the chapter of
colonisation". Applause! But it will also extend the epoch of international
isolation, cutting away foreign direct investment and simply make
But the Zanu PF government does not care. President
Mugabe has hogged the international limelight for the wrong reasons and
seems to relish it immensely.
The execution of the land reform under
the pretext of black empowerment was a disaster that precipitated the
current economic meltdown. The new amendment will prevent dispossessed
farmers from contesting the acquisitions in court.
After this policy
assault on land rights, what can stop government from forcibly expropriating
assets in other sectors of the economy such as mines and
The most shocking aspect of the whole process is the
complicit silence of the judiciary despite this callous kick in the teeth.
What kind of judiciary allows government to abridge individual rights by
barring courts from hearing disputes on issues of fundamental rights? There
is all the evidence of a suborned judiciary after members got huge spoils
from expropriated land.
The amendment will make it easier for
government officials and party mandarins to cherry-pick the remaining
productive farms for themselves. Finance minister Herbert Murerwa and
central bank governor Gideon Gono have spoken of restoring confidence in the
farming sector. The new Bill is working in the opposite
Not content with trashing fundamental rights, the plan to
withdraw the passports of opposition politicians and other government
critics smacks of petty vindictiveness. There is no hiding from the fact
that this is bad, target-specific law by individuals seeking
"This will take away the right of those people to go outside the
country and ask other countries to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe," said
Because all senior Zanu PF party members and government
officials are banned from travelling to Europe and the United States, what
better way to get even with the opposition than threatening to withdraw
their passports? There is no recourse to the courts for those dispossessed.
They have to challenge the Constitution itself, a very cumbersome task
The democratic space has been shrinking since Independence and it
is getting increasingly difficult to expand it through legal means. This is
embarrassing for a party which boasts of having brought democracy to use
parliament to deny people their rights under the pretext of promoting
Then there is the infantile ruse that government wants to
extend the oversight functions of the legislature by introducing a Senate.
The upper house will be another layer of autocracy and a conveyor belt of
This is another omnibus of the Zanu PF patronage
system seeking to accommodate denizens of the party's political scrapyard,
those who lost in the party primary elections at the beginning of the year
and the ignoramuses waiting for scraps from the king's
President Mugabe confirmed this on the eve of the election when he
told party supporters in Hurungwe that the Senate would accommodate those
who would have lost in the elections.
The sight of Shuvai Mahofa
leading fellow Zanu PF MPs in festivities in the House on Tuesday summed up
the tragedy of this country. Here is a group of mandarins celebrating an own
goal because they do not know which direction they are scoring.
SO the Central Vehicle Registry is phasing out the "new" vehicle
numbering system stolen from Zambia?
The numbering system, involving
three letters of the alphabet and four digits, was introduced barely eight
months ago to "make it impossible" for thieves to forge vehicle documents,
we were told then. Today the same argument is being used for the sudden
The addition of the ZW acronym will put the country at par with
the "latest European Union and international standards" and leave no room
for forging of registration documents, reported the Herald with the same
What we found really startling was CVR registrar Allowance
Sango's denial that the change had anything to do with protests from Zambia
over the theft. The change, Sango said, "is not a reaction to press reports
or a result of any form of complaint by the Zambian authorities. But this
product (numbering format) came about as a result of our quest to address
those challenges that we came across on implementing the number plate
While we were still trying to figure out the meaning of this
"quest", Sango quickly came to the rescue: "So far we have raised at least
$30 billion in revenue from payments made by motorists when they get the new
So this is in fact a money-making pyramid scheme? He
has no scruples that they got it all wrong so long as they have the money.
And motorists are expected to meekly go over the same fraud again to make
some officer's wife richer!
What has Mr Liar Sango got to say about a
court ruling on the numbering format in favour of Zambia? Wasn't that the
really pressure for change, that there was nothing original in the so-called
new numbering system but plain intellectual property theft? The level of
self-deception keeps getting more and more threadbare. What a shameful lot
While we were sold the lie that the system was foolproof against
theft, the Herald reports almost innocently that scores of con-artists "had
of late mushroomed, subjecting the vehicle numbering system to abuse". We
hope it's not the same original fraudsters mutating to expand their industry
to dodge the taxman!
By the way, was there a tender for this
multi-billion-dollar golden goose?
So what has happened to the child
molesters at Macheke government school who raped or were complicit in the
rape of over 50 primary schoolchildren last year? The last word we heard was
that the felons, including the headmistress and matron, were being
transferred to other schools, hopefully to continue their heinous
Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere reportedly visited the
school for an inspection in loco. As a show of opprobrium at this iniquity,
he expressly ordered the transfer of the criminals as punishment. That's
Has the lawlessness of the past five years so deadened our
conscience as a society that such large-scale abuse of children is now taken
as a trifling offence? And where are our donor-driven do-gooders from the
women's lobby? High up on 4X4s, hiding behind dark glasses not to see the
woes of the madding crowds below!
Some say the country is gone to the
dogs. We bet there won't be takers in Sodom and Gomorrah.
where are the criminals? Where are the police who were so enthusiastic about
Operation Murambatsvina and the destruction of people's homes? Isn't this a
more appropriate task for them? No double standards please and there is no
need for prompting.
Talking of Operation Murambatsvina, is it true then
that the whole charade was an anti-poor blitz?
Haven't the 10 days by
which Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo said residents of northern
suburbs should have "regularised" their illegal structures elapsed? And we
are supposed to believe everything was so regularised that there was no need
to start the engine of a single bulldozer.
How easy it is to copy the
methods and tactics of the oppressor. And true to the scriptures, for those
without, even the little they think they have shall be taken away. So the
poor have been left poorer while money speaks for the
Scientists at the Met Department are under fire. They were this
week accused of giving misleading or "incomplete information" about the
weather. This has contributed to food shortages because farmers are planting
the wrong crop varieties, Newsnet reported on Monday.
argued that if they had been given accurate and reliable information they
should have planted the right crop varieties according to rainfall
forecasts. This, unfortunately, has not been the case in the past four
years, they said.
It is significant that these doctored weather forecasts
occurred in the past four years. That was the period of compulsory patriotic
reporting, when even weather reports had to be vetted by the President's
Office. It would have been ill-advised to say anything negative about
falling productivity coinciding with blacks reclaiming their soil. Remember
their tireless slogan: "The land is the economy, the economy is
Of course nobody wants to talk about the impact of land
degradation because of the unplanned cutting down of trees and uncontrolled
veld fires destroying the environment. So the culprits must be the Met guys,
presumably working in cahoots with the Americans to create drought
conditions in Zimbabwe.
For the past four years we thought it
couldn't get worse. Who is the next scapegoat for the national
Talking of which, Interactive Affairs minister Chenhamo Chakezha
Chimutengwende vehemently denied on the Voice of America radio that there
were food shortages in Zimbabwe. He denied supermarket shelves were largely
empty, insisting people who made such claims had "an agenda".
evil agenda, you might want to know? It was the same people who wanted
government to make a formal appeal for food assistance, complained Chen
self-righteously. Government was not going to make such an appeal because
"we have put together enough resources to import maize from South Africa",
said Chen. He protested that it was not in the national interest to receive
food from the United States.
Told by the reporter that the food would
be bought by the World Food Programme, Chen was adamant that a formal appeal
was out of the question because it would impair "our dignity". Can anything
Here is a so-called people's government that destroys the
whole agricultural sector, destroys people's homes in the midst of winter in
the name of slum clearance and then claims to have dignity to protect? Who
has been lying that the emperor still has his clothes on we wonder? So the
people must starve for the sake of keeping appearances?
Service and Social Welfare minister Nicholas Goche needs help in the art of
political subterfuge. He told The Voice's Target Shumba that the Zimbabwe
government had the capacity to feed its people and would not bend to the
"machinations of the West".
He is quoted as saying: "Instead we are
asking for nations of goodwill to come forward with any assistance they
might be in a position to offer as a complementary effort and not the other
The minister wants us to believe that his government is not
begging for food and is simply seeking "complementary" efforts. But he could
not hide the true picture. He said Zimbabwe needs 1,2 million tonnes of
food. Out of that the World Food Programme would import 600 000 tonnes and
to date government has only imported 300 000 tonnes. The remainder would be
imported through "various arms of government".
In case the minister
is not aware, half of the food requirements will be imported through the WFP
using funds contributed largely by the European Union and USAid. Last
Thursday the EU announced US$5 million additional funding to feed people in
the region. The EU's contribution now totals US$25 million and Zimbabwe is
set to benefit from 114 000 tonnes of maize purchased by the EU which is in
the West and not East.
Evidence of Zimbabwe's begging abounds in the
countryside. Grain bags with an EU or USA insignia are a common sight. The
West is not complementing government efforts. It is actually feeding us. We
expect more intelligent tricks from intelligence functionaries.
was shocking news in Jonathan Moyo's pan-Africanist project called the
Southern Times this week. A Swapo youth leader in Namibia resigned his
ministerial post over allegations of corruption involving R30
The deputy minister allegedly abused public funds to make
personal profits from a "pyramid investment scheme". Paulus Kapia could not
endure further revelations that he was an active shareholder in the
fraudulent scheme and decided his best option was to quit public
The fraud allegations have reportedly claimed the life of the
mastermind of the scheme, one Lazarus Kandara, who is said to have died of
shame last Wednesday.
We wonder how many would retain their offices
in Zimbabwe if suddenly all public office bearers had their consciences
restored. Why shocking? Because it's unAfrican, it's for Western hypocrites.
The manly thing in Africa is to deny and deny any wrong-doing until the
t looks like everyone on the continent
is under attack for the politics of puppetry except President Mugabe and the
dunderheads in the state media.
In the past it was President Festus Mogae
of Botswana. Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo has become the butt of state media
ridicule and scorn. The latest barbs are aimed at South Africa's Thabo Mbeki
from the same omniscients who can't manage their own affairs.
week Nathaniel Manheru attacked South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation
Commission as an insult to Africans who were made to assume the "burden of
guilt" for apartheid. Under former Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu, said
Manheru, the commission "expiated the sins of southern Africa's evil white
tribe, removing the important psychological barrier" which should have
disabled them from active politics.
Those of us who have experienced
at close quarters Zanu PF's politics of labelling and exclusion appreciate
the full import of those tactics. White Zimbabweans who had naively assumed
that the policy of reconciliation enunciated at Independence in 1980 was
anything but a charade learnt the hard way when they tried to join the MDC
The lucky ones lost their farms. Others were not so lucky to
escape with their lives for trying to break the "psychological barrier" to
active politics - a perpetual sense of guilt for the sins of our
forefathers. When it's convenient to it, whites remain an evil tribe in the
Zanu PF psyche.
It was that child of slavery Martin Luther King Jr who
remarked: "Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects
revenge, aggression and retaliation." That's a moral lesson Zanu PF
mandarins love never to learn.
Mbeki was attacked for letting the law
get in the way of good politics. According to Manheru's evil genius, Mbeki
should not have let his former deputy Jacob Zuma be fingered by the
Scorpions for alleged corruption. He should not have fired him when
allegations of sleaze got really messy. This was a way of placating the West
at the expense of the ANC, was Manheru's papal verdict.
words Mbeki should have taken the Robert Mugabe Way and told the judiciary
what to do.
Those who have fallen foul of Zanu PF such as Phillip
Chiyangwa, James Makamba and Chris Kuruneri know how it is possible in a
democratic Zimbabwe to spend a year in remand prison without trial, that the
law can be made to "fix" you. That is the predominant mentality of those who
fashion the laws of this nation.
Mnheru's attack on the Zimbabwe
Independent last Saturday proprietor Trevor Ncube is misplaced. It assumes
that he writes and edits stories for this paper. It doesn't deserve a
rebuttal. It invites contempt which it richly gets.
hinted that he would rather have the CIO run the Independent "in the light
of sinister sell-out politics whose inauguration began a long time
Was Trevor Ncube among those arrested last year for selling "state
secrets" or is this a case of convenient amnesia?
It certainly can't
be a case of mistaken identity considering Manheru's position in
government's perking order.
CORPSES are reportedly piling up at
three provincial hospital mortuaries because of the crippling fuel crisis
gripping Zimbabwe, The Daily Mirror learnt yesterday. Scores of bodies
have not been collected from Bindura, Marondera and Masvingo provincial
hospitals, and this is bad news for cash-strapped bereaved relatives
struggling to meet escalating funeral costs. Relatives can not collect the
bodies of their loved ones timeously as the fuel bug bites deeper. This
comes against the background of overflowing bodies, some decomposing on
morgue floors, lying uncollected for ages. Worst hit is the mortuary at
Masvingo Provincial Hospital. The morgue, which caters for the vast
south-eastern province, can only carry 17 bodies, but last week was
reportedly overflowing with about 51 corpses. A similar scenario reportedly
prevails at district hospitals in the province, including Ngomahuru and
Chivi, whose mortuaries are said to be full with uncollected
bodies. Masvingo provincial hospital administrator Vitalis Shonhai attributed
the situation to the shortage of fuel . He also partly blamed the
department of Social Welfare for delaying in approving paupers' burial. The
problem was further compounded by the fact that the police also bring in
bodies of people whose relatives they would have failed to
"The situation has worsened recently due to the fuel crisis.
Deceased's relatives are finding it difficult to collect bodies because many
vehicles are grounded due to fuel shortages,' Shonhai said. "I also
attribute this to delays by the department of social welfare to approve
paupers' burials. Other bodies are brought by the police amid problems among
families with the other part refusing to bury the deceased until a dispute
is settled," he added. There was no joy at Marondera Hospital mortuary either
with authorities singing the same tune. Though no official communication was
immediately available at the Mashonaland East referral hospital, The Daily
Mirror was reliably informed that bodies had not been collected for months
now. The source said about four months ago several bodies were given paupers
burials. Contacted for comment, Marondera Hospital administrator who
identified himself as Muchinouta, refused and referred all issues to Dr
Chiriva, the provincial medical director who was not very
co-operative. She said it was not the ministry's responsibility to bury the
dead but relatives'. "I need to see the person I am talking to. I cannot
say anything over the phone, but it's not the ministry's job to bury the
dead but that of the relatives," Chiriva said before her phone went
off. An official at Bindura Hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity
said: "We have a number of uncollected bodies. The carrying capacity of the
mortuary is 15, but at the moment there are about 21 bodies." The
perennial fuel shortages are attributed to the critical death of foreign
currency coupled with the rising price of petroleum on the world
market. Most hospital mortuaries in Zimbabwe have limited capacities and are
being stretched to the limit by high fatality rate fuelled by the HIV and
Aids scourge which kills thousands of people weekly.
Shamu threatens to expose firms that fail to
The Daily Mirror Reporter issue date :2005-Sep-02
Minister of State for Policy Implementation in the Office of the President
and Cabinet, Webster Shamu, yesterday threatened to divulge names of local
companies contracted by the State to carry out public sector projects and
failed to deliver. In a statement after touring government projects in the
country's 10 administrative provinces, Shamu said his department had noticed
that some companies took up State projects through tender and failed to
implement them on time, resulting in cost escalations. "A number of
public sector projects remain incomplete because of some corrupt tendencies
being practiced by local companies," Shamu said. "My department is currently
visiting provinces and districts to check on public sector project
implementation. We will not hesitate, as the department of policy
implementation, to publicise names of companies that fail to deliver and
defraud the State." He said the unscrupulous practices by the companies led
to huge losses on the part of the government due to inflation, and having
to re-tender the projects. "It should be understood that the government
tender system is there to protect the State against unscrupulous
contractors," Shamu added.
GOVERNMENT failed to collect any
revenue from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) yesterday as the 10 percent
withholding tax on tradable securities came into effect, with sellers
continuing to fail to find buyers. The ZSE, which has lost an estimated $132
billion due to a halt in trade in the past 12 days, recorded no business
yesterday with both the industrial and mining index maintaining Wednesday's
figures of 3 812 915.98 and 595 228 66 respectively. On a daily basis,
the ZSE generates up to $11 billion during trading and was paying up to $500
million in stamp duty to government. This week only two counters, First
Mutual Limited (FML) and Consolidated Farming Industries (CFI) traded
unchanged on Monday and Tuesday respectively in a market that has been in
selling gear for nearly two weeks. Trade in equities halted two weeks ago
when the Ministry of Finance directed pension and insurance funds, that
dominate about 90 percent of all investments on the stock market, to meet
prescribed asset ratio requirements effective October 1. In addition,
government introduced the withholding tax on all marketable securities, with
effect since yesterday, in a bid to raise increased revenue to finance a
$6.6 trillion supplementary budget for 2005. As the (capital gains) tax, that
was initially introduced five years ago before it was suspended, came into
effect yesterday both the industrial and mining indices stretched into their
second day of no movement in prices, after it closed unchanged on
Wednesday. There was no activity at the local bourse this week, with stock
brokers recording no business as fund managers continue to look for buyers
in order to meet next month's prescribed asset requirements. But fund
managers have been failing to find buyers for their stock, a scenario that
has led to the offer prices of most shares falling in value as fund managers
reduce their offers in the hope of finding buyers. Growing market consensus
on the stalemate at the local bourse is that the situation might eventually
result in foreign investors swooping on the market and buying the shares
cheaply. "If it remains a sellers' market and the offer prices keep on
falling it might result in foreign investors, that command funds equal to or
above pension and insurance funds, waiting for the shares to depreciate
further before they buy in," a dealer said. Efforts to contact Emmanuel
Munyuki, the ZSE CEO proved fruitless the entire week, though it has been
established that he has held a number of meetings with stockbrokers and the
Ministry of Finance although no compromise had been reached.
THE construction of
houses in Manicaland under Operation Garikai/Hhlalani Kuhle has been hit by
the current fuel crisis in the country. Chairperson of the re-construction
exercise, Colonel Ronnie Mutizha told this newspaper yesterday that progress
in building the targeted 960 housing units in the province was hampered by
fuel shortages for delivering materials and other logistics. "These
problems are negatively affecting progress as in most cases we fail to meet
daily targets. The situation is not all that pleasing and we hope
stakeholders will put their heads together and find a lasting solution,"
Mutizha added. About 350 houses are already under construction in the
province. The government embarked on the $3 trillion reconstruction programme
to accommodate victims of Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order, which left
at least 200 000 people homeless according to the State. -Mirror
THE department of Public
and Interactive Affairs will today hold a round-table conference with
farmers in Bindura to discuss issues affecting the key sector. In a
statement, departmental principal director William Nhara, said the debut
meeting, set for all provinces, would give farmers an opportunity to express
how their relations with government and other stakeholders could be
enhanced. "The meeting dubbed Let the Farmers Speak, will be held in
preparation for the 2005/6 farming season and is aimed at giving farmers a
chance to express their frustrations and suggestions for progress," Nhara
said. "The farmers are guaranteed to get on the spot responses on all their
concerns ranging from land tenure and utilisation, Arex services, sourcing
of agricultural loans and many other issues," he added.
THE City of Harare will
open 19 more weekend flea markets in various suburbs following the launch of
the pioneering project in Mabelreign last weekend, Town Clerk Nomutsa
Chideya said yesterday. Flea markets in the city centre and residential areas
were shut down at the height of Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order when
most operators were accused of flouting regulations by allegedly subletting
their stalls and also engaging in illegal trade of the scarce foreign
currency. "Following the successful launching of the weekend flea market
concept at Mabelreign Shopping Centre last weekend, the City of Harare
intends to open up several other weekend flea markets," said Chideya, adding
the new concept was meant to prevent sprouting of illegal
activities. Under the new concept, traders would only be allowed to sell
during weekends. Chideya said those with police clearances would be required
to pay $200 000 every Friday of the ensuing weekend. They would also be
issued with badges for display when conducting their business. The badges
must surrendered when business closes every Sunday. Flea markets have also
been banned in the Central Business District (CBD) for causing
congestion. Besides Mabelreign, there would be new markets in Marlborough,
Mount Pleasant, Borrowdale, Waterfalls, Hatfield, Mbare, Dzivaresekwa,
Hatcliffe, Mufakose and Mabvuku. Kuwadzana, Sunningdale, Glen Norah, Glen
View, Budiriro, Highfield, Tafara, Warren Park and Kambuzuma will also have