Inside Zimbabwe Inc
You cannot appreciate why Mugabe and his henchmen are clinging so
tenaciously to power until you know how much they have to lose
ALTHOUGH CORRUPTION within the Zimbabwean government is notorious,
journalists have persistently failed to find proof of corruption in
the case of President Robert Mugabe himself. The only time that
anything really juicy emerged was during the US Senate hearings into
the collapse of the Abu Dhabi-based Bank of Credit and Commerce
International (BCCI) in 1992. According to the published testimony of
BCCI officials the bank had secured preferential banking rights in
Zimbabwe by bribing Mugabe and Vice-President Joshua Nkomo in
One official, Nazir Chinoy, described how the bank's emissary,
Aluauddin Sheikh, "carried a bag with him . . . he went off to see
President Mugabe and when they talked they wanted me out of the
Chinoy and other officials said the bag had been full of cash and
Sheikh left it with Mugabe. Another official, Akbar Bilgrami,
testified that "We paid Mugabe and Nkomo. I was at the Park Lane
branch [in London]. BCCI was approached to look after the expenses of
the delegates [at the Lancaster gate talks on Zimbabwean
independence], which were paid. In addition, we paid £500,000 pounds
from the Park Lane branch. Someone from Mr Naqvi's office came to
Lane and picked up the money. I don't think that Ian Smith was
paid by us." BCCI did indeed acquire special banking rights in
Zimbabwe that it retained until the bank's collapse.
To understand how politics and money work in Zimbabwe one has to
with the fact that Zanu-PF is more than just a political party. It
owns two companies, the M & S Syndicate, set up even before
independence in 1980, and Zidco Holdings (of which M & S holds 55 per
cent of the shares), set up straight afterwards.
Through these two companies the party has a vast range of interests,
see Figure 1 (Zidco Holdings). Many of its holdings are apparent
the figure. Those that are not are Treger Holdings, producers of
building materials, hardware etc; Ottawa, a property management
company; Catercraft, which runs the catering at Harare airport and
also supplies all domestic and international flights out of Harare;
Zimdam, M&S's investment arm; Woolworth Trading, which supplies the
Zimbabwean armed forces, government central stores and other
ministries and departments; and Zidlee Enterprises, which controls
duty free shops at Beit Bridge, Harare City and Harare Airport, also
supplying diplomats with a range of goods. Zidlee is believed to be
particularly useful to Zanu-PF high-ups who want to move foreign
exchange in or out of the country.
In effect Zidco allowed the party to take a share in a whole range of
enterprises set up in Zimbabwe. This also allowed key members of the
political elite access to its profits, though how much goes to whom
not a public fact. Attempts at Zanu-PF congresses to get the party's
treasurer, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to divulge the accounts of Zidco and M
& S have always failed; though he did reveal in 1992 that Zanu-PF's
assets were then worth Z$486 million.
The key to Zidco is the Joshi family. The Joshis are part of the
diaspora scattered across east and southern Africa, a community that,
thanks to the chronic insecurity it has had to face in recent years,
now frequently has a footing in Britain too. The Joshis, a family of
Malawian Asians with a house in Romford, Essex, have played a key
under the Mugabe regime. Jayan Joshi, who was based in Britain in the
1970s, extended considerable assistance to Zanu activists sent on
scholarships to Britain from the guerrilla camps in Mozambique.
After independence Mugabe invited Jayan and his brother Manoo to run
Zidco. Through their offices Rambhai Patel, a Kenyan Asian who now
lives near Chislehurst in Kent, put up the equity capital for Zidco,
of which he still owns 45 per cent. Patel, now in his 80s, is a
in the Asian community, having greatly increased the fortune his
merchant father left him. He is famous not just for his wealth and
business acumen but as an eminence grise. He is the owner of Unicorn
Export-Import, based in London, which owns his share of Zidco. In
he visited Zimbabwe and cemented his relationship with Mugabe by
making a $50,000 contribution to Zanu-PF funds. The Joshis retain
strong personal links to the Mugabes - Jayan's daughter Heena, for
example, is a close friend of the president's wife, Grace, and sits
the board of Grace's pet charity, the Children's Rehabilitation
Having played a key part in the contract for the new Harare
international airport Heena now has a leading role in Oryx Diamonds.
Zidco's directors are the two Joshi brothers, and Emmerson Mnangagwa
and Sidney Sekeramayi - the two men who have controlled the Central
Intelligence Organisation ever since independence. Both are extremely
close to Mugabe. The president has tried to push Mnangagwa forward as
his possible successor but the former minister of justice is too
unpopular for that to succeed. Despite his defeat in the June
election, Mugabe has made Mnangagwa speaker of parliament with a
to keep the Movement for Democratic Change under control. Sekeremayi,
clung on to his seat in the June election by just 63 votes, a result
which the MDC is challenging in the courts. Mugabe has abolished his
ministry of security abolished and moved him into the presidential
office instead, thus increasing the president's personal control over
Thus Mnangagwa and Sekeramayi not only know, both literally and
figuratively, where all the political bodies are buried but are also
privy to all the party's financial secrets - which they control.
Mnangagwa was chairman of M & S for many years. He is also a director
of Oporto Investments, Galant Distribution, Galhold Investments,
Woolworth Trading, Treasure Holdings and National Blankets.
Mnangagwa is also chairman of Fibrolite, a joint venture with a
Portuguese businessman, Armando Godinko. Fibrolite exports over US$1
million of asbestos a year. The interaction between Mnangagwa's
political, financial and intelligence roles - CIO operatives still
call him "the son of God" because of his close ties to Mugabe - was
revealed in 1995. Godinko's son, Luis, the owner of the Mirage
nightclub, was arrested for the abduction and rape of a 17-year-old
girl. When the immigration authorities sought to cancel Luis's
residence permit Mnangagwa got the CIO to swear that Luis was one of
their key operatives and a vital source of information, so that the
charges were dropped in the national interest. The principal
immigration officer, Elias Mbedze, did not have such a high opinion
Luis, calling him "a dangerous guy" and "a graduate in crime" - Luis
was at the time appealing against a conviction for bribing a police
Mnangagwa has also played a key role in the expansion of Zanu-PF's
financial interests into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In May
1999 he admitted that he had introduced a Chinese arms company, two
transport companies, a banking group and a power company to Laurent
Kabila and that they had all established businesses there. One of
Zidco's subsidiaries, the First Bank Corporation, then set up in
Kinshasa. In addition two other business associates of Mnangagwa went
into business ferrying arms and supplies between Zimbabwe and the
Billy Rautenbach's Wheels of Africa company and the head of the
Zimbabwean army, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, with his company,
Zvinavashe Transport. Mnangagwa then helped to broker an arms deal
Kabila of 21,000 AK-47s and US$53 million of heavy arms, all from
China. Mnangagwa also works closely with John Bredenkamp, who boasts
of being the biggest single supplier of arms to the Congo.
In late 1998 Zimbabwean forces in the DRC suffered heavy casualties
and lost several helicopter gunships. Mugabe sent Mnangagwa and
Sekeramayi to the DRC to assess the situation - thus provoking the
near resignation of the defence minister, Moven Mahachi, who found
that they actually had far greater control over the army than he did.
For the army top brass report directly to Mnangagwa, who is so
involved that he actually sustained a hand wound at the war front.
Mugabe has instructed him to oversee his Congo military operations,
giving him unparalleled military clout - which he has used to help
Billy Rautenbach gain a long list of mining concessions in the Congo.
The press reported that Rautenbach has rewarded various Congolese and
Zimbabwean politicians with large ex gratia payments for favours
received, though this did not prevent the DRC's minister of mines
cancelling all deals with him in March 1999 and effectively throwing
him out of the DRC. No such accidents happen to Mnangagwa. When Roger
Boka's United Merchant Bank went bust in 1998, it was found to have
lent Mnangagwa large sums. Despite that he seems to have some
difficulty in paying his rates: in June 1999 Harare city council
revealed that Mnangagwa was Z$410,231 in arrears on his rate
Zimbabwe's involvement in the DRC goes back much further than the
current war. When Zimbabwean troops were pulled out of Mozambique in
1988, South African businessmen - to Harare's fury - were quick to
scoop up the most lucrative deals there in the wake of the civil war.
Mugabe vowed this would not happen twice. In 1996 Mugabe gave Kabila
US$5 million to finance his rebellion against Mobutu. Just before
Kinshasa fell to Kabila, Zimbabwe Defence Industries (owned by the
government) concluded a US$53m deal to supply Kabila with everything
from food to uniforms and mortar bombs. ZDI was then used to
Zimbabwe's economic penetration of the DRC. The company is extremely
secretive but in 1993, the last year when it gave out such
information, its directors included Zvinavashe and another Mugabe
intimate, Perence Shiri, the former head of the terrifying 5 Brigade.
Gradually the efforts of Shiri, Zvinavashe and Mnangagwa have led to
the network of interests seen in Figure 2 (Zimbabwe's military
interests in the DRC). Zvinavashe and his brother are also directors
of Osleg (Operation Sovereign legitimacy) which, following the
model, is seen as the economic wing of the Zimbabwean armed forces.
Osleg wanted, above all, to get its hands on the mining concessions
that Kabila had promised. The first such venture was with
Comiex-Congo, producing a new joint company, Cosleg. There followed a
joint venture with the Omani-owned Oryx Natural Resources to form
Oryx-Zimcon. In January 2000 Oryx Natural Resources bought Petra
diamonds and rechristened it Oryx Diamonds - in which Zidco holds
Despite the rows which have enveloped Oryx Diamonds since - its
flotation on the London stock exchange was blocked and its director,
Moses Anafu, forced to resign from the Commonwealth Observer Group
sent to monitor Zimbabwe's election in June - all these interests are
intact. All the indications are that Zimbabwe's political and
elites continue to draw large profits from their incursion into the
DRC. It is just as well for Zidco has fallen on evil days within
Zimbabwe - as any enterprise must given the parlous state of the
economy. Jayan Joshi now spends much of his days playing solitaire on
his computer for, thanks to the disastrous policies of his long-time
associate, Robert Mugabe, there is precious little else for him to
Focus 19, September 2000.
Helen Suzman Foundation
Harare, Zimbabwe, Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe's government condemned an attack on a white farmer by squatters on his farm, the latest sign that it's seeking to end the violence which has surrounded eight months of farm invasions.
The government ``unreservedly'' condemned Sept. 26 clashes between squatters and a farmer in Karoi, 204 kilometers north of the capital Harare, according to a statement by Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's information and publicity minister.
The condemnation is a policy shift from support for the invasion of over 1,650 white-owned farms - invasions which have led to the murder of four farmers and some farm workers.
``Government will not stand idly by while a few individuals, whoever and whatever their motives are, threaten and undermine the peace and understanding that has largely prevailed on most commercial farms affected by such demonstrations,'' Moyo said in the statement. Government ``urges all concerned to desist from any acts of provocation, or risk the full wrath of the law.''
Four of the squatters have been arrested since the clash, which saw the owner of Perveril Farm, Marshall Roper, attacked with a machete that left a 10 inch gash on his face. The attack was followed by a demonstration at Karoi Police Station by some 2,000 farm workers in support of Roper.
The land invasions were initially sanctioned by government in the run up to parliamentary elections in late June to boost support for the ruling party, Zanu PF, which led a liberation war between 1966 and 1980. That war focused on giving blacks back land appropriated by whites during colonialism.
The disruptions to farming, which provides two fifths of Zimbabwe's exports, have worsened Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis in more than two decades.
HARARE (Sept. 27) XINHUA - Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers will not be evicted from their acquired farms until at least 90 days' formal notice has been given and a court order obtained.
The Supreme Court, sitting as a constitutional court, has granted an interim order in the case brought by the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) against four ministers, the Commissioner of Police and the President.
The order, which does not stop the acquisition process, but slow down resettlement, was issued Tuesday after both the CFU and the Attorney-General's Office agreed to its terms.
The state can give a notice to a white farmer only after the land is acquired and the 90 days of notice start when the farmer is given the order by the court.
Resettlement is in a three-state process: first, the land must be acquired; then the previous occupants must be evicted; afterwards, the new settlers are allowed in.
The Zimbabwean government has announced to acquire 3,041 white farms to distribute 500,000 landless Zimbabweans.
Copyright XINHUA NEWS AGENCY
HARARE, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's Supreme Court will rule in November on an application by white farmers challenging President Robert Mugabe's power to take their land without compensation, officials said on Wednesday.
It also decided late on Tuesday that farmers whose properties have already been seized under the government's fast-track land resettlement programme should be given 90 days' notice to vacate their premises.
A spokesman for the mainly white, 4,500-member Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said Tuesday's ruling offered a reprieve for farmers who had already been issued with 30-day eviction orders.
"The 90-day period is designed so that confirmation has to be acquired from the courts before farmers have to leave their properties," he told Reuters.
The court's decisions were made on the same day that a white farmer was badly hurt during a confrontation with war veterans demanding that he stop working on his tobacco plantation.
A dozen self-styled war veterans occupying the Perveral Farm in Karoi, 200 km (124 miles) north of Harare, attacked owner Marshall Roper after he and his labourers resisted demands that they stop work, a spokesman for a local farm group said. Roper's face was slashed by a machete.
The Supreme Court has set November 6 for hearing the CFU's challenge against Mugabe's powers to seize their farms with no obligation to pay for the land if former colonial power Britain does not provide the funding.
Mugabe's government has sanctioned hundreds of farm invasions since February by veterans of the 1970s liberation war against white rule.
It has also served notice to acquire more than 2,000 of the 3,041 white-owned farms earmarked for resettlement under controversial legislation which absolves the government from compensation.
The government has started resettling people on 211 farms acquired without contest, and said last month it plans to resettle peasants on at least 800 farms before the start of the rainy season in October.
But last week the government began evicting some of the illegal settlers, targeting those who occupied land after the launch in July of its resettlement scheme.
Farm industry officials say agricultural production has fallen sharply this year due to work stoppages forced by the invaders. Agriculture accounts for approximately 20 percent of Zimbabwe's gross domestic product.
At least 31 people - mainly opposition supporters and five white farmers - were killed during the farm invasions and a wave of violence across Zimbabwe before parliamentary elections narrowly won by Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.
Farm Violence Victim Vows to Go Back
Copyright © 2000 Financial Gazette. September 28, 2000
Looking calm and collected, his nose stitched and responding jovially to remarks from fellow commercial farmers, Marshall Roper cuts a picture of a resilient man.
Speaking yesterday from his Harare Avenues Clinic hospital bed, Roper said that as soon as he is back on his feet, he will go back to his farm and continue with the business of farming.
The latest victim of the violent land occupations that have rocked Zimbabwe, he said he would also institute criminal and civil charges against the 12 self-styled war veterans who attacked him and tried to run him off his tobacco farm earlier this week.
"That farm is my family's home so I will be going back home. I bought it in 1991," said the owner of Peveril Farm in Karoi in Mashonaland West.
"The communication I got that it had been designated for compulsory acquisition is through a list I saw in the newspapers. Nothing official has been communicated to me."
Roper, who also grows maize and coffee, said he was at his farm when the 12 men approached him, saying he should stop farming because they were now taking over the land. The farmer, who was with some of his workers, stood his ground. Incensed by his action, the leader of the group who has been identified as Peter Murimbi tried to slash Roper with a bayonet while another man tried to axe him.
"I still remember the man who finally succeeded in attacking me. He was wielding a panga and trying to find an opening so that he could strike. When he got the chance, he slashed me from the nose right down to my right cheek," Roper said.
"They never got another opportunity to have a go at me again because I pulled out my revolver and fired two shots into the air and they all ran away. Some of these guys have been chased away before by my workers."
Roper had to be rushed to Karoi Hospital, moved to Chinhoyi Hospital before being finally transferred to the Avenues Clinic, where his nose, almost sliced in half, and the deep gash on his cheek have been stitched up.
Although Roper was in high spirits, he said he was just plain tired because the land invasions had been going on for too long. He was angry that Murimbi was using the farm occupations for personal gain through selling plots to land-hungry peasants.
"No one is against transparent land redistribution. In Karoi, we have a community programme put together by commercial farmers where we have actually offered the government 12 farms for free," the heavily-built farmer said.
"It's unfortunate that things have turned out this way but I can't just give up. I have 200 people relying on me. My work is to farm and I will keep on doing exactly that."
He said his attackers were self-styled war veterans who had tried to take over the farm in July by seizing the farm nursery school and clinic.
"Legally, they are not supposed to be there because Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo made clear that after July 12 no one is allowed to move onto any farm anymore," he said.
"At any given point, we had about seven people living on the farm but some would leave after a while. The local war veterans leaders would come around to check if the people they left were still there and, if not, they would bring another batch of people."
Looking equally calm, his wife Caroline said she had gone to see off her eldest child to school when her husband was attacked. She said she felt angry because her third and youngest child had had to see her father with blood pouring out of his face.
"In spite of all this, I still believe there is a future for white commercial farmers in this country as long as law and order is restored. As soon as my husband is fine, we are going back because it's our home," she said.
Government orders probe into clash The government yesterday condemned violent clashes at Peveril Farm in Karoi, Mashonaland West, where farm owner Marshall Roper sustained serious injuries to the nose and right cheek at the hands of self-styled war veterans earlier this week.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the government had ordered a full investigation into the bloody disturbances.
"The government in the meantime urges all concerned to desist from any acts of provocation, or risk the full wrath of the law. The government will not stand by idly while a few individuals, whoever and whatever their motives are, threaten and undermine the peace and understanding that has largely prevailed on most commercial farms," he said in a statement.
He said the current policy remained one of insisting on and enforcing peaceful co-existence on occupied farms until such a time that the government would have acquired land on which to resettle those in need.
Harare, Zimbabwe, Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe said its economy will probably shrink 3.8 percent this year, accelerating from last year's decline of 0.1 percent, as a political and economic crisis slashes exports.
Surging inflation, borrowing costs of over 80 percent and a fixed exchange rate has reduced the output of many of Zimbabwe's mines and factories, while the invasion of some 1,650 commercial farms by armed squatters is cutting crop production.
The crisis, the worst since Zimbabwe's first all-race elections in 1980, has reduced Zimbabwe's foreign exchange reserves to a week's import cover, about $53 million, from $713 million in 1996. That has led to a 10-month fuel shortage, regular power cuts, a reduction in imports, ranging from manufacturing raw materials to medicines and rising debt.
``At present our import cover is dangerously low,'' said Chris Kuruneri, Zimbabwe's deputy finance minister, at a seminar on economic recovery. ``This has adversely affected the country's capacity to meet its external debt.''
Zimbabwe is $383 million behind in debt payments to foreigners with the government itself owing $174 million and state- owned companies $209 million.
Only five years ago Zimbabwe's economy grew at 8.7 percent a year, faster than most African nations, as exports from industries such as cut flowers surged.