The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Seven more women protesters arrested in Harare
Thur 30 September 2004

      HARARE - Police yesterday arrested seven more women, who were part of
a group of female activists on a 440 kilometre march from Bulawayo to Harare
to protest against a proposed new law that will restrict Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe.

      The women were arrested in the capital and were still being held at
Harare central police station by late last night. Another group of 62
activists arrested on Tuesday was also last night still being held by police
in the towns of Chegutu and Kadoma.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena refused to say when the women, who
are being charged with violating the Public Order and Security Act, will be
brought before the courts.

      The security law requires Zimbabweans to notify police first before
gathering to discuss politics or engaging in public protests. An official of
a civic group alliance, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told ZimOnline
that police officers at Harare Central police station had said they were
waiting for orders from their superiors on what to do with the protestors.

      "The police have told us that this is a political issue which can only
be dealt with at the top. Hence they are waiting for official communication
from the police headquarters," the official said.

      The women, all of them members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise pressure
group, said their march was meant to educate ordinary Zimbabweans about how
the proposed NGO law will adversely affect their lives.

      They also planned to hold demonstrations at Parliament and hand in a
petition urging legislators to block the NGO Bill.

      The Bill proposes the setting up of an NGO Council that will register
civic bodies in the country. Civic society activists fear the
state-appointed council could be used to deregister and shut down NGOs
deemed critical of government policies.

      Under the proposed new law, NGOs will be barred from carrying out
voter education while those wishing to undertake human rights work will be
prohibited from receiving foreign funding. - ZimOnline
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Scoop, New Zealand
What Exactly Makes An Immigration Touch Soft?
Thursday, 30 September 2004, 3:28 pm
Article: Kevin List

What Exactly Makes An Immigration Touch Soft?
Tony Ryall, Zimbabwean Farmers And The Tampa Refugees

By Kevin List

National Party immigration spokesperson Tony Ryall today accused the Government of enabling ''immigration by stealth'' in the Dominion Post.

Mr Ryall's concerns related to the situation regarding the number of Tampa refugees [from the Norwegian freighter Tampa] in New Zealand and highlighted the fact that some of refugees' families and relations had joined them in New Zealand.

Mr Ryall said the fact that New Zealand's policy allows families to be re-united is sending a poor message to the rest of the world. "It's little wonder we are seen as a soft touch," he told the Dominion Post.

Meanwhile, last week the New Zealand Government instituted a policy exception that could see more than 2000 Zimbabwean citizens already in New Zealand gain permanent residence. And in time these migrants too will be able to bring family members to New Zealand under the family reunification immigration policy.

With these two apparently similar cases on the table at the same time Scoop wondered whether perhaps there could be more than one standard by which the National Party's Immigration spokesman sees fit to judge would be migrants.


Tony Ryall's Initial Reaction To The Zimbabwe Immigration Exception

At the time the Zimbabwean Immigration exception was announced last Friday Scoop sought clarification from Tony Ryall about how this particular policy would work and whether New Zealand could be seen as a "soft touch" by easing immigration restrictions on Zimbabweans already in New Zealand.

Mr Ryall was somewhat reticent about criticising the Governments policy regarding Zimbabwean migrants.

"We haven't said anything because we can understand why they [the Governmentt] are doing it," he said. Mr Ryall's primary concern regarding the Zimbabwean policy exception seemed to relate to the government's alleged indifference to agriculture

"The real issue with anything to do with the Zimbabweans is that the fact government doesn't consider agriculture to be a skilled qualification - and we'll be having a go at that in Parliament" he said. This matter has also been of concern to Federated Farmers.

When pushed as to the details of how the government's Zimbabwe policy exception was going to work Mr Ryall shied away from expressing any specific view.

"Probably we won't be getting into it – it's a bit of a no-brainer where [if we make a statement] the public thinks why would we be picking on these people?"

Clearly given today's concern that New Zealand could be seen as a soft touch for allowing the re-unification of Tampa refugee families involving a few hundred individuals Tony Ryall has no concerns about being seen to pick on them however.

Scoop caught up with Mr Ryall and posed a few questions regarding today's Dominion Post article.


Questions On The Tampa Refugees And New Zealand Being Seen As A "Soft Touch"

Scoop: The original Tampa refugees came in under the UNHCR Quota of 750 refugees in the year they first arrived didn't they?

Tony Ryall: Yes that's is right even though they weren't UN approved.

Scoop: Checking through the other years it seems as if the family re-unification of the Tampa refugees also occurred yet again within the 750 UNHCR places.

Tony Ryall: There's some confusion there because I assumed they came in under the separate family re-unification procedure, whereas the answer given to Oskar Alley [Dominion Post journalist] was that they [Tampa re-unification refugees] came in under the UNHCR quota of 750 people.

Scoop: Have spontaneous refugee numbers been dropping since the implementation of Advanced Passenger Processing (APP)?

Tony Ryall: It [the spontaneous refugee category] was running at about 950 people a couple of years ago, dropped to 650 last financial year and in 2003-04 it was 411.

Scoop: So that category has dropped significantly?

Tony Ryall: It has halved


Questions On The Zimbabwean Policy Exception And New Zealand As A Soft Touch


Scoop: You said [in today's Dominion Post] that you were concerned New Zealand could be seen as a soft touch – was that correct?

Tony Ryall: Yes.

Scoop: But you are not concerned that millions of Zimbabweans will consider New Zealand is a soft touch?

Tony Ryall: I don't think there's much doubt about that – however the point I was making with the written questions regarding refugees was that the original Tampa boys have brought in more than 200 family members.

Scoop: Won't giving 2300 Zimbabwean residents permanent residence make New Zealand seem a soft touch for Zimbabweans – even more so than 200 Tampa refugee family members?

Tony Ryall: But the Zimbabweans are already here.

Scoop: Yes but won't they [the Zimbaweans] be able to bring their families and relatives in when they become permanent residents?

Tony Ryall: As I've discussed previously I am not completely informed regarding the Zimbabwean situation - which is why I haven't made a statement on it. But I'll have a look at it.

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      UNDP urges Zimbabwean to conduct poverty assessment 2004-09-30 04:06:12

          HARARE, Sept. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) on Wednesday urged the Zimbabwean governments to conduct
regular poverty assessment programs in order to come up with effective
poverty reduction policies.

          "Poverty assessment is a very important tool which helps in
theformulation of policies in the fight against poverty," said UNDP Resident
Representative Bernard Mokam.

          He made the remarks while addressing delegates at a Poverty
Assessment Study Survey Project (PASSP) site at the Ministry of Public
Service Labor and Social Welfare offices.

          He said programming for poverty reduction was critical to
achieving Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty by the year 2015.

          The acting permanent secretary in the ministry, Sydney Mhishi,
said the project aimed to generate new poverty profiles for Zimbabwe in
addition to monitoring and evaluating the impact of poverty alleviation
programs which were implemented in 1995.

          He said the survey would provide an updated national data and
indicators as opposed to sector indicators such as the Sentinel Surveillance

          Mhishi said the PASSP would also provide an insight into
perceptions, cause of and solutions to poverty according to the poor people

          The ministry used four survey instruments in the collection of
poverty assessment data, namely households, homeless people, communities and
institutions, using questionnaires.

          Mhishi said in the PASSP, 31,800 households, 182 homeless people,
261 communities and 99 institutions were used in data collection, which had
already been completed with data entry currently underway.

          The survey was conducted in the country's 10 provinces, including
districts and economic sectors.

          The preliminary results of the PASSP are to be made public in
December this year.

          The project is being done with the assistance of various
UnitedNations agencies with the UNDP providing technical assistance, 20
computers and two vehicles, which it has donated for use. Enditem

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Enougs Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


Sokwanele comment

28 September 2004

It is interesting to speculate whether Robert Mugabe fully understood the significance of his act when he signed up to the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections in Mauritius last month.  Did he think it was just another protocol that was impressive on paper but signified nothing ?  Did he think it was incapable of enforcement (it contains no enforcement mechanism), and that in any event his SADC partners would never really call him to account by these standards ?  One interesting theory is that those few SADC heads of state who do have a care about what happens in Zimbabwe and want to stop the rot, ambushed Mugabe into signing – putting him in a corner where he could hardly refuse and at the same time playing down the significance of the agreement.  In any event the SADC protocol comes as a godsend to the progressive forces within Zimbabwe working for freedom and democracy, providing them with a clear set of standards against which to measure the performance of ZANU (PF).  Moreover the standards were shaped and crafted within the region. They are 100 per cent “indigenous” and cannot therefore be attacked for importing foreign, western values or promoting the interests of the former colonial rulers.  In fact many of the points listed in the SADC standards closely resemble the 15 minimum requirements put forward by the MDC some time ago.


A benchmark has been laid down then against which the acts and omissions of the ruling party can be measured in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of March 2005.  The MDC leadership have been quick to point out that elections are a process rather than an event in time, and just how fair and free they are can only be  assessed with reference to the wider time frame. So here we are, six months or so ahead of the general election, and this is precisely the time to start that assessment – using the SADC standards as our measure.  This is the benchmark to which Zimbabwe and the region must return, time and again.


One could start virtually anywhere since the SADC protocol covers the whole spectrum of political activities, before, during and after the voting. But let us start with the crucial issue of media access.  The SADC protocol is very clear here, laying down that there should be “equal opportunity for all political parties to access the state media” (clause 2.1.5).    This is reinforced by clause 7.4 which stipulates that member states holding elections should “safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression and campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders during the electoral process”.   And to put the matter beyond any doubt clause 7.1 requires all member states to “take necessary measures to ensure the scrupulous implementation of the above principles”.  That all parties therefore should be afforded equal access to the state media is clear enough. The question is, how does the present regime measure up against this requirement ?


To be scrupulously fair to the regime we will not delve back into the past, nor consider any possible breach of the media access requirement before Mugabe appended his signature to the protocol in Mauritius last month.  (Though it could well be pointed out that the SADC Parliamentary Forum Electoral Recommendations which contain many similar provisions has been in existence for a much longer period, and had at the very least considerable persuasive effect).  But let us confine ourselves to the short period since the Mauritius protocol, and consider for example the case of an MDC leader who now wishes to access the state media to flight an advert informing his constituents of a forthcoming report-back meeting. It is a matter of record that the only independent daily newspaper the Daily News was closed down by the Mugabe regime in September 2003.  The only dailies left are the state-controlled Herald in Harare and the Chronicle in Bulawayo. (The regime also has a monopoly control of the airwaves of course for both radio and television)  But suppose our MDC leader lives in Bulawayo. What is he to do to advertise his meeting in the press ?. He has only one course and that is to place an ad in the Chronicle.  In what follows I recount what actually took place here in Bulawayo just over a week ago.


David Coltart is the Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South. He is also the MDC Shadow Minister of Justice who was elected by a massive majority in the last parliamentary elections.  In early September he arranged to hold a number of report back meetings in the constituency – which he has done on a regular basis when not prevented from doing so by the police purporting to act under P.O.S.A. (the Public Order and Security Act).   Accordingly on 10th September his information and publicity secretary took a simple notification of the first meeting along to the offices of the Chronicle in Bulawayo. There she spoke to an advertising sales rep who assured her (before seeing the notice) that it would fine to place the ad in the paper for the following Monday (the 13th).  The sales rep even quoted the precise cost and she proceeded to make out a form to which the notice was pasted.  However at that point the sales rep noticed for the first time that it was an MDC meeting that was to be advertised, and the effect was dramatic.  She immediately became extremely agitated, and left the office to consult her superiors.  After an interval of ten minutes or more she returned, only to advise the MDC representative that the advert had been denied.  She produced the piece of paper to which the notice had been attached, and which  now bore the word “Declined” in bold print, with a signature below. Further consternation followed on the sales rep’s part when the MDC official left quietly taking with her the complete form bearing the evidence of refusal. “No, you can’t !” said the hapless Chronicle employee as the retreating figure made for the door.


Here we have just one example of a clear breach of the SADC standards.  Countless others could be provided, and in the weeks ahead as the nation approaches the March 2005 poll no doubt many other breaches will come to light.   Freedom to campaign, equality of opportunity, fair play between contestants – “Declined !”, “Declined !” “Declined !”   Never mind all the political posturing, it is plain for all to see that Mugabe and his minions have not the slightest intention of adhering to either the letter or the spirit of the SADC standards. But we, the citizens of Zimbabwe, now have a benchmark to measure their performance by, and we must use that to the full to demonstrate to the region and the world that the democratic credentials claimed by ZANU (PF) are utterly spurious.




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Colonial faux pas

Thursday September 30, 2004
The Guardian

Robert Mugabe has for many years split international opposition to his
regime and prevented action being taken over the economic and political
misery of his people. He is not without political skills, but the blundering
of the British establishment comes repeatedly to his aid. The Jack Straw
handshake, and subsequent explanation of it, is the latest cringing example
(Straw offers a shady excuse for political faux pas, September 29).
Britain's colonial past and current adventures in Iraq allow Mugabe to
denounce what he refers to as Anglo-Saxon domination, a view which elicits
support across southern Africa.
Now we have the explanation of Straw's handshake at the UN. He explains that
it was "quite dark in that corner", and so he didn't know whose hand he was
shaking. Then the former senior diplomat Sir David Gore-Booth explains that
at the UN "there are a lot of people and quite a lot of them are black, and
it's quite difficult to sort them out". This is the kind of language typical
of those elements who mourn the passing of the old regime in Zimbabwe, and
whose interest in sanctions in Africa only arose when white farmers began to
lose their land.

It allows Mugabe's regime to present itself as fighting against the remnants
of colonialism and gives Thabo Mbeki the leeway to avoid pressurising Mugabe
for change. Crucially, the attitude of Straw and Gore-Booth help to
undermine the opposition within Zimbabwe who are arguing that the key issue
is not colonial power or race, but the wielding of political and economic
power which leaves millions facing malnutrition and unemployment.
Dr Dan Rigby
Manchester University
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Zim Online

Thur 30 September 2004

      GWANDA - An acute shortage of drugs has hit public clinics in
Matabeleland South province with most of them only able to dispense
painkillers for the last six months.

      Staff at some of the clinics told a ZimOnline news crew that toured
the area last week that they had gone for the last six months without
receiving deliveries of drugs from the government. In the few cases they had
deliveries they were supplied with painkillers
      only, they said.

      A nurse at Bvuma clinic, about 35 kilometres south of the provincial
capital of Gwanda, said: "We understand the government has no foreign
currency to purchase the drugs that the people need and we have to make do
with the painkillers like paracetamol."

      The nurse, who spoke anonymously because state health staff are not
permitted to speak to the Press, said the clinic was now referring patients
to the Lutheran church-run Manama hospital. But there is no ambulance at the
clinic to ferry the seriously sick to the
      hospital and many have to use ox-drawn carts to reach the hospital.

      At Silonga clinic, about 25km from Gwanda, a nurse said they were only
giving basic first aid to patients because the clinic did not have
medicines. There was also a shortage of qualified staff at the clinic, the
nurse said.

      A nurse at Natisa clinic, not very far from Silonga, said only
condoms, painkillers and children's vaccines were in stock. She said: "We
have to watch as people die of simple illnesses like pneumonia and measles
because we have no drugs to cure them. We only have
      condoms, painkillers and children's vaccines."

      Health Minister David Parirenyatwa however told ZimOnline that drug
supplies at public clinics across the country were at 80 percent.
Parirenyatwa said his ministry was now receiving US$2.5 million every month
from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to import drugs.

      He said drug shortages at clinics in Matabeleland South could be
because of a poor distribution network in the area.

      "Most of our provincial hospitals have 80 percent stocks right now and
the health situation is improving tremendously. As it is right now, we have
a team there in Matabeleland to try and find out where the drugs are going.
Otherwise that might be a provincial or
      district problem being experienced there," said Parirenyatwa.

      Zimbabwe's public health sector, servicing the majority of the
population, is near total collapse due to years of under-funding and poor
management. A burgeoning HIV/AIDS epidemic that is killing at least 2 000
Zimbabweans every week has only helped worsen the situation. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Troubled banks to be forced into mergers
Thur 30 September 2004

      HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will force banks that fail to
raise paid up share capital to Z$10 billion by close of business today to
merge and pool resources to meet the new capitalisation requirements,
finance industry sources told ZimOnline yesterday.

      The sources said with an election beckoning in March next year, it
would not be "politically correct" for central bank governor, Gideon Gono,
to close down banks and throw several thousands of workers onto the streets.

      Nearly all of the banks struggling to raise capitalisation levels are
black-owned and the government would not want them closed as this would
reflect negatively on its black economic empowerment policy, the sources

      "We are approaching an election, and it will not be politically
correct just to close the banks that fail to meet the deadline," said a
senior economist with a Harare bank who did not want to be named for
professional reasons.

      He added: "Right now the Reserve Bank is having problems with
resettled black farmers who had deposited money with the Royal Bank, which
was closed two weeks ago. That on its own is a political minefield for Gono.

      "Gono will not want to test the government's patience by closing down
more banks especially if they are black-owned. That is why he will have to
ask most of the smaller banks that cannot raise capital to merge and put
resources together."

      Gono could not be reached to establish what action he will take
against banks that fail to meet the re-capitalisation deadline today. Staff
at his office said he was going to issue a statement today.

      The central bank chief in January ordered banks to raise
capitalisation from $500 million to $10 billion. He gave the country's 16
banks up to today to meet the new requirement or face closure.

      Gono told a parliamentary committee probing the financial sector that
nine banks were struggling to meet the new capital requirement.

      But the governor indicated during a meeting with bank executives
earlier this week that he was not going to follow through threats to close
institutions that failed to increase capitalisation.

      He told the bankers: "Starting Friday 1 October, 2004, the Reserve
Bank would commence the verification and certify recapitalisation
declarations by banking institutions as of 30 September.

      "Where non-compliance and/ or deficiencies are established, the
(central) bank would work with the affected banks' shareholders, boards of
directors and management to immediately regularise, in a manner that is
non-disruptive to the financial sector as a whole,
      the banking publics' confidence in the sector, and to the wider

      Gono said the central bank had come up with a Troubled Bank Strategy
which he said was a plan to help institutions that failed to raise capital
to required levels. He did not elaborate what the strategy involved. -
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      CID swoops on Kamushinda

      Chris Muronzi
      9/30/2004 6:52:31 AM (GMT +2)

      ENOCK Kamushinda, the tough-talking and mercurial former chairman of
Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe Limited, had his house raided by the police
recently as the law enforcement agencies continue to crack down on white
collar crime.

      The Financial Gazette can reveal that officers from the Criminal
Investigations Department serious fraud unit pounced on the businessman's
posh Vainona house about three weeks ago, looking for what they termed
useful leads relating to a case involving multi-billion-dollar agro-bills
issued by a local acceptance house.

      It is understood the merchant bank in question floated agro-bills
worth $12 billion in 2002. Eight banks reportedly participated in the
on-lending process.

      News of the investigations comes at a time when the banking sector is
grappling with a mosaic of difficulties in the aftermath of the seismic
disturbances touched off when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) moved in to
deal with fundamental flaws in the operations of most banking institutions.

      While the nature of the investigations was still sketchy at the time
of going to print, sources said the raid was part of the probe into
allegations of abuse of funds raised for on-lending to Zimbabwe's
cash-strapped farmers.

      Although the police could not explain how Kamushinda, who is known to
have strong links with the ruling ZANU PF, became entangled in the
investigations, sources in the force said that it was suspected that he
could have useful information because of his Metropolitan Bank connection.

      Kamushinda, who is also chairman of the Grain Marketing Board,
resigned from Metropolitan Bank this year at the behest of the RBZ, which
cited inherent corporate governance problems. However, observers say the
Indian-educated banker still pulls the strings at Metropolitan Bank.

      The commercial bank, which has been at the forefront of championing
the "look East policy", adopted by the Zimbabwe government to compensate for
lost Western and European markets, is a beneficiary of the Troubled Banks
Fund (TBF). The TBF facility was introduced by the RBZ to give life support
to distressed banks. As of March, the last date for which figures are
available, Metropolitan's debt to the central bank stood at $22 billion.

      Confirming the development, police Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena, said investigations were underway at Metropolitan Bank. The
bank, in which Kamushinda is a significant shareholder, is believed to have
been nominated, among other finance houses, to disburse funds earmarked for
farmers, raised from agro-bills.

      It has since emerged, said sources, that part of the funds were
abused, although they could not elaborate on the nature of the alleged
financial impropriety. It is understood that police interest in the
self-proclaimed black economic empowerment activist was triggered after the
merchant bank lodged fraud charges against Metropolitan Bank.

      Bvudzijena said: "We received the information, and we are still
investigating the case. It's information that we received from concerned
people. The investigations are centred on the agro-bills, they are just
accusations that have arisen."

      Bvudzijena could not say how much is involved, preferring to say: "We
are not talking of figures yet but that will come as investigations

      Efforts to get a comment from Kamushinda and his lawyer Wilson Manase
of Manase and Manase Associates were fruitless as both were said to be out
of the country on business.

      The other partner at the law firm, Arthur Manase, declined to comment.
"That is a criminal case, I only deal with labour-related cases," said

      Kamushinda, a controversial figure, was early this year in the
limelight for the wrong reasons facing a $400 million claim for alleged
adultery. He was accused of having an adulterous relationship with a married

      The government's anti-graft crusade has caused some anxious moments in
both the private and public sectors, where high profile figures have been
caught up in the anti-corruption dragnet.

      Those who have had brushes with the law include Finance Minister
Christopher Kuruneri and Telecel chairman James Makamba. Other executives,
among them Mutumwa Mawere, Julius Makoni, Nicholas Vingirai, Mthuli Ncube,
William Mudekunye, James Mushore, Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto, have
sought refuge outside Zimbabwe.

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      $100 billion for seed

      Felix Njini
      9/30/2004 6:53:43 AM (GMT +2)

      HYBRID maize seed producer Seed Co has secured $105 billion under the
productive sector facility (PSF) for the purchase of seed from growers in an
eleventh-hour deal widely seen as a silver lining in a dark cloud still
hanging over the 2004/05 season.

      The facility, secured from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s
concessionary productive sector window, will see about 17 000 tonnes of seed
maize being released to the market.

      The government requires about 75 000 tonnes of seed to give a new
impetus to its land reform, but a seed shortage crisis is imminent following
a price war between the authorities and producers.

      Seed Co group chief executive Pat Devenish said under the agreement
with the central bank, the RBZ would pay seed growers directly from the $105

      Devenish said Seed Co would give the RBZ a schedule of seed
deliveries, after which growers would get paid directly by the central bank.

      "We are going to be granted PSF funding. The RBZ has assured us that
we will get the money but it will not come to us directly. We are going to
give the RBZ a schedule of seed deliveries from growers, who will be paid
directly by the central bank," Devenish said.

      He said the government had indicated it was going to buy all of the
company's 17 000 tonnes of seed.

      But industry sources say the 17 000 tonnes is a drop in the ocean
compared to the more than 75 000 tonnes of seed the country requires.

      Seed producers are currently deadlocked with the government over price
controls, raising the spectre of shortages of seed maize for the 2004/2005
agricultural season.

      The impasse has seen producers withholding seed, triggering panic in
the farming sector. In the past, seed manufacturers have opted to export
their product after misunderstandings with the government.

      Devenish said Seed Co had been holding meetings with the government,
but "nothing has come out yet".

      Sharp differences have emerged from the marathon meetings, with the
government insisting that producers peg their price at US$1 000 per tonne,
way below the international price of about US$1400 per tonne. Seed houses
say the international price covers their overheads and gives them a modest

      Sources said the government was likely to emerge empty-handed from the
price debacle because the major seed producers were holding huge quantities
of their stock outside Zimbabwe.

      Devenish confirmed that Seed Co had "significant seed stocks" in the
region. And Pannar Seeds, one of the major producers with a strong presence
in South Africa and the region, is reported to have most of its stocks
outside Zimbabwe.

      "We have offered government 17 000 tonnes but they have also indicated
that they want seed from the region.

      "We have been holding protracted meetings but we have not settled on
anything," Devenish said.

      Imported seed, which factors in risk of producing, fetches a higher
price than locally sourced seed.

      There are fears that Seed Co, which is becoming more internationally
focused, may be shifting its attention to more rewarding markets such as
South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana where there are fewer trade

      Seed Co has established an international division to spearhead its
regional forays.

      This year alone, Seed Co has sunk US$20 million into its regional
operations, mainly expanding its research stations in Botswana and Zambia.

      In the 2003 financial year, Seed Co posted a Z$93 billion turnover,
with regional sales, which grew by 649 percent, contributing Z$41.2 billion
to total group earnings.

      Devenish said Seed Co had no intention of shifting its base to
Botswana but maintained that price controls were hurting business.

      Seed Co Limited, one of Zimbabwe's major seed producers, also has a
presence in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa and Kenya.

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      Guess who's walking into Zim's SA embassy

      Staff Reporter
      9/30/2004 6:54:44 AM (GMT +2)

      NICHOLAS Vingirai, the fugitive founder of the Intermarket Holdings
group, recently waltzed through the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria, before
flying out to the United Kingdom, reports from South Africa say.

      Vingirai, who is wanted by Zimbabwean police over corruption and
exchange control violation allegations, skipped the country in a huff in
February, leaving his Intermarket empire in a lurch.

      Reports emanating from Pretoria said Vingirai visited the Zimbabwean
embassy in search of documentation to support a visa application for a trip
to the United Kingdom.

      Sources said the businessman, who is being sued for $174 billion by
the curator of Intermarket Banking Corporation and Intermarket Discount
House for alleged abuse of depositors' funds, left the embassy scot-free,
despite efforts by some staff to call law enforcement agents in Harare.

      The sources said senior police officials in Harare, when contacted by
Zimbabwean embassy staff in Pretoria, told them to let Vingirai go

      Efforts to get a comment from Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa,
Simon Khaya Moyo, proved fruitless, but a consular official at the British
embassy in Harare said a Zimbabwean citizen could apply for a British visa
from South Africa, depending on their status there, and might require
supporting documentation from the embassy there, should the circumstances of
their application require that.

      Vingirai had a controlling 72 percent shareholding in the Intermarket
group through his Transnational investment vehicle.

      Intermarket's subsidiaries - a commercial bank, building society and a
discount house - were placed under the management of a curator earlier this
year after massive liquidity problems beset the business units, caught at
the epicentre of speculative binges in the equity and property markets.

      The discount house, which funded a significant portion of major deals
on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, had a non-performing loan portfolio of about
$190 billion.

      Vingirai is one of several businessmen who have fled the country in
recent months as the central bank cracks down on various violations, chiefly
foreign currency externalisation and abuse of depositors' funds, by
financial market players.

      However, law enforcement agencies have been unsuccessful in bringing
most of the fugitive businessmen back home to face the various charges, amid
allegations that some of them enjoy protection from senior politicians and
police officers.

      There have been reports that a number of the businessmen have been
tipped off shortly before the police were about to swoop on them, enabling
them to make good their escape.

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      Presidency may elude Mutasa

      Staff Reporter
      9/30/2004 6:55:25 AM (GMT +2)

      DIDYMUS Mutasa, the Anti-Corruption Minister who has openly admitted
harbouring ambitions to become Zimbabwe's second Vice-President, might have
scored an own goal that may shatter his dream of ever landing the number two

      Ruling ZANU PF sources told The Financial Gazette this week that
Mutasa, a long-time disciple of President Robert Mugabe, needs to survive
allegations implicating him in acts of violence to stay in contention for
the second high-profile position in Cabinet.

      A harsh disciplinary ruling, should the country's first
post-independence Speaker of Parliament be hauled before the party's
disciplinary committee and found him guilty of an offence, could throw
Mutasa out of the race ahead of the ZANU PF congress slated for December
this year.

      Any ZANU PF member found guilty of any disciplinary offences under the
ruling party's constitution, shall be liable to punishment ranging from oral
or written reprimand, a fine, suspension or removal from holding any office
in the party to expulsion from ZANU PF membership.

      Mutasa, who would still have a chance to appeal against any ruling
that may arise, had been tipped for the post left vacant following the death
of Vice-President Simon Muzenda last year.

      "The latest turn of events may give other ZANU PF bigwigs jockeying
for the same position an opportunity to outclass Mutasa in the race," said
the source.

      Mutasa, 68, got entangled in a political mess when he allegedly
slapped a police assistant inspector based in Rusape after he had gone to
the minister's Rusape residence to plead with the veteran politician to
dissuade his supporters from violent activities.

      A top war veteran, retired major James Kaunye, was left for dead after
a group of ZANU PF supporters allegedly beat him up for expressing his
desire to stand against Mutasa in the ruling party's primaries in Makoni

      Twenty other ZANU PF supporters, mainly war veterans, were severely
beaten up by the same group.

      Mutasa, who has since declared that he does not tolerate anybody who
dares challenge him in Makoni North, has long coveted the job of

      "If anyone proffered my name for that position, I would first thank
that person and readily accept the offer," The Herald quoted Mutasa as
saying in June last year.

      It had been rumoured that President Mugabe, 80, could be tactfully
heaving Mutasa to the post of Vice-President by thrusting him at the centre
of the anti-corruption crusade at a time many people thought he was in the
twilight of his political career.

      Joyce Mujuru, the Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development, recently emerged as top favourite for the same post after the
powerful ZANU PF Women's League passed a resolution requesting one of its
members to occupy the position.

      ZANU PF secretary for administration and current Speaker of Parliament
Emmerson Mnangagwa is also another serious contender for the post, although
he has not come out openly about it.

      It was reported in the public media recently that police officers
investigating violence in Makoni North had hinted that Mutasa had a case to

      But Mutasa was quoted last week accusing some politicians in
Manicaland of ganging up in a conspiracy to discredit him by directly
linking him to the violence.

      "I can see dirty hands behind The Sunday Mail newspaper report," he
was quoted by ZANU PF's mouthpiece, The Voice, as saying.

      In May this year, Mutasa was also involved in a fracas in Parliament
involving Chimanimani Member of Parliament Roy Bennett and Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa.

      In an interview with Voice of America, the veteran politician said of
the fracas: "You don't just wait there when a mad man is charging at you. It's
true. I kicked him very hard. What's wrong with that?"

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      MDC scuttles ZANU PF plans

      Njabulo Ncube
      9/30/2004 6:55:53 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), wary that ZANU PF might
garner the two-thirds majority needed to push for constitutional amendments
before the 2005 plebiscite, is seeking recourse to the courts to have Gokwe
North and Gokwe South constituencies declared vacant.

      The MDC, which is posing the most serious threat to ZANU PF's 24-year
grip on power, has evidence the two ZANU PF legislators in Gokwe North and
Gokwe South had, by mid-September, not filed the necessary papers as
required by the Supreme Court in their appeals against the nullification of
their 2000 parliamentary election victories.

      Information at hand indicates that in June 2004, the superior court
asked the two ZANU PF candidates to file their heads of arguments pursuant
to election petitions filed by the MDC in 2000 disputing the results of the
two seats.

      The MDC now wants its losing candidates declared winners or to have
the seats, won by Eleck Mkandla (Gokwe North) and Jaison Max Kokerai Machaya
(Gokwe South), declared vacant.

      After the historic 2000 parliamentary polls in which the MDC nearly
upset ZANU PF, the opposition party filed election petitions disputing
results in 38 constituencies.

      In her judgment on January 15 2003, Justice Rita Makarau ruled in
favour of the MDC, effectively nullifying the election results for the two
constituencies. However documents at hand show that the ZANU PF candidates
lodged appeals on January 31 2003 but their heads of arguments are still
outstanding to date.

      Legal experts who spoke to The Financial Gazette yesterday said in
terms of Rule 44 of the Supreme Court Rules, the two seats were legally
vacant 15 days after the two appellants failed to file their heads of
arguments with the registrar of the Supreme Court.

      Rule 44 sub Rule 1 of the Supreme Court relating to dismissal of
applications in the absence of heads of arguments reads: "If within the
period prescribed in sub rule 2 of Rule 50 a registrar does not receive
heads of arguments from an appellant who is legally represented, the
application should be regarded as abandoned and shall be deemed as

      "Where an application is deemed to have been dismissed in terms of Sub
Rule 1, a registrar should forthwith notify the respondent and the registrar
of the High Court of that fact," reads sub Rule 2 of Rule 44 of the Supreme

      Impeccable sources closely watching developments at Harvest House, the
headquarters of the MDC, told The Financial Gazette that the party's legal
team, headed by David Coltart, the legislator for Bulawayo South, was
working on the modalities of how to handle the issue.

      They said were it not for a few outstanding legal details surrounding
the actual position on the Gokwe North and South constituencies, the MDC
could have gone public about the issue.

      They said the MDC also wanted to push for the expulsion, from
Parliament, of ZANU PF candidates with outstanding election petitions
against their victories to check the ruling party's dominance in the

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      Stakes high in politics of the stomach

      Charles Rukuni
      9/30/2004 6:56:56 AM (GMT +2)

      Food has been so politicised in Zimbabwe that it is difficult to get
an accurate picture of the situation on the ground.

      The government, which says this year's maize harvest is about 2.4
million tonnes, is accused of overstating the harvest to score political
points and give the impression that its land reform has been a success.

      The opposition and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which argue
that the country has a deficit of close to 500 000 tonnes, are said to be
understating the harvest to prove that the land reform programme has been a
disaster and to push their claim that the government intends to use food to
buy votes in next year's elections.

      Professor Sam Moyo, a renowned expert on land, who has carried out
several studies on behalf of the United Nations, says he is dismayed at the
terrible way the debate on food in the country has been politicised.

      "All the actors, including the IMF (International Monetary Fund) are
politicising the food issue. No one is looking at the needs of the moment.
It's all smoke and mirrors," Moyo said.

      Moyo, who is now the executive director of the African Institute for
Agrarian Studies in Harare, says in the worst case scenario, if there is any
shortfall at all, it cannot be more than 300 000 tonnes, just over half of
the 500 000 tonnes the opposition and NGOs are talking about.

      He says, at the same time, there is no way the harvest could have
reached 2.4 million tonnes as the government claims, largely because of the
current operating environment, which has seen the economy shrink by 30
percent over the last five years. Farmers have therefore not been able to
procure adequate inputs.

      Moyo argues that if the maize requirements for the country are 1.8
million tonnes and the harvest is estimated at 1.1 million tonnes, this
leaves a deficit of 700 000 tonnes. And if the government is going to import
545 000 tonnes as the IMF says, the deficit comes down to 155 000 tonnes.

      The IMF projections are based on a preliminary estimate by the World
Food Programme (WFP) on February 29. Though the WFP carried out another
survey in April, it did not complete it after the government barred NGOs
from carrying out food surveys.

      But even then, the WFP went on to project that the country would have
a harvest of 950 000 tonnes of cereals. It estimated national demand at 2. 4
million tonnes, leaving a deficit of just over 1.4 million tonnes.

      The WFP, which only visited Mashonaland West, Manicaland and
Matabeleland North, said 30 to 40 percent of the farmers in these areas had
indicated that they would run out of food by June or July.

      The current debate on the food situation seems to have been sparked by
reports from Bulawayo that more than 160 people had died in the city this
year because of malnutrition, which some media reports attributed to food

      While admitting that food production could have dropped because of the
shrinking economy and lack of access to inputs, Moyo said the land reform
per se had very little impact on food availability, especially the staple
maize, because communal farmers produced 70 percent of the maize before the
reform programme.

      "Commercial farmers only accounted for 30 percent of maize production
and at most they delivered half of that crop to the Grain Marketing
Board(GMB), retaining the other half for stockfeed and for their workers,"
Moyo said.

      GMB operations director Samuel Muvuti said last week 300 000 tonnes
had already been delivered to the country's granary, with an additional 20
000 to 30 000 tonnes coming in every week.

      Moyo said it was probably misleading to judge the food situation by
deliveries to the GMB because though communal farmers produced the bulk of
the maize, they only sold 35 percent at most, retaining up to 65 percent for
their own use.

      "This year they could even be retaining more because they have just
been through a drought," he said.

      The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, in its report released two
weeks ago, said while the national food security situation remained
uncertain, basic commodities such as maize, cooking oil, flour and sugar
were now readily available in urban areas but limited household incomes
continuously threatened food security.

      It said while a low-income urban family required $1.3 million for its
basic needs in July, the minimum wage for industrial workers during the same
month was about $444 000 a month, which meant that it could only cover a
third of the needs.

      The basket has since gone up to $1.5 million a month.

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      Mugabe turns the tables on Blair, Bush

      Mavis Makuni
      9/30/2004 6:57:53 AM (GMT +2)

      If a Zimbabwean were made to listen to a speech slamming lawlessness,
lack of democratic governance, human rights abuses and a "belief in a
god-given right to rule" without being told who the speaker was, he or she
would almost certainly conclude that the criticism was directed at this
country and its leadership.

      Zimbabwe is a pariah state today, excluded from membership of some
international organisations and fora precisely because it has been accused
of the above sins, which it is also widely perceived to have refused to

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair and United States President George W
Bush have led the campaign that has resulted in Zimbabwe's isolation as well
as the imposition of targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and
his close associates.

      There is no love lost between the Zimbabwean leader and his two
younger Western counterparts whose political fate is likely to be decided by
outside forces, particularly the mess in Iraq.

      As a result, it has been rare for President Mugabe to take the podium
at an international forum without giving Bush and Blair blistering

      Last week was no exception. The Zimbabwean leader did not spare the
two Western politicians when he addressed delegates during a meeting of the
United Nations Security Council in New York.

      But the difference was that unlike past verbal skirmishes when
President Mugabe has scapegoated Blair and Bush for the most implausible
reasons, this time he had genuine mud to sling at them.

      He did not need to accuse Britain and the United States of causing
Zimbabwe's economic woes or being behind the exodus of millions of
Zimbabweans into the diaspora. An estimated 3.5 million Zimbabweans are said
to be in the diaspora.

      Instead, seizing on the fact that Blair and Bush have been hoist by
their own petard politically and diplomatically over Iraq, he used his
United Nations speech to show them the same red cards they have regularly
waved in his own face over the past few years.

      The Zimbabwean leader has endured constantly listening to charges that
he stole an election, caused lawlessness through haphazard implementation of
the land reform programme, has dictatorial tendencies, has committed human
rights abuses and brutally crushed any opposition to his 24-year rule.

      In the past, the Zimbabwean head of state's attempts to defend himself
against these charges have seemed both eccentric and illogical because he
did not have something convincing to trash Blair and Bush about.

      He was limited to general, repetitive slurs about the two men's
imperialistic, racist and expansionistic motives and interests.

      This time round, however, the disastrous, chaotic and seemingly
insurmountable quagmire in Iraq gave him a strong handle on which to peg his
own accusations of human rights abuses, dictatorial tendencies, hypocrisy
and a belief in their own infallibility against the two younger politicians.
In other words, he turned the tables against them.

      As a result, his call for the speeding up of the process of reforming
the United Nations Security Council so as to prevent Britain and America
from imposing their authority over it did not sound like a self-serving
statement. It genuinely found resonance with the delegates who cheered him.

      This was because President Mugabe's reference to the violation of
international law by the United States and the United Kingdom was not a
fanciful fabrication or deliberate exaggeration. It was a fact.

      The two countries are indeed in a spot of bother over the invasion of
Iraq, which United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said was
illegal. The United States and the United Kingdom are now in a predicament
over how to craft an "exit strategy" to extricate themselves from the deadly
mayhem in Iraq.

      Moreover, President Mugabe's charges of human rights abuses against
Britain and America were not hollow mantras in the face of the scandalous
and inhuman treatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and
Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

      Bush and Blair themselves have conceded that gross violations of
prisoners' rights were committed and pledged to ensure that all culprits are
brought to book.

      If the British and American leaders were in attendance during
President Mugabe's speech, they had every reason to squirm in their seats
because what the Zimbabwean leader said needed to be said.

      The United Nations is the appropriate forum to demonstrate that no
country or leader, no matter how wealthy and powerful, is above reproach.
This is a principle that must be accepted by leaders of both the
industrialised nations and the developing world.

      President Mugabe said of the American president and British prime
minister: "We are now being coerced to accept and believe that a new
political-cum-religious doctrine has arisen, namely that there is but one
political god, George W Bush, and Tony Blair is his prophet."

      If he can say this without being accused of meddling in American and
British internal affairs, he should, by the same token, accept criticism of
his own actions and policies.

      It was disappointing, therefore, that although he devoted a portion of
his speech to assuring the delegates that "Zimbabweans have a sovereign vote
to make and unmake governments", he did not tell them why the electoral
playing field is not level.

      He did not explain why the Southern African Development Community has
had to weigh in to insist on the observance of its principles and guidelines
governing democratic elections. He should have elaborated on why such norms
were not in place all along and why his government regards the observing of
elections as interference.

      President Mugabe's latest speech, like all his orations at
international fora, had an ironic quality.

      This is that although the Zimbabwean leader relishes reciting the sins
of others and enjoys basking in the glow of the applause and admiration he
is accorded for calling a spade a spade, he does not think anybody else has
the right to express similar views about him and the situation in Zimbabwe.

      But after all is said and done, the fact remains that he who pays the
piper calls the tune. This is why all leaders of the other third world
countries hold their tongues and egg President Mugabe on at these
international gatherings.

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      Corruption destroys fabric of Zim society

      Mavis Makuni
      9/30/2004 6:58:24 AM (GMT +2)

      About four years ago, a survey conducted by a South African business
consultancy firm, BusinessMap, showed that Zimbabwe was losing $512 billion
annually through corruption and mismanagement by public officials.

      This figure, which was double the country's gross domestic product at
that time, must run into trillions of dollars now.

      The cancer of corruption has reached such epidemic proportions that
the government was this year obliged to set up an Anti-Corruption and
Anti-Monopolies Ministry.

      Headed by controversial veteran politician Didymus Mutasa, the
ministry was created by President Robert Mugabe when he announced a
reshuffle of his Cabinet in March.

      Mutasa was tasked to spearhead the govern-ment's clampdown on
corruption which it embarked on after a chorus of criticism over the plunder
of national resources, which was perceived to have brought the country to
its knees economically, had reached a crescendo.

      Set up amid great rhetorical fanfare in the aftermath of the highly
publicised arrest of some politicians and business people for externalising
foreign currency, the new ministry has, however, not had any impact so far.

      Some observers attribute its ineffectiveness to the fact that the
government was never genuinely interested in tackling corruption in the
first place but only in creating an illusion that it was doing so in order
to appease an increasingly restive populace ahead of next year's
parliamentary elections.

      Critics cite the fact that all those who have been caught in the
corruption dragnet so far were arrested before the Anti-Corruption and the
Anti-Monopolies Ministry came into existence.

      The highest number of arrests was of people from the finance sector,
mainly those running asset management companies and banks. Some politicians,
such as former Telecel managing director James Makamba and Phillip
Chiyangwa, were also nabbed long before Mutasa came on the scene.

      Even Chris Kuruneri, the only Cabinet minister to be netted, was
arrested only after a South African newspaper, The Sunday Times, published
details about a R30 million mansion he was building in Cape Town, which he
was paying for in cash in violation of regulations prohibiting
externalisation of foreign currency.

      The ministry's own modus operandi, which was announced by Mutasa soon
after his appointment, could not have helped matters either.

      "Expose yourself and confess if you committed corruption . . . perhaps
we may be lenient with you. Or wait for us to expose you and face the full
wrath of the law,"Mutasa said.

      There have been no subsequent reports of culprits inundating the
ministry, ready to give themselves up.

      Corruption has had such a long time to spread its tentacles to all
sectors of Zimbabwean society that it cannot be tackled by relying on
culprits to search their consciences. The cancer of corruption and graft
seems to have set in as soon as the euphoria of attaining independence in
1980 had worn off and the reality of governing a country populated by people
with aspirations and high expectations dawned.

      By 1984, corruption was already such a serious problem that judges and
magistrates were regularly warning public servants and those in positions of
trust in the private sector against trying to enrich themselves

      While opening the 1985 legal year, then judge president Justice Wilson
Sandura called for more severe deterrent sentences for dishonest and greedy
officials found guilty of fraud and theft of public funds.

      "Throughout 1984, public servants were warned by the courts on
numerous occasions to refrain from such offences," Justice Sandura said,
adding: "Regrettably, it does not appear that this warning by judges and
magistrates had the desired effect . . . "

      The judge was proved right four years later in 1988 when the first
expose of corruption, which has come to be known as Willowgate, showed that
government ministers and civil servants had been involved a racket in which
they used their influence to get cars allocated to them in contravention of
laid-down procedures.

      Justice Sandura later headed a commission which found a number of
government ministers to have been involved.

      Critics note, however, that nothing was done to bring the culprits to
book. One observer has said that the only person who paid the price for
Willow-gate was Maurice Nyagumbo, who committed suicide after being named as
one of those who had benefited from the racket.

      Transparency International chairman Pastor Goodwin Shana said the
government's failure to act on the findings of the Sandura Commission marked
the first time the nation was seriously shortchanged by the authorities.

      "You cannot appoint a commission to investigate irregularities and
then ignore its findings," Shana said.

      This failure to act showed that political patronage was already firmly
established in 1988. Since then, the findings and recommendations of
numerous commissions and boards of inquiry have been similarly glossed over
or downplayed to protect certain individuals.

      "Corruption has now reached epidemic levels because a number of things
are not in place. It is a problem that has something to do with our
governance values," Shan said.

      He said when people did not have legitimate ways of participating in
decision-making processes and accessing economic resources, they resorted to
subverting legal procedures and practices.

      Shana said efforts to eradicate rampant corruption in Zimbabwe would
fail as long as the political leadership failed to set a good example by
being accountable and having integrity.

      Gorden Moyo, executive director of Bulawayo Agenda, concurred, adding
that corruption and other problems bedevilling the country stemmed from a
crisis of governance that needed to be confronted.

      The government was so preoccupied with retaining power that its
commitment to dealing with corruption was severely compromised, he said.

      With parliamentary elections looming, it was difficult to arrest
anyone for corruption because the government needed all hands on board for
its political survival. It was at such turbulent times when the leadership
was hamstrung by political expediency and the need for self-preservation
that corrupt individuals exploited the collapse of normal procedures and
systems to enrich themselves, he added.

      Moreover, political patronage was at the root of the greed and graft
that now engulfed every sector of the economy, Moyo said.

      "Most senior positions in parastatals are manned by political
appointees who are not in those posts on merit but because they are related
to someone high up," said Moyo, adding that the main objective of these
employees was to get rich rather than to develop the sector.

      He dismissed the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Ministry, saying
instead of helping to fight corruption, it actually represented a different
dimension of the problem.

      "That ministry suffered a stillbirth. How can Didymus Mutasa, who has
shown a lack of integrity through his involvement in violent activities in
his constituency, be taken seriously?" asked Moyo, adding that a man who
could not manage routine affairs in his constituency could not be expected
to head such an important ministry.

      While welcoming the creation of the ministry as a step in the right
direction, Shana said it had come into existence a bit late.

      "We hope the ministry's mechanism for fighting corruption is not
already compromised by a lack of transparency in that the minister himself
has not conducted himself with integrity."

      Shana wondered whether most of the chaos prevailing in Zimbabwe today
could not have been avoided if ZANU PF had stuck to the Leadership Code it
mooted at independence.

      "It would have been an important instrument in engendering the
principle of accountability at the right time," he said.

      The way forward, the commentators agreed, was to overhaul the country's
governance value system so that those in power could be held accountable by
the electorate.

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The food puzzle

      9/30/2004 7:27:03 AM (GMT +2)

      EVERYBODY is watching Zimbabwe. The country attracts priority
attention because the issue of the food security situation has once again
sparked off yet another political storm. Government, currently going through
a severe crisis of confidence, claims self-sufficiency. Its critics however
insist that the country has been led up the garden path about the food
security situation.

      The figure of 2.4 million tonnes of the staple maize being bandied
about by government is thought to be a gross over-statement for political
expediency. According to the critics, all this means is that politics of the
stomach, used to buy influence with the population, has once again taken
centre stage as the incumbent government hopes to benefit from the fear of

      However, it is increasingly becoming more than a whispered rumour that
Zimbabwe, the erstwhile bread-basket-turned-economic basket case produced
only 1.3 million tonnes of the crop - 500 000 tonnes short of the annual
national requirement. Government, whose critics feel is bent on scoring
political points in giving the impression that the land reform has been a
resounding success, takes a dim view of these figures. And predictably, its
instinct has been to simply dismiss offhand warnings of food shortages as
nothing more than an alarmist stance taken by those who not only have always
whipped up emotions against it but are also desperate for regime change and
discrediting the land reform.

      But doesn't this have a familiar ring? We ask because the statistical
haze that has muddied the waters and ignited such an enormous furore over
the country's supposed adequate food supplies is eerily reminiscent of that
unforgettable year when Agriculture Minister Joseph Made assured the nation
that Zimbabwe would have a bumper harvest when the situation on the ground
suggested otherwise.

      We do not need any reminding as to what actually happened. Suffice to
say that Made's unreliable preliminary crop assessment which he presented as
fact was way off the mark and the country's food security situation was
resultantly as precarious as it could get. The country was plunged into an
unprecedented crisis where basic commodities disappeared from the shops and
peace from the souls of the people. As all and sundry now know, the figures
were, for want of a better expression, just plucked from the air. This was
despite the fact that the minister had claimed to have had a bird's eye view
of the country's crop situation, which claim was of course one for the
books. If this was not playing Russian roulette with people's lives, then we
do not know what would be.

      This dealt a crushing body blow to Made's credibility, or the little
that was left of it, as a public officer who should be relied on. Granted,
there is no point in raking over the ashes. But given the foregoing, it is
our sincere hope that the nation will not, on the basis of assurances from
the ministry, be lulled into a false sense of security and once again find
itself stuck in awkward scrapes simply because of shortsighted and parochial
self-serving public posturing by some ever-blundering government officials.
Pardon our French! But what can we say about these politicians who keep on
suggesting political measures as a remedy for economic woes and national

      Given the credibility gap in the last food debacle, how reliable are
the government's estimates considering that Made has misled the nation
before? That is precisely the question. The question of credibility. It is
about public trust in the minister. Even if we might want to give Made the
benefit of the doubt, won't we as a nation, as happened before, be caught
sleeping at the switch at a time when the country will have to fight a
rearguard action to stave off food shortages? Indeed any Zimbabwean
intrigued by the furore touched off by this issue would ask why, if Zimbabwe
produced as much as we are told by the powers-that-be, hasn't the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) produced evidence to this effect. Put simply, if
reason consists of seeing things the way they really are, why then do we
have these striking discrepancies in figures on the same issue? Are we
missing something here?

      Only two weeks ago we were told that the GMB could not come clean on
the food security situation when it faced the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Lands and Agriculture. If anything, the best its executives
could do was to try to pass the buck. They got into a scapegoating mode,
exposing that all-too-familiar characteristic of Zimbabwean politicians,
saying they had nothing to do with the crop forecasting committee. Please!
Are these the actions of an organisation with nothing to hide? True, the
peasant farmers who have traditionally produced 70 percent of the country's
maize only send about 35 percent of their produce to the GMB, which means it
would be not be accurate to assess the country's crop situation by the
amount sent to the granary alone. Be that as it may, the GMB's failure to
give a clear picture that reassures and convinces the nation is cause for
grave concern.

      Could there be a situation more worrying and more confusing than this?
Indeed the present crisis is far more ominous. If the Famine Early Warning
Systems Network's preliminary indications that Zimbabwe will face a high
cereal deficit of 38 percent comes to pass, would it not read more like a
catastrophe foretold?

      And to think that all this is coming after Zimbabwe, insultingly,
arrogantly and ungratefully told the compassionate and helpful food aid
agencies who have previously played an inestimable role in averting human
crises of catastrophic proportions, that they could take their help
elsewhere! Zimbabwe is indeed increasingly becoming bizarre. Little wonder
therefore that something as ordinary as assessing the food situation can be
as confusing as a crossword puzzle with only half the clues and no black
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      ...and now to the NOTEBOOK

      9/30/2004 7:24:36 AM (GMT +2)

      It is good to see that Elliot Mujaji managed to defend his golden
position at the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, where our sister Kirsty
Coventry recently made a name for herself.

      He has now qualified to be called a Goldenboy, we are officially told,
never mind the conditions of abject indigence and criminal neglect under
which he prepared to defend his title.

      For now we cannot rush to say much . . . we will just have to wait and
see what happens next. By the way, the new Goldenboy is arriving today,
Thursday? Fine. We will wait and see who meets him at the airport, what the
official programme will be like and how it will end.

      From the precedence already set, we can now take it for granted that
he will also get a bit of "pocket money", a diplomatic passport, dinner at
the Great Uncle's palace and possibly a piece of land in the prime Mazowe
farming area.

      A musical gala will not be that much of a bad idea. Sure. Our
constitution says we do not discriminate on the basis of colour, sex, creed,
disability, etc, etc. Hopefully, we won't.

      By the way, some Zimboz are wondering if Mujaji's gold medal from
Sydney was not gold enough until lovely Kirsty came to the country's rescue
by breaking our "24-year jinx"? So there are some gold medals that are not
really gold medals? Ho nhai? We wait!

      Zimbabweans are just a people in their own class, believe me! Like
them or hate them, these people have their own peculiar way of doing
things - a way that a normal world will never learn to understand, but just

      So far we are proud world record holders in many disciplines of human
endeavour and we don't seem to be tiring at all as we try to break more
records and/or create new ones.

      CZ was in South Africa recently and he could not believe it when he
bumped into these press reports about Zimboz.

      According to South African police, 90 percent of bank robberies giving
them headaches and sleepless nights are committed by Zimbabweans - yes,
Zimboz - and the brothers are just good at the game, so much so that one
really wonders if here in Harare we have a special school where people just
go to learn how to ransack banks.

      "Ninety percent of robbers are Zimbabweans . . . their modus operandi
is to stake out a bank . . . they establish how many guards or dogs are in a
bank, where the security cameras are and whether or not there is
bullet-proof glass separating tellers. Sometimes they put muti in the bank
before and after the robbery," said Boats Botha, a senior superintendent of
a police anti-robbery unit.

      He said the Zimboz sometimes gain access to sensitive areas in banks
by wearing overalls and posing as workers or by simply wearing security
guard uniforms.

      "They pose as officers collecting cash containers so that they can
gain access through the back doors of banks," Botha said.

      Even a study by the authoritative Institute for Security Studies at
the University of Pretoria has confirmed that brainy criminal gangs from
this good side of the Limpopo are responsible for most bank robberies.

      However, it is not the fact that it is Zimboz who are the brains
behind most of these activities that baffle the institute, but how some of
these people operate.

      The institute says even after some notorious gangsters have been
arrested and jailed, from the innards of the most secure prisons, they
continue to organise spectacular robberies. They can still effectively
organise bank robberies from the cells and at times even getting out
temporarily to commit the crimes before returning to their cells to plot
against the next target!

      You know bank robbery is a billion-dollar industry in South Africa?
About R4 billion is transported between banks in South Africa everyday . . .
and this is not "laughing money"!

      If it is indeed true that we control 90 percent of that country's bank
robbery industry, you might be wondering: why then is it that we are almost
always in a foreign exchange fix? Maybe we can now understand why some of
the most posh car models are found on the streets of Harare when commercial
production has barely started!

      Bingo wa Muluzi

      We wonder if our national son-in-law, Bingu wa Mutharika (Bingo wa
Muluzi), was impressed with what he saw when he visited Bineth Farm in
Kadoma, the farm he curiously owns on this part of the continent, and which
we are now being told is a ticking health time bomb.

      Is it the realisation that the conditions at the farm are criminally
appalling that Cde Bingo wa Muluzi decided it was wiser for him to sleep at
a nearby hotel instead of his farm when he visited it last month?

      We know that if a serious farmer goes to his farm, he hangs around for
some time and even sleeps there, but this farmer, who seems to have
perfected the remote control system, thought otherwise after he found the
place unfit for human habitation. Yet he expects maximum performance from
people working there.

      CZ will try to get a farm in Malawi where he will pay the workers half
the stipulated wages . . . hopefully, he will succeed.

      On Friday last week, CZ came back home aboard our own Air Zimbabwe. To
his shock and that of many other safety-conscious passengers, the flight
crew were serving beer in glass bottles.

      Remember, the whole aviation world is moving to less dangerous items
such as plastic and cans. Our own national airline is still steeped in the
stone age and still serving beer in glass bottles . . . yes, bottles.
Castle, Pilsener, Chateau . . . it's all in bottles. One would be forgiven
to think that they were in a shebeen. God!

      Whatever excuse they might give - costs or shortage - it is not cogent
enough to justify the sick airline's casual approach to international safety

      Now that we are seizing planes from some organised international crime
groups, we should not say we were never warned!
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      ZESA, Wankie head for clash

      Felix Njini
      9/30/2004 6:59:15 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), writhing under a
foreign currency squeeze and a mounting foreign currency debt, is eyeing
Wankie Colliery Company (WCC)'s US$100 million Chaba opencast coal mine.

      The Financial Gazette has established that Sydney Gata, the executive
chairman of ZESA , has been intensely lobbying the government for the power
utility's involvement in the mine, amid panic over Zimbabwe's electricity
supply in the next couple of years.

      ZESA is banking on expansion of its two power plants, Hwange and
Kariba South power stations, for future electricity supply, and this can
only be possible if enough and sustainable coal sources are available.

      Capacity constraints at WCC have caused discomfort within ZESA.

      ZESA insiders said deals to lure Chinese and Indian investors to
manage the expansion of Hwange and Kariba South had come unstuck. The
sources said the Indian and Chinese investors, who have been casting a keen
eye on ZESA's expansion projects, were demanding coal concessions, a
condition the government had steadfastly refused.

      Zimbabwe's power situation is likely to be compromised in 2007 when
the region, which supplies the country wuth some of its electricity needs,
will have no surplus energy.

      The ZESA insiders said Gata's frantic efforts were meant to land the
Chinese investors the US$100 million Chaba mine so that they would go ahead
and upgrade the Hwange and Kariba South stations - avoiding a potential
power blackout in 2007.

      "Gata has been lobbying heavily in government for ZESA to be given
Chaba mine, which is seen as the solution to coal shortages in electricity
generation," said a source.

      ZESA at one time signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with
China's National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation, giving the
Chinese firm rights over Zimbabwe's prime generation plants.

      The Chinese company even undertook to provide a US$70 million loan for
coal mining, rehabilitation and expansion works at WCC to boost coal
supplies to Hwange Power Station (HPS).

      Once the coal supply situation improved, another agreement was in the
offing for the Chinese firm to supply equipment and machinery worth over
US$400 million for the expansion of HPS.

      ZESA has also signed MOUs with firms from Iran and India but these
deals, too, have come unstuck, the sources said.

      "Investors are willing to come but they want a guaranteed supply of
coal, which WCC is not able to provide at the moment. Gata's proposal, which
is being debated at Cabinet level, entails landing the coal concession for
the investors," said one source.

      However, WCC, which has sketched ambitious growth plans of its own,
has maintained that the Chaba coal concession would not be handed away, even
to ZESA.

      WCC chairman Munacho Mutezo confirmed to The Financial Gazette that he
was aware of whispers of Gata's proposal to the government.

      But he said "Chaba is WCC's concession" and no amount of lobbying and
pleading would see the lucrative mine going to ZESA.

      WCC is already looking for potential investors in the envisaged mine
on a capital/equity swap basis. Mutezo said ZESA could only come into the
project as an investor, "if it has the capital required to kick start

      "We have heard such talk (about Gata's proposal) but we have not been
approached formally. ZESA can come and invest. We can complement each other,
but Chaba mine is our concession and will remain so," Mutezo said.

      The initial plan regarding Chaba was for the coal mine to support the
envisaged expansion of Hwange and Kariba South power stations.

      "We have done all the exploratory work. We are currently looking for
investors to bring in the finance and technology but we are ready to go,"
Mutezo said.

      Gata, who could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out in
China, at one time attacked the government for refusing to award coal
concessions to would-be investors in Hwange and Kariba South power stations.

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      More firms stripped of mining rights

      Staff Reporter
      9/30/2004 7:01:52 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Amos Midzi, has revoked
more exclusive prospecting orders (EPOs) granted to mining companies.

      The EPOs that were recently revoked were held by Krumlin Mining
(Private) Limited, Barrock Mines and Somden Investments. This brings to 16
the number of EPOs revoked this year.

      Krumlin had two of its EPOs revoked this year. The company was issued
with the orders in 2001.

      EPOs are rights issued to mining companies to explore possible mineral
deposits in different parts of the country. The revoked orders were,
however, confined to the Harare area.

      The minister, under the Mines and Minerals Act, can issue and revoke
the orders upon the recommendation of a board appointed to assess and review
the issuance of EPOs.

      The orders can be cancelled if there is evidence that the prospecting
company has not conducted its exploration work as originally indicated upon
the issuance of the permit.

      Section 101 of the Mines and Minerals Act provides that: "If a
concession holder fails to satisfy the board that he has carried out the
programme for such extended period as the board may have granted, the board
may recommend to the minister that the order be revoked."

      According to the same law, revocation of the order will compel that a
payment be made to the ministry.

      The rescission of the EPOs was made public in a notice in the
Government Gazette.

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      Zim still a no-go area for tourists

      Staff Reporter
      9/30/2004 7:05:12 AM (GMT +2)

      INTERNATIONAL tourists continue to shun Zimbabwe owing to the
heightening risk perception fuelled by deteriorating political and economic
conditions, latest statistics released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
(ZTA) reveal.

      The statistics indicate that there has been a further decline in
tourist arrivals in the first half of the year compared to the same period
last year, confirming that international visitors are still wary of the
situation in the country, which invariably receives bad press.

      Overall, arrivals tumbled a massive 36 percent from 1 303 901 recorded
last year to a low of 827 245 visitors in the first half of the year. The
majority of the visitors during the period January to June this year were
from mainland Africa, which constituted 675 538 visitors while the overseas
market contributed the remainder.

      However, according to ZTA, the overseas market share grew marginally
from 16 percent to 18 percent in the same period. The United States of
America (USA) emerged as the leading overseas source, contributing 23 300
visitors, a figure reflecting 15 percent growth on the comparative period of
last year.

      Visitors from the United Kingdom, for long the country's major source
within the international market, only contributed 19 892 visitors.

      Zimbabwe's new economic and political partner, China, was lagging
behind with an 11 percent contribution.

      Zimbabwe's links with China have been increasingly influenced by the
existing hostility on the diplomatic front between the increasingly isolated
country and European states which have, through the European Union (EU),
slapped the African state's ruling elite with targeted sanctions.

      China has accorded Zimbabwe an Approved Destination Status (ADS) at a
time when many overseas states have placed a caveat on travelling to the
southern African nation.

      The arrangement encourages Chinese people to travel to this country.

      Zimbabwe's tourism has suffered immensely owing to the bad image that
the country has attracted since the advent of land seizures and politically
motivated violence in 2000.

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      A post ENG review of unified regulation of financial services

      9/30/2004 7:26:23 AM (GMT +2)

      IN this article, the second in a two-part series, I am proposing the
creation of a unified (single) financial services regulator, hereinafter
referred to as "the regulatory authority". The regulatory authority will be
responsible for the regulation of the entire financial services sector and
markets in Zimbabwe.

      All financial institutions like banks, building societies and other
deposit takers, investment advisers, asset managers, stock brokers, discount
houses, insurance companies, insurance brokers, pension funds, the stock
exchange, and other financial markets will be regulated by this regulatory

      THE creation of a single regulatory authority should be based on a
clear statement of realistic objectives. These objectives would be to:

        a.. Deliver a single (integrated) regulatory system that is not
fragmented and overlapping in structure.

        b.. Create a financial regulator with adequate resources and
capacity to monitor and maintain an efficient and dynamic financial system.

        c.. Protect investors and depositors and other forms of public
savings (i.e. retirement savings).

        d.. Maintain market confidence in the integrity of financial
services and markets.

        e.. Address significant risks (e.g. systemic, credit, market
manipulation, fraud, insider trading risks etc) that pose threats to the
financial systems and markets.

        f.. Promote the public understanding of the operations of financial
services and markets and the risks inherent therein.

        The above objectives should be supported by principles which govern
good regulation of financial systems. These principles are:

        g.. Resources utilised should justify (not far outweigh) the
benefits of having a single regulatory authority.

        h.. Responsibilities of the regulatory authority should be clearly
defined in order to create transparency, accountability and good governance
of the regulatory system.

        i.. A balance between prescribed regulation and self-regulation
should be maintained to avoid overbearing the financial system with
cumbersome regulations.

        j.. Regulation should not impede competition and innovation, cushion
poor performance or discourage risk taking.

        k.. Regulation should take into account the international nature of
financial systems.

        l.. Use of technology should be encouraged in order to improve

        m.. Costs associated with compliance should be minimised to avoid
creating an expensive regulatory system.

      Having outlined the objectives and supporting principles of a single
regulatory authority, the challenging question is: "How do we do it?" The
answer may seem simple, on the face of things, but it's not as simple when
it comes to the modus operandi. There is no 'one size fits all' approach to
this challenging question. Whichever approach is used, the starting point is
taking the initiative (lobbying), followed by protracted legal processes,
which will culminate in establishing the appropriate legal framework for
creating the regulatory authority whose functions are briefly stated below.

      All aspects relating to financial services and markets will be fall
under the regulatory authority. The responsibilities of the regulatory
authority will be to supervise and monitor all financial services and
markets in Zimbabwe.

      This means that the Ministry Of Finance, RBZ, ZSE, Registrar Of
Pensions and Provident Funds, Commissioner of Insurance, etc will transfer
or cede their regulatory functions and powers over regulation of financial
services and markets to this regulatory authority.

      The ceding of functions to the financial regulator could be done in
stages (phases), depending on the circumstances existing at the time that
this regulator is created. In my opinion a phased approach is desirable
because it gives the regulator opportunity to test the effectiveness of the
unified regulatory system and to make adjustments accordingly.

      The proposed regulatory authority will be an independent,
non-governmental corporate body with statutory powers bestowed on it by an
Act of Parliament. The regulator will be accountable to the Ministry of
Finance in the first instance and through it, to the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

      It will have its own revenue base, generated from the fees charged for
activities it regulates. This will also enhance its autonomy.

      A board of governors, selected and appointed by the Ministry of
Finance will govern the operations of this regulatory authority. The board
should retain its independence to ensure that it does not serve special
interests and also to enable it to conduct its business in a transparent
manner, free from political interference. Members of the board should be
drawn from Zimbabweans with relevant academic qualifications, experience in
financial, legal and economic issues and also international exposure to
operation of financial systems and markets.

      To ensure independence of governors, they should not be selected from
sitting directors or executives in the financial services, which are subject
of regulation, because of inherent conflict of interest.

      The regulatory authority will incur costs related to its regulatory
activities. The issue of funding is therefore critical. The regulator will
be funded initially by a government grant at the time of inception since it
will be starting from a zero revenue base. Thereafter it will independently
fund its own regulatory activities through fees that it will levy to all
companies or persons that carry out regulated financial activities.

      In terms of its structure, the regulator will operate like a company.
The enabling Act will require it to prepare and publicly publish an annual
report on its activities and performance.

      It is very important that the proposed regulatory authority should be
legally accountable where it conducts activities outside the provisions of
the Act, fails to correctly interpret the provisions of the enabling Act, or
breaches its legal functions and so on.

      Corporate governance is a critical issue that has to be addressed by
the financial regulator. Recent corporate failures and scandals in the
financial sector highlighted in Part 1 of this article, have exposed serious
weaknesses in the self regulatory mechanisms relating to corporate
governance since provisions of codes are non-prescriptive in nature. The
regulatory authority will address this issue by adopting an approach that
uses both prescribed (regulated) and voluntary (self-regulated) approaches
to corporate governance standards.

      As stated above, one of the objectives of the regulatory authority
should be to protect the financial interests of consumers as well as to
safeguard investor funds. To fulfil this objective, the regulatory authority
will be expected to have in place a charter for consumer protection. In
addition, the regulatory authority should have provisions to receive
complaints from consumers and internal whistle-blowing mechanisms to enable
it to attend to abuses of its regulatory powers and assets.

      Having highlighted the important aspects of the proposed regulatory
authority, it is necessary to examine how other countries across the globe
are approaching the issue of financial services regulation. We have a lot to
learn from such experiences because of the international character of
financial services.

      lAllen Choruma is a Zimbabwean corporate lawyer based in Seattle, WA,
USA. He can be contacted on e-mail at:

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      You're selling us a dummy, Cde Chihuri

      9/30/2004 7:23:28 AM (GMT +2)

      Can the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) convince anyone who has watched
their shameless dereliction of duty over the past few years that they can go
from 100 percent approval to zero tolerance of violence in one fell
double-speaking swoop?

      This is a question I could not help asking after reading some reports
in the official media that sounded too good to be true. These reports,
published over the past two weeks, gave the startling impression that the
country's partisan law enforcers had suddenly decided to abandon their
unprofessional modus operandi.

      On September 21, a state daily newspaper led with a story under the
banner headline: "Blitz on political violence". The story detailed the
arrest of more than 700 people in Kwekwe in raids dubbed "operation restore
peace". The purpose of the clampdown, according to a police spokesman, was
to flush out suspected perpetrators of political violence.

      A closer scrutiny of the statistics, however, showed that 254 of the
people had been arrested for crimes such as armed robbery, assault,
possessing dangerous drugs and public drinking. The remaining 456 had been
netted for various traffic offences.

      These fuzzy figures sowed the first seeds of doubt in my mind on
whether the police were talking about brutal, senseless and gruesome
political violence as we have come to know it over the past few years.

      If the crimes quoted above represent what the police categorise as
political violence, is it any wonder that in the past they have looked the
other way while unspeakable acts were perpetrated against innocent people?

      A second story about political violence was published in a Sunday
paper. This was about Makoni North Member of Parliament Didymus Mutasa,
whose role in bloody clashes that occurred in his constituency last month
had been the subject of a police inquiry. The investigators concluded that
Mutasa, who is the Minister of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies, had a
case to answer.

      Both newspapers quoted Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri as saying
that politically motivated violence would not be tolerated ahead of next
year's parliamentary elections.

      "Members of the ZRP are under instruction to have zero tolerance of
any situation or activities which they perceive as contributing to

      The commissioner did not, however, explain why the police force was
only getting these orders now when violence has been a burgeoning crisis for
many years.

      The Sunday paper that reported on Mutasa's case quoted some sources as
saying that the investigating team had recommended that all parties and
persons that were involved or implicated in assaults, destruction of
property and public violence should be dealt with in terms of the law
regardless of their status and station in life.

      Is Chihuri serious about finally tackling violence on which his
officers have turned a blind eye and sometimes even allegedly abetted over
the years? Based on the performance of the police force since 2000, cynics
would be forgiven for questioning the sincerity of Chihuri's utterances.

      His statements are more likely to be regarded as part of the ongoing
posturing the government has embarked upon since announcing proposed new
legislation on electoral reforms. Chihuri seems to have jumped on the
bandwagon to prop up the smokescreen set up to hoodwink the Southern African
Development Community and the rest of the world that Zimbabwe has genuinely
turned over a new leaf.

      Chihuri should know that without demonstrable proof on the ground that
the police force is reverting to the professional ethics it abandoned long
ago by capitulating to political pressure and manipulation, merely mouthing
empty promises will not work.

      In the past, numerous cases have been documented when police officers
have actually abetted or perpetrated violence themselves against people they
should have been protecting.

      Off hand, I can recall the incident in which human rights lawyer
Beatrice Mutetwa was assaulted by an officer after she had approached the
police to report a carjacking. Other incidents have involved law enforcement
agents standing by and not lifting a finger while property belonging to an
opposition party was wantonly destroyed by ruling party supporters. The lame
excuse given in such cases of shameless displays of lack of professionalism
was that police could not get involved in political disputes.

      This was nonsense, of course, because the same officers would not
think twice about arresting supporters of opposition parties or critics of
the government on the fanciest or flimsiest of excuses.

      They have also been known to stoop as low as turning victims of brutal
attacks into suspects and arresting them if it turned out that the real
perpetrators of the atrocities in question were ruling party supporters.

      The public will be keen to see whether Chihuri's trigger-happy and
arrest-before-investigating police force will abandon all these
unprofessional practices and execute their duties without fear or favour.

      The Mutasa case is the litmus test that will show clearly whether the
police are serious about restoring integrity to their vocation, thus
regaining public trust and confidence.

      Now that it has been established that the Makoni North MP has a case
to answer, what next? Will we see all due process come to pass with respect
to this matter?

      We can recall a few similar cases about which a lot of dust has been
raised in the past only for them to eventually die a natural death. Sweeping
Mutasa's case under the carpet would be an unmistakable signal that nothing
has changed in the way the police have allowed themselves to be used and
manipulated by politicians.

      There is no point in making high-sounding declarations of principle
that do not result in any perceptible change in the situation on the ground.
In fact, this has happened so many times in the past that I have sometimes
wondered whether some government officials' statements slamming certain
practices and incidents were not in reality encoded messages advocating the
opposite. Only time will tell whether things are different this time, as
weary Zimbabweans desperately hope.

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