Harare - Zimbabwe's ruling party has conceded that opposition
gains in local elections were "a rude wake-up call".
Minister Jonathan Moyo said victory by the Movement for Democratic Change in
most weekend town council polls were "sobering". The ruling party needed to
examine the reasons for its losses.
"We should have seen it coming.
The writing was on the wall, but somehow we did not read it," Moyo told the
state Herald newspaper.
The opposition won control of 10 town
councils in the weekend's local elections, according to results released
yesterday. The MDC hailed the polls as a sign that people were dissatisfied
with the increasingly authoritarian government and worsening economic
The elections were beset by low voter turnout and
reports of intimidation.
The opposition captured 134 council
seats across the country, compared with the ruling party's 100.
The opposition also retained its parliament seat in central Harare, while the
ruling party retained a seat in Makonde, a traditional
Moyo said preoccupation over stalled talks
between the ruling party and the opposition, to negotiate an end to the
country's political and economic crisis, caused some ruling-party officials
to lose focus ahead of the polls.
Debate and speculation on
a possible successor to President Robert Mugabe also hurt the party, he
The opposition said ruling- party campaigners had handed out
food to voters in some areas in a bid to gain support.
election commission dismissed those reports as "exaggerated".
Talks between the two main parties collapsed after the opposition refused to
recognise Mugabe's election for another six-year term in presidential polls
Attempts to revive the talks as the economy crumbled
this year have failed. Mugabe is demanding that the opposition drop a court
challenge to his re-election.
The MDC has refused to drop the
case and is demanding that Mugabe step down.
foreign observers said Mugabe's narrow win in the presidential poll was
swayed by intimidation, corruption and vote-rigging.
suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980, with record
inflation of 400%, one of the highest rates in the world. Soaring
unemployment and acute shortages of hard currency, local money, food, petrol,
medicine and other imports are crippling the economy. - Sapa-AP
Mdzungairi THE National Parks and Wildlife Authority has acquired 120 Land
Rover vehicles worth US$2,76 million as it steps up its anti-poaching
The first batch of 21 vehicles, bought at a cost of US$460 000,
will be delivered next month, while the delivery of the remainder would
be determined by the authority’s generation of foreign currency.
new fleet will replace the obsolete vehicles which broke down over the years
but had not been replaced owing to cashflow problems.
The authority will
also acquire helicopters for research, game capture, aerial surveys and
anti-poaching patrols in wildlife sanctuaries across the country.
currently relies on hired aircraft for aerial surveys, anti-poaching and for
controlling problem birds.
The acquisition of vehicles by the authority
comes at a time when 139 elephants and about 20 endangered black rhinos have
been lost to poaching along the Zambezi Valley escarpment.
suspected Zambian poachers were killed during contacts with game wardens in
the Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls.
The authority has launched a
massive investigation on private game properties in West Nicholson on
allegations that they were engaged in illegal hunting activities involving
eight South African nationals.
Of the more than 139 elephants killed by
poachers since last year, at least 50 were killed between January and July
No figures were available for the year 2002 but indications
were that more elephants were killed during that period than during the
previous years because of the campaign against Zimbabwe during the Cites
The elephants and rhinos were killed mostly in areas along the
National parks chief executive officer Dr Morris
Mtsambiwa confirmed the increase in poaching but warned that the net was
closing in on international organisations sponsoring international and
commercial poaching on private properties.
He, however, indicated that
the number of elephants poached were insignificant as the jumbo population
has grown to over 89 000 in recent months.
"We lost more than 139
elephants between 2001 and July this year.
"A worrying development is
that there has been an increase in international and commercial poaching
involving foreign nationals such as Zambians and a few South Africans who are
mainly involved in illegal hunting of game in Matabeleland South and North
"We are aware that international poaching is targeted at rhinos
and elephants as we prepare for the next Cites conference. Although we are
still very thin on the ground in terms of law enforcement we managed to kill
four poachers. But we can not say we will fully control that type of
poaching," said Dr Mtsambiwa.
The authority has received support to
counter poaching insurgency along the Zambezi Valley from the army and the
Reports that 50 elephants and eight black rhinos were killed in
the past few months showed that international poaching rings were "once again
at work", said Dr Mtsambiwa.
The increased level of poaching of
wildlife and habitat loss on areas adjacent to some of the country’s leading
game sanctuaries was threatening some protected species.
wanted to create a perception that there was no rule of law in the country
and that the land reform programme has weakened law
They also wanted to paint a grim picture of the
transformation of the department of national parts into an authority and
concluding that the process has created anxiety among staff to the extent
that game scouts were failing to protect wildlife sanctuaries from marauding
"Contrary to these notions we have scored some victories
against the poachers who are mainly from our neighbouring countries and a few
from resettled areas.
"Those in resettled areas are engaging in
subsistence poaching while commercial poaching has also steadily increased
over the past few months. It is true that we have not been able to recruit
new staff and that we are ill equipped as a department but this is why we
sought assistance from other law enforcement agencies."
Of the 3 000
staff complement needed, the authority is currently operating at less than
half that figure. This has impacted negatively on
While elephant and rhino poaching have increased, the
elephant population has doubled to over 89 000 in recent months. This could
pose a serious ecological disaster if they are not reduced to Zimbabwe's
carrying capacity of between 40 000 and 45 000.
The elephant was also
threatening its own survival, as national parks can only carry up to 45 000
The country's largest wildlife sanctuary, Hwange National Park,
has more than 45 000 elephants, a situation that has resulted in plain game
species facing extinction as they can not match the jumbos when it comes to
the battle for the limited resources such as water and
Gonarezhou, the second largest, has an estimated 25 000 elephants
when it could accommodate about half that number.
numbers of elephants showed that Zimbabwe had a sound wildlife management
Although 16 percent of the country's total land area is under
wildlife, Zimbabwe's flagship wildlife species have continued to strain the
carrying capacity of some of the major animal sanctuaries.
Reporter THERE is a need for the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition MDC to put
their differences aside and work together for the common good of the
country, Mutare Central MP Mr Innocent Gonese (MDC) said
"We now require men and women of good integrity to stand up
for the good of the country and this requires the Government to engage the
MDC in finding solutions to problems facing the country," he said.
Gonese said this while moving a motion on the political and economic crisis
He said the economic problems in the country emanated
from the political situation, hence, these would not be resolved until the
political question was addressed.
"We must swallow our pride and stop
playing to the gallery as there is an urgent need to address issues affecting
the nation," he said.
Zanu-PF has repeatedly re-affirmed its commitment
to co-operating with the MDC for the good of the nation but has said the
opposition needs to be genuine.
The legislator said there was need for
constitutional reform since most of the problems in the country emanated from
the flawed Lancaster House Constitution.
However, the Government has
in the past hinted that constitutional reform was no longer a priority
following the rejection of the draft constitution by Zimbabweans in
Contributing to the same debate, Kuwadzana MP Mr Nelson Chamisa
(MDC) said MPs should be on the forefront of fighting the spread of
"We must be tested for HIV/Aids so that we lead by example in
our constituencies," he said amid laughter from the House.
Zimbabwe union to protest country's cash
shortages September 4, 2003
Harare - The main labour body in Zimbabwe is planning mass action against the
government over chronic cash shortages gripping the country, a top labour
official told AFP Thursday.
Over the past few months banks have
been unable to supply people with cash, workers have been unable to cash
their pay cheques and people have resorted to sleeping in bank
Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the labour body was planning mass action to protest
the "inactivity of the government" in overcoming the shortages.
He could not give any firm dates for the action, saying it awaited
the approval of the labour body's general council.
But he was
confident the mass action would be approved. "We want to force them (the
government) to act on the crisis," Matombo said.
The private Daily
News newspaper quoted unnamed ZCTU sources as saying the mass action would
kick off September 29 and would include a week-long strike and protest
marches by workers.
The government has said it is printing new
money and has promised to pump billions of Zimbabwe dollars into the economy
on a daily basis after September 26.
Matombo said his union,
which represents around 250 000 workers, was unconvinced and wanted direct
assurances. "We cannot go by what we read and hear in the print and
electronic media," he said.
The Zimbabwe government blames the cash
shortages on people hoarding the country's highest denomination 500 dollar
(about R4.50) note.
It plans to withdraw the old notes from
circulation at the end of September and replace them with new 500 Zimbabwe
dollar and 1,000 dollar (about R9) bills.
Last month it outlawed
companies and individuals from holding more than five million Zimbabwe
dollars (about R44 890) in a bid to release cash into the market. But there
has been no let-up to the crisis.
Late Wednesday the state ZIANA
news agency interviewed a 48-year-old woman from rural Zimbabwe who had spent
a week queuing outside a bank in central Harare in an attempt to draw her
pension. - Sapa-AFP
Hama Saburi Deputy
Editor-in-Chief 9/4/2003 8:50:43 AM (GMT +2)
spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), has reportedly been
unleashed onto the local currency market to sniff around for those flouting
exchange control regulations in what could turn out to be a deeply
embarrassing debacle for the government whose needle is well and truly stuck
in the midst of the still unfolding crippling exchange
The latest development comes in the wake of an
external audit conducted by the central bank, which controls the country’s
financial levers. The audit, among other things, included compliance
inspections of all banks’ foreign currency trading activities and was
completed by the last quarter of last year.
The audit is said to
have unearthed rampant Exchange Control Regulations by several banking
The move, which will certainly put the RBZ on a
collision course with most banking institutions, comes as it emerged
yesterday that the central bank had on Monday moved to freeze individual
foreign currency accounts and immediately review mining houses’ Offshore
Trust Accounts whereby mining companies could keep their export earnings
offshore and remit only that portion required to meet operational
A banking source said individuals whose accounts had been
frozen had since been advised in writing.
sources yesterday said the spy agency was unleashed on the market on Friday
last week. Two major banks, a commercial bank and a merchant bank,
immediately suspended trade in foreign currency after getting wind of the
two-pronged swoop supported by the police last week.
the two banks said they would resume trade after two weeks.
Except for a few banks that steered clear of the illegal parallel market
which is now handling an estimated 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s foreign currency
transactions, the other banks have gone on full alert to thwart sporadic
raids amid intensified complaince monitoring inspections by the central
Even the RBZ itself, which seems stymied as to what do as the
foreign currency mess has turned into something more akin to a puzzling
and confusing crossword puzzle with only half the clues and no black squares,
is also implicated.
Bankers miffed by the latest turn of events
felt that the government’s desperate measures would not have any appreciable
effect on the deep-seated foreign exchange crisis.
itself is also part of this so-called illegal or parallel market which in
fact is now the real market. It has sanctioned transactions in the market at
above the official market rate, eg the tobacco proceeds that the banks have
been directed to sell to fuel procurement companies at a rate of US$1 to Z$1
600," said one livid banker.
He hinted that the latest action by
the RBZ, roundly condemned for failing to handle the cash crunch, could open
a pandora’s box in the banking sector amid threats by some senior banking
executives that they could expose unholy alliances between named top RBZ
officials and some banking institutions.
A series of crisis
meetings have been held over the past few months between the RBZ and bankers
and other stakeholders to trawl through a list of possible escape options
from the hard currency woes.
The foreign currency shortages have
however persisted sparking off nightmares of fresh waves of commodity price
increases at an unprecedented scale.
Previously the central bank
would wade into the local currency markets to sell the US$, which is in
demand worldwide as a reserve currency, to shore up the battered local unit.
But it now has run dry as it does not have reserves to weather the currency
run after the dollar, still trying to find a bottom, touched of an as yet to
end terrifying swift plunge.
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa, who
was down with a bout of flue, told The Financial Gazette on Tuesday that
acting RBZ governor Charles Chikaura, who could not be contacted for comment
yesterday, was better placed to discuss the issue. Chikaura was said by his
secretary to have gone for a meeting with the Cabinet.
"I am so
sick that I cannot discuss it at the moment. Try Chikaura, he is at the
centre of it. We are trying all things. It is a matter of restoring
confidence in the banking sector because people are not banking and it
requires that we all put our money in the banks," he said.
Security Minister Nicholas Goche, who had earlier promised to give this
reporter an interview, changed his mind yesterday. "Taura naMurerwa, he is
the Minister of Finance (Talk to Murerwa, he is the Minister of Finance),"
Goche said before switching off his mobile phone.
As late as
Tuesday this week, there were attempts in banking and political circles to
cow the RBZ against instituting further action on other banks found to have
violated the Exchange Control Act amid fears that a continued crackdown on
banks could worsen the shortage of foreign currency.
market rates, which had gone past Z$6 000 against the American dollar, have
also reacted to the latest development that has since crippled a department
within the high-profile NMBZ Holdings which was slapped with a 12-month
suspension for contravening exchange regulations. Rates were quoted as low as
Z$5 100 against the greenback yesterday.
The Julius Makoni-led
bank, whose share price has since tumbled on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, is
among the nine banks accused by the central bank of flouting exchange control
The RBZ said it is owed amounts from as little as
US$40 000 and as much as US$350 000 by various banks. Most of the banks are
however understood to have written back to the RBZ rejecting the
"There are also cases where the Reserve Bank has failed to
interpret its own regulations, not to mention calculation errors. We
(bankers) are also questioning the inconsistencies in the application of
"We have said it before that the swap arrangement
introduced by the Reserve Bank undermines the whole issue and we wonder why
it has not been dealt with," said a source in the banking
Zimbabwe, whose export sector is teetering on the verge of
collapse, is sitting on a ticking time bomb in the form of a crippling
foreign currency crisis dramatised by the failure to service external debts
and reduced imports of critical commodities such as fuel and
electricity. External arrears stood at US$1.6 billion (Z$1.32 trillion) as at
July 18 2003.
The government’s reluctance to move the exchange
rate beyond $824 to the greenback has given rise to an active parallel market
that has also mopped up cash from official banking sources.
Chief Reporter 9/4/2003 8:59:08 AM (GMT +2)
by the initially slow-motion but now accelerating economic melt-down that has
turned a previously robust economy into a basket case, Zimbabwean voters seem
to have resigned to their fate as evidenced by their indifference to the
outcome of the just-ended local government and parliamentary by-elections in
Harare and Makonde.
Although the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) retained its supremacy in urban centres, political commentators this
week condemned the opposition party for celebrating a victory in an election
marred by unprecedented voter apathy.
They accused the MDC of
failing to mobilise and inspire potential voters in the capital where ZANU PF
hardly campaigned, particularly in Harare.
The commentators were
unanimous that with the massive economic downturn where conservative figures
indicate that an estimated 70 percent of the population is now living under
the poverty datum line, the opposition party, ZANU PF’s biggest challenge
since independence, had a rich well of disenchantment to tap
The MDC, which whitewashed ZANU PF in the last parliamentary
elections in urban centres, should have capitalised on widespread voter anger
and fear of starvation.
Only 11 percent of the registered voters
in Harare Central cast their ballots (4 036 people) — a number which the
commentators said was appalling and a mere reflection of the MDC’s failure to
inspire the electorate to register their disappointment in the manner in
which the government was running down a country once considered Southern
Africa’s bread basket.
In a low-key voter turnout, the MDC’s Murisi
Zwizwai polled 2 707 votes against 1 034 received by William Nhara of ZANU PF
while Mathias Guchutu Matambanadzo of the Multi-racial Open Party Christian
Democrats polled a pathetic 15 votes and 10 votes went to Rumbidzai Hwicho of
the National Alliance for Good Governance. There were 13 spoilt
This was in total contrast to the enthusiasm generated by
the MDC in the June 2000 parliamentary elections where 17 942 people voted in
Harare Central constituency won by MDC’s Mike Auret.
has since resigned due to ill health, then polled 14 200 votes against ZANU
PF’s 3 620 represented by Winston Dzawo.
Previously polls were
marred by untold violence, resulting in the MDC filing petitions in the High
Court seeking the nullification of poll results in areas they lost
Constitutional law expert and political analyst Lovemore
Madhuku told The Financial Gazette that voter apathy in Harare Central could
be a dangerous signal for future elections, especially if there were
He said: "People in Harare have probably
decided that voting will not change anything. The trend is that they no
longer want to have anything to do with something that does not put food on
their table, especially in these trying times. Voting now will not really
"If one votes for the MDC then what? Is that going to
put food on your table. The MDC has failed to inspire people. The root of the
problem is in changing the government and not solving a symptom of the
problem at hand.
"People need to be conscientised otherwise they
will fail to see what it is they are supposed to vote for.
"There is a real need for massive civic education. If the MDC is celebrating
this as a well deserved victory, then they are seriously mistaken. They
should not just be interested in power but address the root problem of our
current crisis. Imagine if this was a presidential election. The votes
gannered by ZANU PF in the rural constituencies would wipe out those of the
MDC in urban areas. It’s a dangerous scenario for the MDC."
Dzinotyiwei, a political analyst and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe,
echoed Madhuku’s sentiments.
"This is a very dangerous message to
the MDC in that they may be losing ground," Dzinotyiwei told this
"The message is that the MDC must not take its supporters
for granted because they should realise that the support they received in
June 2000 and subsequently the presidential elections may not have come from
their supporters but from people who want change.
"And if the
people see less change coming from the opposition other than ZANU PF then
there is no reason for them to vote. The MDC is probably celebrating only to
fan the little enthusiasm left and to keep their membership intact, but deep
down in their hearts they know that they are in trouble. It’s a fairly
dangerous message, particularly to the opposition who now have to come up
with new innovative ideas as they are in danger of losing their support
Arnold Tsunga, the national director of ZIMRIGHTS, however
saw the situation differently. He attributed the low voter turnout to the
lack of integrity in the electoral process and the collapse of the
"People were not bothered to vote because of the electoral
process that has been associated with violence," Tsunga said.
"The electoral process has no integrity so much that sometimes voting doesn’t
determine the outcome. People get so despondent that they ask themselves
whether by voting there would be make a difference. They would rather queue
for basic commodities that are in short supply than queue
In Makonde, ZANU PF retained the seat following the
death of Swithun Mombeshora earlier this year. Journalist Kindness Paradza
polled a whopping 11 223 votes against 1 769 votes for Japhet Kwemba of the
According to the commentators, this was an indication that
ZANU PF still enjoyed overwhelming support from the rural areas which the MDC
had seemingly failed to penetrate.
In Kwekwe, Stanford Bonyongwe
of ZANU PF won the mayoral seat by 2 545 votes against the MDC and the ruling
party won 12 out of the contested 14 seats in the council elections. The MDC,
however, retained control in Victoria Falls, Kadoma, Gwanda, Mutare and
Kariba. Kwekwe becomes the second town with a ZANU PF mayor after
MDC’s John Rolland Houghton becomes the country’s first
ever white executive mayor after he beat ZANU PF’s Petros Maya in Kariba
while his colleagues Wesley Sansole, Tandeko Zinti Mnkandhla and Misheck
Kagurabadza won in Victoria Falls, Gwanda and Mutare,
Madhuku said it was equally wrong to have a
parliament packed with legislators from the same party as it was to have
councils filled with people from the same party. He singled out the Bulawayo
scenario where the MDC swept all the 27 seats up for grabs.
"This defeats the whole purpose of divergent thinking and competitiveness,"
he said. "People should learn to tolerate and accept different views at all
times for the sake of development."
and former University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor Professor Gordon Chavunduka
has been appointed director of the Mass Public Opinion Institute
He fills in the position left by the late Professor
Masipula Sithole, who died from heart attack while on a visit to the United
States in April this year.
Chavunduka, whose appointment is with
effect from August 18, is also the president of the Zimbabwe Traditional
"He will continue the work left by Masipula
Sithole," a spokesperson of the institute’s board of trustees
The Mass Public Opinion Institute was set up in 2000 to,
among other things, carry out periodic nationwide surveys to establish what
the people of Zimbabwe think about various economic, social and political
issues as part of the on-going democratisation process.
institute is run as a non-profit-making organisation.
Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief 9/4/2003 8:57:17 AM (GMT
THE Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Sithembiso Nyoni
has clashed with her nephew Evans Ndebele of the Zimbabwe Express Airlines
(ZEX) fame over a poultry project at a farm acquired under the controversial
The minister, who is a paternal aunt to Ndebele and
her husband Peter Baka Nyoni have been taken to the High Court by the former
chief executive of the defunct airline to recover over $18 million he
invested into the project.
Ndebele was apparently irked by the
Nyonis’ decision to elbow him out of the poultry project at Fountains Farm,
which was allocated to the minister’s family during the chaotic resettlement
The land reform, which was done haphazardly ahead of the
June 2001 Parliamentary elections in what was widely viewed as a
vote-catching gimmick by the government, has been fraught with controversies
pitting mostly top ZANU PF officials and some of its well known
Ndebele has however, been granted an interim relief
by the High Court barring the Nyonis from collecting and banking money
realised from the sale of eggs at Fountains Farm, where they were settled
during the fast-track land reform.
The High Court has also
ordered that the manager of the farm Jasper Mantshontsho should be left to
manage the business. Their bankers have also been directed to freeze all
withdrawals by a company owned by the minister and her husband called Pesin
Investments (Private) Limited.
Ndebele was reluctant to discuss the
issue when contacted this week.
He said: "I cannot discuss our
family problems in the press. Who told you, where did you get those private
The Nyonis, who could not be reached for comment,
dispute that Ndebele is entitled to any shareholding or access to the funds
at the banks in affidavits lodged at the High Court on the grounds that he
only advanced the directors’ loans to kick-start the project.
a letter written to the Nyonis dated August 8 2003, Ndebele’s lawyers are
steadfast that the minister and her husband should admit and acknowledge
their client’s investor status in the project reportedly raking in several
millions of dollars a week.
The minister was given 10 days to set
the record straight and reinstate Ndebele as a joint signatory in the bank
accounts of the business.
It is alleged that Pezulu Ranches
(Private) Limited went into an agreement with Pesin in September last year
whereby the Nyonis bought chickens, vehicles, equipment, poultry feed and
sundry items at a price of $32 million.
It is alleged that the
Nyonis invited Ndebele, who had been their advisor, to come into the project,
as an investor after failing to raise the $32 million.
it is alleged, negotiated the price downward to $12 million, but still the
Nyonis could not raise the money. Ndebele proceeded to advance the $12
million and within six weeks he injected another $6 million into
Ndebele’s lawyers said their client agreed to
participate in the project only as an investor.
of his investment, he assumed managerial responsibilities of the business,
including bookkeepers. He was made a joint signatory to the business bank
accounts. You, however, and without his knowledge and indeed improperly so,
proceeded to have his signature removed from the business accounts with the
"We are, in the circumstances, instructed to demand from
you, as we hereby do, that you put the record straight by conceding and
confirming that our client was and still is indeed, an investor in the
chicken enterprise jointly operated by him with Pesin Investment (Pvt)
"That failing which we are instructed to institute proceedings
out of the High Court within ten (10) days of this letter seeking a
Declaratory Order, that our client is an investor in the chicken enterprise.
That his signature be reinstated as a joint signatory to the bank accounts of
the business," read part of the letter.
Mangwende Chief Reporter 9/4/2003 8:51:27 AM (GMT +2)
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will today move a motion in Parliament
seeking to nip in the bud Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo’s
interference in the running of mainly opposition-dominated
MDC Member of Parliament for Harare South
Gabriel Chaibva has given notice to move the motion, which has been seconded
by Paul Themba Nyathi, the party’s legislator for Gwanda North.
Gliding on the skates of glory after re-ascertaining supremacy in
the just-ended urban council elections, Chaibva, who is also the party’s
shadow minister for local government, said Chombo should stay out of
council affairs or risk a backlash from the MDC.
"If he dares
behave with the newly elected councils in the same manner he did with the
Harare City Council, he will be setting an agenda for confrontation, and
confrontation he will get," said Chaibva.
"In fact, it will be
deeply regrettable if he is going to pursue that line of thought and
MDC won 137 seats out of the 224 council seats contested
throughout the country. It also capped its victory with six out of the seven
contested mayoral seats.
In the motion, the MDC condemns the
executive’s unlawful interference and recommends the decentralisation and
independence of local authorities.
The motion, which is likely to
be met with stiff resistance from ZANU PF MPs, urges the executive to respect
the right of the electorate and the legitimacy of elected local authority
Chombo could not be reached for comment yesterday
as his phone was diverted to his office, while his permanent secretary
Vincent Hungwe was said to be attending meetings.
ago, the Local Government Minister controversially suspended Harare executive
mayor Engineer Elias Mudzuri over what he called maladministration of council
Harare council officials, who viewed Mudzuri’s suspension
as politically motivated, said strategic plans to turn around Harare’s
waning fortunes were at a standstill because they were scared stiff of
implementing council decisions fearing suspension by the
Chombo has also unilaterally suspended six Harare
councillors after they participated in elections he had put on
In Chegutu, the Local Government Minister has remained mum
over the illegal expulsion from office of that town’s executive mayor
Francis Dhlakama through a vote of no confidence passed by ZANU PF
The ZANU PF councillors, led by Chegutu’s deputy mayor
Phineas Mariyapera, have barred Dhlakama from entering the municipal
building despite a High Court provisional order authorising him to resume his
Following the urban council election results in which the
MDC won most of the seats, analysts said Chombo would find it difficult to
ruthlessly deal with all councils unchallenged.
THE government, strapped for hard currencies, is understood to
be considering a review of the Offshore Trust Accounts operated by
several mining houses in Zimbabwe amid concern that the facilities were open
to abuse, it has been learnt.
Highly placed government sources
said the trust accounts, which were introduced in the 1990s to entice foreign
investors into the troubled mining sector, have come under the spotlight
because of the deteriorating foreign currency situation.
government, out to squeeze more earnings from the shrinking export base, is
contemplating reviewing the facilities to ease the foreign currency crunch
blamed on economic mismanagement and its stand-off with the International
The Mines Ministry sanctioned the use of the trust
accounts, where mining houses could keep their export earnings offshore and
remit only that portion required to meeting operational costs.
Mines benefiting from this arrangement include Mimosa, the Zimbabwe Platinum
Mines, Unki Mine and Rio Tinto through its Murowa diamond project.
The trust accounts were also meant to safeguard the interest of foreign
investors who sunk in billions of dollars in foreign currency towards the
development of the mines.
"The issue emerged after central bank
officials hinted that investments into the mining sector wouldn’t translate
into an immediate increase in export earnings because a number of mines were
operating Offshore Trust Accounts," said a source.
with the Mines Ministry said the use of the trust accounts was closely
monitored by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to prevent abuse.
Chamber of Mines official however warned this week that a review of the trust
accounts would erode investor confidence in the mining sector.
problem is not coming from these things, but that we are not prod ucing
enough for export. People are just looking for scapegoats," the chamber
The spokesperson said incentives should remain in
place, particularly in the platinum sector.
"That is what they
do everywhere else in the world. It is standard practice."
Ndlela News Editor 9/4/2003 8:55:26 AM (GMT +2)
sector-wide crackdown on errant foreign currency dealers has triggered a
massive run on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), terminating a bull run that
had driven the industrial index to dizzy heights.
Sentiment on the
bourse, which has been bullish on the back of negative returns on the money
market, suddenly turned bearish as investors shifted back to the money market
after worries that the crack down could affect both the banking sector and
export oriented stocks.
Dealers said overnight rates, which
determine the direction of other money market instruments, shot up from 110
percent last week to as high as 150 percent in a market that opened the week
short to the tune of $36 billion on Monday.
"The money market is
boiling," a dealer told The Financial Gazette.
"It’s being driven
mainly by shortages, although we cannot rule out a temporary flight from the
equities pushing rates up."
A spell of loses hit the bourse for
four days running since Friday last week after the industrial index reached
an all-time high of 754 604.01 points. It dipped by 18 972.12 points on
Friday to close the week at 735 631.89 points.
this week dragged the benchmark index by a massive 72 493.86 points during
the three days to Wednesday to 662 138.03 points.
Major loses in
yesterday’s trade includes Hippo, BAT, ABCH, Innscor and M&R, with
marginal gains in Interfresh, APEX and Border failing to take the market into
The mining index lost 10.19 percent last week, from an
opening position of 160 451.74 points to close the day on Friday at 144
101.31. It was afflicted by further loses on Monday and Tuesday, shedding 10
604.32 to close at 133 496.99.
The mining index recovered 697
points yesterday to close the day at 133 894.64 points, propelled by gains in
Cyril Zenda Staff Reporter 9/4/2003 8:58:30 AM (GMT +2)
THE weekend’s disappointingly poor voter turnout in the
parliamentary by-elections and urban councils polls should lead to some
serious soul-searching among the country’s plethora of civic groups, with a
view of launching aggressive voter education campaigns.
feared the poor turn-out at most polling stations at the weekend could be a
microcosm of what future presidential or parliamentary elections could
They said the situation showed a lot still need to be done
in Zimbabwe to get the electorate to appreciate the importance of
participating in the country’s electoral system.
"It’s a very
serious challenge for all civic organisations in Zimbabwe particularly those
working full time in the area of voter education," said David Chimhini,
executive director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education
"As civic society organisations, we may need to
change our strategies because our education may be targeting the wrong
people. We meet in hotels everyday and attend conferences in South Africa,
Botswana, Namibia and other countries but without going to the grassroots,
and the question is: Is this what people want?"
Zimbabwe lecturer and chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
Lovemore Madhuku said the trend shown by the just-ended elections was a
worrisome development to Zimbabwe’s nascent democracy and posed a serious
challenge to all civic groups involved in democracy and good
Many of these civic organisations have voter education
as part of their primary duty.
"This is a very big challenge to
most civic groups who will need to teach the people that although there might
be no hope of an immediate change in sight, it is important to exercise their
right to vote because this is important in the long-term," Madhuku
The NCA is involved in the campaign for constitutional
reforms in Zimbabwe and Madhuku said one sure way of speeding up reforms was
for people to participate in the electoral process.
In the past
four years, dozens of civic organisations have mushroomed in Zimbabwe as the
number of people unhappy with President Robert Mugabe’s rule
Organisations operating in various fields such as human
rights, good governance, peace building and voter education, among other
things, seemed to have covered a lot of ground in the run up to last year’s
presidential elections. Last weekend’s events have cast a pall of doubt about
how much ground had really been covered.
In the weekend’s
parliamentary by-elections and urban councils polls, voter turnout was so
poor that in some areas the total number of voters were as low as only 10
percent of all registered voters.
However, Reginald Matchaba-Hove,
the national chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a
loose network of about 36 civic groups working on various aspects of good
governance, said despite the apathy shown by the electorate at the weekend,
they were still satisfied with the work most of their members were
"We are satisfied with the work that our members are doing,
some of whom are doing it under very difficult conditions," Matchaba-Hove
"The turnout in these elections cannot be used to measure the
amount of work civic organisations are doing because traditionally,
parliamentary by-elections and local government polls have never attracted
the same turn out as general and presidential elections.
think it’s because people feel these elections cannot change the balance of
He argued that the poor turn-out was a result of a
combination of a number of factors other than lack of understanding among the
"There are a number factors, the most
important of which is that Zimbabweans are no longer worried about any
elections that cannot change things for them. They are only interested in the
big one (presidential election)."
He said other factors that
could have kept voters at home was lack of confidence in the country’s
electoral system, and the fact that the government was, as usual, cagey with
important information about the elections such as the location of the polling
stations and what documentation is required from voters, among other
"Voting is not compulsory in this country, but is should be
noted that even by choosing not to go and vote, the people could be making a
statement, and this could be about the lack of confidence in the electoral
system, among other things," Matchaba-Hove said.
director of Popular Education Collective (PEC) said with restrictions like
the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), government monopoly of the
electronic media and the general hostility against some civic groups, these
organisations had done their best in educating the public about the
importance of elections.
The blame for the poor turn out, he said,
lied with the government for not well-publicising the elections while at the
same time denying other players the right to do it.
elections were well-publicised like "Rambai Makashinga", I don’t think the
turnout would have been this poor.
"Some people did not even know
there were elections taking place in their areas," Chiwota said.
Charles Mangongera, a fellow with the Harare-based Mass Public
Opinion Institute said the apathy had more to do with widespread
disappointment resulting from results of the past two national elections
which, despite high expectations, resulted in no change at all.
"The poor turnout essentially shows we have a disenchanted and frustrated
population and at the end, apathy becomes the order of the day," Mangongera
"What civic organi-sations need to do is to ensure they
educate the public that apathy does not pay. Whatever the circumstances, we
need to go and vote and this is the only way positive change can come,"
Madhuku said he blamed most civic groups for not
going to the grassroots to educate the people, instead relying on newspapers,
adverts and other forms of communications that most people cannot identify
EDITOR — Finally, the land reform audit report
undertaken by Charles Utete and his committee is being finalised for
presentation to President Robert Mugabe.
This comes as reports
swirled on the market that Masiyiwa was in a hurry to make sure the deal is
sealed before he starts another fierce battle for control of the Econet
Wireless Nigeria (EWN).
Masiyiwa who, in the early 1990s, had to
literally walk a legal minefield before being granted a licence to operate a
cellular network by the Zimbabwean authorities, could be sucked in another
protracted court battle in Nigeria.
Market watchers said there
were indications he wanted to use the local group in mobilising finance to
buy a 28 percent stake in EWN, from the current five percent owned by EWH
subsidiary, Econet Wireless International (EWI).
gone to a federal court in Nigeria to try to stop South Africa’s Vodacom or
Cairo-based Orascom Telecoms from purchasing a majority stake in
He has also stopped the disposal of a 50.1 percent stake by
Portugal Telecom (PT) in Mascom Wireless Limited, based in Botswana, after PT
reached an agreement with Citizens International Limited to sell its stake at
a cash consideration of US$50.37 million.
A PT investor
relations director, Vitor Jose Gama Sequeira, said Masiyiwa had been given
until September 16 to pay for the stake, or else the deal with Citizens
International would go ahead.
Citizens International is owned by
Kagiso Mmusi, who sits on the Mascom board, and lawyer Rizwan
It was unlikely that Masiyiwa would be able to match
Citizen’s offer. Latest details from EWH indicated that the bid for PT’s
stake could falter because it might not receive exchange control approval
from Zimbabwean authorities.
The reduction in the number of
votes required to secure approval of the local transaction to a simple
majority is meant to avoid an embarrassing defeat of the resolution from
minorities peeved by the bid.
Masiyiwa wants EWH to take up a 14
percent stake owned by TS Masiyiwa Holdings Limited (TSM) in Mascom Wireless
Limited, in exchange for 918 705 438 shares in EWH. The shares have been
reclassified as class "A" shares under a new circular to
An earlier circular to shareholders outlining
Masiyiwa’s offer had been condemned by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and
Minorities had alleged it had omitted
material facts regarding the transaction.
Sources said directors
and advisors to the offer had been jostling to ensure that the bid succeeds
at the extraordinary general meeting (egm) after Masiyiwa insisted that he
would not accept its demise.
A fresh circular, released on Tuesday
this week, said the offer, in which Masiyiwa wants to raise his shareholding
in EWH to a massive 64.1 percent from the current 26 percent, would now
require "a simple majority" representing not less than three members of the
company entitled to vote.
The bid earlier on required a
three-fourths majority of members entitled to vote at the egm now earmarked
for September 26, 2003. Masiyiwa and other beneficiaries to his investment
vehicles were not entitled to vote.
But now, Nigel Cha-nakira
and Professor Norman Nyazema, shareholders in TSM when EWH listed on the ZSE
in 1998, have been struck off as "related parties" in the transaction and are
now entitled to vote.
Chanakira is the deputy executive chairman of
Kingdom Holdings Limited, whose subsidiary, Kingdom Bank, has been drafted in
to offer "authorised dealership" opinion on the deal.
Nominees, under Kingdom Stockbrokers, another subsidiary of Kingdom Holdings,
has increased its stake in EWH from 38 830 581 shares or 4.5 percent to 7.7
percent or 66 112 550 shares as the battle for
All this is likely to add up to significant
votes for the resolution, and it is expected that minorities, who had teamed
up to resist the offer, may find it difficult to defeat it at the
All EWH directors have declared that they will vote for
The latest circular to shareholders has also
ignored a plea by minorities that the valuation conducted on behalf of the
directors by First Africa had undervalued EWH, which they believe has far
greater potential than Mascom Wireless.
TSM’s 14 percent
shareholding in Mascom has been valued at $25.862 billion, and based on the
Mascom and EWH financial results for the year to December 2003, the
transaction would have the effect of reducing EWH earnings per share from
222.75 cents to 131.11 cents on a historic cost basis.
to the issue said Masiyiwa’s new shares in EWH would not benefit from
ownership of Econet Wireless International’s (EWI) shareholding.
EWH holds a 50.48 percent stake in EWI based in South Africa but incorporated
in the UK. EWI is valued at US$40 million.
The 50.48 percent stake
is being held through a trust established in the UK to warehouse the shares
after regulatory authorities demanded repatriation of foreign currency raised
by the group through the sale of fungible Old Mutual shares on the London
Stock Exchange before the deal could be approved.
"In the event
the company obtains exchange control approval and decides to distribute to
its shareholders, shares in EWL (EWI), the class ‘A ’ ordinary shares shall
not participate in the distribution of the Econet Wireless Limited shares to
members of the company," the new circular said.
owns the remainder of the EWI shares, although local regulatory authorities
have insisted that EWH should be given 100 percent ownership of the group
because it contributed the entire start-up capital for the company.
Dumisani Ndlela News Editor 9/4/2003 11:05:44 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE'S unguarded dollar gain-ed this week after the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) swooped on the banking sector, stripping one bank of
its foreign currency dealership licence and penalising at least four
others for participating on the unofficial market.
dollar, the benchmark that determines the movement of other currencies,
plumbed to its one month low of aroundUS$1to Z$3 500, from a high of US$1 to
Z$ 6 400 over a week ago.
Other dealers, however, were trading at 5
400 local units to the greenback.
"It (US dollar) will peak so
long as we have this shortage of foreign currency. The Zimbabwe dollar will
continue losing its value," said Lovemore Kadenge, president of the Zimbabwe
Foreign currency dealers said trade in foreign
currency had ground to a halt, with many authorized dealers reportedly
suspending trade in foreign currency as they paused to reflect on the latest
RBZ decision that caught the market unawares.
"It’s now a buyers
market out there," a banking sector official told The Financial
"Dealers who are taking the risk are calling a price that
will give them good gains once trade on the parallel market
The local unit, which hit its lowest level of 2 000 to
the greenback in May, has been continually losing ground against the
greenback, which had been piling gains on the back of intensifying demand on
the parallel market.
Dealers said they remained overwhelmed by
foreign currency requirements from private sector companies.
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), on whose behalf Syfrets Merchant
Bank has been continuosly on the market to raise foreign currency for fuel
procurement, has been heavily excavating receipts from the
Private fuel dealers, who were last week thrown
a fresh lease of life by the government which deregulated the fuel import
sector, are reportedly scouting for huge amounts of foreign
Problems on the parallel market intensified in May this
year when NOCZIM instructed its bankers to source foreign currency on the
parallel market "at any rate", prompting a run on the local currency that
had maintained stability for a few months at a rate of Z$1 300 to the
The inter-bank market, into which the RBZ is struggling
to direct all foreign currency trade, is dry.
A decision in July
by the RBZ for exporters to begin retaining all their foreign currency
earnings on the "incremental value of exports", had failed to create
excitement on the official foreign currency market.
The scheme was
cobbled up by the central bank in an attempt to mobilise foreign currency
from exporters, who were said to be unhappy with the current set up under
which they surrendered all foreign currency to the RBZ.
export receipts are held by the RBZ, which compulsorily take 50 percent for
disbursement to NOCZIM and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority for fuel
and electricity imports respectively at an official rate of 824 to the US
The other 50 percent is made available to exporters on
application for approved import requirements otherwise, it is also remitted
to the RBZ at the official rate if not used up within three months.
NEW producer prices
for maize and wheat will not do much to stimulate output because they have
been overtaken by massive increases in the prices of inputs, industry players
"The producer prices should at least allow farmers to break
even. But breaking even alone is not enough. There must be an incentive in
the form of good margins," said a source reacting to the new prices announced
this week. For instance, the price of fertilisers, seed and chemicals has
gone up by more than 300 percent in the last few months.
new producer prices have only increased by less than
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made announced new
producer prices of wheat for the 2003/2004 marketing season that saw the
price of maize increasing from $130 000 a tonne to $300 000.
Farmers will fetch $400 000 for a tonne of wheat from $150 000, and $300 000
a tonne for sorghum and millet deliveries.
The new producer prices
would be effected on all deliveries made since the beginning of the marketing
season in April this year until the end of the 2003/2004 season.
Loss-making parastatal, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will,
however, continue selling maize to millers at $211 756 a tonne and wheat at
$366 584 a tonne to make mealie-meal and bread cheaper to the
Individuals will continue buying maize from the GMB at $9
600 a tonne.
"The government has reviewed the producer prices of
these essential food crops in an effort to cushion farmers from increases in
inputs during the course of the season.
"The aim is to ensure
that farmers are able to recover input costs, while at the same time
providing adequate incentives for them to produce these strategic food
commodities," Made was quoted as saying.
The wheat crop was already
in total mess.
Said sources: "The winter wheat crop is now in total
jeopardy. It should have been planted by mid May to avoid rain damage in
"The fertiliser industry was only able to supply a third
of the required fertiliser for planting.
"Theft and damage to
irrigation capacity has continued unabated during the past year and the
prices paid to growers last year did not give good returns.
"Informed observers state that last year (2002) the total deliveries to
the GMB were only 136 000 tonnes (35 percent of demand) and the GMB
was forced to import 175 000 tonnes and to ration allocations to
"This year, these same observers estimate that only 80 000
tonnes of winter wheat is likely to be grown.
This would require
imports of 230 000 tonnes of wheat, well beyond the capacity of the country
given the shortage of foreign exchange."
Zimbabwe requires 1.2
million tonnes of maize to supply its 13 million or so inhabitants. In
addition, it also requires about 600 000 tonnes of maize for stockfeed and
another 100 000 tonnes for industrial purposes, such as beer
About 400 000 tonnes of wheat are consumed every year.
Harare - Zimbabwe is to issue new banknotes in an effort to
end the cash crisis that has seen thousands going without pay.
New Z$500 and Z$1 000 notes will emerge at a staggering rate of Z$2,5-billion
a day until December, the central bank said yesterday.
Z$1 000 note will be new, the Z$500 will replace an
In an effort to quell rumours that the reserve
bank had failed to pay foreign printers for the new Z$1 000 notes, a central
bank spokesperson said: "Technology to print the notes locally is available
and the whole supply of the Z$500 note will be met through local
"Some of the Z$1 000 notes needed are being printed
outside the country."
A Z$500 bill is worth R1 on the black
Economists say only a Z$100 000 note would end the crisis.
- Independent Foreign Service
Spotlight glares on Mugabe's mansion September 4,
By Basildon Peta
President Mugabe is building a
R72-million mansion for his retirement, but if Zimbabweans opposed to his
rule get their way, he isn't going to get to enjoy it.
growing for Mugabe to explain where he is getting the money from while his
country wallows in poverty. Civic groups say that once Mugabe leaves
office, they will leave no stone unturned until the source of the funding is
The home costs 10 times more than the approximately
R7-million he has been paid since becoming president 23 years
It is being roofed with tiles from Shanghai and its
interior decorations are coming from the Middle East.
pressure forced Mugabe's young wife, Grace, to sell a R4-million Harare
mansion to the Libyans. It had been revealed that she had used resources
drawn from a scheme meant to help lowly paid civil servants.
Mugabe's enormous project is now a major target of public anger.
John Makumbe, University of Zimbabwe political scientist and chairperson of
the Zimbabwe chapter of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency
International, said: "Mugabe's salary has been made public. Everyone knows
that it cannot build this kind of mansion.
"He (Mugabe) does not
have any business assets which can generate the resources required to build
such a home ... He therefore has some serious explaining to do.
"He can afford to ignore us now because he is in power. Once he
leaves office, it will be almost impossible for any post-Mugabe government
to resist the pressure that we will bring to bear on it to investigate
the source of Mugabe's wealth." - Independent Foreign Service