International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: September 6, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe has sharply devalued its currency, from 250
Zimbabwe dollars for every US$1 for most official transactions to 30,000
The U.S. dollar, however, was still fetching up to 250,000-1 on the illegal
market Thursday, dealers said. Zimbabwe is in economic crisis, with the
world's highest official inflation of 7,634 percent, though independent
estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent.
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi abolished a two-tier exchange rate in a
budget announcement to the Parliament in Harare in fixing the official rate
for all transactions at 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars to a single U.S. dollar
Thursday. The official two-tier exchange rate had stood at 250-1 for most
official transactions and 15,000-1 for transactions involving approved funds
mainly of foreign organizations and Zimbabweans earning hard currency
In his statement on supplementary national budget allocations in the worst
economic crisis since independence, Mumbengegwi said the devaluation was
needed in a package of measures in the inflationary economy.
Other reforms were a tax waiver affecting low income earners and increases
in excise and stamp duties, importation and vehicle levies and some other
Corporate executive Luxon Zembe, a former head of the National Chamber of
Commerce, said the devaluation was "movement in the right direction" but the
gap between the official rate and the real market rate needed to be narrowed
He described Mumbengegwi's announcement on tax breaks and some of the budget
changes as "something to smile about but it's not a broad smile."
"We did not see any clear measures to stimulate growth," he said.
An across-the-board price freeze imposed since June 26 has left shelves bare
across the country bare of corn meal, meat, bread and other staples, with
producers arguing they are being asked to sell goods at below cost.
Mumbengegwi said low income tax breaks would increase spending power in the
economy and encourage production.
He said because of inflation government ministries overspent on their
budgets for the first half of the year. Spending on civil service salaries
alone - the biggest single expenditure - was nearly double the amount
budgeted for after government officials received a series of pay raises
meant to cushion them from inflation.
Foreign loans and balance of payments support to the government dried up and
the finance ministry would finance the deficit with local borrowing, he
The government has said it has printed extra money to meet its shortfalls
seen as spurring inflation in the stricken economy.
Mumbengegwi said the government was forced to impose the June 26 price
controls to stop "the economic carnage of hourly price increases" being used
as a political instrument against the government.
September 7, 2007
Jan Raath in Harare
Zimbabwe devalued its currency by 1,200 per cent yesterday in a desperate
attempt to bring the world's highest rate of inflation under control and
save the shattered economy.
But economists dismissed the measure as too little too late. They blamed
President Mugabe's policy of forcing businesses to slash prices and freeze
wages for bringing the economy to its knees. "What Government devalues by
1,200 per cent?" asked Rob Davies, a Zimbabwean economist. "It's an amazing
admission by the Government that it has done everything wrong."
The black market exchange rate surged ahead to eight times the new official
rate of Z$30,000 to the dollar. "It's too little, too late," Mr Davies said.
"It is irrelevant. It should have gone to 100,000 or 150,000, or be
scrapped. But this is just going to encourage the black market and it will
have no impact on reducing inflation."
Black market traders agreed that unofficial exchange rates would soar even
higher. "The black market rate is going to run wild tomorrow," said an
illegal currency dealer. "By Monday it will be at 600,000 to the US
The fluctuations will make it even harder for Zimbabwe to import vital food
and raw materials. Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Finance Minister, did not explain
to parliament why he was devaluing the currency. Mr Mugabe has previously
been fiercely opposed to devaluation, and in 2002 he sacked a finance
minister, accusing him of treason for suggesting it.
The country's stricken business community has been desperate for the
Government to relent on a demand that shops and businesses slash prices,
often to below the cost of production. The law has been violently enforced
and about 10,000 people have been arrested for violating the controls since
they were introduced in June. Mr Mumbengegwi said that he was confident the
controls would produce "some progress towards lowering inflation".
He blamed the West for Zimbabwe's economic woes. Zimbabwe's rampant
inflation was the result of an attempt "to affect regime change by former
colonial powers through the use of price increases," he said.
Yesterday the local baking industry gave warning that the supply of bread
was about to run out and that 10,000 workers - half of its labour force -
were being laid-off because they were forced to sell bread for less than it
cost to bake. The Government has said that it has only a few days' supply of
wheat, and that 36,000 tonnes held in the port of Beira in neighbouring
Mozambique is out of reach because there is no foreign currency to pay for
Labour unions have also cautioned of impending action over Mr Mugabe's edict
last week that forbade wage increases. Police confirmed yesterday that
soldiers had been deployed with police officers into townships to crack down
on black market traders.
The police and the army are regarded as among the worst black market
dealers, confiscating goods from street traders and then selling them at a
higher price. Yesterday, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the larger opposition
faction, was charged with "conduct likely to cause disorder" after a tour in
July of supermarkets stripped bare by shoppers taking advantage of Mr Mugabe's
price-slashing decree. Police said he was followed by a crowd of journalists
and photographers, which could have led to disorder.
Friday 07 September 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - Veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war have asked the government
to hike their monthly allowances five times, two weeks after pledging
undying loyalty to President Robert Mugabe and declaring him the only one
fit to rule the country.
The veterans, hardliner supporters of Mugabe who is also their patron, wield
immense influence in the governing ZANU PF party after waging violence and
terror against the opposition at every election to ensure victory for the
Mugabe, who used the veterans to spearhead his farm seizure programme, has
in the past acceded to every demand for more cash by the former fighters.
In a letter to Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche, dated 3 September
2007, the ex-combatants said they want their allowances hiked from $2
million to $10 million per month.
"We, the war veterans of Zimbabwe, give you honourable minister up to the
end of this month (September) to address problems concerning our welfare,"
the veterans wrote to Goche.
"The role we played during and after the liberation struggle is not
questionable and we hope you will address this problem on time. We want the
allowances to be increased to at least $10 million so that we can also look
after our families," they said.
Goche confirmed receiving the letter from the veterans, adding his
department was looking to improve payouts to former fighters as well as
other pensioners to "ensure that the money they get is in keeping with the
high inflationary environment".
Allowances for ex-combatants were last reviewed last May from $103 000 to $2
million a month.
The former fighters appear to have timed well their request for more money,
a few months ahead of key presidential and parliamentary elections next year
when the government needs the veterans the most to intimidate the opposition
and to mobilise votes for ZANU PF.
The war veterans two weeks ago appeared to endear themselves well with
Mugabe - who has final say on whether they get more cash - when they marched
across Harare to show support for his candidacy in next year's presidential
election and declared him their sole candidate for the race.
Hiking allowances for the veterans - who do little else except campaigning
for Mugabe and ZANU PF - to $10 million, would leave them earning more than
school-teachers who earn about $3 million per month.
Analysts trace the genesis of Zimbabwe's economic troubles to November 1997
when the war veterans, then numbering about 50 000, staged violent
demonstrations to arm-twist Mugabe to award them gratuity payments of $50
000 each and a host of other perks - all unbudgeted.
The Zimbabwe dollar resultantly crashed on November 14, driving up inflation
and setting off the economy on an unprecedented slide from which it is yet
Withdrawal of balance-of-payments support by the International Monetary Fund
in 1999 and Mugabe's chaotic farm seizures that began in 2000 helped quicken
the demise of what was once one of Africa's most vibrant economies. -
Friday 07 September 2007
By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri
CHIWESHE - The state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB), working in
conjunction with some ruling ZANU PF party militia, is forcing villagers in
Chiweshe some 100km north of Harare, to sell maize to the parastatal at
below market rates, ZimOnline has learnt.
Maize is in short supply in Zimbabwe after erratic rains last year. But
Chiweshe district received favourable rains last season resulting in some
villagers there harvesting more than enough for their own needs.
The GMB is forcing some villagers to sell to the parastatal in a desperate
attempt to stifle unscrupulous private buyers who are offering better prices
for the grain that is in short supply around the country.
The private buyers are offering as much as Z$12 million for a tonne of maize
while the GMB is offering Z$4.2 million a tonne, paid after three weeks. The
private buyers offer cash on the spot.
The huge discrepancy in prices has resulted in some villagers snubbing GMB
collection points that were set up at schools and rural urban centres in the
district. The GMB is the only body that is allowed to buy maize directly
from farmers in Zimbabwe.
Villagers near Majome School who spoke to ZimOnline on Wednesday said they
had been raided by ZANU PF youth militia and GMB officials who demanded that
they sell surplus grain to the parastatal.
The villagers said the GMB officials would quiz them about their tonnage and
number of dependents forcing them to dispose whatever they thought was extra
"There is no actual formula that they (GMB) use," said one villager who
preferred to be identified only as Shava.
"In my case, I told them I had six children, two wives and three other
relatives I stay with and they said I must remain with 20 bags (about a
tonne) and they took the surplus 23 bags I had."
Artwell Nyamunga, of Nzvimbo rural service centre, condemned the forcible
sale of maize.
"Why should we be forced to sell maize to the GMB? It is my maize, I must
decide what to do with it," said Nyamunga.
Contacted for comment, Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo, said he was aware
of unscrupulous maize buyers in rural areas but denied that the GMB was
forcing villagers to part with their maize for a song.
"For sure there are some unscrupulous maize buyers who are offering some
tempting prices in areas where there were good harvests but there has been
no directive (from my office) to the GMB to force people to sell their
"But the GMB, as the only entity that has the right to buy maize, can take
maize which would have been sold illegally. That is what might be happening
in Chiweshe," said Gumbo.
Zimbabwe has battled severe food shortages over the past seven years after
President Robert Mugabe violently seized white farms for redistribution to
landless blacks. The farm disturbances slashed food production by 60 percent
resulting in most Zimbabweans depending on handouts from food aid agencies.
Earlier this week, the World Food Programme warned that the food security
situation in the southern parts of the country had reached critical levels
adding that at least three million Zimbabweans would require food aid until
the next harvest in March. - ZimOnline
By Patience Rusere
06 September 2007
Zimbabwean Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche summoned representatives
of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations following news
reports that ruling party elements interfered with the distribution of food,
News reports earlier quoted the civic group as saying Harare violated
international law by seizing control of food distribution in rural areas so
as to favor the ruling party. The country is experiencing deepening food
shortages and the United Nations World Food Program has said it expects 4.1
million Zimbabweans to need aid by early 2008.
City dwellers are not faring well either: though they are better off
financially, they have had trouble finding food since the government started
imposed price cuts in July.
NANGO Chief Executive Officer Cephas Nhumwe declined to confirm that Goche
had summoned him, but NGO sources said he had been called to a meeting
Independent development consultant Roger Mpande told reporter Patience
Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his own sources say aid has been
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/07/2007 05:41:12
ZIMBABWE on Thursday raised president Robert Mugabe's salary by $1,4 billion
in the current year, breaking a recent government directive freezing all
wages and prices.
In the original budget for 2007, Mugabe's salary was put at $62 305 000 but
was revised by $1,462 305 000 in a supplementary budget announced by Finance
Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi on Thursday.
Last week, Mugabe invoked the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures),
decreeing that "no employer shall increase the remuneration of any employee
on account of an increase in a consumer price index; on account of an
increase in any official or unofficial rate at which the Zimbabwe dollar may
be exchanged for any other currency, increase in a consumer price index and
an increase in any official or unofficial rate at which the Zimbabwe dollar
may be exchanged for any other currency."
The order said salaries or fees can only be made in future with specific
approval from the national incomes and prices commission, a body headed by
Mugabe, and without any link to the inflation rate which currently stands at
over 7 600 percent.
"The net effect of the charges will be to push inflation down since all
increases will be by less than the current inflation rate," opined the
state-run Herald newspaper when the measures were announced.
It added: "Those who breach the standards set by the commission when
increasing pay, fees or prices can be fined... jailed for up to six months,
or given both punishments."
In a move designed to avert worker discontent, Mumbengegwi also raised the
tax- free threshold from $1,5 million to $4 million.
By Peter Clottey
07 September 2007
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party says it is satisfied with the progress of
the ongoing peace talks with main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). However, the opposition MDC has dismissed ZANU-PF's pronouncement as
not reflective of the talks, since the MDC feels frustrated with the lack of
commitment by ZANU-PF. The MDC added that it would be a miracle if the
objective and the time frame of the peace talks would be achieved. The peace
talks sponsored by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with
South African President Thabo Mbeki as the mediator is aimed at resolving
the political tension in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile the leader of the MDC Morgan
Tsvangirai was quizzed by police for nearly an hour in the capital Harare
and then released from custody, one day after being instructed to appear. He
was later charged with disorderly conduct by the police in connection with
his recent tour of stores hurt by the government's controversial price
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is the International Affairs Secretary of the
opposition MDC. From the capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey
that there seem to be little progress at the peace talks.
"That is a statement from ZANU-PF. it is not a statement from the talks, so
ZANU-PF itself is free to make a pronouncement. The only pronouncement that
would be valid is a joint statement from ZANU-PF and MDC to say that they
have covered sufficient grounds to announce that progress is going on,"
Mukonoweshuro pointed out.
He said the opposition party is dissatisfied with progress of the ongoing
peace talks aimed at ending the political tension in the country.
"The MDC would only be satisfied with the entire process, not bit and pieces
of negotiations that are announced by a belligerent on the talks," he said.
Mukonoweshuro reiterated the disappointment of the opposition party with the
level of commitment exhibited by the ruling ZANU-PF party at the talks.
"We are very frustrated with the progress that is going on, we have March
2008 as the deadline by which negotiations should be completed, by which
agreed positions should be implemented, and we are running short of time,"
He said it was unfortunate there seem to be lack of progress at the peace
talks despite the pronouncement by the ruling party that it was satisfied
with the level of progress of the talks.
"At the level that the talks are progressing, it would be a miracle if
everything is achieved by March 2008," he said.
Mukonoweshuro described the Zimbabwe's police charge of "disorderly conduct"
against the leader of the MDC as partisan.
"The charge preferred against Mr. Tsvangirai is an indication of the
partisan nature of the police. Mr. Tsvangirai is a public figure, he is the
leader of the largest opposition group in the country and the Zimbabweans
are crying out about scarcity, he has got to move around to see the extend
to which that deprivation has affected Zimbabweans. and for the police to
then go and arrest him on the basis of disorderly conduct is really an
indication of the partisan nature of the police," Mukonoweshuro noted
|Friday, 7 September 2007, 00:04 GMT
At the Livingstone border post between Zambia and Zimbabwe, a well-built Zimbabwean woman in her late 40s is standing by the roadside despite the oppressive heat of the midday sun.
She has a large, multi-coloured synthetic bag with her, like most of the other people standing around - some balancing them precariously on their heads.
Eventually she reveals what is in the bag.
"Oranges," she told the BBC. "I come here every day to sell oranges, Business is good in Livingstone.
"Once I've sold off the oranges, then I use the Zambian kwacha to buy groceries for my family. Mostly I buy maize meal, cooking oil and soap."
The Zimbabweans arrive in groups of three or four or some on their own, making it very hard to determine just how many enter Zambia through one of the country's busiest border posts.
Apart from the oranges, they sell goods such as biscuits, sweets or kitchenware.
For some, the goods they bring move slowly, and so many of them are unable to cross back the same day into Victoria Falls, the Zimbabwean town across the River Zambezi which forms the border.
So they have to spend the night in Zambia. With little or no income for hotel accommodation and certainly no friends and relatives, many head for Maramba, a sprawling market in the heart of Livingstone.
There they spend the night in the haphazard shelters that serve as stalls in the daytime.
"I have some Zambian friends in Maramba, but I can't abuse their hospitality so I only go there once in a while. Most times I sleep in the market," said Mavis Moyo, from the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
"Life in Bulawayo has become very difficult for us," she told the BBC.
"It's actually faster to travel to Livingstone for foodstuffs than to wait in the queues, which have no guarantee."
She says she sends her nephew once a month to buy a 25 kilogramme bag of maize meal, the staple food in both Zambia and Zimbabwe, but she complains it can be difficult to take it back home.
"The bag is too big to conceal, so the customs officers in Zimbabwe see it immediately you arrive and they give us such a hard time, forgetting that the reason we buy from Zambia is because our own shops are completely empty."
Other traders come with no goods to sell but instead bring Zimbabwean dollars to change on the black market and then buy goods in Livingstone to take back home for re-sale.
This is a complete reversal from the situation just a few years ago.
When Zimbabwe had one of the most advanced economies in the region, Zambians used to flock from Livingstone to Victoria Falls to buy the same essential commodities that the Zimbabweans are now buying from Zambia.
Similarly, the Zimbabwe dollar used to be prized, while the kwacha was seen as worthless.
Now, the Zimbabwean traders head for the black market currency dealers clutching huge wads of banknotes, to exchange for just a few notes of kwachas.
Once the currency transactions are complete, the Zimbabweans make their way to central Livingstone and there buy various products, mostly the colourful fabric locally known as chitenje.
Others arrive in the city centre and begin the tedious task of moving from one end of the town to another, trying to sell their wares without attracting the attention of the city council police.
Street vending is illegal in Livingstone, and the council is implementing a recently launched nationwide campaign to "Make Zambia Clean".
Anyone found openly selling goods risks having them confiscated and being arrested and fined.
"We don't discriminate against them because they are foreign, as long as they pay the market levy; they are free to sell their goods from any market."
Most Livingstone residents are sympathetic to their Zimbabwean neighbours.
"We can't mistreat them because it's not their fault that they are going through these hard times," says Mike Zulu, a taxi driver who spends the whole day ferrying Zimbabweans and Zambians to and from the border post.
"Apart from that, we know exactly what it's like to face the humiliation of going to a neighbouring country to buy bread or sugar."
As the sun begins to go down, some of the traders who have sold their wares quickly make their way to supermarkets to buy the most wanted essential commodities: sugar, bath soap, cooking oil and maize meal.
With these goods they slowly make their way back to Victoria Falls and within minutes go through the customs and immigration posts on the Zambian side.
Then the difficult return home begins with negotiations with customs officials in Zimbabwe, where duties are high.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 09/07/2007 05:03:02
INDIA has banned Air Zimbabwe from to flying over its air space because of
Zimbabwe's failure to sign an international aviation agreement, a cabinet
minister told Parliament Thursday.
Transport and Communications Minister Christopher Mushohwe said India wants
Zimbabwe to first ratify the International Air Transport Agreement, adopted
by the International Civil Avian Organisation in 1944, before offering
permission to the national airline to have passage over its territory.
As a result, Mushohwe pleaded with MPs to speedy up the ratification of that
"The national airline needs to access the Far East by flying over India. It
been denied this because Zimbabwe has not approved the agreement," Mushohwe
MDC lawmakers objected to the fast tracking of the case, but the Minister
had his way and the agreement was ratified.
Air Zimbabwe flies to China and Singapore as well as Dubai -- all key
destinations as President Robert Mugabe repositions the country for
increased trade with Asian countries as part of his much-vaunted 'Look East'
By Trust Maanda/Arnold Tsunga
THE recent order by the government for businesses to reduce prices and
sell their commodities at the prices that prevailed before June 18, 2007 was
ill conceived and was executed without regard to the consequences that have
since proved to be dire for the economy.
Many business owners and executives were arrested for allegedly
selling their goods at beyond the prices that prevailed before June 18 well
before there was a law which stipulated the prices.
In order to legalise the arrests the government then promulgated
Control of Goods (Price control) (Amendment) Order (No.11) Statutory
Instrument 142 of 2007 well after the police had already started arresting
Statutory Instrument 142 of 2007 orders the goods to be sold at the
prices that prevailed before June 18.
There is an absurdity in that what is not stated is what the pre-June
18 prices were in respect of the goods.
This is so because most goods in respect of which business owners and
executives were arrested had no gazetted prices which could be used to
determine with certainty what the prices for such goods were as of June 18,
Further if there were gazetted orders for the pre-June 18 prices
(which there was not) in respect of all goods, then the business executives
ought to have been charged for contravening those orders and not
contravening Statutory Instrument 142 of 2007.
The absurdity of the statutory instrument lies in ordering a return to
the pre-June 18 prices when there were no such prices in respect of most if
not all the goods which the government ordered to be sold at the prices of
In simple terms, if there was in existence gazetted prices pre-June
18, 2007, then the government only needed to enforce the gazetted orders
through the police and not through gazetting another statute to give effect
This absurdity also amounts to a breach of the rule of law. A
significant element of the rule of law is that a person should not be made
to suffer in body or in goods except for a distinct breach of law which law
should be clear in its meaning and purport.
Lack of clarity of the law as in this case amounts to a breach of one's
right to the protection of the law as stipulated in Zimbabwe's constitution
as it makes people unaware of what to do or not do in order not to fall foul
of the law.
Put simply the meaning of the law should not be left to conjecture.
This absurdity created fertile ground for unscrupulous officials to
demand the reduction of prices as reported in the media, to any level
without any yardstick as to how much was the pre-June 18 prices.
They took advantage of this confusion to order reduction of the prices
to ridiculous levels in some cases in order for them to buy the goods
themselves or their relatives.
There have been reports that many police officers are facing charges
for this corrupt act but the loser ultimately was business and the national
economy as goods (investments) were literally looted with state-sanctioned
The business owners were arrested in the absence of an existing law
that stipulated the prices in most cases.
Statutory Instrument 142 of 2007 was gazetted ex post facto. The law
must exist in advance of a breach.
It is a principle of the law that the law does not apply
The detentions of the business executives were not warranted.
This is so because the discretion of the police to arrest and detain
should be exercised judiciously.
The police are required to exercise their discretion to arrest in
circumstances where there are reasons to believe that the suspect will not
turn up for trial.
In considering whether a suspect will abscond his individual
circumstances should be considered.
It can not be said that the business executives that were arrested and
detained would abscond in view of the fact that fines and not incarceration
were the likely penalties they would suffer in the event of any conviction.
It is inconceivable in the circumstances how the police would exercise
the discretion to detain business people when upon conviction they were
merely liable to pay a fine.
Statutory Instrument 142 of 2007 and indeed any regulations made in
terms of the Control of Goods Act (Chapter 14.05) regulate the sale of goods
only and not any other services unrelated to the sale of goods.
The only services regulated by the instrument are "services relating
to the distribution, disposal, purchase and sale of such commodities".
It is clear that the transport business, for example is exempt from
the operation of Statutory Instrument 142 of 2007.
Consequently, the arrest and detention of owners or drivers of
commuter transport and the seizure of their buses/vehicles for purportedly
overcharging the fares were and remain unlawful in so far as their services
are not goods in terms of the Control of Goods Act and the regulations made
The regulation or purported monitoring of businesses falling under
professions that are self-regulating ostensibly using the regulations
relating to goods is also unlawful in that it subjected professions to
regulation by a body other than their professional bodies.
Professions such as of doctors, accountants, real estate agents and
lawyers have their own professional regulatory bodies which are usually
independent and must not be controlled by anyone to maintain the integrity
This self-regulation is done for standards to be set and maintained by
persons with the knowledge of the workings and ethics of these professions.
For a taskforce set up and controlled by the Minister of Industry and
Trade to purport to regulate these professional bodies is illegal, highly
unethical and seriously compromises their independence and self-regulation
It follows therefore that the past and any ongoing detentions of
business executives were and are unlawful and smack of political expediency
and reckless populist considerations.
Business owners were sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.
This is yet another example, after the farm invasions, of the
government's propensity to resort to looting and expropriation to gain short
term political support.
This culture of flagrant lack of respect for private property rights
has been at the centre of investor loss of confidence in the Zimbabwean
This view is buttressed by the statement of the president to the
effect that the government will expropriate businesses which do not comply
with the government's orders to reduce prices.
It is therefore clear beyond doubt that the decision to slash prices
without regard to the viability of businesses and the continued availability
of such goods if business adhered to these ridiculous prices was a political
as opposed to an economic decision.
Zimbabwe's economy can only recover if there is restoration of good
governance and the rule of law, respect for human dignity and rights and a
culture and climate of accountability and anti-impunity.
This cannot be achieved so long as the public policy making process is
privatised and subordinated to narrow and short term party political
Without respect for the rule of law and human rights economic
development will forever remain a pipe dream.
*Trust Maanda and Arnold Tsunga are lawyers with the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights.
WHILE US company Heinz's cession of its shareholding in Olivine
continues to be mired in controversy, amid industry fears that the exit of
the company marks the start of government's corrosive policy of
nationalisation, the Zimbabwe Independent this week sheds light on the deal.
There were conflicting views during the week after state media
reported that government had taken over the giant basket-goods manufacturer
through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and listed counter
Cottco. This was followed by a statement from Information permanent
secretary George Charamba who tried to pour cold water on the issue by
announcing that there were still exploratory discussions between Heinz and
government. In between these statements Indigenisation minister Paul
Mangwana was pitching the deal as the start of the indigenisation process in
which government has said it wants black Zimbabweans to acquire a majority
shareholding in all companies.
The Independent can reveal that the government of Zimbabwe, which
already had a 49% stake in the giant food and detergent manufacturer, was
made aware of Heinz's decision to sell off its local shareholding in Olivine
as far back as December last year. The government, exercising its
pre-emptive rights to acquire the shareholding, expressed an interest but
did not have the requisite funds to pay for the shares.
Prior to informing government of its intention to cede the
shareholding, Heinz were already engaged in discussions with a Mauritian
company, Admiral Apex Ltd, which had placed a US$6,8 million offer for the
stake. The company listed as one of its directors local bus manufacturer AVM
Africa boss Kenneth Musanhi.
By choosing to exercise its pre-emptive rights, the government stepped
into the shoes of Admiral Apex and therefore accepted to match the Mauritian
company's offer for the stake on the same terms and conditions set by the
Indian Ocean suitor.
Representatives of the new owners, IDC and Cottco, this week remained
mum on the mechanics of the deal leaving political rhetoric to cause
confusion and speculation on the actual architecture of the transaction.
Documents to hand however show that the cession is signed and sealed
and that Cottco rescued the deal by paying the US$6,8 million to effectively
control a 49% stake in Olivine. Government has ceded its stake in Olivine to
IDC but Cottco now has effectively assumed management control.
There has been market concern over the valuation of the deal which has
been described in some quarters as a bargain. Documents to hand, prepared by
a technical committee dealing with the acquisition of Olivine show that the
team had placed the value of the 51% shareholding at US$14,6 million. The
team said that as at October 2005 the gross replacement value (GRV) of
Olivine's fixed assets stood at US$115 million which "placed some
considerable value on the business as a going concern.
"GVR is not nearly a measure of market values but then again Olivine
is in a position to produce and based on their current production levels
using the income-based valuation, we valued the 51% (stake) at US$14,6
million," the team said. The team however adjusted the net asset value based
on the based on reduced capacity utilisation due to feedstock shortages and
depreciation of plant and equipment at the firm.
Despite the reduced valuation, the US$6,8 million figure was beyond
the reach of government hence the fashioning of a recovery plan put together
by together by Kantor & Immermann senior partner, Addington Chinake. The
government firstly ceded its 49% shareholding in Olivine to IDC, a statutory
body established under an act of parliament.
IDC then courted Cottco as a technical partner to acquire the Heinz
stake in a back-to-back transaction which resulted in the cotton company
acquiring a 49% stake in Olivine. Industry sources this week said under the
Chinake-brokered deal, Cottco beat the August 19 deadline, to pay US$6,825
million to Heinz. The money was deposited in Mellon Bank based in Pittsburg,
USA last month. This was a full US-dollar transaction.
As a sweetener to the deal Cottco also paid a further US$460 947, this
however in local currency converted at the ruling Old Mutual implied rate at
the time at US$1: 125 000. The deal completely localised the operation with
Cottco assuming management control of Olivine. It has also been established
that Cottco had been privately courting Olivine as early as last year when
news of the Heinz's intention to exit Zimbabwe began to circulate in the
market. Cottco, despite having the financial muscle, lacked the leverage to
land the deal without the blessing of the government which had pre-emptive
Also as part of the deal Olivine which manufactures at least 250
products will stop using the Heinz brand which is a household name with its
baked beans and tomato ketchup. The company will however continue with all
other brands under its portfolio before the new tie-up.
Shareholders agreements were signed by IDC's boss Mike Ndudzo and
Cottco's MD Happymore Mapara.
Olivine owns 100% shareholding in Olivine Industries, Chegutu Canners
and Oil Seed Processing. The company also controls 40% of Royal Baking
Powder. Cottco's investments include 50,52% interests in regional seedhouse
Seedco, which is also listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, 75% in spinning
enterprise Scottco, and 100% in frozen vegetables concern Exhort
THE 2007 tobacco selling season officially ends today with a total of
68 million kg valued at US$159 million ($39,8 billion at the official rate)
having been sold by Wednesday.
The figure is 12 million kg short of the initial projection although
it does not include sales recorded yesterday and today. Government last
month revised the 2007 tobacco output at 75 million kg.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board yesterday it was considering
extending this year's tobacco marketing season to accommodate farmers who
faced transport problems over the past three two weeks.
TIMB acting chief executive Andrew Matibiri said if the deliveries
remained strong they would be forced to extend the selling season by an
"The marketing season would have to be extended if deliveries remained
strong," said Matibiri who said he was confident that about 77 million kg of
tobacco would be sold by the end of the selling season.
"We will only arrange clean-up sales towards the end of September to
beginning of October," Matibiri said.
Matibiri applauded the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for introducing a
support price, saying it induced viability in the sector, which has, in
recent years, witnessed a sharp decline in production levels.
Matibiri said the industry was targeting to increase production to 120
million kg next year, following the purchase of seed enough to cover 95 000
STATUTORY Instrument 159A of 2007, issued by Presidential Decree last
week, is an astonishing piece of legislation.
It clearly reveals the full intentions behind the price control
operation and the indigenisation exercise.
* The state is systematically bankrupting all independent business.
They are doing so by denying them the right to produce and market their
products at a profit;
* They are fully anticipating wholesale company closures and collapse
across the country. No distinction is made for local and foreign controlled
* As soon as a company folds they will move in through the IDC and the
State Trading Corporation to take control. Resources will be made available
to fund the operations and then price controls will be relaxed and the
companies allowed to resume production;
* A process of transferring control to local Zanu PF individuals and
companies will then ensue in a similar fashion to the Olivine take over.
This was effected by a payment of US$6,8 million by Cottco working with the
IDC. The company will warehouse the shares until it is decided who will get
* The great danger of this process is the same as was the case in
respect of the farm invasions. The loss of skills and experience that takes
place during the transition might actually render the enterprise
unmanageable. The loss of skills will be permanent because most will leave
the country. The scale and audacity of this exercise is mind boggling. They
are clearly in a hurry to do this - I call it the Neutron Bomb exercise -
you kill the enterprise without destroying the infrastructure which you then
* The private sector are not fools - they know what is going on and
many are now asset stripping their operations - the financial cost of this
operation will place a huge new burden on the State (Reserve Bank
printers) and will drastically reduce all form of State revenues. We
can therefore anticipate that this will further exacerbate inflation.
Nearly all the companies known to me are vunerable to this operation -
no matter how large.
It's side effect wil be to drive at least two million Zimbabweans out
of the country into South Africa, the only destination that is close enough
and large enough to absorb this number of people in a short period of time
(three to six months).
ZIMBABWE cannot have free and fair polls next year if there are no
radical political and electoral reforms in line with Sadc election
guidelines, analysts said this week.
The analysts argued that last week's pronouncement by South African
President Thabo Mbeki that Zimbabwe would have free and fair polls ignored
the political situation on the ground where the ruling Zanu PF has an
upperhand against the opposition.
Zanu PF has unfettered access to state resources and public media for
a glitzy campaign, while the majority of the opposition survives on
Mbeki told his parliament that he was assured by the Zimbabwean
leadership, civil society and non-governmental organisations of a free and
"Now I believe the Zimbabweans about their own country," Mbeki said.
Mbeki was appointed by Sadc in March to mediate between Zanu PF and
the main opposition MDC in a bid to find a solution to Zimbabwe's political
and economic crisis.
In his report to Sadc heads of state and government in Lusaka, last
month, Mbeki said there was progress in his mediation efforts and that he
was optimistic of a pact between Zanu PF and the MDC in the near future.
However, political analysts said it was day dreaming for Mbeki that
there would be free and fair polls next year.
"President Mbeki's pronouncement was off the mark," said David
Chimhini, executive director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust.
"We cannot have free and fair elections when we have failed to adopt
the Sadc election guidelines of which we are a signatory."
Chimhini argued that there was need to level the playing field, which
is currently tilted in favour of Zanu PF.
"We have to start from the basics - the electoral process. We are
already gearing for the elections, but there is insufficient voter
education. Next year's election results have already been predetermined with
Zanu PF insisting that it will have to win at all costs. How then can one
say the polls will be free and fair?" questioned Chimhini.
He said reports from rural areas throughout the country were that Zanu
PF has since politicised food relief using traditional leaders.
"Chiefs were recently in Victoria Falls and they pledged their support
for President Robert Mugabe. These are opinion leaders in rural communities
and are charged with the responsibility of distributing food. Obviously,
food will be given to those who support the ruling party and, likewise, they
will be expected to vote with their stomach," Chimhini added.
Political scientist Michael Mhike said Mbeki's pronouncement was
ill-timed since Zanu PF and the MDC were still engaged in negotiations.
He argued that the outcome of the negotiations should be the barometer
of whether or not Zimbabwe would have free and fair polls.
"It was wrong for Mbeki to suggest that next year's polls would be
free and fair when the main parties are still in negotiations. We have to
await the outcome of the negotiations to see if we can have free elections,"
However, he added that the course of the talks was heading nowhere
given what Zanu PF chief negotiator, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa,
said at the sidelines of the Sadc summit in Lusaka.
"Chinamasa told the whole world that there was no need for the current
talks because Zimbabwe is a democracy. From his statement, one can be
excused for drawing the conclusion that the government wants the status quo
to remain and that means there will not be free and fair polls," Mhike said.
In Lusaka, Chinamasa ruled out political reforms in the country.
"Political reform is not necessary in my country because we are a
democracy like any other democracy in the world," he said.
He also suggested that the talks were irrelevant.
Chimhini said from a Zanu PF perspective, Chinamasa was partially
correct to suggest that the talks were of no consequence to the ruling
"It is the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe who need the talks more than
Mugabe and Zanu PF," Chimhini said.
"Zanu PF cannot negotiate itself out of power and that is why it
continues to sell the ruse that MDC is Western-funded and has called for the
imposition of sanctions."
Pro-Zanu PF analysts argued that the recent visit to Australia by
leader of the other formation of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, was meant to
cajole Canberra to tighten sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Further, they argued that Tsvangirai's visit compromised the
Tsvangirai met Australia Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign
minister Alexander Downer.
Speaking at the Australian Institute of International Affairs'
Victorian branch in Melbourne, Tsvangirai hailed Canberra for doing more
than any other country to force Mugabe out of power.
"Australia, I think, has moved far ahead of other countries in
ensuring that at least pressure is applied through multilateral
interventions, than any other country so far," Tsvangirai said. "So in my
communication to him (Downer) I am going to congratulate Australia .there
are many measures that have been taken by Australia that I admire and that I
think are on the right path."
Tsvangirai said he was supportive of Australia's intentions to revoke
visas and deport children of ministers and government officials studying in
He also supported the Australian government's decision to ban its
national cricket team from visiting Zimbabwe this month.
In response to Tsvangirai's utterances in Australia, the permanent
secretary in the Ministry of Information, George Charamba, said the MDC
leader had sacrificed ongoing negotiations under "the aegis of President
Mbeki by patronising white Australia".
He said keeping foreigners out and respecting Zimbabwe's sovereignty
was a clearly "spell out precondition" for talks from Mbeki to the MDC.
Other conditions set by Mbeki include that the negotiations should not
be through the media and that there should be no calling for sanctions
because they were hurting the economy and ordinary Zimbabweans.
At a Sadc extraordinary meeting in March in Tanzania, the regional
bloc condemned economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and foreign interference
in the country's affairs.
Sadc reiterated this position at the Lusaka summit last month.
THE MDC has suspended the official launch of its 2008 election
campaign originally slated for September 9 pending the outcome of the
inter-party mediation talks led by South African President Thabo Mbeki.
To avoid confusing the electorate, it is imperative for the MDC to
stop dithering and avoid rushing into launching an election campaign when
its position on participating in the elections is not yet finalised.
If the MDC later decides to launch its election campaign as expected,
it should send the clearest signal that it is, with certainty, gearing
towards locking horns with the ruling Zanu PF in a gruelling battle for
votes next year.
The intention behind participating in any election of this nature, for
any opposition party, is to win and become the new government. It must
therefore be crystal clear to all in the MDC from the onset that the 2008
general plebiscite is no child's play.
It follows that the real prospect of becoming the new government next
year for the MDC poses the practical risk of losing power for the
increasingly paranoid ruling party.
For President Robert Mugabe and the Zanu PF regime, losing next year's
elections has grave implications given their notorious history and human
rights record since 1980. The MDC must appreciate that the political stakes
in this plebiscite are extremely high and those who intend to be part of
this contest must be equal to the task.
There are three critical imperatives that the MDC must satisfy to
ensure victory in next year's elections.
First, the MDC must take advantage of its election campaign launch,
when it comes, to clear the air and assert the reality that there is only
one MDC which is led by Morgan Tsvangirai as founding president.
The party must reiterate that those who are confusing the electorate
today by clamouring for splinter group status are in fact intractable
defectors who can only be persuaded to rejoin the MDC or be left to tramp in
the political wilderness.
Second, the MDC needs to dispel the defeatist myth that the election
results are foregone. Through credible primary elections, the MDC must
assemble a winning team in the form of its candidates for the elections.
Third and critical, the MDC needs to immediately adopt a potent,
vibrant, deliverable, and functional strategy as it gears up for 2008.
It is of essence for the MDC to realise that for them to confound
critics in 2008, they must do far better than Zanu PF where commissariat
politics is concerned.
The illusion that Zanu PF is now terminally weak or crippled and in
self-destructive mode should be discarded completely.
It is the Zanu PF government that is suffering a form of functional
paralysis not the political party.
As a party, Zanu PF is still alive and vibrant, its tactics ever more
polished and devious, its machinery perfected through more than 40 years of
political existence. Its commissariat is still as efficient and well oiled
by looted public funds.
The MDC needs to understand that, discounting vote-rigging and
political violence, among other impediments, any election is won in the
The MDC national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri, who is the
equivalent of Zanu PF's national commissar Elliot Manyika, must be told that
he has the unenviable task of doing better than his Zanu PF counterpart and
deliver victory to the MDC and the suffering masses.
Mudzuri should know that as national organising secretary, he is the
chief warden and executor of a deliverable election strategy that will give
birth to a new Zimbabwe.
The deliverable election campaign strategy for the MDC should have
among its core components a programme of comprehensive rural outreach and
mobilisation and a programme of voter registration for all eligible voters
in the diaspora.
For the MDC, next year's elections like all general elections in
Zimbabwe will be won on the basis of mobilising majority rural votes and
harnessing the votes of Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
Those Zimbabweans living abroad but have visas that allow them to
return to Zimbabwe time and again should be persuaded to come back and
register as voters before next year's elections in the event that President
Mugabe predictably bars the postal vote.
Those who are registered already should be reminded to come back in
the same manner they visit during public holidays and vote next March as
they owe it to posterity.
Over 500 000 Zimbabweans living abroad are known to visit Zimbabwe
every year during the Christmas holiday alone, most of them from South
Africa and the UK. Zimbabweans living abroad constitute a crucial vote with
the potential of making a difference in next year's elections.
This is where MDC structures in South Africa, USA and the UK should
stand up and be counted by mobilising party members to come and vote next
If Zimbabweans living abroad renege on this moral responsibility to
come and vote for change, citing whatever reason, then they will confirm the
general suspicion that they are sellouts more interested in personal
comforts than the total freedom of all Zimbabweans.
The law of diminishing returns should be instructive to the MDC
commissars as they seek to deliver change in practical terms next year.
While consolidating power in traditional strongholds, the MDC must
deliberately and with mathematical care, break new ground by mobilising a
majority following in the rural areas which are traditional Zanu PF
While it is true that in 27 years the Zanu PF regime has perfected the
art of rigging, it is also true that in the past the MDC has won elections
in several urban constituencies against the same Zanu PF machinery.
The urgent matter is for the MDC to create the conditions in rural
constituencies that have made vote-rigging in urban constituencies difficult
if not impossible for Zanu PF.
The MDC must, by any means necessary, seek to establish an imperious
presence in the rural areas before next year's elections in order to
pre-empt the Zanu PF rigging machinery and preclude the regime's tendency to
steal elections when the MDC is not looking.
But it should also be obvious that the belligerent Zanu PF regime will
not give its strongholds to the MDC on a silver platter because as we speak
the ruling party is already in election campaign mode and vowing to "win at
The tragedy of the current revolution, however, is not the mistaken
notion that we have outsourced the struggle to South Africa and the
The tragedy of the current struggle is the reality that many a
Zimbabwean is outsourcing the struggle to the next Zimbabwean.
Apparently, a majority of Zimbabweans, for some reason, prefer
defining the struggle for a new Zimbabwe as the sole responsibility of
specific opposition leaders and activists.
These Zimbabweans prefer to take the secure position of spectators and
commentators opting to watch a match they should be playing and often
blaming others where it is themselves who are culpable by omission.
Zimbabweans conveniently forget that the 1970s liberation struggle
which brought about Independence was waged on the shoulders of ordinary
citizens who collaborated with freedom fighters without necessarily
belonging to any of the nationalist movements or their military wings, Zipra
It is preposterous to think that the around 50 000 vociferous war
veterans and their principals in Zanu PF and PF Zapu who in1997 demanded
gratuities for their role in the liberation war were the only notable
executors of the struggle.
Zimbabweans have clearly raised the premium of their services in the
struggle against the carnivorous dictatorship by demanding leadership
positions, heroism, recognition or even remuneration.
It is sad reality that Zimbabweans are already demanding gratuities
before the struggle is won.
That is why even late comers to the struggle have demanded that they
be assisted to replace founding leaders of the struggle in exchange for
their strategic services.
But before the dream of a new Zimbabwe can become reality all citizens
must make urgent and deliberate steps towards owning the struggle and
embrace the magnanimity and indeed the courage that will allow them to serve
in the humble but crucial role as unknown soldiers.
By Kevin Shadwell
I HAVE been told recently not to get so stressed about what is
happening here. Much of it is way beyond my control and paltry influence, so
This piece of advice is (has been) rather hard to swallow, as is with
all good medicine, but it did set me off thinking. A fresh perspective is
always a good thing and mine was that perhaps the government really does
think it is doing its best to help its loyal and faithful citizens.
So I decided to reinterpret some of the recent events and
(mal)practices of the leadership as well as personal observations of the
actions of my fellow citizens, and see if I could fathom any humanitarian
Well, the first thing that came to mind was that they are trying to
make us all good citizens of planet Earth by turning us all into
environmentalists of the highest order.
How on earth is this being achieved in a "third world" country when
the world's greatest nations are struggling to even cut carbon emissions by
a pitiful degree?
By creating a "conducive" investing environment (price controls,
chaotic supply chains, shortages of raw materials, shortages of money), they
have driven what heavy industry we had to the very edge of survival,
reducing the "pollutants" they put out by a significant margin.
Well, as an additional part of their strategy for environmental
health, they made coal unavailable for our thermal power stations. No
burning there and hence no pollution! Only good clean electricity from the
one remaining hydroelectric plant at Kariba or we get it on credit from our
more credulous neighbours who believe they'll be paid for it eventually.
As if that were not enough of a brave step, they arranged to make fuel
(a) very expensive and (b) hard to find. This means that we conserve what we
do manage to buy and then only make essential trips.
Many people have opted to park their vehicles and walk or cycle
everywhere, providing the next benefit - a healthier lifestyle. As a side
effect, this has led to the engenderment of a great sense of community as,
walking about, you meet a lot more people than when previously entombed in
speeding metal coffins. A more placid lifestyle seems inevitable, as we
return to the "pace of the ox" and take things in our stride.
Our contribution to a healthier planet have won one of our ministers
great accolades, culminating in his election as the UN representative for
Many have interpreted this variously as failure on the part of the UN,
the smaller countries giving the West the "finger," a negation of the
efforts to isolate the top boys in the government and just plain bad, seeing
as the minister in question "owns" several farms that have been reported as
having fallen into decay.
Deploying this fresh perspective, one could argue that he is helping
the natural environment to regain its natural state by letting previously
productive food farms lie fallow. I mean, we can buy food thanks to the
price controls, so why grow it?
Still on the environmental theme, we have all unwittingly been turned
into great conservationists.
Instead of just throwing something away, you now think hard and check
that it can't be used for something else.
If it is a durable product, you do everything in your power to see if
it cannot be repaired and if not, then, and only then, is it discarded.
This goes for everything from car parts to old vegetables.
On the subject of food, I must mention that I have lost over six kgs
since the price controls began because I can't find my normal "unhealthy
snacks" (bread or mealie meal) to buy and so I eat only once or twice a day
now. Coupled with all the walking I now do, all other diets pale by
The government's concern for our health does not end with our
corporeal bodies. With all the electricity "sharing" there is often no
chance to vegetate in front of that great evil, television (although I do
miss regular access to my other indulgence, the computer).
Not that I ever watch(ed) much TV, but I now find I can read upwards
of five books a week, in addition to having more time to spend with the
family. I mean, we sit and actually really talk to each other instead of
paying attention to those flickering, mind-numbing dots.
Our minds grow (as our waistlines shrink) as we have discussions on a
wide range of issues and topics, stimulated by the written word and good
Inflation was (is) our greatest enemy, labelled as the "Aids" of the
economy - prices spiralled beyond reach of most ordinary citizens and goods
The price controls have enabled people to buy meat, an important
source of protein and fat as we all know, leading to great rejoicing,
creating short-term and intense happiness for the common citizens, leading
to greater mental health. A feeling of happiness drives away the unhealthy
negative thoughts and makes burdens seem lighter.
Knowing our worries and concerns as intimately as they do, the
government acted with decisiveness, scoffing at historical precedents which
every single time showed that price controls do not and cannot work, to
provide us with this brief euphoria of being able to "afford" goods and
This time it will work we have been told. I myself wait with great
anticipation to see how they will provide the next round of "affordable"
goods once current stocks sell out.
The land "reclamations" were a necessary part of the government's
drive to make us better citizens. All the previously disadvantaged
"landless" peasants overnight became part of the landed class, the gentry if
They immediately realised their new social status and decided to act
accordingly - not to work the land themselves but to wait for the
"labourers" to till the land while they enjoyed the fruits of their hard-won
Where are these labourers going to come from though?
Again the government provided the answer: why not strongly suggest
that people leave the urban areas for these needy rural farming areas by (a)
flattening their houses en masse and (b) using that "conducive" investment
environment described above to "convince" or enable businesses to close,
providing fresh legions of unemployed to now work the land.
Sadly, most have remained "unpatriotic" and have elected to remain in
the towns and cities instead of contributing to the glorious agricultural
Our mental health is protected thanks to an unrelinquished legacy of
censorship (thanks Smithy!).
Disturbing and stressful information about events and circumstances
such as allegations of corruption, murder, beating of opposition figures and
theft are kept hidden, while we are treated to wonderful news that the
government has bought 53!, yes you heard me, 53 tractors, since the 2000
reinvigoration of land ownership, that will revolutionise and mechanise
agriculture and provide food for the nation!
Meanwhile, we carefully avoid the thought-provoking factoid that that
many tractors used to be imported in a month in Matabeleland alone.
Ignorance is bliss as the saying goes and if you don't know, how can
So, from reading the above, it would appear that the country remains
the "jewel of Africa," blessed by a "caring" and erudite government that
puts the rest of the continent to shame.
THIS week's opening of the third term school calendar has seen
thousands of parents failing to access food, fees, uniforms and stationery
for their children's schools and colleges owing to a populist move by the
discredited Zanu PF regime which has caused shortages of basic commodities
on the supermarket shelves.
The Zanu PF circus went a gear up on Monday when thousands of parents
and students spent the night at major bus termini across the country as the
acute shortage of fuel and the collapse of the public transport system
begins to further wear down the already strained education system.
Boarding students are going back to school without any food. Boarding
schools have no food, educational infrastructure has collapsed nationwide
while a major brain drain has hit all schools, tertiary colleges and
universities because of low salaries and poor working conditions. There are
no books and basic stationery at Zimbabwe's educational institutions, which
have simply become a collective national shame.
The MDC condemns the undue punishment being meted out to innocent
Zimbabweans by a regime that has dismally failed. Zanu PF has proved it
cannot run a modern economy with functioning systems, policies and working
infrastructure. Zanu PF has simply failed to transform into a caring
government that can provide as basic a service as a functioning education
The recommendations of the Nziramasanga Commission report, which are
gathering dust in government offices, have been completely ignored as the
Zanu PF regime engages in populist policies which have backfired to the
detriment of hard-working parents and their school-going children.
The infrastructural collapse of universities and tertiary colleges has
become legendary. University lecturers earn far below the poverty datum line
of $8,5 million, further straining an already collapsed education system.
The MDC believes that education is every child's basic right. In the
new Zimbabwe that we envision, every child shall receive quality education.
An MDC government will address the mismatch between the budgetary allocation
to education and that of other less important sectors such as defence. We
cannot prioritise guns and bombs ahead of our children's education. Military
arsenal should not take precedence over a good education for Zimbabwe's
Delivering quality education is our mandate. A new Zimbabwe, a new
beginning. Now is the time.
MDC secretary for education
AT last. At least one civilised and democratic government has take
some pro-active action regarding Zimbabwe.
Some siblings of chefs have been deported and given the opportunity to
re-assimilate "Green Bomber" cultures at home after being exposed to "evil
Western civilised values" in Australia.
Records show that without the aid and support from Western nations
like (but not limited to) some of those of the G8, USA, Canada, Britain,
and Sweden, the Zanu PF regime would now be history, and their evil leaders
would likely have already been incarcerated or even have no future prospects
by long being at least two-metres underground.
Of course, the biggest "offenders" that have hypocritically supported
the Zimbabwe regime of tyranny are the "free-loaders" embedded in United
Nations and the European Union.
The USA and the UK are specifically joined in this listing of known
Zanu PF regime abettors.
The UK has long been a haven for radicals that have a mission to
undermine emerged and proven civilised values. Not surprisingly, the follies
of their benign stupidity are now coming home to roost. That they have not
been able to differentiate, filter-out and address global retrogressive
persons or influences is a measure of the crass imbecility of their
In the now morally bankrupt UK, it appears to be an offence to tell
the truth in case someone complains that the real exposed truth is alleged
to be "racist"!
Typically the above "regime abettors" still actually believe that Zanu
PF claims that the nation has had 10 years of consecutive droughts.
They also seem to deny that their aid programmes largely end up in the
pockets of Zanu PF hoodlums and other favoured state-enabled looters. They
have not yet discovered that Zimbabwe actually does not need to grow any
crops because Zanu PF cadres are known to joke about the mis-guided western
humanitarian apologists will always feed the populace of the raped and
The UN and Western governments are also well known to have histories
for issue-avoidance, exaggeration or lying, incompetence, squandering,
anti-white colonialist racism, crimes against humanity, cover-ups,
corruption and incompetence.
Morally derelict, neutered and cowardly Western governments are
severely afraid about telling the truth about Africa, and particularly about
Zimbabwe in fear of allegedly being racist!
Australia stands head and shoulders above others who stand for applied
democracy and human rights Britain was once described as a toothless tiger.
Well done Australia!
THE government last week broke its silence on British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown with a virulent media attack that took many diplomatic
observers by surprise. President Mugabe and his ministers have been keeping
quiet on the new incumbent at No 10 Downing St in the hope that a
rapprochement with the UK may be possible.
This was of course completely delusional. Brown's policies will be
determined by the same officials who formulated policy under Tony Blair. And
parliament would never countenance a departure from a position arrived at in
response to egregious human rights violations, electoral fraud and damaging
economic policies pursued by the Mugabe regime.
But still the authorities in Harare deluded themselves into thinking
that some sort of bridge-building was possible. They simply didn't
understand that first they would have to abandon the sort of bad behaviour
that has transformed Zimbabwe into a rogue state in the eyes of the
international community. No European Union member will pursue a dialogue
with a government whose law-enforcement officers beat up the leader of the
opposition while he is in detention.
The fiction that normal relations with Whitehall could be restored in
the present circumstances has evidently now been abandoned, perhaps in
response to a cold shoulder from London. The government-owned Chronicle
newspaper in Bulawayo, which has been leading a vicious campaign against
Archbishop Pius Ncube, last week published an editorial headed "Mandela
stunt exposes British racist hypocrisy". The target was Brown's reception of
Nelson Mandela in London for the unveiling of a statue of the South African
leader in Parliament Square.
The British, the argument ran, were grateful that Mandela had not
interfered with their economic interests in South Africa. The writer
appeared to think that General Jan Smuts was an "apartheid prime minister",
so, flowing from this misconception, there was bitter denunciation of the
British for having placed Mandela's statue in close proximity to that of
South Africa's wartime leader.
In fact Smuts was defeated by DF Malan's National Party which
advocated apartheid in 1948 but details of this sort were not allowed to get
in the way of what turned out to be little more than an undergraduate
assault on Brown. What seems to have particularly offended the Chronicle was
the suggestion that Mandela's statue would be "a beacon of hope that signals
to anyone who suffers injustice anywhere that their suffering will not last
for ever, will never be in vain, and will be overcome".
This was evidently a gross provocation to the newspaper which
denounced the British for not having rescued Mandela when he was convicted
"When you sell your soul to neo-liberal globalisation," the paper
admonished, "the West gleefully showers you with awards. Repossess the farms
and see what happens. Overnight you are demonised and hit with sanctions."
Mandela should not need the affirmation of Britain to stand tall, we
were told. "We the people of Africa hailed Mandela a long time ago."
Nothing could be further from the truth. Zanu PF could barely conceal
its resentment of Mandela in the mid-1990s. His pleas for the release of
Kevin Woods and others from prison were rejected with scorn. And his
insistence that the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security should be
accountable to the Sadc heads of government was regarded as a challenge to
President Mugabe's regional authority. Indeed, the Blantyre summit was
nearly wrecked as a result of Mugabe's refusal to concede this point. And
relations between the two were further strained when Mugabe used the organ,
as South Africa had feared he would, to authorise his foray into the Congo.
The Chronicle claims the inequalities between black and white in South
Africa, together with land hunger, are a ticking time bomb. That may indeed
be true. But the difference with Zimbabwe of course is that South Africa is
aware of the danger of social inequalities and is busy addressing them just
as it insists land should be redistributed in a way that does justice to
those from whom it is acquired as well as those to whom it is given.
The danger of Zimbabwe's descent into populist anarchy is constantly
held up in South Africa as the path to avoid.
But what the Chronicle betrays more than anything else is Zanu PF's
resentment of the spirit of constitutionalism that Mandela presided over
during his term. This was the bedrock of a law-based non-racial society that
provided a template of inclusivity that challenged the narrow racist
nationalism espoused by Zanu PF across the Limpopo.
President Mugabe briefly embraced reconciliation in 1980. But
increasingly Zanu PF had got away with preaching its nasty little agenda of
recrimination and racial scapegoating. No wonder Mandela inspires feelings
of resentment in the government and its slavish press here. He offered
Africa something entirely new. His decency towards his fellow citizens, his
generosity of spirit, and his example of democratic leadership are a world
apart from the mean-spirited invective of the Chronicle and the abusive
regime it speaks for.
ONE of the first rules of public discourse is not to declare somebody
guilty of an offence they have not been convicted of in the courts. Nearly
every day we see the president, ministers and state media referring to
opponents as "terrorists" and "saboteurs" when they have not been convicted
of any such offence. Indeed, the state has been accused of fabricating
charges against political opponents.
Then on Sunday the Standard reported Indigenisation and Empowerment
minister Paul Mangwana as saying all exiled businessmen would be put on
trial when they return to the country.
"When we talk of our people in the diaspora, we are not talking of
these criminals," Mangwana said.
He was presumably referring to bankers, such as Julius Makoni and
James Mushore, and others who have been accused of economic offences. But he
should have been asked what these self-exiled businessmen have been charged
with. Their lawyers say they have no case to answer and in fact the
Attorney-Genera's Office has confirmed this.
Indeed, many self-exiled business people are refusing to return to
Zimbabwe not because they are guilty of anything but because they are
worried about getting a fair trial. There are all too many cases of people
being locked up while the police look for a case against them. More often
than not that case fails to materialise.
Mangwana said the government was only interested in doing business
with honest people in the diaspora. But he forgets that beggars can't be
choosers. It is not people in the diaspora who need government's support but
government itself that needs external business partners.
And nobody in their right mind would get into a relationship with a
government that can change the law at a minute's notice, lock up
inconvenient partners, and generally pollute the business climate by hostile
It is not dishonest people in the diaspora that Mangwana should worry
about. It is those closer to home.
In what regard is he and his cabinet colleagues held by potential
investors? What incentive to investors is provided by the arrest and
prosecution of businesspeople for "over-charging"? What will a
businessperson who cannot recover the costs of production want to do in this
Mangwana needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Nobody in the diaspora
or elsewhere will want to put their money in a country where ministers make
the sort of comments Mangwana made in Sunday's Standard. There are many
other attractive locations in the region.
On the subject of better locations, why are Zanu PF students in
Australia continuing to advertise their loyalty to the regime by attacking
Morgan Tsvangirai when government officials have told them to relocate to
This week we had all sorts of dubious characters coming out of the
woodwork. Tsvangirai was a "political dunderhead", said Melisa Welsh who is
studying at the University of New South Wales. Tsvangirai's conduct was
typical of an "unlearned loudmouth".
We weren't told if Ms Welsh was a Zimbabwean or what she was doing in
Australia when patriotic Zimbabweans have been told by our government to
Then we had a "Zimbabwean lawyer based in Australia" saying he was
"shocked" by the alliance between Tsvangirai and John Howard's government.
We are shocked that a Zimbabwean lawyer based in Australia should be
attacking Tsvangirai from the comfort of Australia when his colleagues in
Harare get beaten up by the police. Why does the Herald not tell us who this
brave fellow is!
Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango told VOA that during the
connecting flight between Johannesburg and Harare, which brought the
deportees home, ZRP Commissioner Augustine Chihuri accused Tsvangirai of
spurring Australia to deport the students.
He evidently hasn't woken up to the fact that states where opposition
leaders are beaten up by the police while in detention are understandably
regarded as rogue states by the international community. In other words
there are consequences for violent and unprofessional behaviour by those
entrusted with upholding the rule of law.
Muckraker was interested in a story published in the Daily Telegraph
recently which said China's new special envoy for Africa, Liu Guijin, had
said his country would be limiting its relationship with Zimbabwe to
He said this to Lord Malloch Brown, a former UNDP boss and now
responsible for Africa and Asia in Gordon Brown's government who was
visiting China. While the shift in Chinese policy in Darfur had been noted,
that concerning Zimbabwe had not, Malloch Brown said. He welcomed it.
"Privately," the Telegraph reported, "diplomats believe that while
Zimbabwe once seemed like an opportunity for China to make diplomatic gains
in an area abandoned by Western countries, Beijing had been unable to avoid
the evidence of the harm being done to Zimbabwe's people."
"It was difficult to see what long-term result China could get, when
Zimbabwe failed to meet basic standards of economic discipline," one
As expected, the Chinese have denied any change in policy. But with
the Olympics looming, there is a clear need in Beijing not to be seen
cohabiting with rogue states that pursue punishing policies.
Liu Naiya, an expert on Africa at the government think-tank, the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China's experience in Sudan had led
it to adjust its Zimbabwe policy as well. China is now working much more
closely with the UN on Darfur.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Beijing's
People's University, said "China has traditionally good relations with
Zimbabwe but Zimbabwe has changed greatly in the last few years and the
situation is deteriorating. This is definitely a problem for China," he
There was an interesting exchange in court last week at the trial of
Gift Phiri for practising as a journalist without accreditation.
Beatrice Mtetwa asked an official of the MIC if it was true that MIC
head Tafataona Mahoso wrote a weekly column in the state press. Yes, he did,
was the response.
Is he accredited as a journalist? she asked the official. No, he isn't,
was the reply.
Why isn't he accredited? she asked. He doesn't need to be because he's
a social commentator, not a journalist, came the reply.
What's the difference? Mtetwa doggedly enquired. A journalist gathers
information, we were told.
So if someone goes onto the Internet, are they not gathering
Yes, was the answer.
Phiri was acquitted.
Talking of Mahoso, where is he when he is not searching the Internet
and practising journalism without accreditation? What was the purpose of
that ghastly picture in the Sunday News of a dead woman with an axe stuck in
The least one can say is that it was completely in bad taste while it
added nothing of value to what we already knew about how the woman met her
tragic end. If anything, that picture shows how much we have all died in
terms of sense and sensibility.
A sign carried by war veterans and Zanu PF Women's League members last
week said: "We will die with our president." Do they know something we don't?
And we liked the picture of the president with an ox-drawn plough.
What happened to the tractors?
We have come a long way since the pictures of Mugabe on a BMW
motorbike in Germany. A long way backwards!
Herald business editor Victoria Ruzvidzo appears to have woken from
her long slumber. She thinks the electricity crisis in the country should be
declared a national disaster.
"The intermittent electricity supplies have caused more harm than good
to industry, hence the economy."
Wheat farmers, tobacco growers, fertiliser manufacturers and mines
have all taken a knock, she points out.
Ruzvidzo is in particular indignant that the sacrifices made by the
public to help the wheat growers did not translate into benefits for the
wheat sector. "They have been let down and I can only imagine what this has
done to their farming business."
Yes, and what about the rest of us?
It is important that journalists adopt a sceptical view of promises by
politicians. Ruzvidzo recalls that Vice-President Joice Mujuru had an
"eye-opening" meeting with Zesa management in which they promised to get
their house in order.
"So far there are no indications that the message got home unless
there is something happening behind the scenes," Ruzvidzo comments. "May be
one day soon we will all wake up to a brighter Zimbabwe."
Then again, maybe not!
"You can never count on Zesa but let's wait and see," she concludes.
Doesn't that neatly summarise Herald journalism?
Despite all the evidence that Zesa is incapable of providing an
elementary service, Ruzvidzo is happy to "wait and see", in the dark! She
needs some "eye-opening".
Another one who needs help is Newsnet's Brian Paradza.
In the past, he reported on Tuesday, it was rural people who dreamed
of tap water. Now urbanites were going for weeks on end without clean water,
he reported, showing pictures of people doing their laundry on the banks of
the Mukuvisi river.
"Piped water will soon be a thing of the past in urban areas," warned
So, the politburo is "happy" with progress in the talks with the MDC,
the Herald reported yesterday.
The politburo received a report from Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa and "noted with satisfaction the progress that has been made in
the dialogue with the opposition".
Is this the same Patrick Chinamasa who told the media in Lusaka
recently that there was no point in Zanu PF negotiating with the MDC? And is
this the same MDC who Saviour Kasukuwere describved as "traitors" in the
House of Assembly?
Any Zimbabwean who is described by Western countries as a hero, as
happened to Morgan Tsvangirai recently, was a traitor, he was reported as
The MDC should seek the lifting of sanctions by their Western friends,
So it's a deal then, Saviour. Zanu PF supporters stop abducting and
torturing opposition members and sabotaging the economy and the MDC will
seek the lifting of sanctions? Sounds good to us.
Meanwhile, we are pleased you are all so "happy" with the talks. But
wouldn't it be a good idea to stop making childish accusations against those
you end up with at the same negotiating table? In the end you are going to
have to make concessions. How do you explain this to your excitable
followers who have been told there will be no dialogue with "traitors"? Best
to keep big mouths shut, right?
Finally, President Mugabe last week vowed he would not leave the
country under any circumstances, even if it was part of a sweet exit
"Some were saying an exit package for Mugabe would do," he told
thousands of war veterans bused in to renew their vows of allegiance.
"Vanoti anoenda kunaMahathir kuMalaysia ndiko kwaanozogara and he will
be happy. (They say he will go to Mahathir in Malaysia where he will stay in
"He will be happy with the package to go where?
"Kune ivhu rani ikoko, kune mhuka dzedu here, kunoriira shiri dzaani,
neshumba? Kune midzimu yaani ikoko? (Whose soil is there, are our animals
there, whose birds sing there, and lions? Whose ancestors are there?)
"Here I was born, here I grew up and here I shall die and be buried."
We have heard you, Mr President. So does the stuffed lion at State
House symbolise your resolve to remain in office?
By Eric Bloch
IT is almost a quarter of a century since government first stated its
intent to pursue, with vigour, a policy of privatisation of state
Almost every economic development plan or programme formulated by
government, soon after it came to power, has included declarations of intent
to "commercialise", and then privatise, parastatals.
At one stage government alleged such a determination to do so that
even formulated the National Privatisation Agency to spearhead the intended
disinvestment by the state from its plethora of business operations, but
that agency proved to be relatively short-lived.
Admittedly, there was a brief period of time within which government
not only spoke out assertively of its privatisation intents, but actually
transformed a few of its declared intents into realities. It very
successfully disinvested, to a significant extent, from Zimbabwe Banking
Corporation and Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe in the financial sector, Rainbow
Tourism Group, a substantive operator in Zimbabwe's dynamic tourism
industry, Zimbabwe Reinsurance Corporation, a principal player in
reinsurance underwriting for the insurance sector, Cotton Company of
Zimbabwe in the agro-industrial sector, and from Dairibord as the principal
commercial processor and supplier of diverse dairy products.
All those privatisations not only generated much needed capital for
government, and rid it of responsibilities which it was ill-equipped to
handle, but also resulted in the very considerable development and growth of
those enterprises, to the benefit of the economy, the fiscus, and the
populace as a whole.
All of them were successfully listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange,
and are very significant components of the Zimbabwean economy.
But despite those six very major privatisation successes, government's
entrenched craving for absolute control of anything and everything has
motivated it to pay naught but lip-service to its further privatisation
Not only has there been no further movement towards implementation of
privatisation policies, but there appears to be an increasingly intensifying
resistance, within government, to any such implementation, including
articles of major prominence in state controlled newspapers arguing against
the benefits of privatisation.
Interestingly, the most recent of such articles which appeared very
shortly after the report on the Zimbabwean economy presented by the Sadc
secretariat in Lusaka, apparently included a strong recommendation on
privatisation in Zimbabwe.
That article, written by Jacob Mujokoro, very correctly recognised
that a factor in evaluating the attributes, and the disadvantages, of
privatisation, is "the general underperformance by parastatals".
He notes that "the poor performance of parastatals is not only
reflected in their failure to declare dividends to shareholders and being a
drain on the fiscus, but also in a serious deterioration in service delivery
and knee-jerk policies that have failed to improve the economy".
However, he argues that in the present distressed state of the
economy, now is not the time to resort to privatisation.
He argues that pursuit of privatisation at this time would place "the
wealth of the country in the hands of a few foreigners", and alleges that
such an economic policy would "hand wealth to the rich, but it will also
usher in increased impoverishment of the masses who rely on services
provided by parastatals".
However, such arguments disregard the fact that, on the one hand,
almost all of the parastatals are over-burdened with debt and are to a major
extent insolvent, or on the threshold of insolvency, and that, on the other
hand, they are invariably failing to provide services to the masses and the
economy as a whole.
Endless load-shedding by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority,
compounded by frequent generation or distribution failures, never-ending
failures to supply clean and sufficient water by the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority, continuing deficiencies in telecommunications, and grossly
inadequate coal production by Hwange Colliery Company, are but a few of very
many examples of the pronounced inadequacies of the majority of Zimbabwean
Mujokoro argues against the proponents of privatisation, stating that
"by selectively citing the success story of commercialisation of firms like
Dairibord Zimbabwe Ltd and Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, proponents of
privatisation ignore some critical aspects". He ponders: "What does one gain
by selling off the hen that lays the golden eggs?"
But, in doing so, he disregards that most of those "hens" were only
pullets when they were disposed of and it was under the drive of privatised
ownership that they developed and matured into the highly productive hens
that he refers to.
It was the injection of capital, and extensive business expertise,
that transformed those businesses into the economic power-houses that they
It is exceptionally rare for governments to run business entities
On the one hand, recurrent political interventions are contrary to
sound business decision-making and constructive operational procedures. On
the other hand, the absence of any profit-making motives and personalised
investor interests detracts from attaining business successes, irrespective
of whether those successes are measured by returns on equity, or by extent
of consumer satisfaction attainment.
Privatisation of parastatals has been successfully and nationally
beneficially attained in numerous countries.
In the US many decades ago, railroads and telecommunications services,
amongst many other enterprises, were privatised to an extent as resulted in
vastly improved services to the American population, and significant capital
inflows to government, over and above considerable ongoing fiscal inflows by
way of direct and indirect taxes.
The same holds good in the UK. France successfully privatised numerous
enterprises, ranging from automobile manufacturers to service providers.
South Africa has increasingly done likewise over the last 10 years.
And these are but a very few of the very great number of countries that have
resorted to privatisation, benefiting their economies, and their
There are no credible reasons why Zimbabwe cannot, and will not,
achieve like results, provided that the privatisation is implemented without
politically driven agendas, and synergistic domestic and international
investors, possessing technological expertise and financial resources are
What is necessary is that government has a genuine will to disinvest
from its enterprises, that market forces govern the future operations of
those enterprises, in a competitive environment, and that the disinvestment
is,pursued in a transparent, constructive, manner.
By Vincent Kahiya
IN August 1971 US President Richard Nixon declared a freeze on wages
and prices. Legislation authorising the freeze had sailed through congress
the year before, with little controversy.
The freeze evolved into a bureaucratic mangle of formulas about who
could get paid what.
There were requirements about filing forms with the government and
keeping records and posting notices, all enforced by a growing network of
wage and price cops.
In effecting the measures Nixon promised: "While the wage-price freeze
will be backed by government sanctions, if necessary, it will not be
accompanied by the establishment of a huge price-control bureaucracy. I am
relying on the voluntary cooperation of all Americans."
Last Friday President Mugabe decreed wage freezes to add to a gamut of
self-defeating policies that are designed to extend controls and, unlike in
the case of Nixon, usher in a bloated state bureaucracy consisting of price
cops, monitors, taskforces and commissions whose operations will see the
country immobilised in a time warp.
Our rulers believe the economy will come out of its cocoon stronger.
The task to hand is huge for the price cops.
They have to monitor prices of goods and commodities throughout the
production chain and on shop shelves. They are being asked to set and
monitor tariffs, rentals, service charges profit margins and so on.
The cops - some of whom cannot even interpret a balance sheet - have
been thrown into the fray to monitor operations of large corporates.
Implementation of policy on the ground depends to a large extent on
what the cops know or their level of ignorance.
At the top, where policy is made, flip-flops in the last two months
are sure signs that the freeze cannot hold.
The cabinet taskforce on price monitoring, while working to ensure
that the economy remains entombed in frigid policies, has also been lighting
fires under the frozen mass to effect thaws that have resulted in serious
Picture this: a single egg is selling for $30 000 while 10kg of
mealie-meal is priced at $40 000.
This means that a dozen eggs now cost the same as 90 kg of maize
meal - only in Zimbabwe!
The old commodity price distortions which central bank governor Gideon
Gono complained bitterly about at the beginning of the year are back.
The government is importing maize at cost price from Tanzania and
Malawi and selling it to millers for less that $3 million dollars a tonne.
In fact a tonne of maize costs about the same as the government
approved price of a pair of Bata shoes.
There are always dangers associated with turning an already
inefficient civil service into price cops.
A government which fails to carry out basic tasks like issuing birth
certificates, national ID cards and passports will always be found wanting
in policing the economy.
The thousands of applications for price reviews sitting at the
Ministry of Industry bear testimony to the functional delinquency of our
Those determining prices are yet to explain to the nation how they
determine which company is granted the right to raise prices or charges.
Seed houses for example have been crying out for a review to enable
them to produce seed maize before the onset of the rains now less than two
months away. That has not come through and the nation faces a serious
shortage of seed.
Proposed tariff reviews by Zesa have generally been ignored yet the
parastatal is key to industry and farming.
Low electricity tariffs are not helping anyone. Consumers are prepared
to pay more for electricity than to spend a fortune every month on firewood,
candles, diesel and gas.
The price cops do not appear to have the capacity to control the
prices of these energy sources. This is sure evidence of bureaucratic
bungling that afflicts the poor.
Back to President Nixon's US. When the price freeze was eventually
lifted, labour unions raised questions like: You mean, anyone can just
charge whatever they want? They had gotten used to controls.
They believed that the right to price wasn't as profound as the right
to express one's political opinion and yet when price controls were removed,
freedom-loving Americans didn't even miss them.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: September 6, 2007
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Frightened, desperate and pregnant, Shylet
Chakanetsa, 18, paid a truck driver to smuggle her from Zimbabwe to South
She and three other young women were hidden in a trailer as the truck
entered South Africa through the northern Beitbridge border post.
"I was scared the police were going to catch us and we would have to go home
again and start over," the quiet young woman said in an interview.
"Lots of guys are coming that way. Some say they can come through the fence.
We didn't want to go that way. Some say there are cases of people being
raped. We were scared so we just had to pay," she said, a hand gently
stroking her baby girl wrapped in a bright yellow blanket next to her.
Massive inflation, food and fuel shortages and a crackdown on political
opposition to President Robert Mugabe's regime have sent Zimbabweans fleeing
by the thousands, leading to mounting concerns that the region will be
swamped with destitute refugees.
Recently, Zambian immigration authorities reported that the number of
Zimbabweans crossing into Zambia at the southern border city of Livingstone
had risen from 60 to 1,000 people a day, and that they feared the influx
While there are few reliable figures on the number of economic migrants
crossing through South Africa's borders, estimates consistently refer to 3
million Zimbabweans living in South Africa.
Some, like Chakanetsa, pay truck drivers to smuggle them in. Others cross
legally, then let their visas expire. A few go first to Botswana or
Mozambique, then cross more porous borders into South Africa from there.
Most choose to leave Zimbabwe by crossing the crocodile-infested Limpopo
River and entering through holes in the poorly patrolled border fence, often
paying exorbitant fees to guides.
Recently farmers on the border were accused of waging a vigilante campaign
against the illegal immigrants, accusing them of theft and of scaring
foreign tourists from game lodges along the border.
Chakanetsa says she paid the driver 100,000 Zimbabwe dollars, which is about
40 U.S. cents and buys three loaves of bread or a cup of coffee at Harare
She and her friends were dropped about 350 miles (565 kilometers) from the
border in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, in January. From there they took
a taxi to downtown Johannesburg and found the Central Methodist Church,
where she was reunited with the father of her child.
Bishop Paul Verryn's church, tucked next to the High Court in the heart of
the city, has become a center of refuge for more than 1,000 Zimbabweans.
As the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe deepens, some 20 to 30
Zimbabweans make their way to the church every day. Most are men, but an
increasing number are women and unaccompanied children. Like Chakanetsa,
they all have tales of worsening hardships that force them to flee in search
of work and a chance to help their families survive.
Chakanetsa's mother is a widowed nurse who was battling to look after her
daughter and 3-year-old son. "It was getting tougher everyday. Working back
home is useless. The money is useless," she says.
Home is now a tiny patch of space in the crowded vestry, wide enough for a
mattress of folded blankets and a few belongings. Chakanetsa shares the
wood-paneled room with seven other mothers and their young children. "The
church is trying their best to help us. If it wasn't for them I would
probably be on the streets," she says.
Chakanetsa, who is hoping to find a job as a domestic worker, has not had
any luck yet. She occasionally makes 30 rand a day (US$4.20;?3.10)
distributing flyers on the rough streets of Johannesburg.
"The first question they (employers) ask is if we are from Zimbabwe, then
they turn their backs on us," she said.
At night the four-story building with its warren of rooms is a sea of
sleeping bodies, head-to-toe on the stairs, corridors, in doorways.
Everywhere, except the pews, are exhausted people wrapped in whatever they
can find to ward off the winter cold seeping up through the hard tiled
But by day the floors are swept clean and bundles of possessions are secured
to railings, waiting the return of their owners while a ground floor hall
operates as a soup kitchen and meeting place.
In front of a television playing music videos, those who have not been able
to secure work for the day mingle, playing with a card deck that pokes fun
at Mugabe and his cronies - similar to the famous Saddam Hussein pack.
Upstairs a group of sick men huddle around a heater waiting for the
volunteer doctor. Around the corner students are waiting their turn on four
laptop computers in the light and airy education center.
With a large number of teachers in the building and a variety of skills, the
first rule of staying in the church is that residents must be involved in
education - either teaching others or studying further.
"That's where the professionals have got themselves organized and it's
gaining more momentum. They are determined that nobody is going to slip
through the net," says Verryn, sitting in his third-floor office, a queue of
people waiting outside to see him.
A veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, Verryn says the increasing number
of Zimbabweans on the streets of Johannesburg is a problem that can no
longer be ignored.
Verryn is involved in the registration of each person who comes to his
church - about 3,500 people in the last 18 months.
"If we don't do this there is a danger that they will become a nobody," he
Other rules include: no smoking, drinking or fighting and no sex in the
building for single residents. Residents are also expected to attend the
church service every night.
The refugees have organized themselves into a variety of committees
governing life in the center.
"It was their initiative. People think we've got a bunch of stupid thugs in
this place but we really have a fairly sophisticated community," Verryn
The residents each contribute 5 rand (about 70 U.S. cents, 50 euro cents) a
week to pay for cleaners and fund two nurse's aides. There is a lift
operator to ensure the aging elevator does not get overcrowded and soon
someone will be employed to watch over the toilets.
"Conflict managers" are posted on each floor, but there are complaints of
thieving as well as fighting and there have been two alcohol-related deaths.
Verryn says the conflict is minimal, given the stress inherent in "about
1,000 people living on each others' toes, with their feet in one another's
To let off steam, there is netball, ballroom dancing, karate and book and
The refugees have called their organization Ray of Hope Ministries.
"Here is not a prison but a place of hope," says chairman, Godfrey Charamba,
who left Zimbabwe in 2004. The 30-year-old lay preacher, temporary teacher,
and truck driver works as a security guard.
Ahead of the evening church service, Charamba is going to fetch someone from
Johannesburg's central train and bus station, where many arriving
Zimbabweans spend a few nights before being directed to the church.
News of the church has reached Zimbabwe, so some, like Chakanetsa, head
straight for it when they arrive. Others turn up robbed of everything after
roughing it on the streets.
Neither Verryn nor Charamba like to entertain much discussion of how many
more people the church can accommodate.
"As a church we will never get full," says Charamba. "We have no choice. We
can't close the doors for people. Where do they go? Only the house of God
can they go to."
Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to: JAG
Job Opportunities; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Add Inserted – 6th September, 2007)
ONCE UPON A TIME NURSERY SCHOOL
Is looking for an extra teacher for January 2008.
Competitive salary, excellent facilities and equipment, congenial working
atmosphere where the emphasis is on the all-round development of little
Only qualified persons need apply.
Phone 776470 or 746811 for an interview or email: email@example.com
(Add inserted 6th September, 2007)
SAFARI LODGE MANAGEMENT COUPLE
or 2 individuals required for Upmarket Progressive Business
(Applicants will also be considered from regional countries to Zimbabwe)
We are putting a management team together to run a successful and developing
Safari Lodge (75ks from Harare) of presently 32 beds with an additional
satellite/overlander camp to be added next year. The business is foreign run
with one owner recently relocated to Zimbabwe but not wanting to manage the
business on a day to day basis.
We are looking for either 2 individuals or a couple, one to manage the
hotel/lodge side and the other to manage the game section/park (7800 acres
with extensive game).
Management accommodation is a 3 bed roomed house very close to the lodge but
not on site (allowing personal time away from the business). A good local
primary school exists 20 minutes away. A good basic package with the
possibility of profit share exists for the right applicants.
The applicant for the lodge element MUST have experience in the Hotel/Lodge
industry in a Management capacity.
Preferably good knowledge on F&B
Good financial control management
A pleasant personality to interact with clients
Payroll experience (BELINA)
The applicant for the Game section will need the following:
A good basic knowledge of game
Basic mechanical knowledge
The ability to work with, and organise, game activities and guides.
Be pro-active in the management of anti-poaching/fencing/road
Someone with a farming background may be suited to this position.
Suitably qualified interested parties please forward your current CV’s to
the directors listed below:
Mr Dobinson. UK
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 00 44 1959 561031 (fax 00 44 1959 569171)
Mobile: 00 44 7775 840739
Mrs Bekker, Zimbabwe
email@example.com Tel: 00 263 4 496297 (fax 00 263 4 480997) or Mobile:
00 263 23 401414
(Add inserted 6th September, 2007)
Twin Peaks in Gweru is looking for a husband and wife team. The husband to
be handyman/caretaker and the wife to supervise the restaurant.
A two bedroomed house, fully durawalled is available and animals are
The vacancy is available from 1st November, 2007.
Any further details can be obtained from Marie Pile.
Please send your CV: to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 054 223762 or 054 227996
(Add inserted 6th September, 2007)
JOB OFFER IN AUSTRALIA
Electrical Appliance Mechanic is required in Maroochydore, Australia, for a
commercial kitchen equipment installation company.
Ability to work under pressure, people skills, diagnostic ability,
understanding of PCB’s and components, pressure switches, elements etc.
Official qualifications and experience is required. Assistance to migrate
will be given if qualifications are acceptable and applicant is accepted for
Please contact Mrs Bown at 04 702402 (office) or: 023 316 739 (cell) for
No time wasters – please.
(Add inserted 28 August 2007)
Looking for work in Australia?
Australian Recruiting Pty Ltd is a national leader in the provision of
recruitment and human resource consulting services and is a wholly
Queensland owned and operated business which is staffed with leading
We provide specialised recruitment expertise with local knowledge. Our
personalised friendly approach is backed up with skilled consultants and a
state of the art database that identifies both client and candidate
opportunities in the marketplace.
We partner with our clients to search for, attract, screen and appoint
exceptional people more effectively.
For a confidential appraise of the job market and work opportunities in
Australia, please contact Kerran Nicolle, Manager & Owner of the Sunshine
Coast Branch of Australian Recruiting.
Kerran ran a highly successful Agricultural Consulting Company in the
Chinhoyi District up until the end of 2002. He has now been in Australia for
4 ½ years. As an autonomous manager of the Branch or Australian Recruiting,
he is happy to communicate with any interested parties currently looking to
Australia to relocate.
Contact Kerran on: email@example.com
Work: 61 7 54453188
Fax:61 7 54456539
Mobile: 61 400070526
(Add inserted 28 August 2007)
BOOK-KEEPER/RECEPTIONIST (Mornings Only)
Looking for a mature book-keeper, mornings only excluding Fridays and the
odd Wednesday. Must be computer literate.
We off a fun working environment based in Highlands with a good remuneration
and fuel allowance offered.
Please contact: Siobhan Hutchings on Tel: 443080/2 or 443088 or
Mobile: 011 410 347 or email: Siobhan@xsea.biz
(Add inserted 28th August, 2007)
DAIRY MANAGER – CHISAMBA, ZAMBIA
.I have an immediate vacancy for a Dairy Manager to manage our 1000cow dairy
in Chisamba, Zambia. This is a senior post and I am looking for a highly
motivated, experienced, professional person. Only high-calibre, suitably
experienced candidates will be considered. Experience of managing a large
dairy herd is ESSENTIAL. Total herd is 2500 animals. Tertiary education
would be an advantage but NOT essential.
1. 1000 milking cows.
2. TMR feeding system.
3. All silage/stock-feed is provided by Crops Manager so Dairy Manager can
focus 100% on managing the dairy
4. 40 x unit herringbone parlour.
5. 50km north of Lusaka.
6. Very attractive package.
7. Permanent/long-term position.
Zambeef Products PLC,
Private Bag 17,
(Add inserted 28th August, 2007)
SITE MANAGER – MINING DEVELOPMENT – GWERU
TO START IMMEDIATELY
Good management skills
Basic computer literacy
Catering Experience (if possible)
The position would suit a husband/wife team and/or a displaced farming
couple without children.
A good package is offered in return.
Please contact::- firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 495498 or mobile: 011 409 796
(Add inserted 28th August 2007)
FULL TIME OFFICE MANAGER – VICTORIA FALLS
We are a well established family run company based in Victoria Falls looking
to expand due to increased market share.
We are looking for a full time office manager. The applicant must be
completely computer literate specifically in Excel and have a clear friendly
telephone manner. Previous experience in travel would be a distinct
Competitive salary and perks offered.
Start date 1st October, 2007
Conditions of employment will only be discussed with serious applicants that
Please contact Sid Hayes – email: email@example.com
(Ad inserted 16 August 2007)
WORKSHOP MANAGER required
This position will require a more mature person over the age of 35, with
considerable mechanical and maintenance experience of ERF and Renault
trucks. Would prefer a candidate with at least 5 years experience in this
same position, who would be able to manage the running of a fleet of
cross-border trucks. Please send CV's to Mahomed Abdulla at
(Ad inserted 16 August 2007)
Cook and Gardener
I am looking for a cook and gardener (preferably husband and wife team) to
start immediately. Accommodation is offered.
Please contact: Glenn 011888214 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ad inserted 19 July 2007)
Unique Own Business Opportunity
To the right person a rewarding opportunity exists to ‘operate your own
business’ in partnership with Zimbabwe and UK based businesses and a
Non-Profit Organisation. No financial investment is required of you,
HOWEVER, this opportunity has specific requirements which would be your
contribution to the ‘partnership’.
This is not a ‘job’ - this is an opportunity to ‘operate your own business’
Self righteous religious zealots will not be considered
Timewasters will not be responded to
We are a low-profile service orientated business (inc 1994) and
organisation, providing commercial services to the business community, and
strictly confidential services to private clients, and non-profit
The partners adopt a philosophical approach to Life, believing in the
significance of an individual’s need to find their very own unique and
special purpose, and to then live out their personal dream.
Excellence & proficiency in: secretarial & office practises, written &
spoken communication, computer skills (especially MSOutlook & File
Working knowledge of Company formation procedures
Basic knowledge of computer hardware (you know what’s in the tower)
Basic accounting experience - accounts are contracted out
Willing to learn LINUX
As the successful ‘partner’ person you will be self-motivated, and
competently & with dedication, carry out the daily activities, expand the
market of our services in Zimbabwe and further develop, maintain & operate
various Address Book data bases (Network Marketing).
You will possess and be able to practically demonstrate: personal
responsibility, a high degree of personal integrity and trustworthiness,
that you are a ‘people person’ with compassion and empathy, emotional
maturity and stability. Good health and bodily disposition. Be committed to
staying....for the next year at least. An added ‘feather in your cap’ will
be that you subscribe to the philosophy as expounded in the movie and book -
It goes without saying that you will be generously rewarded
Write an Email letter (attaching your Résumé) telling us sufficient about
yourself that we would be wanting to meet with you for consideration as a
‘partner’ in Zimbabwe.
Thomas Vallance ACIArb, Executive Director, PARADiGM Trust(Pvt)Ltd
Trust Executives & Administrator, Para-Legal Advisory Services
POBox HG750, Highlands, Email: [email@example.com]
(Add inserted 28th August 2007)
Mature man in his 30’s seeking employment in either Marketing/Sales or
Management. Preferably regional.
I am the holder of an IMM Diploma; Bachelor of Bus. Admin degree;
Certificate in Retail Business Management.
I am computer literate with experience in Word and Excel.
Please contact: Stan Mabika c/o email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ad inserted 16 August 2007)
I am mature lady with 14 years working experience in Administration and
Human Resources. I am currently working at the University of Zimbabwe in the
Human Resources Department. I hold A Bsc in Sociology from The University of
Zimbabwe and Certificates in Human Resources Management. I am looking for
employment either as an Administrator in Human Resources. My contact is Mrs
Hove 011218590 or 333524 or 492348. My e-mail address email@example.com.
(Ad inserted 2 August 2007)
Position sought - Finance, Salaries and Administration.
Currently serving as a Finance and Administration Officer for a regional
17 years solid work experience, 8 in the NGO sector.
NGOs, Embassies, Regional or International organisations preferred.
Current salary in foreign currency.
Clean class 4 driver s licence.
Diploma in Personnel Management.
Higher National Diploma in Accounting.
Bachelor of Commerce Degree majoring in Finance.
Juliah Murima – 04-2920769 home, 0912 699258 cell, 0912 405281 husband
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact