Plugging the holes in land reform Blessing
LIKE a hysterical builder trying to stop leaks on a
spilling dam wall, government's attempts to plug the loopholes in the Land
Acquisition Act are unlikely to stop the flood of legal cases government is
Zanu PF last week bulldozed through parliament an amendment to
the Land Acquisition Act - the fourth since the Bill was tabled in 2000 -
to regularise the serving of Section 8 notices on farmers.
have said the amendment will not solve the problems besetting commercial
agriculture because of the unnecessary haste in passing the Bill. The Bill
now awaits President Robert Mugabe's signature to become law.
Act was amended once in 2000, again in 2001 and twice this year, making it
the second most tampered with document after the constitution, which has been
amended 16 times.
The Bill comes at a time when government is making
frantic efforts to justify its promotion of land-grabbing which has pushed
the country's agro-based economy to the brink of collapse. Economists say the
full impact of the skewed land reform programme on industry is still to be
Attempts to evict farmers using defective law have put the legal
system in a fix. Magistrates and law officers, torn between applying the law
as set down and obeying political directives, have revealed that in a number
of lawsuits challenging evictions political pressure has compromised the
execution of their duties.
Opposition MDC agriculture spokesman Renson
Gasela said the haste with which the amendment had been drafted left it with
even more flaws.
"We haven't seen the last of this Bill through
parliament," Gasela said.
"The Land Acquisition Act has been amended four
times since the start of farm invasions in the year 2000 and in all those
efforts it has consistently failed to address the situation, mainly because
it was being done in such a hurry ending up overlooking many
The Bill seeks to increase penalties for commercial farmers
defying eviction orders and to validate preliminary acquisition orders which
had been declared invalid and illegal by the courts because they were not
Under the new rules, farmers will be forcibly removed
from their land seven days after being served eviction notices, instead of 90
days as before. The fine for refusing to comply was also increased fivefold
to $100 000.
The Land Acquisition Act had failed to legalise government's
attempts to evict farmers whose properties are bonded to financial
In a landmark ruling in August, a High Court judge said
eviction orders were invalid if they had not been first served to lending
institutions that farmers were indebted to.
The new amendment seeks to
remedy this by stipulating that these institutions be served with a 30-day
notice before the government takes over the farm.
Farmers who had
gained some hope when their eviction orders were ruled invalid by the court
are now likely to see them reissued, leaving them very little time to pack
their bags. Advocacy group Justice for Agriculture claims a seven-day notice
period contradicts provisions in the constitution for reasonable
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick
Chinamasa conceded in parliament that government erred by failing to serve
Section 5 notices on bondholders thereby exposing banks and financial
institution to the tune of $33 billion in unsubmitted claims to the acquiring
Chinamasa said the government would continue to tinker with
the Land Acquisition Act as long farmers continued to go to court to
challenge its various provisions.
He told the Zimbabwe Independent
this week that the changes he made in parliament were meant to hasten the
process. Legal challenges by commercial farmers would be met by further
legislation, he said.
"What you must realise is this is a mammoth
exercise and there are some commercial farmers who may want to frustrate the
process and we have to respond to that," said Chinamasa.
challenges come we will not hesitate to go to parliament and plug the
Justice for Agriculture (JAG) has said it will challenge the
Land Acquisition Bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
chairman David Connolly said the amendments compound the illegal basis of the
"The amendments are clearly designed to plug the
holes which have been exposed by taking matters through courts," Connolly
"Giving a farmer seven days notice to vacate his farm is
unconstitutional. The Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that 'reasonable
notice' must be given to the owner and any other person having an interest in
He said the changes were unreasonable and motivated by
malice. "The backdating of the legislation is itself grossly unreasonable
and constitutionally unsound and because of these reasons we will not delay
in challenging the changes," he said.
The difficulty in implementing
the law has been compounded by Zanu PF's insistence on using the land for
electioneering purposes. As legal practitioner Tawanda Hondora argues in his
analysis of the Broadcasting Services Act, the February 2000 referendum
marked the turning point in the land issue.
"There is merit in the
argument that the referendum dramatically proved that Zanu PF's political
dominance was under siege from a determined civil society," Hondora said.
"Treading in the unfamiliar waters of defeat and sensing that its formally
and seemingly unbreakable dominance was under threat, the government sought
to desperately save face.
"It explained its defeat as having been caused
by whites and unpatriotic black Zimbabweans. A clause in the draft
constitution, which forms part of Section 16 of the current constitution,
provided for the acquisition of commercial farmland, which farmland was
almost exclusively owned by whites," he said.
Analysts argue this
explains why just after the referendum, farm occupations, spearheaded by the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association members, Zanu PF
supporters and masterminded by government intelligence units, began. The list
of invaders now includes youths from the Border Gezi Training Centre and
members of the army.
Hondora also argues that the farm invasions were not
spontaneous as Mugabe and his cohorts claim.
"To further bolster the
theory that the farm invasions were not spontaneous, Zanu PF's campaign
slogan during the referendum and the June 2000 parliamentary elections was:
'Land is the economy and the economy is land'.
these brutal acts against Zimbabwean citizens are well-chronicled, the police
have been exceedingly partial and very insignificant prosecutions have been
initiated, suggesting government connivance," he said.
evident even in Zanu PF's own campaign material titled "Election 2000: The
People's 15 reasons for voting Zanu PF".
"Zanu PF has decided that 20
years is enough to be polite to white farmers and Britain and has now started
taking back your land following the passing of the Constitutional Amendment
(Number 16 Act, 2000) by your parliament," the election material
The government had by now dumped the rule of law and commitments
made in 1998 to the international donor community who had been willing to
sponsor the programme.
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube declared
the whole process an abuse of parliament.
"It is astounding for a
government, which has the land reform programme as its sole project, to
bungle the process and come back to seek leave of this House," Ncube said.
"What the minister is saying is that he wants to overrule the judiciary. In
other words, he is asking us as parliament to take away rights conferred on
aggrieved parties by a court of law."
South Africa will pay the price of
cowardice THE Harare Declaration, agreed by Commonwealth heads of government
in 1991, is unambiguous. "We believe in the liberty of the individual," the
leaders proclaimed, "in equal rights for all citizens regardless of race,
colour, creed, or political belief, and in their inalienable right to
participate by means of free and democratic processes in framing the
societies in which they live."
In Abuja this week, the heads of state
of South Africa and Nigeria betrayed that undertaking and thereby diminished
the Commonwealth as a moral force in world affairs.
Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo, who together with Australian Prime Minister John
Howard make up the so-called troika of "club" leaders tasked at Coolum in
March with deciding the organisation's response to Zimbabwe's flawed
presidential poll, have decided to do nothing about the deteriorating
situation here. Instead they have said they will review the position in six
President Robert Mugabe has thereby bought time to continue
his damaging policies that have not only sabotaged agricultural production
and spawned famine but established a tyranny that violates every single
aspiration contained in the Harare Declaration.
The "liberty of the
individual" has been systematically eroded by draconian security and media
legislation passed this year and by a concerted attack on the judicial
system. "Equal rights for all citizens regardless of race, creed or political
belief" has been undermined by statements by the president himself that
whites are second-class citizens (April 17) and attempts by the
Registrar-General to strip them and second-generation black Zimbabweans of
their citizenship in order to prevent them voting.
right" of Zimbabweans to "participate by means of free and democratic
processes in framing the societies in which they live" has been made a
mockery of by Zanu PF's no-go zones during elections, the role of the police
in preventing opposition rallies, and the closure of voting stations in
opposition strongholds. Opposition supporters have been abducted, tortured
and in some cases murdered in Zimbabwe since 2000. Those responsible for the
killings are still free as are the killers of white farmers.
This is a
society in which only the very brave exercise their constitutional right to
participate in the democratic process. Two opposition MPs elected with large
majorities in 2000 were recently told by Mugabe they had no right to remain
in Zimbabwe except in prison.
Mbeki and Obasanjo, by declining to
exercise the responsibility bestowed on them by other Commonwealth leaders in
Coolum, have in effect turned a blind eye to this record of misgovernance.
They have ignored the legislation passed this year to curb democratic rights.
They have ignored the assault on the judicial system exposed this week by
United Nations special investigator Parum Cumaraswamy. They have ignored the
impunity granted to Mugabe's rogue agents across the country. Above all they
have ignored the suffering imposed on millions of Zimbabweans by Mugabe's
violent and often illegal land seizures.
These problems will now spill
across our frontiers rendering them much less amenable to solutions in six
months time. Botswana's ruling party this week complained about the
consequences of anarchy in Zimbabwe. But the South Africans continue to wring
their hands in helplessness. Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad says he
doesn't like the words "muscular diplomacy".
"It's too macho," he says.
"If somebody explains what this means, other than shouting abuse, then I
myself would be very happy to look at it."
Here it is in terms even he
might understand. It means not glossing over a manifestly stolen presidential
poll in which the opposition was terrorised by state-sponsored militias and
electoral rules were manipulated by the incumbent. It means spelling out
support for the democratic process, freedom of the press and independence of
the judiciary - principles set out in South Africa's so-called ethical
foreign policy and enshrined in its own constitution.
It means not
being afraid of underlining those principles because they might embarrass a
neighbouring tyrant. In other words it involves doing the right thing, not
ducking the issues as Pahad does on the feeble grounds that South Africa has
its own problems.
By failing to bite the bullet of Zimbabwe's misrule,
Mbeki and Obasanjo will now find it more difficult to obtain trade and
investment flows under Nepad. That will demonstrate to them something they
evidently can't grasp: that by providing shelter to a rogue ruler and failing
to even criticise him they could end up sharing his isolation.
NEW African editor Baffour Ankomah has evidently picked up a tip
or two during his recent visit to Zimbabwe when he was hosted by officials of
the Department of Information and ZTV. His editorial in the magazine's
September issue ("Baffour's Beefs") resembles a discursive Mahoso-type
monologue which is littered with racist generalisations and historical
inaccuracies. Lord Lugard, for example, would have had difficulty writing his
Dual Mandate in 1965. If Ankomah is unable to tell a republication from an
original issue he should be doing another job!
But after a rambling
essay which wanders from Lugard to Saddam Hussein, detecting an imperialist
conspiracy at every turn, he ends with the threat: "To be continued next
In other words, despite being an editor, he was unable to match
his copy to the space available! And a little more attention to detail would
not go amiss. It would be useful for instance if he could spell "Brithish"
and "Argentineans" correctly. A map on Page 29 of the September edition of
New African clearly shows the Anglo-American base of Diego Garcia on the
British Indian Ocean Territory of Chagos Archipelago. But New African's
contributor and its caption writers refer to it as the British Indian
Overseas Territory. And the island is at the centre of their story!
"Endtail" article at the back reproduces President Mugabe's speech at Heroes
Acre last month but doesn't say when or where it was delivered.
magazine is in the forefront of portraying Nepad as a conspiracy to undermine
the Pan-Africanist project. It is, of course, a bid to rescue Africa from the
wreckage of that project. The Sunday Times reported this week that African
Union secretary-general Amara Essy is leading rearguard resistance to Nepad.
He heads a cabal of African leaders which includes Robert Mugabe who want to
sabotage the Nepad plan by making it subordinate to the AU political
framework. It is important everybody was brought "inside the boat", Essy told
the South African paper.
But he did not say that some people in Harare
and Windhoek were trying to capsize the boat. President Mbeki and Kofi Annan
are only too aware of that, which is why they are pressing ahead. Mugabe must
not be given a veto over Nepad. He, together with allies like Ankomah,
represent the old Africa of Nkrumah's dreams which ended in economic decay.
It is the Africa we see today in Zimbabwe's desolate
Another Mugabe ally is David Nyekorach-Matsanga who
represents, or is perhaps the full membership of, something called African
Strategy. The opinions he expresses at regular intervals enable the
government press to make claims such as this in the Sunday Mail last weekend:
"The government's position on the proposed meeting tomorrow (of the
Commonwealth troika in Abuja) was supported by many people including African
diplomats, political analysts and officials from respectable international
We are pleased to hear that the Sunday Mail's sources are
now respectable and that the "African diplomat" who has seen service at the
Herald is now speaking to the Sunday Mail from his base at Munhumutapa
Building. But Matsanga is a decidedly dubious analyst. He has told all sorts
of stories about the Commonwealth Observer Mission and its Nigerian leader
which have more to do with partisan persuasion than any kind of professional
research and we have yet to learn how he became an election observer himself
without anybody knowing about it.
We would also like to know where
African Strategy gets its money from. Presumably it publishes its accounts?
Any why is Matsanga based in London? Can we add him to our list of pro-Zanu
PF zealots like Ankomah and the Herald's WT Kanyongo who don't love Africa
enough to live in it?
Muckraker was impressed by Harare Mayor Elias
Mudzuri's robust response to the strike by municipal employees last week
during which they turned off water supplies to high-density
"Such an act of sabotage undertaken at a time when there is a
cholera outbreak in the country, when terminally ill patients in hospitals
and homes need water, and when residents prepare to go to work is totally
unacceptable and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms,"
Water supply falls under essential services in terms of the
Labour Relations Act, he pointed out. He might also have pointed out that the
Harare Municipal Workers Union is a Zanu PF-affiliated union. Its workers
were opposed to the ZCTU stayaway earlier this year but are now
particularly indignant that the mayor won't let them hold meetings during
working hours. This is evidently what they are used to.
Many of these
"workers" are the very same people Mudzuri has been trying to fire because
they were improperly recruited by Zanu PF officials ahead of the March poll.
And Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo is threatening the mayor with
dismissal because he refuses to retain people whose only claim to a job is
their party card.
Now they have shown their true colours by making life
unbearable for city residents. This is how Zanu PF sabotages democratic
governance in Zimbabwe's cities where it was decisively rejected by voters.
Let's note the fifth-column role played by the Municipal Workers Union on
behalf of its political masters and support the mayor in his quest to chop
the dead wood in Harare.
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri says
his health is "very much under control". He was responding to a report in the
Mirror that suggested otherwise. Only "Almighty God" would decide his future,
he said, "not a bunch of speculative, poor rumour-mongers or bar-talk
peddlers in the form of journalists and editors-in-chief".
asked how his big toe was coming along. His feet were injured during the
liberation war, we understand, and Chihuri felt he was entitled to
compensation from the War Victims Compensation Fund as a result. The $138 664
he received was "peanuts" compared to what he went through, he told
the commission appointed to investigate looting of the fund in 1997. The
medical specialists who examined him didn't appreciate the seriousness of
war, he complained.
"I have scars on my back I didn't even claim for,"
he was reported as telling the commission. When a commissioner had the
temerity to ask if this was likely to lead to further claims, Chihuri
objected calling him "disrespectful". Asked what medication he was using, he
said he rubbed vaseline on the injured toe.
Jonathan Moyo claimed that the only people who were not happy with the police
chief were "puppets and criminals".
We can't understand what puppets
would be doing at the Mirror, that paragon of nationalist virtue. Nor did
Moyo explain why the criminals who blew up the Daily News' printing press and
the VOP premises should be unhappy when they remain free. Or a number of
political killers who are still on the loose. Surely they're all very happy?
President Mugabe is so happy he has renewed Chihuri's term for another
Moyo has also been holding forth on the Blackie case. Responding
to criticism of the government's handling of the case, Moyo said South
African Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson's remarks were "prejudicial" and did
not serve the administration of justice in Zimbabwe.
He then ranted
and raved about "whites in South Africa who have links with former Rhodies
and others who may not be white but who are like them".
He didn't say how
many millions of South African voters his gross generalisations were designed
to encompass. But the political science professor did manage to get the date
of the 1922 referendum wrong and his remarks about "intimidating real or
potential criminals" should be used by the defence to show how the outcome of
the case may have already been decided.
As for acts prejudicial to the
administration of justice, we must bear in mind a Herald report last week
that the state had claimed Justice Blackie had a relationship with Tara White
while still on the bench, a claim his defence attorneys say they never heard
the public prosecutor make in court. Nor do they recall hearing the
prosecutor say that the relationship had influenced the judge to
"unilaterally give out a judgement in her favour", as he was quoted as saying
in the Herald.
Attorney-General Andrew Chigovera said he could not
comment as "commenting could prejudice those involved". Which is of course
exactly what the state, with a little help from its media, has already done.
Chaskalson and others concerned with the deteriorating administration of
justice in Zimbabwe have every right to comment on a system that is being
abused and subverted by ministerial demagogues before our very
UN Human Rights investigator Param Cumaraswamy this week described
Blackie's arrest as "yet another clear systematic attack on the basic fabric
of democracy, ie the rule of law". He said there was "reasonable cause"
to believe that the charges against Blackie were "an act of vendetta"
following his conviction of Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa.
judges can be arrested, detained and charged on trumped up facts
for exercising their judicial functions, then there is no hope for the rule
of law in such countries," Cumaraswamy said.
How does that fit into
Moyo's facile theorising? Are the UN and its chief investigator racist
because they haven't been hoodwinked by the charges against Blackie? Why
hasn't Moyo attacked Cumaraswamy for expressing an opinion identical to
Moyo has instead been resorting to weak puns about kangaroo
courts in Abuja and "Howard the coward". The kangaroo courts are, as
Chaskalson and Cumaraswamy suggest, closer to home. And it is Mugabe, not
Howard, who ran away from the Abuja meeting because he couldn't stand the
thought of being criticised by his peers. Howard was all too ready to tackle
Mugabe's dishonest claims. But Mugabe chose to hide behind the excuse of an
unsigned invitation - a story that later turned out to be
Chaskalson, by the way, did not use a newspaper to express his
views, as one ignorant Zanu PF lawyer suggested. He issued a statement that
was picked up by a variety of media.
Fuel supply problems deepen Barnabas
Thondhlana ZIMBABWE has failed to make good a weekly US$9 million payment to
the Libyans resulting in fuel shortages at service stations in urban areas,
it has been established.
Zimbabwe owes the Libyans US$63 million for
fuel delivered since 2001 and the defaulting in debt payments has resulted in
cancellation of the 30-day credit facility. The government has now had to
resort to making US$9 million weekly payments before fuel is released from
The Libyans have continued to pump fuel into the
country albeit into bonded tanks in Mabvuku and business with state oil
company Noczim is over the counter.
"The situation is tight," said
a Noczim official who requested anonymity.
Despite claims by Energy
minister Amos Midzi that Zimbabwe had adequate fuel and that shortages would
not recur, fuel queues have resurfaced in most parts of the capital and
"Midzi is guilty of peddling falsehoods," the
Zimbabwe and Libya two weeks ago renewed a US$360
million fuel deal which will see the North African country continuing with
meeting 70% of Zimbabwe's fuel needs in exchange for stakes in mines, hotels,
fuel tanks and the pipeline and land holdings. The Libyans would also benefit
from barter deals in tea and beef.
President Mugabe signed the
deal with the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi two weeks
However, since the deal was signed, no shipment of fuel has been
made. Stock-outs have become the order of the day as government scurries from
one financial institution to another in search of scarce foreign currency
to make good the promised payment.
Fuel deliveries are only being
made on a haphazard basis asgovernment has resorted to making daily purchases
from the Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait, which has leased Noczim
storage tanks in Msasa. IPG sells the fuel to its clients in the
"The fuel we are using is only delivered after government
pur-chases it for cash from IPG, effectively pushing the country to a
hand-to-mouth position," said another source close to the
Government was earlier this year warned against relying
solely on the Libyans for its fuel needs, with analysts saying this could
compromise the country in the event of failure to meet repayments. Mugabe is
understood to be spearheading the drive to have all other fuel suppliers
excluded in preference for his Libyan ally.
A deal in which two
financial institutions, Royal Bank and NMB Bank, would provide US$180 million
to purchase fuel is in place and is also responsible for the little fuel
"Royal Bank have offered US$30 million and NMB Bank US$150
million to ensure fuel stock-outs would not recur," said the source. "But
their contribution is minuscule when one considers that the country requires
about US$400 million worth of fuel per annum to meet needs. This can only be
achieved if government reverses the Libyan deal and allows more players to
enter the market."
Patel is a policy analyst at the Institute for Food and Development Policy,
also known as Food First, based in Oakland, California. He argues that, if
the United States has a genuine desire to help feed the needy in southern
Africa, supplying genetically modified food aid is not the answer.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently chartered a ship
-- The Liberty Star -- to deliver 36,000 tons of grain to an estimated 13
million starving people in southern Africa.
The Malawi government
accepted the donation and Zimbabwe allowed the grain to be imported, so long
as it was milled.
Mozambique, however, will not let it cross its soil,
and Zambia has decided that it wants nothing to do with it. Why? Because the
United States cannot guarantee that the grain is not genetically modified
This looks like morbid folly, like a dangerous game played with the
lives of starving people for political gain. This is precisely
The U.S. government has been playing this game for well over a
decade; the famine in southern Africa provides merely the latest
An example: ever since the North American Free Trade
Agreement in 1995, the United States has been exporting unlabelled GM crops
Last year, the Mexican Ministry of the Environment found that
farmers' traditional maize in two remote Mexican states, Oaxaca and Puebla,
had been contaminated with DNA from GM corn.
Mexico is the world
centre of maize genetic diversity and home to maize varieties developed by
farmers for millennia. Mexican maize is now unfit for sale in the European
The covert U.S. introduction of GM food into Africa is pernicious,
for four reasons.
First, there is mounting
evidence that GM crops may be unsafe. Researchers working for the British
Food Standards Agency have discovered that, despite cast-iron guarantees from
the food industry, the DNA from GM crops is capable of finding its way into
the human gut.
Without independent research, the unfettered marketing of
this food turns every consumer into a guinea pig.
Second, the covert
introduction of GM food in the Third World also jeopardises the possibility
of an independent non-GM food policy within the EU. If the rest of the world
is already polluted by genetically modified organisms (GMOs), there's not
much that European consumers will be able to do about labelling GMO
They will be able to count on there being GMOs in the food they
eat, whether they like it or not. Historians will find something familiar
here. In the current war over food safety between the European Union and
United States, the proxy wars are being fought, once again, in the Third
The third reason to be worried is that GM aid compromises the
sovereignty of southern African countries.
These countries want safe
and secure access to nutritious food and don't feel that GM crops fit into
this agenda. When India railed against GM food aid, a USAID official
responded "beggars can't be choosers".
A little history, please. The
reason poor countries now find themselves holding a begging bowl is because
of the last gift they accepted from the United State and the EU: structural
These policies promised financial stability, growth
and prosperity. They delivered reduced levels of health, education enrolment
and employment, and increased poverty, inequality and debt -- facts that the
United Nations and even the World Bank are now, reluctantly, beginning to
These adjustment policies demanded a reduction of national grain
stockpiles because, the rhetoric ran, the market would provide.
notion of "saving lives through food aid" rings a little hollow if
we remember this; there were, prior to structural adjustment, ample ways
to feed the people, without relying on GM food.
countries had little choice about becoming beggars, but they can choose what
to do next.
History instructs us here, too. Images similar to those that
accompanied Live Aid are once again on our screens.
But these are not the same starving children. They are southern
African this time, not Ethiopian.
In Ethiopia, despite a strong
U.S.-led push towards commercialised agriculture, alternatives have been
developed in the wake of the famine.
Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher won
the Right Livelihood Award (the alternative Nobel Prize), by showing that it
is possible for Ethiopian agriculture to produce a nutritious and diverse
surplus without the intervention of the agri-chemical and "life science"
That these alternatives are being obscured by the debate over
GM foods is the fourth, and perhaps most invidious, reason to resist U.S.
These alternatives hold great promise for the future, but what about
here and now?
Several options already exist. Governments genuinely
concerned about the welfare of southern Africans should give immediate
monetary aid so that food grown in other parts of the region, or other non-GM
polluted parts of the Third World, can be brought in.
pandemic, which has been immeasurably worsened by the famine, can be quickly
addressed by tearing up the World Trade Organisation's stipulations on
intellectual property rights. So would land reform in the region so that the
hungry might feed themselves.
There is a gamut of people-centred policies
that might be supported in the region. Yet we hear nothing of them from the
This is why, for many Africans, the deliveries from the
Liberty Star are comparable to those deliveries meted out in Afghanistan
(when U.S. military aircraft dropped aid packages during the bombing campaign
against the Taliban).
Both are ordnances of a kind. No good can come
Saluting the government, Libyan
brothers Sandawana IS the fuel price going to go up any time soon? There
is little justification for this on government's part since oil prices have
been relatively static, aside from the recent Iraq-induced price spike to
a two-year high, and to a level when fuel prices were last
And we get our fuel at $150:US$1, mostly from the Libyans. The
government should be whole-heartedly commended on the deal since it makes
excellent economic sense for us as a nation. We get cheap fuel - probably the
cheapest in the world for a poor country at 10 US cents a litre - and that
includes excise duty!
It helps offset the crippling cost of
living, but does not seem to have had any real dampening effect on inflation.
It must be tempting for government to hike the fuel price, as it is
undeniably the quickest way of raising revenue. Of course the problem is that
this would not be "new farmer-friendly" and would push even official
inflation over 200% within a couple of months.
be commended for resisting the temptation to screw hard-pressed Zimbabweans
for more. But, with its skewed economics, there are bigger problems looming.
There are rising Zimkwacha costs at Noczim, and where are we with its debt?
What about how much fuel being smuggled to Zambia and Mozambique? And can
current prices sustain repayments to our Libyan brothers? At the moment, all
we've given them is a bit of CBZ and RTG, and there is much talk about
agricultural land with no commercial value. Realistically, we do not have the
assets in this country to leverage this deal. Sandawana doubts we use the
much quoted US$40 million a month on fuel or US$480 million a year, since
that same figure has been banded around since about 1984.
vehicle fleet has more than doubled on the roads over the past decade, and so
too, one would be led to believe, has the fuel bill. It's probably somewhere
around US$1 billion a year - money we would be unable to find in our current
state. To put things in perspective, even if government was to buy the US$12
million National Investment Trust stake in Zimplats for the Libyans, it would
amount to somewhere between four-to-eight days of fuel! And that's about the
best we have to offer. Talk that the parallel market rate is back on the move
(apparently it's in the $720-$800 range), means that the fuel here is
probably going to be cheaper still, which you can see one of two
THZ's last results
THZ released its last set of results
ahead of its break-up into three divisions. The results were above
expectations, but there is already a lot of money in THZ ahead of the
break-up and any further upside in the share price is limited until the
release of details of the demerger. Still, Sandawana makes the point again
that this is a most successful company in terms of stockmarket performance
over the past three years, gaining an astronomical 6 000% and if recent
demergers - eg Delta, TZI - are anything to go by, the break-up will see
further value being unlocked. At divisional level, all three units seem to be
roaring along. Sandawana had suspected that THZ might demerge into four units
- Turnall, Steel, Hastt, and Rubber Products, but he understands that it will
now just be the three current operating divisions. Hastt, it appears, has got
a bit more competition from the second-hand farming equipment market, but the
option does remain further down the line to demerge it from the Steel
No real mystery
The Herald said on Tuesday that
investors were "baffled" as to why the stockmarket was tracking sideways, and
then quoted Kingdom analyst Patrick Saziwa hinting as to why this might be
the case. The upcoming Agribond. Rumours have been circulating in the market
that this will be a 15-year issue with a 35% yield that pension funds and
insurance companies will be required to subscribe to. But more worrying is
the story doing the rounds that government is going to hike the prescribed
asset ratio to 55% from the current 45%. The Independent sought clarification
from the Registrar of Pensions, but was told that an answer would only be
given next week. An expected increase has alarmed the funds, which are
already press-ganged into having nearly half their assets into bonds with
The market has tapered off as money has apparently
come out of shares into two-year TBs. This is so the funds can get up the
prescribed asset ratio as they fear having to take up what looks to be a junk
Obviously, increasing the ratio to this level has very real
concerns for the market, but it is also worrying that pensioners have to pay
for the government's agriculture adventure as do the over-taxed working
population with higher premiums so that insurance companies can make up for
the negative returns from investments.
Has business sold out to government? It's no secret where
their sympathies lay six months ago, but it appears there is a flurry of
support to help the new farmers. Delta has weighed in, as has CFI and Seed Co
is expected to come up with a similar input/financing scheme shortly.
Government has trumpeted these moves on the front page of the Herald, which
has no doubt got these companies some good PR for something they have been
doing for years. Is this a good thing? If Sandawana is to wear his
shareholder's hat for these companies, he has to say that the new "tough
love" affair with government is probably, if not the only, way
Agro-industrial companies are going to struggle next year to
find adequate grains and cereals for operations and the best way to ensure
production is to cosy up to the supplier. Or, perhaps in this case, the
facilitator of supply.
There is no choice really. The market is going
through a flat spot at the moment, but it would be unfair to punish companies
for being collaborators as they are, at the end of it all, trying to act in
the best interest of their shareholders. As the ever-energetic and affable
Mutumwa Mawere said at the launch of the CFI project, government is an
important part of the partnership and must fulfil their side of the deal. And
while business has a duty to support the new farmers, it is not the
The real Independence
"This is the real
1980. This year has been more like the 1980 we expected," one white captain
of industry told Sandawana this week. "There has been more active
entrepreneurial black empowerment in the past six months than in the 22 years
post-Independence," he said. Yes, those really white businesses must really
feel under siege at the moment. Few can choose to ignore the
There was some change to corporate Zimbabwe after
Independence, but it was mostly using a small pool of black professionals and
much of it was cosmetic. The sustained "bad whites" government campaign over
the past few years has awoken the white brethren to a black anger they never
thought was there.
To some, it has imparted a new white
consciousness, to others, it has made them increasingly bitter, while many
have chosen to leave the country instead. But contrary to the propaganda,
there isn't that much left in the hands of the "white"
Pension funds own 80% of the stockmarket, and the majority of
beneficiaries are indigenous. The general idea appeared to be that after
agriculture, mining was next. But there is not much there (at least among the
listed counters) because the real plum, Bindura Nickel, was largely placed
into black hands in a pre-emptive deal orchestrated by a leading
black empowerment proponent a few years back, and it wasn't Sandawana.
GTZ bails out Blessing Zulu THE German Agency for
Technical Co-operation in Zimbabwe (GTZ) has bailed out of the country
without completing major projects due to the prevailing political situation,
the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt. It has relocated to South
"We normally complete projects we were implementing but in this
case we are going to abandon all of them," said a source at the German
embassy in Harare.
"This is not in line with established tradition
but because of the prevailing political situation in Zimbabwe, we had to
GTZ is a government-sponsored body with worldwide
operations responsible for international co-operation. It works with more
than 130 partner countries and supports 2 700 development projects and
programmes, chiefly under commissions from the German
"GTZ's aim is to improve the living conditions of the
people in developing and transitional countries," said the embassy
GTZ has been involved in both technical and financial co-operation
between the governments of Zimbabwe and Germany.
"There was no
more use in having an office in Zimbabwe because there is no more
government-to-government co-operation between the two countries and we are
thus moving to Pretoria," said the source.
Projects that were being
funded by GTZ include: post-graduate training in agriculture, forestry, and
GTZ was involved in projects such as soil
erosion control, indigenous resource management and irrigation programmes in
The hardest hit projects will be the wildlife
conservation projects as most other donors have already pulled out citing
political problems in the country.
"The GTZ was very much involved in
the International Rhino Foundation, assisting in the acquisition of a
helicopter and operating staff. The helicopter was used to create Intensive
Protection Zones that have proved crucial to the Zimbabwe rhino conservation
strategy and anti-poaching activities," said the source.
supported the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources -
ANC attacks Tsvangirai Own Correspondent THE
African National Congress of South Africa has attacked opposition Movement
for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai for his claim that the South
African government was dictatorial and would soon play the race card to cover
its policy failures.
ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama in a question and
answer session with the Mail & Guardian published today dismissed
Tsvangirai's statement as desperate.
Ngonyama was responding to
assertions by Tsvangirai in an interview with the M&G last
"Tsvangirai's comments are those of a desperate person out to
prove a point to his masters," said Ngonyama.
"He makes a big
mistake by breaking bridges with parties he should be working with if he is
genuine about finding solutions in Zimbabwe.
"It is not up to
President Mbeki or (Nigerian President Olusegun) Obasanjo to legitimise
Mugabe. It is the people of Zimbabwe who legitimise Mugabe through the ballot
box," he said.
Ngonyama said Tsvangirai liked labelling African
leaders dictators without expanding on his understanding of a dictator. "It
seems a dictator is a person he disagrees with.
"He would label
anybody who agrees with him a democrat - even a former oppressor. Tsvangirai
always projects himself as some kind of a
On Tsvangirai's assertion that Zimbabweans did not want the
unity government which Mbeki and Obasanjo were pushing Ngonyama said
Zimbabweans must decide that.
"He cannot speak for the people
without consulting them. The only reason we pulled out of negotiations with
the MDC and Zanu-PF on a unity government was because of the court case
against Morgan - not because the people were against the idea," he said. -
Blue Train mulls cancellation of Zim route Staff
writer THE world-renowned Blue Train is mulling cancellation of its Victoria
Falls route scuttling efforts to revive the ailing tourism
This comes amid allegations that Zimbabwe has hiked haulage
tariffs by US$3 400, an increase of 30%, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this
According to the August issue of the Travel Industry Review of
Southern Africa, Blue Train executive manager Ntahli Borotho said haulage
costs in Zimbabwe were now 230% more than in Botswana.
that Zimbabwe was demanding more to maintain the tracks.
asked the National Railways of Zimbabwe to bill us in rands or Zimbabwean
dollars, but negotiations have been unsuccessful," Borotho said, adding it
was becoming uneconomic to run the route.
Double occupancy rates
listed for 2003 have already increased by almost R6 000 to R23 241 for the
two-night, two-day trip.
Borotho said 2003 schedules were being
prepared in the hope that a solution might be found after she approached
Zimbabwe's Ministry of Transport and Communications last month to intervene
in the matter.
Indications were that the haulage tariffs could
decrease in December for the beauty pageant at Victoria Falls, but assurances
were needed that rate cuts would be permanent.
Barotho said the
company would like to continue the route amid fears that the Zimbabwean
industry and ground handlers would be the ones to feel
"The cancellation will have a major ripple effect and
we are sad that we find ourselves in a position where we can't support them,"
"It's going to take a lot of effort to market the route in
future, because conditions have become so unpredictable. Chances are slim
that it will be on our network next year."
The Blue Train ferries
wealthy foreign tourists into the country. It is a subsidiary of
The cancellation of the train will further impact
negatively on the tourism industry, which has been on a slump since the
violent seizures of commercial farms in 2000. Earnings dropped from $6
billion in 1999 to $2 billion in 2000.
Events like the solar
eclipse last year did not attract the much-needed revenue as tourists
preferred to watch it from Zambia.
The Independent reported last year
that over 20 000 tourists had booked into Zambian hotels for the eclipse, a
figure thought to be four times bigger than those hosted by Zimbabwe. Zambia
also got the nod ahead of Zimbabwe by Eclipse Safari, a prestigious and
high-profile tour group which had originally intended to book in
C'wealth NGO slams Zim local elections Blessing
Zulu THE Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has called on
the international community to reject the forthcoming council elections
CHRI is an independent, non-partisan, international
non-governmental organisation, mandated to ensure the realisation of human
rights in the Commonwealth.
In a strongly-worded statement, CHRI
spokesperson Maja Daruwala said action must be taken on the abuse of human
rights in Zimbabwe.
"If we in the international community do not
express our great concern at the violations of fundamental human rights in
Zimbabwe, we are as culpable as the draconian regime currently inflicting
such suffering on the people of Zimbabwe," she said.
She said the
political environment was not conducive for the holding of free and fair
"The Zimbabwe government's repressive campaign against the
opposition parties in the country has been too profound and too pervasive to
allow for free and fair elections," she said.
"Human rights abuses
have included incidents of violent repression, manipulation of registration
requirements and prevention of the exercise of political rights by opposition
"Legitimacy cannot be attained through violence
and electoral manipulation," said Daruwala. "The human rights of the people
of Zimbabwe must be respected."
She said if the international
community did not act the problems experienced during the controversial
presidential election would recur.
"History will repeat itself if
there is no cry of outrage from the international community. On March 9/11
2002, the presidential election was held in Zimbabwe amid a climate of
instigated fear, allegations of lack of adequate polling stations, a heavy
presence of Zanu PF militias and secret state agents from the Central
Intelligence Organisation, but voters were still determined to exercise their
right to vote," Daruwala said.
"Local and international election
observers agreed with the Zimbabwean opposition that the presidential
election was neither free nor fair."
She said the situation in the
country had not changed.
"Nothing in the political climate in
Zimbabwe has changed since this election to indicate more respect for human
rights and more open and fair contest for the councillors' seats," she
"To the contrary, the decline of Zimbabwe's economy and
political instability has rapidly increased, resulting in a disincentive for
foreign investment, creation of a refugee crisis, and general reduction of
trade in the region. The emerging food shortage, created largely by the
government's policies and actions, continues to daily threaten the lives and
well-being of Zimbabweans," Daruwala said.
The opposition Movement
for Democratic Change is challenging both the presidential and the council
elections. The presidential election is being challenged on the grounds it
was neither free nor fair and, in the forthcoming council elections the party
is alleging that its members were barred from registering by members of the
ruling Zanu PF party
Zim GDP to decline further Staff Writer ZIMBABWE'S
gross domestic product (GDP) will decline for three years in a row with a
projected minus 10,6% for this year, the International Monetary Fund has
In its latest report - World Economic Outlook - released this week,
the IMF anticipates that Zimbabwe's GDP will next year fell by minus 2,8%. In
2001 GDP declined by minus 8%.
Despite Zimbabwe's economic
shrinkage, neighbouring states are expanding. South Africa's economy is
expected to grow by 6,3%. South Africa used to be Zimbabwe's biggest
competitor and trading partner in the region.
Mozambique, which has
since overtaken Zimbabwe as South Africa's largest trading partner, is
expected to see its economy grow by 5,6%.
In the report, the IMF said
fiscal indiscipline had led to an expanded money supply growth in certain
parts of the continent, including Zimbabwe.
remain a serious concern, in particular in Angola, Nigeria, Zambia and
Zimbabwe, generally reflecting excessive fiscal expansion accompanied by
rapid money supply growth," the IMF report said. The report says Africa
continues to face a wide range of political and economic problems. Civil
unrest, political instability and armed conflicts still threaten
macro-economic stability and long-term growth prospects across the continent,
including a reduction of life expectancy in Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Soldiers put on high alert Augustine Mukaro AS
official paranoia about a British invasion of Zimbabwe increases, government
has deployed heavily armed soldiers and police to guard all airstrips
throughout the country, it has emerged.
Sources said uniformed forces
have been deployed to guard all strategic points including airstrips, border
posts and other security points such as fuel storage tanks and the Zimbabwe
The high alert was prompted by the presence
of British troops doing routine military exercises in South Africa. Press
reports that the troops were planning an invasion were dismissed by the
British government which said the military exercises were normal training
The Independent heard this week that the government had
cancelled all leave for the uniformed forces until the end of the
"All military establishments have been put on high alert ahead
of the alleged possible invasion. Police have actually intensified
road-blocks currently being manned by armed riot-police and the army,"
On his return from the Earth Summit earlier this month,
President Mugabe told his supporters at Harare International Airport that
some farmers had "been going to Britain and asking Britain to impose
sanctions on us, asking Britain to send troops to Zimbabwe; sanctions so that
they can operate as a deterrent on us and operate in their favour, troops so
Britain can overthrow our government and put in place a government deriving
The government also believes that the opposition MDC is
trying to smuggle food into the country through airstrips. The government has
already confiscated food aid imported by the MDC.
Forces spokesman Squadron Leader Colonel Mukotekwa said he was not aware of
any such deployments.
"The military authorities are not aware of any
deployment at airstrips, neither are the authorities aware of military
establishments on high alert," Mukotekwa said.
"Having said that,
it is not the tradition of the military to discuss military deployments or
manoeuvres with the public press."
Sources at remote mining centres,
farms and ranch airstrips confirmed to the Independent this week that
soldiers were camped at the airstrips and no explanation had been given in
regard to their presence.
Recently technical representatives of a
major South African mining house were confronted by several armed soldiers
and a policeman as they disembarked from a small plane at a private
The police insisted on searching the plane before anyone
disembarked saying they were looking for smuggled.
THE government's Department of Information and Publicity which
masterminded a whirlwind propaganda drive on behalf of President Mugabe at
the recent Earth Summit in Johannesburg is now involved in a wider plan to
target British Prime Minister Tony Blair. It emerged this week that the
department was sponsoring a London-based organisation called Africa Strategy
to mobilise Zimbabweans and other migrants from Africa to petition Blair in
support of President Mugabe. Led by former spokesmanfor the Ugandan terrorist
move-ment, the Lord's Resistance Army David Nyekorach-Matsanga, Africa
Strategy will today mobilise people to demonstrate and present a petition at
Blair's official residence, Number 10 Downing Street, in support of
Mugabe. This will follow a two-day conference which began yesterday at
Addington Palace in Croydon near London aimed at marketing Mugabe's current
land revolution. The conference, called "Why Zimbabwe Matters: The Truth
About The Land Distribution Programme", has been organised to appear like a
civic initiative. But information at hand shows that the Department of
Information and Publicity in the Office of the President has been involved in
organising the event which is designed to endorse Mugabe's anti-imperialist
stance. Included in the conference line-up are George Shire, who is based at
the Open University at Milton Keynes and appears frequently on
British television to defend Mugabe's policies, Chinondidyachii Mararike of
Devira Mhere who is based in Birmingham, Zimbabwe High Commissioner
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, and academics Dan Nabudere of the Centre for
Conflict Resolution in Uganda and Dr JA Obita. Representatives of Zimbabwe
farmers' unions have also been invited. Speaking from Zimbabwe by
satellite link today will be Agriculture minister Joseph Made, Parliamentary
Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa and officials from Foreign Affairs, the Department
of Information and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. The organisers promise
that there will be "many other speakers" from Europe, Africa and North
America. British MPs will attend as observers, they say. "Zimbabwe is part of
us and we can't allow wrong British foreign policy to spoil this nation,"
Matsanga wrote to Africa Strategy members recently. "This is the chance for
the government of Zimbabwe and those who support President Mugabe to drive
their message home." Also on the mailing list of Africa Strategy are
Information minister Jonathan Moyo, permanent secretary George Charamba, and
ZBC's Supa Mandiwanzira. Mandiwanzira said he had not been invited to
participate but met Matsanga when he was an election observer this
year. Mararike was due to speak yesterday as was Mumbengegwi and Shire. A
"youth representative" from Zimbabwe was also due to speak. Delegates to
the conference were asked to pay ú40 per person to cover the costs of
the conference into an account at the Alliance & Leicester bank, 10
Westow Street, Crystal Palace. Matsanga said in a release publicising the
event that the conference will discuss Zimbabwe's victimisation by
international donor organisations such as the International Monetary
Fund. "Africa Strategy has evidence that a country is targeted for
leadership change or for a change in the behaviour of its current
leadership," Matsanga told members. "The victim country is broken, either
through pressures applied primarily from the Western foreign aid donor and
IMF embargoes combined with diplomatic pressure and isolation." A British
High Commission spokesman said the UK government was aware of the meeting and
that anybody in Britain was free to express their views.
Govt keeps parliament in abeyance Vincent
Kahiya THE Parliament of Zimbabwe has only sat nine times in the last eight
months raising fears that the executive is sidelining the
Observers this week said the executive had become
increasingly sensitive to criticism and scrutiny hence the need to emasculate
parliament by limiting the number of sittings which ultimately mean fewer
Parliament was only being convened to pass the Zanu PF
government's legislation and not debate issues of national importance, they
Parliament adjourned on Wednesday last week after passing the
Land Acquisition Amendment Bill and is scheduled to reconvene on October
It adjourned on January 31 after passing the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Bill (later Aippa) on January 31. It met again on
May 7 and 8 to pass the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill which regularised
the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act invoked last year to enable
the government to proceed with its land reform programme.
House met on July 23 for the opening of parliament by President Robert Mugabe
and the sitting continued on July 25 and 30.
The House met again on
September 10 and 11 to debate the president's speech and then on September 17
and 18 to debate and pass the Land Acquisition Act Amendment
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change secretary for legal
affairs, David Coltart, yesterday said it had become obvious that there was
an attempt to undermine parliament by adjourning for as long as
"Since the enactment of the Public Order and Security Act,
we have had a number of meetings cancelled and in the few that we have had,
we had to be very careful what we said," said Coltart.
gave us the opportunity and immunity to speak freely and expose these guys
without fear of being prosecuted.
"What we are seeing is a further
cutback on the democratic space. They just hate it every time we go to
parliament and embarrass them," said Coltart.
Observers said despite
parliamentary reforms effected in the past two years, which were meant to
make parliament a more effective institution, the fourth session of
parliament - notwithstanding the presence of a strong opposition - had failed
to make the executive accountable.
Political scientist Professor
Masipula Sithole said the current parliament had only been effective in
passing draconian legislation like the Public Order and Security Act (Posa)
"There is nothing progressive about our parliament," said
"It is only effective in passing draconian legislation - I
have in mind Posa and Aippa. There is need for constitutional change to make
the president accountable to parliament for every major thing he does," he
Observers said parliament had failed to make ministers
accountable especially during the question and answer
"Ministers rarely give complete answers and they have been
allowed to get away with murder," said an analyst involved in parliamentary
Govt moves to limit contempt-of-court cases against
it Staff writer THE government plans to amend the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act to prevent the courts from instituting contempt of court charges
against anyone who makes contemptuous comments outside the courts, unless
given express authority to proceed by the Attorney-General.
amendment, which will come before parliament next month under the General
Laws Amendment Bill (No2), will limit the powers of the courts to institute
contempt of court proceedings. A court will only be able to proceed with such
charges on its own motion if the contemptuous act is performed within a court
or when enforcing an order of a court.
The proposed amendment has
raised eyebrows as it comes hard on the heels of the contempt of court charge
against Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Information and Publicity
permanent secretary George Charamba.
Chinamasa was charged with
contempt for criticising the sentences slapped on three Americans accused of
sabotage, while Charamba's charge stemmed from his criticism of a court order
barring the police from attending Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions'
Legal experts said the proposed legislation was open to
abuse as it gave the AG the prerogative to prosecute or not. They said the
selective application of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act and the Public Order and Security Act bolstered the view that the law was
open to abuse.
"The likely scenario if that Bill is passed into law
is that the government would be able to attack the courts for unpopular
judgements with impunity and not be censured but would be quick to press
charges on those who criticise pro-government rulings," said one lawyer who
requested anonymity. - Staff Writer.
has handed over 47% of estate HARARE The Oppenheimer family has agreed to
hand over to Zimbabwe a further 30000ha of its Debshan Estate, leaving it
with just more than half of the farm, said the Herald, citing Vice- President
The Oppenheimers, SA's richest family, also gave Z10m to
help new farmers to settle on the vacated land.
The family of De Beers
chairman Nicky Oppenheimer had now given the government 65000ha, or 47% of
the cattle ranch in the south of the country, the Herald reported.
appreciate and are willing to negotiate with people like Debshan who
are willing to live side by side with the new farmers," Msika said at a rally
on the ranch.
The donation comes after Zimbabwe's government ordered
2900 white commercial farmers to leave their farms without paying them
The official Herald newspaper reported yesterday that
Zimbabwe would not host a special panel of jurists to investigate the
country's judicial independence as long as it had Britons on it.
someone is coming from the UK, the answer is no' because they have already
made up their mind about us," said Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa. "We
will only entertain people with an open mind," he said.
On Monday the
International Commission of Jurists accused the Zimbabwe government of
obstructing a visit by one of its factfinding teams despite having been
"The government's opposition to any outside scrutiny is
a serious blow to the rule of law in Zimbabwe," it said.
development in Zimbabwe, a journalist who wrote an article this month
claiming the country's police chief was unwell had been sentenced to three
months in jail under the Police Act, his lawyer said.
On September 9
Tawanda Majoni wrote an article in the Daily Mirror newspaper, alleging
police commissioner Augustine Chihuri was unhealthy and unfit for duty. The
article was immediately dismissed as untrue. Sapa-AFP
Sep 27 2002
12:00:00:000AMá Business Day 1st Edition
Minister still quiet about Zim crisis LOUIS TRICHARDT - While
South African troops are deployed at high cost in foreign countries like
Burundi, a desperate situation is developing on the border between South
Africa and Zimbabwe, as a direct result of the absence of the South African
This criticism was contained in an urgent letter
addressed to the Minister of Defence, Mr Patrick Lekota, by the Soutpansberg
District Agricultural Union (DAU) and faxed through to him last
The letter, which was at first returned to the Agricultural Union
by the Minister's Office, because it was written in Afrikaans, was then
duly translated into English for the Minister. Although it was marked as
urgent, no reply has as yet been received.
The Soutpansberg DAU
requested the minister in the letter for his urgent attention for the
situation developing along the country's Northern border. The DAU also
offered the Minister assistance in handling the crisis on an organised
The DAU called the minister's attention to the fact that literally
thousands of the victims of the man made catastrophe in Zimbabwe are
streaming southwards across the border.
"They are pouring across the
border, across us and across our possessions. These people are hungry and
desperate and the whole situation places artificial pressure on the local
Asked about the response from the Minister, a
spokesperson for the DAU said this week that no reply or reaction has been
received on their urgent request to address the crisis on the
The spokesperson said the fact that millions of rands are
available for foreign adventures, while the local defence spending is
drastically curbed, would seem to suggest an unbelievably short sighted,
na´ve and irresponsible approach.
"Nobody can expect of us to be
satisfied with a situation which we experience as a totally unrealistic
prioritisation of the country's security needs."
The spokesperson said
the dangerous vacuum created by the obvious absence of a sufficient SANDF
presence on the border, is drastically increasing the burden on the
agricultural community to take control of its own safety and security in
addition to its primary task of producing food for the country.
The food crisis in six sub-Saharan
countries, which had put up to 14-million people at risk, was worsening
faster than predicted.
The crisis would therefore be high on the agenda
of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit, Deputy Foreign
Minister Aziz Pahad said yesterday.
Pahad's statement comes against
the backdrop of the massive food aid needed in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi,
where millions face starvation.
Some estimates have suggested that tons
of food should already be moving into those countries if a difference is to
be made to the most vulnerable.
There have also been dire predictions of
the explosive combination of starvation and HIV/AIDS claiming many
Pahad said the combination of hunger and HIV/AIDS, which made
people more vulnerable, was one of the main reasons for the rapid
deterioration in the situation across the region.
The summit, which
begins today in Luanda, Angola with a meeting of officials, to be followed by
a meeting of ministers and later next week by heads of state, would also
discuss a "deeper" plan to create food security in the region, Pahad
It would also formulate a response to the current
Pahad said it was estimated that $505m in food aid was needed to
address the crisis. Donor countries had already pledged 36% of this amount
and the World Food Programme was confident of securing a further 30%, leaving
34% still outstanding.
He said it was hoped that further negotiations
and discussions with donor countries such as the US, Japan and the European
Union would make up the shortage.
Pahad said he did not believe donors
would allow President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF to give food aid to only
his political supporters.
The general principle was that food aid was
distributed through nongovernmental organisations, and as far as he was
concerned this also applied to Zimbabwe.
In spite of a new election
crisis in Zimbabwe and the deepening food crisis, Zimbabwe is not on the
agenda for the summit.
Pahad said this was the official agenda produced
by the SADC secretariat and did not discount heads of state calling for a
report on the situation in the country, or discussing it in a closed
The summit will also discuss the restructuring of SADC
institutions, developments in the African Union and the New Partnership for
Meeting of the Commonwealth Chairpersons'on Zimbabwe
News and Information Service (London)
September 26, 2002 Posted to the
web September 26, 2002
Zimbabwe Mid-Term Review
Commonwealth Chairpersons' Committee on Zimbabwe, consisting of the Prime
Minister of Australia, Rt Hon John Howard, the President of Nigeria, HE Chief
Olusegun Obasanjo, and the President of South Africa, HE Mr Thabo Mbeki, met
in Abuja, Nigeria, on 23 September 2002, to discuss the situation in
Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Don
McKinnon, participated in the discussions.
Following a review of
recent political developments in Zimbabwe, the Committee recalled that in
their Marlborough House Statement of 19 March 2002, they had mandated the
President of Nigeria and the President of South Africa to continue to
actively promote the process of reconciliation in Zimbabwe and to appoint
special representatives to remain engaged with all the parties concerned
towards this end. The Committee had also mandated the Commonwealth
Secretary-General to engage with the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that
the specific recommendations from the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) to
the March Presidential elections were respected and to remain actively
engaged with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in promoting
transparent, equitable and sustainable measures of land reform
The Committee deeply regretted that the process of
reconciliation facilitated by the Special Envoys of the President of Nigeria
and the President of South Africa had stalled. The Secretary-General reported
that as a consequence, the level of suspicion, division and hostility between
the various parties in Zimbabwe has increased considerably in recent months
and that reports of harassment of the political opposition, the press
and sections of the judiciary continued.
The Committee was
disappointed to note that despite repeated efforts, including in
collaboration with regional Commonwealth Heads of Government, the
Commonwealth Secretary-General had been unable to establish a dialogue with
the Government of Zimbabwe in fulfilment of his mandates.
was also deeply disappointed that the President of Zimbabwe had not taken up
their invitation to come to Abuja to dialogue with them.
also called on the Government of Zimbabwe to engage with the Commonwealth
Secretary-General at an early opportunity on the basis of the mandates given
Whilst all members of the 'Troika' strongly believe that efforts
to engage the Government of Zimbabwe should continue, one member, Australia,
supported the full suspension of Zimbabwe with immediate effect whilst the
other members wish to see how Zimbabwe responds to the Marlborough House
Statement over the next six months as foreshadowed in that Statement, at
which point stronger measures might need to be considered.
Reporter PEOPLE who are hoarding basic goods and selling them above the
stipulated Government prices are "saboteurs and enemies of the State", the
Minister of Home Affairs, Cde Kembo Mohadi, said yesterday.
minister also accused the local private media of peddling "lies and senseless
propaganda" about the country's political leadership.
Cde Mohadi said
unscrupulous business people were compounding problems in the country by
hoarding basic commodities which they later sold above stipulated
This was resulting in artificial shortages causing suffering to
"The Government shall not stand aside and watch these acts of
sabotage bent on fomenting discontent among the populace," warned Cde
The minister was addressing 106 graduating police officers at the
Morris Depot in Harare.
He said while a flourishing print media was
applauded, some journalists from the so-called independent Press had to be
condemned for deliberately targeting personal lives of high-ranking
They are distorting facts to suit the dictates of
their colonial masters, he added.
"This practice of hate campaign is
irrational, diabolic and unacceptable in a democratic society where rights of
individuals deserve the same protection as those of these social miscreants,"
Cde Mohadi said.
"The propensity to project a dark picture of the country
by the private media to the international community can be no worse abuse of
freedom of expression than what they seek to purport."
He told the
graduating officers that the bitterness of colonial rule and subsequent
sacrifices made by Zimbabweans to dislodge the oppressors should find meaning
in the country's security institutions.
Although the black majority was
now in control of the instruments of governance, said the minister, the
challenge lay in complete emancipation.
"Sovereignty will remain hollow,
nominal, marginal and indeed meaningless until and unless our people have
access to a piece of land in their country of birth.
"The land, when
required, shall continue to come in significant quantities as the Government
endeavours to inject value and content in our independence, sovereignty and
He said the historical, social, political and
economic order crafted by colonialism and heavily skewed in favour of
sectional white interests had to be redressed.
"The land, which is the
backbone of the economy and the means to achieving sustainable economic
development, must be availed to its rightful owners who are the majority
black people of this country."
The graduating officers, who included 22
women, were integrated into the regular police force from the constabulary
Their graduation comes barely a week after Zimbabwe successfully
hosted the seventh annual general meeting of the Southern African Regional
Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation.
Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri and Cde Mohadi assumed chairmanship of the influential body at the
Cde Mohadi said that their bestowal was a realisation of the
"impeccable" leadership qualities and competences exhibited by the incumbents
in the discharge of duty.
Nineteen resolutions were adopted by the
police chiefs and ratified by the council of ministers from the African
"These resolutions must inevitably translate into proficient
policing of the region."
A code of conduct for police officers in the
region was adopted during the meeting which, among other things, emphasises
respect of human life and property rights.
Cde Mohadi urged the
graduands to remain patriotic, resolute and determined in ensuring that
subtle, imperceptible and sublime forms of imperialism and colonialism do not
undermine the aspirations of Zimbabweans.
"The upsurge of terrorism the
world over has heralded the need for pro-active strategies of combating it in
the Southern Africa sub-region."
He said the proposed establishment of an
anti-terrorism centre in Harare was a welcome development in a society which
had witnessed "ugly scenes of terrorism since the commencement of our land
reforms in 2000".
The Zimbabwe police was commended for spreading the
tentacles of peace and justice to flash points around the globe.
local force has been engaged on tours of duty in Angola, Somalia, Kosovo,
and Sierra Leone.
The current economic problems
bedevilling the country together with the devastating effects of drought, he
said, are only transitory.
"The nation is set to enjoy the full value of
the current agrarian revolution," the minister said.