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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mbeki's African dream
Donwald Pressly
Published: 06-SEP-05

Cape Town - The riddle over SA's proposed loan to bail Zimbabwe out of trouble with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become a mirror of the personality of President Thabo Mbeki.

The outward image is not what is going on within or behind the obvious scenes.

There is little doubt President Mbeki - now six years into his 10-year presidency - wants Africa to succeed. Indeed, he has developed the unfortunate image of being more on his aircraft visiting other states than he is at home. A glance at his international flight schedule - recently provided to parliament - is testament to this.

But Mbeki - and his staff - are acutely aware that Africa has not and does not enjoy a positive image in the world. Mbeki's speeches to parliament have referred to the dictatorships of Africa.

He recently spoke grimly at a conference of African academics of meeting a minister of an unnamed African country who gave his address card to him. The address was one in France.

Mbeki may not have the spin-doctoring support team to make his image look good. He simply does not have the Peter Mandelsohns or the Alastair Campbells that British Prime Minister Tony Blair has had.

If anything his advisers are not publicly known - and certainly have not succeeded in overcoming the image of a remote - even enigmatic figure - that Mbeki has increasingly become.

But Mbeki is a key player - perhaps indeed, the player - in the vision that the 21st century is the African century. It is he who has driven this vision. Mbeki has focused the attention on the continent where the new renaissance will occur.

He desperately wants black Africa to succeed - and he knows that even if SA succeeds in achieving 6% economic growth and cuts unemployment significantly in the years ahead, he also knows that SA will not gain what it deserves unless the bulk of Africa succeeds.

The urban legend that Americans can't tell the difference between a Nigerian and a South African because they are all part of a dark continent holds more than a measure of truth, and President Mbeki knows this very well.

Therefore countries like Zimbabwe - now effectively the polecat of Africa - have to succeed as well.

Mbeki has clearly not got the perceptions right about South Africa's stance towards that renegade - and increasingly failed - state. But the perception that he is doing nothing about Zimbabwe is wrong.

It is clear from a little scratching below the surface of the Mbeki mirror image - that he, indeed, wants to do something about that country.

For example, he has met church leaders from SA who want to assist in resolving the President Robert Mugabe-created humanitarian crisis. It is no accident that the Bishop Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, points to divisions in his own church about the way it views the evil regime that is Mugabe's.

Not even the church can stand united in protest against Mugabe's actions which have uprooted hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and jobs.

Mugabe 'the problem'

Mbeki knows full well that Mugabe is a problem. The difficulty is that the Western world - and the largely white official opposition in SA - see him doing little about it. He talks of the need for land reform in Zimbabwe.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has also referred to SA's need to take a cue from the Zimbabwean land reform process. But she has, more or less, retracted what she said.

But their public stances have not gone down well with the minorities in South Africa and investors abroad.

It is patently clear that Mbeki does not find it easy publicly to deal with Mugabe. The South African government points out that SA did not assist in sending assistance to rebel movements in central African states.

It will not do such a thing to support any rebel movement in Zimbabwe. South Africa had played a mediating role both diplomatically and militarily in a variety of African states.

Mbeki does not feel comfortable with using military action or overt diplomatic action which would be seen to be taking sides in Zimbabwe. It is frequently pointed out that not even the Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change has called for sanctions - or indeed military action - against that country.

The rationalisation of SA's stance is that it is not easy to impose sanctions or take punitive action against Zimbabwe even though the ruling ANC played a key role in using such tactics against the former South African apartheid government.

The situations, it is argued, by government are different. South Africa was an illegitimate state ruled by a minority. The majority had risen up against the state and the international community had - with widespread support - imposed sanctions and even supported military action.

It is clear that SA wants a resolution of Zimbabwe and is sticking to conditions for financial aid to Zimbabwe. SA has agreed in principle to loan it money - but it is clear that Zimbabwe would not get a cent if the conditions are not accepted and adhered to.

These conditions include political stability and economic recovery. Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma underscored this point in the National Assembly last week.

In her rather inarticulate and patronising manner for which she has become known, she asked how money could be given to the country if they did not want it.

It was the closest she will probably ever get to saying that what Mugabe is doing in that country is unacceptable. She has read her own president's mind pretty well. She does, after all, owe her job to him.

SA does talk in riddles - at least in public - on this matter and will probably continue to do so.

But the reality is that there is discomfort with Mugabe's actions. And when the crunch comes for Mugabe's regime, Mbeki will find it very hard to support it in perpetuating injustice. - I-Net Bridge

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe still need $50 million to avert expulsion

September 06, 2005, 21:30

Zimbabwe's central bank chief said today the country needed to clear outstanding arrears of $50 million (about R315 million) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to prevent possible ejection from the fund.

President Robert Mugabe's government had last week coughed up $120 million (about R756 million) to try to avert expulsion from the IMF. Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor, said that Zimbabwe's surprise payment was still inadequate to clear the outstanding arrears on its account.

"There is still $50 million that has to be paid and until that amount is paid, compulsory withdrawal proceedings can still be initiated and we are acutely aware of that," Gono said. Asked whether Zimbabwe will pay the money before September 9 when the IMF executive board meets, Gono replied: "If we had the funds we would have paid, why would we pay $120 million and not the rest of it?"

Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis since independence in 1980 has seen food and fuel shortages, inflation soar to three digits and the unemployment rate rise above 70%. Its surprise last-minute payment left analysts wondering how the government had raised the money when the country was facing an acute shortage of foreign currency.

The payment coincided with an IMF team which was in the country for a two-week stay to review Harare's economic developments and prospects, and was preparing a report for the IMF Executive Board. The IMF mission said nothing on the subject of expulsion.

Hope 'sacrifices' would be considered
Gono said although Zimbabwe was guilty, he hoped the fund would take into consideration "the sacrifices" made by the country to reduce its arrears to $174 million. Zimbabwe's arrears stood at $295 million before last week's payment.

"The jury is made up of people with a face, with feelings...I don't believe the modest payment will escape the natural attention and consideration of the esteemed board," Gono said.

He repeated that the $120 million payment came from export earnings, inflows from expatriate Zimbabweans and locals working for foreign-owned organisations, who are paid in foreign currency although analysts still remained sceptical.

The central bank chief said Zimbabwe would continue with its quarterly payments of $9 million to the fund but could not say whether the figure would be increased. Gono said negotiations for a loan from South Africa, reported to be around $470 million, were still ongoing.

The loan is widely expected to be used to pay the remaining IMF arrears and to procure fuel and agriculture inputs for the foreign currency starved country. - Reuters

Back to the Top
Back to Index


ZIMBABWE: Business struggle after SA disconnects Harare for unpaid phone bill

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


Business productivity is expected to further decline as a result of Telkom's decision

JOHANNESBURG, 6 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - Doing business in Zimbabwe has become even more difficult after South Africa's telecommunications parastatal, Telkom, pulled the plug on services to the neighbouring country for outstanding debts.

Telkom SA spokeswoman Lulu Letlape refused to be drawn on Tuesday on just how much was outstanding. "We cannot say how much the company is owed, as we do not discuss our clients with third parties, but we can confirm that Telkom has blocked its services from Zimbabwe to South Africa over a very big amount."

Zimbabwe's fixed line operator, TelOne, has reportedly put the sum at US $18 million and said efforts were underway to honour its debt.

South Africa's Business Day newspaper reported on Friday that TelOne had incurred the debt after Telkom had helped to upgrade Zimbabwe's fixed network between the capital, Harare, and the South African border town of Musina a few years ago.

A company called Tele-Globe is now routing calls from Zimbabwe via Canada to South Africa.

According to sources, Telkom's decision has thrown Zimbabwe's telephone network into chaos, with businesses likely to be hardest hit by the inconvenience.

"This a very serious development, as it is likely to affect up to 60 percent of business operations between the two countries. The worst-off are likely to be the companies already facing financial difficulties. Although we do have three mobile telephone networks, their coverage is fairly limited," Harare-based economist, Denis Nikisi, told IRIN.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980, with unemployment hovering around 70 percent, triple-digit inflation and growing food shortages. A serious lack of foreign currency has led to shortage of fuel and other essential imports.

Earlier this year the South African power company, Eskom, threatened to cut off its power supply to the country as a result of unpaid bills.

The move by Telkom couldn't have come at a worse time. Zimbabwe's crisis is set to deteriorate with an estimated 4 million people threatened by food shortages over the next few months, on top of 700,000 affected by the government's demolition of illegal homes and businesses in May.

One aid worker in Harare told IRIN, "It's basically pretty bad, and it affects us when we have to deal with our [aid] partners - information sharing has been slower, as emails have been delayed. One has to wait, in some cases the whole day, to get a connection."


Back to the Top
Back to Index


ZIMBABWE: Bleak outlook for vulnerable, say aid workers

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

 Obinna Anyadike/IRIN

Country could face

JOHANNESBURG, 6 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - The dilemma of food availability and affordability in Zimbabwe could translate into worse-than-expected needs during the traditional lean season before the new harvest in March/April next year, say aid workers.

In its latest situation report the World Food Programme (WFP) noted that the "availability and/or accessibility [of food] remained problematic in much of the country", and that the state's "Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots have consistently received insufficient grain to meet the needs of vulnerable households".

"In addition to the problems and delays in sourcing adequate grain by the GMB, lack of transport and fuel supplies are exacerbating the situation. The GMB has reportedly asked local authorities to organise and collect grain from the depot with their own transport, but this has met with little or no success," WFP pointed out.

Market traders have reported shortages of maize and are expecting prices to rise. In Masvingo province in the southeast of the country, "the GMB maize grain was available in local shops in two districts, and reappeared in open markets in two additional districts", but "shortages of bread, milk and salt continued" in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo.

"I am very concerned that, due to high inflation and the resultant constant price increases of staple goods and essential services (including education, which has is now very costly), the worst-case scenario from the 2005 ZimVac [Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report] will become a reality," an aid worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told IRIN.

The Zimbabwe VAC report indicated that 2.9 million people - an estimated 36 percent of Zimbabwe's rural population - would require food aid during the year ahead. The number of people in need was based on the government's announced plan to import 1.2 million mt of maize to address food shortages brought on by drought, inadequate access to inputs and limited tillage.

However, if the imported maize was not made available through the GMB, or if it increased in price, the number of people requiring food assistance would rise substantially.

As a contingency measure, the World Food Programme has said it planned to assist up to four million people in Zimbabwe in the year ahead.

But the aid worker told IRIN that "the operating environment is also very difficult, due to the levels of bureaucracy" in Zimbabwe.

Save the Children's acting programme director in Zimbabwe, Julian Smith, noted that "there will be an earlier hunger season" in the country as a result of erratic GMB supplies.

"I am not optimistic in terms of the outlook. I fully support those ... who are privately planning for the worst-case scenario [of having to feed more than 4 million people]," he said.

The VAC report based its estimates of the number of people who would need aid on the assumption that GMB maize would be continuously available at a high but stable price, but "neither of these assumptions has held".

"The number of people unable to meet their [food] needs will therefore be much higher," Smith noted. "Some humanitarian agencies put the rural population in need of food assistance at closer to 5 million."

Zimbabwe's total population of 11.6 million has faced four consecutive years of food shortages.


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day
Poor Border Controls 'Contribute to Surge in Car Theft'

Business Day (Johannesburg)
September 6, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
Ernest Mabuza
WEAKER controls at SA's border posts are a key reason for the surge in South African car theft over the past 10 years, a report for the Institute for Security Studies says.
The report said a 12-day operation in 1997 involving security agencies from Botswana, SA, Zambia and Zimbabwe recovered 1576 stolen vehicles, of which 1464 were stolen in SA.

"There is some evidence of vehicle smuggling across SA's borders prior to the 1990s but â-oe it appears that volumes increased enormously in the past 15 years," report author Jenni Irish said.
Irish said while the Beit Bridge border post between SA and Zimbabwe was the busiest land border in the region, other frontier lines, such as those with Mozambique and Namibia, were used by syndicates to transport stolen cars.
Irish also said that some borders were more porous and that, internationally, border patrols were "incredibly difficult".
Before the 1990s, South African military and police control of the borders and the lack of freedom of movement of people between SA and its neighbours made trade in illicit vehicles difficult, she said.
A better way to combat vehicle smuggling was for police in the region to make it more difficult to register a South African vehicle in another Southern African Development Community (SADC) country.
"This system requires the driver of a vehicle being exported to another SADC country to not only pay the necessary customs duties but also to acquire a special clearance certificate from the country of origin," she said.
"This certificate must then be produced in the country the vehicle is being exported to before the vehicle can be registered in that country." Irish said that in the past, vehicles being exported from SA could acquire police clearances from any police station.
She said the main problem facing the Beit Bridge border post was that no single department had overall authority for the border post and that the different departments often had differing priorities.

The border post is administered and policed by personnel from a number of departments, including, the South African Police Service, home affairs and the South African Revenue Service.
"Co-operation remains mainly dependent on individuals from the different departments and their will to work together with their colleagues in other departments resulting in no overall border control function," Irish said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

    The Herald
Wildlife Authority to Get Boost From Rentals

The Herald (Harare)
September 5, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority is expected to get a financial windfall of more than $5 billion in rentals this year for the 13 photographic sites it leased to safari operators last week.
The 13 photographic safari operators who won tenders to run the sites are expected to have paid for their yearly lease rights and yearly rentals by the end of this month. Parks public relations manager Retired Major Edward Mbewe last week said the photographic safari operators are expected to have started operating by October.

"We expect that by October they would have put up temporary structures and made other developments to commence work immediately," Rtd Major Mbewe said.
He said the authority had accepted only the highest bids and scrutinised all the applicants to establish whether they were bona-fide Zimbabweans.
"Some of our areas are prime areas which are very rich in wildlife so we were looking at lease payments and yearly payments in United States dollars. "We are, however, aware that this could attract unscrupulous and blacklisted foreign operators but we took our time to check all the operators," he said.
Rtd Maj Mbewe said the authority would not hesitate to terminate any lease should any of the winning tenderers contravene their lease agreement.
Gonarezhou's picturesque and eerie Chilojo cliffs, Tambahata and Manyandanyanda sites fetched the highest fees with operators paying up to US$30 000 for a year.
Also in Gonarezhou, Masasanya and Benji Camps fetched a yearly rights to lease fee of $80 million and $25 million yearly rent. Le-Rhone Game Park at Kyle Recreational Park, a popular resort for boating, nature studies, horse riding, trekking and photo excursions, was leased for $20 million while the yearly rentals were pegged at $50 million.
Lion-infested Kazuma Pan in Matetsi was leased for US$7 000 while the yearly rentals were pegged at $688 million. Bampoosi site in Hwange and Busi site in Chizarira National Park were leased for US$20 000 per year and attracted a rental fee of US$3 197 and US$12 500 respectively. "Kariba's Nyamatsowa and Chiniva sites were leased for US$5 000 and a yearly US$10 500 was agreed upon while Chundu Island in Victoria Falls was leased for $15 million with a yearly payment of $60 million."
Somamalisa site in Victoria Falls was leased for $50 million with yearly rentals of $65 million.
"Other areas popular with tourists such as the Bampoosi site in Hwange, Busi and Chilojo Cliffs were regarded as one of the country's most prime areas, which were also easily accessible and had other areas to be tapped into," Rtd Major Mbewe said. Secretary for Environment and Tourism, Mrs Margaret Sangarwe said one of the tourism sector's many initiatives is to development and revitalise the areas and bolster the photographic safari hunting activities.
She said the areas, popular sites for game viewing,bird watching and photographic safaris, had not been fully utilised.

"We need not underestimate the immense value endowed in our national parks. We have banned hunting in all areas meant for photographic safari hunting in order to bolster operations and ensure we maximise our benefits," Mrs Sangarwe said.
She said despite continued demonisation by its Western detractors, Zimbabwe remained a safe destination with one of the world's most intriguing and memorable tourist attractions.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

    The Herald
Zesa Holdings' Subsidiary Introduces ARVs Scheme

The Herald (Harare)
September 6, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC), a subsidiary of power utility Zesa Holdings Limited, recently introduced a non-contributory medical aid scheme for the supply of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) to all its Gweru district employees, spouses and their dependents affected by HIV and Aids.
In addition to that, the company is encouraging its staffers to set up herbal gardens, which have proved to be a cheap but effective way of suppressing opportunistic infections associated with HIV/Aids and other diseases.

To benefit from the fund, all the employees are required to do is go for HIV testing and present the results to the company.
Addressing journalists in the city recently, ZEDC Gweru general manager Mr Willard Kunaka said the move was a deliberate shift in their policy on Aids.
"The new approach is aimed at ensuring that HIV and Aids are managed properly for the company (ZEDC) to realise its broader objectives," said Mr Kunaka.
The company drafted an HIV and Aids policy in 2003 in the Midlands Province with the training of 13 peer educators and the formation of HIV and Aids committees in Kwekwe and Gweru.
The policy is aimed at encouraging behaviour change and positive living among its workers.
As a result of these intervention programmes, ZEDC has seen a marked reduction in the number of hours lost while employees are seeking medication or bed-ridden.
"The ARV fund has helped in reducing the number of people seeking to go on sick leave and the number of hours lost.
"From an average of about 500 hours, we are now down to about 100 hours which is a significant decline," said Mr Moses Sayi, ZEDC Gweru district human resources manager.
This, Mr Sayi said, was proof of the importance the company attached to its staff.
ZEDC employees are vulnerable to contracting the HIV virus owing to the nature of their job, which takes them away from home for periods spanning over six weeks at a time.

Herbs such as Moringa, the wonder tree which can treat over 100 diseases, are being provided to employees so that they can manage their conditions while contributing to the upkeep of their families and the company.
ZEDC is also working closely with the National Aids Council and the District Aids Action Committees which provide guidelines for the implementation of Aids intervention programmes for the benefit of its staff.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

    The Herald
900 People Undergo Herbal Therapy

The Herald (Harare)
September 5, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
Walter Nyamukondiwa
AT least 900 people living with HIV and Aids and other opportunistic infections are undergoing herbal therapy at the Roman Catholic-run Regina Coeli clinic about 70 km outside Nyanga town.
The herbal clinic, which is a brainchild of the Diocese of Mutare Community Care Project (DOMCCP), was started in 1992 and has been helping people manage their conditions.

The National Aids Council (NAC) is also supporting the herbal project. The centre operates a thriving herbal garden where herbs are being grown, processed, packaged and sold to patients.
An average pack costs between $15 000 and $20 000. Chronicling how the project was started, project co- ordinator Mr Joachim Nyamande said they registered with the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) first before they could administer herbs to patients.
"We started the programme after realising that many people were being affected by the HIV and Aids pandemic. This is a non-denominational undertaking. We are working with the community in the fight against Aids," said Mr Nyamande.
The clinic, Mr Nyamande said, was working closely with Regina Coeli Mission Clinic. Some patients were being referred to the herbal clinic after they fail to respond to conventional medication, he said.
He said the herbs were mainly for opportunistic infections such as diarrhea, sexually transmitted infections and skin infections. He said use of natural herbs for treating ailments was supported by verses in the Bible such as Ezekiel chapter 38vs1-75 and Revelations chapter 22vs1-3. The clinic is also involved in home-based care interventions.
"We seek to facilitate the availability of quality and holistic home- based care," he said.

Mrs Irene Chakaingei has benefited from the herbal clinic and the support services provided at the clinic. She has gained 30kg after dropping to 37kg and now weighs 67kgs.
She can now do household chores and is looking after her six-month-old son.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald
Hospital Has Posts for Over 200 Nurses

The Herald (Harare)
September 5, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
PARIRENYATWA Group of Hospitals has vacancies for over 200 nurses, a situation that has seen an increase in the patient-nurse ratio at the hospitals, an official has said.
Group chief executive Mr Thomas Zigora said on Friday that the attrition rate, especially of the more experienced nurses, remained high with 74 nurses having left the institution between January and August this year.

"This places an overburden on the available manpower and affects our ability to respond timeously and comprehensively to the totality of our patients' needs and their relatives' expectations," he said.
Shortage of experienced nurses, he said, had a negative impact on health service delivery.
He applauded the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare for recalling retired nurses into active service, saying the move would contribute towards efforts to bridge the skills and experience gaps that exist within the system.
Mr Zigora said it was critical for bread and butter issues to be addressed to enable the hospital to fill its vacancies and be in a position to attract and retain more staff. The hospital's ability to deliver had also been seriously affected by limited budgetary allocations as a result of high inflation.

Although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe continued to assist, shortages of foreign currency impacted on the group's ability to buy critical equipment and other supplies needed for use by the hospitals.
The group was currently refurbishing its hospitals in its bid to create a conducive environment for both the nurses and the patients. - New Ziana.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

RBZ Gives Agric Sector $7 Trillion

 The Herald (Harare)
September 6, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has released $7 trillion to the agricultural sector to boost production and for irrigation development, RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono said yesterday.
The central bank chief said of the $7 trillion, $3 trillion had been allocated to the Ministry of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development for the rehabilitation of irrigation while the remainder had been channelled to the Ministry of Agriculture for inputs procurement.

Dr Gono said this while presenting oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development.
He said the agricultural sector was key in efforts to turn around the economy.
Dr Gono said inflation continued to exert pressure on the economy and this was to be expected in a drought situation.
"We expect inflation pressure to continue until the end of the third quarter," he said.
However, Dr Gono said the nation was now pinning its hopes on the coming agricultural season as weather experts had predicted a normal rainy season.
Responding to questions by the lawmakers, Dr Gono said the battle to fight inflation was not the preserve of the monetary and fiscal authorities but should be embraced by all Zimbabweans.
He said the RBZ was going to issue revised forecast figures of inflation targets.
The governor said there had been a positive response from exporters following the adjustment of the exchange rate as this had enabled the sector to remain afloat. Dr Gono said the selling of fuel in foreign currency was a temporary measure that was implemented after intense research and broad consultation among the stakeholders. He said apart from the need to raise foreign currency to purchase fuel, the scheme was implemented following the realisation that Zimbabwe had became a fuel reservoir for long distance transporters in the region because of its cheap fuel.
The RBZ, Dr Gono said, was not in agreement with the distortions in the pricing of fuel and was of the belief that the commodity should not cost $10 000 per litre given the rise of the crude oil prices on the international market.
"We need shared vision on what we are trying to achieve, this country requires unity of purpose," he said.
The governor said the auction system was second best in the allocation of foreign currency and it was important to note that the system was an interim measure.
He said there was no need to devalue the local currency for it to be in tandem with the United States dollar on the black market because "this is a market without a captain and a market without rules."
Dr Gono said there was no conflict between the central bank and its parent ministry as the monetary and fiscal policies complemented each other. He said there was a perception among some stakeholders that the RBZ had embarked on an expansion monetary policy by printing money to finance crucial sectors of the economy.
The central bank, Dr Gono said, had an obligation to assist key parastatals such as those in the energy and transport sector, adding that the newly established Infrastructural Development Bank would now play the interventionary role.
He said money supply growth had declined from 490 percent last year to 230 percent by end of July this year. Commenting on the payment by Zimbabwe of the US$120 million to service its debt with the International Monetary Fund, Dr Gono said Harare still needed to pay US$50 million to be safe from the punitive measures by the IMF.

"I do not want us as a nation to have a false sense of security by believing that we are out of the woods," he said.
Dr Gono said funds paid to the IMF had been sourced locally as Zimbabwe had felt that there was no need to burden other states who were part of the IMF.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Barclays Charged

The Herald (Harare)
September 6, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
BARCLAYS Bank Zimbabwe Limited was yesterday charged at the Harare Magistrates' Courts for illegally dealing in foreign currency involving more than US$2 million.
The bank represented by its corporate director, Arthur Nani Ndlovu appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Sandra Nhau who set October 4 this year as its trial date.

Prosecutor Mr Obi Mabahwana told the court that between January 1, 2002 and May 8, 2003 and on 10 occasions, the bank unlawfully failed to apply the prevailing international cross-rates in its foreign currency dealings. He said on January 25, 2002, the bank sold US$180 000 using the parallel market rate instead of the official rate of US$1 to Z$855.

On April 9 the same year Barclays sold US$19 500 using the parallel market rate. The court also heard that on April 24, 2002, the bank sold US$1 077 617 using the parallel market rate. On August 26, 2002, Barclays Bank allegedly sold US$68 235 and between September 11, 2002 and May 8, 2003, the commercial bank sold a total of U$ 492 000.
The State alleges that as a result of these illicit foreign currency dealings, Barclays Bank realised $1 334 417 872. - HR.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Ministry Sets Up Promotional Committee for 2010 Soccer Cup

The Herald (Harare)
September 6, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
Kudzai Chawafambira
THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism has set up a steering committee to spearhead the country's tourism promotion ahead of the 2010 World Cup soccer extravaganza to be hosted by neighbouring South Africa.
The ministry is expected to partner with key stakeholders to ensure the success of the programme.

"The ministry is currently engaged with key stakeholders to set up workable strategies aimed at improving tourist arrivals in the country ahead of 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
"It would be premature to disclose any details as we are still at the initial stages but we hope that very soon we will be in a position to present a document which will be more explicit," said an official from the ministry.
The committee is expected to work hand-in-glove with several stakeholders, among them the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, hoteliers, players in the tourism industry, Sports and Recreation Commission, Air Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Football Association and the corporate world to ensure a co-ordinated approach in the build-up to the World Cup.
An inter-ministerial committee chaired by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism together with her counterparts in ministries such as Sports, Education and Culture; Transport and Communication; Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, among others, is expected to co-ordinate the functions of the various sub-committees.
Government is doing its part to ensure that all goes according to plan with private sector participation expected to go a long way in capitalising on South Africa's hosting of the World Cup.
Zimbabwe is expected to gain significant mileage from the month-long soccer showcase in terms of tourism revenue and employment creation.
To this end, the world's biggest soccer showcase is set to boost Southern Africa's economies and open up new prospects for business and tourism.
It is also anticipated that direct foreign investment will increase and earn Zimbabwe the much-needed foreign currency.
Tourism is one of the country's biggest foreign currency earners and has the potential to do even better given Zimbabwe's unequalled natural endowments such as teeming wildlife, the majestic Victoria Falls, the heart-stopping beauty of the Eastern Highlands and man-made historical monuments such as the Great Zimbabwe, among others.

It is anticipated that if Zimbabwe wins its bid to host the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the country would have scored a major coup as this will open the doors to a flood of soccer enthusiasts and talent scouts.
Tourism accounts for about 6,5 percent of Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Film Festival Survives Despite Extreme Hardships

06 September 2005

The curtain has come down on the Zimbabwe International Film Festival, held last week in Harare. While the country's deepening economic problems had an impact on the event, they could not stand in its way.

The organizers of the eighth edition of the annual festival never doubted that it would happen, despite the myriad of problems they faced. Festival director Rumbi Katedza says the biggest hurdle was finding the money.

"It is a hyper-inflationary situation right now in Zimbabwe so the budgets that we made last year or in January have no bearing on what's happening today," she explained.  "They have probably doubled and quadrupled since then and you have to keep your cash flows in check from one day to the next."

Though ultimately the organizers had to downsize some of the festival programs, Ms. Katedza paid tribute to the donor community and Zimbabwean corporate sector support for being able to get the 10-day event together.

One of the programs adversely affected is the very popular Short Film Project, which gives aspiring Zimbabwean filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their talents. This year, one of the short films was sacrificed.  Nakai Matema, who produces the short films, says this was done to avoid compromising the quality of the product.

"We usually try and aim for five, but this year we did four and that goes back to what I was saying earlier about how I had enough money and the budget to do all my five films and then in the space of three weeks the [Zimbabwe] dollar devalued," said Ms. Matema.

Ms. Matema says she invites scripts that deal with contemporary Zimbabwean issues, but many local filmmakers tend to stay with topics that have been well received in the past, such as HIV-AIDS and gender issues.  The most popular feature films made in Zimbabwe dealt with some of those topics.

In addition to money problems, there is also the issue of self-censorship. Filmmakers say privately that, much as they would like to deal with contentious issues, they worry about the possibility of repercussions from the authorities. So they say they play it safe and stick to non-confrontational stories.

But two of the short films this year tentatively broke the mold.  In one, the actors briefly mentioned the recent demolition by the government of thousands of homes, in what officials said was a slum-clearance project.  In the other, there were scenes showing rubble of demolished homes in the background.  Some members of the audience loudly whispered "tsunami, tsunami" during these scenes.  Tsunami is the word many Zimbabweans use to describe the government's demolition campaign, which has been condemned by human rights groups.

The director of the winning entry in the Short Film Project category Brighton Tazarirwa said, although those who put up the money for the project did not interfere with the content, making a film in Zimbabwe can be a major challenge.

"The geography that we are working in is not flexible at all; it does not respect film making as a profession," he said.  "Holding a camera is almost as bad as holding a gun in a public place, there are all these security issues put in place that make it almost impossible for you to operate freely without having to check with authorities every fifteen minutes or so. You really want to concentrate and be relaxed whilst you are making a film."

Festival director Ms. Katedza says, despite the problems facing Zimbabwe, the festival must not be allowed to die. She says she is optimistic the good times will return some day and Zimbabwe's film industry will prosper again.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Police, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union Team Up

The Herald (Harare)
September 5, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
Bulawayo Bureau
THE ZIMBABWE Commercial Farmers' Union (ZCFU) and police in Insiza have embarked on a programme aimed at raising resettled farmers' awareness on the importance of the environment and on how to conserve it, an official said yesterday.
In an interview, the Insiza district chairman of ZCFU, Mr Spare Sithole said the combined operation was meant to conscientise newly resettled farmers in Ward 16 on the importance of taking care of the environment and the penalties they face if they do not.

"The thrust of the programme is to educate farmers on conserving the environment. There has been concern on the increase of cases of veld fires, road traffic accidents caused by stray animals and siltation of rivers because of the activities of gold panners. These have been caused mostly by the negligence of some farmers in the area, so there is a need to educate them on the consequences that follow if they do not act responsibly," he said.
Mr Sithole noted that farmers who cleared their land by burning grass caused the worst destruction.
"Sometimes people burn dry grass and the fire gets out of control and spreads to wider areas," he said.
Constable Sherperd Mashanda, the Community Relations and Liaison Officer in Insiza, said negligence was punishable as police could trace the origins of the fires and fine those responsible for starting them.
"If police get information on who is responsible for the fire, they can arrest the person and the person will be fined."
Constable Sithole said the destruction of the environment had to be curbed and urged the people in the area to form committees that are always ready to react when fires break out.
He said another problem that was prevalent was that of farmers who poached animals.

The police spokesman added that there were also a number of problems including the straying into roads, vandalism of fences on grazing lands and the siltation of rivers, such as Insiza River because of gold panners.
"The Government should introduce stiffer penalties for these offenders and people should work hard to conserve the resources that are there and to avoid the loss of human lives because of stray animals," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mail & Guardian
Zimbabwe price controls 'do not help'

Harare, Zimbabwe

06 September 2005 02:34

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa has called for the scrapping of state-administered price controls, launched in 2003 to rein in galloping inflation, a state-run daily said on Tuesday.

"We should move away from price controls. They do not help. It is some of these policies that are creating additional distortions," Murerwa said in submissions to a parliamentary committee on Monday.

"We are in a globalised village. There is no country that tinkers with this kind of thing," The Herald newspaper quoted him as saying.

The Zimbabwean economy, which has shrunk by 30% in the past four years, has been battling hyperinflation and critical foreign currency shortages.

The annual inflation rate soared to 254,8% at the end of July, up from 164,3% in June, according to official statistics.

It has been climbing upwards since 2000 when it stood at 55,9%, rising to 71% a year later. It reached 133,2% in 2002 before it shot to a record 622% in 2004.

Murerwa said he would set up a special committee to examine the underlying cause of price hikes.

However, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe warned that lifting price controls now could be disastrous.

"We are still concerned ... that in the current economic circumstances where we have witnessed relentless increases in prices of basic goods and services," said spokesperson Tonderai Mukeredzi.

"If prices are left to the free market dictates we will have serious problems because consumers will not be protected," he added.

Wellington Chibebe, secretary general of the influential Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, said he favoured a middle path.

"In a normal democracy, price control kills business while on the other hand super profits destroy the social fabric."

"What is needed is price management where we have prices by negotiation."

Adding to the woes of Zimbabwe's tottering economy are consecutive years of drought and a land reform programme launched in 2000 in which about 4 000 white-owned commercial farms were seized and redistributed to landless people.

The latter has punched a gaping hole in agricultural production, which once accounted for 40% of the economy, with most of the new beneficiaries lacking both farming equipment and expertise. - Sapa-AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe homeless will get first priority

    September 06 2005 at 12:25PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's Vice-President has promised that people who lost homes in the government's controversial urban clean-up campaign will be given priority in a housing programme launched in its wake, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

"Preference should be given to those who had their houses destroyed during the clean-up operation," Joseph Msika said as he toured a building site at Whitecliff Farm in Harare in comments reported by the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

Msika said new houses should not be allocated on the basis of political affiliation.

"It does not matter whether one belongs to the MDC (opposition Movement for Democratic Change party) or Zanu-PF (the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front). We are Zimbabweans and everyone should benefit," he said.
'We will go ahead despite whoever is mocking the operation'
The UN estimates that up to 700 000 people lost their homes and livelihoods when police moved into slum areas in Zimbabwe's towns and cities in May, destroying flea markets and ordering residents to take down shacks and cottages deemed illegal in a blitz that lasted more than 10 weeks and attracted international condemnation.

President Robert Mugabe's government disputes the figure of people affected by the blitz, but in late June it launched an ambitious reconstruction programme.

The government says it will build two million houses in the next five years.

At Whitecliff, 459 houses are at various stages of construction, state radio reported on Tuesday.

Mugabe has said that many of the new houses at Whitecliff will be reserved for civil servants and members of the armed forces.

Msika said he was pleased with the progress made in building houses, the Herald reported.

"I am pleased with the progress. The buildings are up to standard and the people are very happy. That's all we want. We will go ahead despite whoever is mocking the operation," he said. - Sapa-dpa

Back to the Top
Back to Index

RSF Africa

2 September 2005

Jakachira acquitted in first victory over one of the world's harshest press laws

Reporters Without Borders today hailed the 31 August acquittal of Daily News journalist Kelvin Jakachira on charges of violating the Zimbabwean government's press law by working without being accredited with the Media and Information Commission (MIC), which is under the government's close control.

There had been concern that Jakachira's conviction would have set off a wave of arrests of other Daily News journalists on similar charges.

Judge Priscilla Chigumira based her verdict on Section 82 of the press law - the so-called Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) - according to which a journalist may continue working in the interval between filing a request for accreditation and receiving the MIC's answer. The MIC never responded to Jakachira's request.

"This was a fair verdict and constitutes a victory over one of the world's most draconian press laws," Reporters Without Borders said. "We congratulate the entire Daily News staff, especially Kelvin Jakachira and the newspaper's 44 other journalists, who were all awaiting this ruling."

The organisation added: "However, this success is just one grain of sand in Robert Mugabe's vast repressive machinery and we will remain vigilant alongside the Daily News and all of Zimbabwe's independent journalists."

Email : /
Web :

Back to the Top
Back to Index

VOA news
Economic Distress Deepens in Zimbabwe as IMF Expulsion Vote Nears By Blessing Zulu
05 September 2005

Interview with Sydney Masamvu
Listen to Interview with Sydney Masamvu 
Interview with John Robertson
Listen to Interview with John Robertson 

Harare has made an urgent appeal to South Africa to finalize a loan agreement under discussion and release funds amid reports that Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has only deepened with the government’s payment of $120 million in scarce hard currency to the International Monetary Fund to stave off the loss of membership.
A senior official at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said the country desperately needs an infusion of hard currency to purchase fuel, food, and essential inputs for agriculture and manufacturing - fertilizer, spare parts, raw materials, and components.
Ironically, the central bank exhausted the country's already scarce foreign exchange to make the payment, sweeping hard currency out of exporter's accounts.
But the South African government is standing firm on its demands that Harare first meet the conditions Pretoria has set for release of loan funds.
South African Finance Ministry spokesman Logan Wort said Harare and Pretoria have deadlocked on the issue, and that loan negotiations have been taking much longer than expected as a result. Pretoria has insisted that Harare must implement political and economic reforms, and in particular engage a dialogue with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought perspective on the loan impasse and other aspects of the crisis from Sydney Masamvu, a Pretoria-based senior analyst with the International Crisis Group’s Southern African branch.
The IMF board is scheduled to meet on Friday to examine whether Zimbabwe, already suspended from membership in the Bretton Woods organization, should be expelled for failure to pay the remaining $180 million in debt service arrears.
Yet expulsion from the IMF could be a lesser danger for Zimbabwe than a continued economic collapse, says economist John Robertson of Harare.
Mr. Robertson notes that expulsion requires a vote of 85 percent of board members, so Zimbabwe needs only a few votes in its favor to hold onto its membership, if not recover its status as an active member, allowing it access to loans.
Yet even if Zimbabwe avoids being voted out of the IMF, the economic outlook at home is bleak at best, Mr. Robertson tells Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

 Napier criticises Mbeki's stance on Zimbabwe
    Lindsay Arkley
    September 05 2005 at 11:29AM

Sydney - It is time for President Thabo Mbeki to stop "pussyfooting" about the situation in Zimbabwe, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Southern Africa, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has said.

Mbeki was adopting a similar approach to Zimbabwe that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan had taken to the apartheid government, Napier said.

Instead, South Africa should be condemning injustices in Zimbabwe and implementing targeted sanctions against the government of President Robert Mugabe to try to force changes in policies that were "recklessly bringing his country to ruin".

Napier, who was recently in Zimbabwe as a member of a delegation of the South African Council of Churches and has met Mbeki to discuss the situation there, was speaking in an interview in Australia, where he is on a lecture tour.
'The independent press has all been suppressed'
Lack of criticism from Mbeki was being widely interpreted as tacit approval for injustices that were taking place in Zimbabwe at least with Mugabe's knowledge, if not under his direct instructions, he said.

"When he's tackled about it on a one-to-one basis, President Mbeki would describe his position as a mediator and when you're mediating something you don't come out condemning one of the parties to the mediation," Napier said.

"I would question whether that's the only way you can do mediation, that you must pussyfoot and not let it be known that you see where injustices are happening.

"It's like in the old days when Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were speaking about constructive engagement in South Africa and they wouldn't condemn the government because they said, well, the liberation movements are also committing atrocities.

"But it was a huge difference between the level of atrocities being committed by the government and by those who were resisting the government."

'We are frustrated and disappointed'
It was similar in the case of Zimbabwe, Napier said, where any "excesses" by opposition groups in what they would call "self-defence" could not be compared with the actions of the government.

With some justification, many Zimbabweans would feel worse off under Mugabe's government than black South Africans did under apartheid, he said.

"There's nothing that makes people feel so let down as when those who have professed to be fighting for their rights and their freedom are the very ones who deprive them now of those rights and that freedom," he said.

"The other thing is where they are suffering just as much, if not worse, than we did under apartheid is the fact that they have no way of saying what they feel or how they perceive what is happening because the independent press has all been suppressed."

Mbeki should consider targeted sanctions against the Mugabe government, as other governments had done recently, and had been urged to do against the apartheid government, Napier said.

"Rather than looking at the extent of the problem in Zimbabwe, he's looking at the similarities or dissimilarities from the past. We are frustrated and disappointed that he keeps on finding dissimilarities.

"Every government has intelligence sources that it could use in order to find where are the weaknesses that one could exploit in order to put pressures that are going to make a person sit up and take note," he said.

"There are ways in which our own South African government and other governments could identify things that would make it almost impossible for Mugabe and his government to remain in power."

Despite his call for sanctions, Napier did not oppose South Africa making a proposed loan to Zimbabwe, subject to certain conditions in line with those being demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on September 05, 2005
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online
Mugabe’s Zanu PF thugs jailed

Lupane - A Zimbabwe court has sentenced three activists of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party to four years in jail each for kidnapping and severely assaulting an opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party legislator who later died of injuries sustained during the attack. The three activists, Nicholas Ncube, Patrick Ndlovu and Seth Gubane admitted to seizing the late Member of Parliament for Lupane district in southern Zimbabwe, David Mpala, from Lupane business centre and dragging him to a nearby bush where they severely assaulted him until he lost consciousness. The trio, who committed the offences at the height of inter-party violence in the country in 2003, also admitted to stealing Mpala’s car before fleeing to Tsholotsho business centre where they were arrested by the police the following day. Sentencing the trio to jail magistrate Sikhumbuzo Nyathi, said: "Your actions show that you are dangerous people who are not only a threat to social stability but to national peace. "Since the complainant is now late, everyone, including his relatives and associates would like to see justice prevail and they are pinning their hopes on a court of law such as this one." Political violence has become routine in Zimbabwe over the past six years. The southern African country is grappling with its worst political and economic crisis since independence from Britain 25 years ago. Church and human rights groups largely blame Zanu PF militants and government-trained youth militia of committing violence against perceived opponents of the government. The ruling party and government deny the charge.
Back to the Top
Back to Index