Mbeki's African dreamDonwald Pressly
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
"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.
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
ZIMBABWE: Business struggle after SA disconnects Harare for unpaid phone bill
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Business productivity is expected to further decline as a result of
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
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
Zimbabwe's fixed line operator, TelOne, has reportedly put
the sum at US $18 million and said efforts were underway to honour its
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."
ZIMBABWE: Bleak outlook for vulnerable, say aid workers
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
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".
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
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.
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.
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
"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
Zimbabwe's total population of 11.6 million has faced four
consecutive years of food shortages.
Poor Border Controls 'Contribute to Surge in Car Theft'
Business Day (Johannesburg)
September 6, 2005
Posted to the
web September 6, 2005
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.
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.
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
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.
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
"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.
Wildlife Authority to Get Boost From Rentals
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.
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
"We expect that by October they would have put up temporary
structures and made other developments to commence work immediately," Rtd Major
He said the authority had accepted only the highest bids and
scrutinised all the applicants to establish whether they were bona-fide
"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,"
Rtd Maj Mbewe said the authority would not hesitate to terminate any
lease should any of the winning tenderers contravene their lease
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."
site in Victoria Falls was leased for $50 million with yearly rentals of $65
"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
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.
despite continued demonisation by its Western detractors, Zimbabwe remained a
safe destination with one of the world's most intriguing and memorable tourist
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
To benefit from the fund, all the employees are required to do
is go for HIV testing and present the results to the company.
journalists in the city recently, ZEDC Gweru general manager Mr Willard Kunaka
said the move was a deliberate shift in their policy on Aids.
approach is aimed at ensuring that HIV and Aids are managed properly for the
company (ZEDC) to realise its broader objectives," said Mr Kunaka.
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
"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.
900 People Undergo Herbal Therapy
September 5, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
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.
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
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
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.
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
She can now do household chores and is looking after her
Hospital Has Posts for Over 200 Nurses
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
"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.
experienced nurses, he said, had a negative impact on health service
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
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
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.
RBZ Gives Agric Sector $7 Trillion
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
Dr Gono said this while presenting oral evidence before the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic
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.
inflation pressure to continue until the end of the third quarter," he
However, Dr Gono said the nation was now pinning its hopes on the
coming agricultural season as weather experts had predicted a normal rainy
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
The Herald (Harare)
September 6, 2005
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
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.
Ministry Sets Up Promotional Committee for 2010 Soccer Cup
September 6, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
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
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.
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
Zimbabwe is expected to gain significant mileage from the month-long
soccer showcase in terms of tourism revenue and employment creation.
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.
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.
Zimbabwe Film Festival Survives Despite Extreme Hardships|
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
Police, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union Team Up
September 5, 2005
Posted to the web September 6, 2005
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.
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.
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.
another problem that was prevalent was that of farmers who poached
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
"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.
Mail & Guardian
Zimbabwe price controls 'do not help'
06 September 2005 02:34
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
"We are in a globalised village. There is no country that tinkers
with this kind of thing," The Herald newspaper quoted him as saying.
Zimbabwean economy, which has shrunk by 30% in the past four years, has been
battling hyperinflation and critical foreign currency shortages.
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
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
"If prices are left to the free market dictates we will have
serious problems because consumers will not be protected," he
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. -
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
"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.
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.
|'We will go ahead despite whoever is mocking the
Robert Mugabe's government disputes the figure of people affected by the blitz,
but in late June it launched an ambitious reconstruction programme.
government says it will build two million houses in the next five
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
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. -
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
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
Email : email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Web : www.rsf.org
Economic Distress Deepens in Zimbabwe as IMF Expulsion Vote
Nears By Blessing Zulu
05 September 2005
Listen to Interview with Sydney Masamvu
Listen to Interview with John Robertson
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
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
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
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
Napier criticises Mbeki's stance on Zimbabwe
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
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".
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."
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
With some justification, many Zimbabweans would feel worse
off under Mugabe's government than black South Africans did under apartheid, he
"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
"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.
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.
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
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.
article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on September 05, 2005
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