FOREIGN INVESTORS DEMAND HUGE CHUNK OF ZIMBABWE'S AGRICULTURAL
PRODUCTS Fri 10 September 2004
HARARE - Foreign investors are
demanding tobacco, cotton and horticultural products before they can agree
to provide more than US$2.4 billion needed to expand generation capacity at
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority's Hwange and Kariba power
An official in the Ministry of Energy and Power Supplies
Morgan Mudzinganyama yesterday told Parliament's Portfolio Committee on
Energy that the potential investors also want to control the authority's
power tariff and pricing policy if they are to invest in the state-owned
He refused to name who the prospective investors
were, but sources at the power authority told ZimOnline they were from
China, India, Iran, and Singapore.
The investors had also asked
the cash-strapped Zimbabwean power authority to open an offshore account as
proof that it had enough foreign currency to finance the expansion projects,
the government official said.
According to Mudzinganyama, the
expansion project should have already been underway and was to be completed
by 2010. He added that the project had now been put on hold because of
disagreements with the prospective investors over their terms.
He said that the government especially feared that if it ceded the right to
determine power tariffs to foreigners, they could in future set these beyond
the reach of consumers.
"We are looking at a situation where the
companies may end up charging prices which our own people may not afford but
we are still in talks," Mudzinganyama said.
Zimbabwe's Agriculture Ministry also involved in negotiating the funding
deal said there were major differences between the investors and Harare on
prices of tobacco and other agricultural products demanded by the
The investors, wary of Zimbabwe's foreign currency
shortages, are said to have asked for a huge chunk of the country's tobacco
crop, which is the country's biggest foreign currency earner. They also want
a share of cotton and horticultural earnings as repayment for their
While tobacco is fast declining as a major foreign currency
earner because of recent upheavals in the farming sector, cotton and
horticulture have remained relatively viable.
An official in
the agricultural ministry, who did not want to be named, said: "For the
parties to agree on the payment through agricultural products, the concept
of forward contracting should be employed to determine the price at which
the products will be valued and this has been a challenge to both the
investors and the power authority."
Mudzinganyama told the
parliamentary committee that it was not possible to say when or how the
negotiations would end.
The Zimbabwe power company, which at the
moment imports 600 megawatts or about 35 percent of national requirements,
wants to expand capacity at its biggest thermal power station at Hwange by
600 megawatts. Hwange currently produces 920 megawatts of
Under the proposed project, generation at the Kariba
hydro-power station on the Zambezi river will be increased from 750
megawatts to 1 000 megawatts.
To achieve the targets, the power
authority requires US$1.3 billion for transmission projects, US$543 million
for distribution projects and US$247 million for heavy
Another US$85 million is required for power
telecommunications, while US$35 million would be needed for rural
electrification and US$207 million to fund end-use infrastructure
ZANU PF rewards Harare mayor with farm By David
Coltart Fri 10 September 2004
ZVIMBA SOUTH - The government has
allocated a farm to acting Harare executive mayor Sekesai Makwavarara, who
last month defected from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party to join the ruling ZANU PF party.
Makwavarara was offered part of Sipolilo Estates, which is also known as
Tinto Farm. The farm, owned by white farmer Francis Henning, is located in
Zvimba South constituency, about 34 kilometres north-west of Harare, along
the Harare-Chinhoyi highway.
Member of Parliament for the area
Ignatius Chombo, who is also the Minister of Local Government, last week
accompanied Makwavarara to view the property, according to the
"They went there last week and Makwavarara will soon take
over the property. The government seems happy with the way she defected from
her party and threw the MDC into chaos in the capital city," said a local
district council official, who asked not to be named.
Hennings, who are still on the farm, could not be reached for comment on the
impending take-over of their property.
Makwavarara refused to
discuss the matter when contacted by ZimOnline. She said: "I do not want to
talk about that. Even if I take the farm, I am entitled to land in this
country because I am a Zimbabwean."
Makwavarara was elected into
council on an MDC ticket but last month defected to ZANU PF after falling
out of favour with the opposition party.
She was accused by the MDC
of working with Chombo to sideline the opposition party from running the
Critics have accused ruling ZANU PF politicians of grabbing
the best farmland acquired under a chaotic land reform programme. The
government says the programme is meant to benefit landless black
A report prepared by a Land Review Commission
appointed by President Robert Mugabe, which was leaked to the Press revealed
that ZANU PF big-wigs, their relatives and friends had seized up to six
The government has also been accused of using farms to
lure High Court judges and other influential people into its
High Court Judge Michael Majuru three months ago said he had
been offered a farm by the government to shut down the country's largest and
only independent daily newspaper, The Daily News.
The paper was
eventually shut down by the government. It has appealed against the
government's decision and the matter is still pending at the country's
Majuru refused the offer and has since fled into
exile in South Africa. ZimOnline
Opposition legislator arrested Fri 10 September
HARARE - Police yesterday arrested opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party parliamentarian, Nelson Chamisa, for allegedly
holding a meeting at his Kuwadzana house without police
Chamisa's relatives and tenants, who live at his house
in the constituency, were also arrested. They were still in police custody
by late last night.
Under the government's draconian Public
Order and Security Act, Zimbabweans are prohibited from holding political
meetings without police clearance.
Harare lawyer Alec
Muchadehama, representing the group, last night said: "We have been trying
to secure their release but the police have refused. Instead, they have
moved them from Marimba Police Station to Harare Central. I am not sure
whether they will appear in court."
Police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on the matter.
According to the MDC, Chamisa was visiting his relatives and tenants at his
house. The MP does not live in Kuwadzana. The party said the police, who had
been tracking Chamisa, arrived at the house and found the legislator talking
to about 13 people.
The police accused Chamisa of addressing a
political meeting without permission and promptly arrested him and the 13
people he was talking to.
The arrest of Chamisa comes barely two
days after police arrested and later released without charge civil rights
lawyer and activist, Lovemore Madhuku. ZimOnline
ZANU PF MPs face the cane for visiting Britain' Fri 10
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party will take
disciplinary measures against two of its parliamentarians for visiting
Britain against party policy, sources told ZimOnline.
South constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Majange and his Zhombe
North constituency counterpart, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, will be hauled
before a tribunal headed by party chairman, John Nkomo, when they return
The two, who are not on the list of ZANU PF and
Zimbabwe government officials barred from European Union countries, are part
of a Zimbabwe parliamentary delegation in Britain to meet members of that
country's House of Commons.
Opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party secretary-general Welshman Ncube and MP, Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, are also part of the Zimbabwean group.
ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday said some members of the
party had raised concern over the duo's presence in London. He said: "Some
party members could be unhappy, but the matter will be handled along party
He would not say whether the two legislators had been
cleared by the party to go to Britain.
The legislators and
members of the House of Commons will during their meetings discuss, among
other issues, the political situation in Zimbabwe and strained relations
between London and Harare.
Journalist-turned ZANU PF politician,
Kindness Paradza, was expelled from the party after visiting Britain on
personal business. He has appealed against the decision. ZimOnline
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Maponga in MASVINGO A LION that early this week escaped from a holding cage
at a breeding farm near Lake Mutirikwi in Masvingo has been recaptured
bringing relief to hordes of resettled farmers in the vicinity who feared to
be attacked by the predator.
The lion was among a pride of seven
lions that escaped from their cage at Simply Farm, where they are bred, six
others were immediately recaptured soon after escaping.
resettled at Wayne Farm close to Simply Farm were living in fear and had
stopped their children from going to school fearing attack by the runaway
lion after it had attacked and injured two farm workers in an abortive
attempt to recapture it.
Plans were already in the pipeline to call for a
specialist team from South Africa to recapture the lion after attempts to
capture it locally had proved fruitless.
However, the area manager at
Simply Farm Mr Robert Munyawiri yesterday confirmed that the runaway lion
had been captured adding that they had not received any reports of any harm
caused by the lion.
"We finally managed to recapture the lion yesterday
(Wednesday) after we trekked its spoor to a nearby mountain where it was
staying and we led it to the cages without any problem.
condition of the lion had greatly deteriorated maybe due to hunger and we
never encountered too much problems in getting it back to the cages at the
farm," said Mr Munyawiri.
He said the lion had not managed to slip out of
the farm to pose danger to villagers as Simply Farm was wholly-electrified
which he said was a pre-emptive measure to stop the lions from slipping out
of the farm into areas where people live.
Mr Munyawiri said
schoolchildren from the surrounding farms had since resumed going to school
after the capture of the lion which had caused unprecedented apprehension
The escape of the lions from their cages at the farm has
been attributed to staff negligence and authorities there have said that
they will launch investigations to find out what caused the lions to escape
from their cages.
One of the workers at Simply farm who was attacked by
the lion has since recuperated while the other one is still receiving
There are about 58 lions being kept at the farm for breeding
purposes in a move that is aimed at giving diversity and widening the
tourist spectacle in Kyle Recreational Park that does not have lions.
Nyamukondiwa RESIDENTS of some suburbs in the capital city will have water
supplies for only six hours a day following Harare City Council's decision
to introduce daily water cuts.
Under the new water management system,
supplies to northern and southern suburbs will be disconnected every day
from 3pm to 8.30am the following day.
The new programme replaces the
24-hour cuts that had become the norm in recent months and is tailored to
ensure fair distribution of water.
It is has also been devised to allow
the city's water reservoirs to gain volumes while there is minimal use
during the night.
However, residents of the affected areas, especially
those who live alone and go to work from 8am to 5pm, are likely to have no
water at all on a daily basis unless they make contingent
This is because they would have no time to fill containers
with water because supplies are disconnected at 3pm when they are still at
work and resume the next day at 8.30am when they would have already left for
Suburbs that are affected include Meyrick Park, Alexandra Park,
Ashdown Park, Matidoda Park, Milton Park, Highfield, Mabelreign, Gunhill,
Westgate, Kensington, St Martins, Kuwadzana, Presidential Guard and Mount
Pleasant and the area incorporating the Presidential Guard
The other areas are Greendale, Kambanji, Warren Park, Msasa
Park, Westlea, Waterfalls, Ruwa, Hatfield, Eastlea, Glen Lorne, Chisipite,
Hillside, Chadcombe, Ruwa, Epworth and Zimre Park.
Harare has also
reduced supplies to Chitungwiza in a reported measure to cut on
But The Herald understands the water supplies have been cut
back because Chitungwiza owes the city an undisclosed amount.
public relations manager Mr Leslie Gwindi said council hoped the new system
would ease the problems currently being experienced by residents.
this was only a temporary arrangement while a lasting solution was being
By late yesterday, most of the city's reservoirs were very low, a
situation attributed to the current hot spell. Most of Harare's suburbs have
been experiencing water problems which has been blamed on the ageing water
reticulation equipment at Morton Jaffray Water Works.
Some areas such
as The Grange, Chisipite, Msasa Park, Ruwa and Greendale have gone for days
without supplies of the precious liquid.
In a related matter, some
residents have called for the intervention of the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare as the situation has deteriorated.
Mr Thabani Moyo of Msasa
Park said it was high time the health ministry intervened if a disease
outbreak is to be avoided.
"Just imagine children being unable to use
toilets. We have resorted to digging pits in our gardens which we use for
relieving ourselves. Can you imagine the risk we are putting our children
under?" he said.
He said residents in his neighbourhood were also
contemplating holding a peaceful demonstration to show their frustrations
with the way council is conducting its business.
Harare water contaminated Itai Dzamara FORMER
Harare Mayor, Elias Mudzuri, has said residents of the capital city and
satellite towns are consuming water contaminated with raw sewage due to the
chaos going on at Town House.
Mudzuri yesterday said investigations he
had made and information he obtained from Town House had revealed that
Harare could run dry next month. There was a grave risk to residents'
health, he said.
Mudzuri said the fighting between government and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) council over the past year had led to
structures collapsing in the water treatment system.
"We have to
alert the people that Harare is likely to run dry in October. I have done
investigations and visited Lake Chivero and established that things have
fallen apart," Mudzuri said. "One day the city could wake up without any
drop of water because of the looming collapse of the water treatment
Lake Chivero supplies water to Harare and satellite towns
such as Norton, Chitungwiza and Ruwa.
Mudzuri, who is a qualified
engineer, said the quality of water currently being pumped into Harare was
unfit for human consumption.
"The treatment plants (at Morton
Jaffray) are terribly bad and Lake Chivero is badly polluted. The water
currently being consumed has a bad smell because of the untreated raw sewage
flowing into the lake and I have since stopped drinking
Mudzuri was elected to head the Harare City Council in 2000 but
was only in office a year when Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo
suspended him. Government eventually fired Mudzuri earlier this year and
Sekesai Makwavarara, who recently defected to Zanu PF, took over as acting
Harare has been struggling to secure funds to import water
treatment chemicals over the past year and Mudzuri said, added to this,
plumbers who had been employed during his tenure were fired leaving the
council without enough manpower at the water treatment
University of Zimbabwe scientist Professor Chris Magadza this
week warned of the danger of microcystin levels rising well above World
Health Organisation recommended limits in Lake
Microcystins cause cancers, intestinal disorders and damage
human male testicular chromosomes, Magadza said.
recent claims by Chombo that government was giving Harare City Council $50
billion didn't offer hope for the city.
"That amount is too little
considering the terrible state of affairs on the issue of water treatment as
well as others such as refuse collection," he said.
pulled out its remaining 22 Harare councillors a fortnight ago following six
months without council holding meetings. Chombo suspended 19 councillors in
May after they had refused to take his orders barring them from holding
Zanu PF bulldozes reforms Dumisani Muleya THE
ruling Zanu PF is planning to introduce the much-touted proposed electoral
reforms without consultation with key stakeholders, a move that is likely to
increase criticism that it is ignoring recommendations by regional heads of
Zanu PF, through government, has adopted the recently drafted
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Bill - which will be gazetted today to
usher in the changes - and plans to bulldoze it through parliament next
This would be in violation of the spirit of the Southern
African Development Community principles and guidelines on democratic
elections that call for consensus on such reforms.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday
told diplomats in Harare that Zanu PF was not interested in serious
He said the MDC decided to boycott elections
because of rising repression and government's unwillingness to discuss ways
to implement the Sadc principles.
He cited the continued ban on
MDC rallies, prevention of public demonstrations, violence and intimidation
by Zanu PF militias, and suppression of civil and political
This week there were arrests of civic society and
opposition activists for holding meetings deemed
Tsvangirai said as long as Zimbabwe had laws such as the
Public Order & Security Act and the Access to Information &
Protection of Privacy Act, it would be hard to have freedom of assembly,
association and expression.
"Fear is now endemic, especially in the
rural areas, thus destroying the confidence of the people in the electoral
process. Some say we rushed into the decision to suspend our participation
in elections," Tsvangirai said.
"They argue that we should have given the
government a chance to implement the Mauritius protocol. Our answer is
simple. We say look at the political facts and the political reality on the
The MDC two weeks ago suspended participation in future
elections pending the implementation of Sadc principles in
A conference convened by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
and the Electoral Institute of Southern African in August in Victoria Falls
resolved that "electoral systems and processes should be established by
However, since attempted talks between Zanu PF and the
MDC failed in July, the ruling party appears determined to go it
This has raised prospects of a head-on clash between the two
parties over the proposed electoral changes and embarrassment for Zimbabwe
Official sources said the two parties were headed for a
major confrontation in parliament next month over the Bill due to rising
hostility. Sources predicted a heated debate in parliament because
government will try to pass into law the electoral changes through a Bill
and not through constitutional amendment as initially
After failing to secure MDC support to amend the
constitution and make the ZEC - which will run all future elections - an
independent constitutional body, Zanu PF is now intent on using an Act of
Parliament to introduce the changes.
Legal Affairs minister
Patrick Chinamasa said yesterday that he would use the Bill to introduce the
proposed reforms without amending the constitution.
"We will do it
(make reforms) through the Bill. It will be gazetted in a few days or maybe
tomorrow (Friday). We want to create an independent electoral commission to
run elections," Chinamasa said.
"We don't need to amend the
constitution to make these changes. We can do it through the Bill. There is
no problem at all. Those who are making noise are people who are afraid of
participating in elections."
The introduction of reforms through the
Bill means that the current Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) will
remain in place. Chinamasa said the ESC would perform its current functions
of supervising elections, while the ZEC would be added to the already
cluttered electoral structures.
The chairman of the ZEC will be
appointed by President Robert Mugabe in consultation with the Judicial
Services Commission, something the MDC is vehemently opposed to.
Mnangagwa fights for Kwekwe Augustine Mukaro RULING
Zanu PF secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa's bid to return to
mainstream politics faces a stern test in the primary elections for the
Kwekwe Central constituency.
Mnangagwa needs to win the constituency to
place himself on a firm footing against other Zanu PF luminaries eyeing top
posts in the party's hierarchy ahead of its December
Highly placed sources in Kwekwe told the Zimbabwe
Independent that a retired Brigadier Mavenge had already started canvassing
support in readiness for the primary.
"Brig Mavenge of Mbizo area
has already started canvassing support and has declared that he will be
contesting in the primary," the sources said.
"What makes the
situation interesting is that Mnangagwa has been declaring himself as the
candidate for the Kwekwe constituency at meetings he has been addressing
since July at Amaveni Hall."
Sources said Mnangagwa has been visiting
Kwekwe every weekend, addressing meetings of the party's district structures
and promising assistance to the needy.
Sources also said an
officer commanding 5 Engineers Squadron at Kondoroza in Kwekwe, a Lt Colonel
Undenge, was also understood to be eyeing the constituency. He has
reportedly resigned his commission to enter the political
Zanu PF is understood to have scheduled the party's primary
elections for October so that candidates in next year's general election can
be involved in the formulation of campaign strategies at the
Mnangagwa and a number of other Zanu PF bigwigs, who were
to the political wilderness in the landmark 2000 parliamentary
election by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), are reportedly keen to
Mnangagwa wants to recover Kwekwe Central from the
MDC's Blessing Chebundo.
Mnangagwa was widely expected to be elected
vice-president at the forthcoming congress to replace the late Simon Muzenda
until the Women's League congress last week resolved to push for a woman
candidate. Zanu PF external affairs secretary Didymus Mutasa has also
expressed an interest in the job.
Mnangagwa needs to prove he has
popular support if he is to recover from political defeats in 1999 - by John
Nkomo - and 2000 - by the MDC.
Meanwhile, reports reaching the
Independent say serious intra-party clashes have erupted in some
constituencies with Young Turks threatening to unseat sitting
Zanu PF's own The Voice newspaper said this week "very dirty and
undesirable things" were taking place in Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland
West, Matabeleland and Bulawayo.
In Masvingo North, Foreign
Affairs minister Stan Mudenge reportedly complained that Major Kudzai
Mbudzi was using dirty tactics to wrestle the constituency from him whilst a
fierce battle looks inevitable in Masvingo Central following Eddison Zvobgo
(jnr)'s indication that he is eyeing the seat.
AirZim reinstates managers Itai Dzamara AIR
Zimbabwe has reinstated four senior managers who were dismissed earlier this
year but have been on full salary and benefits, causing discontent among the
The four managers returned at a time when the airline is
experiencing a go-slow over failure by management to honour a promised 80%
pay hike to workers.
Air Zimbabwe acting managing director Oscar
Madombwe this week confirmed the managers were back at work but claimed they
had never been fired.
"Yes they are back at work. The four managers
you are talking about were never dismissed," Madombwe
"There are internal reasons why they have not been coming to
work. They have always been our workers."
The four managers,
David Mwenga, Modercai Magaisa, Stephen Nhuta and Phineas Ndlovu, were
dismissed by the national airline as part of a restructuring exercise.
Former managing director Rambai Chingwena told the Zimbabwe Independent in
March that the four had been "removed" as part of the restructuring
However, they have been getting full monthly salaries,
using company vehicles, and receiving an entertainment allowance, school
fees and housing allowances.
Madombwe yesterday said the dispute
between management and workers over salary and wage increments was being
discussed. "We are talking with the workers and we are making progress. I
think everything is progressing very well. I am not sure if I can answer the
question regarding when we will award the increments," he
Management at the airline resolved to award the increments last
month and said these would be backdated to July after a series of strikes
over the past couple of months.
However, workers went on a
go-slow a fortnight ago when they received their August pay slips without
Mat water project hits another snag Loughty
Dube THE construction of the much-awaited Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project
pipeline is likely to be delayed after it emerged that tenders for the
various phases of the project except the Gwayi-Shangani dam are yet to be
The Chinese contractor currently at the site, Chinese
Electrical Machinery and Equipment (CEME), was only awarded the tender to
construct the Gwayi-Shangani dam, while the laying of the 450-kilometre
pipeline is yet to be tendered for.
Sources said the Chinese
contractor had started clearing the site and blasting the area around the
access road to the river-bed but has not yet started on the dam
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) chairman,
Dumiso Dabengwa, confirmed that the Chinese would only construct the
He said the process of inviting tenders for the
laying of the pipeline from the Zambezi river to Bulawayo would be done at a
"The Chinese have already started clearing the site.
Blasting the access road to the river bed will be complete soon and we
expect them to start on the foundation of the dam wall very, very soon,"
Dabengwa told the Zimbabwe Independent this week.
comment on when the whole project is expected to be completed, Dabengwa said
it should take three years.
"While the first phase of constructing
the Gwayi-Shangani dam is going on, we will be looking for a company that
will manufacture the pipes. The process will go parallel with the dam
construction and we should be through with the project in three years," he
It also emerged this week that the designing of the pipeline
has not yet been done. The design of the pipeline will determine the type of
pipes to be used.
"This year we expect to do a detailed design of the
pipeline and by the beginning of next year we will be on course. At the
moment we do not see any hitches to the project," Dabengwa
MZWT officials are expected to travel to Malaysia this month to
sign a US$600 million joint-venture agreement that will see the Malaysians
holding an 80% stake in the project while the MZWT will only have a 20%
Top cops quit Gift Phiri TWO senior police officers
have quit the force rather than sacrifice professional principles, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.
Sources said senior assistant
commissioner Frank Musuthu and senior staffing officer (internal
investigations) Ngonidzashe Gambiza resigned three weeks ago after they were
assigned to the Commissioner's Pool, widely regarded in the force as a means
of dealing with problem officers.
The officers are understood to have
resisted pressure to perform partisan duties.
unconfirmed claims that the two officers had clashed with Chihuri, who has
made public his political affiliation to Zanu PF.
The sources say
Gambiza was told he was no longer fit for active police duties although he
had served in the force for over 20 years. He could not be reached for
comment at the time of going to press.
Musuthu confirmed he had
resigned but would not comment further.
Meanwhile, President Robert
Mugabe last week extended Chihuri's term of office by another year in what
was widely seen as a vote of confidence in him ahead of next year's
election. Police and the army have played key roles in recent elections, in
particular during the presidential poll in 2002.
Mugabe has renewed
Chihuri's term annually since his first four-year term expired in
The latest extension makes Chihuri the longest serving police
commissioner in the country's history.
Chihuri, an ex-combatant,
has publicly declared his support for Zanu PF, in the process contravening
the Police Act that bars officers from active participation in politics. He
stated publicly that he would resign if Zanu PF lost power.
Chihuri, the police have been widely criticised for lack of professionalism
and human rights abuses.
World student body seeks Mugabe's excommunication Gift
Phiri THE International Union of Students (IUS), the umbrella body of all
student unions around the world, has urged the Catholic Church to
excommunicate President Robert Mugabe for human rights abuses and for
attacking church leaders.
The IUS, based in Prague, wrote to the
Vatican last week exhorting the church to excommunicate Mugabe. The
students' plea follows representations by other groups, including Catholic
bishops and human rights activists, to have Mugabe excluded from the
IUS political advisor to the secretary for African affairs,
Nicholav Kalav, said Mugabe should be excommunicated for his disregard for
human life. He further stated that Mugabe was leading a "repressive
government" and the Catholic Church should mete out its most severe form of
"Our request is premised on the following: Mr Mugabe
presides over a government that massacred thousands of civilians in
Matabeleland in the early 1980s in Zimbabwe," reads the letter. "As a means
of reviving his fading political fortunes he has deployed some ex-freedom
fighters to harass, harangue, torture, rape and murder supporters of
opposition parties in the country. Recently he has been on a trail to
persecute divine men of the Lord."
Excommunication is usually
reserved for very grave offences.
If Mugabe is excommunicated - which
is unlikely - he will join the ranks of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who was
excommunicated from the church in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.
official with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) who
declined to be named said the Vatican would consider the students' request
on its merits.
"There will be an objective analysis of the
request and if it has any merits it will be considered," the official
Mugabe, who has recently hit out at Bulawayo Archbishop Pius
Ncube, has angered many church followers. The slurs have not gone down well
with Catholics who feel that as long as the president is a practising member
in full communion with the principles of the Roman Catholic Church, he
should stop denigrating church leaders.
Catholic, Protestant and
Ecumenical associations last week denounced what they called Mugabe's
"calculated, hateful and unjustified criticism of Archbishop Pius
"This amounts to the persecution of the church and its
leaders as a ploy to silence it from voicing the glaring evils perpetrated
against the generality of the population," the organisations said in a joint
GMB fails to prove claims of bumper harvest Eric
Chiriga THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the Central Statistical Office
(CSO) have failed to provide proof of government claims of a bumper harvest.
They failed to provide figures to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Land and Agriculture more than two months after they were requested to
supply the information.
The committee sent questions to the GMB at
the beginning of June after parliament had ordered an assessment of the food
situation in the country.
This followed serious disputes regarding grain
stocks in the country, with government insisting that Zimbabwe will get a
bumper harvest whilst independent surveys differed. The committee was
expected to present a report to parliament before the end of the
The CSO has not yet submitted a response to the parliamentary
committee and is yet to compile figures regarding this year's harvest,
Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, the chairman of the committee, said last
The GMB produced an unsigned document this week before the
committee, which didn't have figures but only claimed that the country had
GMB officials who attended the meeting organised by
the portfolio committee on Tuesday said they were not ready with the
figures. GMB marketing director, Zvidzai Makwenda, told the meeting that
acting chief executive officer Colonel Samuel Muvuti had taken urgent
"It would be unfair for us to present anything, we are not
prepared. If we could be given more time to go and prepare," Makwenda
Ncube said his committee had been assessing the grain reserves
in the country over the past month but could only come up with an informed
position after obtaining figures from the GMB and the CSO.
need those figures and statistics, which should present a break down of what
was harvested countrywide so that we could compare with the situation on the
ground," Ncube said.
Sources at the GMB and the CSO this week said
both institutions were reluctant to provide statistics regarding the food
situation because they could expose government, which has been claiming that
the country will this year harvest 2,4 million tonnes of grain.
Mugabe faces class action lawsuit Gift
Phiri ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights and the Legal Resources Foundation
are contemplating a class action to compel President Robert Mugabe to
publish findings of investigations into military atrocities against
civilians in Matabeleland in the 1980s.
A spokesperson for the two
human rights groups said they were still collecting signatures from victims
of an alleged genocidal campaign in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces that
claimed the lives of an estimated 20 000 people in five
"By failing or refusing to make the reports public (President)
Mugabe is hindering many people's enjoyment of freedom of expression," the
organisations' lawyer said. "As an alternative remedy, it is prudent for us
to bring a class action lawsuit against Mugabe until he concedes to our
demands to make the two reports public."
mas-sacres - which have been described by Pre-sident Mugabe as an "act of
madness" - were committed by the North Korean-trained Fifth Bri-gade during
a security clampdown against purported dissidents in the south-western part
of the country.
Investigations by human rights groups have found that
at least 20 000 civilians were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces
in what political analysts have said was a bid to establish a one-party
state. Most of the people in the affected regions supported the now defunct
Although President Mugabe has not directly apologised for
the mass murders, he has said it was "an act of madness" that should not be
repeated. He came close to apologising at Joshua Nkomo's funeral in July
1999 when he said he regretted the loss of lives during the Gukurahundi
The massacres between 1982 and 1987 were preceded by bloody
clashes at Entumbane in Bulawayo between former liberation movements PF Zapu
and Zanu's armed wings - Zipra and Zanla respectively.
Mugabe reacted to the incidents by appointing a commission of inquiry
chaired by the late former Chief Justice Enock Dumbutshena.
commission chaired by Harare lawyer Simplisius Chihambakwe was set up to
investigate the atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands.
President Mugabe has refused to publish the reports despite sustained
pressure to do so.
This forced human rights groups to approach the
Supreme Court to compel him to release the reports. But a full complement of
the highest court of appeal bench dismissed the application for the
publication of the reports.
Justice Misheck Cheda ruled that President
Mugabe could not be compelled to reveal the findings contained in the
"The president is, by virtue of executive privilege,
permitted to withhold such a report where he deems it to be confidential and
its revelation would be prejudicial to public safety and order," Cheda
"As long as the first respondent (President Mugabe) declines to
publish the reports on the basis of the interest of the state and safety of
other persons, he cannot be compelled to publish the
But human rights groups say they will now resort to a class
action to oblige President Mugabe to publish the reports to heal the
MDC to test spirit of Sadc protocol Itai
Dzamara THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is this weekend
expected to hold rallies in Harare and Bulawayo to mark its fifth
The rallies, to be held at Zimbabwe Grounds tomorrow in
Highfield and White City Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday, will be used to
explain to the electorate the party's decision to suspend participation in
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said on Wednesday
the rallies would be addressed by MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai and
Vice-President Gibson Sibanda.
"We want to see how the police
will handle our rallies and campaign," Nyathi said. "We also want to see
whether Zanu PF will unleash violence on us," he said.
going to explain our position to the electorate regarding the 2005 election.
Our position is that until such a time that Zanu PF implements the letter
and spirit of the Sadc protocol on the principles and guidelines on holding
democratic elections we will not participate. This is why we did not
participate in Seke because the by-election was going to be held under a
flawed electoral system."
The MDC a fortnight ago decided to
suspend participation in all future elections, triggering debate over the
timing and political wisdom behind the pullout. The party cited lack of the
rule of law, unfair electoral practices as well as use of draconian laws by
The MDC's decision came soon after President Robert Mugabe
signed the Sadc protocol on the principles and guidelines on holding
Tsvangirai was attacked in Mvurwi by Zanu PF
supporters in June when he went to address a scheduled rally and says the
police failed to protect him and his entourage.
The Sadc protocol
compels President Mugabe to implement wholesale changes to the electoral
framework and government will soon be tabling a Bill in parliament seeking
to introduce the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to run all future
In his weekly column on Tuesday, Tsvangirai said the MDC
marks its fifth anniversary having made great strides towards ending
"The myth of invincibility that has come to be associated
with Robert Mugabe's regime has been shattered. Autocracy and tyranny under
the mask of nationalism has been dealt a fatal blow. The principal doctrine
of autocracy on which the Zanu PF dictatorship nourished has been
The very foundation of Mugabe's tyranny has been defeated. It is
a milestone, indeed," Tsvangirai said.
Customs dashes Nkomo's dream Staff Writer CANNERY
and timber equipment worth $300 billion sourced by the late Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo is lying idle at different locations in the
Sources said some of the equipment has gone missing after an
empowerment company set up to implement development projects failed to start
The equipment, which includes timber processing, tomato and
fruit juice-making machinery, was sourced from Italy by Nkomo and was handed
over to the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ), an empowerment company
formed by the veteran nationalist to spearhead development in the
However, the equipment was detained by the customs
department after the DTZ failed to pay customs duty while some of it was
sent to different destinations across the country.
the Zimbabwe Independent this week that several cargo
containers of the
equipment were lying idle at Balu Estates in Matabeleland North while other
containers have been detained for the last 10 years at Harare International
Airport and at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport in Bulawayo.
sources said some of the cargo containers had been moved from the Bulawayo
customs depot to unknown destinations.
DTZ board member Dumiso
Dabengwa confirmed that the equipment was still lying idle but said the DTZ
board would soon meet to chart the way forward on the project that was
expected to create thousands of jobs.
The ball is now in Sadc's court By David Coltart ON
July 20, President Mugabe, in his speech marking the opening of parliament,
announced that a number of electoral reforms would be introduced that would
level the electoral playing field. Mugabe and Zanu PF disingenuously claimed
that these reforms (including the establishment of a new Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, the reduction of polling days from two to one and the counting
of votes at polling stations) would address the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC)'s demands.
As we said at the time, these proposed reforms
only partly address our minimum standards pertaining to improving the
transparency and fairness of procedures governing the polling day. On the
whole, they are woefully inadequate and fail to even touch on the crucial
issue of opening up the political space and ending political
What the ruling party's proposals clearly demonstrate is
that they view an election as an event as opposed to a
It is this politically expedient definition of what
constitutes an election that received an unequivocal "yellow card" at the
Sadc summit in Mauritius. The comprehensive set of guidelines and principles
that were agreed upon in Mauritius captured the essential elements of our
blueprint, "Restore", in particular the recognition that a free and fair
election is not possible when the political space has all but been closed
down. This was a symbolic victory for the MDC.
When Mugabe signed
the protocol he was technically committing himself to implementing the MDC's
minimum standards. In theory at least, our "yellow card" in the form of
Restore produced a very positive result indeed. The reality, however, is
different. In the immediate aftermath of his return from Mauritius, Mugabe
and his regime quashed any hopes that they would act in the spirit and
letter of the agreement by gazetting a draft NGO Bill containing provisions
which continue the government's determination to crush all organised centres
of opinion opposed to the regime.
This for the MDC was the final
straw. In the absence of any evidence that the government intends to comply
in full with the Sadc elections charter, the MDC decided to draw a line in
the sand and say enough is enough. With less than seven months until the
election there is insufficient time to wave yellow cards any
The timing of our decision was also influenced by the fact
that nomination day for a by-election was due on September 3 and we had to
make a decision prior to that day. Had we not made a decision before that
day the region could have assumed that we believed that the Mauritius
principles were in the process of being implemented in
The timing also has to be seen in the context of what has
been stated in the region about the issue of negotiations between Zanu PF
and MDC. For over a year we have been told that we are engaged in informal
negotiations with Zanu PF when that is not true. A real fear we had was that
Zanu PF's compliance, or rather non-compliance, with the Mau-ritius
principles, would be fudged as would our "acceptance" that Zimbabwe's
electoral system now complied with the Mauritius principles.
had to make it clear, emphatically, urgently and unequivocally, that our
electoral system does not, and will not, even in the event of Mugabe's
proposed changes being implemented, comply with the Mauritius
It has been suggested in this newspaper and elsewhere that we
should have used the next few months to prove that Zimbabwe's electoral
environment does not comply with the Mauritius principles. That is precisely
what the Mugabe regime wants us to do. It would, no doubt, be happy to
implement meaningful reforms a month prior to the election, which would not
result in a free and fair election. Zimbabweans have been deeply traumatised
during the last five years and need a peaceful period of at least six months
prior to the election to feel confident to exercise their vote
For all the government's claims that the MDC is dead
and that they can run an election without us, Zanu PF can never claim
legitimacy unless the MDC participates. Whilst the MDC could have been
ignored in 2000, it is now recognised regionally and internationally as a
credible political party and to that extent its participation in the 2005
election is critical to both Zanu PF and Sadc if Zimbabwe's crisis is to be
To that extent, it was critically important that we
indicated to Sadc as soon as possible that we were not prepared to
participate in this charade any longer and that they should bring the Mugabe
regime to book as quickly as possible to resolve the crisis. The onus is now
on Sadc to ensure that the Mugabe regime fully complies with its obligations
under Sadc elections' protocol. A failure to do so would put Sadc's
credibility on the line.
It is suggested that what is required is for
the MDC to test the water. That precisely is what we will be doing. We will
be testing the regime's sincerity in the course of the next few months in
parliament, in the courts and in the media. At every turn we intend
explaining to the Zimbabwean electorate and Sadc why it is that the NGO
Bill, Zanu PF's proposed reforms, and existing draconian legislation that
severely curtails our fundamental rights, are wholly incompatible with the
Finally, it is also suggested that we are
somehow disengaging from the political discourse. Nothing could be further
from the truth. We are suspending our involvement in the electoral process
pending Zimbabwe's compliance with the Mauritius principles.That is very
different to suspending our involvement in the political process. We are
actively identifying candidates for the 2005 parliamentary election. We will
be vigorously participating in parliament and organising our structures in
anticipation of the Mugabe regime being forced to comply fully with these
wonderful new Sadc standards.
*David Coltart is MDC MP for
Bulawayo South and its shadow Justice minister.
Zim imports milk Augustine Mukaro/Eric
Chiriga DESPITE government claims that its land reform programme is a
"resounding success", the country is having to import milk to augment
declining local supplies.
The Zimbabwe Independent understands that
Zimbabwe has been forced to source milk from New Zealand, Denmark, Argentina
and several other countries. Sources said the milk was being imported
through commodity broking agencies based in the United Kingdom and Denmark.
One of the agencies is said to be London & General, based in the
This follows revelations by dairy farmers that raw milk supplies
to the market have declined by over six million litres over the past
Information from Zimtrade confirms that the country has been
importing milk although it doesn't specify whether it was companies or
individuals making the imports.
Zimtrade figures show that last
year Zimbabwe imported a total of 6 401 507 litres of raw
Of the imported milk, Botswana supplied 4 278 043 litres, New
Zealand 89 418, Denmark 100 000 and Argentina 50 590.
The rest of
the milk came from other countries.
Dairibord Zimbabwe public
relations manager, Emelda Shoko, said her organisation was not importing
milk except for very limited quantities of powder.
of powders has always been done to augment local shortfalls in years of
drought," Shoko said.
"Like any other business operating in a
challenging economy, there has been a decline in milk supplies due to
escalating costs and a shortage of stockfeeds. This was exacerbated by the
recent drought that we experienced," she said.
are about 22% down compared to last year, while last year's volumes were 31%
down when compared with 2002," she said.
Milk production has fallen by
over 52% since the inception of the land reform programme. Production fell
from 18,7 million to the current under 9 million litres over the past four
This decline in the dairy industry is largely due to the land
reform programme which has seen producers being forced to vacate their
properties and close down their operations.
Over the past four
years government has been issuing eviction notices to white commercial
farmers eroding confidence and discouraging new investment. The uncertainty
forced producers to slaughter their dairy cows.
The farmers who took
over from former white commercial farmers are failing to bridge the
HIV/Aids impact on society devastating Gift
Phiri SEVERELY emaciated eight-year-old Lucy gestures from her hospital bed
that she wants to sit up to have her nutritious maize-soya blend
It is the first time Lucy, an orphan who weighs just 10 kg, has
asked for food in several weeks. The return of her appetite brings a broad
smile to the tired face of her aunt, cradling her skeletal torso on a
hospital bed at Harare Central Hospital.
With both her parents
dead and the Aids virus slowly gnawing away at her immune system since
birth, it is hard to imagine that Lucy is actually one of the luckier
Taken in on Harare Central Hospital's recently introduced
Opportunistic Infection (OI) Clinic and started on a course of
anti-retroviral drugs (ARV) this week, she now has a reasonable chance of
Sadly, most relatives who cannot afford to take
care of such children, let alone pay for virus suppressing pills, reject
most of the thousands of children affected by Aids in
"She is not in a good state now but she will make it," said
a nurse tending to the ward. "Other kids who have come here in the past were
worse but they managed to recover. The pills really do work."
drug costs $100 000 per month per child and is sourced through partnerships
with local manufacturers such as Varichem.
Ravaged by three
successive droughts that have pushed food shortages to crisis levels and
with HIV currently killing at least 3 000 people a week, Zimbabwe is being
seriously devastated by Aids.
Although Zimbabwe could emerge from its
food-supply crisis following rains that fell in most parts of the country,
the spectre of HIV and Aids continues to stalk the land.
potential impact of HIV on society could be devastating," Aids and TB
programmes coordinator in the Ministry of Health, Dr Owen Magurungu, said.
"Our major worry is to make sure that we have a reliable and adequate supply
of drugs. We have received $2 billion from the Aids Levy and $10 billion
from the Ministry of Finance."
Magurungu said five pilot sites
countrywide had been granted OI centre status. These include Harare and
Mpilo hospitals, which are expected to take about 1 000 patients
The other three centres will take in between 500 and 600
"Of the 4 000 patients we aim to treat, at least 800 are
children and we expect to have 260 000 of an estimated 520 000 HIV-positive
people on the programme by the end of the year," Magurungu
To be eligible for the programme, patients have to undergo a
CD4 count, which is a measure of the body's immune system. Only patients
with a CD4 count below 200 are considered.
Prevention of parent
to child transmission project coordinator with Medecins Sans Fron-tieres
(Doctors Without Borders), Dr Jacinta Hurst, said the CD4 count helps to
monitor the effectiveness and possible side effects of the
"On this programme we are providing the technical support
and the development of tools for delivering the ARVs," Hurst
According to Women and Aids Support Network (Wasn), Nevirapine,
an antiretroviral drug that helps to reduce parent-to-child-transmission
(PTCT) of HIV, has helped in mitigating the number of children born
HIV-positive by about 50%.
A Wasn official said an HIV-positive
pregnant mother takes one 200mg tablet of Nevirapine during labour. The baby
is then given a 20mg dose in liquid form within the first three days of its
life, as a precautionary measure.
"Out of 600 000 Zimbabwean women who
give birth annually, 200 000 are HIV-positive and 30% of them transmit the
virus to their babies," the official said. "This means that about 60 000
babies are infected at birth. However, the use of Nevirapine further reduces
this figure by half to about 30 000 babies. Effectively, this means that the
lives of 30 000 more babies can be saved through the use of Nevirapine
Dr Hurst noted that the number of people living with HIV
in the country was ominous.
Since the discovery of Zimbabwe's
first case of HIV in 1985, the disease has continued to decimate the
population and an estimated 1,8 million are HIV-positive out of a population
of 12,5 million. Of this figure, 1,54 million are adults within the age
group of 15 to 49, about 870 000 are women and 165 000 are
Despite this situation, government claims Zimbabwe is one
of the few developing countries which are slowly but surely winning the
battle against the epidemic.
It says infection rates have dropped
from 33% of the population in 2002 to 24,6% last year.
minister Dr David Parirenyatwa last December said the campaign against
HIV/Aids is working.
Will Chombo's cronies make Harare better? Augustine
THE city of Harare, which has been denied a democratically
elected council by central government for the past four years, could soon
have a commission foisted on it following the mass resignation of Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors.
The MDC chose to
withdraw all its remaining councillors three weeks ago, saying Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo had rendered the council ineffective.
Chombo fired MDC executive mayor Elias Mudzuri, before dismissing 19
councillors and barring council from holding any meetings. The majority of
councillors resigned, forcing two full council meetings to be aborted
because of failure by those remaining to form a quorum. To date, only four
MDC councillors remain.
It is understood Chombo is mulling a
commission to run the affairs of the city. Sources said James Kurasha, who
chaired the committee that recommended Mudzuri's dismissal, was tipped to
lead the commission as he is already sitting in all council
The question that comes to mind is whether the commission
will turn around the fortunes of the politically volatile Town House when
the previous one dismally failed to make an impact in the three years it was
Harare's problems date back to 1999 after the dismissal of
the Solomon Tawengwa council on allegations of corruption, fraud and
Government then handpicked commissioners led by
former diplomat Elijah Chanakira to run the affairs of Harare. Losing
Harare to the opposition in the March 2002 mayoral election meant government
had lost its grip on the capital, so by hook or crook it has worked to
Barely three months after Mudzuri's takeover, Chombo
started poking his nose into the daily running of Town House. Analysts say
this had nothing to do with the interests of ratepayers but owed much to the
ruling party's insatiable hunger to control the capital.
first move was to issue directives demanding that the mayor refer all
financial and human resources matters to him before making
resolutions. "Mudzuri managed to resurface all major roads leading in and out
of Harare. Responses to burst water and sewer pipes were coming within hours
of a report and he ordered the closure of all sanitary lanes in the city in
an effort to control refuse," one urban analyst said.
biggest achievement was the computerisation of the city's treasury
department to improve revenue collection," he said. Despite Mudzuri's
spirited efforts to revive Harare's decaying infrastructure, politics ruled
the roost with his deputy Sekesai Makwavarara turning against him before
defecting to Zanu PF.
The introduction of the Harare Metropolitan
province to which was appointed Zanu PF top functionary Witness Mangwende as
governor was the last straw for the MDC council. Mangwende and Makwavarara
are currently running the show at Town House. The Combi-ned Harare Residents
Association (CHRA), an umbrella body representing all residents associations
in the capital, said Chombo's interference was reversing Mudzuri's
achievements and council services had been deteriorating over the past
Harare residents this week said Town House started declining
after April 2003 when Mudzuri was suspended and subsequently dismissed a
year later. "Virtually all the capi-tal's infrastructure is in a free-fall
characterised by burst water pipes, raw sewerage flowing in high-density
residential streets, roads almost inacce-ssible because of potholes and
decomposing mountains of uncollected garbage which are posing threats of
disease outbreak at the corners of the streets," CHRA said.
said Makwavarara had dropped the stakeholders' consultation system resulting
in council coming up with absurd rate increases and policies that were often
resisted by residents. "Council is no longer consulting residents in matters
of budgeting as had been the norm but simply imposing its views," CHRA
"Last year council had to be forced to revise its budget
downwards because it had not followed the procedural consultation
"Half the time Makwavarara has been fighting to keep her
position instead of taking the city ahead through getting feedback from
residents and responding to their concerns."
CHRA said the
one-man-band attitude which Makwavarara has adopted had resulted in the city
deteriorating further in both infrastructure and its financial
"Council has been reported bankrupt on two occasions over
the past year that Makwavarara has been acting mayor because residents have
been refusing to recognise her thereby holding back rates payments,
council's main source of revenue," CHRA said.
CHRA said Harare's
health delivery system had been thrown into disarray over the past year as
Makwavarara had bungled other sources of revenue. "Germany's city of Munich
suspended its cooperation with Harare citing dismissal of someone
democratically elected by the people of Harare to take over the mayoral
office," CHRA said. "Suspension of the Munich partnership has closed
prospects of both medical equipment and financial support that could have
improved the situation at city council clinics," it said.
residents who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said water and refuse
collection problems have been worsening over the past year with a number of
residential areas going for weeks either without water or with mountains of
would appear that the former Sunshine City is gone forever. Virtually all of
Harare's democratically-elected MDC councillors have either been turfed out
of office by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo or asked to step down
by their own party because their position is untenable. As we report
elsewhere in this issue, Chombo is mulling another commission to run the
affairs of the city.
Water shortages, potholes and uncollected
garbage have plagued the capital for a very long time. The last such
commission, led by Elijah Chanakira, was an unmitigated disaster. There was
thus a collective sigh of relief when Harare residents were in 2000 afforded
an opportunity to elect a council of their choice whose members would be
forced by the pressure of accountability to perform. After 20 years'
experience with Zanu PF failures, people decided it was time to try new
brooms and voted overwhelmingly for an MDC-led council.
Zanu PF government was in no mood to recognise this expression of democratic
opinion. If Zanu PF councillors had failed in the past 20 years, nobody
should be given the chance to prove that they could do any better, it
reasoned. The council was therefore emasculated from the start when Chombo
decided to run it by directives from his office. The council could not make
decisions on vital finance and human resources issues without his signature,
he decreed. At the same time government failed to meet its financial
commitments to the city.
Thus, while the council had the
overwhelming backing of the ratepayers who needed services, the government
used its political muscle to make sure it could not
Harare's first democratically-elected executive mayor Elias
Mudzuri was not given the chance to run the city. He resisted Chombo's
intrusive directives. Fictitious charges of incompetence and corruption were
manufactured by the same minister who found himself with nothing else to do
but monitor Mudzuri's daily doings. Eventually the mayor was fired. In his
place a Harare metropolitan governor in the form of Witness Mangwende was
imposed on the residents of Harare, in the same way as the previous
commission had been.
Unfortunately Harare's problems have not been
amenable to this form of manipulation. They require practical measures, not
party slogans. Reports this week indicate that parts of Greendale, Glen
Lorne, Chisipite, Borrowdale and Mabvuku have been without water for several
weeks. Most of the residents in these areas have to rely on borehole water
or sourcing it from relatives or friends who have a reliable supply. All
this despite the fact that Chombo has virtually taken over the running of
Harare affairs and that he can immediately make all the key decisions
concerning finance and human resources.
We have had enough of
reports about pumping capacity and broken pipelines. What is needed are
We hope something will materialise from reports that $50
billion will soon be made available for the upgrading of Morton Jaffray
water works and the collapsing sewerage system.
By the time
Mudzuri was fired he had managed to fill most of the potholes in the CBD and
repair streetlights. Now the city is reverting to its original state of
The way in which Chombo's symbolic representative at Town
House, Sekesai Makwavarara, has been manipulated by Zanu PF tells us all we
need to know about the ruling party's anti-democratic agenda and the
shallowness of those prepared to cling to office regardless of
Chombo's subversion of the electoral process in the city
has seen the City of Munich sever ties which held enormous benefits in the
form of medical equipment, water treatment and capacity
Meanwhile, the Combined Harare Residents' Association
reports that most of the capital's infrastructure is in free-fall. Burst
water pipes, raw sewage flowing down the streets and mounds of uncollected
garbage have become trademarks of the new administration. But that has not
stopped Chombo's blue-eyed girl Makwavarara from driving around in luxury
vehicles and drawing a large monthly salary for simply putting on a Zanu PF
A report by Professor Chris Magadza on the pollution of
Harare's water sources on Page 15 of this issue makes chilling
During one of his regular teaching tours with his students
this year, Professor Magadza reports: "At the south end of Budiriro we saw a
stream carrying raw sewage, with visible faecal material floating down the
stream - in fact down to Lake Chivero. The municipal herd of cattle were
seen drinking from this stream."
Prof Magadza points to the
danger of microcystin toxicity in the city's water supply.
are the realities that Harare residents are facing and which an accountable
council should be addressing. These are problems that an accountable central
government should be concerned about. These are life and death issues for
the residents of Harare which Chombo and his cronies at Town House should be
addressing with the greatest urgency instead of playing party
They cannot be solved by the imposition on Harare residents
of another illegitimate commission which does not enjoy the confidence of
those it purports to serve.
Exactly what qualifications does
James Kurasha have to make decisions regarding a city of this size? And what
sort of record does Witness Mangwende have as an
The nation's capital has been cursed over several
years by village politicians interfering in its administration. Harare's
residents must resist any further depredations by Zanu PF's desperate
leadership and insist upon the elected and accountable governance to which
they are entitled.
Dire effects of collapsing
infrastructure WITH parliamentary elections only six months away, government
is vigorously trying to convince the populace that not only has the
continuing decline of the economy over the last seven years been halted, but
also that the economy is firmly upon a path of recovery and
In speech after speech the president and his ministers
contend that government has in no manner been responsible for the distressed
state to which the economy has been reduced. And such denials have not only
been the characteristic of almostevery speech of the Zimbabwean political
hierarchy, but they have also been the central theme of editorials and
articles in the state-controlled press, and in news bulletins and other
programmes on the state-owned radio and television services.
realities are diametrically opposite to the government's contentions. Whilst
it cannot be denied that the last nine months witnessed some remarkable
economic achievements by the governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, the
effect of those achievements is confined to slowing down the economic
decline, as distinct from actually reversing it. Gono deserves loud applause
for that which he has achieved in a short period of time.
his attainments has been the lowering of the year-on-year rate of inflation
from 622,8% in January, 2004 to 362,9% only six months later. He has also
restored an aspect of order, prudency and good governance to the financial
sector,has significantly increased inflows of foreign exchange - albeit that
there is still a pronounced insufficiency, has partially restored Zimbabwe's
relationships with the International Monetary Fund and other major
international bodies and with the diplomatic corps and those it represents,
and much else.
But all of that cannot re-establish and develop the
economy. Monetary policies are but one of the essential ingredients
Equally essential are constructive and responsible fiscal
policies, just and positive political actions, and to a large extent those
ingredients are very sadly lacking.
It must be acknowledged that
the past few months have evidenced, under the control of the acting Minister
of Finance and Economic Development, Herbert Murerwa, some more effective
and long-overdue fiscal policies, but much more are needed if the monetary
policies of Gono are to be complemented and rendered fully constructive.
And, very regrettably, there have been absolutely no endeavours on the part
of government to undergo the desperately needed transformations of its
In such circumstances, it is impossible for the
economic recovery (which is so greatly hungered for by the Zimbabwean
populous) to materialise, and it is inevitable that the economy will
continue to decline, although the pace of the decline has diminished to a
significant degree, in response to the monetary and fiscal policy changes
over the last nine months.
Amongst the innumerable factors which
cause the continuing debilitation of the economy is the very sorry state of
much of Zimbabwe's infrastructural resource. No economy can be transformed
from a state of great frailty to one of virility and strength if the
requisite supportive infrastructure is not in place, and it is
incontrovertibly not in place in Zimbabwe.
condition of most of Zimbabwe's infrastructure is such that it is not only
that the economy cannot recover, but that the economic circumstances must
continue to worsen. Accountability for such disastrous conditions lies fairly
and squarely at the feet of government, and at those of the directors and
managements of many parastatals. Theinfrastructural environment is generally
so poor that even the very diminished levels of economic activity cannot
have their essential needs fully serviced.
The first of many key
areas of infrastructural inadequacy is that of power generation. The
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority lacks the electricity generating
capacity required to service the economy fully, and that adverse situation
is exacerbated by its failure to maintain and operate fully such capacity as
it does have. In part that is due to financial constraints, in part to the
scarcity of foreign exchange, and in part to a loss of much of the technical
and managerial skills required for efficient
Load-shedding is a very frequent occurrence, exceeded
only by supply breakdowns. Vast areas of Zimbabwe's towns and cities are
deprived of lighting, or have grossly inadequate lighting providing safe
haven to the thousands of criminals who exploit the obscurity provided by
shadows and darkness. And industrial, mining and agricultural production is
seriously constrained by instabilities and uncertainties of power
Of major concern is also that in less than three years from
the present, neighbouring states who provide Zimbabwe with a substantial
portion of its electricity requirements will be forced to discontinue those
supplies, as their domestic needs increase and absorb their present energy
Zimbabwean telecommunications are becoming a
massive disaster, and yet telecommunications are of critical importance to
efficient economic activity. During normal business hours it is
increasingly impossible to make subscriber trunk dialling calls from
Bulawayo to other centres in Zimbabwe, let alone to destinations further
afield. Invariably, after having dialled only half of the digits of a
desired telephone number, thecaller is the recipient of an engaged signal,
and that can occur on each and every attempt to make the call over several
The only telecommunication growth area in Zimbabwe is in the
scales of TelOne charges, which rise in draconian increases at regular
levels, the increases or charges being equalled by the extent of the decline
in service delivery.
The collapsing telecommunications resource
is not confined to Zimbabwe's landline system. It is as catastrophic with
the mobile telephone facilities. On the one hand the most frequent result of
any attempted call on the 091 network is message "Network Busy", and when
the caller ultimately succeeds in penetrating that barrier, he can
anticipate that, with a highdegree of probability, his call will be
summarily terminated within three minutes, requiring repeated attempts to
(It could be argued, however that is economically beneficial,
for it enables the service provider to make several charges, as a minimum
charge is attributable to each call.)
And the cataclysmic state
of Zimbabwean telecommunications, also impacts negatively upon service
provider for e-mail systems. The cost of lost transactions and of other
economic opportunities, due to the disastrous telecommunications is
unquantifiable, but must amount to trillions.
The sad litany of near
useless infrastructure is not, however, confined to electricity supply and
telecommunications. Also subject to inclusion in such a litany are
Zimbabwean rail services. Locomotives, rolling stock, lines of rail and
signal systems are in critical need of maintenance andrepair, refurbishment
and upgrade, but are not sufficiently in receipt of those needs. The result
is the inability of National Railways of Zimbabwe to provide reliable
services for the carriage of coal from Hwange, and of goods for commerce and
Other parastals within the transport sector are similarly
unable toservice Zimbabwe's needs. In particular, although Air Zimbabwe must
have amongst the world's best insofar as cockpit and cabin crew, and ground
check-in personnel are concerned, it has a grossly inadequate fleet of
The lack of suitable and sufficient aircraft prevents Air
Zimbabwe from servicing Kariba and Hwange National Park, and from providing
air freight access to major potential regional export markets such asAngola.
Moreover, whensoever aircraft are commandeered by the President for regional
or international travel, and whenever an aircraft is inoperable for
technical reasons, immense disruption of schedules result, with very adverse
repercussions upon the business and tourism communities.
portions of the city of Harare have been without water for many months, to
the prejudice of community health and of industrial operations. Traffic flows
are appalling because of the pot-holes and generally poor state of the
city's roads, and many of Zimbabwe's local authorities are unable to provide
the extent of sewerage and refuse collection services necessary. Much
ofZimbabwe's health services are nearing the point of collapse, and the same
is increasingly applicable to the country's secondary and tertiary education
Unless and until government dynamically addresses the
restoration and expansion of the Zimbabwean infrastructures, reinforced by
like action by the private sector in areas such as the non-governmental
telecommunications, those infrastructures will continue be a source of
HOW come remarks President Mugabe made at a "closed meeting" with
ambassadors found their way onto the front page of the Herald? Was this a
closed meeting or not? Furthermore, everything Mugabe said appears to
have been given a spin to make him look tough and the ambassadors
"According to sources", Mugabe "categorically told" the ambassadors
of Britain, the United States and Australia last Thursday when they
presented their credentials that "Zimbabwe was an independent nation which
brooked no interference in its affairs." Then either one of the "informed
sources" or the Herald reporter added the following: "The three nations are
angered by the land reforms Harare embarked upon to correct historical
injustices of skewed land ownership patterns in the country."
what Zanu PF wants the country to think the ambassadors are angry about. But
were they asked if that was the main sources of their "anger"? Is electoral
manipulation, political violence and suppression of democratic choice not
also a factor in their attitude towards Zimbabwe? Might they not be
concerned about threats against judges, the muzzling of independent
newspapers and the assault on civil society?
Of course the wilful
sabotage of productive agriculture at a time when Zimbabwe expects the rest
of the world to subsidise its poverty alleviation and HIV/Aids awareness
programmes is a legitimate cause for concern, not just in Britain, the US
and Australia but in the region where refugees are pouring into neighbouring
states. But it is just part of a pattern of misrule that has made Zimbabwe
Mugabe told the ambassadors that regime change was the
mandate of Zimbabweans, not outsiders. So what happens when the
government strips people of their citizenship to prevent them voting,
mobilises Zanu PF's militias to beat up opponents, and uses the police to
prevent rallies? What do Zimbabweans do when they are not allowed to express
themselves or gather for meetings? What do they do when they have no access
to the public broadcaster or any other means of expressing their
Let's hope the ambassadors, who included Nigeria's, were a little
more "categorical" than the Herald led us to believe in responding to
"The US and Australian envoys said their
countries did not question the legitimacy of President Mugabe," the Herald
told us. Did they? And why does Mugabe feel so insecure about his
"The president said the government regarded the opposition
MDC as a creation of the British because Mr Blair had openly admitted to
working with the opposition party to effect regime change in
Wouldn't it be more accurate to regard the MDC as a
creation of Zanu PF? Is the MDC not the product of Zanu PF's failed economic
And what happened to Tiny Rowland's cheque for one million
pounds which the late Eddison Zvobgo passed on to the ruling party's
treasury? Was that ever sent back in a spirit of nationalist indignation:
"We can't be bought?"
No, they were happy to cash it! Blair said he
would work with a number of people in the region including President Thabo
Mbeki and other leaders to secure change in Zimbabwe. Mugabe left that bit
out! He told Dr Pullen that "we do not worship false gods but we worship one
He didn't say who that was. Another country Zanu PF took
cash from was Nigeria which is weekly excoriated in the official press. The
Nigerians gave US$5 million for the purchase of Zimpapers which now daily
attacks Olusegun Obasanjo's government.
"We should not lose the unity
as Africans," Mugabe told the Nigerian ambassador. "If there are problems,
we should discuss. We must always talk." Does that include the Sunday Mail
inventing what the Nigerian Foreign minister described as a "ludicrous and
false" story about Nigeria giving money to the MDC? Is that part of the
discourse Mugabe envisages?
Mugabe told US ambassador Christopher Dell
that Zimbabweans would go back to the bush in pursuit of their sovereignty
Many would argue that there is no need for that. Under
Mugabe's regime the bush has reclaimed large swathes of the country. Once
rich arable land is now desert. Wildlife has been decimated. And roads,
schools and clinics have reached an advanced state of decay.
instead of hearing a robust reply from the ambassadors on issues of
governance and the rule of law, all we got was Rod Pullen talking about
mending relations and Dell blithely suggesting there were similarities
between America's history of fighting British colonial rule and
Zimbabwe's. Does this mean we have to think of Robert Mugabe as George
Washington crossing the Mukuvisi? Or Didymus Mutasa as Paul Revere riding
from Rusape to Mutare in his Jeep Cherokee warning "the British are
As everybody knows, new ambassadors are always keen to "mend
relations" upon arrival. This, after all, is what diplomats are here to
But sooner or later they discover the absolute impossibility of
dealing with a regime that is locked in its own self-serving illusions and
puerile propaganda, impervious to reason and intent upon abusing even the
mildest of critics like Botswana.
Last week the Namibian Information
minister, Nangolo Mbumba, had to politely remind his over-heated allies in
Harare to stop wasting time looking for enemies everywhere when there were
That wasn't the only remark that must have come as a
rude shock to his listeners. Mbumba, launching the regional propaganda
vehicle, the Southern Times, said the press are "watchdogs" who uncover
"errors and wrongdoings by those in authority". A free press was not a
luxury, he said. "It is at the heart of equitable development
"A free press can contribute to the reduction of
poverty and boost economic development in poor countries," Mbumba said.
"However, remember the success of newspapers, radio and TV stations in
spurring development depends on their independence and their ability to
reach a wide audience."
Independence? Independent papers distributed in
areas patrolled by militia gangs? This is heresy! Fortunately Zimpapers
chairman Herbert Nkala was on hand to show such enlightened pronouncements
were not part of official policy when he gave a mind-numbing speech about
those who only yesterday "sought to undermine and plunder the continent". He
didn't tell us who were doing that with great success today!
thinks the launch of the Southern Times will correctly tell the African
story from "African eyes". He didn't say why other newspapers in the
Zimpapers stable have not been able to tell that story
"Reading about Africa in the Western media, one only reads
about scorched earth, hopelessness, despair, hunger and disease," said Nkala
ruefully at the launch of the Southern Times in Victoria
Falls. Unfortunately to a large extent his words aptly describe the situation
in Africa thanks to the rapacity of its politicians who misuse the "natural
and human resources" he referred to and squander scarce resources importing
foreign-manufactured luxury vehicles.
manufacturer Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries is on the brink of
closure. A leadership that is uncomfortable looking at its dishonest face in
the mirror derives comfort in blaming phantom enemies. Even Nkala should be
aware by now that it is in Zimpapers publications that every self-respecting
Zimbabwean is driven to frustration and utter despair. The lies are simply
insulting. All hope for the future gets butchered in the state-controlled
Meanwhile, the Southern Times has retreated from its original
claim to be the New Sunday Times. A few warning shots from the Sunday Times
in Johannesburg seem to have put paid to the bombast in Harare that they
could call it what they liked!
One predictable story in the inaugural
edition claimed "Namibia, South Africa, Kenya and Chagos Island in the
Indian Ocean region, to name but a few, took the cue from Zimbabwe (at a
Ministers of Agriculture summit in Dar-es-Salaam recently) and have started
pushing for the equitable redistribution of the land."
understanding was that South Africa and Kenya in particular were keen to
avoid Zimbabwe's lawless and arbitrary land seizures. And their ministers
have said so. Even Namibia has made it clear it will pursue legal and
Another story suggests "Sadc countries have
unequivocally shut the door on donors and foreign powers that seek to
interfere in the affairs of African countries by adopting election
guidelines for the 14-member grouping".
What the writer means is that
now Sadc has adopted the rules donors and civil society were demanding, it
can afford to close the door - until it needs another handout. Needless to
say, it turned out to be a Herald story. We can imagine how far the new
paper is likely to go in winning hearts and minds. Just what everybody
wanted: another government mouthpiece encouraging us to "stand foursquare"
behind Presidents Mugabe and Nujoma. But thanks to Cde Mbumba for his little
ray of sunshine.
Still on the subject of Zimbabweans worshipping at the
altar of one true God, we had somebody in all seriousness writing in the
Herald last week that President Mugabe was "divinely-appointed". All
kinds of hard things had been said against the president and the government,
Owen Matamisa wrote. But the demonisation of Mugabe could not go
"Attacks on the head of state and the government are
direct attacks on the church," he claimed. He illustrated his hagiography
with the story of King Nebuchadnezzar who ordered the captive Jews to
worship his image of gold.
"The people of Judah were opposed to these
decrees and they could have condemned Nebuchadnezzar.However, it remained
true that the Babylonian king was on the throne by divine
"This is the point I am trying to bring home," Matamisa
laboured on. "It is God who sets up kings. Yes, it is good to talk about
elections and democracy but God is not so much into voting but
prayer. "Even the devil himself is fully aware that President Mugabe is a
great international statesman." Recognition at last!
will have seen the Homelink supplement inserted in the Independent and other
papers advertising the benefits of the scheme and reporting on the
governor's recent visit to the US, UK and South Africa.
As one would
expect, it is breezily upbeat. But while the RBZ can be expected to be
radiant about Homelink's prospects, we were surprised by the resentful tone
adopted by Mike Hamilton of MHPR Public Relations Consultants, a member of
Gideon Gono's roadshow team, who used the supplement to take a number of pot
shots at unnamed newspapers and their readers.
Articles and Letters
to the Editor in "some newspapers" gave the impression that "many people
were opposed to our mission for political reasons", Hamilton complained. But
far from the rough ride that some newspapers claimed the team was given, "it
was plain sailing almost all the way".
Protests were "small and
insignificant", Hamilton claimed. Six to eight people in Dallas, four people
in Birmingham, and 13 people outside the Zimbabwe embassy in
Only in South Africa was there a significant protest, Hamilton
said, and even there they were outnumbered by those who would have liked to
hear the governor's speech but were prevented from doing so.
said, as a former editor, he was "disappointed by the inaccurate, distorted
and false reports about the mission in some media." In particular, he
resented the suggestion that the governor and his team were begging people
to part with their money.
There was no pleading, Hamilton said. Most
Zimbabweans were already sending money home. What the team wanted to do was
tell them about the advantages of Homelink.
So there you have it. No
rough ride at all. Just a handful of insignificant protestors while
newspapers back home distorted the record by suggesting people were opposed
to the Homelink roadshow for political reasons.
Shocking what some papers
will say! And do you know what: some protestors in Dallas held up more than
one placard to make it look as if there were more of them! Will Zimbabwe's
detractors stop at nothing in their bid to demonise the government? Mike
Hamilton, we are told, drafted news releases to keep the media, particularly
in Zimbabwe, informed about the team's progress.
Did this include
informing the media of when Dr Gono would be leaving Zimbabwe and arriving
in the US? Did it include informing the media of his itinerary in the US and
UK? And why spend billions on promoting Homelink in the US/UK if Gono's team
was just preaching to the converted?
But back to the ambassadors: as
expected of those who earn their salaries by dreaming up plots and
conspiracies against the government, there was no soft landing for the new
envoys in ruined Zimbabwe. They were all clones of those they were replacing
who should not be given the benefit of the doubt, fulminated Nathaniel
Manheru on Saturday.
"They are an evil that can only be under-described
and that is all that the passage of time will signify," he cried. "There
will be no surprises, save by way of degree of vileness," was Manheru's
Welcome to Zanu PF hospitality guys! But there was a clear
irony in the reference to cloning. We need go no further than Nathaniel
Manheru, Mzala Joe and Lowani Ndlovu to see Dolly the sheep replicating
Zanu PF last week went through the pointless ritual of holding
an election in which there was no challenge. It then won against itself, for
it is in Zanu PF that there are reports of serious infighting in the
primaries. After the constituency registrar announced that the Zanu PF
candidate Phineas Chihota had been duly elected, the Herald says about 30
supporters broke into song and dance. That's about all they are good
An elated Chihota then told the same supporters who had spent the
whole day with him at the Magistrates' court that "his victory showed that
he had the backing of a strong party and government". But who will he be
representing during his short stint as an MP? Who voted for him? Luckily
for all decent Zimbabweans the circus will last no more than six
We are going to let Herald sports reporters recant on their
own. The whole of last week we were inundated with inane propaganda about
how the Zimbabwe Warriors would perform a miracle at the National Sports
Stadium, how the Nigerian Super Eagles would be butchered and
In one particularly fanciful piece of journalism, Shingirai
Kawondera and Benjani Mwaruwari would turn into "weapons of mass
destruction" against Nigeria's Super Eagles that would be the envy of George
If that's meant to show patriotism, even zealots at times know
the limit of fantasy. But Herald reporters wrote their stories as if the day
of reckoning would never arrive so there would be no need for proof. It did
come and the super patriots have been full of curses and expletives ever
since the Super Eagles landed on the turf in the National Sports Stadium.
They are all wise after the event noticing all sorts of comings and goings
they failed to spot before the match!
If there is one thing that
state-controlled media can learn from Zimbabwe's humiliation, it is that
even the Big Lie will at some point be exposed for what it is. We needed a
team like Nigeria to remove all the illusions we have about what a great
country we are and the success of Jonathan Moyo's propaganda. Like the state
media finally conceded after the game on Sunday, the Nigerians didn't have
to sweat for their 3-0 win. The title of Mtulisi Mafa's story on Saturday
was "Nigeria can get three points in Lagos but not in Harare". Reality
can be quite sobering!
IMF debt: time running out for Zim Ndamu
Sandu ZIMBABWE is now left with only three months to make or break its
relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the country has
to make significant progress to settle its US$291 million
Zimbabwe, which has failed to service its IMF debt since February
2001, is the first country to have protracted overdue obligations to the
IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).
As at June
30, Zimbabwe had been making monthly payments of US$1,5 million. Zimbabwe
lost its voting rights in the 184-member grouping last year. In July, the
IMF gave Zimbabwe a stay of execution for a period of six months to pay its
arrears to the institution.
Although Zimbabwe has been making some
repayments to the multi-lateral institution, the IMF said the country was
making small payments to clear its arrears of US$291
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono told
businessdigest that the country was making efforts to repay the
international financial institution.
"We have significantly made
improvements on repayment. We are no longer repaying US$1,5 million a month.
We have definitely improved. Imagine if we can pay US$10 million in one day
for fuel, by how much can we fail to increase our payment?" he
In a review of countries in protracted arrears to the IMF, the
multi-lateral financial institution this week said Liberia, Somalia and
Sudan account for 88% of all overdue debt obligations, with Sudan making up
more than 52% of total arrears at the end of June.
The IMF said
other debtors were Iraq and Zimbabwe which owe the institution US$80 million
and US$291 million, respectively in default.
Total arrears to the IMF
were about US$3 billion as at the end of June.
Economist John Robertson
said considering the crisis besetting the country and the issue of
priorities, Zimbabwe had no realistic chance of repaying its arrears since
the amount owed to the IMF "is a lot of money".
He said Zimbabwe was
making a token payment so that IMF "will say we are trying our level
Robertson said the IMF would not expel Zimbabwe as the matter
has to be put to vote.
"Expulsion will not happen as the
countries have to vote and Zimbabwe has support from other African
countries," Robertson said. "The IMF will not expel Zimbabwe. The country
will remain a member without voting rights as well as borrowing
Zimbabwe was also excluded from a United States Bill
providing for the cancellation of debts owed to the IMF by selected 50 poor
countries. The Justice and Understanding by IMF Loan Elimination and Equity
(Jubilee) Bill, if enacted into law, intends to cancel multilateral debts
owed to the IMF by eligible poor countries while promoting human and
economic development and poverty alleviation.
"The IMF shall
cancel all debts owed to the IMF by eligible poor countries and finance the
debt cancellation from ongoing operations, procedures and accounts of the
IMF established as of the end of the most recent fiscal year, including the
Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (formerly known as the Enhanced
Structural Adjustment Facility," the Bill says.
The Bill says the
waiting period for debt "cancellation shall not exceed one month from the
date of eligible poor country's application for debt cancellation".
Zimbabwe debt soars to $1,4 trillion Ngoni
Chanakira ZIMBABWE'S domestic debt which stood at $590,5 billion in December
last year has ballooned to $1,4 trillion as at June 25.
figures available from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on the country's foreign
debt are for November when the figure stood at US$4 billion.
domestic debt, which stood at $346 billion in December 2002 rose
dramatically to $546 billion as at June 30 2003.
NMB Holdings Ltd
this week said Treasury Bills, which were mainly two-year paper, account for
93% ($1,3 trillion) while government stock accounted for the balance of
The financial institution said government intended to further
restructure the domestic debt during the second half of the
Analysts said the high interest rates would continue to be a
burden on the fiscus.
They said the increased borrowing had tied
up a high percentage of the nation's savings.
They said the
domestic debt would continue to soar due to the necessity to fund various
imports such as electricity, grain and providing financial support for
When he took over as RBZ governor, Gideon
Gono said the current debt overhang had a negative impact on money supply
numbers and, therefore, efforts to fight inflation.
Treasury and monetary authorities and the private sector were engaged in
active discussions over the idea of ring-fencing this debt and coming up
with innovative instruments of dealing with the entire outstanding domestic
Gono then proposed a zero-coupon bond where government issues a
zero-coupon bond which investors purchase at a discount.
proposed a weighting system to determine the discount factor for the said
Another idea to try and stop the soaring domestic debt was that
of converting the current domestic debt into foreign debt.
said government with the help of the private sector would, on a bilateral
basis, request friendly countries to issue foreign currency denominated
bonds in international capital markets.
The foreign currency raised
would then be sold to the RBZ and the local currency used to extinguish
domestic debt while the foreign currency with the RBZ could then be used to
repay part of the foreign debt or meet the country's import
It, however, seems none of these proposals have begun
to bear fruit if they have been put in motion.
of payments position has remained weak, largely as a result of poor export
performance and continuing importer demand.
Forex shortage set to worsen Eric Chiriga THE
shortage of foreign currency on the auction floor is set to worsen as the
tobacco season, one of the major foreign currency earners, has ended. By the
close of the season last week, a meagre 65,4 million kg of tobacco valued at
US$132 million had been sold.
This compared to US$184 million from 81
million kg sold last season.
At its peak, the tobacco industry earned
about US$600 million.
According to the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association
(ZTA), before the disruptions of tobacco farming by the land reform
programme, tobacco exports contributed more than 25% to the country's total
foreign currency earnings. This has now declined to 20%.
close of the tobacco season will worsen the shortage of foreign currency at
the forex auction floors," David Mupamhadzi, an economist from Trust
Holdings Ltd said.
He said there were already problems at the forex
auction floors and the difference between the total amounts available far
exceeded the total number of bids placed.
On September 2 the
amount of foreign currency on offer was only US$10 million compared to US$52
million total amount of bids, falling short by US$42
Mupamhadzi said the increase in company capacity utilisation
was the major reason why the amount of bids is increasing.
said foreign currency sourced from other sources such as platinum and gold
were already committed to other things.
To better manage Zimbabwe's
foreign currency reserves, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) adopted a
foreign currency auction system.
The system involves the auctioning
of foreign currency to the foreign
exchange market through a currency
exchange within the RBZ.
All exporters discharge CD1 forms on the
basis of gross export proceeds.
Of the total foreign exchange earnings,
50% can be retained in Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs) for a maximum period
of 21 days.
Exporters' FCAs continue to be deposited with the
After expiry of the 21-day retention period, exporters will be
required to liquidate their FCA funds through the auction.
RBZ introduced a carrot and stick retention based export incentive
Under this scheme, exporters who repatriate their export
proceeds timeously will be rewarded while those who exceed the stipulated
period without exchange control approval will be
Authorised dealers will be required to buy foreign
exchange from small suppliers such as tourists and individuals on behalf of
the RBZ at the ruling auction rate for supply to the auction.
Rest in peace BW Joram
Nyathi HE worked like he had an urgent, grim appointment with destiny. He
loathed sloth and hoist himself with his own petard. He shunned publicity
like a plague. A lawyer by profession, he preferred to labour in anonymity
as a property developer, in the process helping thousands of Zimbabweans
secure a roof over their heads.
On Friday, August 27 Biriam
Wabatagore died in a freak vehicle accident in Mvurwi. So was cut short our
friendship of 27 years.
I first met Biriam in 1977 when we were doing
Form 1 at Masase Secondary School in Mberengwa. Like myself, a relative was
paying his school fees because his parents could not afford
Masase was closed down in 1979 because of the liberation war
and we moved briefly to Bulawayo and then in 1980 went on to reopen Manama
Secondary School in Matabeleland South which had also been closed in 1976
because of the war.
Biriam went to Goromonzi High School for his
'A' levels while I went to St Ignatius College in Chishawasha. We reunited
at the University of Zimbabwe in 1983 where he studied law while I did
English. After completing his Masters programme in 1986, majoring in real
estate and property development, Biriam joined Guni & Guni Legal
Practitioners and remained there up to the time of his death last month. By
that time he had become the owner and the firm had changed its name to
Wabatagore & Company.
He told me it was Paul Mkondo (yes, Va Paul
Mkondo of "itai cent cent vakomana" fame) who helped him buy the firm when
he was still struggling without the connections that make you forge ahead
faster than your contemporaries. Va Mkondo already saw the potential in the
young lawyer to stake his reputation and fortune as a guarantor. I have no
doubt he is very proud he made the right decision but heartbroken that
Biriam died suddenly in the prime of his life without a farewell even to his
beloved wife Audrey who, along with three of their children, barely survived
At the time of his death Biriam had just bought a
house in Glen Lorne after selling another one in Milton Park. It was as a
property developer that Biriam helped many home-seekers. He bought
semi-built houses, completed them and sold the properties. As a partner in
Damofalls Investments, Biriam touched the lives of many who didn't know him.
He turned thousands of acres of land from Ruwa to Bulawayo into stands for
It was rare to find him at home after
work. He did much of his work at night after closing his offices on Kwame
Nkrumah Avenue. Each time I telephoned him he was either in Ruwa or Zimre
Park or Budiriro supervising the construction of one of his housing
Biriam wanted to make money and ensure his children did not
taste the life of penury that he went through. He was very indulgent about
their wants. All of them go to the most elite schools in town. He achieved
more than the average professional can do in a working life of 50 years. He
died at 41.
Biriam was a very good counsellor. He counselled many of
his companions at home. In fact, he took so much time using his legal brain
and professional experience to help us to a point where we assumed he didn't
have problems. He had, but took refuge in hard work. It was like he knew he
didn't have long to live and couldn't waste time in idle
He didn't drink, he didn't smoke, he had no time for sport
and was generally cynical about people we call friends. Biriam never went on
holiday all his life, had all his meetings in the office and his meals at
home. He didn't have time to acquire a passport despite his wealth. His
musical tastes were essentially Zimbabwean, especially the social
commentaries of System Tazvida, Pengaudzoke and Mbira Dzenharira. He loved
his music loud in a fast car.
His social circle was very limited. I
saw only one lawyer at his funeral. He believed unless one was a childhood
friend, it was hard to make real friends in Harare. His best friend was his
The last day we spent together at his house in Glen Lorne
three weeks ago there was a stack of 72 doors in his garage. He said he was
working on a flats complex.
In the course of the day he took me
on a tour of the earthly equivalent of the biblical mountain where the devil
took Jesus. It was Folyjohn Crescent where the crème de la crème of
Zimbabwe's most successful professionals live. If you have not passed
through the two guarded gates of that crescent, you don't know Harare, he
said. Top bankers are in that crescent. He showed me the home of one
football player and golfer Nick Price's Pamushana mansion. Although the
place has smaller stands than his six-acre plot, he said it was his dream
location. I'm certain it would not have taken him a year to make the leap
In his vehicle on that day he had three books which he said
he had just bought in town for over $300 000, Dr Joshua Nkomo's The Story of
My Life and another titled The Street Lawyer. I can't recall the third. But
it is clear now that he believed time had arrived to tell his story, and
that life begins at 40. He bought his Glen Lorne home for $340 million cash
at the age of 40 last year.
But his ambitions were cut short by a
cruel fate on the night of August 27. It made a mockery of the exhortation
that a man shall eat from the sweat of his brow. For here was a man who
sweated and reaped a bountiful harvest but was denied the right to eat. I
can see no heavenly plan in this.
Thus ended the career of a
brilliant young lawyer who transformed the lives of many who visited his
offices, and some who never saw him in person. We had to undertake the long
journey to his rural home in Mberengwa for burial. That was his express wish
before he died.
The funeral befitted a man of Biriam's stature. Two
beasts were slaughtered to feed the multitudes who came to pay their last
respects to a worthy son.