Mon Sep 17, 10:59 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Planned legislation that would place the majority share of
all listed firms in the hands of indigenous blacks will lead to a fall in
foreign investment and worsen Zimbabwe's economic woes, business leaders
Members of a parliamentary committee that is currently debating the
controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment bill were told that
the proposed law was both ill-timed and outdated.
Cain Mpofu, chief executive of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce,
said the correction of the historical imbalances should have been tackled by
veteran President Robert Mugabe's government when the former British colony
gained independence in 1980.
"It, however, must be appreciated that 27 years down the road there has been
an evolution and there is now significant change in ownership of business in
Zimbabwe," Mpofu told the MPs.
"The timing, therefore, does not appear appropriate for the following
reasons: the economy is in a tail spin, international perception about
proprietary rights protection in Zimbabwe is at its lowest and inflation is
the highest in the world."
"There is a likelihood of a 30 percent drop in foreign direct investment
following passage of the proposed act.
"A decline in gross domestic product is also to be anticipated after
implementation of the indigenisation programme," he added.
Jack Murehwa, president of the Chamber of Mines, said the government should
not try to force through changes of ownership.
"Government should facilitate the operations of the sector and not impose
themselves on the sector operations," he said.
"Where ownership has to change hands, this should be on voluntary and fair
The draft bill, which is now before the Harare-based parliament's legal
committee, has raised fears among foreign-owned companies operating in
Zimbabwe that they will soon lose control of their firms.
Some of the firms dually listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and London
Securities Exchange include Old Mutual, NMB Bank and mining firm Hwange.
Multi-national firms that may be affected by the policy, first unveiled in
June, include Barclays Bank, Bindura Nickel Corporation and mining giant Rio
In June, Mugabe warned that his government would seize and nationalise firms
he said were profiteering excessively in a bid to incite Zimbabweans to
revolt against the state.
Zimbabwe currently has the world's highest rate of inflation of more than
7,600 percent, as well as an unemployment rate of around 80 percent.
September 17 2007 at 12:07PM
Harare - The Zimbabwe government's threat to take over companies
defying controversial price controls is not a joke, Industry Minister Obert
Mpofu was quoted as saying on Monday.
Obert Mpofu told the ruling Zanu-PF party members meeting at the
weekend in western Zimbabwe that the government had already started
identifying companies it plans to take over.
While embarking on this project of price stabilisation we are now deep
in the process of identifying all those business entities who are for regime
change with a view of taking over the companies, Mpofu was quoted as saying
by the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper.
"It is unfortunate that when we say these things, people brush them
off and say it is only a joke," he said. "We are now going to take over the
companies buy them out.
"If they think we are not serious, let them wait until we knock at
their doorsteps," added the minister, who chairs a special taskforce
responsible for enforcing price controls imposed more than two months ago.
Mpofu was Monday due to meet with some major companies including
industrial retail giant Edgars, according to the Chronicle.
Reports last week said Edgars was about to close down 19 of its 55
clothing stores, putting at risk the jobs of more than 200 workers.
The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, a respected business weekly linked
the store closures directly to the price cuts that have made business
unviable for many companies here.
Mugabe's government imposed price cuts of at least 50 per cent in June
to try to fight inflation, which has now reached more than 7 600 percent.
But the controls appear to have backfired. Stores are now empty of
most basics, including meat, milk, bread, cooking oil and sugar.
Many of the goods are available on the black market though at inflated
Mpofu admitted at the weekend that it was difficult to enforce the
price controls if the government did not control the companies that produced
"Right now, if we are to take a stroll in our cities, most of the
shops have run out of commodities," Mpofu noted.
"But these same commodities are there in the streets and houses where
people are buying them. This simply shows how difficult it is to control
something which is not yours," he was quoted by the Chronicle as saying. -
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
17 September 2007
Posted to the web 17 September 2007
The amount set aside by the Zimbabwean government to feed at least four
million people identified as food insecure is "a mere drop in the sea", say
Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi announced in early September that the
government had set aside Z$347 billion (about US$1.02 million at the
parallel market rate) to buy food for 600,000 households it had identified
as hungry, due to poor harvests after a combination of drought and critical
shortages of inputs.
The government's budget allocation would "buy less", said John Robertson, a
Zimbabwean economist, because of the rapidly depreciating Zimbabwean dollar
and foreign exchange shortages.
Rates on the black market have been rising steeply, with one US dollar now
costing about 340,000 Zimbabwean dollars, an increase of around Z$120,000
per US dollar since the additional money for relief was announced.
Renson Gasela, an expert on agriculture and a former chief executive officer
of the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB), pointed out that "in real
terms" the money allocated by the government for the rollout of food would
only buy about 40,000 metric tonnes (mt) of cereals.
In order to avert widespread hunger, particularly in the worst affected
provinces of Masvingo and Matabeleland South and North, the government has
already bought 500,000 metric tonnes (mt) of grain from Zambia and Malawi,
leaving a net deficit of over 600,000mt to meet the national requirement,
according to the official daily newspaper, The Herald.
Mumbengegwi also set aside Z$800 billion (about US$2.3 million) to import
maize, and for the GMB to purchase grain from farmers. The newspaper said
the allocation would put the government "in the driving seat in terms of
drought relief purposes, ahead of non-governmental organisations [NGOs] and
international donors, such as the World Food Programme (WFP)".
The amount seems small compared to the US$118 million appeal launched by WFP
to provide immediate assistance to 3.3 million of the 4.1 million people
that UN agencies estimate will be facing severe food shortages from now
until March 2008. The remainder will be supported by NGOs, including the
Consortium for the Southern Africa Food Emergency (C-SAFE).
"The reality is that the central bank's foreign currency coffers are
severely strained and, as has been happening in the past, the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe will be forced to go to the black market to scoop out the much
needed foreign currency," Robertson told IRIN. The time factor would also be
critical in procuring the food, as the Zimbabwean dollar was depreciating in
value at a fast pace.
Robertson speculated that since the government was "heavily burdened by both
domestic and external debts" it could be left "with no option but to print
more money and, in the process, push up inflation".
The government-controlled Central Statistical Office maintains that
inflation is slightly over 7,000 percent, but the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe, a watchdog body, has said it had reached more than 13,000 percent.
The reality is that the central bank's foreign currency coffers are severely
strained and, as has been happening in the past, the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe will be forced to go to the black market to scoop out the much
needed foreign currency
In late June the government ordered prices to be cut by 50 percent and
forced businesses to comply, but the exercise backfired as it led to
widespread shortages in shops and in the manufacturing industry, with
commodities surfacing in the black market at exorbitant prices.
Gasela said the GMB's silos were "virtually empty" because farmers were
reluctant to sell the little they harvested for the poor prices the
government was offering.
The government backtracked on its price-control policy in August, and since
then prices have shot up again, further compromising food security: basic
commodities such as maizemeal, the staple food, are now beyond the reach of
Maize prices in US dollar equivalents in three monitored markets - Harare,
the Zimbabwean capital; Bulawayo, in the southwest, the second city; and the
eastern city of Mutare - rose by 23 percent on average, from US$1.24 per kg
in July to US$1.52 per kg in August, according to the USAID-funded Famine
Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-NET), which used the official revised
exchange rate of Z$15,000 to US$1.
Rural residents have begun to work for food. Tapiwa Goronga, 48, a resident
of Chikomba district, southwest of Harare, walks 15km to the village
shopping centre three times a week, where he does odd jobs for the owner of
a grinding mill, for which he is paid three kg of maizemeal.
"I did not harvest anything this year and the grinding mill is my only hope,
otherwise my four children and wife would starve."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
Mon 17 Sep 2007, 13:37 GMT
By Jeremy Lovell
LONDON (Reuters) - The humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has become the
world's worst but is still largely ignored by the international community, a
member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on
David Coltart, one of Zimbabwe's leading white politicians and member of
parliament for a mainly black constituency, said the crisis in the former
British colony had far outgrown the ability of any single nation to tackle.
He accused United Nations food and health agencies of a gross dereliction of
duty in keeping silent on the issue.
"Zimbabwe is the world's worst humanitarian crisis -- but no one is talking
about it in public," he told Reuters on a visit to London. "It is absolutely
catastrophic. The U.N. must act.
"Not only are people starving to death every day, but the collapse of the
economy is starting to destabilise the region."
Inflation in the country once known as the breadbasket of Africa is running
at around 4,500 percent, unemployment is at 80 percent and price controls
have stripped supermarket shelves bare.
Even staple foods like bread and maize meal are virtually impossible to get
hold of and people have been reduced to scavenging.
President Robert Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, blames the
economic disaster on meddling by outside countries, including former
colonial power Britain.
They in turn deny the accusation and blame Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF
party for incompetence, nepotism and corruption.
"What we need is a massive humanitarian relief effort. Mugabe is
deliberately using food as a weapon," said Coltart, who is secretary for
legal affairs for a faction of the MDC.
"The trouble is that on the surface everything is quiet -- it is in the
hospitals and in the morgues that you see the truth," he added.
Coltart said mediation talks with South Africa were making some headway on
issues like a new constitution, electoral law, security amd relaxing
draconian media restrictions, but there was still a long way to go.
And time was running short with presidential and possibly parliamentary
elections expected in March next year.
"We need to get agreement on a new constitution by then, and it doesn't give
us much time to finish an awful lot of work," Coltart said.
He urged his divided party to end internal feuding and prepare to fight the
elections with a united front.
"If we fight the election still divided it will be a gift to ZANU-PF and a
disasted for Zimbabwe," Coltart added.
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 September 2007
Posted to the web 17 September 2007
11 members of a new human rights group were severely assaulted by police and
arrested on Friday as they gathered for a peaceful march in Harare.
Stan Zvorwadza, vice president of Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe
(ROHRZim), said about 500 members of their group were gathering for the
march when they were disrupted by heavily armed police who proceeded to
assault them with baton sticks and booted feet. Ironically the march was to
protest police brutality. Zvorwadza said: "The police have become vicious
animals in Zimbabwe. They have become vicious leopards who brutalise people
for no reason whatsoever."
The 11 spent 3 days in custody and were released late Monday afternoon after
paying a Z$40,000 fine each for 'disorderly behavior.' A furious Zvorwadza
blasted the police saying they are playing games with the system by
ruthlessly detaining people, then letting them go without any serious
charge. Referring to the fine, he said: "You can't even buy a sweet for that
amount of money in Zimbabwe."
Zvorwadza revealed that the 11 activists were assaulted while in police
custody. He said one of them was removed from the group and severely
battered by a notorious CIO agent whose name he did not disclose. Those who
needed medical assistance were denied it.
Regarding the incident Friday, Zvorwadza explained that their members had
gathered on the sidewalk in order to keep traffic flowing and avoid causing
problems. Opposing police brutality is one element of the mission of
Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe. Zvorwadza said: "They do not follow
normal police principles used in other democratic countries. They beat
first, then arrest."
He added that the group is trying to educate people about their rights. They
also want the police to realize that what they are doing is morally and
politically wrong. He said: "They are supposed to protect the public instead
of victimising them for expressing their rights."
Police violence in Zimbabwe has intensified as the economic situation
continues to deteriorate. Any public expression of frustration by the masses
has been met with brutal response by armed forces. Opposition leaders,
students and civil activists have all been victims of police brutality, and
lawyers who represent them have not been spared either.
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 September 2007
Posted to the web 17 September 2007
Raucous Zanu PF youths on Saturday denied a victim of Robert Mugabe's
operation Murambatsvina a decent burial in Harare, when they assaulted
mourners at her funeral before taking off with the corpse.
According to eyewitnesses at Mabvuku cemetry, gangs of ruling party militia
were angered by the presence of members of the Combined Harare Residents
Association (CHRA) whom they accused of belonging to the opposition MDC. The
youths reportedly found alliance in the form of the riot police who beat up
and arrested mourners, while the Zanu PF thugs took off with the corpse.
At least 65 CHRA members were arrested and charged under the draconian
Public Order and Security Act, before they were released after paying an
admission of guilt fine. The police reportedly deflated tyres of the truck
that was carrying the body and mourners before locking up the group at
Harare Central Police Station.
CHRA information officer Mfundo Mlilo, who was amongst the arrested, said
Mugabe had denied Jenaguru peace "in life and beyond the grave".
Mlilo said: "This woman had her home and life taken away when the government
launched their Murambatsvina campaign and for some inhumane reason was
denied a decent send off that we all have a right to.
The Zanu PF youths stole her body and threatened mourners with death and
actually spent a night with it until the next day, when they buried her in
the company of only one of the deceased's uncles because four of her other
relatives had been arrested. All CHRA did was to attempt to assist someone
who had been rendered homeless, but apparently it is illegal in this part of
CHRA last week mobilised funds to assist in the burial of the late Jenaguru
who was found dead in her plastic and wood shack in Harare's slum residence
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 September 2007
Posted to the web 17 September 2007
South African President Thabo Mbeki on Saturday held an hour long meeting
with the Presidents of both factions of the MDC at his Union Building
offices in Pretoria.
While no-one would comment from either of the two MDC factions, a source
told Newsreel both sides expressed satisfaction at the way the talks have
progressed so far. Mthulisi Sibanda, who had gone to cover the meeting
Saturday said many journalists were blocked from interviewing Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
'No-one of us (journalists) who were at the Union Building had an
opportunity to talk to Tsvangirai or Mutambara. They were brought in through
the back door and were whisked away soon after the meeting without uttering
a word to the media. This is not alright, Zimbabweans need to know what is
happening,' said Sibanda.
It emerged however that both sides were united briefly in telling President
Mbeki that they would not participate in an election without a new
constitution. Robert Mugabe has said there was no need to create a new
constitution, resisting opposition demands for a new charter before
elections next year.
Two months ago, Mugabe told his Zanu-PF supporters that the current
constitution serves the nation well and there was no reason to change it.
But Newsreel is reliably informed that the need for a new constitution was
proving to be the most delicate issue confronting Mbeki in his mediation
While it has been difficult to get information about the talks because of an
official media blackout by the South African government, sources however
told us the MDC was not backtracking on the drawing up and adoption of a new
According to ZimOnline, sticky constitutional reform issues have forced
Mbeki to push back the talks deadline. 16th October is now the tentative
date by which the negotiating parties should have reached a consensus on key
A follow-up meeting of the country's civil society representatives and Mbeki
was cancelled on Sunday as Mbeki is believed to have requested more time
because of the 'thorny' issue of the new constitution.
The South African leader was due to brief leaders of the National
Constitutional Assembly, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Progressive Teachers Union
of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on the progress of
the talks. He is now expected to meet them this coming weekend.
By Lance Guma
17 September, 2007
News just received from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is that
3 of its members were heavily assaulted Monday for distributing campaign
materials ahead of the planned stay away on the 19 th and 20 th of
September. A statement from Khumbulani Ndlovu the ZCTU Information Officer,
said National Organiser Michael Kandukutu, Tennyson Muchepfa from the
National Engineering Workers' Unions, and Justice Mucheni from the Food
Federation are being held at Mbare Police station in the capital.
Ndlovu says Kandukutu managed to send a text message from his mobile saying
alerting the union of their whereabouts. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
have already been informed and are battling to secure their release. Last
time the ZCTU tried to hold a stayaway the regime responded by assaulting
its leadership. The image of police assaulting ZCTU leaders in a truck was
broadcast all over the world and put the spotlight on Mugabe's government.
It remains to be seen how the government will respond to the coming strike.
Monday's incident seems to have already set the tone.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
We have managed to locate the three who were heavily assaulted this
afternoon and abducted while distributing campaign material ahead of the
ZCTU planned 19 and 20 September stayaway.
The three are Michael Kandukutu, the ZCTU national Organizer, Tennyson
Muchepfa from the National Engineering Workers' Unions, and Justice Mucheni
from the Food Federation.
Michael managed to send a text message from his mobile phone saying they
were being held at Mbare Police Station. Zimbabwe laywers for Human Rights
have already been informed and they are working on accessing the three.
Khumbulani Ndlovu (Ms)
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
P.O Box 3549
September 17th 2007
Our correspondent avoids a trap
I am once again landing in Harare, after a short flight from Johannesburg.
Zimbabwe's capital is closer to home than Cape Town is, but it is another
The government does not like foreign journalists much, especially those
working for a British publication, and getting accredited is no longer
possible. So I have never been able to report legally from Zimbabwe, and for
immigration purposes, I am there as a lonely "tourist", or on "business".
My first visit to Zimbabwe was in 2005, during the government's Operation
Murambatsvina, an urban "clean-up" exercise that destroyed the homes or
businesses of about 700,000 people. I wish I had known Zimbabwe when it was
still considered a success story.
As usual, I have made sure I do not carry anything that would give me away:
no laptop, no business or press cards, no notebook. Still, it is easy to get
into Zimbabwe. Unmotivated immigration officials collect the $30 visa fee
and usually ask no questions. The several daily flights to Harare are very
busy, so I don't stand out in any way.
This time I have decided to come on "business". To my surprise, I am asked
who my business contact in Harare is. I make up some story about exploring
investment opportunities and having no contact yet. The bored official waves
I pick up my rental car and drive the short distance towards Harare to meet
a local contact who works with me when I'm in town. He risks losing his job
and worse if caught with me, but working with foreign journalists provides
much-needed extra income.
My local contact-I will call him John-can tell me what is safe and what isn't,
and identifies people I can interview. Informants have become common,
especially as the ruling party, ZANU-PF is tightening its grip ahead of next
year's election, and it is hard to know for sure whom I can trust.
It is easy enough to blend in Harare, but rural areas, where the ruling
party's control is far stronger, are riskier. There, I stand out as a sore
thumb, a stranger sniffing around small towns where everyone knows everyone.
John tells me we thus cannot sleep there safely, so we will have to drive
back to Harare every evening.
Ironically, rural areas where the ruling party's authority is not contested
tend to be more relaxed than rural areas where the opposition is still
active. In a ZANU-PF stronghold, we navigate the many roadblocks with no
We also check out shops and talk to one of the few white commercial farmers
who has managed to hang on to part of his land. He grows crops for export,
like citrus and tobacco. He is one of roughly 350 commercial farmers thought
to be left, from 4,500 before the government started redistributing land in
He says he has so far managed to hang on by staying out of politics,
maintaining good relations with local officials, and sheer doggedness. He
explains that he has gone to court not to fight land redistribution itself,
but to try to reclaim equipment and houses that the top government official
and a few war veterans who have been given the heart of his farm were not
allowed to grab.
The farm no longer makes money, but cheap government loans and heavily
subsidised diesel help to keep him going. He also plants and harvests on
neighbouring farms, which have been reallocated to black owners, and gets
half the crop.
But as we drive into a small town east of Harare, the mood changes. The
much-feared youth militias are patrolling the streets, and lonely men are
loitering. We are supposed to meet one of John's contacts, whom he has known
for years, at the local hotel.
He works with farm workers, hundreds of thousands of whom have lost their
jobs with the collapse of commercial agriculture. He is supposed to tell me
how they are faring in this area, and to introduce me to a few of them.
We wait in the hotel parking lot, in plain view. The contact is late, he
does not pick up his phone, and night has fallen. I feel increasingly
uncomfortable. Something is wrong. After a while, we decide that hanging out
in the hotel parking lot, which looks out on the main street, is probably
not a great idea, and we go and look for petrol.
John finally reaches his contact, who says he will be at the hotel in 20
minutes. I suggest we skip the meeting, drive back to Harare and call him
from the road. But John wants to check the hotel's bar once more.
He goes in alone, while I turn the car around, turn off the lights and keep
the engine running. This feels like a cheap spy movie. A few minutes later,
John walks back quickly, jumps in the car, and tells me to rush off. His
trusted contact had arrived, but with five security men. John is shocked.
But who knows what kind of pressure his contact is under? Human rights
organisations have been denouncing beatings, arbitrary arrests and rapes for
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
17 September 2007
Posted to the web 17 September 2007
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority requires at least $1,5 trillion to
address the problem of sewage pipe bursts, which has troubled Harare for
Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development Cde
Walter Mzembi told the two Houses of Parliament last week that there was
need to prioritise the allocation of funding to water and sewage
He lamented that his ministry had only been allocated $500 billion in the
supplementary budget announced by Minister of Finance Dr Samuel Mumbwengegwi
on September 6. "We require not less than $1,5 trillion to cut the flow of
raw sewage in Harare alone, but if you look at the Blue Book, we were given
$500 billion. So this means that before we even start the work, we already
have a funding deficit," he said.
Cde Mzembi urged legislators to assist his ministry in lobbying for more
funding in the 2008 National Budget. This, he said, would enable it to fully
discharge its mandate of repairing water pipes and acquiring new equipment
to replace obsolete infrastructure.
Cde Mzembi was responding to a question from Kambuzuma MP Mr Willias
Madzimure (MDC), who wanted to know why Zinwa's service delivery had been
deteriorating since its takeover of Harare's water and sewage functions. In
the Senate, Cde Mzembi was responding to a report by the Portfolio Committee
on Local Government, which said Zinwa did not have the capacity to take over
water supply from local authorities.
Cde Mzembi said while the Government had allocated resources to agriculture,
this was not the case with the water sector.
He said while he appreciated the recognition the ministry had got from the
recent supplementary budget, more resources needed to be channelled to
water. "I have sometimes wondered why we are unable to resource the water
sector the same way we have financed other sectors. I would like to urge
this House to help us lobby Government to give priority to water," said Cde
Mzembi. He said Zinwa was facing resistance from some local authorities that
feared loss of revenue once the parastatal took over responsibility for
water supply and distribution.
"They have retained the equipment, making the takeover difficult. "We have
in some instances built stocks of treatment chemicals to act as a buffer
covering three months before we take over because of the resistance from
some local authorities," he said. Turning to Tafara and Mabvuku high-density
suburbs that have become synonymous with water shortages, Cde Mzembi said
Zinwa's short-term intervention was to drill boreholes in the areas, a
programme that was expected to last until next year.
In response, Highfield-Glen Norah-Glen View Senator Cde Charles Tawengwa
(Zanu-PF), who had moved the motion, commended Cde Mzembi for his response
but pointed out that the views expressed in the committee's report emanated
17 September 2007
The Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg has become a theatre of the
Every day, without fail, the drama of human folly is played over and over
It's bedtime and among hundreds of the Great Unwashed sleeping on the hard
floor and some snoring on the stairs of the church, I saw him sleeping like
a baby and still clutching a tennis racquet to his chest.
It turned out that this faceless man in his mid-thirties dreamt of becoming
a Wimbledon champion. He still believes that one day he will become a
champion and bring glory to his wretched country and fortune to his family
back in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
Inside the church a daily prayer session was in progress. The huge church
was bursting to the seams but there were still dozens of others, mostly
economic refugees from Zimbabwe, hanging aimlessly around Smal Street, a
famed landmark boulevard that fronts the entrance to the church.
One girl of no more than 13 sat on the concrete floor next to a toppled
garbage bin minding a small, emaciated baby. I wondered if the poor baby
would make it past her first birthday.
Across the street, a tall man tottered around, his head craned skyward as he
sung songs of redemption, some hymns and folk songs of his native country.
The loneliness and lack of family support system has made him soft in the
In this catalogue of misery, I attract the attention of two Zimbabweans who
wept as they told me the tragic stories of their lives and their land.
Nesbert Muradzi is 42 but the trials of life have made him look at least 60.
Back home he was a science, maths and geography teacher earning Z2600 a
That's the equivalent of R60.
He was born in Rasupe in Manicaland but had to relocate to Harare where he
He found a small room to rent. It set him back R50 per month, leaving him
with only R10 to make ends meet.
Outside the church I fished out R25 and gave it to him and I was ashamed of
myself when I saw his eyes moisten in gratitude.
This university-educated man came to South Africa with the hope that he
would land himself a teaching post. Despite bringing along his
qualifications he can't get a job because he hasn't converted his
qualification to SAQA, the South African qualification body.
"They tell me that to get your qualification recognised by SAQA, you need
R1000. I have never had that kind of money at any one time in my life."
To survive in big, bad Joburg, Muradzi does odd jobs like clearing rubble on
construction sites. It is a back-breaking job which gives him about
R20-a-day if he's lucky enough to get one.
He has left Marjorie, his wife and fellow teacher, and four school-going
children back home.
"Every weekend my wife crosses the border into Zambia where she sells
bric-a-brac. I wonder how we would have survived as a family without her."
On March 11 when the world watched in horror as the batons struck Morgan
Tsvangirai, Muradzi, a member of a teacher trade union movement, was at the
same march and was severely assaulted - three of his ribs broken in the
On the second day of June he sold his television set and bought a one-way
bus ticket to the "promised land".
He didn't bring much with him, only an extra pair of trousers, a lone shirt,
one pair of shoes and extra underwear.
He carries his worldly possessions with him wherever he goes. He fished out
damp underwear from his trouser pocket because he was told there was a lot
of thievery at the church. Another pocket yielded a washing rack, a comb, a
thin slab of face soap and a small jar of Vaseline.
But to think otherwise is to laugh in the face of common sense as to mock
When the sun sets, his spirit sinks because he has no blanket to ward off
the night chill. He simply uses discarded cardboard to save his body from
the cold concrete slab.
Vitalis Nyakunya 41, has an even sadder story to tell.
The man also has a wife and four children back home. Like thousands of his
compatriots, he jumped the border at Musina to come to Johannesburg.
But because he had no money to book his passage, he first worked as a farm
labourer at farms on the border. In that month he made R400. He sent R200 to
his family with someone from his village. Sadly, the money never reached
home. He had been robbed by one of his own.
But that's the least of his problems. Money can be earned, but life is more
precious. His 14-year-old daughter suffers from a rare disease called
papillomas. It attacks the wind pipes and makes it difficult for her to
If Nyakunya cannot raise the R5000 needed for an operation, his beloved
daughter will, as certain as the sun rises and sets, die a slow and painful
"Right now I feel that I woulddo anything just to make money and give my
daughter the gift of life," he said, his face masked in grief.
Back home I couldn't touch my dinner. Sleep refused to come and when I
finally dosed off, the nightmare I saw in central Johannesburg earlier in
the evening mani- fested itself as a nightmare again.
Weep for the people of Zimbabwe.
1.. Posted on Monday 17 September 2007 - 14:35
Fidelis Zvomuya, AfricaNews reporter in Pretoria, South Africa
AfricaNews - The dairy sector in Zimbabwe is in a bad and perilous state
due to the current economic crisis, hyper inflation, power cuts,
unavailability of fuel, shortages and high input costs resulting in the
farmers' survival no longer being about money, but the passion they have for
the industry, Ajs Kirk, chairperson of Zimbabwe's National Association of
Dairy Farmers (NADF) says.
Kirk says the future viability of farmers is under siege due to mounting
pressure from both the economy being driven by an inflation rate of more
than 7 400% and the increasingly unavailability of basic inputs.
"These challenges have seen milk output declining drastically in recent
years. Both farmers and milk processors face bankruptcy due to dramatic,
sustained and manipulated fall in prices. Right now the price is
approximately below the total economic cost of production," he says.
The latest snapshot of Zimbabwe's dairy industry shows that 200 dairy
farmers and 158 000 dairy cows have disappeared from the industry since
The country's milk production nose dive by 65% from 256 million litres in
1990 to 90 million in 2006.
This falls 50% short of the dairy domestic demand which is estimated at
180 million litres per year. This national requirement is against a drop in
the country's per capita consumption which went down to the current 7 litres
from a high of 25 litres in 1990.
The number of registered producers declined from 514 in 1990 to 278 in
An estimated 200 former dairy farms are no longer being used for milk
production despite them having basic dairy infrastructure in place.
Milking herd size declined from 191 000 in 1990 to the current 33 000
giving an average yield of 14 litres per cow per day down from 25 litres.
Poor breeding, inappropriate breeds, the lack of high technology and
cutting edge research on feed and genetics is another challenge that has
affected production and milk quality.
"We are surviving as dairy farmers just because we know that if the
country's dairy industry collapses, it will never rise again.
"If we kill our cows that have evolved after generations of area specific
breeding and adaptation, they can never be replaced. I have come to the
conclusion that waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel that seems to
be moving away and dimming all the time is futile," Kirk says.
Kirk notes that farmers need to identify cost effective milk production
processes, assist in the development of policies and actionable strategic
plans to address constrains such as farmers' viability, the high cost of
"Despite all these challenges, we need to understand the relevant global
dairy industry value chains as our rebuilding and revitalisation plans hinge
on a strong market that exerts a pull effect that is attractive and
quantifiable incentives for the producers," he says.
Poor infrastructure, low per capita income and poor milking herds and
marketing are all a cause of concern for the sector.
Shortages of drugs and milking machines is compromising quality of the
milk with the average Somatic Cell Count (SCC) having gone up to 741 000
this year from last year's 593 000. The country's national SCC requirement
is anything less than 400 000.
"The quality of the product is also our major concerned," Kirk says.
Despite a decline in the number of producers, the number of processing
companies has increased from two in 1990 to the current 34. But these
facilities are currently utilising 30% of their processing capacity.
Anthony Mandiwanza, group chief executive of Dairibord Holdings Limited
says these processing facilities have an existing installed capacity to
process in excess of 400 million litres per year.
According to Mandiwanza, Zimbabwe needs to put in place policies and
strategic focus that will see an increase in milk production with a target
of 240 million litres by 2010.
"The country has a potential export in excess of 100 million litres that
can earn US$65 million per year," Mandiwanza says.
But a scientist with, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Evelyn Garwe says
the sustainable viability and commercial competitiveness of dairy producers
in Zimbabwe does not only rely on policy changes but also relies heavily on
the establishment of new and appropriate technologies for managing and
feeding cows to optimise productivity.
Garwe says, research is the main source of technological innovations and
is very important in strengthening the country's dairy potential.
"In order for research to achieve the intended results, there is need for
narrow definition of priorities, well trained multidisciplinary team of
scientists and long term commitment," Garwe says.
Zimbabwe has weak research and productivity programmes designed to
increase milk production but very effective regulations for enforcing
regulated milk prices.
In 2007 alone milk price in Zimbabwe went up by 3 746% from Z$650 per
litre in January to Z$1 400 in February, Z$3 200 in March, Z$11 000 in April
to the current Z$25 000. Farmers are still saying this milk price is not
fair at all.
Most dairy farms' incomes are highly concentrated, with 97% coming from
raw milk sales, 2% excess heifer sales and 1% cattle slaughter.
At the same time cost of doing dairy farming in Zimbabwe is pegged at
76,8% feed, 19,2% indirect costs, 2% animal health chemicals, 0,3%
Artificial Insemination, 0,7 disinfectants, 1,1% labour.
"If for whatever reason we cannot produce milk at a competitive price we
must change our system or stop production," Kirk says.
He says currently dairy farmers have been reduced to investment experts,
political analysts, police and chief negotiators as they have to take these
challenging tasks for critical survival.
"This professional change has seen the country's milk quality declining as
farmers are not spending time on their dairies due to all these challenges.
We can't plan or budget at the moment, because we are now operating at a
monthly inflation rate of 100%
"We are best qualified to set the price of our produce. Both farmers and
processors have production models to monitor pricing. Let us be self
regulatory and government should concentrate on providing us with reliable
electricity and fuel supplies," Kirk says.
According to Kirk they are no longer looking at milk prices, but means to
implement and ensure sustainable operating systems that are most efficient
for their farms.
This Day (Lagos)
17 September 2007
Posted to the web 17 September 2007
Kwara State Commissioner of Agriculture, Professor Gana Yisa, has said
Zimbabwean commercial farmers operating in Shonga, Edu Local Government Area
of the state, will soon establish a N400-million dairy factory
Yisa said in Ilorin yesterday, that the factory would produce about four
million litres of milk annually and would so on be completed, while
production will start early 2008.
He said the state government has awarded a N200-million electricity contract
for the connection of Shonga Village to the national grid.
Yisa said about 900 specially bred dairy cows would be imported from South
Africa for the purpose.
According to him, the factory would produce cheese for export, while some of
the 13 farmers would soon set up poultryfarms. "The farmers intend to
produce two million broilers per annum once thepoultry farms are in place,"
he said, adding that soya bean crop would be used for poultry feed.The
farmers had cultivated about 5,000 hectares of farmland with a variety of
crops, including maize, rice, soya bean and cassava. "As a matter of fact,
each of them has 320 hectares of cassava with an estimated yield of 60,000
tonnes per hectare," Yisa said, adding that a flour producing company from
Benue had placed order for the cassava.
The commissioner said when completed, the cargo shed at the Ilorin
International Airport now under construction, would be used to store produce
from the farms.
Prof Gana Yisa, said the electricity project would enable the farmers to
have access to electricity, the lack of which he noted,was a major problem.
According to him, contractors are now on site installing electricity
transformers."In a couple of months, the commercial farms will be linked to
the national grid.You cannot use diesel to run a factory,"Yisa said,
pointing out that the farmershad been using generators. He observed that
infrastructure wasspringing up in Shonga due to thepresence of the white
farmers now called "new Nigerian farmers" by the state government. On
employment opportunities, Yisa said that some 3,000 persons from Shonga area
were now employed both as casual and permanent workers. Investigations ,
showed that only 100 of the workers were on permanent employment, while the
rest were casual workers hired during harvest. Meanwhile, Alhaji Amuda
Kannike, theSpecial Assistant to the Governor onAgriculture, in August
disclosed that five Nigerian banks had assisted the farmers with a total of
N2.5 billion. The banks according to him are: Intercontinental Bank, First
InlandBank, Bank PHB, Guarantee TrustBank and First Bank.
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 September 2007
Posted to the web 17 September 2007
The country's most popular daily newspaper The Daily News notched up 4 years
in the wilderness last week with government showing no signs of relenting on
its ban of the paper.
Despite optimism brewing from talks between Zanu PF and the MDC in South
Africa, evidence on the ground seems to suggest it will take an almighty
miracle to get a government already under pressure from external
publications and the Internet to licence a paper that exposed its abuses to
the rest of Zimbabwe on a daily basis. The paper was shut down in September
2003 and last week Tuesday journalists, press freedom campaigners and other
civil society leaders met at a special meeting at the Quill Club in Harare
to commemorate its closure.
The Zimbabwe Times quoted Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) legal
officer Wilbert Mandinde saying the country did not need statutory
regulation of the media and that the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) used to close the paper had brought misery to
Zimbabweans. 'Accreditation and registration which is conditional, is
unwarranted and an affront to freedom of expression. Today we make an appeal
to government to repeal AIPPA and bring back The Daily News,' he said. Andy
Moyse the Director of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) drew
comparisons with the disappearance from supermarket shelves of basic
commodities saying the absence of the paper had reduced Zimbabweans, 'to
scavenging in every corner of the information black market.'
The Supreme Court refused to deal with an application from the Daily News
challenging the constitutionality of AIPPA, citing what it called the
paper's 'dirty hands' a reference to its initial refusal to register.
Several subsequent court decisions have shown that the commission that
denied the paper a licence was not properly constituted and was biased
against the paper. Despite court directions to have the matter resolved,
government has been stonewalling on the issue. The Secretary General of the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, Foster Dongozi, told Newsreel all they have
been getting is posturing from government, who maintain they are committed
to striking down sections of AIPPA and will re-licence the paper.
He says the Information Ministers keep changing and the union has to keep
dealing with someone new. They have had to deal with Jonathan Moyo, the late
Tichaona Jokonya, Paul Mangwana, and now Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. Each minister
has always promised an open door policy but never delivered anything.
Dongozi said, 'no doubt we have seen the last of the Daily News,' adding
that government pledges of amending AIPPA were directed at appeasing the
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, where several legal
challenges to the media laws in the country are taking place.
:: The Southern African
Monday, 17 September 2007
The Vatican on Friday appointed little known Bishop Michael Schupp to
act as Archbishop of Bulawayo following the resignation of Pius Ncube who is
facing adultery charges.
In a move seen by observers as seeking to quickly distance the
Catholic Church from now ordinary Bishop Ncube's predicament, the Vatican
quietly replaced him with a man expected to refocus the archdiocese.
Ncube, a fiery critic of President Robert Mugabe resigned last week as
the Archbishop of Bulawayo following damaging sex allegations. He Ncube was
shown in the government media in bed with several women after a husband of
one of the women filed an adultery lawsuit against the prelate.
The way the media handled the matter also came into focus last week
when the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) fired its Zimbabwean
correspondent, Super Mandiwanzira who was allegedly used by President Robert
Mugabe's secret police to expose Ncube.
A DVD purporting to show Ncube in bed with the women has even appeared
on the streets of Harare. Ncube supporters have dismissed the reports as
part of a government smear campaign. Ncube has continually exposed Mugabe's
poor human rights record, especially the persecution of opposition leaders
and independent journalists.
The influential Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference stood by Ncube
when the scandal initially broke, chronicling several incidents in which he
fought for the oppressed, among them his exposure of the early '80s massacre
of Ndebele-speaking people in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
Christian Science Monitor
As Africa applauds its oldest ruling freedom fighter, Zimbabwe teeters on
By Peter Kagwanja
from the September 17, 2007 edition
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - WESTERN dignitaries attending festivities to mark a
decade of South Africa's democracy on April 27, 2004, were struck mute by
the deafening applause that greeted Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe.
"I cannot figure out why he is being applauded when he has destroyed his
country," protested Gareth Evans, former Australian foreign minister and
president of the Western think tank, the International Crisis Group.
Mr. Mugabe remains both an enigma and a magnet, attracting Africans and
repelling the West. He is at the center of a seven-year-old game of
brinkmanship between Africa and the West, fostered by diametrically opposed
responses to Zimbabwe's seizure of land owned by some 4,500 white farmers in
2000. Since then, the two sides have looked each other in the eye to see who
would blink first.
This face-off hovered over the summit of Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders last month in Lusaka, Zambia, and now haunts the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda this November and the
upcoming Euro-Africa summit in Portugal in December.
Mugabe's fall from grace in the eyes of the West is a relatively recent
phenomenon in his 27 years in power. Now portrayed as the archetypal
bare-fisted dictator, he was hailed by former Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher as "a man I can do business with." And in 1994, Queen Elizabeth
bestowed on him an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
What inflamed relations with Britain was the injudicious denial by Tony
Blair's Laborites in 1997 of Britain's colonial responsibility for land
reform. Clare Short, Britain's secretary of state for international
development, wrote to Zimbabwe's minister of agriculture and land: "We are a
new government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial
interests. My own origins are Irish and, as you know, we were colonized not
After Britain reneged on its pledge to fund land reform, citing cronyism,
Mugabe went ahead with his own land redistribution plans, which pushed
Zimbabwe's predominantly agrarian economy down the cliff: 80 percent
unemployment, nearly empty government coffers, collapsed services, and an
annual inflation rate of 18,000 percent.
In less than seven years, Zimbabwe has witnessed the fastest peace-time
economic dip in history since Weimer Germany - plunging one of Africa's
strongest economic and regional breadbaskets into a crisis with 4 million
people reportedly starving and in need of food aid.
Mugabe may have lost the economic war, but he has won every political battle
with the West. As the oldest freedom fighter still in office, he has always
drawn the biggest applause in African meetings, including the recent SADC
summit. The Africa-West standoff has emboldened him and turned him into a
symbol of African resistance, a liberation hero.
Even though foreign humanitarian aid has flowed steadily to the poor in
Zimbabwe, the West's asset freezes and travel bans on Mugabe and a hundred
of his associates and spouses are seen in some quarters as "racial"
retribution for his seizing of white farms and handing them over to black
Zimbabweans. But invoking a moral mission, the West insists that its "smart"
sanctions have targeted elements of the ruling elite "engaged in actions or
policies to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions."
In the aftermath of the Iraq invasion in 2003, Mugabe upped the ante,
whipping nationalism to a fever pitch: "Our cause is Africa's cause," he
told the fervently pro-Zimbabwe publication, New Africa, in May. This has
given wing to intense militarization of polity in the government ahead of
the 2008 elections to forestall a Western-sponsored "regime change."
In a move aimed at demobilizing the opposition's urban support and nipping
in the bud a Ukrainian-style "orange revolution," the Mugabe government
ordered "operation Murambatsvina" (Drive Out the Filth) - a draconian
clearance of what it termed "illegal shelters" in Harare and other cities -
which a United Nations report estimates has destroyed the homes and
livelihoods of 700,000 Zimbabweans and negatively affected 2.4 million more.
Apart from the economic cost of Zimbabwe's meltdown on the region, Mugabe's
real impact on Africa is ideological. The West has urged South Africa to
break rank with states that back Mugabe and to adopt a forceful stance
against Harare. At the same time, South Africa's ruling elite fear that,
owing to Mugabe's nationalist credentials and popularity, public
condemnation of Harare would exacerbate South Africa's internal divisions
over President Thabo Mbeki's successor and lead to isolation on the
Pretoria's behind-the-curtains quiet diplomacy talks between Zimbabwe's
ruling party and the opposition from 2000 to 2004 yielded a new
constitutional draft for Zimbabwe. But the initiative was stillborn because
Pretoria lacked the muscle to enforce it. Moreover, in a continent where age
matters, the 65-year-old Mr. Mbeki has an uphill task getting octogenarian
Mugabe to take him seriously.
Issues of sovereignty have also come into play. Pretoria's effort to use
economic leverage by offering Zimbabwe a $500 million credit line to pay the
International Monetary Fund debt in return for governance reforms backfired.
Zimbabwe rejected the offer and paid its own debt in February 2006.
Mugabe's status as elder statesman and anticolonialist hero has ensured
unwavering regional support. An extraordinary SADC summit in March 2007
expressed "solidarity" with Mugabe, but appointed Mbeki as mediator between
Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition. Zambia's president, Levy
Mwanawasa, the new chair of SADC who previously described Zimbabwe as a
"sinking Titanic," made a U-turn, declaring that the country's problems were
SADC's meeting last month resolved to bail Zimbabwe out of its economic woes
and endorse Mbeki's mediation, but this enterprise has no breathing chance
unless Africa and the West end the face-off.
Moreover, the trial of Liberia's warlord, Charles Taylor, in 2006 for crimes
against humanity as part of the West's war on impunity in Africa has removed
guarantees for safe retirement, thus diminishing the chance of Mugabe's
exiting. He is running in the 2008 elections.
The face-off has fostered an international climate hostile to Zimbabwe's
economic recovery. Although Harare exited the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting in 2003, it is important that the CHGOM in November
provides an opportunity to bring Zimbabwe back onto its agenda. Portugal,
now holding the EU presidency, must stay the course regarding its decision
to invite Zimbabwe to the Euro-Africa summit in December. This event
provides a window to revive the ties between the two continents in ways that
can usefully impact Zimbabwe.
Mugabe's liberation colleagues, such as Namibia's Sam Nujoma and Zambia's
Kenneth Kaunda should work with Europe's new leadership - Gordon Brown and
Nicolas Sarkozy - and other influential global elders to support the SADC
mediation to deliver an economic recovery plan and a democratic constitution
to ensure a level playing field in the 2008 polls.
Dr. Peter Kagwanja is acting executive director of the Democracy and
Governance Program at the Human Science Research Council in Pretoria and is
president of the Africa Policy Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.
September 17, 2007 Edition 1
HARARE: Cash-strapped Zimbabwe planned to build a Z$70 trillion (R17
billion) games village in time for the 2010 soccer World Cup, reports said
The games village, to be funded by private developers, would be built on a
100ha plot near the southern city of Masvingo on the shores of scenic Lake
Mutirikwi, the official Sunday Mail newspaper said.
It would comprise 14 luxury villas that could accommodate 128 visitors or up
to three visiting teams, as well as a shopping mall, with hypermarket, banks
and a filling station.
Zimbabwe is hopeful that the World Cup - to be held in neighbouring South
Africa - will revive its flagging tourism fortunes and bring in desperately
needed foreign currency.
Foreign tourist arrivals in game-rich Zimbabwe have plummeted since the
launch of a controversial land reform programme seven years ago and
subsequent reports of rights abuses and widespread food and fuel shortages.
Attempts to lure foreigners from new markets in Asia have had only limited
Authorities, struggling to find the money to import food for hundreds of
thousands of hungry households, are keen to benefit from the football
showpiece. - Sapa-DPA