TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS DIPLOMATS Thurs 9 September
HARARE - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday told southern African diplomats
accredited to Zimbabwe that his party was boycotting elections to push the
government to uphold electoral standards set by the region last
Tsvangirai told the diplomats that his party boycotted last
week's parliamentary by-election in Seke constituency because the government
wanted to hold the poll under Zimbabwe's old and controversial electoral
He said: "Our decision to suspend participation in all forms
of elections was informed by the prevailing circumstances on the ground and
certainly in support of new Southern African Development Community (SADC)
principles and guidelines.
"As you are aware, barely 48 hours
after the adoption of the guidelines and a renewed spirit of optimism in
Mauritius, the regime announced that it was going ahead with the Seke
by-election under the old and discredited electoral
SADC leaders including President Robert Mugabe agreed
at their annual summit held in Mauritius last month on new norms and
standards for elections in the region. The standards require the setting up
of independent commissions to run elections.
leaders also undertook to ensure that the electoral process was transparent
while the rule of law and human rights were observed during
Tsvangirai said failure by Zimbabwe's judiciary to
resolve petitions filed by the MDC and himself challenging ZANU PF's victory
in previous elections had also caused his party to stop participating in
The MDC challenged ZANU PF's victories in 37
constituencies in the 2000 parliamentary election while Tsvangirai has
applied to the High Court to have Mugabe's re-election in 2002 overturned.
The election petitions are still pending at the courts. ZimOnline
Breakdown at SA oil refinery halts fuel supplies Thurs 9
HARARE - South Africa's oil giant, Sasol, is unable
to supply fuel to Zimbabwe for the next three weeks because of a breakdown
at its refinery, according to the Petroleum Marketers Association of
Association chairman Steven Mpofu, who spoke as a
resurgent fuel crisis worsened across the country, said a stoppage of
supplies from Sasol would severely reduce the amount of fuel imports into
Sasol is one of the biggest suppliers of fuel to
Zimbabwe. Mpofu said: "This will obviously affect our fuel stocks going
forward as it takes time to transport the product from South Africa even
after Sasol resumes exports after the three week period they have
Mpofu said oil companies were going to release 12.4
million litres of diesel and 13.2 million litres of petrol before the end of
the week in response to a call by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to unlock
reserves and normalise supplies.
Meanwhile, Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono on Tuesday released US$10 million to oil companies to
pay for fuel imports. Gono said: "Other measures to ensure sustained
availability of fuel across all sectors of the economy were under
He did not elaborate.
A fuel crisis
has gripped Zimbabwe since 2000 chiefly because the country has no foreign
currency to pay for imports. ZimOnline
National Constitutional Assembly boss released Thurs 9
HARARE - National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
chairman Lovemore Madhuku was last night released from police custody
without charge after he was picked up from his home in the early hours of
The police went on to ransack the NCA's offices in
search of subversive material and weapons of war.
lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, said the police would proceed by way of summons.
"They wanted to charge him under POSA (Public Order and Security Act) for
organising a demonstration which the police had not sanctioned," said
"To me that does not sound illegal as POSA does not
require the police to sanction a demonstration. All an organisation has to
do is to notify the police about their demonstration. Anyway, we will see
when they summon him."
An exhausted Madhuku said he did not feel
intimidated by the police action. "Obviously, the tact was to intimidate me
but the NCA will continue with its demonstration until we have a new
This was the sixteenth time that Madhuku was
arrested under POSA since the law was enacted in 2002.
which is fighting for a new and democratic constitution, brings together
Zimbabwe's churches, labour, opposition political parties, civic and human
rights bodies. The assembly last week held public demonstrations in Harare
and petitioned South Africa to throw its weight behind the search for
democracy in Zimbabwe.
Alliance spokesperson Jessie Majome
yesterday condemned Madhuku's arrest. She said: "We strongly condemn the
manner in which the police arrested our national chairperson (Madhuku) in
the infancy of this morning (yesterday) and the subsequent ransacking of the
NCA offices without a search warrant."
Police spokesman Oliver
Mandipaka yesterday told ZimOnline that they had not found any offensive
material at the alliance's offices. But he said the police were still
investigating the matter.
"It would be too early to comment on the
matter. We still have some inroads we are pursuing so, I will not say much
as that would affect our investigations," Mandipaka said.
Meanwhile, the country's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party said more than 30 policemen raided its offices in Zimbabwe's
second largest city of Bulawayo.
The party said in a statement:
"They were searching for what they claimed to be subversive material or any
other offensive material likely to incite public disorder or public
According to the MDC, the police failed to find any
weapons at its offices.
The MDC poses the most potent threat to
President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party. But the opposition
party has said it is will not participate in next year's crucial election
unless Zimbabwe's electoral laws were sufficiently democratised.
Children walk 40 km to attend classes in Binga Thurs 9
BINGA - School children in some areas of Binga
district, more than 300 km west of Harare, are walking up to 40 km to attend
classes because of a shortage of schools in the area.
Member of Parliament Joel Gabuza and villagers told a ZimOnline news crew
that toured the area last week that parents were now delaying sending
children to school until they were strong enough to walk the long
Ignored by the country's former white rulers, Binga
appears to have also missed out on the massive education expansion programme
undertaken by President Robert Mugabe and his government immediately after
In Siasundu ward, there are only two primary schools
and one secondary school catering for children from several villagers, the
nearest of which is 20 km away.
Gabuza said: "Schools are in
short supply. The few that are there are far away from each other such that
even the Ministry of Education's policy of each child walking a maximum of
seven kilometers to the nearest school doesn't work here because the nearest
school is 15 to 20 kilometers away."
At Mangani village, headman,
Julius Siavhurandu, said parents were only sending children to school when
they were eight or nine years, at least three years older than the age at
which most children across the country start their schooling.
"There is a big problem with schools. Grade one pupils cannot walk that far
so we delay sending them to school. That is why most children here start
school at eight or nine years," said Siavhurandu.
Besides the long
distances, the children also have to contend with poorly equipped schools
that are short of both teachers and textbooks.
According to Gabuza,
most schools in the area on average had only three qualified teachers out of
the normal staff complement of about 25 teachers.
children are told to go out and spend the day counting stones because there
would be no teachers to take them through lessons," said David Fulawu
Mdenda, a parent from Sonko village in the area.
Aeneas Chigwedere could not be reached yesterday to find out what the
government was doing to ensure there were more and better staffed schools in
Andrew Meldrum in
Pretoria Thursday September 9, 2004 The Guardian
The South African
government is denying thousands of Zimbabwean refugees their right to
political asylum, says a report published today by Refugees
International. "Genuine refugees are prevented from getting asylum," said
Andrea Lari, a researcher for the organisation. "In many cases, Zimbabweans
cannot even get into the appropriate office to apply for asylum. These
people are being denied their rights."
Mr Lari said up to 50,000
Zimbabweans were eligible for asylum. "Of the 5,000 applications filed by
Zimbabweans to date, fewer than 20 have actually received political asylum
in South Africa," he said.
"Even more troubling is the fact that few
Zimbabweans are able even to apply for political asylum."
More than 2
million Zimbabweans are currently sheltering in South Africa - about 15% of
their country's population of 13 million.
Although Zimbabweans have
sought work in South Africa for decades, the numbers have swollen greatly in
recent years since the economic collapse presided over by President Robert
Most of those in South Africa are economic migrants, without
claims to refugee status. But thousands have fled because they are victims
of state violence and torture and they fear more persecution.
Africa is obliged by law to grant political asylum to those who have a
reasonable fear of such violence.
But Refugees International says
South African officials are preventing Zimbabweans from gaining their
Several Zimbabwean refugees told the Guardian that they
were often chased away from refugee reception centres by guards with whips.
"The guards say, 'We don't want to see you Zimbabweans here. Go away!' They
whip us and beat us until we run away," said one man, who said he had been
tortured in Zimbabwe.
Refugees International is also critical of the
office of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) for
"failing to advocate for Zimbabweans' right to protection". It adds: "UNHCR
staff in South Africa downplay the political crisis in Zimbabwe and show a
marked tendency to dismiss the legitimacy of Zimbabweans' overall case for
asylum, making a minimal effort to provide direct protection." A regional
UNHCR official said: "We know there is work to be done to make sure all
Zimbabweans can access the refugee procedure. That is true for people of
other nationalities seeking asylum here, too."
A senior South African
immigration official admitted there were problems in the way the government
dealt with the flood of Zimbabwean refugees. But steps were being taken to
improve the situation. "We agreed with the UNHCR to catch up with the
backlog of cases of Zimbabweans seeking asylum," said Barry Gilder, director
general of South Africa's department of home affairs.
"We are taking
steps to counter corruption, and we have just agreed to set up new refugee
reception centres, including one in Musina, near the border with
Mugabe accused of plan to rig election By David Blair,
Africa Correspondent (Filed: 09/09/2004)
yesterday accused President Robert Mugabe of preparing to rig the next
election after a law was published giving him the power to appoint key
figures overseeing the poll.
Critics say he has begun a campaign to
guarantee victory next March while giving African nations that support him
enough grounds to declare the contest free and fair.
purpose of the electoral commission bill is to meet international standards.
One of these is for elections to be supervised by an independent
But the draft law gives Mr Mugabe the power to appoint
every member of the commission, including its chairman.
opposition Movement for Democratic Change denounced the law as "cynical".
David Coltart, the shadow justice minister, said the proposed reforms were
an "attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of Zimbabweans and the
The MDC has announced that it will boycott all
elections unless the regime ends the political violence that has plagued
Zimbabwe for the past four years and introduces genuine reforms.
prominent figure in the opposition, Lovemore Madhuku, leader of the National
Constitutional Assembly, was arrested yesterday and charged with organising
an illegal demonstration.
Zimbabwe scandal a blight on ICC By Simon Briggs (Filed:
As Zimbabwe's boy soldiers prepare to be mown down by
England in tomorrow's Champions Trophy opener, Heath Streak, their former
captain, will be settling himself behind a microphone in Sky's commentary
It's hardly the best way for the International Cricket Council to
get their cherished tournament off the ground. To lose a player as good as
Streak would be a blow for any side, let alone a side as flimsy as Zimbabwe.
Yet that is only the tip of the iceberg. Another 13 leading white players
went AWOL after an acrimonious dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union in
May, including such key figures as Ray Price, Grant Flower and Sean Ervine.
Now it seems increasingly likely that none of them will play for their
Despite the acid fall-out of the row, which came to a
head when all 14 of the rebels refused to take the field against Sri Lanka
in a one-day international, hopes were high that an ICC-sponsored
arbitration process could bring all parties back to the table. If blame
could be allocated, perhaps rapprochement might not be far
Unfortunately, Streak now feels it is unlikely that the hearings
will go ahead, simply because he and his comrades cannot cover the costs of
between £15,000 and £20,000. The ICC, who originally asked for the whole
process to be completed by Oct 5, say they will not foot either side's bill.
Instead, they have set up a separate Racism Enquiry into claims that black
ZCU officials discriminated against white players.
be a better process," Streak said yesterday, "but realistically we are going
to have to take a raincheck and rely on the Racism Enquiry." That is set to
be heard by India's solicitor-general, Goolam Vahanvati, and South African
judge Steven Majiedt at the end of this month.
"The sad thing is that
the longer this goes on, the tougher it is to see people playing for
Zimbabwe again," Streak added. "Some of the guys have taken up contracts
elsewhere, and others are unemployed, which means they don't have spare
Streak says that when the Zimbabwean rebels toured England in July
as the Red Lions, they forwarded all the proceeds to charity, not realising
how expensive their legal bills were likely to be. Two months later, it
seems, they have become a charity case themselves. So if you know any
wealthy cricketing philanthropists, give them a nudge, because there are
some dark corners here that could do with a jumbo-sized Maglite.
may be that the rebel players are not as spotless as they like to make out.
They do seem to have kept the goalposts in constant motion. But what we can
be sure about is that something is very rotten at the Zimbabwe Cricket
During the ZCU's last AGM in August, it emerged that the
present board had changed the constitution to make it impossible to sack
them. "If Peter Chingoka wants to stay on as chairman for the rest of his
life, there is nothing we can do, as the provinces and the players have lost
their voting rights," said Ray Gripper, a former national captain.
the same meeting, Chingoka was harried into admitting that he had received a
£50,000 honorarium early in the year. The existence of this gift was
apparently among the grievances raised by the players in May, along with the
vast travel and accommodation expenses incurred by all 12 board members and
their wives when they accompanied the team on a tour of Australia.
is nothing inherently wrong in the concept of honorariums, which many
cricket boards use to remunerate otherwise unpaid officials. But with
inflation sky-rocketing in Zimbabwe, £50,000 is an enormous
In his AGM speech, Chingoka described the past year as "exciting
and challenging" and added that "the future for Zimbabwe cricket has never
But Charlie Robertson, the chairman of Mashonaland
County Districts, was not convinced. After being allocated £1,000, a third
of what he needs for a year's ground hire, Robertson offered a more
persuasive verdict: "The future looks bleak."
Reporter Last updated: 09/09/2004 09:14:35 A ZIMBABWEAN paper is set for
launch in Britain on Monday next week, New Zimbabwe.com has
The free monthly subscription newspaper to be called the Fusion
Voice is edited by Masithokoze Maphenduka-Moyo, a Zimbabwean businesswoman
who owns an employment agency in Leeds.
In an interview with this
website on Wednesday evening, Moyo said the first issue will be out on
Monday 13 September, before switching to the 21st of every month.
said the newspaper would be biased towards the African and black communities
in the Midlands and the North where the newspaper will be first
The first print run will be 10 000 copies.
our first issue, we have an exclusive interview with Emma Nhamburo, a young
Zimbabwean singer who is a member of dancehall sensations FYA. We also have
an interview with former South African and Leeds captain Lucas Radebe, among
the many stories to look forward to," she said.
"The idea is to keep all
Africans, Zimbabweans in particular, up to date with current affairs," she
said. "We are paying a lot of attention to sports, celebrity, gossip and
politics. But we also have advice and information on immigration and asylum
She said the paper will be circulated mostly in the Midlands and
up North stretching to Scotland. It will be available at African retail
shops, restaurants and employment agencies. For subscription details and
advertising please e-mail: email@example.com or call
08707506303 or 01132489911
On Tuesday several hundred Zimbabweans took the time to make a
stand against totalitarianism.
In the face of an onslaught by the
mugabe regime, such a demonstration of the collective voice of the people was
uplifting and reinvigorating. It doesn't matter that the hearing was a waste
of time and that the regime will go ahead to push its latest 'legal' weapon
through parliament. That is only to be expected in our debased and subverted
political system. We will not go out without a very large amount of
But I was saddened to see the composition of the crowd was
restricted seemingly only to those who felt that their organisations would be
directly affected. Where were the SPCA, Environment Africa, Wildlife
Society, community theatre groups and many other NGOs who are concerned
with Zimbabwe's well-being? Do they think they are not affected by this bill?
Do they think they are non-political and therefore immune to its threats?
They should think again and read section 24. Every NGO is subject to
total control through these mechanisms. Within a few years, the regime can
exert its control to replace the entire managements of NGOs and install
officials of its own choice. When the "non-political" civics wake up, who
will speak out for them?
This is not a fight about ideology. It is
certainly not about the land or the liberation struggle. The tyranny has
pared the debate down to the core. This is about the very ability to engage
in any debate in the national discourse. The NGO Bill aims to do to our
collective voices articulated through civics what AIPPA did to our print
media and the BSA did to the airwaves. To silence those who speak
We are seeing the deja vu replay of the situation with commercial
farmers from 2000 on when many white farmers said "no we are not political,
we can accommodate the settlers, we have ZIJIRI, we can do a deal with
the minister, the DA, the warlord" and who gave up a quarter, a half of
their farms, ploughing and planting the fields of their new neighbours in a
naive desperation to retain something of their life's work. No surprise of
course that in the following years (usually at harvest-time), the neighbours
took over the balance of the land. If a crocodile has you by the foot, giving
it your arm as well will not make it go away! When a pack of rabid dogs
invades the village, hiding indoors while it devours your neighbours is not
It is perhaps unfortunate but pretty much everything in
life is political, especially in our country, and those who say they are not
political do so because they wish to avoid their political responsibilities
in society. Such denials are acutely political and those that issue them can
effectively be counted as supporting the status quo. We can do as much damage
by our sins of omission as by our sins of commission. Failing to speak and
act against injustice to our fellow humans is a culpable sin and those that
keep silent may as well wield the cudgels.
The comments below by Dave
Coltart and Ben Freeth should be a clarion call to all of you who have been
silent too long: the beast will come for you after he has finished with
regards and sleep well
On the eve of the Parliamentary Committee hearing on the NGO Bill
it is apt, I believe, to remember the words of Martin Niemoller (1892-1984),
the German theologian who opposed the Nazis: "When Hitler attacked the Jews I
was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the
Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a
member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and
the Protestant church - and there was nobody left to be concerned."
the Zimbabwean context that should read: "When Mugabe attacked the people of
Matabeleland between 1981 and 1987 I was not from there, therefore I was not
And when Mugabe attacked the students in 1989 I was not a
student, and therefore I was not concerned.
And when Mugabe attacked
Enock Dumbutshena in 1993 I was not a member of the Forum Party, therefore I
was not concerned.
And when Mugabe attacked the unions in the 1990s I was
not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
And when Mugabe
attacked white farmers and their workers between 2000 and 2003 I was not
either and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Mugabe attacked
Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC between 1999 and 2004 I was not in the
opposition and therefore I was not concerned.
And when Mugabe attacked
Archbishop Pius Ncube I was not a Catholic, and therefore I was
Then Mugabe attacked me and the Protestant church - and there
was nobody left to be concerned."
The Church and many others in
Zimbabwe have, to put it mildly, been largely pathetic in its opposition to
tyranny. Some even as late as this year have given huge monetary donations to
Mugabe. This inaction, at best, and active collaboration, at worst, has
culminated in one of the worst attacks on the independence of the Church in
the form of the NGO Bill. I hope that you will not be found wanting in your
opposition to this appalling piece of legislation. Now is the time for ALL to
speak out boldly and unequivocally in condemnation of and opposition to this
Felix Njini & Njabulo
Ncube 9/9/2004 7:28:35 AM (GMT +2)
THE National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), where executives have in the past been known
to push the envelope too far, is under investigation over suspected abuse of
part of about US$121 million obtained from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) to procure fuel.
The probe, which is centred on US$20 million
secured from the RBZ two months ago ostensibly to replenish government's
depleted fuel reserves, comes after the re-emergence of fuel queues last
week. It emerged this week that NOCZIM, which was given US$20 million by the
RBZ, outside the auction system, has been sitting on the funds while fuel
reservoirs were running dry.
The state fuel procurement agency
has over the years suffered the consequences of influence-peddling, top
management ineptitude and malfeasance that have sometimes spawned biting
fuel shortages which peaked in 2002.
Government sources this
week revealed that the debt-ridden fuel procurement state company was under
the microscope for alleged misuse of funds obtained from the
Revelations of the probe at NOCZIM comes amid similar
investigations into more than 67 private oil importers allocated US$112.5
million by the RBZ to procure fuel but which have mostly failed to
Impeccable industry sources yesterday said that
investigators on Tuesday visited all banks that sourced foreign currency
from the auction system on behalf of the fuel companies.
by the re-emergence of fuel shortages, despite availability of foreign
currency through the auction system, the state is reported to be wielding
its axe at NOCZIM, where fuel reserves are said to have completely dried up,
forcing some government departments and farmers to source fuel from private
It has been established that the RBZ has requested the
ministries of Energy and Power Development and Anti-Corruption and
Anti-Monopolies to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding NOCZIM's
failure to procure fuel despite funds being made available.
Sources have also pointed to the possibility of NOCZIM using the foreign
currency obtained from the auction system to retire its long-standing debt
of US$61 million minus interest with Tamoil of Libya.
African country at one time supplied 70 percent of Zimbabwe's fuel
requirements under a revolving US$90 million facility. The facility was
however dealt a hammer blow when Zimbabwe failed to pay US$61 million for
fuel that had been supplied. This stiffened the hand of the fuel supplier,
which immediately halted fuel supplies to Zimbabwe.
At one time
Zimbabwe said it would discharge its liabilities through the export of
agricultural produce to Libya and the disposal of some NOCZIM assets to
Tamoil. Both deals did not, however, materialise.
sell-off flopped after the two parties haggled over the true value of the
assets. This was after an evaluation of NOCZIM assets by Italian
consultants, Roux Italia, towards the end of 2002 had indicated that the
assets were worth US$52.3 million. The government felt that this figure was
NOCZIM is responsible for meeting all government
departments' fuel requirements. The parastatal was also tasked by the
government to supply farmers countrywide with fuel at concessionary prices.
This was a deliberate policy to give impetus to the ongoing land reform
At a meeting with government officials this week, NOCZIM
is reported to have failed to account for the funds, prompting the
"NOCZIM got 41 percent of total foreign currency
availed to all fuel importers including the private sector. They have to
account for the money. They have to show transparency. Heads must roll at
NOCZIM," said a well placed government official.
outside the US$20 million they have been sitting on for three months. Let
them account for the money and if they fail, somebody will be arrested. We
are not sorting out the mess in the financial sector only, we are now in the
oil sector," the source said.
Statistics from the RBZ reveal that
NOCZIM alone got US$135 million compared to US$112.5 million allocated to 67
private fuel importers since January this year to end of
The US$135 million excludes the US$20 million, which state
officials claim has not been put to its intended use, raising suspicion of
abuse for personal and selfish gains.
Addressing a press
briefing this week, RBZ governor Gideon Gono hinted that government was not
happy with erratic fuel deliveries at NOCZIM despite the foreign currency
being made available to the parastatal.
"We sought clarification
from NOCZIM why they have been sitting on some funds. We also asked them
where the fuel was from the monies they obtained from us. They said it was
at high seas," said Gono, who also expressed dismay at the operations of
private sector in fuel procurement.
the shrewd political schemer widely seen as President Robert Mugabe's heir
apparent, has been let off the hook after a five-member team investigating
the ruling party's secretive investments failed to find anything that sticks
against the Speaker of Parliament.
It has always been suggested
that, despite protestations from the ruling party, the investigations were,
to all intents and purposes, targeted at Mnangagwa as the ruling party's
immediate past finance chief. Political observers were convinced that there
was a much more complex story behind the twisty investigations into the
ruling party's assets.
They claimed that the probe that took well
over four months masked a simmering internal succession struggle that at
that time had not broken into the open. This touched off an orgy of
speculation about the political future of Mnangagwa, the erstwhile
unshakable quiet man of ZANU PF politics seen as the front-runner to succeed
President Mugabe, who has since indicated that he could be seeing out his
last term in office.
The Speaker of Parliament was key to the
ruling party's investments and it was believed that his opponents were
determined to bury his political career through the probe. But the 64-page
report, discussed at a politburo meeting a fortnight ago, dismally failed to
lift the lid off the complex and secretive operations of the ZANU PF
companies or uncover any imprudent deals.
There is nothing
incriminating in the report against any of the party bigwigs either - a
development that has sparked suggestions from within ZANU PF that the report
was deliberately watered down to avoid spawning discord within the party.
Since the findings would inevitably spill into the public domain, the ruling
ZANU PF, which is currently riven with factions, might have wanted to avoid
washing its dirty linen in public.
ZANU PF bigwigs hauled before
the committee during the investigations include Mnangagwa, who was
interviewed twice, Nicholas Goche, the Minister of State for Security, Enos
Chikowore, the former Public Service and National Housing Minister,
Frederick Shava, the director for ZANU PF, Sydney Sekeramayi, the Minister
of Defence, Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of Anti-corruption, Nathan
Shamuyarira, the ZANU PF information chief.
Top business executives
with links to ZANU PF companies - Chris Gomwe, the managing director of
Southern African Reinsurance and Livingstone Gwata, the managing director of
First Banking Corporation among others - were also
During the interviews, Goche, who seats on the M
& S Syndicate board, said he received a letter of appointment in 2001but
has never been invited for a board meeting since then.
much-awaited report, a copy of which is in the hands of The Financial
Gazette, has however exposed serious corporate governance issues. It said
the way ZANU PF companies were being run left a lot to be desired. Some, the
report said, had gone for several years without board meetings and audited
accounts. Dividends were not paid timeously either.
recommendations to the ruling party's supreme decision-making body, the
Politburo, the committee said the police should launch further
investigations to establish any prejudice in terms of revenue to all ZANU PF
The investigations, said the committee, should
rope in M & S Syndicate, the ZANU PF investment vehicle, registered on
December 7 1979 and chaired by Mnangagwa.
It was also further
recommended that police investigations should also target Catercraft,
Fibrolite (an asbestos manufacturing company situated in Kwekwe), and shelf
companies housed under the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Southern African
Reinsurance (SARE) namely Segmented Investments, Hutsonville, Amelia
Properties, M & S Investments and Smoothnest Investments.
"It is recommended that the investigations should include all the directors
who fled the country, including their associates/accomplices," the committe
said in apparent reference to the three directors of ZANU PF companies,
Dipak Pandya, Jayant Joshi and his brother Manharlal, who skipped the
country when the investigations started.
include the linkage between the party's local investments and external
investments of the party's partners in order to establish whether or not the
party has been prejudiced in terms of foreign currency," read part of the
David Karimanzira chaired the
five-member committee whose other members included retired General Solomon
Mujuru, Matabeleland North Governor Obert Mpofu, former Finance Minister
Simba Makoni and Thoko Mathuthu, the ZANU PF deputy secretary for transport
The report titled "The ZANU PF Politburo Report of the
Committee on Party Investments July 2004", said that most of the ruling
party investments were made through M & S Syndicate, which has over the
years acquired shares in Treger Holdings, Mike Appel, Catercraft, Fibrolite,
Zidlee Holdings, SARE, First Banking Corporation and ZIDCO Holdings, formed
M&S Syndicate directors include Mnangagwa, Sekeramayi,
Goche, Karimanzira, Jayant Joshi and his brother Manharlal.
ZANU PF also owns ZANU PF Headquarters, a library at Number 130 Enterprise
Road, Highlands, a warehouse in Ruwa and offices at 88 Robert Mugabe Avenue.
Other party investments include Jongwe Printing and Publishing Company,
Jongwe Farm and Nyadzonya Farm.
The committee however failed to
gather evidence pertaining to the sale of Ottawa House, which was bombed in
the 1980s as it used to accommodate African National Congress
Harare City Council
$50bln 9/9/2004 7:31:39 AM (GMT +2)
THE Harare City
Council (HCC), facing operational snags following the mass resignation of
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors, has been promised $50
billion by the government for the refurbishment of the obsolete Morton
Jaffray water works.
Part of the money, expected at the
crisis-riddled Town House in the next few weeks, will also be channelled
towards the upgrading of the capital's overwhelmed and clogged sewerage
Nomutsa Chideya, the town clerk, told The Financial Gazette
last week that despite the political problems bedevilling the capital, the
government had pledged to bank-roll the municipality to resolve some of its
problems such as the replacement of obsolete water works.
late, the city has been experiencing erratic water supplies and burst sewage
pipes, blamed on the old water reticulation system.
billion had been made available to council by the government under its
Public Sector Investment Programme for the rebuilding of the water works
treatment plant at Morton Jaffray and the replacement of damaged sewage
pipes, according to council officials.
The Morton Jaffray Water
Treatment Plant was built in 1953 when Lake Chivero was commissioned but has
not been refurbished since then.
"We are getting some sympathy from
the government despite what is happening," said Chideya, in apparent
reference to the resignation in the past few weeks of MDC
Two weeks ago the MDC executive resolved to boycott
all future elections in Zimbabwe and withdrew its councillors from the HCC,
greatly crippling operations of the city.
Since the MDC pullout
from the council, the city fathers have failed to meet since they cannot
make a quorum.
"We have been given $10.7 billion for the
refurbishment of Morton Jaffray and the upgrading of the sewerage
"We expect an additional $50 billion and hopefully we will
get it in the next few weeks, but before the end of the month," said
"When this progra-mme (to refurbish the water works) is
complete, we hope to augment our water supply capacity to about 620
mega-litres a day from the present 500 mega-litres a day. This we hope to be
complete by the middle of October," he added.
treatment plant has the capacity of producing 614 mega-litres a day while
the smaller Prince Edward Dam plant chips in with a daily supply of about 60
Civil servant Churu takes over the reins at
Staff Reporter 9/9/2004 7:32:41 AM (GMT
A FINANCE Ministry official, Zvinechimwe Churu, has been
appointed managing director of the beleaguered National Oil Company of
Churu, a civil servant for 20 years, takes
over from Tendai Mangezi, who has been the acting managing director since
the departure of Engineer Webster Muriritirwa last year.
44-year-old Churu spent nine years in the Industry and International Trade
Ministry before moving to the FinanceMinistry, where he has been director
until his departure.
Mangezi, who had been heavily tipped to take
over the reins at the troubled state-run oil importer, is said to have been
sidelined to the lesser important post of company secretary because of her
The appointment of Churu as substantive managing
director, which the government has been dithering on since the departure of
Muriritirwa, is seen as a fire-fighting measure as fuel shortages
Churu's appointment also comes at a time when fresh
allegations of financial impropriety at the corruption-riddled NOCZIM are
Churu, who assumed his new post this week, refused to
reveal his future plans but confirmed to The Financial Gazette that he was
now the NOCZIM boss.
SEED producers are
headed for a clash of the titans with the government over the new maize seed
prices, raising fears that the fast approaching 2004/2005 agricultural
season may turn out to be another disaster owing to anticipated shortage of
The Zimbabwe Seed Trade Association (ZSTA) disclosed to
this paper yesterday that seed houses might close shop because the maize
seed prices unveiled by the Industry and International Trade Ministry on
Tuesday were not realistic.
Vincent Gwara-dzimba, a senior ZSTA
official, warned that the state could be forced to import maize seed if it
presses ahead with the controlled prices. This will put another strain on
the little foreign currency available.
The Industry and
International Trade Ministry claimed in a statement released on Tuesday that
the new prices were agreed on following "extensive consultations with seed
houses, farmers' unions and other interested parties".
year we are going to import seed because all the companies will have
"We are really concerned with the future of this country
because if we are not careful the land reform programme will collapse," said
"I am not sure whether they will sell their seeds, but
the truth of the matter is that the prices are not viable.
"Nobody will survive with those prices. Labour, transport and packaging have
all gone up and you expect companies to survive selling at that
A 25kg bag of maize seed will now cost between $137 000 and
$144 231 depending on the hybrid variety.
The wholesale price
of a 5kg bag would range from $26 000 to $27 390 and a retail price of
between $28 000 and $30 00, depending on the variety.
will now receive $3 million per tonne from Seed Co, $2.5 million from Pannar
Seed and $2 million from Pioneer Seed.
Seed manufacturers this week
said the prices cannot meet the high production costs incurred by players in
the industry, adding that farmers have to brace for another steep price
increase in the coming few weeks.
Preparations for the coming
season are likely to be disrupted as farmers are failing to get seed on the
The country requires about 300 000 tonnes of seed each
Earlier, the government had ordered seed houses to revert
to old prices, but the manufacturers withdrew their stocks arguing that the
prices were no longer viable to keep them in business.
SeedCo official, Dennis Zaranyika, who had a meeting with Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made yesterday, said seed houses were engaging the relevant
ministries to solve the problem.
He said: "We have pointed out that
we are engaging various ministries to solve the problem."
SeedCo, one of the country's leading seed producers, has indicated that seed
prices could go up by almost 200 percent if it fails to access cheap funds
under the productive sector facility.
Some of the major seed houses
in the country include Pannar Seed, Pioneer Zimbabwe, National Tested Seeds
The government has indicated that it is reviving the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum to come up with a pricing and incomes protocol
for the management of prices and incomes.
The models are
expected to ensure affordability of the products by consumers and also
viability of manufacturers.
THE ZANU PF succession
issue, an erstwhile political hot potato which is likely to dominate the
ruling party's congress in December, has taken a new dimension with
complications posed by the likelihood of a female cadre emerging as one of
the vice presidents.
Party insiders told The Financial Gazette
yesterday that jostling and back-biting had reached a new crescendo within
the ruling party as ZANU PF gurus positioned themselves for top posts ahead
of the congress, to be held during the first week of December in
They indicated that with John Nkomo, the party's national
chairman, tipped to replace Vice President Joseph Msika in December, the
female cadre sponsored by the powerful ZANU PF Women's League faced a fierce
and bruising duel from top male party gurus eyeing the other post of vice
The post was left vacant following the death of Simon
Muzenda last year.
It also emerged this week that all the top
guns coveting the presidency were "uncomfortable" with President Robert
Mugabe's indications at the ZANU PF Women's Congress that women should be
elevated to top leadership positions. This was taken to mean that the
Zimbabwean leader was amenable to the idea of a woman vice
The ZANU PF Women's Congress, as one of its
recommendations at the close of their gathering, said they would push for
ex-liberation war soldier Joyce Mujuru to be considered for the post of vice
Mujuru is the wife of influential retired army General
Solomon Mujuru who commands respect among his peers.
Mnanga-gwa, the ZANU PF secretary for administration who also doubles-up as
the Speaker of Parliament, and Didymus Mutasa, the secretary for foreign
affairs, have been mentioned as the other two top senior candidates eyeing
the top job.
Jonathan Moyo, the government's top spin doctor, has
also had his name mentioned as one of the Young Turks likely to spring a
surprise at the congress for one of the top posts in ZANU PF.
Sources confided to this newspaper that the female dimension had caused
consternation among aspiring candidates for the country's top jobs and that
it had greatly complicated the succession debate.
uncertainty among the top contenders for the presidency. President Mugabe's
support for a woman to be elevated to one of the top posts has been
uncomfortable and disappointing for some people eyeing the job," said an
insider. "What it means is that it is no longer a walkover as the women have
entered the fray. The women, who in fact are the majority in the party and
have stood with us since the war of liberation, want to be recognised. There
is no other way for the party to repay them for their support other than
giving them one of the vice presidencies," said the source.
Insiders said what is left is for the party to tamper with its constitution
to accommodate the women's resolution.
Although the final agenda
for the congress is yet to be finalised, firm indications were that Vice
President Msika would be retired in December 2004, paving the way for the
Nkomo's stepping into the shoes of Msika,
affectionately known as Bruno among his coterie of political friends and
foes, is courtesy of the historic Unity Accord signed between the old ZANU
PF and PF ZAPU then led by the late Vice President Joshua
If Msika goes and Nkomo steps into his shoes, the post of
national chairman would also generate a lot of intrigue because whoever
lands it would be the third most powerful politician in ZANU
"Because of the quota system, Mujuru or whoever the women push
for has an advantage over those wishing to replace Muzenda," said another
Patrick Chinamasa, the party legal guru whose department
helps with preparation of the agenda for the congress, said he was waiting
to be told to do the papers for the congress. "I don't do the agenda. I am
only instructed to do the papers. I am waiting for those instructions. Talk
to the secretary for administration (Mnangagwa)," said
It is understood, however, that the issue of succession
will not be on the agenda but the sources said because party members who
were anxious to know who will succeed President Mugabe might raise it under
Any Other Business (AOB), as the next congress would only be held in
President Mugabe has indicated he is serving his last term,
which ends in 2008. A special congress might be called before 2008 if
President Mugabe decides not to complete his term of office, according to
"If Mnangagwa fails to get the vice presidency at
Congress he might as well kiss the presidency good-bye unless he is
parachuted to the post through appointment by President Mugabe. There is no
way he can just come from being secretary of administration, jump over the
two vice presidents and the national chairman to be president. So it's a
dog-eat-dog situation to attain the post left by Dr Mzee," said another
Chief Political Reporter 9/9/2004 7:34:34 AM (GMT +2)
POLICE yesterday arrested Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), before ransacking his organisation's offices
allegedly in search of "dangerous" weapons.
Madhuku, whose NCA is
campaigning for a new constitution, was allegedly arrested in the early
hours of yesterday and at lunchtime was brought in handcuffs to the NCA
offices by armed police.
The police then proceeded to search the
premises but failed to unearth any dangerous weapons, according to NCA
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the arrest
of constitutional lawyer Madhuku, whose organisation has been at the
forefront in vehemently opposing the proposed Non-Governmental Organisations
Bill due to be passed into a law to monitor the operations of
"We (NCA) condemn the manner in which the police arrested our
national chairperson in the infancy of this morning and the subsequent
ransacking of the NCA offices without a search warrant.
makes it worse is that the police have even denied Madhuku's friends and
relatives access to him at the Harare Police Station where he is detained.
No charges have been preferred against him yet but sources within the police
have indicated that the ZRP is seeking a warrant to go and ransack his house
in search of so-called dangerous weapons and subversive materials," said
Jessie Majome, an NCA official.
Last week the NCA, working together
with other NGOs opposed to the Bill which critics say is meant to further
close democratic space in Zimbabwe, staged a demonstration against the
However, police moved with speed to thwart the NCA
demonstrators from marching into the city centre, arresting several
protestors in the process.
return of fuel queues, a persistent eyesore in the past three years that
Zimbabweans thought they had finally been rid of, has exposed the
government's failure to follow its policies through.
fuel shortages have been as a result of lack of foreign currency to import
the commodity, it has been established that the current shortage has been
caused by lack of adequate supervision of the oil firms that have
proliferated since the deregulation of the sector.
liberalised the fuel sector last year after relentless pressure from
industry following the virtual collapse of the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim) due to mismanagement and deep-seated
It emerged this week that the erratic fuel supplies
experienced in the past couple of weeks had very little to do with rising
oil prices and the weakening domestic currency but more to do with the abuse
of foreign currency allocated to fuel dealers by the Reserve Bank of
China's overheating economy, as well as increased
consumption in the populous Asian region, has pushed oil prices to a 23-year
high of US$50 per barrel in recent weeks.
China, whose economy
is growing at close to 10 percent per year, has increased its oil
consumption by 41 percent, while India's intake has grown by 14
The heightened demand has had the effect of pushing oil
This, coupled with the weakening local currency, had
been advanced as plausible reasons for the tenuous fuel
That was until the RBZ released figures of foreign
currency allocated to fuel dealers, numbering more than 67, through its
foreign currency auction system, charging that there was a clear pattern of
The central bank has, since January, availed as much as
US$268 million for fuel procurement, an average of US$34 million per
"Submissions by the oil industry, as well as empirical
assessments of the supply chains of the economy, suggest that on average,
the country requires around US$30 million per month for fuel procurement,
excluding debt service, to meet fuel requirements of all
"The Reserve Bank, however, has noted with grave concern
the increasing abuse of foreign exchange meant for fuel procurement by
operators participating on the auction system," RBZ governor Gideon Gono
revealed this week.
He said of the 70-odd fuel-importing
companies - mostly indigenous-owned - currently participating on the
auction, only 10 had distribution networks, a situation that would obviously
create costly inefficiencies in the system.
The governor came
short of indicting the Ministry of Energy and Power Development for laxity
in policing the firms, which emerged after the blundering Noczim's monopoly
was effectively broken last year.
The government last year promised
to set up an independent regulatory commission to come up with a framework
within which fuel industry players would operate.
A year on, no
such framework has materialised and some firms are capitalising on the
government's lethargy, at a huge cost to the crisis-hit
Gono said the mushrooming of oil firms that did not
have distribution networks or any other supporting infrastructure had seen a
"disproportionate number of fuel importers continuing to operate as
briefcase middlemen, with some electing to make money out of disposal of
foreign currency accessed on the auction, instead of importing
Although Gono pronounced measures to restore sanity to the
fuel procurement system, it would seem that nothing short of a proper
regulatory environment would curb the excesses of "oil" firms that have
given liberalisation a bad name.
Among measures taken by the
central bank, all future allocations of foreign currency through the
auctions will be made via a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which will pool
resources required by bona fide fuel importers.
industry is, therefore, expected to self-correct and re-align their
processes for smooth operation of the SPV," Gono said.
private players in the fuel procurement business will come under greater
regulatory scrutiny in coming weeks, with some unwelcome entrants into the
system inevitably flushed out of the pipeline, Noczim's strategic role also
looks set to be examined.
The parastatal, whose history is littered
with bungling and corruption, got the lion's share of funds through the
RBZ's auctions - US$101 million (40 percent) since February, with an
additional US$20 million having been injected in recent weeks as the RBZ
sought to avert another fuel crisis.
Gono could scarcely mask
his frustration with Noczim over the less than resolute execution of its
mandate - to ensure the country has strategic reserves.
official opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which
turns five on Saturday, was launched amid high hopes, ZANU PF spokesperson
Chen Chimutengwende peremptorily dismissed the party as yet another
political fledgling that would not grow a stern beak.
Half a decade
on, Chimutengwende, the former information minister, has been cast to the
periphery of local politics while the MDC has not only established a
foothold on Zimbabwe's body politic, but is giving ZANU PF - in power since
independence in 1980 - a run for its money.
If a week is a long
time in politics, then it would appear as if the MDC has been around since
The entrance of the MDC into Zimbabwe's
treacherous political field has coincided with enough developments and
incidents to fill a generation, as the country has sunk deeper into an
economic and political bog.
For instance, at the time of the
launch, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which played midwife in the
MDC's formation, was pushing for a $4 000 minimum wage.
breadline currently stands at $1 million.
was around 50 percent at the time, but it is currently slowing down and
stood at 363 percent in July, having peaked at 623 percent in January
The MDC has since contested in a parliamentary election (in
2000), where it won 57 of the 120 contested seats, and a presidential
plebiscite (in 2002) where its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, came within a
whisker of sending President Robert Mugabe into retirement.
MDC has also contested in local government elections and dominates in most
urban councils - Harare and Bulawayo elected MDC executive mayors in 2002,
while other municipalities are under MDC administrations.
of increased public disenchantment with an increasingly distant and
complacent ZANU PF government, most who underestimated the ruling party's
survival instincts expected the MDC to ride into power on the back of the
worsening economic crisis.
When the MDC and most like-minded civic
organisations inspired the ZANU PF government's embarrassing defeat in the
February 2000 constitutional referendum, a victory of similar proportions in
the parliamentary elections, which would follow in June, was just a matter
So when the MDC won 57 seats, having fought a bitter and
blood-stained campaign with ZANU PF, characterised by deaths and
intimidation, the populace, while acknowledging that the MDC had entered
into the contest just nine months after its inception, took it with a hint
The presidential poll which took place two years
later was also incendiary and its results are still being contested in
court, as are those of some 30-plus parliamentary contests of
In spite of worrying signs of disillusionment among the
electorate, underlined by creeping apathy, Tsvangirai insists his party will
hold its own at the easel where Zimbabwe's political history is being
"At the weekend, we shall celebrate the fifth anniversary
of the Movement for Democratic Change - a major force that has changed the
political landscape of Zimbabwe and ushered in an era of active, multi-party
politics in this country.
"September 11 1999 shall remain
permanently engraved in our memory as the day that changed Zimbabwe. On this
day, the people took a bold and unprecedented decision to position an
alternative political formation, an alternative political movement that
represents the future. We are the agents of change and our victory is around
the corner," Tsvangirai said this week.
However, as the MDC
celebrates its fifth anniversary, the dominant feeling of its rank and file
is not quite that of imminent victory or, as Tsvangirai calls it, "colossal
change", but growing apprehension.
The opposition party, which has
lost a string of parliamentary by-elections held since 2000 under
contentious electoral laws which have been bolstered by even more
contentious legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act and the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ominously acronymed
AIPPA), has decided to boycott al future elections until the government puts
in place electoral procedures agreed on by all Southern African Development
Community states at a recent summit in Mauritius.
aftermath of the MDC's decision, which has received as much approval as it
has drawn criticism even from sympathisers, ZANU PF bagged the Seke
constituency - previously held by the MDC - without going to the
While the euphoria which accorded the party an outward
appearance of strength might have subsided somewhat, the MDC does appear to
be stronger than it was in 2000.
Officials say the party's
database reflects about 3.5 million members, while the temporary structures
the party put in place before the 2000 election have since been replaced by
The MDC now has solid structures in all 12 provinces
and a 200-strong staff complement.
There has been a downside
too, with the lowest probably being the loss of one of its leading lights -
firebrand former party spokesperson and Kuwadzana Member of Parliament
Learnmore Jongwe, who was facing charges of murdering his wife and died in
remand prison in 2002.
There have also been blunders and
questionable decisions, but the MDC will argue that, in comparison to the
bleeps on the other side of the political divide, its sins surely pale into
What remains a fact, though, is that the party's
naysayers, who thought the its political fortunes "were between slim and
none", have been confounded and, according to the law of averages, the MDC
could yet rule one day.
Blackmail at private schools: a personal
Charles Rukuni 9/9/2004 7:37:12 AM (GMT
I HAD to withhold tears as I watched my eight-year old daughter
sob when I told her I could not fill her raffle form. Her teacher wanted it
that day. She had been given the form almost a month back, but I had not
been able to get sponsors.
She had brought several raffle forms
before and I had filled them promptly, giving her the amount that was
required. I had not sought outside sponsors. My wife had, however,
occasionally sought sponsorship from her workmates.
raffle was different. It was not even a raffle. It was a devious way by my
daughter's school to get me to pay increased fees that had been turned down
by Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere.
I was broke and had even
made a request to pay the school fees in instalments. The fees had gone up
by nearly 170 percent in the first term and now the school wanted to double
the first term's fees.
I could not afford to pay the additional
fees both physically and on moral grounds, but as I watched my daughter sob,
not understanding my financial problems or what I was going through, I felt
cheated and robbed at the blatant extortion the school had resorted
While I was prepared to pay any fees that the school charged,
because I had made a personal choice to send my children there, I was not
prepared to be used as a pawn either by the school or the minister. The two
had to come clean and settle their scores without sandwiching me in
The way things were, I would be a loser either way, but
what disturbed me most was how the school was using me, as a parent, to
fight its battle with the minister, lying that I had approved the fee
The school was quite aware that under the Education Act
it had to have the approval of parents to increase fees, but apparently it
had been doing so for some years without my approval because of lax controls
in the ministry.
Even the Association of Trust Schools, which
represents private schools, had admitted in a circular to parents that: ". .
. it must be acknowledged that several of the Trust schools were grossly
irregular in their non-observance of the Act and there is need to apologise
Though the schools were quite aware, according
to the circular, that under the Education Act, no responsible authority
"shall charge any fee, or increase the same by more than the prescribed
amount or percentage in any period of 12 months unless such increase has
been approved by the Secretary (of Education)" from as far back as 2001,
everyone had been doing his or her own thing.
"In 2002," the
circular went on, "the Permanent Secretary delegated authority to receive,
assess and decide on applications to regional directors and since then
difficulties have arisen with increased frequency, including: lack of
acknowledgement or response; applications 'lost" etc.
frustrations, the rapid acceleration of inflation and the need to send out
fee invoices to ensure that schools opened on time and had sufficient
operating income; schools had increased fees without approval on the
assumption that 'no refusal' was a tacit approval."
To me, it
appeared Chigwedere had merely stepped in to restore sanity, just like
central bank governor Gideon Gono had clamped down on the financial sector
to restore order.
His methods may have been crude, but it was
probably because of the arrogance displayed by the private schools, which
continued to defy his directives through various methods that they were
employing to ensure that parents paid the fees they wanted.
do not like to be misunderstood. I am prepared to pay any fees the school
charges, but what I will not stomach is to be forced to accept that I agreed
to the fees when I did not and was not consulted, but merely told that this
was what I had to pay.
My daughter's school first sent out
circulars advising me about the proposed fee increases and asked me to agree
to or reject the fee increases. It looks like it received a very poor
response because the school board called a parents' meeting at which it
wanted the parents to endorse the fee increase.
argued that the school could not just increase fees at will, especially
since the budget it had presented only had the expenditure without revenue
which parents believed the school had made from its investments because of
the high interest rates that prevailed towards the end of last year and
during the first term.
Though 75 percent of the expenditure was on
teachers' salaries, parents were more concerned about whether the fee was
justified or the school merely wanted to screen the poor. The meeting almost
broke down when one of the parents said those who could not afford the
proposed fees should withdraw their children.
once again, asked to fill slips asking them whether they agreed to the new
fees or not. It appears the school did not get the response it wished for,
because it called for another parents' meeting, but this time, parents were
asked to meet in small groups.
With three children at the school,
it meant I could not attend three meetings at the same time. I did not
attend any of the meetings because it was now evident that the school was
trying to use a divide-and-rule tactic.
Parents could not take
advantage of their numbers to gauge the majority view. And without anyone
taking count of who voted for what in each small group, parents were, once
again, at the mercy of school authorities.
It was after these
meetings flopped again that the school introduced the raffle. Though it was
titled: "Fund Raising Raffle" with the first prize being 100 percent
discount for third term fees or 50 percent cash equivalent and the fourth
prize being a 25 percent discount, the raffle had a minimum sponsorship of
$10 000 per line.
One had to fill in all columns. Interestingly,
the columns on the raffle forms were equivalent to the balance parents were
supposed to pay to meet the new fees turned down by the government. Children
whose parents had paid the new fees were not given raffle
For me, this was the last straw. Why did the school not just
come clean, and say "pay the new fees or else". But what was even more
disturbing was the frequency with which teachers demanded the raffle forms
back from the children and the number of circulars that I started
It also appeared that some people were trying to settle
old scores through the fee issue. One circular, for example, had this to
"On the surface it may seem right for the government of the
day to protect its citizens from unwarranted increases in school fees.
Closer examination however reveals that it is not as simple as this. The
fact is that the schools are not shielded from economic realities of our
time, such as wage increases and the escalating cost of consumables and
school maintenance in an environment of hyperinflation.
our observation that it is not the private schools which are responsible for
making bad economic decisions but rather those charged with the governing of
our country. Most private schools are run on a non-profit making basis and
are content simply to balance their expenditure against their fee
"No, the real issue here is the failed economic policies of
this regime. If the economy was sound and inflation was kept at manageable
levels, then schools would not need to increase fees significantly. It is
the collapse of the national economy which has necessitated the increases in
school fees term on term.
"The unpalatable but inescapable
truth is that the cause of our present predicament is bad governance. A
failed administration is now desperately trying to find scapegoats to divert
attention from its own manifest failures. Any school worth its salt is bound
to increase its fees to the level required to maintain hard-won
Having grown up in the colonial era, my stomach turned
whenever someone mentioned "standards" because the so-called maintenance of
standards was used to shut blacks out of the economy for almost a
"What is the regime's motive, we ask, for the unlawful
forced closures of the private schools at the beginning of the second term?"
the circular went on. "Is it simply a measure of their success in providing
quality education which government schools have generally failed to do -
another embarrassing reminder of bad governance?
sinister interpretation of the regime's motive is that the forced closure of
the private schools is a part of a larger plan to destroy all pockets of
independent thought. The private schools have become in our time icons of
free and liberal thinking, which the regime is no longer willing to
"By the same token they are perceived by an authoritarian
regime as places in which dissent is encouraged, together with an
alternative vision for the nation. The irony is of course that Mr Mugabe
himself went to a Catholic mission school, Kutama, where he was given the
opportunity and encouraged to think freely. Since he sends his own children
to private schools we must assume that he still values this
"On this interpretation the regime's motives are downright
evil. They imply a deliberate intention to destroy the urban middle class,
black and white, in order to create a totally dependent and subservient
population of peasants, to whom the idea of independent thought would be
taboo . . . "
As I watched my daughter sob, I began to wonder, who
was using the children as pawns? But I had no choice. I had to pay the fees.
What I was doing was morally wrong, but my daughter's welfare came
I had had a bitter experience before. In the eighties when I
was with the Chronicle, I was assigned to do a story about doctors who gave
workers "sick letters" to get time off work when they were not ill at all. I
was asked by my editor to name the doctors and was given a by-line though I
had insisted that my name should not be used.
This must have
irked the doctors because one of them, one of the few that worked on Sunday,
refused to treat my son six years later. I don't want the same to happen to
my children now.
But, one could rightly ask, if I am so concerned
about my children, why did I write this story? I had to get this out
because, according to Alex Molokoane of Alex Hair in South Africa, blacks
have been indoctrinated to expect appalling service for so long that they
still have to be educated to expect good service.
who is quoted in the book: "Revelling in the Wild - Business lessons out of
Africa" says: "It's a terrible thing, but in the past they have been made to
feel as though the service provider of the product or service was doing them
a favour by serving them . . .
"The one thing that I've realised
about black people is that if you give them good service, they'll come back
to you. But if you give them bad service, they won't complain, they'll just
walk away. The only time I realised that we black people complain is when we
are already fighting, like when we believe we have been really
The truth is I want my children to get a good education.
But I do not want to live my neighbour's life by pretending that I can
afford it, when I am borrowing left, right and centre, just to keep my
children at school - and probably protect my ego as well.
new fees are just too much for me. While the Central Statistics Office,
which calculates inflation, weighs education fees at only 3.4 percent, the
current fees consume 62 percent of my monthly income.
is my choice, I don't want to live a lie.
BULAWAYO - ZANUPF
slipped back into the Bulawayo City Council through the back door when its
candidate, Ernest Msipa, stood unopposed when nominations for a by-election
in Ward 7 closed on Friday because the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
which is boycotting all pending elections, did not field a
The seat was declared vacant after the
councillor for the area, Albert Ndhlovu of the MDC, failed to attend six
consecutive council meetings. Ndhlovu was reported to have left the country
in September last year to seek medical treatment in South Africa but never
The by-election was initially scheduled for September
18, but Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede had postponed all local government
by-elections scheduled for that date to September 25.
held all 29 seats in the council until the recent development.
MDC's national executive council decided to boycott all pending elections
two weeks ago saying it will only participate when the government adopts
electoral reforms that are in line with the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) principles and guidelines for democratic
The SADC guidelines say member states should ensure
full participation of their citizens in the political process. There should
be freedom of association, political tolerance, equal opportunity for all
political parties to access the state media, equal opportunity to exercise
the right to vote and be voted for, voter education, an independent
judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions.
Though the government has conceded to some electoral reforms such as the
setting up of an independent election commission, observers say these
reforms fall far short of those required by the regional body.
ZIMBABWE'S less-than convincing
self-appointed moral authority, one Archbishop Pius Ncube, ostensibly a man
of exceptional personal responsibility, is writing a bizarre episode in his
book of Zimbabwe's tragi-comic political history.
initial good deal of adulation where his stance was viewed as an act of
civil bravery to criticise government excesses getting into his head and
oblivious of the fact that the admiration is increasingly turning to
scepticism, the Archbishop was at it again last weekend.
unconcealed satisfaction, the globe-trotting and politically excitable
cleric bragged in a weekly publication about how he apprised the heir to the
British throne, Prince Charles, of how politically, the pendulum has swung
too far the other way in Zimbabwe. Other key issues discussed with the man
destined to one day become king, as told by Ncube, were runaway inflation,
the AIDS scourge, the hunger which he claims is stalking the nation and the
ugly face of the ZANU PF attack machine, among others.
him about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe but he was well informed.
He expresssed his sadness and stated that he was the one who handed the
leadership to Mugabe at Rufaro Stadium in April 1980," revealed Archbishop
Ncube, who not long ago was economic with the truth when he appeared on Sky
TV saying that inflation in Zimbabwe was 1 000 percent! For all we know
inflation peaked at 623 percent in January this year.
what the unashamed self-publicist whose Achilles heel is playing to the
gallery told Prince Charles in no uncertain terms was that there was
gnashing of teeth in the God-forsaken country called Zimbabwe. That is not
our bone of contention because one can literally cut the disillusionment
among the generality of Zimbabweans with a knife. More than anything else
however, the trip to Great Britain exposed the cleric, whose crusade in
defence of individual liberty and standards of living we doubt is completely
altruistic, as someone still holding on to the illusion that the United
Kingdom is relevant to the political situation in the Southern African
country - a Zimbabwean obsession or national curse!
Although he did
not say it, we are hard-pressed not to feel that the Archbishop's discussion
with Prince Charles was an unconscious indicator of his sub-conscious
intentions - that the British government should tighten the noose around the
government of Zimbabwe, which he is on record as having implied ranks among
the most despotic regimes in the world. This, the Archbishop believes, will
raise the pressure on President Robert Mugabe, who himself has never hidden
his dislike of Ncube for allegedly betraying his country in its most
The "crusading" man of the cloth, with whom the
Zimbabwean authorities he accuses of a huge democratic deficit have shown a
flush of impatience, claims that he is doing this because he is concerned
with the rights of the common people, hence the oft repeated " . . . I can't
stop talking because it is a God-given duty that the Church must talk when
people are suffering . . . "
We know only too well that when
the system crumbles, the rights of the common people would be the last
anyone remembers, which is why we would support the Archbishop, were it not
for this mentality of his poisoned by the noxious fumes of the once blazing
but now smouldering colonial fires, that the UK is a factor in the
Zimbabwean political crisis. This is moreso when it has something to do with
outworn shibboleths of the monarchical and feudal institutions whose
relevance even in the UK is not only increasingly being questioned but is
also now a subject of heated debate.
The Archbishop, who it would
not be too far-fetched to say might be using this to buy influence and
stitch together a political power base, has obviously lost contact with
reality. There are new and complex political realities in Zimbabwe and the
thinking that the UK still has the diplomatic, political or economic clout
to influence developments in the country is not only erroneous but also
bereft of realism, so to speak. The UK's influence collapsed with the
rupture of the ties that held for several decades. If anything there hasn't
been any hope for rapprochement and both countries seem to have written each
other off as net losses. This is a tacit admission from both sides that the
fences have irretrievably broken down.
That is why the seemingly
patronising Prince who reportedly expressed sadness over the events
unfolding in Zimbabwe since he is the one who handed the leadership to
President Mugabe - as if Zimbabweans, who sacrificed so much in the war of
liberation, achieved the right to self-determination on a silver plate -
skulked. Whatever they discussed with Ncube should have, were it for the
Prince's wish, remained within the confines of the four walls of some dark
room in London. He knows only too well the irrelevance of his country to the
internal politics of Zimbabwe of today.
As a matter of fact there
is consensus that the solution to the country's crisis should be internal.
Such reforms will only take root if they are backed by a durable political
sentiment at home. But this is obviously lost on the Archbishop who still
finds it difficult to overcome the inertia of Zimbabwe's encumbering
historical ties. Little wonder the cleric's behaviour is beginning to
provoke growing concern and the public is now looking at him with a
magnifying glass after the initial uncritical admiration and
Indeed, this is why those perplexed by the cleric's
behaviour are wondering when Archbishop Ncube and those of his ilk are going
to acknowledge the historical validity and sustainability of home-grown
political reform and the hopelessness of seeking recourse to exogenous
forces who might have their own agendas. Otherwise it is difficult to escape
the impression that whatever he has been doing as regards Zimbabwean
politics is guided by vain and groundless hope. It is not in fact based on
the calculation and understanding of political events unfolding in the
News from Lilongwe is that our national son-in-law,
Bingu wa Mutharika (or is it Bingu wa Muluzi?) is getting closer and closer
He is increasingly irritating opposition members in that
country by his habit of finding it difficult to tell the truth. We are told
that the new man just don't want to tell the truth.
uninitiated, the nickname Bingu wa Muluzi comes from the fact that the man
was handpicked by Bakili Muluzi when the latter's term of office was cruelly
coming to an end and he desperately needed someone to protect him from
prosecution for any wrongdoing during his days in power.
in power, not days in office, because in Africa leaders come into power, not
It was interesting that when Muluzi, 60, was selling
wa Mutharika, 71, throughout Malawi, his slogan was that Malawi needed young
blood . . . and that young blood came in the form of someone more than a
decade older than him.
Back to wa Mutharika. Malawians have
been questioning wa Mutharika's background . . . from the fact that he has
lived in exile for almost all his life, why he is using a pseudonym and
where his wife comes from.
Although it has now emerged that his
wife Ethel is Zimbabwean, all along he has been maintaining that his dear
wife is Malawian by birth, having been born around Mwanza.
this was not the truth and we wonder why he was ashamed of the truth about
her. And as the truth is coming out, members of the opposition are wondering
what else the president has been lying about. They suspect he, himself,
might be either Tanzanian or Kenyan.
Wa Mutarika claims he changed
his name to protect himself from assassination by agents of the late
Malawian dictator Kamuzu Banda.
When wa Muluzi came to open this
year's Harare Agricultural Show, and then extended his stay here ostensibly
to witness the burial of Eddison Zvobgo, he in fact wanted to visit his
in-laws here, as well as to visit his farm in Kadoma. Yes, wa Mutharika has
a farm here, and it is at that farm that he spent the Saturday before
Don't ask CZ whether it is proper to give land to
non-citizens when our own people are not yet satisfied, but the truth is
that wa Mutharika is our son-in-law, and he has a farm
CZ and all other patriotic Zimbos hope against all
hope that our sexy warriors, whom we are told spent more time entertaining
prostitutes than preparing for the tie against Nigeria, learnt something
from the west Africans.
CZ has always been curious about those
so-called preparatory friendlies against Botswana, Zambia and Uganda in
which what was playing was a ghost national team, not the real team. What
was the purpose of these matches? To waste money?
Or can we
blame the British for the defeat since there are official allegations that
the west African country is one of those being used by the former colonial
masters to try and destabilise our dear country?
goes like this: A man was sick and tired of going to work every day while
his wife stayed home. He wanted her to see what he went through so he
prayed: "Dear Lord, I go to work every day and put in eight hours while my
wife merely stays at home. I want her to know what I go through, so please
allow her body to switch with mine for a day. Amen."
God, in his
infinite wisdom, granted the man's wish. The next morning, sure enough, the
man awoke as a woman. He arose, quarrelled with his partner, cooked
breakfast for her, awakened the kids, bathed them, set out their school
clothes, fed them breakfast, packed their lunches, drove them to school,
came home and picked up the dry cleaning, took it to the cleaners, and
stopped at the bank to make a transaction, went grocery shopping, then drove
home to put away the groceries.
He paid the bills and balanced the
cheque book. He cleaned the cat's litter box and bathed the dog. Then it was
already 1: 00 pm and he hurried to make the beds, do the laundry, vacuum,
dust and sweep and mop the kitchen floor.
He rushed to the
school to pick up the kids and got into an argument with them on the way
home. He set out milk and cookies and got the kids organised to do their
homework, then set up the ironing board and watched TV while he did the
At 4:30 he began peeling potatoes and washing vegetables
for salad, roasted the pork chops and snapped fresh beans for
After supper, he cleaned the kitchen, ran the dishwasher,
folded laundry, bathed the kids and put them to bed. At 9:00pm he was
exhausted and, though his daily chores weren't finished, he went to bed
where he was expected to make love, which he managed to get through without
complaint. Then he quarrelled with his partner again before falling
The next morning, he awoke and immediately knelt by the bed
and said: "Lord, I don't know what I was thinking. I was so wrong to envy my
wife's being able to stay home all day. Please, oh please, let us trade
The Lord, again in his infinite wisdom, replied: "My son, I
feel you have learned your lesson and I will be happy to change things back
to the way they were before. You'll just have to wait nine months, though.
You got pregnant last night."
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has shelved its US$1.2 billion Batoka
Gorge Hydroelectric Scheme, heightening fears that government policy on
power generation is at sea.
It has been established that the Batoka
Gorge power generation project, the approved least-cost expansion scenario
in power generation, had been shelved due to a shortage of
The first unit for the envisaged project, situated along the
Zambezi River, had been targeted to be in place by 2010. Expectations were
that powerhouses on the north and south bank of the river, each with a
capacity of 800 MW, would have been developed with private sector
Zimbabwe has a peak power demand of 2 100 MW while
local generation stands at 1 200 MW, giving a supply imbalance of 900 MW
which is imported.
ZESA, which owes three regional power suppliers
US$51 million, imports 250 MW from Hydro Caborra Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique,
150 MW from Eskom of South Africa and 150 MW from Snel in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Sources said the Batoka project
had been stalled for some time owing to the country's political and economic
Initially the project had been intended as a joint
venture with Zambia, which has since lost interest as it has adequate power
supplies and has indicated that the project was not a priority.
Obert Nyatanga, ZESA general manager corporate affairs, confirmed to The
Financial Gazette that the project, scheduled to be completed in seven
years, had been shelved due to shortage of funds.
ZESA was diverting full attention to enticing investors to develop the
Hwange and Kariba South Power stations.
The cash-strapped ZESA
requires a US$600 million outlay to develop its two power projects and has
been desperately trying to lure investors.
Energy experts have
noted that economic growth could not be sustained without adequate
investment in the power sector.
The government has also abandoned a
proposed greenfield project to build a 1 400 MW coal-fired plant in Gokwe
Industry has become jittery, saying government's signals are
There are long lead times to building power
stations, they say, and delays in making decisions could lead to total
blackouts in the coming years.
Sidney Gata, ZESA executive
chairman, last month blamed government for delaying the awarding of coal
concessions to international investors intending to develop Hwange and
Kariba South Power stations.
ZESA has already signed a memorandum
of understanding (MOU) with China's National Aero-Technology Import and
Export Corporation (CATIC), but Gata said the deals have come unstuck after
government refused to bow to the investors' demands that they be granted
"The Batoka power project is a seven-year long
project and requires a huge capital outlay. At the moment we are
concentrating more on Hwange and Kariba south power stations, for which we
are trying to raise capital to develop the projects in the coming three
years," Nyatanga said.
Nyatanga said government has not even
reached an agreement with the Zambian government, which has already
indicated that it will not cooperate.
The supply for coal is not
adequate and that is why investors want to do their own coal mining to
supply the power plants, Nyatanga said.
"They want assurance that
the power stations will be running without interruptions such as coal
shortages," Nyatanga said.
"Investors will get their returns from
selling the power but they also want to export some of the coal they will be
mining," he added.
The country has enough coal to feed into the
power generation plants and to export, Nyatanga said.
whose power supply situation has never been stable, is desperately trying to
find a solution to an imminent supply gap the region is likely to face,
beginning in 2007.
Regional suppliers might fail to have surplus
power in 2007.
The only short-term solution, according to Gata,
lies in the speedy development of the Hwange and Kariba South power
In the long term, the cash-strapped government would be
expected to start the ball rolling in developing some of its long stalled
power generation projects such as the Batoka Gorge among others, energy
government this week engaged seed producers in a desperate attempt to
resolve the long-simmering issue of seed prices and ensure availability of
seed ahead of the fast approaching 2004/2005 farming season.
move, intended to ensure seed availability in the country, which has been
suffering from seed shortages in previous years, is also meant to placate
the farming community, which has been blaming government for its failure to
provide adequate seed.
Joseph Made, Agriculture and Rural
Development Minister, said he was meeting seed producers this week but could
not be drawn into disclosing the deliberations of the meetings.
"I have representatives of seed houses in my office right now.
season is here and there is every reason for farmers to be worried because
of the unavailability of seed. We will announce the outcome of the meeting
in due course," Made said this week.
Seed manufacturing firms are
pushing for increases in seed prices citing mounting production
The government had ordered seed houses to revert to old
prices but the manufacturers withdrew their stocks, arguing that the prices
were no longer viable to keep them in business.
Farmers have to
brace themselves for another steep increase in the coming few
SeedCo, one the country's leading seed producers, has
indicated that seed prices could go up by almost 200 percent if it fails to
access cheap funds under the productive sector facility (PSF).
A senior SeedCo official, Dennis Zaranyika, said seed houses were engaging
relevant ministries to solve the problem.
He, however, could not be
drawn into disclosing the concerns of seed houses, saying he was in a
meeting with Made. The government is considering proposals on seed pricing
submitted by all seed houses in the country.
The price of maize
seed has gone up in recent months, with a 10kg bag now costing more than
$130 000, up from $21 000 last season.
Some of the major seed
houses in the country include Pannar Seed, Pioneer Zimbabwe, National Tested
Seeds and Agpy.
The country requires about 300 000 tonnes of seed
Apart from the ongoing negotiations, the government
has indicated it is reviving the Tripartite Negotiating Forum to come up
with a pricing and incomes protocol for the management of prices and
The models are expected to ensure affordability of the
products by consumers and also viability of manufacturers.
of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies, Didymus Mutasa, paradoxically seems
to enjoy upholding a monopoly of his own as far as getting involved in
violent incidents is concerned.
Not long ago, Mutasa got more than
he bargained for when he tried to poke his nose into a matter that did not
concern him. This was when he got caught up in the crossfire in a fracas in
Parliament involving Chimanimani Member of Parliament Roy Bennett and
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick
Mutasa apparently thought he could gang up with
Chinamasa against the Chimanimani MP but both government ministers ended up
lying prostrate on the floor of the august House.
the justice minister has been noticeably more subdued in his public
demeanour and pronouncements.
But according to press reports last
week, Mutasa is once again embroiled in another controversy involving
This time, the violent clashes took place in Mutasa's
parliamentary constituency of Makoni North, which he evidently regards as
his personal fiefdom.
My dictionary defines constituency as
"the whole body of voters who elect one representative to a legislature "or
"all the voters represented by one deputy" or "a district that sends one
representative to a legislature".
This definition does not in any
way suggest that a legislative representative has exclusive claim and
authority over a constituency or that it is a no-go zone for other
But Mutasa's supporters are alleged to have assaulted
a former freedom fighter, Major James Kaunye, precisely because he expressed
an interest in contesting ZANU PF primary elections in Makoni North. Major
Kaunye was reportedly left for dead.
But despite this, Mutasa
is said to have gloated that the war veteran had got what he deserved. Media
reports quoted Mutasa as saying: "What was he doing at my meeting . . . We
have not been friends since Kaunye declared his desire to contest
He is reported to have added for good measure that he would
not tolerate anyone who dared to challenge him in Makoni North.
Mutasa's stance is a disturbing sign of the level of intolerance now
poisoning political discourse in Zimbabwe. If Mutasa can be so intolerant of
a fellow ruling party cadre presenting himself to the electorate in Makoni
North, what hope is there for candidates from opposition political parties
to campaign in that constituency ahead of next year's parliamentary
Mutasa has reportedly declared Makoni North a no-go
area for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in past elections.
One wonders why it is necessary for him to resort to such crude bullying if
he is confident of his popularity and the support he enjoys?
One does not need rocket science to figure out why Mutasa is afraid of
competing for votes on a level playing field even in respect of ZANU PF
It is even more telling that Mutasa had to
go as far as slapping a law enforcement official, Assistant Inspector
Tomukai of Rusape Police Station, for trying to quell the bloody clashes in
It is deplorable that the culture of impunity is so
deeply ingrained in official circles that a government minister can behave
so abominably and boast about it without a hint of irony or a pang of
conscience. What kind of example are government officials like Mutasa
setting by exhibiting these brutish tendencies?
for the first time since the spiral of political violence began about four
years ago, President Robert Mugabe has ordered a probe into the goings-on in
Makoni North. Press reports last week said that a team from the President's
Office had been tasked to investigate Mutasa's role in the
While this is a step in the right direction, I am
distressed by the fact that the President has only been stirred to act
because the alleged perpetrators and victims of the Makoni North violence
are ruling party supporters.
Over the last four years, hundreds
of Zimbabweans have allegedly been abducted, tortured or killed in
politically motivated violence. Newspapers have published gruesome pictures
of some of the victims of this madness. But in all that time all we have
heard is thunderous silence from the head of state, to whom all Zimbabweans
regardless of political affiliation look for protection.
Political violence is barbaric and unacceptable in a democratic state and
should be consistently condemned regardless of the political orientation of
It is when there are double standards that
Zimbabweans become sceptical of the government's commitment to introducing
genuine reforms to level the playing field before next year's
If greater political will is not demonstrated towards ending
political violence once and for all, most ordinary people could continue to
regard the parliamentary election next year as a dreaded prospect not worth
risking their lives for.