|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
The Standard can exclusively reveal that High Court Judge Justice Samuel Kudya has, in a provisional judgement, ordered Peter to come clean on his dealings with Shepherd Kapota and Samuel Dhliwayo, beneficiaries of the land reform programme.
The two were introduced to Peter and his wife, Dorika Pilato, who works for Burley Marketing Zimbabwe Ltd, in May last year by someone who knew the two were looking for land to grow tobacco.
Under the terms of the agreement they entered into, Peter would bankroll the project for the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons while the two would make available their seven plots at the Van Guard Farm in Macheke, covering about 60 hectares.
Peter also undertook to use the farmers' numbers, in a move that would allow them to keep track of the volumes of tobacco sold and amounts received. Peter stood to get 90% from the net profits while the farmers would receive the remaining 10%. They, however, stood to gain more since Peter had pledged in the contract to put up infrastructure such as electricity and establishing irrigation structures at Kapota's farm.
But according to court documents, Peter and his wife, who are first and second respondents in the High Court case 4112/05, reneged on the agreement.
They shunned the two farmers' numbers and obtained their own, under Reap Brite Investments, which they are using to sell tobacco.
In an affidavit, Dhliwayo said while the two had undertaken to be transparent in their dealings with him, they had failed to do so.
"1st and 2nd respondents have also resorted to ferrying the tobacco from the farm at night to avoid detection by the workers who they are apprehensive will inform us. With the current state of affairs, we do not even know how much tobacco was farmed and harvested and how much money was realised. We, therefore, cannot plan and thus our farming operations have been severely affected. We do not have any working capital for our farming operations," states the affidavit.
Dhliwayo further said Dorika worked in the finance department of the BMZ, cited as third respondent, and there was a reasonable likelihood she could tamper with records.
Dhliwayo said Peter and his wife had also refused to destroy the tobacco stumps on the field, contrary to regulations that these be destroyed by 15 May 2005.
If left to rot on the field, the stumps carry over diseases which can reduce yields and quality of the subsequent tobacco crop. Under strict agricultural regulations designed to ensure the production of high-grade tobacco, it is a serious offence not to destroy the stumps.
In a supporting affidavit, Kapota said he was owed $15m, which he personally sourced for the two from Agribank.
Granting the two interim relief, Justice Kudya ordered Peter to account for the tobacco harvested to date from the plots and sold at the BMZ.
"That the 1st and 2nd respondents render a full account of the money realised in the 2004-2005 farming season from the sales of the tobacco… supported by relevant documentation to the 1st and 2nd applicants' legal practitioners within seven (7) days of service of this order."
Yesterday, Peter who acknowledged that he was the elder brother to the Governor said, out of ignorance, they had "entered into a childish agreement nursing wild dreams.
"We thought it was easy to grow tobacco and hoped we could utilise 60 hectares. But we only planted on 18.5 hectares. We have so far spent $350m and we only got $172m. We have records, which show that everything is above board. Some of the complaints are coming because they (applicants) think we got a lot of money. There is nobody who utilised 60 hectares of tobacco this season. I would have been the richest person and on holiday right now," Peter said.
He said his lawyer had full instructions to oppose the matter in court.
Chombo was addressing senior civil servants at Chinhoyi Training Centre on Thursday.
Senior heads of department were asked to go and relay the message to their subordinates that picnic time is over.
Chombo, who was riled by the snail's pace of "Operation Garikai", furiously took to task the government heads of departments. He directed that they hand over culprits to the army who will be deployed in all the provinces and who would deal with them "accordingly". Chombo did not elaborate. Nor did he say under what law the military would be empowered to punish civil servants.
However most of the construction is being spearheaded by military personnel.
Addressing the same gathering Brigadier Nyikayaramba, who is heading the building of houses under "Operation Garikai" in Mashonaland West, admitted that the operation had failed to provide even one complete house in Chinhoyi.
But in an all familiar pattern of the blame game, he accused the British and Americans of planting "willing tools to derail the process". He said they were going to deal with them, but did not say how.
When it was pointed out that progress on construction had been slowed down because of lack of fuel, Nyikayaramba declared that fuel for the operation was available and urged the council to use police vehicles if need be.
Although 200 had been targeted for completion by 30 August, no houses had been completed.
Members of the commission, chaired by former comptroller and auditor-general Eric Harid, are senior assistant commissioner Casper Khumalo, lawyers Johannes Tomana and Kuziwa Nyamwanza, retired brigadier Elasto Madzingira and businesswomen Alice Nkomo.
The other members are educationist Bessie Nhandara and Juliet Machoba, the events co-ordinator of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF).
ZimRights acting national director, David Palasida, said the commissioners were appointed on the basis of "patronage rather than merit" and it will be difficult for them do deal with senior members of the governing party.
"Since it (the commission) is a government appointed commission, we as ZimRights feel that those appointed to the commission were appointed not on merit but on patronage. In any event, the majority of them are civil servants and they must be seen to be doing what their employer directs them to do," Palasida said.
The commission, which falls under the Ministry of State Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and Anti-Corruption headed by Paul Mangwana, is mandated to investigate corruption.
Palasida said because other interested parties outside government were not consulted, nothing new could be expected from the commission.
"We are of the opinion that it is just like any other commission that has been appointed by the government with no tangible and credible results. It is like a toothless bulldog," said Palasida, adding, "generally the powers that be are the most corrupt and every ordinary Zimbabwean knows that. Those who have been known to be corrupt and are in government are not being prosecuted and or investigated."
Apart from that, the ZimRights official noted that there was no clear guideline between the parent ministry and the commission, rendering it an appendage of the executive.
Former University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor, Professor Gordon Chavunduka, said Zimbabwe lacked political will to stamp out corruption.
"We should have done much more to stamp out corruption even without the commission. What we lack is political will," said Chavunduka.
The executive director of the Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa, Philliat Matsheza, said the commission would only succeed if well supported.
"If you don't give them resources, it (commission) would be ineffective. If they are not given operational independence they will not be effective," Matsheza said.
Of the eight commissioners, six have well known close links with the ruling Zanu PF government while others are police officers. The Zimbabwe Republic Police has in the past been accused of being biased towards the government
Matsheza said the inclusion of police officers on the commissions was not unique to Zimbabwe. Most countries starting anti-corruption bodies recruited police officers for their investigating skills but that trend was now being phased out.
"Corruption is rather complex and in Tanzania they stopped recruiting police officers after they failed to match the required tasks because police are only trained to maintain peace and order," Matsheza said.
The Minister of State for Public and Interactive Affairs Chen Chimutengwende said the appointment of the commissioners was inclusive because the body has lawyers, businesspeople, police officers and other professionals.
"People are entailed to their opinions but as far as we are concerned it is representative. Our job is to support them so that they will be able to carry out their mandate," Chimutengwende said.
He said if the commissioners succumb to political interference they would have failed in doing their job.
Matsheza said the direction taken by government was, however, encouraging.
"We should encourage it because we are moving in the right direction. However, the commission should deal with both big and small fish," he said.
The establishment of a commission comes at a time when there is increasing advocacy from civil society on the government to stamp out corruption.
According to the Transparency International Corruption perception Index 2004 Zimbabwe is ranked 114 out of 146 countries.
"Zanu PF had indicated to us that they were not going to consider or pay attention to that document and it was withdrawn by consensus. As a party we have always called for an overhaul of the constitution and we had wanted to have that document as an interim constitution," Gonese said, adding, "There is nothing sinister about that document."
But MDC insiders allege that the proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting any non-degree holder from becoming President of Zimbabwe could have been a discreet attempt by an as yet unknown person in the MDC to stage a coup against party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
MDC legal and constitutional affairs secretary David Coltart was forced to withdraw the 125-page document, after the proposed amendment, which had raised eyebrows within the party, became public.
Clause 29 of the amendments titled Qualifications for the President directed that a person could only qualify to be President of Zimbabwe if he or she "holds a university degree, other than an honorary degree…"
Tsvangirai who has a trade unionist background, has no degree.
Insiders said if the proposed amendment had been adopted, it would not only have affected Tsvangirai and his deputy, Gibson Sibanda but other senior party officials.
They questioned how the party could come up with such a proposal when they were fully aware that their leader did not possess such a qualification.
By virtue of being party secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, would have emerged the presidential candidate for the party. He has, however, denied harbouring any presidential ambitions.
"Five out of the six top leaders of the party do not have degrees and it means the amendments were calculated at sidelining the majority of the leaders and Zanu PF would have been very happy to take on board the amendments," said one source.
Tsvangirai's spokesperson, William Bango, last week said the MDC leader could not comment on the amendments that he had not seen and directed all the questions to Coltart.
"It makes no sense for Tsvangirai to talk about what he did not contribute to. It's better you talk to Coltart, he knows what was in those amendments," Bango said.
Coltart last week dismissed the claims saying the clause that called for a degreed president was struck off before the document was sent to Parliament. "As the party secretary for legal and constitutional affairs, I have been working with party officials and lawyers over the issue of the constitution. Within that mandate, we came up with a number of amendments for an interim constitution," Coltart said.
He said the document was as an amalgamation of contributions from the Constitutional Commission and the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) drafts but after they realised that Zanu PF was not going to accept their amendments, the document was withdrawn.
"There has been a lot of distortion over that document but if you check clearly the bit that called for a degreed president was struck off. I had forwarded to Parliament both an electronic and a hard copy document but they mischievously photocopied the hard copy," he said.
The hard copy contains the clause but it was struck off with a pen by Coltart who put his signature.
Lovemore Madhuku denied that his organization, which has produced its own draft constitution, was responsible for the clause calling for a degreed President. "There is no such thing in our draft constitution and it's very surprising that the amendment is actually coming from the MDC. They are the only party that does not have a president with a degree," Madhuku said adding that the NCA wants a total people-driven overhaul of the constitution.
Apart from barring non-degreed presidential aspirants, the amendments also proposed that one can be disqualified from the office of President on attaining 65 years or holding the same office for two successive terms.
|CPC delegation leaves for visit to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique|
|www.chinaview.cn 2005-09-11 17:15:12|
BEIJING, Sept. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- A delegation from the Communist Party of China (CPC) left here Sunday for an official visit to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
The CPC delegation is led by Yu Zhengsheng, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of theHubei Provincial Committee of the CPC.
The delegation is invited by the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy of Zambia, Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front and Mozambican Liberation Front Party. Enditem
THERE'S fresh proof from within that Robert Mugabe's so-called land reform movement, which saw the driving out of White farmers in droves, has worked to the disadvantage of his countrymen. Zimbabwe, today, is in the throes of an acute food crisis.
Dear readers, such is the gravity of
the crisis that the country holds only three weeks' supply of its national
staple food, maize, as has been admitted by the agriculture ministry itself. "If
we are not careful, there will be no food on the table next year", is how a top
official explains the crisis. The fact, however, is also that
Mugabe has not learned any lesson from his past mistakes or ham-handed actions.
How else would he have dared to push through legislation in recent days, arming
his government with powers to nationalise White-owned commercial farms-a logical
extension of his campaign for five years to seize White-owned lands and
distribute them to native blacks? New legislative measures are also aimed at
denying White farmers the right to approach courts for legal remedy, which is
sure to be dubbed as "draconian" and lead Zimbabwe to further alienation from
the civilized world. It is that Mugabe's actions lack any
rationale. While driving White farmers out, what he had failed to do-and with
serious consequences-was to equip the natives with the expertise and the
implements in a way as to continue to use the same lands to retain, if not to
increase, the yield. Hence the present food crisis. Much of the seized lands
thus remain barren today. Experts thus term Mugabe's actions
"regressive", and not progressive. That is increasingly evident from the scale
of poverty, which Mugabe himself admits is troubling some 2.5 million (some say
4.5 million) of the 13 million Zimbabweans. The joblessness rate in the country
is now put in the range of 70 percent-- which is baffling and at the same time a
commentary on the poor style of governance. These wrong track-records are what
led to the IMF warnings to Zimbabwe,
though the world financing body has given it a reprieve for six months to put
its house in order and introduce economic reforms. At one level, Mugabe is driving his
own people from their homes, under fancy operations like slum clearance drives,
that saw displacement of an estimated 700,000 people. The target, some say, was
the Opposition. Mugabe is already increasing pressure on his rivals through
other means, like the new legislative measures to restrict freedom of travel for
regime dissidents. Despite international sanctions in the past, he has not
learned any lesson. He hasn't given any heed to calls that the Opposition be
allowed to have their due say in matters of national importance. He, instead,
dubs them as puppets of Britain, the idea being to silence their mouths.
Dear readers, Mugabe wielded power
in his hands for a quarter of a century after the country's independence from
Britain. Looking back, Zimbabweans now may have little to feel proud about their
freedom from their colonial masters. Readers’ response may be
forwarded to email@example.com
Dear readers, such is the gravity of the crisis that the country holds only three weeks' supply of its national staple food, maize, as has been admitted by the agriculture ministry itself. "If we are not careful, there will be no food on the table next year", is how a top official explains the crisis.
The fact, however, is also that Mugabe has not learned any lesson from his past mistakes or ham-handed actions. How else would he have dared to push through legislation in recent days, arming his government with powers to nationalise White-owned commercial farms-a logical extension of his campaign for five years to seize White-owned lands and distribute them to native blacks? New legislative measures are also aimed at denying White farmers the right to approach courts for legal remedy, which is sure to be dubbed as "draconian" and lead Zimbabwe to further alienation from the civilized world.
It is that Mugabe's actions lack any rationale. While driving White farmers out, what he had failed to do-and with serious consequences-was to equip the natives with the expertise and the implements in a way as to continue to use the same lands to retain, if not to increase, the yield. Hence the present food crisis. Much of the seized lands thus remain barren today.
Experts thus term Mugabe's actions "regressive", and not progressive. That is increasingly evident from the scale of poverty, which Mugabe himself admits is troubling some 2.5 million (some say 4.5 million) of the 13 million Zimbabweans. The joblessness rate in the country is now put in the range of 70 percent-- which is baffling and at the same time a commentary on the poor style of governance. These wrong track-records are what led to the IMF warnings to Zimbabwe, though the world financing body has given it a reprieve for six months to put its house in order and introduce economic reforms.
At one level, Mugabe is driving his own people from their homes, under fancy operations like slum clearance drives, that saw displacement of an estimated 700,000 people. The target, some say, was the Opposition. Mugabe is already increasing pressure on his rivals through other means, like the new legislative measures to restrict freedom of travel for regime dissidents. Despite international sanctions in the past, he has not learned any lesson. He hasn't given any heed to calls that the Opposition be allowed to have their due say in matters of national importance. He, instead, dubs them as puppets of Britain, the idea being to silence their mouths.
Dear readers, Mugabe wielded power in his hands for a quarter of a century after the country's independence from Britain. Looking back, Zimbabweans now may have little to feel proud about their freedom from their colonial masters.
Readers’ response may be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org
The HRW also calls on the international community, regional bodies and neighbouring countries to "exert far more sustained political pressure" on Zimbabwe, and "rein in the government's excesses" in the execution of the clean-up exercise.
It describes the magnitude of destruction caused during the operation as "unprecedented".
"There are few, if any precedents of a government so forcibly and brutally displacing so many of its own citizens in peacetime. The victims are mainly the poor and vulnerable in Zimbabwe's cities and towns, many of the households already devastated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic," reads the report.
Despite criticism the government has remained defiant and unmoved by repeated threats of isolation by the international community.
If nothing is done within the shortest possible time, says the report, this will "push the country closer to total devastation".
Like the UN report before it, the HRW report calls for the government to immediately "provide assistance including alternative accommodation to those affected, and legal remedies including appropriate compensation or other forms of reparation to all those affected in a speedy, impartial and transparent manner".
Council resource s are overstretched as the authority is already making daily water deliveries to affected suburbs in the city.
Teachers, who spoke to The Standard on condition of anonymity, said they feared an outbreak of diseases if schools were allowed to continue operating without water.
The worst hit suburbs in the city are Emakhandeni, Entumbane, Luveve and Magwegwe.
Residents in the suburbs are resorting to using unprotected sources for drinking water and are relieving themselves in the bush, posing a risk of disease outbreak in the city.
The council, desperate to contain the critical situation has also sought help from Vice President, Joice Mujuru, in the construction of a pipeline between Mtshabezi and Mzingwane dams in a bid to improve pumping of water from the two dams.
According to council documents, councillors have come up with several stringent measures aimed at controlling the use of dwindling water supplies.
The measures include reducing water supplies to construction sites under "Operation Garikai/ Hlalani Kuhle" and introducing strict water rationing and hefty fines for residents who abuse water.
The council has proposed other measures to combat water shortages which include a request to government for Bulawayo to be declared a water shortage area, and to request the Ministry of Water Resources to sink and repair more boreholes at the Nyamandhlovu aquifer.
He has a ready market in Waterfalls, Glen Norah and Highfield where more people are turning to firewood, which is the cheapest and most easily affordable source of energy.
A few metres away, hordes of people, mostly women, could also be seen with bundles of wood balanced on their heads, as they headed for the nearby high-density suburbs.
Wood poaching, which has been worsened by a combination of load shedding, high electricity tariffs and the resettlement of people at farms such as Whitecliff and Hatcliffe where there is no power, has resulted in massive deforestation in and around Harare.
Environmentalists warn that this "reckless" clearing of trees might lead to deforestation, posing a serious threat to the city's water bodies and ecosystem.
Environment Africa (E-Africa) branch manager, Barnabas Mawire, said urban deforestation remained a major threat to Harare's water bodies.
Mawire said forest clearing for agricultural purposes and city expansion should be properly planned to avoid "contamination" of sources of water as well as disturbing the ecosystem.
"Increased agricultural activities were also causing massive deforestation, as people clear land to plant crops. This leads to soil erosion and ultimately to the siltation of water bodies," Mawire said.
A dense forest just after Harare's Msasa area towards Mabvuku, where a few months ago people gathered wild fruits for resale, has virtually disappeared.
A programme officer with the Municipal Development Partnership (MDP), Takawira Mubvami, said deforestation was causing the siltation of small streams and rivers that feed Lake Chivero, reducing the amount of water the lake can hold.
Other than causing blockages of water pipes, more financial resources would be required to purify water for drinking.
"Because of siltation, aquatic life is threatened. Apart from that, loosing a variety of trees that support other living organisms disturbs the whole ecosystem," said Mubvami, adding that deforestation also leads to global warming.
The Department of Natural Resources deputy director, Moses Mandisodza, said wood poaching was increasingly becoming difficult to stamp out because of urban poverty. "We are trying our best but it is very difficult because people have limited alternative sources of energy. Paraffin is not always available," said Mandisodza.
He said the department, together with other government agencies, was carrying out awareness programmes to discourage people from cutting down trees or cultivating along riverbanks and wetlands.
Preservation of natural resources, Mandisodza said, was difficult because some people derived their livelihood from selling firewood.
Dr Zanele Hwalima, the city council's director of health services, confirmed to The Standard the shortage of burial space. "The City of Bulawayo has five cemeteries, two of which are full and have been closed for use by the public except for second interment or for reserved plots," she said.
The remaining burial space at Luveve is rocky and difficult to excavate and may be closed by December, she said. Cemeteries already closed are at Hyde Park and Athlone.
Sections of the West Park cemetery still in use are filling up fast while Lady Stanley Avenue, reserved for pioneers, now has a small burial area remaining.
Hwalima said council had since started looking for alternative space, in areas such as Pumula South and across Umguza River.
The Meikles Park Flea Market was destroyed during "Operation Murambatsvina".
The traders have been operating from Green Market for a month now but say business is very low as they are no customers.
Humphrey Hamunyari, the spokesperson for the traders said some have not registered any sales ever since they were allocated the new selling stands.
"Some traders have not made any sales and yet we are paying rentals of $56 000 every week," Hamunyari said. "The place is far away from town and customers say they can not afford the commuter fares."
Hamunyari said customers couldn't afford to pay twice in order for them to come and shop at the new site. "Commuter operators are now charging $8 000 for a single trip to town so our customers now prefer to do their shopping from shops in town," Hamunyari said.
Hamunyari said they were now appealing to the city council to find them a site in town where they can attract more business.
The vendors said they were also under constant threat from fruit and vegetable vendors who used to operate from Green Market. "These vendors come and harass us and threaten to beat us if we don't move out because they claim that it's their place," Hamunyari said.
No comment could be obtained form the housing director Stenard Mapurisa who is on leave while his deputy, Elizabeth Bepete, did not return calls.
One such shop which caters for Zimbabweans and Southern Africans is Batanai, located in central Cardiff and is run by Abigail Katsande and her husband, Tapiwa.
Upon walking into their shop, there is a distinct sense of being somewhere in Zimbabwe.
The pleasant aroma of maputi wafts towards you as soon as you walk inside.
On one shelf, is an array of bottled lagers from Zimbabwe, among them Pilsner, Castle, Bohlingers, Lion and Black Label.
Bottles of Mazoe drink are also arranged nearby as are packets of Tanganda tea leaves.
Remember Sun Jam, which at one time was a must-have product during Christmas for most Zimbabwean families? It can also be found at the Katsandes' shop.
Abigail says they realised that a lot of people working or studying in Wales needed familiar food or products to fight homesickness.
"You will be amazed at just how happy people become to get food that they are familiar with. It is all a part of being homesick and we believe we are helping people who are experiencing that strain."
Among some of their regular clients are South Africans who favour the biltong that the Katsandes sell.
Batanai, together with five other shops specialising in African food, opened six months ago.
One such woman proprietor is Janet Symmons, a Ghanaian.
Symmons, who started living in the Welsh capital in 1981, established Xquisite Africa, also six months ago.
"Since 1981, I could not get African food in Cardiff because nobody was supplying it. This meant the few Africans living here had to travel all the way to London or Birmingham where there are large African populations, to buy African dishes."
Her visits to the two cities also gave her an opportunity to have her hair attended to.
The idea of setting up a shop that would supply African food, clothes and jewellery first came up in 1985.
Her patience paid off in the last five years as the city's African population has rapidly increased.
"The increase was partly due to the large number of African students who enroll at Cardiff University every year. In addition, there are people in Cardiff who have worked in Africa, especially Zimbabwe and South Africa who like the food and clothes from the continent."
Another group of people, who are potential customers, according to her last research, are mixed marriage couples in which one of them is of African origin.
With research indicating that there were enough people with African links to sustain her business in Cardiff, Janet officially launched Xquisite Africa, on City Road.
While other business enterprises are easily categorised by the goods and services they offer, the same cannot be said of Xquisite Africa and a sprinkling of similar shops. They offer just about any services that may be required by home sick Africans.
When asked what services she provides at her shop, Symmons says: "I sell African food from West Africa and that includes yams, cassava, hot chillies, ground corn, sweet potatoes, fish, jewellery, clothing, carvings and any services that people with links to Africa may require."
A tiny room adjacent to her small shop is a hive of activity as several women and men are catching up on the latest gossip while their hair is being attached to.
The hair salons for African hair, according to Symmons, are a money spinner.
"African hair is very unique and this means we cannot just walk into any salon in Cardiff and have our hair attended to. We have to go to known people or salons where our hair can be done."
The need for hair care has seen the emergence of a small group of people with skills to attend to African hair.
For Symmons, although it is not more than a year since she set up shop, she is already excited about the prospects.
"I have not done badly so far and the future holds a lot of promises," she says.
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said the government had changed its position, leaving Gambia to host the session, which runs from 21 November to 5 December 2005.
Chinamasa said: "We withdrew the bid two months ago because of financial constraints. We told them that we could not host the event."
But in a telephone interview from Banjul, ACHPR legal officer Robert Eno said Zimbabwe had not formally made a request to host the session.
Eno said that at the last session Zimbabwe said it was considering hosting the next session.
"They indicated that they were considering hosting the next session but later indicated that due to circumstances beyond their control their were unable to host the summit," Eno said.
Analysts say Zimbabwe had avoided submitting a formal request in writing, fearing the wrath of the Commission because of the controversial "clean up" operation.
The operation drew the ire of the international community prompting the UN secretary general to send a special envoy to assess the impact of the "clean up" blitz.
Anna Kajumalo Tibaijuka was in the country in June and produced a damning report on "Operation Murambatsvina".
The African Commission also sent an emissary Bahame Tom Nyandunga.
Nyandunga, a member of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and Special Rapporteur responsible for refugees and asylum seekers, was snubbed while in the country. He eventually slipped out.
He will produce a report to be tabled at the 38th ordinary session.
Last week farmers were already predicting a disastrous farming season, meaning the current food shortages will be with us for much longer than had been anticipated.
Fertiliser manufacturing companies said they had not been able to secure foreign currency to import the necessary inputs for the manufacture of fertiliser. Consequently factories were idle because there is no fertiliser being produced.
There is even a shortage of disc harrows for tractors.
Farmers normally buy their farm inputs during the months of July and August. The absence of inputs on the market right now will complicate planting preparations and consequently affect the hectarage under crops.
Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of the region has been reduced to a basket case dependent on food imports - thanks to failure to anticipate and plan, which has saddled the country with shortages of seed, fertiliser, chemicals and farming equipment, threatening next year's crop even before planting has started.
This is the first disastrous agricultural season Zimbabwe has faced, but during the past five years the need and urgency for proper co-ordinated planning for the agriculture sector has been crying out for attention. Sadly those in charge either have no time or the interest to notice what is happening because they do not queue for anything. When and if they eventually do, there will be nothing left of this once great country that held so much potential for being a model for the continent. This is the worst season Zimbabwe has faced in the 25 years of its independence.
While fertiliser companies say their production plants are idle and their warehouses empty, seed houses warned that only half of the total amount of seed required is available. For the first time in the history of this nation there will be hunger not because of climatic conditions, but because of bungling by people whose job it is to plan and provide for this nation.
Last week's increase in the cost of fuel will play havoc with the farming sector, as it will with just about every facet of life in this country.
Zimbabwe has the dubious distinction of being the only country that has consistently failed to plan and anticipate food shortages. The greatest tragedy of it all is that there are no indicators that it has learnt anything during the past five years.
Despite the unfolding crisis, Zimbabwe continues in a denial mode and spurns international efforts at mobilising food aid to help its starving population. It defies logic what it is that drives such insensitivity.
The irony is that Zimbabwe is the only country where the number of its farmers has swelled while its production has plummeted.
But being ever so adept at finding excuses, the government was last week pleading that the reason for the crisis was the absence of competent farmers, who could power growth in the agricultural sector.
The government does not listen and it does not have the will to learn. On countless occasions we, among many others, have proposed that graduates of agricultural colleges in the country be the first beneficiaries of its misnamed "agrarian revolution". The impact of providing these graduates with land for production would have been revolutionary. Production would soar, while more opportunities for downstream industries open up. And so would employment creation. Today we have neither of these.
The government is now calling on the private sector to assist, yet the government conveniently forgets that it sponsored and unleashed its invaders to shutdown farmer training centres dotted around the country in the name of "empowering the masses". Empowering them with hunger? The government has no shame! The government has promised $287 million to new farmers - the same beneficiaries who have squandered state support over the past five years. These farmers have rewarded the government by buying the latest vehicles on the market and outdoing each other at being either "cellphone" or "weekend braai" farmers - anything but agricultural production.
The government could use this week's United Nations General Assembly in New York, to launch an appeal for international assistance first for farming inputs and secondly for food aid. This way Zimbabwe can cease being a burden to the international community by next harvest. The government can not go it alone because it simply does not have the capacity and resources to tackle the crisis it has allowed to fester for too long. It will not meet the Millennium Development Goals without the assistance of the international community.
If Zimbabwe cares about meeting these goals, it will launch an appeal. That will not be a sign of weakness, rather it will indicate that it cares for and has the interests of its people at heart.
Players lambast incompetent Zimbabwe board
September 11, 2005
Zimbabwe's professional cricketers have issued a statement which slams the conduct of the board, accusing it of being "at best incompetent, and at worst, a bully". Coming on the eve of Zimbabwe Cricket's AGM in Bulawayo tomorrow and the first Test against India on Tuesday, it represents a embarrassing slap in the face for Zimbabwe Cricket. It also rubbishes the official line that there is no disharmony between players and board.
While the players made it clear that they were not prepared to go on strike, explaining that doing so would not be in the interests of the game inside Zimbabwe, the tone and length of the statement left no doubt that they have no faith in the senior administrators.
At the heart of their anger are the unilaterally-imposed performance-related contracts announced by the board last week and a resulting newspaper article purporting to reveal the seemingly high remuneration packages on offer. The players clearly feel that the article was planted by the board and that the figures were deliberately misleading. Clive Field, the players' representative said: "ZC appear content to use the media to sensationalize the sensitive issue of remuneration."
They are also livid that despite having several months to negotiate and come up with a mutually-agreed deal, the board has implemented something which was not discussed at very short notice.
Only three players - Heath Streak, Tatenda Taibu and Andy Blignaut - were offered long-term deals, while the others were put on performance-related short-term contracts which made no allowance for seniority. The 12-month packages on offer made no allowance for the hyperinflation prevalent inside Zimbabwe, and ZC refused to link the payments to the reserve bank rate.
Already upset at the way this was handled, ZC then announced on the eve of an ODI against India that the offer to three players - Stuart Carlisle, Barney Rogers and Neil Ferreira - had been withdrawn and no reasons were given. The players continued with the match but a request for more information remains unanswered.
"Our position is that this directly and adversely impacts player confidence," Field said."It reveals an administration which is at best incompetent, and at worst, a bully. In the continued absence of sound reasons from ZC, such action amounts to intimidation of the player body."
As things stand, the contracts remain unaccepted by the players, who said they are "playing on trust". ZC has said that new contracts will be supplied by September 14, but the impression is that the players have little faith that this promise will be answered.
The sums on offer also differ wildly from those claimed by ZC - according to Field, match fees are now 25% of what was on offer six months ago in South Africa. Furthermore, Zimbabwe's draconian tax rates seriously erode the sums, and the lack of international cricket played by Zimbabwe means that the potential amounts quoted are almost certainly not likely to be achieved. ZC, they claimed, had also removed perks such as vehicles, DSTV and BUPA, all of which were in place on the 2004-05 contracts.
Damningly, the players concluded by asking whether the administration of ZC had also been cut. "If we as players are being told to tighten our belts, what is ZC itself as an administration doing in the same vein?" Field asked."What salaries are being paid by ZC to themselves? If it is deemed by ZC to be in the public interest to splash players salaries around the press, then presumably they have no objection announcing their own? We look forward to receiving details.
"We are concerned that ZC should be held accountable for a set of performance criteria which measure its revenues and management of its finances in a transparent and responsible manner for the betterment of the game."
Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo
The players' statement in full :
Statement by Clive Field on behalf of Zimbabwe's players
September 11, 2005
The Independent article dated September 9, under the banner: "The Money Zim's Cricketers Are Refusing" is misleading, irresponsible and inaccurate. It is unhelpful to cricket in Zimbabwe and internationally. Zimbabwe's professional cricketers have asked me to respond to this irresponsible reportage on their behalf, as they are in the middle of the VideoCon ODI Triangular series and Croco Motors Test Series against India. Sensationalist reporting of their performance pay - stating they receive "over $500 million for a Test win''- is false, poorly timed and counter-productive to Zimbabwe's performance, both as individuals and a team.
We are involved in delicate contract negotiations with the ZC, and are not comfortable now having to respond in the Press. Our position as players is that our involvement with cricket should be concerned with events on the pitch, not those off it, but irresponsible media stories which misrepresent the facts and the events have reluctantly forced our hand.
The ZPCA wish to place on record the following facts at the outset:-
1. No cricketer representing Zimbabwe in the above program of international cricket is contracted by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC). All 2004-05 National Cricket Contracts expired on August 31, 2005.
2. ZC purported to impose a one-month extension of the 2004-05 National Contracts by writing individual letters to what ZC termed those players involved on the "current tours", and indicated to them that new contracts would be offered from October 1, 2005. This was rejected by the players because no reasons were given for the extension. In law, extensions amount to a material variation of any existing contract, so prior consent is required from both parties because any contract is a binding consensual agreement. It follows that variation/s cannot be imposed by either party without prior agreement. In this case, consent was not sought by ZC, who simply imposed the extension.
3. ZC has subsequently undertaken to supply new contracts on September 14, backdated to September 1, 2005. (September 14 falls during the 1st Test against India.)
4. On September 1, ZC unveiled their Player Contracts Structure for the 2005-06 season, in terms of which they indicated in writing their intention to offer 12-month time-specific National Contracts to three players - Taibu, Streak and Blignaut - and 27 Level One Contracts. They also named eight Apprenticeships, to be attached to and paid by companies. Retainers on the 27 Level One Contracts ("monthly retainer") were set at $20 million per month gross across the board (i.e. there was no provision made within Level One for differentiation based on seniority or experience.) Retainers on the three National Contracts would be separately negotiated by ZC with the three individuals concerned, and the eight apprentices would be paid by companies employing them, subject to stipulation that ZC could call up any apprentice/s for national duty.
5. ZC refused a request by ZPCA to inflation-proof monthly retainers. The players had suggested "indexing" of retainers because Zimbabwe is suffering from hyperinflation and the contracts are for 12 months. Thus we requested that ZC link retainers to an agreed currency mechanism (i.e. equate the retainer to a "hard currency" and then use the Reserve Bank Official Auction Rate to track movements monthly and adjust the retainer in line with any change in the Auction rate.) ZC refused.
6. The ZC announced details of Match Fees and Incentive Performance payments for national matches, based on individual performance ie personal runs, wickets and catches.
7. On September 2, ZC advised our Player Representative in writing that they had reversed their intent to offer contracts to three players on the list of 27 - Stuart Carlisle, Barney Rogers and Neil Ferreira. They withdrew those offers without providing reasons. The players were told this on the eve of Zimbabwe's ODI v India. We agreed to continue with that match despite grave concerns, and asked ZPCA to write to ZC seeking urgent clarification for their action. No written response from ZC has been forthcoming. One player, Craig Wishart (who had been offered a Level One Contact) advised the National Coach, Kevin Curren, that he could not continue playing cricket because of this unfair treatment of other players by ZC.
For the record, this represents the current "state of play". In summary:
Through our Player Representative and the ZPCA, we continue to seek urgent clarification or resolution of the following list of seven concerns:
1. Why have new contracts not been produced by ZC? No Worker should be compelled to work "on trust", as we are. Since Zimbabwe's Test v South Africa in March 2005, ZC have had five months to prepare new player contracts by August 31, 2005. ZC reneged on their undertaking to offer new contracts by August 19. Then ZC introduced a new demand, citing the need to ensure that new contracts were performance-based, and stated this would necessitate the redrafting of contracts, which would only be made available on September 14.
Our position is that ZC had sufficient time to complete and finalize new contracts in advance of the expiry of those then in force. As Administrators, ZC may be entitled to set performance criteria for players but they too should have performance criteria to meet. Are ZC operating in good faith by with-holding contracts?
2. The figures peddled in the press regarding Player's Match Fees and Incentives are sensationalist and designed to paint players in a negative light.
Our position is that ZC appear content to use the media to sensationalize the sensitive issue of remuneration, but in doing so ZC should as responsible employers be required to qualify the Fees and Incentives quoted and to provide information which places the data in its international context.
We must therefore set the record straight. By way of comparison, our information suggests that Match Fees in the SA national side six months ago were approximately four times more than those being offered to our national players now. Our studies also show that a National Contract Player playing national cricket for Zimbabwe for the next 12 months i.e "performing" on the international stage, at an average personal performance level will earn approximately 1/3 of the amount he would earn for playing English County cricket for one season, approximately six months. Is it any wonder why Zimbabwean players such as the Flower brothers, Murray Goodwin, Ray Price, Travis Friend and Sean Ervine are presently choosing to ply their profession abroad? We must put the position into its international context, because we are talking the business of Zimbabwe being in international cricket. International cricket is a market place.
Playing cricket for a living has its own set of demands, and specific skill set and years of training go into producing an international cricketer, who must rise to the "big time" through the ranks of amateur ranks - where no, or at best low, pay is on offer.
Further, we believe that ZC in publicizing these Fees and Incentives in "The Independent" should have pointed out that the figures quoted:-
1. are "Gross", in other words subject to tax at one of the highest tax rates in the world; 2. have been over-stated by almost 50% by using an implied exchange rate of Z$35000 to 1 USD when the Official Reserve Bank Auction rate is 24,520; 3. are substantially incomplete because there is no information included pertaining to the Zimbabwe "A" Team or Domestic cricket competitions, the point being that only 11 cricketers will have the opportunity to earn the figures quoted, and then only if selected for Test or ODI duty. Furthermore, Test Wins, Test Hundreds and Ten wicket hauls are rare over an individual's career, especially in Zimbabwe. If incentives are not realistic, they act as disincentives.
Finally it must be taken into account that the career of an international cricketer is not long, only rarely lasting beyond a decade. People in salaried employment may expect to work for 40 or more years. Player remuneration must be viewed and understood in this context. Zimbabwe Cricket has no Provident or Benevolent Fund for its cricketers, and does not offer benefit years or Golden Handshakes on retirement.
3. To have meaning, any performance package must be predicated upon a published and agreed Fixture List, detailing the National Fixture program, "A" Team Fixture Program and Domestic Fixture program.
As of now, ZC can only confirm one national tour for the 12 months ahead (West Indies - May 2006). No other definitive guaranteed information on future tours has been produced by ZC despite our requests. It is therefore impossible to determine whether sufficient fixtures will be available to give a realistic chance for every National, Level One and Apprentice player to earn Match Fees and Incentives. We await confirmation of the Test and ODI international fixtures which have been confirmed to take place between now and the West Indies Tour in May 2006, plus evidence of Zimbabwe's engagement in any A team competition (although the Duleep Cup in the Asian sub-continent and the Castle Bowl in SA have been mentioned).
Without a clear and agreed match itinerary, any performance-based package is meaningless, just "pie in the sky".
4. ZC has stated publicly that they are committed to "rebuilding cricket". The 2005-6 Contracts framework unveiled last week flies in the face of this.
We say this because 10 National Contracts have been reduced to three. Further, the previous grading system (which recognized seniority and experience) has been abandoned and the reclassification of all except three National players in the same grade (Level One) is crude and not conducive to maintaining the much-needed experience of senior players in the game, players we might add who have won international matches in Zimbabwe colours. How can it be that their experience is no longer valued? Team work is all about blending youth and experience. To compete, one cannot only be fleet of foot, one must also be blessed with wisdom. We have information suggesting the National Grading exercise of players was concluded more than a month ago by ZC's Contracts and Grading Committee and was radically different in format to that unveiled now. Why?
Our position is that ZC's 2005-06 contract framework is bad news for the future of player numbers in Zimbabwe, to the extent that it threatens the sustainability of professional cricket in this country. Thus, it jeopardizes the many years of hard work done by proud servants of the game in this country to gain us "Test status".
5. The decision by ZC to withdraw its Offer of Level One Contracts to Carlisle, Rogers and Ferreira without reason and only one day after making them, is of grave concern.
Our position is that this directly and adversely impacts player confidence. It reveals an administration which is at best incompetent, and at worst, a bully. In the continued absence of sound reasons from ZC, such action amounts to intimidation of the player body. As a direct result, it has already caused Wishart to withdraw his services. This reduces the Level One numbers from 27 to 23.
We query how players are expected to "perform" when they are subject to such arbitrary action? Carlisle is the most capped International player on the Level One list, Rogers was the "Player of the Series" on the recent Bangladesh tour and Ferreira topped the batting averages in the last Logan Cup series and has just forced his way into the Test side. All are model professionals.
While on this subject, we further question why ZC has overlooked players of the calibre of Nkala, Gripper, Vermeulen and Marillier in announcing the 2005-06 structure. What value does ZC place on experience, and the need to retain this in the system? What, if any, initiatives are ZC pursuing to entice players such as the two Flowers, Goodwin, Ervine, Friend and Price to return to Zimbabwe cricket?
6. The $20 Million Retainer being offered to Level One players is inferior in real terms to that which was in place last year. ZC have also removed perks such as vehicles, DSTV and BUPA, all of which were in place on the 2004-05 contracts.
Our position is that the monthly retainer is not a livable wage, especially when we do not have a guaranteed programme of international cricket ahead of us over the coming months. Subsequent discussions with ZC's MD Mr Bvute, has resulted in him proposing a reduction in the retainer from $Z20 Million to 15 Million.
Our question is this - if ZC will not or can not pay a living wage, how will they attract and as importantly, retain cricketers in the game? More than 30 National players have been lost to Zimbabwe cricket over the past three seasons. Is ZC concerned by this trend? The player base is already dangerously small. In the absence of a living wage, both aspiring and established cricketers will be forced to leave cricket and find alternative careers. The player base needs to be stimulated and expanded, otherwise it will disappear. ZC needs to recognize and protect this valuable resource. Without cricketers, there will be no cricket! Without premium cricketers, our national side will not be able to win matches against other international sides.
Full-time professional cricketers must be guaranteed adequate security for what is a short and risky career, in which they face the threat of injury, poor form and the vagaries of selection. Adequate security starts with a living wage. Performance packages are all well and good, but a realistic basic wage must be on offer in the first place. We maintain as Zimbabwean consumers that the retainers offered by ZC are not viable, when the effects of inflation and tax are taken into account.
ZC has not been able to provide a Player Budget for the 2005-06 year to support the retainers they are offering. Surely this should be available - how otherwise was it sanctioned by their Finance Committee?
7. If the player base is being reduced as is evident from the Contracts framework for 2005-06, is ZC Administration being similarly down-sized? Are payroll numbers in qdministration reducing or increasing? Under this heading, we include the separate but related issue of prioritization of spending by ZC.
This area is not one in which we are entirely comfortable asking questions, because we do not have all the relevant financial information and also because in a general sense we realize that this is an issue of corporate governance, falling within the realm of ZC "Cricket Operations". Having said that, if we as players are being told to tighten our belts, what is ZC itself as an administration doing in the same vein? What salaries are being paid by ZC to themselves? If it is deemed by ZC to be in the public interest to splash players salaries around the Press, then presumably they have no objection announcing their own? We look forward to receiving details.
On the issue of prioritization of spending by ZC, if it is true that ZC has purchased a new Outside Broadcast vehicle at a cost in excess of £1 million, when a OB Van could have been hired at a far smaller cost - we would question whether this is right and proper allocation of resources. Our concern is with items which impact directly on player performance, which we maintain need to be priority items on the shopping list of ZC - things we need to improve our performance in line with other international sides, like cricket balls, an assistant coach, a sports psychologist. ZC undertook to fund in full the costs of our Player Representative for 12 months, in order to allow us to get on with playing cricket. However, the incumbent Player Representative has received only one part-payment for services rendered since March 2005. This weakens our ability to bargain with ZC, and impedes our playing performance. We have faith in our Player Representative but if he is financially hampered from doing his job, this robs us of the external assistance we need in taking our concerns to ZC.
Further, what spending commitments can ZC show in the vital area of "cricket development"? After all, cricket is owned by the people and ZC as its custodian, must ensure that it is doing all possible within its means and budget to develop the game by appropriate and transparent allocation of resources. Performances of the national side must be built on a proper grassroots structure which gets our kids playing cricket and affords them opportunities to be properly coached and developed.
We are concerned that ZC should be held accountable for a set of performance criteria which measure its revenues and management of its finances in a transparent and responsible manner for the betterment of the game.
ZC has insisted that they are cash-strapped, yet the bulk of their revenue generation is foreign-exchange denominated. It follows that in the past two months ZC reserves have increased in Zim Dollar terms on the back of Central Bank devaluations (9600 to 1USD to 17500 to 1 USD to 24520 to 1USD).
This represents a cumulative 255% increase in reserves in the past two months alone.
1. The 2005-06 Contracts structure unveiled by the ZC is "radical", in the words of its Managing Director, Mr. Ozias Bvute. It establishes a new approach by ZC to the professional player resource which does not, we contend as players, properly understand or value the importance of this vital resource. The player base must be both large enough and skilful enough if strong competition is to be ensured. We would go as far as to state that the new structure actually threatens the future of cricket in this country.
2. Further, we maintain that professional cricketers should receive adequate financial compensation, to ensure player numbers at the very least can be stabilized at their current critically low numbers, and then, importantly, grow by attracting new blood. Simply speaking, if cricketers cannot guarantee themselves a living as professionals in the game, they will be lost from cricket. This is not a threat, it is an economic reality. Player numbers need to be guaranteed by a robust approach to this resource by ZC. Inflation mechanisms need to be addressed by ZC because we live in a hyperinflationary economy. We have offered a creative solution, working forward for 12 months. If ZC does not accept this, then they should offer a solution of their own. They must confront the reality of the situation.
ZC is the custodian of cricket, but cricket is owned by the people. Zimbabweans want our results to improve, so do we, and we believe that ZC do too. We share congruent objectives therefore. But strength and depth cannot be engendered in Zimbabwe cricket if professional cricketers, who must commit to work exclusively for ZC and play for their livelihood, are not guaranteed a living from the game. Cricket careers are short and risky. Adequate security must be on offer.
3. The arbitrary manner way in which ZC has withdrawn its intent to offer new contracts to three players, only a day after listing them as Level One, requires a reasoned response in the interests of harmonious employer/employee relations
In summary, although very concerned, nevertheless we see it as vital that we continue to play cricket while dialogue continues between ZPCA, our Player Representative and ZC. We desire to do well for Zimbabwe and thus to portray our nation in a good light on the cricket pitches of the world. Cricket is our life and we are proud to continue to represent our country, all we ask for is a work dispensation which is fair - which is to say, based on international cricketing norms - economically viable, and allows us to play cricket to the best of our ability at the highest level, on the international stage.
Zimbabwe Player Representative