Zambia demands cash from Mugabe

via Zambia demands cash from Mugabe – DailyNews Live from LusakaTimes 28 OCTOBER 2013  

Zambia’s President Michael Sata appears to have shifted the goal posts on President Robert Mugabe by demanding cash upfront for maize imports, despite his earlier promises to deliver the grain on credit.

Areas in the south of the country are struggling with the food crisis, and the State-controlled media reported this week that children in Lupane are failing to attend school because of hunger.

In a speech in May, Mugabe said that Sata had told him that 150 000 tonnes of maize valued at nearly $25 million would be delivered to Zimbabwe with no questions on payment asked as that issue was not a priority in the face of starvation.

But in Parliament, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made said Zambia was now demanding cash upfront, and so far Zimbabwe had only managed to import 14 000 tonnes of maize.

“Let me start by saying that the government is committed to importing 150 000 tonnes from Zambia. Of this, so far we have brought into the country 14 000 tonnes,” Made said.

Launching the Food and Nutrition Security Policy in Harare in May this year, Mugabe described the current food shortages as the worst in living memory, saying: “Farmers are all in tears in those areas because there is no food for the farmers themselves and no cash crop to rely on.”

He said Sata was a “great man” for agreeing to export the maize to Zimbabwe without insisting on immediate payment.

“When I was talking to him about what we had in mind about paying, he said ‘no, no, no’. He is a humorous man, as you know. He said ‘let’s have the food in the stomachs of our people first, and when we have the food in the stomachs, then we will talk about the price’, and I said ‘that is a great man, he shares our affliction’,” said Mugabe.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was not immediately available for comment.

A commentator this week said that, though Sata may have made a huge political statement, his economic advisors behind the scenes might have warned him against political grandstanding at the expense of exercising financial prudence.

Economist John Robertson said Zambia might have changed its reasoning based on Zimbabwe’s track record in recent years of failing to honour its debts.

“It’s one of the consequences of failing to pay, so we are considered as a high risk. They don’t believe that we would keep our promise to pay — that’s why they need cash upfront. We have to restore our credibility as a country by becoming much more dependable payers,” said Robertson.

Zimbabwe has a $10 billion external debt that it is battling to settle.

Sata’s spokesperson George Chella said he was going to verify the details surrounding the issue, but several calls to him later went unanswered.

In Parliament, Made told lawmakers that Zimbabwe’s maize shortages were caused by sanctions imposed by Western countries.

He said one of the effects of the sanctions was that farmers were failing to get or pay for farming inputs.

But Zanu-PF’s outspoken Hurungwe MP Themba Mliswa also told Parliament that ministers should stop blaming everything that is going wrong on sanctions.

Mliswa added that the country’s food security is in a precarious state.

He accused the government of offering local farmers lower prices for their produce, but then paid more for imports.

“The government is paying $430 (a tonne) to import maize and that $430 is paid instantly. Our own farmers are being paid $380 and it is taking two years for them to get that money. It is a situation that the minister needs to address,” said Mliswa.

Some of the problems encountered by farmers emanated from the situation at grain parastatal the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), he said.

“They (farmers) are not prepared to grow food and sell to the GMB. For as long as GMB is not capacitated to pay the farmers, the aspect of food security will remain a problem. I say so because the government owes the GMB $44 million and that money is needed by the GMB to pay the farmers.”

The government had to come up with a “command” agricultural structure that would direct beneficiaries of its land resettlement programme to grow maize, he said.



  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 10 years ago


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    Are you kidding that goes directly to the goons pockets. And people still follow this guy Mugabe talk about being gullible

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    Sonofngwazi 10 years ago


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    Fallenz 10 years ago

    A man is a known thief, stealing and robbing neighbors, and even his own family… and he has a history of not repaying debts. Would YOU loan him money..? Sata is many things, but a fool for Mugabe he isn’t.

    Such is a way of life for ZANUPF… the party of cutthroat thieves and thugs. Not much to be proud of. Bloody shame.

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    Stop-a-Thief 10 years ago

    Maize from Zambia (eat now, pay later!), Power and Beef from Namibia, everything else from S Africa & China- welcome to Mugabe’s Republic of Nikuv.

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    Samaz 10 years ago

    Let’s be our own master. Britain never said don’t pay your farmers, we used to get US$ through bond papers where is the money, sanction!police harrasing vendors, sanctions, pirators being jailed, sanctions.jail term for running a small unlicenced business, sanctions. Laws were made for man not man for the laws. When Moza was struggling they relax their laws for the people to suvive how can we keep world class laws when we are suffering.

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    Kaukonde got 500 million. Chiyangwa 3 billion. They can pay instead of raping minors

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    Mafuta 10 years ago

    Where does this party get the notion that everybody in the world should know they are entitled to take without paying?

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    Harper 10 years ago

    The starving in Lupane are in Obert Mpofu’s fiefdom. As a very rich man has he not an ounce of charity?

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    simon 10 years ago

    you took the farms…reap what you sow zanu!!!! sanctions what a joke. even under worldwide sanctions against and I mean proper sanctions no one was starving so there is no excuse at all. You took the productive farms and have ruined them so as a result the people are worse off and govt officials still gaining weight (fatcats) needing new cars every few months due to weight causing wear and tear on the wheels!!

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    simon 10 years ago

    under full sanctions against Rhodesia people still had food on table!

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    simon 10 years ago

    I meant even under full sanctions against Rhodesia people still had food on table!

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    Austin Vuma 10 years ago

    What a disgrace!!Food basket of the region, now a begging basket!
    Surely our climate with Zambia are the same, so are the rain pattern. Could this be another work of the sanctions? Can a staunch Zanu supporter answer me?

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    Jrr56 10 years ago

    Maybe the people who used to feed Zimbabwe and now feed Zambia want to get paid up front. They know Mugabe all too well, he took everything that was theirs (improvements and equipment)and never paid them either!!!

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    wezhira 10 years ago

    zvakuda Mwari chete izvi,,he z the onli one with the solution to this huge crisis

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    iam sure sata is not praising zanu when it comes to doing business,,they did not steal the election to run the country ,it was to protect their buts and assets

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    Torai hupfumi 10 years ago

    Sata knows that we are failing to pay so and so, so he can not join the Que for not being paid.

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    nyashanu 10 years ago

    Zambia is a country,selling their products will be a good source of revenue.zvakasiyana nekuno kwekuti diamond hamuzive kuti rakafamba sei.well done zambia

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    Dayford 10 years ago

    Funny how we now have to rely on maize from Zambia where most of the crop is produced by the farmers we kicked out who are now resettled in Zambia. Is it not time for Zanu to admit its failures and stop blaming sanctions. Zimbabwe is in the wrong hands. Our leaders dont have a clue on how ro run the country. Yes we were under oppression during Rhodesia but never had shortages of food, water, electricity and other basics. Almost every sector of this once vibrant economy has been ruined. Zimbabwe Ruins for real.

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    the land reform was a huge success accord to the herald

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    mutakura 10 years ago

    Am so ashamed to be zimbabwean. How can a bunch of marauding thieves destroy a country that had such a promising future? We are now the regional and internatiol laughing stock. Meanwhile the looting thieves are in a frenzy stripping the country of everythng aided by the chinese. How i hate the chinese! They make my blood boil.

  • comment-avatar 10 years ago

    Hey, hey guys , lets not get carried away by this friendship rhetoric without any substance. This beggar language is not befitting of Zimbabweans. Last time Mutsvangwa was talking of friendship with China, ostensibly to get debt from China. Now there is talk of friendship with Sata of Zambia, ostensibly to get food for mahala from Zambia. Guys, what have we become? Beggars, pariahs…..and for what? We have the resources and the capacity, but the governance part is at best horrible and counter to all forces of reason and logic. There policies run askance to our real needs on the ground. Without the rule of law and reform in business policy we do not see any light in the tunnel. This government knows exactly what it must do to restore the economy, but for now they are focused on harassing people who made them ‘lose’ the election. They are diverting resources to that area using scorched earth methods. It’s really a pity that innocent people suffer amid plenty. Maybe these guys are still shocked about ‘how the heck they won a lost election’. Therefore they had not prepared for the scenario of having to govern. This is business and in business we pay. Sata is not ‘our friend’ but our neighbour just like the Chinese are ‘not our friends’ but business partners of the ‘elite recalcitrants’. The Chinese need cash just like the Zambians. It makes business logic not to give a loan to a bad debtor particularly a prodigal frittering away a lucrative estate. We could easily get loans because of our well known potential, but the history of non payment of debts is telling its own story. While there is still time the government must change its policies of madness to normalcy. We cannot want to benefit from sanity when we are pretending to be insane. Sanity first. Sanity in the courts! Sanity in city councils! Sanity in the law enforcement apparatus! Sanity in social rights! Sanity in all of us. who is causing all this insanity? guYS WE WANT SANITY NOW!!!

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    Elvis mutema 10 years ago

    Asi Themba arikuvaudza chokwadi!