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The Telegraph

Protest leaves Zimbabwe in disarray
By Simon Briggs and Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 16/04/2004)

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union will make a mockery of international cricket on
Tuesday when they go into a one-day match against Sri Lanka with a
second-string team featuring none of their leading white players.

Negotiations collapsed yesterday between the ZCU and 13 white players, who
are calling for changes among the team's selection panel, and who now say
they will not play in the Sri Lanka series.

Peter Chingoka, the ZCU chairman, responded by threatening to sue any
contracted player who did not turn up for practice this morning.

This breakdown of relations could be seen as the logical extension of last
year's black armband protest by Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, who spoke out
against Robert Mugabe's regime, and were drummed out of the team. The issue
now is the spread of Zanu PF party politics into the way cricket is run.

Certain elements of the ZCU are believed to be primarily concerned with
black empowerment and allegedly will be delighted if Tuesday's team contains
no white players. However, the crisis could prove counter-productive for
them if it spells the beginning of the end for Zimbabwe cricket.

The 14-strong squad selected yesterday contained seven players uncapped at
national level, and only four who could possibly claim that they would make
it into a full-strength team on merit. Two are white: Brendan Taylor, 18,
and Edward Rainsford, 19.

The dissenting players may hope that the ZCU change their tune when the
scale of the probable humiliation facing the team becomes clear. Zimbabwe
are to play five one-day internationals and two Tests against Sri Lanka,
followed by a full-scale Test tour by Australia.

Ehsan Mani, the International Cricket Council president, said on Tuesday
that he "would not seek to intervene in this type of domestic issue", but he
must know that if Zimbabwe set off on a self-destructive slide, their
collapse would could embarrass the whole game.

Sponsors and broadcasters will not accept a series of mismatches, and
Zimbabwe's main sponsor, Nissan, have already registered their concern. The
England and Wales Cricket Board, meanwhile, will be quietly hoping that the
crisis can give them a way out of October's scheduled tour of Zimbabwe.

This row began two weeks ago when Heath Streak, Zimbabwe's then captain,
raised a number of objections about how the team were being selected. He
threatened to quit if his demands were not accepted, but immediately found
himself sacked by the board. The 12 other players quickly rallied behind
him, saying that the newly appointed Tatenda Taibu was too young (at 20) and
inexperienced to captain the team. This week they released a public
statement claiming that "the ZCU have fallen prey to a small clique of
people who do not have the interests of cricket at heart but are simply
motivated by non-sporting considerations".

The statement also offered specific instances of maladministration, such as
when white batsman Mark Vermeulen was offered twice his match fee to drop
out of a one-day international and make room for a black player, or when a
ZCU board member reacted to the dropping of three black players by
threatening to dig up the pitch and boycott the match.

Streak said yesterday: "I made myself unavailable for the series against Sri
Lanka. I'm mentally and physically unprepared to play now, and even at this
very late moment, the ZCU have failed to address key issues we've raised."

As for the threat of legal action, Grant Flower, another of the dissenting
players, said that most of the players had left Harare already and would be
unable to attend this morning's practice even if they had wanted to.

The ZCU's shambolic negotiations were exposed yesterday when they claimed
they had bowed to some of the players demands by appointing two new
selectors in Richie Kaschula and Pommie Mbangwa. But Mbangwa said he had
never been contacted, and in any case would be unable to take up the
position, which would require him to give up his television commentary work.

At a press conference yesterday, Chingoka said he had been given information
by a "reliable" source that the parents of some of the players, who he
implied were whites, had "devised a strategy to destroy Zimbabwe cricket
this year".
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Workers flee in Zim land-grabs
15/04/2004 23:10  - (SA)

Erika Gibson

Pretoria - Several farms, including one of the largest suppliers of fresh
vegetables to Britain and South Africa, have been targeted in renewed land
seizures in Zimbabwe in the past few days.

In the case of the Kondozi Estate, southeast of Harare, earlier land
occupiers, who have started to grow vegetables on small patches on land,
were also chased from the farm.

These occupiers were taught to grow their produce according to European
Union standards and the produce was packed and exported by the larger

However, armed police and soldiers used water cannons to chase about 600
workers from the estate.

The estate supports about 3 000 people and an additional 8 000 families of
farmers in Manica Land who deliver their produce there.

Workers fought back

Radio Africa reports that Chris Mushowe, deputy minister of transport,
apparently moved into one of the houses on the estate last year.

However, reports the radio, agricultural minister Joseph Made apparently has
had his eye on the larger Charleswood Estate, which generates an income of
about US$15m a year.

He ordered workers to leave the farm on Christmas Day, but they refused.

In February, security forces were used to chase them from the farm, but most
fought back and sent the security forces packing.

However, this week, the workers fled for their lives.

More than 150 soldiers and police officers also moved into the Charleswood
Estate shortly before the incident.

The owner of this farm, Roy Bennet, an MP for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, was earlier granted a court order to prevent occupation
of his land.

This order was ignored in the latest occupation.

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      UK shields fugitives

      Hama Saburi
      4/16/2004 1:39:01 AM (GMT +2)

      A DIPLOMATIC rift is brewing as Britain, a fierce critic of Zimbabwe's
human rights record, is digging in its heels over the extradition of
fugitive bankers wanted in Harare for an assortment of serious economic
crimes which they claim are trumped-up charges.

      Diplomatic sources confirmed the latest standoff between Britain and
Zimbabwe has transgressed the course of justice because the former colonial
master was reluctant to extradite suspects on the wanted list.

      As a result, they said, Zimbabwe, whose relations with Britain soured
ever since Harare seized huge tracts of land from minority whites, most of
whom trace their ancestry to the United Kingdom, faces an embarrassing
situation of recalling a team of investigators dispatched recently to flush
out the suspects.

      "We understand that the Zimbabwean authorities recently contacted
Interpol to request assistance in relation to a case currently before the
courts in Zimbabwe. The request is being processed in the normal way.
Interpol is a police-to-police channel. The British government does not
comment on the detail of requests made through this channel," said Alison
Blackburne at the British embassy in Harare.

      "On the question of extradition, we do not propose to discuss
individual cases. It is a long-standing Home Office policy and practice not
to confirm or deny, ahead of arrest, whether a request for the extradition
of a particular individual has been sought or may be in prospect," she said.

      Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, however,
yesterday insisted that there seemed not to be any cooperation from the
British. But he could not give details on the nature of the logjam holding
up the extradition of the bankers.

      Bvudzijena said in the absence of the British's help, it might not be
possible for Harare to extradite the suspects.

      "Interpol does not have a police force, hence its duty is merely to
facilitate. The responsibility to arrest lies with the police for the
respective countries," said Bvudzijena, adding: "We may also refuse to
cooperate with them in future."

      The diplomatic sources said the British, who have always treated the
Zimbabwean authorities with suspicion, were seemingly wary that the suspects
might not get a fair trial.

      The stance by the British over the issue is however likely to spark
off nightmares of a fresh diplomatic row between the two countries.

      Britain and its Western allies, whose political yardsticks - according
to some commentators - keep changing to suit their own interests, have
maintained that Zimbabwe has a serious democratic deficit.

      The suspects who are currently on the run include the executive
directors of NMBZ Holdings. These are Julius Makoni, the managing director,
James Mushore, his deputy, and fellow executive directors Otto Chekeche and
Francis Zimuto who fled the country in March after the Zimbabwe Republic
Police started closing in on them.

      They were accused of externalising funds in violation of the country's
exchange control regulations. The executives are alleged to have
externalised $30 billion in foreign currency through a United Kingdom money
transfer business, LTB Money Transfers.

      Several other bankers have also been implicated in imprudent banking
practices. These were uncovered during the ongoing banking sector clean-up
being undertaken by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

      The bankers, including Mthuli Ncube, the founder of Barbican, and
Nicholas Vingirai, who established Intermarket Holdings, have denied the
charges and have even hinted at political harassment. The two are believed
to be in South Africa.

      True or false, the allegations against the fugitive bankers have
irrevocably changed their lives. The executives, who hurriedly skipped the
country after getting wind of the impending probes, left behind the comfort
of the red carpets and elegantly upholstered furniture in their plush
offices in Harare's central business district to seek asylum in Britain and
South Africa.
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      Government, IMF haggle over cheap industry loans

      Nelson Banya
      4/16/2004 1:39:29 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government, desperate for external funds to stabilise its
finances, is ironically playing hard ball with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) over the productive sector facility (PSF), which the
international monetarists fear could fuel festering inflationary pressures.

      Finance and Economic Development Minister Chris Kuruneri confirmed to
The Financial Gazette that the visiting IMF delegation, which was in the
country for two weeks in March, had expressed concern over the potentially
inflationary effects of the facility.

      He however said the government, whose desperate efforts to lure back
the IMF after it slammed the door on Zimbabwe some seven years ago have so
far drawn a blank, would not abandon the concessionary fund.

      The government decision to stick to its guns over the PSF could
further stiffen the hand of the IMF, which has been accused of misplaced
missionary zeal for fiscal rectitude to the detriment of most emerging

      The Bretton Woods institution's balance of payments support for
Zimbabwe was put on ice after protracted haggling over policy issues.

      "They had a lot to say about it and raised the issue that if the funds
are not superintended properly, they could be inflationary and compromise
our fight against inflation.

      "But we had to be firm on the usefulness of the fund, and indicated
that we were relying on our sources for the funds. It is prudent to support
our own producers in order to kick-start our exports," Kuruneri said.

      The IMF delegation, which was in the country from March 17 to March 31
on routine Article IV consultations, noted what it termed "strong policy
efforts", particularly the tightening of monetary policy, but indicated that
it was imperative to guard against a loosening of the new measures.

      The IMF, which has been accused of hard-headed stances on fiscal
issues, stressed the need to consistently focus monetary policy on taming
inflation and reducing pressure on the exchange rate.

      In line with this, the delegation had also pointed to the PSF, through
which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has advanced close to $1.5 trillion
to the productive sector at a concessionary interest rate of 30 percent.

      Economists have also cautioned that should the facility lack
sufficient monitoring, a huge portion of the funds could be channelled to
speculative and consumptive purposes, which are inflationary.

      The RBZ has targeted to bring down inflation, which eased to 602.5
percent in February on a year-to-year basis, to levels between 170 percent
and 200 percent by the end of the year.

      A Harare-based economic commentator who did not want to be named said
the concessionary funds would not fuel inflation but help contain it through
bolstering the supply side.

      "The facility actually has to be expanded, not shrunk. It is not
inflationary because it is being monitored to see that funds are being
applied to productive purposes.

      "It is necessary that we address the supply side of the equation in
the fight against inflation," he said.

      The concessionary fund has been accepted by both the government and
the private sector as a necessary evil as the productive sector

      struggles to cope with the recessionary pressures that have beset the
country in the past five years.

      However, most producers have used the funds to retire debilitating
debts, which had soared on the back of an interest rate rally late last
year, while not much has been committed to actual production.

      The economist said any moves to scrap the facility in the current
circumstances would be destructive.

      "We are being asked to destroy our infrastructure and our productive
base. That advice (from the IMF) should be listened to but not taken. We are
industrialising our economy, which will mean more jobs and less consumption
of foreign products," he said.
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      Crisis looms at Zimasco as workers face the chop

      Staff Reporter
      4/16/2004 1:40:29 AM (GMT +2)

      A CRISIS is looming at the Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company
(Zimasco) amid revelations that the leading ferrochrome producer is laying
off scores of workers after shutting down three furnaces at the Kwekwe
smelter, citing worsening operational glitches.

      Although The Financial Gazette could not immediately confirm the exact
number of workers facing the dreaded axe, sources put the figure at above

      A Zimasco spokesperson said the mining house, which exports at least
220 000 tonnes of alloys annually, cannot operate all its six furnaces at
present due to spiralling costs of production that are out of line with
revenue generated.

      Revenue at its mines suffered a body blow due to the novel foreign
exchange auction system introduced early this year, under which exporters
are paid $824 to the United States dollar for a quarter of foreign currency

      The rate is way below the prevailing auction rate of about $4 523 to
the greenback.

      Of the United States dollar inflows, Zimasco uses about 45 percent to
meet its own requirements. Of the 55 percent balance used to fund local
expenses, 25 percent is surrendered upfront to the central bank at $824 to
the greenback, while 30 percent is sold at the ruling auction rate.

      Working on the latest auction rate of $4 523 on every US$ of inflows
into the country, Zimasco's current effective exchange rate in converting
the greenback to Zimbabwe dollars is $2 841.

      "This creates a mismatch whereby local suppliers are obtaining
currency and pricing inputs at the auction rate of $4 523, but the revenue
stream is coming at $2 841. This mismatch is effectively resulting in
Zimasco being unable to raise sufficient Zimbabwe dollars to meet its
Zimbabwe dollar requirements from the US dollars being sold to the Reserve
Bank at the auction market," said the spokesperson.

      Only recently, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed cable manufacturer,
CAFCA Limited, slammed the door on exports saying it would not accept fresh
orders until the authorities addressed the skewed exchange rate.

      This came hard on the heels of two cautionary statements issued by
Zimbabwe's major gold mining concerns - Rio Tinto Zimbabwe and Falcon Gold -
which are also struggling to meet their commitments.

      "The scaling down of operations in both the mining and smelting
sections of the ferrochrome business has been done primarily to create an
arrangement where Zimbabwe dollar operational input costs are at least
matched by Zimbabwe dollar revenues.

      "From purely a business perspective, Zimasco is unable to continue to
incur liabilities that it will not be able to pay for in the future. The
action taken is also intended to conserve cash and reduce accumulated
Zimbabwe dollar liabilities, while serving foreign markets through existing
stocks of finished product.

      "If the current mismatch between the Zimbabwe dollar revenue exchange
rate and the cost exchange rate persist, the viability of Zimasco as an
exporting entity is seriously threatened," added the spokesperson.

      Zimasco imports 3 500 tonnes of coal and 1000 tonnes of coke from
South Africa each month and a further 2 000 tonnes of coke from China. The
company forks out millions in salaries and wages, railway charges and
electricity tariffs, among other expenses.

      The spokesperson said Zimasco would satisfy the export market in
Europe, the United States and Japan for the next six weeks from stocks and
deliveries in transit.

      "Obviously, the stocks will start to come down quickly and after the
six months, we should have a solution to start production otherwise we may
scale it further down."

      The company has lobbied the Mines Ministry, the Chamber of Mines and
the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, which have all assured Zimasco
that a solution would be found soon.

      "They all understand, it's the implementation we are waiting for,"
said the spokesperson.
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      Celebrations: MDC breaks with tradition

      Staff Reporter
      4/16/2004 1:40:55 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), dismissed by the government as a western front to effect regime
change will, in a marked departure from tradition, participate in this
year's Independence Day celebrations.

      The MDC, widely seen as the first real threat to ZANU PF's 24- year
hold on power since the first multi-racial elections in 1980, had in the
past avoided the celebrations. Although the party had not publicly said why,
it was believed that it did not participate in the celebrations since its
formation five years ago because of its irreconcilable differences with the
ruling party which has been accused of treating national events as
exclusively "ZANU PF".

      This week, however, the MDC said it would take part in the
commemorations to mark Zimbabwe's 24th independence anniversary, whose theme
is Sendekera Mwana Wevhu.

      "As a policy, the party's membership and leadership are expected to
attend the independence celebrations wherever they are going to be held,"
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said. "But this also depends on the
security risks. In the past, ZANU PF members have abused us, but,
nevertheless, we will be there. As a matter of fact, I am in Gwanda for the

      The government has said this year's celebration would be one with a
difference following the completion of the fast-track land reform programme,
which has widely been criticised by the local opposition, the United States
of America, the European Union and Britain.

      The west, whose instinct has been to work against President Robert
Mugabe following a disputed 2002 presidential election, blame the land
reform programme for the country's economic crisis. They argue that the land
reform programme should have been undertaken in accordance with the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Land Donor Conference of 1998.

      A snap survey revealed that there was enthusiasm for the festivities
only among ruling party activists while opposition members said that because
of the harsh economic environment, it would be difficult to be pretentious
and turn a blind eye to the rot in the economy.

      "As much as I would like to celebrate our hard-won independence, I can
not bring myself to come to terms with the reality that ZANU PF is undoing
what we fought for," Lovemore Chitukwa, an MDC member, said. "The war was
fought to stop suffering, but we are still suffering."

      But Gift Rusere of ZANU PF thought otherwise. "Those who do not want
to celebrate with us are terribly mistaken. We got the land we fought for
under the leadership of President Mugabe. There is no going back and there
is no undoing the process. Our liberation war heroes would turn in their
graves if they knew we were selling out to the whites. Every Zimbabwean
should come out and celebrate with the nation despite the economic
hardships. They will pass. It's a passing phase."

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      Makwavarara: Iron Lady or ZANU PF tool?

      Brian Mangwende
      4/16/2004 1:42:44 AM (GMT +2)

      THAT acting Harare mayor Sekesai Makwava-rara would be forced out of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was inevitable after she ruffled
the feathers of the powers-that-be in the opposition party. It was just a
matter of time.

      Impeccable party sources said a decision had long been taken by the
party's leadership to expel her from the MDC.

      When she got wind of it, she immediately resigned.

      Although crocodile tears were shed, insiders say the party leadership
considered her resignation as good riddance.

      Surprisingly, Makwa-varara has vowed to remain in the hot seat as an
independent, offering to relinquish the post only after investigations into
the conduct of suspended Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri were finalised.

      This raised questions about her links with ZANU PF and Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.

      But most importantly, it brought into focus her chances and ability,
as an independent. Critics are also questioning the rationale and morality
of holding onto a seat she won on an MDC ticket.

      Analysts feel that as an independent, Makwa-varara, widely seen as a
political nonentity, would not win an election.

      Just like most of her colleagues in the opposition party, she would be
politically doomed outside the MDC.

      Munyaradzi Gwisai, who had a fallout with the MDC leadership over
policy issues, failed dismally when he tried his luck as an independent in

      Traditionally, in elections, Zimbabweans have tended to vote more for
political parties rather than the people representing them.

      Brian Kagoro, the newly elected chairman of Crisis Coalition, said
although the Urban Councils Act did not recognise expulsions and suspensions
at party level, the honourable thing for Makwavarara to do would be to
resign from council.

      "If sanity is to be restored, a councillor should sit in council
representing a political party.

      "But as long as they cease to represent that party, they should not be
made councillors by a ministerial decision.

      "Makwavarara should step down and run for the seat as an independent,
but the danger is that she knows she won't be voted back to that position.

      "She is simply being used as a tool by the executive to block all
prospects of the MDC making meaningful progress.

      "The biggest problem we have at the moment is that we do not have
honest people in politics," he said.

      Makwavarara became the first woman deputy mayor of the country's
capital city in urban council elections held concurrently with the
unprecedented presidential poll of March 2002 - controversially won by
President Robert Mugabe.

      Makwavarara - now perceived as an enemy by the opposition - waltzed
into Town House on an MDC ticket after thrashing ZANU PF's Martin Mhike in

      Analysts were this week adamant she won simply because of the MDC's
popularity in the face of voter anger against economic mismanagement by the
central government.

      Soon after Chombo suspended Mudzuri on what are widely considered
trumped-up charges of mismanagement, Makwavarara was catapulted to the
position of acting mayor.

      At first she hesitated, but after a few carrots were dangled, she fell
for the trick and single-handedly began taking and implementing directives
from Chombo despite several calls by her party to resign and pave way for
elections for a new deputy mayor following the expiration of her term last

      Instead, the acting mayor quit the MDC - a party seemingly losing grip
on its urban stronghold - arguing she had been abused by the MDC leadership,
including the party's president, Morgan Tsvangirai.

      She alleged Tsvangirai had labelled her a sellout. She could,
therefore, not serve two masters - the MDC and ZANU PF.

      Makwavarara, a mother of three, was quoted in the local press as
saying: "One can only be a sellout when he or she dines and wines with
foreigners for the downfall of one's country.

      "I am nowhere near that because I work with an elected government."

      This was interpreted to mean she had swallowed, hook, line and sinker,
ZANU PF's claim that the MDC is being used by Britain and its allies to
effect regime change in Zimbabwe.

      The MDC was particularly irked by her seemingly warm relations with
Chombo, who had been accused of bullying and frustrating the MDC-dominated

      Makwavarara therefore was, to all intents and purposes, implementing
ZANU PF policies at the behest of Chombo, to the chagrin of the MDC

      However, analysts said while resigning as a councillor and then
standing as an independent would be the right thing to do, Makwavarara, who
now lives in the plush suburb of Gunhill, knew that it would be political
suicide to go it alone as Mabvuku was still perceived to be an MDC

      Joseph Kurebwa, a political analyst, said: "It's not advisable for
Makwavarara to take that risk because the move will most likely backfire.

      "We saw it when Munyaradzi Gwisai thought he could go it alone in
Highfield. He lost dismally. Politicians are often reluctant to take such
risks. It won't be in her interest. In fact, it could be suicidal.

      "Mabvuku, in my view, is still an MDC stronghold and if she runs as an
independent, she could lose dismally as well.

      "Her calculation is to hang on for as long as possible, especially if
she enjoys the support of ZANU PF, who, at the moment, seem very keen to
keep her there."

      Another political analyst and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe,
Heneri Dzinotyiwei, said: "I do not support ZANU PF's philosophy of
governance in urban areas.

      "We don't have enough resources to build luxury mansions and buy
expensive vehicles.

      "Governance in urban areas is more of middle management, but the
ruling party has come up with executive mayors and governors.

      "Unfortunately, this creates conflict and the MDC has fallen for
it.The MDC should criticise the whole concept of executive mayors."

      Mudzuri was ordered by the MDC national executive, to no avail, to
give up his benefits, including vacating the multi-million-dollar Gunhill
mayoral mansion and relinquishing the Mercedes Benz the government had
bought for him as part of his package.

      Dzinotyiwei added: "They should not emulate that type of governing.

      "Makwavarara would not easily give up lucrative benefits that go with
being in the hot seat.

      "She knows she got there through politics and, in view of the current
conflict, she has to position herself along political lines."
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      Independence: what is there to celebrate?

      Hama Saburi
      4/16/2004 1:43:22 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE, Africa's erstwhile biggest hope in terms of economic
prosperity and political stability at the turn of the 1980s, celebrates the
24th anniversary of its independence on Sunday.

      Opinions, however, remain starkly divided over whether there is
anything else to celebrate other than the right to vote.

      This is mainly because the independence celebrations come against a
backdrop of an unprecedented economic meltdown and general uncertainty.

      Despite the potential for economic prosperity, the country has largely
remained a could-have-been-that-never-was.

      In the court of public opinion, the economic chill that has spawned
destitution, social deprivation and heightened frustration should be placed
squarely on the shoulders of President Robert Mugabe's government, whose
back-to-the-land idealism is blamed for what is widely seen as the failure
of the country's once vibrant agricultural sector.

      The collapse of the hitherto reassuringly resilient economy into a
recessionary heap is dramatised by persistent shortages of foreign currency,
basic commodities and fuel, among others.

      In the 24 years of independence from Britain, there has been a swift
and terrifying decline in the standards of living, with an estimated 80
percent - a figure critics say is conservative - of Zimbabwe's 13
million-plus people now living below the poverty datum line.

      Unemployment has risen to well over 70 percent against a background of
company closures.

      Galloping inflation, now widely considered a festering national ulcer,
has since breached the 600 percent mark - the highest in the region.

      The stagnation and misery characterising Zimbabwe today has forced an
estimated 3.5 million people, a third of the country's population, into

      Most Zimbabweans have emigrated to Britain, which has had a diplomatic
standoff with the Zimbabwe government after the former colonial master was
accused of being bent on effecting regime change in the country.

      "Unfortunately, the 24 years merely registered a period of sustained

      "We have nothing to show for it, except overwhelming poverty, economic
decay, a systematic loss of our basic freedoms and a national crisis whose
dimensions are mutating and fast becoming more pervasive in every facet of
our political, economic and social life," Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said of independence.

      Such is the grim situation confronting Zimbabweans today after almost
two decades of a bloody liberation struggle waged against the former
colonial master alleged by the government to be, up to now, still refusing
to atone for its colonial sin.

      Ironically though, that war was led, among others, by President
Mugabe, whose convictions about black rule were never in doubt.

      It is the same President Mugabe who is now being accused of being slow
with political reform following failed negotiations with the MDC, and of
being a liberator-turned-oppressor after the promulgation of draconian laws
that have turned back the hands of the country's political clock.

      The most contentious pieces of legislation that have been widely
condemned for restricting rights to freedom of expression, association and
assembly include the Broadcasting Services Act, the Public Order and
Security Act, and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

      Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said between 1980 and April
2004, Zimbabwe had moved from a parliamentary system of enacting laws to a
presidential system.

      "The Lancaster House Constitution has been amended at least 17 times
and almost every change was focused on concentrating power in the President.

      "It (the constitution) has had detrimental effects on the economy and
the society in that there is no benefit of a free flow of ideas.

      "The lack of democracy creates a situation where ideas that rule are
not tested," said Madhuku.

      But what do others feel has really gone wrong?

      "We got it wrong by placing political expediency ahead of economic

      "Economic rationality could have dictated that we build a strong
industrial base first before embarking on an emotional land reform," said
John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe lecturer and political commentator.

      He said the land reform - which many people attack for the manner in
which it was conducted and not the motive of resettling landless blacks -
had weakened agriculture, which used to have the single biggest sectoral
contribution to the gross domestic product.

      This, he said, had disastrous effects on industry and commerce.

      "There have been meaningful developments in terms of infrastructure
installations and human resource development, but all that has been
overweighed by the negatives, which far outweigh the positives.

      "Infrastructure has deteriorated because of lack of maintenance, roads
are now a danger zone and education is crumbling and we now have a higher
dropout rate. Zimbabwe is now an exporter of expertise, which has seen a
serious brain drain," added Makumbe.

      The period 2000 to 2004 had demonstrated the failure of the thinking
that land was the economy. Land was not the economy unless used
productively, he said.

      Makumbe maintained that the only way to get out of the current
quagmire would be through a regime change.

      Makumbe is a known fierce government critic and is widely seen as an
MDC sympathiser.

      "It is only regime change that will open doors to negotiations with
the international community.

      "We are essentially doomed unless there is a bright spark somewhere
that would enable people to effect regime change from within.

      "The outside world will not help us. We have to fight to liberate
ourselves from our oppressors who were our liberators." he added.
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      Financial sector shake-down reverberates across economy

      Nelson Banya
      4/16/2004 1:45:26 AM (GMT +2)

      AS the near catastrophic upheaval in the financial services sector
recedes and normalcy appears to return, albeit in radically changed
circumstances, the reverberations from the turmoil will be felt across the
economy for a long time to come.

      The banking sector, which had bucked the economic downturn in the
recessive past five years, had become the anchor of the economy.

      It became common cause that should the sector sneeze, then the whole
economy would catch a collective cold.

      The asset bubble, which burst when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
took a radical change of approach in its interest rate policy in the
December monetary policy, has had downstream effects.

      The sharp rise in interest rates, which touched off the 1 000 percent
mark in December, caught firms with asset-liability mismatch napping.

      Some of the far-reaching consequences of the financial sector
shake-down were felt on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), which is yet to
recover from a stock overhang wrought by massive sell-offs as investors
reduced their exposure, either due to sagging confidence or the need to
service debts with distressed banks.

      Some major deals, struck last year at the height of the great bull run
that saw the ZSE industrial index reaching 734 000 points, are now facing
the ignominy of reversal.

      Most of the deals were financed through what the RBZ has now declared
to be an imprudent and unsecured lending culture.

      The wholesale stock disposals increased the selling pressure on the
ZSE, which was depressed throughout the first quarter of the year.

      The central bank's crusade against non-core banking practice has also
left some frail manufacturing firms in the lurch.

      Some of the most remarkable turn-around stories in the manufacturing
industry were accomplished with no small involvement by financial
institutions. Brick manufacturer Willdale Limited and Willowvale Mazda Motor
Industries, are two examples.

      The two firms enjoyed a close relationship with Trust Holdings and the
Intermarket group, both of which have been stalked by a debilitating
liquidity crunch arising from massive asset-liability gaps.

      Analysts have noted that at a time when banks were virtually the sole
viable industry, it had become a common survival strategy for firms in other
sectors to have tie-ups with financial institutions.

      Banks, on the other hand, saw their straying into the proscribed
non-core arena as a means of hedging risk and investing in inflation-beating

      All this has come apart, but economic analysts say this is not bad for
the economy, as the traditional relationship of banker and client, which had
been complicated by some cross-ownerships, would be restored.

      "That relationship does not have to be destroyed, and it is not being
destroyed, but has to be modified. If anything, the banks are going to
emerge stronger from this crisis, meaning they will be able to offer a
better product to their clients," economic commentator Jonathan Kadzura

      In recent weeks, two ZSE-listed firms, meat processor Colcom Holdings
Limited and retail group Tedco Limited, were forced to make about-turns on
critical company decisions by the upheaval in the financial sector.

      Tedco, which was supposed to demerge and separately list its
manufacturing unit, had to suspend the plans, citing unfavourable market
conditions currently prevailing, while the money-spinning Colcom made a
volte-face on a dividend declaration which would have seen the firm dole out
$1.5 billion to shareholders.

      This was put down to "closures of certain financial institutions"
which could no longer provide the company with concessionary productive
sector finance.

      Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have not been spared the winds
of change emanating from the financial sector shake-up.

      Most of the NGOs had built up huge cost structures arising from
massive salary and allowance bills which were fuelled by the parallel
foreign currency market.

      However, as the banks and other financial institutions beat a hasty
retreat from the parallel market, rates plummeted, further compounded by the
controlled auction of hard currencies at the RBZ. As a result, most NGOs
have had to wield the scythe on their budgets.

      In some cases, NGOs have slashed wages by as much as 50 percent, while
some are contemplating packing up altogether, citing the now unviable
exchange rate.

      The local currency was in free-fall until the introduction of the
currency auctions and the Zimbabwe dollar has been quoted between $3 500 (in
January) and $4 500 (currently) to the United States greenback.

      The local unit was trading at around $6 500 against the greenback in
December, before the banking industry met its Waterloo.
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      Mbeki win no sweet music for Mugabe

      Njabulo Ncube
      4/16/2004 1:44:40 AM (GMT +2)

      THE re-election of President Thabo Mbeki's African National Congress
(ANC), which is a virtual certainty, may not be sweet music in the ears of
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF, which could face renewed pressure to
level the electoral playing field and re-engage the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) in dialogue.

      While ZANU PF feels safer to have the ANC at the helm of South Africa'
s body politic than Tony Leon's Democratic Alliance or Mangosuthu Buthelezi'
s Inkatha Freedom Party, the ruling party is not so sure whether it could
continue to duck and dive over niggling issues once President Mbeki secures
a fresh five-year mandate.

      Extinguishing the turbulent political situation in South Africa's
troubled northern neighbour, Zimbabwe, could be what President Mbeki wants
to unlock the international support he has been itching for to deliver on
his election promises and to get his New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD) going.

      A victory would certainly give the South African president more
confidence to deal with the lingering Zimbabwe question.

      Apart from vanquishing apartheid in the first democratic elections of
April 1994, the ANC has not really delivered on its pledge to tackle
ravaging poverty and unemployment affecting as much as 40 percent of the
country's workforce.

      Questions are already being asked about what an ANC re-election would
mean for Zimbabwe. Is President Mbeki going to abandon his quiet diplomacy
strategy on Zimbabwe or, better still, will the South African leader open
the floodgates for thousands of impoverished Zimbabweans seeking economic
and political asylum in his country?

      Political and economic analysts who spoke to The Financial Gazette
this week ahead of the outcome of the polls in South Africa were unanimous
that this time President Mbeki may want to move with speed to address the
Zimbabwe question as he prepares to deliver on his election promises.

      They said for the international community to part with the funds for
his endeavour to provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of unemployed South
Africans, as per his top election promise, the pipe-smoking Mbeki had to be
seen to be acting on the Harare regime, accused by the west and the local
opposition of being draconian and repressive.

      Eric Bloch, an economic commentator based here, predicted that
President Mbeki's re-election would most likely see Johannesburg stepping up
pressure on President Mugabe's ZANU PF, which has been in power for the past
24 years, to re-open talks with the MDC.

      "Mbeki's re-election is likely to result in formal talks being
undertaken between ZANU PF and the MDC. President Mbeki has said before and
during his election campaign that Zimbabwe's problems will be resolved by
June this year.

      "It implies that significant talks motivated by South Africa are
likely to take place in Zimbabwe between ZANU PF and the MDC. He is still
going to act as an honest broker, but I think this will not be in June as
hinted by Mbeki because June is too soon for such a complicated political
process," said Bloch.

      The outcome of formal talks between ZANU PF and MDC could influence
President Mbeki's policy on Zimbabwe.

      If the formal talks do not succeed, the Zimbabwe problem will remain a
constant thorn for President Mbeki and his NEPAD project.

      The west, local opposition politicians and analysts have, for the past
few years, criticised the South African leader for his so-called "quiet
diplomacy" on Zimbabwe, saying the policy has never worked except for
encouraging the Harare regime to lord it over its citizens.

      University of Zimbabwe (UZ) lecturer and political analyst Heneri
Dzinotyiwei, however, said President Mbeki had shown a mature and thorough
understanding of both regional and Zimbabwean issues beyond what many people
might have thought.

      "I think his coming back as President of South Africa will give us
Zimbabweans a chance to look at ourselves and try and solve our own
problems. He has studied our problems and can be of valuable assistance," he

      A diplomat added her voice on the implications of Mbeki's re-election
to Zimbabwe: "It is possible that, once elected, he might change his
previous policy of quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe after he gets the re-election
behind him. For Mbeki to deliver the jobs, he needs NEPAD, which presently
is 100 percent being undermined by Zimbabwe. NEPAD will not work unless he
deals with Zimbabwe. If he needs to create those jobs, he certainly has to
focus on NEPAD. And if he does that, then we are sure to see a shift in his
foreign policy towards Zimbabwe."

      The analysts were also unanimous that President Mbeki would find it
extremely difficult to ease his country's stringent requirements for
Zimbabweans and other Africans seeking political and economic asylum as "he
is already flooded with illegal immigrants taking South African jobs".

      John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the UZ, was more
pessimistic about Mbeki's fresh mandate as far as addressing Zimbabwe's
needling political and economic crisis was concerned.

      Although agreeing that he might certainly tighten immigration laws,
Makumbe said the South African leader would like to maintain his present
status quo on Zimbabwe.

      "Mbeki is going to maintain the status quo. He is not going to improve
things for us," said Makumbe. "He is still quite intimidated by President
Mugabe and he is likely to continue the meaningless quiet diplomacy. There
is really nothing for us Zimbabweans. He might even tighten the position of
South Africa concerning Zimbabweans escaping from President Mugabe into

      "The only hope now is that SADC (Southern African Development
Community) countries such as Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia might work with
him to press President Mugabe for minimum standards of holding free and fair
elections. Because he is afraid of Mugabe, he cannot be trusted to do it
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      Time for reflection

      4/16/2004 1:12:54 AM (GMT +2)

      TWENTY-FOUR years ago on April 18 1980, Zimbabwe got its independence
from Britain. This came after a brutal and bloody war of liberation that saw
tens of thousands killed and maimed until the cessation of hostilities in

      This Sunday Zimbabweans commemorate the hard-won independence in the
aftermath of that war which reverberated beyond national and continental
borders. And as they take a fleeting glance down the corridor of time, it
would however be a lot more than just about remembering independence.

      Among other things, it would be about sparing a thought for those who
made it possible for us to enjoy that independence - those liberation war
heroes who today are a symbol of black people's resistance to racial
discrimination. These are men and women who paid the ultimate price for a
non-racial Zimbabwe. The agony and grief of their death is still fresh in
the minds of their nearest and dearest, long after the guns have been

      Most importantly, however, it should be time for national reflection.
Time for self-analysis with a view to self-correction because a lot has gone
wrong especially on the economic and socio-political front. What with the
disastrous condition of the collapsing health and education delivery
systems, the wave of avoidable traumatic political violence, the tide of
company bankruptcies and the resultant job losses, the abject poverty
stalking the nation, the citizens' anger, disillusionment and deep well of
disenchantment, ad inifinitum. The pendulum has truly swung too far the
other way. Indeed, the more cynical would say other than the universal adult
suffrage, what else is there to celebrate?

      One of Africa's wealthiest nations has been reduced to an economic
basket case. Yet the pride of any nation should stem from self-sufficiency.
The country's risk profile, at one time always in the AA grade, now makes
for some pretty dismal reading. Its international credit rating has, to all
intents and purposes, been reduced to junk status. The international
perception is that Zimbabwe is now a banana republic. And it is imperative
to point out here that in business, perception, whether we like it or not,
is considered fact.

      All this, the sad reflection of the shrunken state of the country's
economy, must be blamed squarely on the shoulders of the arrogant ruling
clique which has lost touch with reality and tends to live in the past - the
opium of ZANU PF politicians. As we have said before, it is perfectly normal
and right to be proud of the past, but very wrong to live in that past.

      How many times have we heard these people repeatedly bragging and
reminding all and sundry about their war credentials as if that would be the
remedy for the economic crisis and national disintegration?

      Admittedly Zimbabwe's war of independence, one of the bloodiest in
Africa, occupies a special place in the hearts of the citizens of this great
nation and will forever be etched in the annals of the history of the
country with unfailing clarity. But with all due respect to those who
sacrificed life and limb for the liberation of the country, it will no
longer be a rallying point for the future.

      That is why we feel that there is need for self-introspection on the
part of all those who feel deeply responsible for everything going on in
this country. This will help Zimbabwe demystify the terrible aura associated
with self-rule in Africa, where founding national leaders have bequeathed to
their nations terrible legacies characterised by obsolete socio-political
and economic structures.

      Tragically though, despite the country's potential, at the moment
nothing much separates Zimbabwe from the other failed African states
enduring suffocating dictatorships. The country has its needle well and
truly stuck. It is laden with gloom and doom as it remains bogged down in a
dramatic economic crisis, the bane of the long-suffering populace. There is
also a climate of constraint - marked by an absence of basic rights and
freedoms, although the powers-that-be would like us to believe otherwise.

      The obvious questions would be: Is this the Zimbabwe that the heroes,
dead and living, would be proud of? Have we as a nation accepted the
mystique of the failure of African governments?

      Hardly, because for the ordinary man in the street, nothing could be
further from the truth. Even though they know that the situation does not
lend itself to a quick fix, Zimbabweans, who bore the brunt of the war of
liberation upon which the independence we will be celebrating on Sunday was
founded, yearn for a better Zimbabwe. Grappling with probably their worst
economic and social hardships, they are hoping for deeper rapprochement with
the international community to help the country wriggle out of these awkward
scrapes. Unlike the politicians, they are sincere enough to acknowledge that
no country is an island. They want to build a Zimbabwe that, in the eyes of
the international community, is a politically stable and economically
reliable nation.

      If only the leadership could be responsible and reasonable enough to
listen to the voice of reason and act in accordance with the influence of
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      What's the legal protection for innocent depositors?

      4/16/2004 1:24:51 AM (GMT +2)

      Several financial institutions have been proved by the recently
announced monetary policy to have been operating on the wrong side of the

      They were allegedly involved in illicit subterranean dealings.

      The same institutions were also affected by gross mismanagement,
misappropriation of funds through insider dealings and selfish allocations
of benefits and allowances to directors.

      This article seeks to analyse the laws available to deal with truant
directors. It also seeks to highlight legal remedies available to
shareholders and depositors alike who incur patrimonial loss as a result of
negligent financial dealings by company directors.

      According to law, once a company has duly been registered, it assumes
a different persona from the natural individuals who incorporate it. It is
held to be a judicial persona and, essentially, the law allows it to create
rights and incur obligations like a natural person would do.

      Thus, it can enter into a contract to borrow money, to buy movable and
immovable property and to employ people to assist in its operations.

      However, it can be noticed from the above that a company, being an
invisible entity, has no brains of its own. It can only operate and sustain
itself through natural persons appointed for that purpose.

      Thus, shareholders appoint directors and give them the mandate to
formulate informed business policies that must bring about the best returns
on their investments.

      Directors, therefore, are held to be the brain of a company. They
think for it, design business strategies and ensure prudent use of
shareholder funds.

      Accordingly, the common law has developed strict rules governing the
conduct of directors. It is settled law that directors owe a fiduciary duty
to the company and its shareholders. This is a duty of utmost good faith,
and such a duty demands that directors conduct themselves in a manner that
brings financial benefit to the company and its shareholders.

      It is a breach of this duty to, for example, enter into undisclosed
contracts with the company. It is also a requirement of this duty to declare
all the profits made.

      This rule also generally restricts companies from giving loans to
their directors. Section 177 of the Companies Act Chapter 24:03 (the Act)
has strengthened this old common law requirement.

      There is also a duty of care and skill owed to the company by its
directors. This fundamental duty dictates that in whatever they do for the
company, directors or one of them must exhibit maximum care to limit
potential loss.

      Directors must also manifest a certain minimum level of skill of a
reasonable, prudent person in their position.

      It is a blatant breach of this duty for a director to unwittingly go
on a borrowing spree when the company's resources cannot service the same
loans. Besides bringing a potential liquidation of the company, this
imprudent act will erode potential dividends due to shareholders.

      It is also grossly unwise and a clear case of negligence for directors
to offer themselves huge loans at very low interest rates, and have such
loans to be paid at an undetermined future date.

      This common practice among the selfish directors of indigenous-owned
banks has facilitated the illiquid state of these institutions.

      Due regard to rules of good corporate governance was cast out of the
window. Instead, company directors in these institutions, in clear breach of
legal rules, resorted to unbridled selfishness and outright
misappropriation, to the detriment of companies and their shareholders.

      The Companies Act is the main body of law governing company practice
in Zimbabwe. There are also other applicable laws, such as the Reserve Bank
Act, which bestows power on the Reserve Bank to monitor the performance of
banks and other related financial institutions.

      Section 343 of the Act penalises directors who give false statements
about their companies. Section 343 also specifically penalises "any person",
and this includes a director who falsifies information in books.

      A violation of any of these sections can invite a fine and an
imprisonment of up to two years or both the fine and imprisonment.

      It is common cause that several financial institutions in the past
flighted positive annual financial returns that were doctored. These were
obviously misleading, as was proved by the immediate collapse of the same
banks soon after corrective measures to bring sanity to the financial sector
was announced by the Reserve Bank.

      The above provisions restrict complainants to the shareholders, the
Registrar of Companies and the state.

      In the event that a director of a company has given falsehoods
regarding the financial position of the company, and a prosecution ensues,
the fine awarded as a penalty will go to the state and not the person
induced to invest as a result of the misrepresentation in annual returns.

      An investor who suffers loss as a result of falsehoods has a remedy in
civil law under the law of delict. He or she will have to institute an
action to sue the director or auditor who caused the publication of the
misleading statements.

      While such an individual can also sue the company, such a course of
action is hindered by the often cruel discovery that the company will be
under judicial management or liquidation.

      Unfortunately, the law does not permit individuals under
sequestration, or companies under judicial management or liquidation, to be
sued. Once a state of illiqudity has been declared, it effectively suspends
all current or future litigation during the winding up process or judicial
management, whatever the case maybe.

      This obviously causes undue hardship and an injustice in scenarios
where not enough assets can be realised to pay the company's creditors.

      According to the South Africa case of Mclelland v Hullett and others
decided in 1992, a shareholder who suffers damages as a result of truant or
careless directors can personally sue those directors to recover his losses.
The position is the same in our country.

      In the past, such a possibility was remote because only a company
could have capacity and the legal rights to sue its directors.

      Consequently, a shareholder with any of the collapsed financial
institutions has a right at law to claim against the corrupt directors who
plundered his investments.

      In order for such a claim to be successful, there are a few legal
requirements that such a litigant will have to prove. The damages claimed
must be capable of being quantified. More importantly, he must prove that
the director:

      lshould have foreseen the possibility that the shareholder might be

      lshould have taken steps to guard against the harm but he failed to do
so; and

      labove all this, it must be proved that the directors owed the
shareholder a legal duty to protect his investments and that the loss was
not what is called a "loss of a pure economic nature".

      When attempting to reach a decision favourable to the shareholder, the
court will also consider whether the number of potential plaintiffs would be

      It is the practice of the courts to guard against opening "floodgates"
of litigation by allowing indeterminable plaintiffs to sue a single
defendant, or director in this instance. This is a rule governed by public

      There is prima facie proof that most, if not all, directors in the
collapsed institutions breached a duty of care owed to their companies and

      Some bought countless immovable properties, fleets of expensive luxury
cars, indulged in speculative dealings and, with full knowledge, violated
exchange control regulations to their benefit and to the detriment of their
companies and shareholders.

      Except for those who have been stripped of their ill-acquired wealth,
a lot are ready for the taking, by way of litigation, because of the vast
empires of wealth they have created.

      While it is apparent that shareholders in financial institutions have
remedies against their directors, the same cannot be said of depositors.

      It is suggested that a special fund be created under the auspices of
the Reserve Bank to cater for the interests of innocent depositors who incur
financial loss as a result of mismanaged financial institutions.

      Currently, in the event of a liquidation, and the curator not having
realised enough assets to pay creditors, a majority of depositors stand to
lose out.

       .. Vote Muza is a legal practitioner with Gutu and Chikowero law
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      Industry players meet to deflate ballooning crime rate

      Staff Reporter
      4/16/2004 1:33:54 AM (GMT +2)

      PLAYERS in the insurance industry, grappling with the rising cost of
claims, will meet in Harare next month to work out strategies to save the
sector from mounting operational problems.

      The Insurance Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ) said this week it was
convening a stakeholders' conference to fight crime, which has cost the
industry billions of dollars.

      Grace Muradzikwa, a member of the council's public relations
sub-committee, said a realisation that there was lack of a coordinated
approach towards fighting crime had prompted ICZ to open dialogue among
interested industry players.

      "Although the main thrust of the conference will be on traditional
crimes affecting the insurance industry such as motor vehicle and property
theft, other forms of crime will also be looked at," she said.

      Muradzikwa, who is the managing director of Nicoz/Diamond, said ICZ
would seek support from the private sector and public sector organisations
also affected by the increased crime rate.

      "Possible ways of addressing the major constraints currently hampering
the effectiveness of the law enforcement agencies locally and abroad will
also be probed.

      "The campaign aims to increase awareness regarding the most common
crimes and the role that members of the public can play to assist the law
enforcement agencies in curbing crime," she said.

      By the end of December 2003, Zimbabwe had 1051 reported cases of car
thefts, with Harare hitting a record of 633, followed by Bulawayo with 226

      Manicaland recorded 25, Mashonaland 22, Mashonaland East 32,
Mashonaland West 43, Masvingo 14, Matabeleland North two, Matabeleland South
20 and the Midlands province 27.
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      Land reform and the problem of farm labour

      4/16/2004 1:14:03 AM (GMT +2)

      The land reform has become quite topical in both political and policy

      The debate has been on-going for some time, to the extent that there
seems to be an inherent convergence of minds regarding its irreversibility.

      If one assumes that land reform, be it fast-track or otherwise, can no
longer be reversed, the next issue that needs serious attention is how to
maximise gains out of it.

      Going around the country in the former white commercial farms, anybody
who is truly a patriotic Zimbabwean cannot help but bleed from within.


      Having taken a keen interest in the seemingly high failure rate of our
"new" farmers, I wish to bring to light and spark debate on one of the major
constraints facing these farmers - labour.

      From casual observations, it looks like most of the resettled farmers
are faced with a challenge of "shortage of labour", among others. There are
other factors - like lack of skills and experience to run a commercial
concern, shortage of equipment and inputs, and shortage of working capital
to fund such inputs as labour and other hired factors of production.

      In the business of farming, timing is very critical. While
availability of fertiliser is a necessary condition to ensure high yields,
it is not a sufficient condition. The fertiliser must be the right type,
applied at the right time in the right amounts.

      The same is true with weeding. It has to be done on time, otherwise
the crop will be a complete write-off, even having satisfied all other

      A lot of white commercial farmers left with their machinery and most
of the new owners still depend on draught power, which is inappropriate for
the scale of production under commercial farming. Where 10 tractors used to
operate, only one, if any, is being used.

      What this means is that the whole farming exercise becomes more
labour-intensive. Labour-intensive operations require that cheap, efficient
labour be readily available to the farmer.

      Most of the new farmers are not using herbicides, which are
appropriate where there is a high hectarage under crops. But why has labour
all of sudden become a problem?

      Part of the problem is the issue of pricing, while the other has to do
with alternative survival strategies.

      Wages as price of labour

      On pricing, labour must be compensated at a level that will induce
willingness to work. This becomes a challenge in a hyperinflationary

      While other input costs have been keeping pace with inflation, wages
for farm labourers have not been as responsive. Most of our new farmers,
either out of lack of capacity to pay or because of mere greed that had
gripped the economy, have not been fair with their workers.

      Some prominent businesspersons allocated land under the A2 scheme have
reportedly performed badly this season as workers shun them for
better-paying employers. In this respect, our farmers are encouraged to
invest in their workers as a factor of production if they expect a good

      Farm labourers and makorokoza

      Recent developments in the economy have seen the emergence of two big
threats to the availability of farm labour - that is, gold panning
(kukorokoza) and donor aid.

      The flourishing parallel market for gold and foreign currency had
generated an unusual interest in gold panning, with new deposits being
discovered and the landscape being damaged more than ever before.

      Most of the youths who would be available as farm labourers opted for
gold panning, whose returns far outpaced those from the farms. In some
areas, especially those with huge deposits of gold, a farmer, though willing
to pay an economic wage, could hardly attract any labour.

      Donor aid and farm labour

      The other problem, which some have categorised as sabotage, related to
the effect of donor aid - food aid in particular.

      The period of the fast-track land reform programme coincided with
successive droughts which threatened life itself in some areas. The donor
community responded by providing aid in the form of basic foodstuffs.

      Whether this was overdone or done with other motives is for the reader
to judge. What is very clear is that in some areas people were supplied with
mealie-meal, beans, porridge and cooking oil, foodstuffs which previously
were supplied by some commercial farmers to incentivise their workers.

      When one has access to such basics to survival without working, it is
not surprising if such a person chooses to withdraw his or her services from
the farmer.

      This problem appears to be common across all provinces, unlike gold
panning, which is confined to certain areas with a good concentration of the

      The challenge

      While these two challenges cannot be avoided altogether, a way to
manage them is to rely on a good complement of permanent workers.
Observations suggest that permanent workers are less responsive to other
alternatives to survival and that those who relied on casual labourers
tended to suffer most.

      All the key stakeholders should thus give a deep thought to these
challenges with a view to making our farms productive once again. To pretend
that all is well on the farms will be to fool ourselves.

      The sooner we respond to this and other challenges facing the
"backbone" of our economy, the earlier we get the economy out of the
wheelchair, and the better for the citizens of this nation.

      Moses Chundu is group economist for Century Holdings and a member of
the Zimbabwe Economics Society.

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      We've a great deal to learn from our neighbours

      4/16/2004 1:24:03 AM (GMT +2)

      IT has been a tale of two elections. South Africa's issues-driven and
fairly contested general elections versus Zimbabwe's one-sided and
violence-riddled Zengeza by-election.

      Although Zimbabwe has a 14-year head start over South Africa in the
majority rule stakes, the contrast in the way these polls were conducted
shows we have a great deal to learn from our southern neighbours.

      Politics may be a dirty game most of the time but I must confess I
have found it engrossing, educative and entertaining in the build-up to the
South African elections, mainly because the candidates played by the rules.
They sweated it out on the campaign trail in an effort to engage and win

      In contrast, the disproportionate tumult and blatant unfairness
characterising our by-election put me off completely. After what was seen in
Zengeza, the forthcoming Lupane by-election and next year's nationwide
parliamentary elections are a depressing and daunting prospect. How high
will the death toll be? You may accuse me of being a prophet of doom, but I
am being brutally realistic.

      About a month ago as campaigning in South Africa gathered momentum, a
headline in a Sunday newspaper caught my eye: "Election marred by foot in
mouth". It was over a story about the misfortunes of the opposition
Democratic Alliance candidate for premier in the Western Cape, Theunis
Botha. He had got himself into a tight spot by stating during a television
debate that his party was only for the white elite. The ensuing storm of
protest obliged Botha to dig himself out of his self-created "Tower of
Babel" by explaining himself. In the event, he resorted to the favourite
alibi of politicians everywhere by claiming he had been quoted out of

      The story left me green with envy. First, here was an opposition
candidate having access to the press to put his views forward and to defend
his position once a misunderstanding arose. How many opposition politicians
have access to Zimbabwe's state-controlled media?

      Secondly, I was envious of the conducive political atmosphere in South
Africa. I wished speaking out of turn by candidates was the category of
problem we had to contend with during our local polls. But I knew that the
then pending Zengeza by-election would be marred by incidents far more
serious than slips of the tongue. I dreaded the fact that local newspaper
headlines were more likely to feature intimidation, arrests, violence and
even death as some of the "highlights" of the election. As it turned out,
all my worst fears came to pass.

      The harassment, intimidation, violence, arrests and loss of life that
occurred in Zengeza mean that the people of that tiny constituency paid a
heavier price for the right to vote than the whole of South Africa's
population of more than 40 million. All this is attributable to a seriously
flawed electoral system which is contrary to all the accepted objectives of
an election in a democracy.

      "What I want," Abraham Lincoln once said, "is to get done what the
people desire to have done and the question for me is how to find that out

      Well, elections are a pretty accurate gauge by which politicians can
keep their fingers on the pulse of the people. In a sense, free and fair
elections in which all candidates get a chance to engage the electorate in a
dialogue and submit to scrutiny and criticism of their ideas is a way of
taking government and politics to the people. It is something Zimbabwean
voters have been deprived of. I, for example, would be hard put to recall
any election campaign during which legislators who have been in our
parliament since 1980 debated issues, said memorable things and genuinely
interacted with their constituents. It seems that being re-elected is such a
foregone conclusion they cannot be bothered to lift a finger.

      But South Africa does things differently, as an incident involving the
top gun himself, President Thabo Mbeki, has demonstrated. When Mbeki got
entangled in a semantic minefield over a remark on the campaign trail that
he would beat up his sister if she fell in love with the leader of an
opposition party, various constituents did not hesitate to take him to task
for this chauvinistic and intolerant outburst. While, as in Zimbabwe, the
arrogant reaction would have been to say take it or leave it, Mbeki cared
enough about what the people thought to respond to the outcry.

      Knowing that the ANC had a commanding lead in the opinion polls, he
could have adopted the attitude that those who did not like what he had said
could go to hell.

      "DA BOPS TO AFROPOP" said a headline over a story about DA leader Tony
Leone toyi-toying at a rally in Soweto. The report said the opposition party
had made winning black votes a key election objective.

      Likewise, another headline, 'MBEKI'S EXTREME MAKEOVER" was over a
story detailing how the normally aloof South African leader had climbed down
from his intellectual ivory tower to interact with the people on the
campaign trial. He did his best to woo voters in traditionally white
constituencies. During many of these encounters he was confronted,
challenged and criticised over various issues but he took it all with good
humour. Can that ever happen in Zimbabwe?

      Can anyone tell me why it is that in this country it is the nation
that has to endure the ordeal of witnessing violence, harassment, arrests,
killings and abductions whenever an election is held?

      I am not normally an admirer of Mbeki but as far as this current
election is concerned, he has done everything expected of a head of state to
ensure a safe, free and fair election. Last weekend, just days before the
polls, he appealed for peace and urged South Africans to go to the polls
"without fear of being killed or having their homes burnt down." Will we
ever hear such re-assuring words in Zimbabwe?
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Sunday Times (SA)

Eskom throws Harare a power lifeline

Friday April 16, 2004 07:06 - (SA)

By Jonathan Katzenellenbogen and Dumisani Muleya

The deal is the result of months of talks and stipulates a strict repayment
schedule for the about $20m Zimbabwe owes Eskom, as well forward cash
payments for power. Zimbabwe imports about 35% of its power needs, mostly
from SA, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Citing client confidentiality, Eskom has declined to give the amount by
which Zimbabwe is in payment arrears, but the Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe's
weekly business newspaper, quotes a Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Zesa) spokesman as saying that it is paying monthly payments of $1,5m to
reduce its arrears owed to a number of regional utilities.

In mid-January this year, Zesa had debts to Eskom of $19,4m, owed HCB of
Mozambique $29,6 m, EDM of Mozambique $8m, Zesco of Zambia $2,4m and Sneil
of the Congo $1,3m. In addition, it owes other creditors $7,4m.

These debts are for unpaid electricity, spare parts, machinery and
transmission equipment.

A long-term contract between Eskom and Zesa ended at the end of last year,
but was extended by three months while negotiations took place.

Apart from the stipulation of upfront payment for electricity, the agreement
does not contain a fixed minimum amount of electricity for which Zimbabwe
must pay.

The old agreement stipulated 150MW an hour, but the new one permits Zimbabwe
to buy whatever power it requires subject to continued debt service. This
gives the Zimbabwean authorities leeway to purchase what they can afford and
better reflects reduced demand in the contracting economy.

According to the Financial Gazette, Eskom, HCB and Snel were demanding that
Zesa repay debts fully before any new deal could be signed, but Zimbabwe was
in the end able to negotiate a more favourable deal.

Zimbabwe's electricity generation has been impaired by inadequate coal
supplies to Hwange power station, resulting in the power station generating
only 480MW at a time when imports have fallen to 60% of former levels.

According to the Zimbabwe Power Company, Zimbabwe's peak electricity demand
is projected to have increased to more than 2600MW this year from 2 000MW
last year. Zesa requires $17m every month to meet electricity import
obligations, service debts and buy spares for refurbishment.

To help Zesa raise the foreign currency, the utility's customers that export
are now being billed in hard currency, a development that has generated
angry responses from industry, according to the Financial Gazette.

Business Day
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The Star

      Now it's time to stand and deliver
      April 16, 2004

      By Khathu Mamaila and Jovial Rantao

      Those who have warned against the dominance of the ANC, effectively
calling for the building of a strong and united opposition under the
Democratic Alliance, have used Zimbabwe as an example of how an all-powerful
      ruling party can go astray.

      They have even coined the term "Zanufication" of a country, implying
the mismanagement of the economy and the country, just as Zanu PF spoilt the
jewel that was Zimbabwe before the invasion of white-owned farms in 2000.

      In this country, the DA fashioned itself as the only party that could
reduce the ANC's power and thus played a watchdog role. The party sought to
project the image of two bulls - the ANC and the DA - in the kraal. The
others were calves that could only submit themselves to either of the two.

      This campaign has worked for the DA. It has generally increased its
support throughout the country. However, the ANC is still by far the most
popular party and the final official results will confirm this.

      The growth of the DA is almost directly proportional to the decline of
the New National Party. It seems the NNP strategy to embrace the ANC -
purportedly to work for national reconciliation and unity of all South
Africans - has backfired. Many of its traditional supporters seem to have
gravitated towards the DA.

      The new kid on the block, Patricia de Lille's Independent Democrats,
has done relatively well for a party formed on the eve of the election.

      But overall, the ANC is still the undisputed preferred choice of the
people. As a result, President Thabo Mbeki will retain his position, for his
last lap, as CEO of South Africa Inc.

      It's a foregone conclusion that on April 23, when the new parliament
meets to elect a president, Mbeki will be the only name put forward. And so
will begin the last part of his journey as president.

      He will want to perfect his record so when he finally steps down he
leaves the highest office in the land in blazing glory.
      Thus the next five years provide Mbeki with a unique opportunity not
only to make good the promises he and the ANC made to millions of South
Africans, but also to right the wrongs of the past five years.

      Like a Formula One driver, when he takes the chequered flag in 2009
Mbeki should be able - in true grand prix style- to punch the air and look
back with pride at his legacy.
      However, he can only do so if he makes the right moves now.

      The first move would be to assemble a dream team whose duty it would
be to deliver the mandate given to Mbeki and the ANC by the millions who
voted for them.

      By all accounts, South Africa can expect massive changes to the Mbeki
cabinet - there are ministers who have served for 10 years and have
indicated they would like to do other things.

      These include Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Valli Moosa
and Justice Minister Penuell Maduna. There is also a vacancy created by the
death of Transport Minister Dullah Omar.

      The new cabinet will have to deliver on the ANC manifesto which had
jobs, HIV/Aids, social services and fighting poverty as its priorities.

      Already there is huge anxiety in cabinet circles. In the last three
months all ministers were asked by the president to wrap up their work for
the past five years and prepare the office for a new minister.

      This tactic has unsettled even better-performing ministers who know
that, based on their track record, they should be in the next cabinet.

      But they are anxious because Mbeki is not predictable. His style of
leadership is very unorthodox. The appointment five years ago of Ndaweni
Mahlangu as premier of Mpumalanga is proof of that.

      Skills and expertise are the obvious attributes Mbeki will look for.
He will then have to balance that with other interests, such as maintaining
a balance with alliance partners Cosatu and the SA Communist Party, as well
as political allies such as the New National Party.

      Mbeki has told the media that during his election campaign he was
exposed to the severe poverty that many, including whites, were facing.

      He indicated poverty would require urgent attention and the local
government would have to be at the centre of delivery of social services.

      Given the lack of capacity at local government, Mbeki might deploy
some top guns at this level of government to improve delivery of service.

      The election campaign saw the re-making of Mbeki as "the man of the
people". He was seen interacting with ordinary people. This direct
interaction enabled him to understand better the struggles ordinary people
were facing.

      This was made possible because the ANC campaign had fewer mass rallies
but more direct contact with the masses.

      Mbeki left people with a sense that they had received some personal
touch from the ANC and, in particular, the president.

      A stroke of brilliance in the ANC campaign was the decision for Mbeki
to go into areas not traditionally ANC.

      He ventured into poor white areas-- traditionally the home of
supporters of the Freedom Front Plus - and instead of the
      anticipated cold shoulder, Mbeki was received with some warmth.

      This strategic move debunked the myth that most of South Africa's
traditionally white voting areas were no-go areas for the ANC.

      Now that the ANC has won in a free and fair election, the opposition
parties will have to play their role. If they do, as fragmented as they are,
there is no reason to fear the Zanufication of South Africa.
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The Herald

Outside forces behind ZCU rebels

Acting Sports Editor
THE Zimbabwe Cricket Union believes that there are some outside forces
behind the current problems between the union and a group of 13 contracted
white players who have made themselves unavailable for the one-day series
against Sri Lanka.

Former captain Heath Streak, Stuart Carlisle, Grant Flower, Craig Wishart,
Andy Blignaut, Ray Price, Gary Brent, Sean Ervine, Travis Friend, Barney
Rogers, Trevor Gripper, Richard Sims and Neil Ferreira are said to have
indicated to ZCU managing director Vince Hogg that they will not be
available for the squad.

Instead they have presented the ZCU with a new set of demands and yesterday
a new-look selection panel had to name a 14-member provisional squad of 11
blacks, two whites and an Indian for the first match at Queens on April 20.
The new panel consists of Steven Mangongo (convenor), Macsood Ebrahim,
Walter Chawaguta and former national team off-spinner Richard Herbert

However, the ZCU last night ordered the rebel players to report for training
today or face sanctions and possible expulsion from Zimbabwe cricket.

ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka said yesterday the outside forces are against
the racial integration programme being undertaken by the union to try and
spread the game, previously exclusive to the white community, to every

"About eight weeks ago we gathered from a reliable source that there is a
small group of people that has devised a strategy, in their own words, "to
destroy Zimbabwean cricket this year." The group includes parents with a
vicarious interest on behalf of their sons who are contracted or are future
players. I alerted the managing director and also a respected former
international cricketer/commentator.

"The (ZCU) board hopes that this group is not exerting pressure at this time
when our genuine and bona fide efforts to resolve issues and move forward
appear to be scuppered by forces that are determined to upstage our policy
of inclusivity in line with our mission statement which reads:

"To actively promote, develop and administer the game of cricket for the
benefit of all Zimbabweans without discrimination of any kind and to instill
and sustain national pride in Zimbabwean cricket by being a successful
performer in the sports and entertainment industry and our hitherto
successful measurers aimed at integration".

"The union stands by that programme which seeks to achieve inclusivity in
Zimbabwean cricket," said Chingoka in a statement yesterday.

It is believed that the group linked to the current problems is made up of
disgruntled hardcore Rhodesians, who were expecting the likes of world
champions Australia and England to boycott their tours to Zimbabwe this
year. Now that the two countries have confirmed the tours, the group is now
working on destabilising the sport from within and, in the process, force
the cancellation of such tours and denying ZCU the much-needed revenue to
finance development programmes.

The clandestine group, which is understood to regularly meet at Royal Harare
Golf Club in the capital, is believed to be receiving support from farmers
who lost farms under the Governments land reform programme and some
administrators from provincial cricket associations like Masvingo,
Matabeleland Country District, Manicaland and Midlands.

Other meetings are being held at the members homes and offices.

The provincial administrators are said to be strongly against the racial
integration programme and it is interesting to note that of the rebel
players, Wishart, Price, Ervine and Friend are Midlands players while Brent,
Rogers, Gripper, Sims and Ferreira are Manicaland players.

Matabeleland Country Districts are slowly becoming irrelevant while
virtually nothing has been done to promote the game in Masvingo as the main
beneficiaries are likely to be predominantly black.

The Rhodies are also fighting against the advancement of black cricketers
given that the sport has become a multi-million dollar industry over the
past years. Senior players, most of whom are white, work an average of three
hours a day, except during matches, and earn more than chief executive
officers of top companies in the country who work and average of nine hours
a day.

Although the ZCU refused to reveal figures, citing the confidentiality
clause in their contracts with players, it is reliably understood that
Streak has earned around $285 million since the start of the season in
September last year, about $40 million a month.

The opponents of racial integration are not happy to have such huge salaries
earned by the likes of new captain Tatenda Taibu and they are making every
efforts to influence major sponsors of the ZCU to withdraw funding.

The ZCU had on Wednesday night acceded to the demands by the rebel players
to change the composition of the selection panel and also reduce it to four
members by dropping former convenor Ali Shah, coach Geoff Marsh and John
Brent. Mangongo took over from Shah while Ebrahim was the only other
selector to be retained while Kaschula and Mbangwa, a favourite of the
rebels, were brought in.

Mbangwa however, declined the appointment saying that he had not been
approached before the announcement was made and the ZCU had to bring in
national Under-19 and Matabeleland coach Walter Chawaguta.

But the changes, despite the fact that the ZCU is not obliged to take orders
from employees with regards appointments, the rebels are understood to have
shifted goalposts again making it difficult for an amicable settlement.

Now the 13 players, of which only about six will have their absence felt,
face the chop if they fail to report for training this morning as the ZCU
tries to stamp its authority and face the next challenges.

"The 13-players who have indicated that they will not be available for
selection have not been considered for this match. They have been called
upon to report for practice at 10 oclock tomorrow morning (today), failing
which action will be taken against them in terms of their contract.

"If any of these players comply with this requirement, they will be
considered for selection for future tours," said the ZCU.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan cricket squad is expected in the country today to
start preparations for the five-match one-day series, which starts in
Bulawayo on Tuesday.

Zim squad for first Nissan ODI

Tatenda Taibu (captain), Dion Ebrahim, Vusi Sibanda, Elton Chigumbura,
Stuart Matsikenyeri, Alester Maregwede, Mluleki Nkala, Waddington Mwayenga,
Brendon Taylor, Douglas Hondo, Prosper Utseya, Tawanda Mpariwa, Edward
Rainsford, Tinashe Panyangara.
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The Herald

Milk shortage due to operational problems: DZL

THE milk shortage currently being experienced in the country is due to
operational problems being faced by dairy farmers, Dairibord Zimbabwe
Limited said on Wednesday.

The company's communications manager, Mrs Ruvimbo Mukuruva said that dairy
farmers continued to face various problems even though the company had put
in place some schemes to help dairy producers.

"Milk producers continue to face various challenges related to drought, the
cost and shortages of critical inputs such as stock feeds which remain a
major cause for concern," said Mrs Mukuruva.

She said the challenges facing dairy farmers were in turn affecting
Dairibord's operations.

Mrs Mukuruva said the dairy company had embarked on programmes to help dairy
farmers improve efficiency at farm level.

These would include imparting value-adding information to farmers on issues
such as best practices in dairy farming under local conditions, she said.

Dairibord was also running two schemes under which it was helping farmers
with funds and infrastructural development.

The first one is the Producer Finance Scheme (PFS) launched in 2002 whereby
the company helps farmers with infrastructural development and procurement
of critical inputs such as stock feeds.

The initiative has so far benefited 65 farmers, of which 35 are new farmers.

The second is the $2 billion Special Purpose Vehicle initiative launched in
March 2003 for producers who failed to access loans in the initial scheme.
About 40 applications are being processed.

Milk has been in short supply in the country over the past two weeks. - New
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The Herald

Zim, Botswana immigration officials to meet

Herald Reporter
Zimbabwean and Botswana senior immigration officials will meet next month to
discuss the alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana.

The meeting comes in the wake of numerous reports of ill-treatment of
Zimbabweans at the hands of Botswana police, army, traditional chiefs and
ordinary citizens in that country.

Chief immigration officer Mr Elasto Mugwadi said yesterday the alleged
ill-treatment of Zimbabweans will top the agenda of the meeting as there was
no provision in international laws that permitted corporal punishment or
ill-treatment of immigrants.

"We do not apply corporal punishments to some illegal immigrants here who
sometimes include Botswana nationals simply because we conduct our things
professionally and lawfully," Mr Mugwadi said.

He said many Botswana students learn in Zimbabwe and they were not
ill-treated in the country.

"We appreciate they might not have equally quality education facilities than
ours and in our spirit of brotherhood we do not chase, ill-treat them or
blame their students for preferring to learn here. We accommodate them and
let them benefit from our education system," he said.

Some Zimbabweans who are either caught on the wrong side of the Botswana
laws or some shoppers with proper documents are arrested and taken to
traditional leaders where they are allegedly lashed naked before they are

Some Tswanas who employ Zimbabweans allegedly call police whenever the
Zimbabweans, who they regard as cheap labour, ask for their salaries.

They are dragged to the traditional chiefs without their salaries and lashed
with whips.

"The reports are frightening and against the principles of international
justice. We do not know if it is proper and lawful in Botswana for chiefs to
dehumanise foreign nationals.

"We have never heard of such laws anywhere before. We are hopeful that this
issue will be addressed when we meet with our Botswana counterparts," Mr
Mugwadi said.

He, however, said the Government did not encourage Zimbabweans to flout
immigration laws of any country and urged cross border traders to respect
Botswana laws and adhere to conditions of their permits.

Mr Mugwadi said Botswana immigration officials have indicated the need to
open two new border posts at Mashambe and Mmamabaka on the southern side of

"The border posts are meant to facilitate social visits by local communities
on both the Zimbabwean and Botswana sides who live close to each other but
are only separated by the border."

Zimbabweans from Plumtree with relatives about 10 kilometres away on the
Botswana side travelled more than 150 km to the border to get passes.

The ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana has irked Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri who on Tuesday described it as degrading and a blatant
human rights abuse.

Cde Chihuri said he had expressed his concern to his Botswana counterpart
and was told that flogging Zimbabweans in public was part of that country's
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The Herald

20 Asians arrested

By Tsitsi Matope
IMMIGRATION authorities this week arrested 14 Pakistanis and six Bangladesh
nationals suspected to have been brought into the country illegally by
suspected human trafficker - Mahommed Durrani.

Duranni, a Pakistan national, is on the run following the arrest and
subsequent deportation of Iqbal Kabir of Bangladesh and Didarul Islam
Bhuiyan of Pakistan late last month.

The two had fake work and resident permits, which were facilitated by
Duranni with the help of two Zimbabweans, Herbert Mazvisiya and Derek
Masawi, who have since been arrested by police.

Immigration investigating officers yesterday said they had evidence that the
14 Pakistanis arrested in Harare and Bulawayo are linked to Duranni.

Senior Investigating officer, Mr Evans Siziba said the Pakistanis entered
the country as visitors but were found working while others had been
involved in various businesses since last year.

"They had no work permits but we discovered they were working in various
shops around Harare and Bulawayo," Mr Siziba said.

The Pakistanis, some of whom are implicated in hard drugs trafficking, were
also found in possession of professional certificates suspected to have been

The six Bangladeshi nationals were arrested in Beitbridge last week as they
tried to illegally enter into South Africa through undesignated areas.

They had no South African visas and had forged Zimbabwean stamps in their

Mr Siziba said it was not clear how the Bangladeshis had entered Zimbabwe
and what kind of activities they were involved in.

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The Herald

Land issue to top agenda of liberation parties

A TOP ruling Zanu-PF official has said land ownership will top the agenda of
a meeting of liberation political parties from the region, scheduled to take
place in Zimbabwe soon.

The party's external affairs secretary, Cde Didymus Mutasa, said the
meeting, the latest of a series regularly held to consult on a range of
issues, had been over-subscribed by delegates from most countries in
southern Africa, and African groups from the Diaspora.

"We are going to be looking at a number of issues, but land ownership and
economic emancipation will be the main topics," he said.

"It has been generally easy to gain political independence, but much more
difficult to achieve economic independence, and this is an area where
everyone wants to exchange notes," he added.

Most countries in southern Africa at independence inherited skewed land
ownership disparities between whites and blacks, in favour of the former,
which has led to the perpetual impoverishment of the latter.

Attempts to redress this amicably, through negotiations, have largely been
spurned by white landowners in the region, prompting Zimbabwe to forcibly
re-possess the land for resettlement since 2 000.

This sparked off an international outcry, led by former colonial power
Britain, but has generally been supported by its neighbours and the rest of
the Third World.

Cde Mutasa said the meeting of liberation parties, which spearheaded their
respective countries' struggles for independence, was yet another avenue for
Zimbabwe to garner and consolidate support for its land reforms.

"We will be taking the opportunity to explain to our colleagues what we have
done, and where we are now, and share our experiences with them," he said.

"Land is the basis upon which we are going to develop our countries, and
this is a shared vision of our countries. What we will be zeroing in on is
how this can be achieved," he added.

Already, Zimbabwe's land reforms, under which hundreds of thousands of
formerly landless blacks have been resettled, are being replicated in
Namibia, and are threatening to spread to South Africa.

Cde Mutasa said Angola, Namibia and Tanzania were among countries which had
already confirmed to take part in the meeting.

He said seven African groups from Britain had expressed interest to take
part in the meeting, two of which Zanu-PF had invited.

Other groups which had confirmed their participation were the Aborigines
from Australia, the December 12 Movement from the United States, and an
assortment of black organizations from the Caribbean, and China. - New
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The Herald

Arda starts operations at Kondozi Farm

From Mutare Bureau
THE Agricultural and Rural Development Authority has started operations at
Kondozi Farm in Odzi after the former owners of the property, who had
refused to vacate following its acquisition by the Government, made way for
the authority.

This week, most of the former Kondozi workers had already vacated the farm
while Arda employees had started operations.

Sources said the previous owners of the farm, the De Klerk family, were
ordered to leave the property last Friday, two days after the lapse of a
Government order to vacate the premises.

The sources said on the day in question, an Arda official informed the
employees, in an address, about the acquisition of the farm by the
Government. The official said the property had been taken over by Arda and
workers had the option of joining Arda on new contracts.

"All workers willing to join us can start today on new contracts. Those not
willing can just leave the farm. Arda will offer the workers the same salary
and wages as Kondozi used to pay them," the official said.

As of Tuesday this week, up to 140 workers had already assumed duties and
advertisements for more workers were on display at the farm.

Some of the former employees decided not to join Arda but not to leave,
hoping things would change.

Several said they would live in the open, saying they had nowhere to go and
demanded their pension from the De Klerks, who were reported to be still on
the premises pondering their future.

The latest development follows Government's announcement that there would be
no going back on the policy and legal decision to acquire Kondozi and
allocate it to Arda as part of the land reform programme.

Recent reports stated that Mr Edwin Moyo and some workers at the farm at one
time told a gathering that a joint venture that had purportedly been running
the farm would continue occupying and utilising it and that the joint
venture would not allow Arda there.

"The De Klerks have tried every way possible to keep on holding to this farm
and they have enlisted Mr (Edwin) Moyo, who now claims to own this farm. Mr
Moyo even came to me and said that if Kondozi Farm was acquired it means his
company would go under as the farm supplied most of the baby corn which they
export to Europe.

"Three weeks ago they even tried to force people to go and demonstrate at
Chief Marange so that the chief could also intervene on their behalf but
that failed," Mutare West Member of Parliament Cde Christopher Mushohwe told
a rally at Lorne School in Odzi recently.

Last week the Government said the decision to acquire the farm was
non-negotiable and that both the law and policy were very clear and would be
pursued vigorously by the State without fear or favour.

It warned that should anyone stand in the way of this position, all legal
and constitutional means available to the State would be used.

The Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the Office of the
President and Cabinet, Professor Jonathan Moyo, said Mr Moyo had no basis,
let alone right or authority, to instruct the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) to determine what Arda should do or shouldn't do.

This was after Mr Moyo had written to Zesa purportedly denying the power
utility permission to erect an electricity line for Arda at the farm.

Said Prof Moyo: "The people of Zimbabwe and the community in the area where
the farm is, are offended by individuals who set themselves up as above
everyone and everything else and become a law unto themselves.

"Action must and will be taken in the national interest to ensure Arda gets
on with the business of making that farm more productive."

The former owners of Kondozi Farm had turned Odzi into a political landmine
as the family tried by all means possible to fight the acquisition of the
farm by the Government.

It was also alleged that about 13 000 people from Kondozi Farm were ferried
by lorries and buses to Marange Business Centre to demonstrate against Cde
Mushohwe but the demonstration failed to take off.

Arda chief executive officer Dr Joseph Matowanyika said Arda had taken time
to move onto the farm against threats from farm workers that they would burn
their tractors if they moved onto the farm.

"After the harvest of the crop which is on the farm, Arda will move in," Dr
Matowanyika said.

In a related matter, law enforcement agents moved onto Charleswood Farm in
Chimanimani at the weekend and ordered defiant employees to leave.

The workers had vowed to defy Government's directive for them to vacate the

The farm used to belong to Chimanimani Member of Parliament Mr Roy Bennet
(MDC), who had since deserted the farm and the constituency opting for his
farm at Ruwa.
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