The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Mass action to go ahead, says Ncube

      4/7/2003 11:08:59 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      WELSHMAN Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, said yesterday the party
would go ahead with its mass action that would take any form - a stayaway,
mass demonstration, march or a boycott of Zanu PF businesses.

      He denied a report in The Standard yesterday which said some MDC top
officials had said they had abandoned plans for more stayaways as a means of
protest against President Mugabe and would now try the negotiating table.

      Yesterday Ncube said: "Following a report in today's edition of The
Standard which states that the MDC has abandoned the mass stayaway and other
forms of protest, we wish to state that the correct position is that all
forms of lawful democratic resistance designed to ensure that the people of
Zimbabwe regain their freedoms, human rights, peace and prosperity remain
firmly on the table. These include mass demonstrations, marches, stayaways
and boycotts."

      Ncube said the form, content and timing of such action were yet to be

      He said what had so far been determined was that whatever action was
to be taken would be lawful, peaceful and sustained. It would take the form
of all or a combination of some of the options stated.

      Ncube said: "The people of Zimbabwe need to remain focused and united,
knowing that the day is coming soon. Everyone of us will need to play their
part to ensure its success."
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Daily News

      Shortage of oral health equipment hits Bulawayo

      4/7/2003 11:04:04 PM (GMT +2)

      From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

      THE Bulawayo City Council is facing a chronic shortage of oral health
equipment such as dental cartridges due to the foreign currency crisis.

      Pelandaba, Nkulumane and Emakhandeni clinics are the only institutions
in the city which are providing dental services.

      At a recent council meeting, there were suggestions that two of the
clinics be temporarily closed, leaving only Pelandaba to operate.

      Rita Dlodlo, the director of health services, said this move would
enable council to fully utilise the one dental therapist and two exodontists
who worked at the three clinics.

      "We are having problems with our suppliers Geddes and National
Pharmacy, who, due to the shortage of foreign currency, are failing to
provide us with the equipment and materials that we need. This has strained
our services but there is little that we can do," said Dlodlo.

      She said that the ever-escalating costs of dental services due to the
shortages had led to a decrease in the number of patients attending the
dental units.

      In 2001, 13 000 people sought dental services, while only 6 000 were
recorded in 2002.
      However, councillor Mohammed Esat, said the move would further reduce
the number of dental patients as those needing the services would fail to do
so due to transport problems.

      "There is already a decline in dental patients because of the
escalating dental costs and centralising the service to one clinic would
worsen the trend," said Esat.

      The council resolved that the three clinics be allowed to continue
operating on a rotational basis.
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Daily News

      MDC activists granted bail

      4/7/2003 11:04:31 PM (GMT +2)

      From Zerubabel Mudzingwa in Gweru

      KADOMA Central Member of Parliament (MDC), Austin Mupandawana and 36
party supporters arrested for allegedly destroying property worth nearly $12
million during last month's two-day mass action, were granted $10 000 bail
each last Friday when they appeared before magistrate Claudius Chimanga.

      Initially, the court had denied them bail and remanded them in custody
to Wednesday arguing that the accused might interfere with police

      The 37 men, represented by Christian Mafirakureva, were ordered to
report twice a week at the Kadoma offices of the Criminal Investigations
Department and stay at their given addresses until the matter has been

      Apart from the reporting conditions, Mupandawana was ordered to
surrender his travel documents to the clerk of court and refrain from public

      The State alleged that on 18 March, Mupandawana and a group of his
party supporters petrol-bombed and destroyed property worth $11 743 593 as
part of the opposition party's campaign against the government's misrule.

      They allegedly targeted properties owned by suspected Zanu PF
supporters in attacks that were allegedly timed to coincide with the
MDC-organised two-day mass action.

      Meanwhile, 10 more MDC supporters were arrested in the town on Friday
over the same charges. They are expected to appear in court soon.
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Daily News

      Outrage after police attack on disabled

      4/7/2003 11:06:54 PM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      INCREASING police brutality against innocent citizens outraged many
people in Bulawayo last Wednesday when police allegedly beat up disabled
people queuing for sugar at a supermarket.

      A manager at the supermarket, who spoke on condition of anonymity for
fear of reprisals, on Friday confirmed the incident but would not give more

      "I saw them (the disabled) fighting with the police but I wouldn't
know how it all started," he said.

      But the police on Friday refused to comment and referred all questions
to Wayne Bvudzijena who has steadfastly refused to talk to this paper.

      About 50 disabled people, most of them elderly, were at City Centre
Supermarket in a queue of their own, separate from the able-bodied.

      A group of police officers pounced on them and ordered them to

      When the crowd resisted, the police allegedly started pounding them
with batons before bundling some of them into their vehicle to Central
Police Station.

      Five of the disabled were severely injured and were treated at Mpilo
Central Hospital and discharged on the same day.

      One victim, Mphitizeli Nyathi, who sustained a deep cut on the head,
said it was disturbing that the police had become "perpetrators of violence"
instead of protecting the public.

      He said: "The police are very ruthless and selfish. They came and
ordered us to disperse,
      saying disabled people were "a problem".

      "When we refused to disperse they beat us up and loaded all the sugar
from the supermarket onto their vehicle."

      Nyathi said he was detained at the Central Police Station for about
five hours and was released without being charged.

      Wheelchair-bound Ntombazana Sibanda sustained a deep cut above the

      She said the police should respect the rights of the disabled and
"stop behaving like animals". She described their action as "rather inhuman
and barbaric".

      A blind victim, Hamilton Tsikidze, said they intended to take the
police to court and claim damages. Tsikidze claimed he was beaten up until
he fainted.

      "I was severely assaulted and lost consciousness. In any sane society,
their behaviour would be deplored with the contempt it deserves," he said.

      Obert Ngwenya and Peter Chiwota were badly injured and taken to
hospital after the police assaults.
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Daily News

      Ex-dissidents unleash reign of terror in Binga

      4/7/2003 11:10:36 PM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      FORMER dissidents of the 1980s insurgency in rural Matabeleland have
reportedly unleashed a brutal retribution campaign in Binga, leaving two
people battling for their lives in hospital.

      Joel Gabhuza, the MP for the area, said yesterday villagers planned to
team up to hit back at the former dissidents.

      He said the atmosphere was tense because of the terror perpetrated by
the group of about 10 former dissidents, some of them war veterans.

      Gabhuza alleged soldiers demining the Zambezi valley sometimes
provided the former dissidents with vehicles for their operations.

      "The people are agitated," he said. "They are now planning to team up
and hit back at the former dissidents." Last month the Binga council
chairman, Herbert Sinampande, and two councillors were assaulted by Zanu PF
supporters who forced him to climb up a thorn tree and then jump down.

      In last year's rural district council elections Binga was the only
district in which the MDC beat Zanu PF - winning 16 seats to the latter's

      The former dissidents, believed to be from Nkayi, have been deployed
in Binga, widely perceived as an MDC stronghold.

      Police yesterday refused to comment and referred questions to
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, who has routinely refused to talk to this

      The group of former dissidents is reported to have been behind a wave
of terror that left a number of people dead in the run-up to the 2002
Presidential election in Nkayi.

      Fanuel Munkuli, one of the victims recovering at Binga District
Hospital, was allegedly waylaid by the group last Friday as he returned from
a night out.

      Villagers said Munkuli was attacked with sticks, stones and small axes
by the former dissidents, some of them armed with AK 47 assault rifles.

      The villagers said the group had taken over a house owned by a white
couple they evicted.

      "It is no longer safe to walk alone," a villager who spoke on
condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said.

      One victim, Jameson Muleya, a local Zanu PF member, was allegedly
attacked by the group after he pleaded with them not to assault people.
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Daily News

      War vets to discuss Mugabe succession

      4/7/2003 11:11:07 PM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      THE issue of President Mugabe's successor as leader of the ruling Zanu
PF will be raised at a war veterans' congress in Mutare next month.

      Endy Mhlanga, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA), said the succession would be among other
issues on the congress agenda.

      He would not give details of how the congress intended to tackle the
thorny issue which has not been openly discussed at Zanu PF fora.

      Party officials have recently discounted reports of succession
manoeuvres involving the Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and
Retired Colonel Lionel Dyck.

      Dyck was reportedly sent as an emissary by Mnangagwa to the opposition
MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to sound him out on an exit plan for Mugabe.

      Yesterday, all Mhlanga would say was: "As war veterans, we will
definitely be discussing the issue of who will take over from the President
once he leaves office.

      "We will make a statement at the end of the congress about our
deliberations and resolution on the issue."

      The ZNLWVA is strongly linked to the ruling Zanu PF with some of its
leaders being in the party's politburo, the central committee and the

      In a surprise development, Mhlanga called on Zimbabweans to respect
their political differences and desist from inter-party violence which, he
said, threatened to throw the country into political turmoil.

      Mhlanga's comments come against the background of persistent reports
of the police, soldiers and notorious Zanu PF militia, derisively referred
to as Green Bombers, attacking innocent urban residents for allegedly
backing the successful MDC-led mass action against the government last
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Daily News

      Farmer defies order to pay $7m to ex-workers

      4/7/2003 11:08:29 PM (GMT +2)

      From Zerubabel Mudzingwa in Gweru

      FARMER Trevor Shaw has defied two consecutive orders to pay more than
$7 million as compensation to the workers whom he fired last year, setting
him on a collision course with the government.

      Shaw was ordered to pay $7,06 million to the 64 workers.

      The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on 11 March
this year gave the farmer seven days to pay the money.

      However, by last Thursday Shaw, who owns Fairhill Farm, had not
complied with the order.

      Officials at the ministry's provincial headquarters in Gweru, said the
order would remain in force even if the farmer decides to launch another

      They, however, declined to disclose their next course of action in
light of the defiance.

      Shaw could not be reached for comment.

      The workers were fired in January last year after they refused to
accept salaries, which they claimed, were well below the government's
stipulated minimum wages.

      They challenged their dismissal at the Labour Relations Office in
Gweru and won the case.

      The farmer was ordered to pay each of the dismissed workers eight
months' salary as well as cash in lieu of leave for that period.

      Soon after the determination, the farmer declined to compensate them
and immediately launched an appeal, arguing that he should have been given
the option to reinstate the workers.

      He, however, lost the case.

      A few months later, the workers took the matter back to the Labour
Relations offices arguing that the farmer had failed to comply with an
earlier determination.

      Again, the Labour Relations court ruled in their favour. Part of the
determination, compiled by a W Musiiwa reads: "In the light of these facts,
I hereby order you to pay Drink Murugege and 63 others a total of $7 066
213, 76 within seven days".

      The Zanu PF-aligned Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, is reported
to have threatened to engage the messenger of court to attach the farmer's
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Daily News

Leader Page

      On-the-spot probes on food distribution imperative

      4/7/2003 10:56:15 PM (GMT +2)

      LAST week's workshop to review the humanitarian crisis in the country
threw up some intriguing positions on the cause of the food shortage and
what ought to be done to safeguard the interests of the vulnerable groups.

      Victor Angelo, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
resident representative, said: "We must further guarantee that there are
safety nets to protect the rights of the vulnerable parts of the population.

      "It is also our obligation to establish that equity and accountability
form the foundation of humanitarian interventions."

      In plain language: food aid must be provided to all. In even plainer
language, the ruling Zanu PF must not be allowed to use food as a political
weapon, which they did in the by-elections in Kuwadzana and Highfield.

      Angelo the diplomat would not have said all that without committing a
diplomatic gaffe for which he might have been asked to answer by his
superiors at the UNDP.

      But he was repeating the concerns of the donor community in general
about the suspicion that Zanu PF has seized food aid and used it to boost
its waning support, particularly in the communal areas.

      The incident in Insiza last year, during a by-election, when the party
seized donated food and distributed it to buy votes, remains a poignant
reminder of how desperate the party is to cling to power.

      The second position to emerge from last week's workshop was Flora Buka
's pathetic attempt to keep trying to convince the world that it is the
drought, and not the violent land seizures of 2000, which have caused the
current food shortage.

      The Minister of State conceded that the land reform programme would
affect production levels. What she would not disclose is: How much food aid
has been donated so far and is all of it accounted for?

      What about reports that many Zanu PF leaders have installed grinding
mills at their homes and are doing roaring business selling maize-meal to
their communities?

      Reports persist of the continuing politicisation of food distribution.
The donor agencies, through the UNDP and the World Food Programme (WFP)
offices in Zimbabwe, can get to the bottom of this scandal only if they
themselves conduct on-the-spot investigations.

      In January, the head of the WFP, James Morris, reportedly asked
President Mugabe if the UN could be allowed to monitor the food

      This was in obvious response to widespread reports that Mugabe's party
was still persisting with its practice of denying food aid to non-Zanu PF

      There have been no reports so far of the UN being allowed to monitor
food distribution to halt the scandal of politicisation. But Angelo's
remarks last week would seem to suggest there was still need for vigilance
among the food donors to prevent Zanu PF from reaping where it did not sow.

      There are two more parliamentary by-elections pending, in Zengeza and

      The former seat was held by the opposition MDC, the latter by Zanu PF.
Makonde would be considered a safe seat for Mugabe's party, as this is in
his home province.

      There may not be any need for the party to engage in the shameful
practice of trying to buy votes which they tried, in vain, to use in
Highfield and Kuwadzana.

      But their track record would suggest they would try the same dirty
tactics in Zengeza.

      The maize grain which they have used before could be from supplies
donated by the international agencies.

      The United States at one time threatened to take "very intrusive and
interventionist measures" if the scandal continued.

      By all accounts, it is continuing.
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Daily News

      Muchinguri apologises to evicted farm workers

      4/7/2003 11:12:02 PM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      OPPAH Muchinguri, the provincial governor of Manicaland, yesterday
promised to deal with individuals who masterminded the eviction of 1 000
farm workers and their families from Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani.

      "We have set up a committee to investigate this issue and heads will
roll," Muchinguri said.

      The workers were evicted last week and dumped in an open space in
Chimanimani, allegedly by the police, soldiers, Central Intelligence
Organisation agents and Zanu PF activists.

      The workers and their families were denied food and humanitarian aid
from ZimRrights, a human rights watchdog.

      Muchinguri said the eviction was illegal and in violation of
government policy.

      "Farm workers were evicted without the involvement of the district
administrator or a land officer. The police acted on their own. They
unilaterally evicted the workers without informing anyone. That action was
unwarranted," she said.

      Muchinguri said she rushed to Chimanimani after she learnt that the
workers had been thrown out and were staying in the open.

      She said she had apologised to the workers and their families for
their ill-treatment by the police.

      "Mothers and children were dumped in the open and it was raining when
they were evicted. So, as a mother, I had to apologise to them."

      She said the workers had been taken back to the farm. "We have not had
a case of this nature where farm workers are evicted," she said.

      Muchinguri said the farm would be temporarily run by the Agricultural
Rural Development Authority until the ownership wrangle

      between MP Roy Bennet (MDC) and the government was resolved.

      Bennet has twice won a High Court case against eviction.

      But government has insisted on designating the farm, saying Bennet
owns another farm in Ruwa.Bennet leases the farm in Ruwa.

      Asked why the government was designating the farm, which operates
under the Export Processing Zone (EPZ), Muchinguri said: "These are issues
which we want to investigate because we have not heard from the EPZ
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Leader Page

      People-oriented constitution answer to current crisis

      4/7/2003 10:56:53 PM (GMT +2)

      By Vote Muza

      The popular definition of democracy is "government of the people, by
the people, for the people". The "democracy" we currently have in Zimbabwe
does not meet this criterion.

      A new invention, called "democratic dictatorship" has come to the
fore. This is an evil system where those in government manipulate
institutions of democracy to consolidate their power in a quest to guarantee
their lifelong exploitation of the majority.

      Civilised politics, in which the wishes of the majority are observed
have been abrogated in favour of the politics of treachery and deception.
The evidence is there for all to see.

      This subversion of institutions of the State and government did not
occur overnight. It was deliberately and gradually moulded into place over

      It is traceable to the early years of independence. Zanu PF's
one-party-state crusade, which ended with the swallowing of PF Zapu, was the
beginning. The only credible opposition at the time became extinct. After
the ruling party had devoured PF Zapu the one-party-state drive went into a
frenzy, with campaigning for the abolition of all forms of opposition
politics. Through the untiring efforts of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, university academics, students' organisations and other progressive
forces this Zanu PF crusade was thwarted.

      The unity accord between PF Zapu and Zanu PF necessitated certain
constitutional amendments to the Lancaster House Constitution that are a
nightmare today.

      These amendments, grand designs by the populist and ambitious Eddison
Zvobgo, created a monster in the Executive Presidency. With unfettered power
bestowed on him, through this careless piece of legislation, our esteemed
leader leapt to consolidate his power and that of the ruling party.

      Due to this regrettable legislation the President has powers to
override Parliament and bypass the courts through the notorious Presidential
Regulations. These are akin to special decrees common under military

      Since the Unity Accord, our Constitution has been amended and
re-amended and must now surely resemble a kindergarten art book.

      The Unity Accord created too few positions for a large pool of
politicians coming from the merged organisations. To secure a position one
had to show rare talent in praise-singing and presidential worship, typified
by the now redundant Tony Gara who blasphemed by equating President Mugabe
to Jesus Christ.

      The disadvantage of the Unity Accord was that patriotic, hardworking
leaders were left at the periphery while sycophants were elevated.

      A systematic purging of vocal and dynamic leaders sounded the death
knell for rational discourse in Zanu PF. In its place authoritarianism and a
culture of presidential patronage emerged. The Parliament of Zimbabwe became
a sing-a-song choir for presidential praises. It spent most of its time
listening to members individually paying homage to power-drunk Mugabe.

      Once Parliament was incapacitated, repressive laws were fast-tracked
to strengthen Mugabe's hold on power.

      The monster called the war veteran lay docile for many years after
independence and only raised its head in the early 1990s. This
self-mobilised demon came into being by accident. It harassed and bullied
Mugabe, and in an endeavour to save himself from political demise, Mugabe
embraced it as his political partner. The Liberation War Veterans'
Association is now a tool furthering the interests of the Zanu PF elite. In
reorganising itself after the referendum defeat, the ruling party unleashed
this beast onto the nation.

      In this monster the ruling party has discovered a foolish partner to
keep it politically alive. With the blessing of our esteemed President, the
war veterans have created pandemonium, destroying everything they fought

      Billions worth of property has been plundered without compensation by
this mob of hoodlums. Women have been raped, innocent commercial farmers
have been killed and their property misappropriated.

      One characteristic of democratic dictatorship, like all fascism, is
that it is never short of scapegoats. The current economic woes,
deliberately brought about by Zanu PF anarchists are blamed on distant
foreign countries. Other scapegoats have been the main opposition political
party the MDC and white commercial farmers.

      The structure of tacit authoritarianism can never be complete without
the Department of Information and Publicity. The dissemination of
information is controlled and monopolised by government through the Mass
Media Trust and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. Unquestioning
journalists shield political leaders from public scrutiny and

      By the grace of God only a few independent newspapers offer an
alternative voice to the truth-starved public. Legislation like the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act was passed to silence
independent media from scrutinising those holding public office.

      Institutions of State security have all been transformed into the
ruling party's apparatus of intimidation and repression.

      In an authentic democracy it is taboo to hear State security personnel
swearing allegiance to a given political party. The politicised Zimbabwe
Republic Police, Central Intelligence Organisation and the Zimbabwe National
Army have done exactly that, defying one of the fundamental principles of
democracy. Lives have been lost at the hands of Zanu PF and the State
security agencies have looked aside.

      The desperate desire for permanent political tenure has seen Zanu PF
encroaching on the judiciary. This last vestige of real democracy has been
subverted in the most obnoxious fashion. Political appointees sympathetic to
the ruling party's cause have been tasked with overseeing the protection of
their master's interests in the higher courts.

      The pillars of democracy in the form of a distinguishable Executive,
Parliament and Judiciary have been knocked down. Today the Executive has
control over Parliament.

      The solution to this problem lies only in removing Zanu PF from power
and crafting a new non-partisan, people-oriented constitution. That
constitution must have at its core tolerance of opposition opinion and
rational political discourse, for the sake of the country's progress.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Black reform of Zimbabwe's industry

HARARE - Much has been written about the chaotic agrarian reform programme
in Zimbabwe, but a more orderly transfer of assets has been taking place in
the country's industry in a process known as indigenisation.

Until the presidential election in March last year, industry was still
predominately in white hands. But over the past 10 months, more than 10% of
the companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) have become
majority black owned.

Analysts say it is hard to pinpoint the exact ownership before this process
began because of share register nominees and pension funds, but most put
direct black ownership at about 20% prior to the election.

Stripping out the dual-listed counters Old Mutual, PPC and Ashanti Interfin
Merchant Bank director Simba Mangwende estimates that more than 20% of the
value of shareholdings on the ZSE has changed hands in the period since the
election. He says blacks now hold majority shareholdings in at least 45 of
the 77 companies listed on the ZSE still second in Africa to the JSE
Securities Exchange SA in terms of listings.

Indigenisation as a term used by government to promote black ownership of
the economy is not new it has been around for more than a decade but it has
become more defined over the past year as market colloquial for takeovers by
black consortiums.

One after another, black consortiums borrowed billions of Zimbabwe dollars
Mangwende estimates it to be as high as Z30bn and acquired majority stakes
of not more than 34,9% so they did not have to make an offer to minorities.

Mangwende traces the origins of the term to the mid-1990s, when the banking
sector was liberalised and the government granted licences to black players.

"That kicked off the process. Blacks ran the new banks very well. That
created wealth beyond what people could imagine and now they are leveraging
that wealth into other sectors."

The chairman of a black- controlled asset management firm in Harare credits
the entrepreneurship of Interfin which has managed five buyouts of
publicly-listed companies with the recent surge in black ownership.

Interfin saw the gap in the market with the government's negative interest
rate regime and they used their relationships with white business to
orchestrate a number of shareholder changes. The formula was simple: use low
interest rates (of between 30% and 40%) to buy equity and let inflation
(which stood at 198,9% year-on-year in December) do the rest.

Within a year, the initial investment should have more than covered the real
value of assets acquired.

If there has been a theme to the acquisitions, it is companies with exposure
to agriculture. Some of the shareholdings to change hands include
horticulture concern Interfresh; retailer and manufacturer Tedco; pork
products group Colcom; seed maize grower SeedCo; plough manufacturer
Zimplow; stationery and consumer goods conglomerate Art and leisure group

The asset management firm chairman says that prior to the election, black
empowerment had been largely cosmetic. A select group of black businessmen
cosily shared boardrooms with white colleagues while the shareholdings of
most of these companies remained in white or foreign hands.

The chairman says while the recent wave of indigenisation is more to do with
entrepreneurship than an "engineered" process of government, "the status quo
(of white shareholdings) was not sustainable" in the postelection

"It took much longer than it should have, but the process has not been as
bad as white shareholders may have feared it would be. We did not have
stone-throwing mobs invading boardrooms. This has been done on a willing
buyer-willing seller basis," he says.

White management many of them still shareholders welcome the new black
shareholders. They believe they will be better at neutralising problems with
errant labour, accusations of racism in the workplace, and, in the
agriculture-based companies, "settlers" and/or "new farmers".

The national budget last November in which the government moved to
effectively acquire Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs) brought indigenisation
temporarily to a halt. The stock market plunged 30% and many consortiums
were left in negative equity positions.

Prior to the budget, many companies had, in the constrained environment in
which they operated, managed to sustain operations by increasing exports and
getting higher returns in Zimbabwe dollars. Exporters were required to
convert 40% of FCA proceeds at the official exchange rate of 1 to Z55, and
were then free to dispose of the 60% balance in the "parallel market".

The parallel market is a semi- official black market for currency. Since
August 2001, the exchange rate has been steady at about Z320: 1.

However, after the elections, the rate moved up to Z700: 1 as the onset of
the tobacco buying season saw farmers convert their Zimbabwe dollar earnings
into hard currency. As the selling season drew to an end, the parallel
market rate started to move up as high as Z1500, and, by definition,
companies with foreign exchange earnings were expected to see exponential
growth in earnings.

On budget day, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa announced that the
government was increasing the amount of foreign exchange earnings that had
to be converted at Z55: 1 to 50% from 40%. T he balance of foreign exchange
earnings would only be released if companies could satisfy the conditions of
a stringent "priority list". If, after 60 days the forex had not been used,
it would revert to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe at a still- tobe-announced
exchange rate.

Business believed its funds would be converted at the official rate and
argued with government that it needed a "blended rate" ( 50% at the official
rate plus 50% parallel) of at least Z800: 1 to break even.

"I can't say it was particularly welcoming for indigenisation, but the
negatives emanating from the budget hit everyone. The entire economy remains
under threat," says the chairman of the asset management group.

The ZSE has, however, recovered as the government announced a new "exporters
rate" effectively a devaluation to Z824: 1.

But Mangwende argues the process was never really under threat because
inflation would have covered any risk. Having survived the downturn in the
Zimbabwean economy, which has shrunk 25% in real terms over the past three
years, most are solid businesses, he says.

There have been several "indigenisations" this year. Nick Nyandoro, the head
of paint, chemical and alcohol group Astra, brought together a group to buy
Glynns Bolts, a private fastener manufacturing company. Another businessman,
Elton Mangoma, has bought the majority stake in agricultural implement group
William Bain.

The demand is insatiable, says Mangwende. "There is probably not a single
white business in town that does not have an offer to purchase from an
indigenous consortium or buyer."

Not all are convinced of the benefits. Emmanuel Munyukwi, CE of the ZSE,
says "the same names keep coming up. Right now it's a few privileged
individuals. What is needed is a wider spread of wealth along the lines of
what happened with Old Mutual.

"We really want to empower as many people as we can and government should
direct indigenisation in this way, not to certain individuals. Otherwise we
are going to face the same problems in the future."

Munyukwi suggests that future privatisations such as the profitable mobile
phone network Net*One should be offered to subscribers, while account
holders in the Zimbabwe Building Society, which is under a privatisation
tender, should get priority.

The asset management chairman also believes that many of those that have
benefited from indigenisation still need to get their priorities right.

"I welcome the empowerment of young blacks, but I think that they have taken
it a bit far when even their dealers are driving S-Class Mercs."
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State, RBZ Fail to Squeeze Forex

The Herald (Harare)

April 7, 2003
Posted to the web April 7, 2003

Victoria Ruzvidzo And Walter Muchinguri

The state and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe have so far failed to come up
with a package of incentives to encourage Zimbabweans working abroad to
offload their foreign currency earnings onto the formal market.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Dr Herbert Murerwa announced five
months ago the Government's intention to harness earnings from Zimbabweans
working and living abroad.

Non-resident Zimbabweans offload their earnings on the street market, which
offers higher rates than the official market.

The US dollar is fetching an average $1 200 on the black market while the
pound is selling for $1 900.

The official selling price is $824.

Other non-resident Zimbabweans have kept their earnings stashed in foreign
banks as there is nothing on the table to entice them to send the money back

In the meantime, the country continues to lose these significant earnings
which it so much needs for critical imports such as fuel and electricity.

The repatriation of foreign currency by Zimbabweans living abroad could help
solve part of the country foreign currency problems.

Foreign currency dealers estimate that at least US$3,5 million and about 1,8
million British pounds find their way onto the street market from abroad
every month.

The figures are expected to go up as more economically active people have
left the country, mainly for the United Kingdom.

A senior official in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development said
his ministry and the RBZ were working on the incentives, admitting that the
process was taking longer than initially anticipated.

"The Ministry and the Reserve Bank have been haggling over this issue for
the past few weeks but nothing concrete has been finalised yet," the
official said.

Furthermore, the amnesty to be granted to foreign currency dealers,
corporate foreign currency account holders and former bureau de change
operators to return externalised funds or that which they hold in the
country as announced by Dr Murerwa when he launched the National Economic
Revival Programme, had also not yet been effected.

"There is need to look at advantages and disadvantages of the amnesty to
both the Government and the targets of the amnesty because if it is not
handled properly it might find no takers," the official said.

Analysts said although the $824 to US$1 scheme effected by the Government
was commendable, much more needed to be done for the amnesty to produce the
desired results.

Others challenged the Government to expedite the enactment of the
Anti-corruption law to ensure the introduction of the whistle-blowers' fund
so that holders of foreign currency could be flushed out.

Despite the introduction of the new export support price, some unscrupulous
exporters are still engaged in transfer pricing, under-invoicing and other
forms of malpractice, prejudicing the Government of the much-needed foreign
currency earnings.

Statistics released by the RBZ last week showed that foreign currency
earnings had gone up by 33 percent since the introduction of the new export

However, the RBZ is currently investigating a number of cases where
exporters have cheated the Government.

Sources close to the investigations said indications so far were that the
Government had lost substantial amounts of foreign currency through severe
malpractice by some big exporters.

"A few exporters have been sincere in their earnings declarations but a
number of cases involving huge amounts of foreign currency are under
investigations," said the source.

Strategies were also being sought to plug the loopholes.
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Business Day

SADC's fact-finders may meet mandate

THE Zimbabwean government has mastered the art of "factfinding" missions to
the country, and is now claiming credit for an imminent visit by a Southern
African Development Community (SADC) task force to probe recent

Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge, who insists the visit is his initiative, says
it is designed to counter negative propaganda about Zimbabwe.

The decision to send in the task force on Zimbabwe formed two years ago but
which has thus far proved totally ineffective in preventing the country's
meltdown was taken at a recent meeting of SADC foreign ministers.

It seems Mudenge has missed the fine print of the latest mission which
states the team should meet "all stakeholders" and look into claims of
state-sponsored human rights abuses. Such activities are not usually
included in the government's tour itinerary.

Mudenge's optimism on countering criticism of the Harare regime has
obviously been buoyed by his success in convincing the likes of SA's Foreign
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma that the only facts relevant in the
Zimbabwean situation are those disseminated by him and his colleagues.

The fact that the Zanu (PF) campaign of terror is not played out on the
streets of central Harare makes it easier to pretend the government version
of events is the truth. And, of course, it is far easier to believe the
media is lying than to question a flunkey of a former liberation leader like
President Robert Mugabe.

However, there are indications that the task team might this time bother to
look a little deeper than it or Zuma have done in the past. Such hopes
spring from the murmurs of dissent emanating from the previously silent
ranks of African solidarity on the Zimbabwean question.

Botswana's President Festus Mogae has been the most outspoken African leader
in criticism of Zimbabwe even prompting the first hint of a harsh word on
the issue from President Thabo Mbeki as both stood side by side at a recent
press conference.

Mozambique's President Joaquim Chissano said recently Zimbabwe's woes were
having an adverse effect on southern Africa and its relations with western
donors. Ghana and Kenya have distanced themselves from the evasive approach
taken by SA and Nigeria on Commonwealth sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Privately, several African diplomats say it is not a question of regional
nations backing Mugabe's behaviour Namibia excluded but rather that they do
not have the stomach to engage him meaningfully. "We have tried to talk to
him but he won't listen to us," was the plaintive and pitiful lament of one
I spoke to.

Further evidence of "breaking of ranks" among Mugabe's neighbours and
erstwhile friends has been the ready acceptance by them of some the
commercial farmers Mugabe has driven out something he is said to be miffed

Of course it is not surprising the mood among SADC governments seems to be
changing: the Zimbabwe refugee problem is worsening, the lucrative tourism
sector is suffering (except in SA), regional investment has declined,
intraAfrican trade has been hit and the continent's recovery programme is
quickly losing legitimacy.

Real SADC action is long overdue. Its task force has let political
relationships dominate its response to the crisis, letting Mugabe hide
behind the land reform issue rather than forcing him to tackle urgent
problems of governance.

Mozambican Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao, who announced the new task force
visit, does not appear to be the sort of stooge Zanu (PF) has become used
to. After his own recent government-guided tour of selected farming areas,
designed to convince him of the success of the land reform programme, Simao
said: "I will not consider that visit as a global picture of what is
happening throughout Zimbabwe."

Dare one hope that, this time, the SADC will follow its mandate of listening
to all stakeholders in trying to formulate solutions to the great and
enduring Zimbabwean problem?

Games is director of
Africa@Work, a conferencing and publishing company
focusing on Africa.
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Letter to The Times

Morality not money

THE chairman of the ECB has managed to "save" the tour of England by
Zimbabwe this summer by offering a sum of money in apparent recompense for
the dislocation caused by England's refusal to visit Harare during the World
Cup, and has also given a guarantee that England will fulfil its commitment
to tour Zimbabwe in the winter of 2004/05.

Unless the ECB knows something about Mugabe's future plans that we don't, it
beggars belief that such a commitment could be given. If it was not a safe
place to visit this winter, it is hardly likely to be any safer in 18 months
' time. As an organisation that has already made a quite astonishing mess of
its activities in southern Africa, one might have hoped that a sense of
realism had finally crept into the board's thinking.

Unless there is a major change in the situation, England's cricketers should
not be expected to visit Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe should not be welcomed here.
Let us hope, at least, that if their team does come no representative of its
Government will be invited to any function or match in connection with the
tour. The ECB should finally make it clear that morality is more important
than money.

John Fingleton, London W1
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Politics and food make volatile mix in Zimbabwe


BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, April 6 - A shiny BMW and two government vans pull up in
front of a tangled line of dusty trucks at a Zimbabwe grain depot. Trunks
and doors are opened and plump sacks of grain swiftly loaded under the gaze
of armed guards.
       The transaction, witnessed by journalists, takes place by a row of
towering grain silos at one of the distribution sites controlled by the
government grain monopoly in this southern African nation.
       The centers are at the heart of claims by opposition groups and human
rights activists that the government is using food as a political weapon in
a country where over half the people are at risk of starvation.
       Critics charge that food supplies are being funneled mostly to buy
support and pay off cronies as authoritarian President Robert Mugabe fights
against a strengthening opposition threatening his decades-long hold on
       Zimbabwe was once known as the bread basket of southern Africa, but
food production has been wrecked by erratic rains and the state's often
violent seizure of most white-owned commercial farms. Vast tracts of
farmland either lie fallow or have been carved into subsistence plots.
       Cornmeal, the staple food, is often distributed only to those with
membership cards in the ruling Zanu-PF party. Grain is milled almost
exclusively by ruling party members and shipped to stores whose owners are
known Mugabe faithful.
       ''There is an assumption that most governments want to feed their
people, (but Mugabe) realized that food is a very effective political
weapon,'' said David Coltart, an opposition lawmaker and a top human rights
       Government officials dispute the accusation, putting the blame for
the food crisis on bad weather.
       ''(It's) only in the imagination of those who want to politicize and
demonize the food distribution system,'' Social Welfare Minister July Moyo
told The Associated Press.
       Yet in August, when food first became short in this country of 12
million people, Didymus Mutsata, Zanu-PF's organizing secretary, said food
should go only to those within the party's fold.
       ''We would be better off with only 6 million people, with our own
people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra
people,'' Mutsata said.
       Diplomats also accuse the government of obstructing food deliveries
to opposition supporters.
       At an angry confrontation with Moyo last December, Tony Hall, the
special U.S. ambassador to the World Food Program, demanded: ''Why do I get
the impression, that I have to beg you to feed your people?''
       Physicians for Human Rights Denmark issued a report on cases of food
being abused for political reasons, including rural opposition strongholds
where U.N. food relief was reportedly withheld by the state grain monopoly.
       ''If it is not possible to increase nonpartisan food supplies into
the country, it is our opinion that starvation and eventually death, will
occur along party lines in Zimbabwe,'' the report said.
       Ruling party political bosses also have been accused of selling grain
on the black market, sometimes from their own living rooms. The official
price for a 22-pound bag of cornmeal is 500 Zimbabwe dollars - about 50
cents - but is sold for 10 times that on the illicit market.
       Finding cornmeal at government-set prices in public markets has
become increasingly difficult, while witnesses report it being sold at cost
at ruling party gatherings.
       ''The suffering is incredible. All the time they interfere, all the
time government wants to make it appear that they are the ones feeding the
people,'' said the Rev. Pius Ncube, the outspoken Anglican archbishop of
Bulawayo, sitting at his desk under an icon of a black Jesus.
       Ncube said every day he hears stories from parishioners who are
forced to present ruling party cards to get food, or have been turned away
as suspected government opponents.
       Out on the street, a bread line stretched down tree-lined blocks of
Bulawayo, the country's second biggest city.
       ''We are very angry,'' said Cecilia, a 24-year-old who asked to be
identified only by her first name.
       She slipped away from the line, saying she did not dare speak where
patrolling ruling party militants might hear her.
       ''We don't see food,'' she said. ''We don't know where it is going.''
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Zambia threatens Zim farmers
06/04/2003 22:28  - (SA)

Jeff Kapembwa

Lusaka - Zambia's department of home affairs is threatening to put white
Zimbabwean farmers out of the country because they apparently do not have
the necessary immigration documents.

Farmers, however, deny that they are staying in the country illegally. They
say they are still "looking around" and will approach immigration officials

Greenwell Liempe, spokesperson for the immigration department, said more
than 100 Zimbabwean farmers entered Zambia on tourist visas last year. He
said the farmers planned to settle and farm in the fertile Mkushi area in
central Zambia.

"Some of the farmers entered Zambia on the pretext of visiting family, but
they have no legal immigration documents.

We would like to help them to resettle here, but they have to adhere to the
law and get the necessary permits," he said.

Liempe said the farmers would be prosecuted and deported if they continued
to stay in the country illegally.

Farmers don't have enough money

Deputy president Enoch Kavindele said earlier that most Zimbabwean farmers
did not have enough money to buy farms in Zambia.

"Most of the farmers who came to Zambia are satisfied with the quality of
the soil. They can grow tobacco or produce other agricultural products here,
but they do not have enough money."

The Zambian government is demanding $220 per hectare.

Gregory White, one of the farmers who considers farming in Zambia, said the
farmers are also looking at land in northern Zambia and would apply for
permits soon.

He admitted that some of the farmers did not have enough money to buy land
because of the way they were chased from their farms in Zimbabwe.

He said the Zimbabwean farmers, white and black, had money in the bank but
their accounts were frozen when they left the country.

Cain Mathema, Zimbabwean High Commissioner in Zambia, said it was untrue
that these farmers did not have money. "They have money in banks in the
countries they came from.

"If there are any black farmers who were affected by the land reform and who
fled to Zambia, they are welcome to return.

"There is lots of land for real farmers who are willing to co-operate with
the Zimbabwean government," he said.
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