Mugabe under spotlight again Staff
Writers PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will be under intense pressure at the
crucial Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit which opens
in Mauritius on Monday over the deepening row on electoral
Mugabe, whose government is one of the few in the region still
using an archaic electoral system, will be battling to ward off pressure by
local and regional groups to adopt fundamental reforms and stop political
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last
week sent an advance party to Port Louis to brief diplomats and officials of
the host government on the situation in Zimbabwe. Sadc diplomats and
ministers have been meeting this week in preparation for the summit on
Foreign ministers will meet this weekend to discuss electoral
issues, among other things.
Civic groups have also dispatched
delegations to Mauritius to lobby on electoral reforms and other matters such
as the proposed NGO law that analysts say is designed to suppress democratic
The MDC delegation to Mauritius is led by deputy
secretary-general, Gift Chimanikire, and includes party spokesman Paul Themba
Nyathi. It met with Mauritian Prime Minister Paul Berenger, Foreign minister
Jayakrishna Cuttaree and civic leaders. The prime minister's portfolio deals
with electoral issues.
Chimanikire said during their visit to
Mauritius the MDC wanted Sadc leaders to step up pressure on Mugabe to accept
regional norms and standards on elections in their entirety.
had two main objectives. Firstly, to appraise political leaders,
senior government officials and civil society organisations on the situation
in Zimbabwe from the MDC's perspective," he said.
engage on the issue of the regional consultations that are currently taking
place in relation to developing electoral norms and standards for
Chimanikire said regional leaders needed to increase
diplomatic pressure on Zimbabwe "to restore people's basic rights and
freedoms and to restore the rule of law".
He said while the MDC
welcomed the proposed electoral reforms, the concessions were simply not
profound enough to deal with the current crisis. He said reforms should cover
the broad political spectrum. Mugabe said last month he would introduce
reforms, entailing an independent
Chimanikire said Sadc leaders could
intensify pressure on Mugabe to change his ways. He said it was "too
simplistic and indeed deeply misleading to assume Mugabe has the support of
all African leaders". Certain leaders, he said, had expressed "disquiet and
deep concern at the violent excesses and criminal failings of his regime".
The MDC official said the recent damning African Union report on the human
rights situation in Zimbabwe showed that African opinion was shifting against
Regional leaders are expected to adopt the proposed Sadc
principles and guidelines governing democratic elections which call for free
and fair elections, upholding of civil and political liberties, press freedom
and access by all parties to state media, and the independence of the
judiciary, as well as the impartiality of electoral
This would put Zimbabwe under more pressure to reform.
Local parties and civic groups would also capitalise on this to wring more
concessions out of Mugabe's anti-reformist regime. Civic groups, including
the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (Zesn), have been meeting with Zanu PF
to push for more reforms.
Zesn last week hosted a regional meeting
on electoral reforms at Victoria Falls where MDC secretary-general Welshman
Ncube rejected efforts by Zanu PF to dragoon his party into rubber-stamping
shallow reforms. It has resolved electoral reform needs to be adopted by
The MDC has also threatened to block the electoral reforms
in parliament unless Zanu PF stopped its attempt to get away with cosmetic
The MDC is particularly opposed to the proposal in the draft
electoral reform Bill to have the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission appointed by Mugabe in consultation with the widely-critcised
Judicial Services Commission. The Bill is expected in parliament next
More banks in trouble Shakeman Mugari MOST banks
will likely not meet a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) deadline to shore up
their capital requirements and repay RBZ loans by September 30, it emerged
The banking sector is still struggling to regain balance after
tremors caused by RBZ governor Gideon Gono's monetary policy initiative
introduced last year.
By the end of September all commercial banks
will be required to have a capital requirement of $10 billion, merchant banks
$7,5 billion, and finance houses $7,5 billion. Building societies and
discount houses will be required to raise their capital adequacy ratio to
$7,5 billion and $5 billion respectively.
The RBZ also wants those
banks that received a life-line through the Troubled Banks Fund to have
repaid their loans by the same deadline.
Sources said several banks
were still facing liquidity problems. This was
highlighted by last week's
placement of Royal Bank under curatorship.
Royal joins Barbican Bank,
which was placed under a curator earlier this year for bankruptcy. Troubled
Intermarket Holdings' banking division, its building society and discount
house were also recently placed under curatorship. But Intermarket Building
Society has since been removed from curatorship.
Out of Zimbabwe's
41 banking institutions before December 1 last year, six are now under
curatorship, two under liquidation and four on life support through the
Troubled Banks Fund. But sources say several banks are virtual shells waiting
The sources said the only solid banks were the
traditional international institutions such as Standard Chartered, Barclays
and Stanbic, as well as a few local ones such as Jewel Bank, Zimbank, NMB and
Recent rankings of banks by the RBZ showed that there were
only six out of 17 commercial banks rated as "strong". One building society
out of five, CABS, was rated as "strong".
Banks such as Trust,
Century, Metropolitan, Intermarket and Barbican were saved from collapse
through the RBZ's Troubled Banks Fund which advanced them almost $500 billion
in liquidity support. It is understood that Trust's debt to the RBZ has since
ballooned from $208 billion to $1,5 trillion. Sources said it was likely
taxpayers' money was going into a bottomless pit as some banks were unable to
Analyst John Robertson said the whole sector was still
facing serious liquidity challenges. "Overall, the financial sector is not
yet stable. The difficulties that beset most banks a few months back are
still there," he said.
"There are still banks in the market that
have liquidity problems. As the deadline draws near we might see weaker banks
courting stronger ones for possible mergers."
contrary to Gono's claims that the sector was stable, the situation on the
ground showed most banks were still shaky.
"Most banks are likely to
struggle to repay their loans to the RBZ. The sector has not recovered
because the economic fundamentals that caused their problems are still the
same," he said.
Gono refused yesterday to shed light on the
situation, saying he had already explained the issues.
"No, no. I
spoke to the nation a few weeks ago. Please refer to my statement. I can't be
speaking to the press everyday. No! That cannot be," he said.
banks have not been able to access loans offshore because of
weak fundamentals in the economy and the country's poor credit
Zembe hits out at Chigwedere Ngoni
Chanakira ZIMBABWE National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Luxon Zembe
yesterday lashed out at Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere saying he was
not only killing the country's education system, but chasing away skilled
Reacting to Chigwedere's decision to stop schools from asking for
donations, Zembe said the minister had a long history of "saying things that
do not help solve economic issues by destroying the once vibrant education
"As ZNCC we are not happy about what the minister is trying
to do or achieve," Zembe said yesterday. "We believe that if parents have
agreed to pay for facilities offered by the school it is entirely their own
decision. Government should not get involved because these are private
schools with parents who are prepared to foot the bills."
government should concentrate on improving the ailing economy rather than
interfering with institutions that are trying to cope in the midst of
a crippling crisis.
In a partial reversal on Wednesday Chigwedere
said government did not object to schools asking for donations, but was
against the practice of forcing parents to make donations for their children
to continue with lessons.
Last month Chigwedere warned government
wou-ld take action against private schools that discriminated against pupils
whose parents declined to make donations to top up fees.
are private schools, full stop," Zembe said. "Chigwedere is killing
education system. We will lose manpower because managers do not want their
children to be messed around by a confused minister. Skilled personnel will
leave the country, worsening the current brain drain at a time when we are
trying to entice them back into the country."
He said private schools
offered quality education that government schools could not, citing the
shortage of textbooks, chairs and desks at most government
"As an association we want to put it on record that we are
extremely unhappy about Chigwedere's policies," Zembe said. "The move by the
minister to continue interfering with the education system will have
long-term implications and result in major problems for the
Meanwhile, Chigwedere has banned schools from offering any
extra lessons during school holidays without the ministry's
Documents to hand show that extra lessons have been
anyone found defying the ministry's directive will be
A circular to parents by a Harare primary school headmaster
said the ministry had prohibited extra lessons unless the school applies
"Authority can be sought in writing by parents
through the school head. Any teacher or child found doing extra lessons will
be reported to the police."
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
resolved to challenge the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) after police
used it on more than 10 occasions to bar its leader Morgan Tsvangirai from
Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango said
over the past week police had prevented Tsvangirai from addressing 11
meetings in Bikita East, Bikita West, Masvingo North, Gutu South, Gutu North,
Gokwe Central, Gokwe East, Gokwe West, Kadoma Central, Silobela and
Bango said Tsvangirai believed the police were abusing
their powers in denying him his freedom of expression and
"Tsvangirai has no option other than to put up a
test case in the courts to get clarity on the police interpretation of Posa,"
"Posa merely requires political parties to inform
the police as a formality, not to ask for their approval, to hold
He said Tsvangirai was further disturbed by the fact
that the planned meetings were not open, public rallies but consultations
with officials from the MDC's structures in the rural areas. Such meetings
are not covered by Posa, according to Tsvangirai's
"The reasons given by the police vary from place
to place," Bango said.
"The most common is that there is a
shortage of manpower, or that Zanu PF also wants the same venue, or that the
officer who is supposed to give the go-ahead is off-duty."
He said Tsvangirai was concerned about this development which casts serious
doubt on whether Zimbabwe can hold a free and fair election
Hardliners scuttling reforms - Tsvangirai Staff
writer ZANU PF mandarins are blocking efforts to introduce sweeping
political reforms that involve the ruling party and the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said this
Tsvangirai said hardliners in Zanu PF were resisting political
reforms that were desperately needed to rescue the country from the current
political and economic crisis.
"The regime pulled out its last
card, but nothing has come of it: whites, land, puppets, price controls,
media controls, intolerance, nationalism, anti-corruption, cosmetic electoral
reforms, nothing," Tsvangirai said in his weekly message.
five hectic years, we are worse off than we were in 2000. We are, however,
clearer on what needs to be done to put Zimbabwe back on
Tsvangirai said the hardliners were misleading the
Zanu PF leadership into believing that their party could win free and fair
elections when it was clear it could not.
"Zimbabweans are amazed
at Zanu PF's pronouncements that it can win a free and fair election in these
circumstances," he said.
"The crisis has defined the national,
political and economic priorities and needs, their content and their force in
moulding our future choices."
The MDC boss however said reformers in
the ruling party were realistic because they had eventually acknowledged the
country was mired in a crisis and that the solution lay in talks between Zanu
PF and the MDC. But the problem, he said, was that they were being thwarted
from pushing for reforms by the diehards.
"We are not alone in
this assessment. Reformers in Zanu PF have, at last, realised that the
country is in a cul-de-sac. They see a possibility of a solution emerging
from constructive engagement," he said.
"But their efforts are being
thwarted by late-comer opportunists swirling their hard-line views around a
restless Zanu PF leadership. The hardliners, mainly political speculators and
a parasitic bureaucracy, are exploiting an anxious and aged incumbency for a
Tsvangirai said the reactionaries were blocking reforms
to buy time in power and continue to loot the prostrate
"As is always the case in times of instability, the
hardliners have no political base. They fleece the country and manipulate the
dictator in order to secure sufficient time to launder their ill-gotten
benefits and to decontaminate their loot," he said.
push harder for change, their actions may delay our freedom by an extra day.
At the moment, these hardliners give the impression that they are in charge
of the country - managing the judiciary, ruling by decree, muzzling the
media, closing down private schools, holding onto many stolen farms and
fiddling with the mind of the dictator."
Talks between Zanu PF and
MDC which started in April 2002 have collapsed largely due to opposition from
the hardliners. The informal dialogue which has been going on since last year
between the two parties is also under threat from the same negative forces,
the MDC leader said.
Deadline for food assessment Itai
Dzamara PARLIAMENT has given the Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture
until the end of the month to finish investigations into the food
The House gave the committee an extension after it resumed
sitting on Wednesday. The committee, which has been working since June, is
expected to establish the country's food needs.
mandated the committee to assess the food situation following conflicting
claims by government and independent bodies regarding this year's
President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly insisted that the
country harvested enough grain and told donor agencies to look elsewhere for
The United Nations has however insisted that more
than 2,5 million Zimbabweans would require food aid until the next
An independent local food assessment body Zimconsult and the
Southern Africa Poverty Reduction Network as well as the Famine Early Warning
System Network, said the country would face a deficit of between 600 000 and
800 000 tonnes of grain.
Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on
Lands and Agriculture, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube of Zanu PF said the committee
would meet on Tuesday to review the responses forwarded by the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) and the Central Statistical Office
"We have been mandated to look into the food situation by the
fifth session of parliament and we have to be through within the next month,"
"We will be meeting on Tuesday and will proceed
thereafter. Basically we are looking at the conflicting reports, some of
which say we have enough food and others that say we don't. We will also look
at the current wheat crop."
Ncube added that the committee would use
as the basis of its investigations submissions made by the GMB and CSO.
Council stands by report Loughty Dube THE Bulawayo
city council has defended reports by its health department that people are
dying as a result of hunger in the city, despite denials by
Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, told
the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the information gath-ered by the
city's Depart-ment of Health on malnutrition was factual and the council
stood by it.
"Those figures are collected by council from clinics
and hospitals in the city and this exercise has been going on since January
last year and there is nothing political about these figures," Ndabeni-Ncube
"If anyone is interested in the breakdown of the figures they
can visit the Department of Health for a detailed analysis since there is
nothing we are hiding."
The council this month released figures
indicating that 62 more people had died as a result of food shortages,
bringing the total this year to 152.
The figures were how-ever
hotly-disputed by government's Informa-tion department whichclaimed that the
MDC-dominated council was advancing a political agenda.
political motives behind this claim, which draws from minutes of
the MDC-controlled City of Bulawayo, are as ignoble as they are
obvious," government said.
"Zimbabwe does not face any food
shortages as alleged by Bulawayo's British-sponsored MDC mayor," the
However, Ndabeni-Nc-ube said there was no way the
figures could have
been falsified since the statistics were collected
from doctors across the city.
"Those statistics are true and we
have been compiling them together with HIV/Aids figures since January last
year and we are not going to stop because we have an obligation to inform the
nation of the true situation on the ground," he said.
WFP woos Zambia for Zim food aid Staff
Writer/Irin THE World Food Programme (WFP) has approached the Zambian
government to mobilise maize for Zimbabwe in light of growing fears of food
shortages in the country.
The food aid talks between the Zambian
government and the WFP come amid revelations by the South African Grain
Information Service, a crop monitoring agency, that 40 000 tonnes of maize
have been brought into Zimbabwe through South Africa between April and July
Figures from the South African commodity exchange, Grain
SA, confirm that during that period 23 600 tonnes passed through South Africa
from the United States, with an additional 19 000 tonnes making their way
from Argentina. The figures include food aid donations to
The revelations flatly contradict claims made by President
Mugabe and government officials that Zimbabwe can feed itself. The country
will record a bumper maize harvest of 2,4 million tonnes, they
However, aid organisations and independent analysts have
forecast serious food shortages before the next harvest. They estimate that
the best the country can expect is about 900 000 tonnes. The Zimbabwe
Vulnerability Assessment Committee, on which UN agencies and government
representatives sit, recently reported that 2,3 million people faced food
The country needs 1,8 million tonnes of maize for
consumption and a further 500 000 tonnes for the strategic grain
Zambia's Minister of Agriculture Sikatana Mundia told the
Zimbabwe Independent in an interview recently that senior officials from the
WFP approached his office to arrange maize imports in case Zimbabwe
urgently needed food assistance.
"They (WFP) wanted assurance that
Zambia would provide maize in case Zimbabwe had an urgent need," said Mundia.
"We however told them that we could not give them an
The recent move by the WFP indicates that the United
Nations food agency still believes that Zimbabwe does not have enough food
this season despite government claims.
Mundia also revealed that
there were a number of private companies that had applied for licences to
export maize to Zimbabwe.
"We have a number of companies that want to
export maize to Zimbabwe. They have since applied for export permits," said
Zambia's agricultural sector has been on the recovery since
it opened its doors to white commercial farmers who had been affected by the
land reform in Zimbabwe. Preliminary estimates show that Zambia will harvest
about 1,6 million tonnes of maize.
Last month, Zambia's Food
Reserve Agency (FRA) was quoted in the international media as saying it had
received food export queries from Zimbabwe, but Charles Chabala, FRA's
director of operations, said this week no maize had yet been exported to
He however said that a "trade mission was expected to visit
l Meanwhile, in a related event, Human Rights Watch
yesterday accused the government of gambling with its citizens' access to
In an 11-page report titled "The Politics of Food Assistance in
Zimbabwe", the New York-based agency said the Zimbabwean government's lack
of transparency on grain availability in the country could jeopardise access
to food for millions of Zimbabweans in the coming months.
withholding vital information on grain availability, the
Zimbabwean government is gambling with its citizens' access to food," said
Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa
"Under international law, the government must take all
necessary steps to fully ensure its citizens' right to adequate
Primaries stir Zanu PF row Conrad Dube/Augustine
Mukaro DIVISIONS continue to rock the ruling Zanu PF over candidates for
next year's parliamentary election with top officials being accused of
organising fake primary elections to push their right hand men as
In Mashonaland West, provincial chairman Philip Chiyangwa and
deputy parliamentary speaker Edna Madzongwe, have been accused of
conducting primary elections in Mhondoro to advance Chiyangwa's deputy John
Mafa as the candidate.
Documents in the possession of the Zimbabwe
Independent written to the party's national commissar, Elliot Manyika, say
Chiyangwa and Madzongwe issued written instructions to Mafa to carry out
primary elections in which he (Mafa) was also a candidate.
document was written by Zanu PF national secretary for legal affairs
and women's rights in the Women's League Mavis Chidzonga and
national fundraising committee member, Chamu Charles
Documents show that Mafa polled 44 votes against
Chidzonga's seven while Mutyambizi managed a single vote at Mubaira Growth
Point in April.
But Chidzonga and Mutyambizi have demanded nullification
of the primaries, citing irregularities in the procedure and conduct of the
"Please kindly intervene in this matter so that a proper
primary election is conducted, district by district so that the party members
are not denied their right to choose who they want to represent them,"
Chidzonga and Mutyambizi wrote.
President Mugabe has said Zanu PF
candidates for the 2005 general election will be selected through primary
Contacted for comment, Chiyangwa referred all questions to
Robert Sikanyika, national deputy secretary for lands and resettlement in the
youth wing whom he said was in charge of the elections.
said: "There was no proper primary election in the Mhondoro constituency but
Mafa was chosen by consensus where the good organiser of the day, who has
strong roots among the people, wins."
He said the provincial
executive committee and the provincial coordinating committee duly endorsed
Mafa as the ruling party candidate. Sikanyika said all prospective candidates
were given seven days' notice to prepare for the contest but lost due to
In Murehwa North a fierce battle appears inevitable
where Health minister David Parirenyatwa is understood to be squaring up
against Victor Chitongo. In primaries leading to the 2000 parliamentary
election, Parirenyatwa lost to Chitongo.
In Masvingo South
businessman Walter Mzembi confirmed this week that he would be contesting the
seat. Eddison Zvobgo currently holds it. Retired major Kudzai Mbudzi has
indicated that he wants to wrestle Masvingo North from the sitting MP and
Foreign Affairs minister Stan Mudenge.
Zesa needs US$2,4b Ngoni Chanakira ZESA Holdings
executive chairman Sydney Gata says his financially beleaguered company needs
more than US$2,4 billion for its planned power sector investment
Zesa, which is currently being transformed into a commercial
entity, is at the centre of a major crisis because of its failure to pay
local and international creditors.
The firm is also failing to
provide sufficient power countrywide and at times has had to resort to
impromptu load-shedding, much to the dismay of industrialists and domestic
Despite receiving financial assistance from the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s foreign currency auction system, Zesa's arrears
currently stand at US$56 million.
It owes Mozambique's HCB US$31,5
million, Eskom of South Africa US$16 million, Snel of the Democratic Republic
of the Congo US$5 million, and Zambia's Zesco US$3,5 million.
company's total arrears on the Zimbabwe dollar bills stands at $58,8 billion,
with some customers now over 90 days.
Last week, another
cash-strapped firm, Wankie Colliery Company, revealed that it was owed more
than $9 billion by Zesa for coal supplies. It said the last payment had been
made in January.
Wankie said it had since reduced coal deliveries to
the power authority.
Gata, at the annual Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries annual congress in the Victoria Falls, however denied knowledge of
the whopping debt, saying it was news to him.
In a lengthy
presentation to the congress, Gata was at pains to explain to business
executives the problems currently bedevilling Zesa.
He said the power
utility was not receiving adequate funds from the RBZ auction system, despite
"sometimes crying to them" for help.
He said generation projects
planned until the year 2010 would chew up US$1,3 billion, transmission
projects US$543 million, distribution projects US$247 million, heavy
engineering US$85 million, power telecommunications US$35 million, and the
Expanded Rural Electrification Programme (EREP) with Electricity End-Use
Infrastructure Development US$207 million.
"The total value of our
summary of planned power sector investment projects for the period 2004 to
2010 comes to US$2,416 billion," Gata said.
He said Zesa was facing
several operational obstacles that threatened its viability, which could
result in it failing to deliver power to Zimbabweans in the "not too distant
Zim beef exports face EU ban Augustine
Mukaro ZIMBABWE faces a total ban of its beef exports to the European Union
(EU) if it fails to immediately find a solution to problems rocking the
agricultural sector, and beef production in particular.
suspended from exporting beef to the EU three years ago after the outbreak of
foot and mouth disease. The country could resume exports once it met set
standards but it now faces a total ban because of the period during which no
measures have been taken.
Before the ban Zimbabwe had a 9 100-tonne
beef export quota to the EU.
Industry experts said the chaos in the
agricultural sector had resulted in Zimbabwe failing to meet EU standards,
particularly the system of identification, registration and labelling of
"The first requirement for all operators and
organisations marketing fresh or frozen beef or veal is to label it with
individual traceability codes which may be the identification number of the
animal from which the meat is derived or an identification number relating to
a group of animals," a beef industry expert said.
continued farm seizures and destruction of equipment had resulted
in producers failing to maintain slaughterhouses and de-boning plants
in conditions which conform to EU standards.
"The situation has
been exacerbated by the uncontrolled movement of cattle and wildlife since
the inception of the land reform programme, resulting in the outbreaks of
foot and mouth disease (FMD) that has forced us to suspend beef exports," he
The Cattle Producers Association (CPA) said the chaos in the
agricultural sector had destroyed the internationally acceptable beef
exporting facilities and had made FMD uncontrollable.
still not been brought under control in some areas," the CPA said in its
"Vaccine has been in short supply to do vaccinations
consistently but it is also recognised that vaccination alone does not
control FMD. Only restrictions on movement can achieve this."
CPA said the continued farm seizures, harassment and eviction of farmers from
their properties had forced producers to slaughter large numbers of cattle,
including pedigree animals genetically adapted to the
Zimbabwe suspended all beef exports to the EU in August
2001 following the outbreak of FMD.
EU spokesman Josiah Kusena
confirmed that Zimbabwe beef exports were still suspended.
exports are still suspended," Kusena said. "It is Zimbabwe's duty to inform
the EU that they have managed to control FMD. The EU will then send
a veterinary inspection mission. Once it is satisfied with the situation
on the ground, exports would resume."
Chegutu employers halt town council assistance Conrad
Dube TWO of Chegutu's biggest employers, David Whitehead and Bonnezim,
have withdrawn material and technical assistance to the town's council in
protest at the assault on workers at the municipality by suspected Zanu
Documents in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent
show that the companies, which are involved in textile and agricultural
activities, withdrew their services after Chegutu Town Council workers were
assaulted by ruling party militants for allegedly belonging to the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. The firms were also accused of backing the
According to a report dated June 29, compiled by the
acting town clerk Marufu Chigwenzi Zinyowera and sent to Local Government
minister Ignatius Chombo, the two companies, which have been helping council
with servicing of roads and provision of water reticulation, withdrew their
support after their workers were also threatened and
"While there are large numbers of workers brought onto the
municipality's payroll, they have no tools and equipment to use in their
basic manual work," the report states. "David Whitehead and Bonnezim, two of
the biggest employers in Chegutu, had tried to help but had had no choice but
to withdraw their support to council because their workers were
being threatened and some of them actually assaulted," it
"Chegutu council requires urgent recapitalisation. It has no
money and no tools and essential equipment for service delivery which have
all been vandalised or stolen by known culprits with impunity."
an interview on Wednesday, Chegutu executive mayor Francis Dhlakama said he
had not seen the report as the acting town clerk was directed to
report directly to Chombo. But he confirmed support from the corporate sector
had dwindled after threats "against assisting an MDC
"The confusion obtaining in Chegutu has led to withdrawal
or dwindling of the much needed material and technical support from the
corporate sector without which the cash-strapped council will not pull
through unless Chombo provides grants," said Dhlakama, who was arrested and
incarcerated last month in connection with police investigations into
corruption at the council.
-Meanwhile, the Chegutu council has
been thrown into further confusion after revelations that members of the task
force appointed by Chombo last month do not reside in Chegutu. The members
have raised a large bill in transport and subsistence allowances which
residents have to pay.
NRZ has only 20km modern traffic control Loughty
Dube THE accident-prone National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has a stretch of
only 20 kilometres covered by its centralised traffic control (CTC) system
along the Harare-Mutare route.
The rest of the rail network relies on
an outdated communication system.
Sources said the NRZ, whose trains were
last week involved in yet another accident, only has a small stretch of CTC
along the Harare-Mutare line.
The CTC system is a digitalised
communications link that co-ordinates the movement of trains at intersections
and minimises chances of collision.
NRZ's CTC system is said to have
collapsed due to lack of spares and the emigration of technical personnel
responsible for the repair of the equipment. This has left a 20-kilometre
route on the Harare-Mutare railway line still on CTC.
is understood to have not been working for the last three years, resulting in
numerous fatal rail accidents countrywide. This came in the wake of
allegations by the government that human error was responsible for the Harare
commuter train accident last week in which over 70 people were injured, and
the Dete train disaster earlier in the year that claimed the lives of 50
people and left scores injured.
NRZ insiders say the entire rail
network needs to be overhauled and equipped with hi-tech and state-of-the art
microwave communications system that is used in developed
Currently the NRZ is using the traditional paper order
method of communication where signal personnel man rail junctions and give
out manual signals to train drivers.
"The problem with this method
is that any negligence on the part of the signals controller can result in
fatal accidents and in most cases the signals teams are always new and not
highly trained," an NRZ source said.
NRZ Corporate Affairs manager,
Misheck Matanhire, confirmed the broke parastatal was facing a serious crisis
but claimed it was working on a turn- around strategy that would permanently
rectify the problem.
"The NRZ has now embarked on a programme to
rehabilitate the existing signalling and telecommunications system as a
medium-term solution," Matanhire said.
acquittal of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) suspects alleged to have
murdered Bulawayo war veterans leader Cain Nkala has left egg on government's
face and a key question still unanswered: who killed Nkala?
Judge Justice Sandra Mungwira last week granted the defence application for
discharge after analysing the submissions presented in court by both the
state and defence. She concluded that the state had not put up a solid case
against the MDC activists for which the court could convict, and ruled
against placing them on their defence.
The trial, one of the longest,
opened in January 2003 and the state claimed it was receiving new evidence up
until last week. Nkala was allegedly abducted from his Magwegwe home on
November 5 2001 and subsequently murdered.His body was exhumed from a shallow
grave at Norwood Farm near Solusi University about 40 kilometres south west
of Bulawayo on November 13 2001.
MDC MP, Fletcher Dulini Ncube
(Lobengula-Magwegwe), Sonny Masera, the MDC director of security, and party
activists Army Zulu, Kethani Sibanda, Remember Moyo and Sazini Mpofu were
accused of murdering the former freedom fighter.
The court heard the
MDC members were tortured and threatened with death while in police custody.
All the suspects denied charges of involvement in the murder of Nkala,
including those who apparently made confession statements under
MDC legal secretary David Coltart last week challenged
acting Attorney-General Bharat Patel to launch a full investigation to
establish who Nkala's real killers were.
"The judgement brings us back
to the question: who killed Cain Nkala?" Coltart said. "The judgement is a
serious indictment of Zanu PF. The acting Attorney-General should immediately
investigate the murder of Nkala. And I suggest he starts closer to
Coltart said the acquittal was a vindication of the MDC's
consistent position that it was not behind the murder of Nkala. He said the
murderer was out there roaming the streets scot-free.
has exposed government's growing penchant for relying on evidence extracted
under duress. It also exposes the rampant torture by police of crime suspects
while in custody.
Sibanda, Moyo and Mpofu made detailed statements
alleging they were coerced by the police to make statements to implicate
themselves and/or others in the murders with which they were
They said in their statements they were not informed of the
reasons for their arrest or of their rights.Sibanda stated before a court of
law that he was assaulted at Gweru Police Station after his arrest on
November 11. The assaults included kicks, slaps, punches, and verbal threats.
He stated further that at one stage on November 12, a senior investigating
officer pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot him. The police officers
pressured Sibanda to falsely implicate himself and other people in certain
crimes, the defence argued.
Mpofu was arrested late on November 12. In
front of eyewitnesses, he was allegedly slapped, punched, kicked and
assaulted with a gun butt by the arresting officers. A friend present at the
time of the arrest was also assaulted. Mpofu was taken to his home, which was
searched, and further assaulted with a gun. The police then took him to
Nkulumane police station and allegedly continued to assault him en route.
Mpofu stated that he was stamped upon and trodden upon and told to make false
confessions and implicate certain individuals. There is medical evidence
corroborating the allegations of torture and ill-treatment.
November 13 2001 statements made by Sibanda and Mpofu were
apparently broadcast on ZTV in which they implicated themselves and others in
the abduction and subsequent murder of Nkala. They however later retracted
the "confessions", stating that the statements were made under
Moyo was arrested in Gweru on November 11, together with Sibanda.
Moyo says the police stopped at a lay-by on their way to Bulawayo and
assaulted him. One senior officer allegedly kicked him in the genitals. They
struck him on the head and ribs, placed him in leg-irons, and suspended him
by his feet.
He was held by the head under the wheel of the vehicle,
which caused injuries to his jaw.
According to his account, he was
then taken to Mbembesi police station where he was held for three nights
handcuffed, chained to a ring in the cell, and denied blankets. On three
successive nights, police officers allegedly assaulted him. He stated in his
evidence that the police officers repeatedly told him to implicate certain
individuals. On November 15 the officers took him to the CID Law and Order
office where a senior police officer allegedly told him what to say in a
Sibanda and Moyo both affirmed their claims of torture and
ill-treatment when they appeared before the High Court on November 27. They
pleaded innocent of the murder of Nkala. The High Court ordered a
medical examination to verify their injuries.Zulu told his lawyer that
police threatened to ''make him disappear'' to force him to make a
statement incriminating himself. During interrogation, Zulu alleged he was
kicked around and knocked against the wall by police officers.
in a trial-within-a-trial, defence lawyers stated that the evidence that had
been presented by the state had been extracted under duress and was therefore
not admissible. Justice Mungwira agreed with the defence and sharply
criticised the police who gave evidence as state witnesses.
witnesses (police) conducted themselves in a shameless fashion and displayed
utter contempt for the due administration of justice to the extent that they
were prepared to indulge in what can only be described as works of fiction as
is especially illustrated by the state of (the) investigations diary,"
Justice Mungwira said in her 60-page judgement.
The accused were denied
contact with their families, friends and legal representatives. The
government in the meantime used the pre-trial publicity to insinuate the
guilt of the accused who had the legal right to be presumed innocent until
proven guilty. There were highly publicised statements by senior government
officials that already prejudged the accused, as well as by the broadcast
"confessions" which likewise alleged guilt.
When Nkala's body was found
on November 12, the state-controlled ZTV immediately broadcast the
confessions of Sibanda and Mpofu. Later, at the funeral of Nkala on November
17, President Robert Mugabe repeated accusations against the MDC, calling the
killing a ''terrorist provocation'' by the opposition
Subsequent statements by Mugabe, the then Minister of Home Affairs
John Nkomo and Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri holding the MDC and
its members responsible for Nkala's murder and describing them as
''terrorists'' , were also widely quoted in the media.
created a public perception that placed in jeopardy any prospect of a fair
trial for the accused. Instead of the state establishing their guilt beyond
all reasonable doubt, the accused were given a burden to establish their
innocence, contrary to international standards of fairness.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has once again set the parameters under
which his successor should be chosen. According to Zanu PF's The Voice
newspaper, he wants Zimbabwe's next leader to have participated in the
liberation struggle; to be "one who cherishes the principles and objectives
of the ruling party".
"We want to have a successor who will cherish
.our revolutionary gains and ensure that these are a national preserve and
should not be tampered with in any way by any outsider or by any of our
Zimbabwean renegade fellows," he ruled.
The advantages of such
prescriptions are that within party structures it becomes easy to choose
leaders who meet the stated criteria. It narrows the selection process to a
few identifiable individuals.
But this assumes that we are dealing with a
homogeneous party, one not severely strained by simmering divisions such as
Zanu PF is at the moment. While it is easy to point out who participated in
the liberation struggle, the same cannot be said of commitment to the
"principles and objectives" of the ruling party. Nor are the electorate clear
on who embodies the national outlook to be preserved in
Like many long-term incumbents, Mugabe has come to see the
nation's future as tied to his own "values", however inappropriate for change
and growth those mantras may be. But do Zimbabweans really want a replica of
Mugabe as their future leader?
In any case his anti-corruption crusade
has left many of those who would otherwise fit his ideological straitjacket
badly exposed. Some of those identified as possible heirs have been mentioned
in shady deals of one sort or another, from dealing illegally in gold,
foreign currency on the black market or simple greed, that is refusing to
surrender extra farms they seized at the height of the land reform
Mugabe has so far not shown that he is able to take decisive
measures against multiple farm owners to prove that the campaign was not
orchestrated as a false sideshow designed to run parallel to Zanu PF's fight
against businessmen in the private sector who were perceived to be
either pro-opposition or not actively supportive of the ruling
The fact that Zanu PF itself failed to uphold its own leadership
code on wealth accumulation suggests that not everybody in the party is
some starry-eyed idealist. Most of those who fought in the liberation war and
had nothing to their name at Independence in 1980 have become
rampant accumulators of capital who would have difficulty explaining the
source of their wealth.
This then exposes the limitations of
leadership criteria linked to a warrior past which ignore the demands of a
more dynamic future society that needs sharper economic eyes than political
While Mugabe might cherish the accolade of retiring as Africa's
angriest old man when it comes to the West, the rest of the nation craves an
opportunity for mutually beneficial interaction with the international
community. This, Zanu PF cannot achieve alone. The principles and objectives
of the party are simply not enough. We need to move ahead as a nation, not as
a projection of Zanu PF's bitter past.
As the president himself
acknowledges in his interview with The Voice: "I look at one who will appeal
to the people and who the people will have chosen naturally as having the
qualities of a leader."
That means given adequate information to make an
informed choice, people will choose their leader according to the exigencies
of the present, and not constantly warmed-up past glories.
cannot prosper on politics alone. We have tasted the diet of hate and slogans
over the past 24 years and neither Zanu PF nor the MDC has received any
Three million people have voted with their feet to live in
countries which Zanu PF daily excoriates. The time has come to look at the
needs of the majority. The time has come to look for leaders who have some
idea of how a modern economy should be managed. Many of those will have had
experience in the business sector.
Leaders must be chosen on the basis
of what they can do for the country, not because they deserve to be buried at
Heroes Acre for their role in the war. The future certainly calls for new
heroes who can rescue the country from the current economic quagmire. None of
those in Mugabe's inner circle can do that. What have they achieved since
2000 apart from a 30% contraction of the economy, mass unemployment and
agricultural collapse? What further depredations do they propose over the
next five years?
Nothing can be achieved by policies of vengeance. While
it is commendable to expand the country's export markets to the East, there
is no point in losing our friends in the West. There is very little to be
gained by exporting primary produce to Malaysia and China without adding
value. Zimbabwe can only grow into an economic giant by rebuilding its own
industries and expanding its manufacturing sector, not by flooding the
country with cheap Chinese products that lead to the closure of factories and
loss of jobs.
Mugabe is entitled to point out the political parameters
within which leaders can be chosen from his own party. But he is wrong to
overlook the economic needs of the country. What has proved disastrous over
the years since Independence is politicians who pursue policies that militate
against vital sectors of production.
That is a gap that needs to be
narrowed - but our best economic brains have no war credentials. That is a
reality that President Mugabe and his war colleagues have to accept sooner
rather than later if we are to stop doing further harm to our country
LIFE for most of Zimbabwe's workers has become increasingly
tough. Year after year it has become more and more difficult for the majority
of Zimbabwe's workforce to maintain a standard of living for their families
and themselves, let alone to achieve any improvement to that standard, as
most desperately aspire to achieve.
Their environment has been
extremely harsh for, by now, almost every second of their waking lives is
centred upon monetary concerns. They have to worry how to meet basic costs
such as rentals, electricity and water charges, purchase of foodstuffs,
children's education fees and allied expenses such as uniforms and text
books, health care expenses and transport to and from work.
Although very few, if any, ever lived in what could be described as luxury,
most found that periodic increments in wages sufficed to continue living in a
consistent lifestyle, and at one time they could anticipate some improvement
in their circumstances, and very often that anticipation would be
realised.But times have changed. In recent years, most wages have increased
to an extent aligned with official rates of inflation, whilst the actual
inflation impacting upon workers has been greater than such
This has been because, as a general rule in
Zimbabwe in the past years, the extent of inflation on basic expenditure such
as accommodation costs (including utilities), foodstuffs, education, medical
costs and transport has been markedly greater than on other items such
as entertainment and leisure, furniture and household goods, clothing,
textiles and footwear. As the average worker has had to spend the bulk of
income on basics and the progressively decreasing portion of income on those
goods and services not as severely impacted upon by inflation, he has
suffered erosion of his purchasing power to a greater extent than official
inflation and, therefore, wage increments equating to official inflation,
have not sufficed to restore the workers' purchasing power.
further significant factor has been that as the pace of the economy has
slowed down, fewer and fewer enterprises have had a need to operate overtime
in order to meet marked demands. As a result, workers have supplemented basic
income to a considerably lesser degree by way of overtime earnings than was
previously the case. Similarly, the ability to earn performance-related
productivity bonuses has declined, for employers, having experienced sharp
reductions in required production volumes, have necessarily scaled down
Yet another major factor has been the exponential
growth in the members being supported by income earners. The most admirable
aspect of Zimbabwean culture is the extended family system, wherein those
with income will render support to relatives, no matter how distant, as are
without income. Not only are spouses, children, parents and
parents-in-law supported, but so to are siblings of the worker, and similarly
supported are the workers' and his spouses' cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews,
grandparents and even other remote relatives in need.
been estimated that the average number of dependants relying on a worker has
risen from eight in 1991 to 18 in 2003, as a result of increased
unemployment, the impact of HIV/Aids and malnutrition and an overall decline
in health.The pressures upon incomes have resulted in ever greater
prioritisation of expenditure, with more and more categories of expenditure
being excluded, notwithstanding that many of them were previously have been
perceived to be of an essential nature.
Probably the first expense
categories to be eliminated were those related to leisure and entertainment,
furniture, clothing and footwear. But more recently many workers have had to
stop funding transport costs. Instead they depart their homes before sunrise
and walk to their place of employment for several hours, and after an
exhausting day, have to walk home again at sunset. They are negatively
affected physically, but are also deprived of quality time with their
families.Recently, these circumstances have worsened further, with many
workers no longer able to pay their family's health care costs. Instead they
have to hope for restoration of health being achieved without recourse to
medical services or medications.It is little wonder, therefore, that all
workers crave major pay increases and unhesitatingly demand
On the one hand the desperation of their needs drives them to
pursue increments greatly higher than the official inflation rates. On the
other hand, the average worker is imbued with a perception that employers
are possessed of untold wealth. The worker walks to work, the employer
arrives in his executive model motor vehicle. The worker lives in
overcrowded conditions in high-density areas, the employers reside in large
houses situate in low-density areas, and so forth. The worker has become
oblivious to the fact that in all too many instances the employer's business
is sustaining immense losses, having suffered considerable decreases in
both domestic and export market demand, sharply increased operational costs
and cripplingly high amounts of financing charges. The trappings of wealth
are usually carry-overs from better days in the past and not the result
of continuing high incomes, and the businesses are burdened with
With desperation driving worker demands, and
the perceptions that employers are endowed with massive riches, the stance of
trade unions, workers' committees, and others represent workers in collective
bargaining negotiations, no longer base their demands in negotiations upon
inflation rates, but at markedly higher levels. Whilst the compounded
month-on-month inflation for the first half of 2004 was marginally over 60%,
opening demands at wage negotiations have usually ranged from 500% to 1
Even in instances where the negotiations are engaged in only
once per annum, instead of quarterly or half-yearly, the collective
bargaining dialogues are commencing with worker requirements being wage
increases of between 600% and 1 000%, despite the annualised rate of
inflation (based upon the consumer price index) being 394,6% for the year
These excessive demands which now characterise
collective bargaining, are creating a fast growing divide between employers
and labour, and the negotiations are often becoming highly confrontational.
Moreover, the inevitable deadlocks are considerably extending the
negotiations, causing much distress and concern to workers and employers
alike. In a notably increasing extent, the parties are having to declare
disputes, which then are referred to arbitration or litigation, with
concomitant further delays and great costs for the disputants. A major side
effect is that employers look more and more to downsizing their operations by
discontinuing the employment of contract labour, and by recourse to natural
attrition and non-resort to filling vacancies as may arise.
enterprises have been forced into closure, being unable to operate viably in
the light of rising costs in general, and labour costs in particular, and at
the same time being faced by shrinking market demands. Other enterprises have
had to cut back severely on provision to employees of benefits from
employment as fall outside the parameters of collective bargaining
Thus although the hardships of the workers are very
real and very evident, they need to temper their demands upon employers to
rational levels related to enterprise viability. Failure to do so worsens the
lot of the worker by his setting the employer enterprise along the path to
closure and therefore himself upon the path to unemployment. In such event
the worker becomes his own worst enemy.
HAVE you noticed the new offence Jonathan Moyo's Department
of Information has dreamt up? It is now forbidden to mention
fatalities resulting from starvation.
The Standard last weekend
carried a story, sourced from Bulawayo city council minutes, reporting the
death of 62 people as a result of food shortages. The Zimbabwe Vulnerability
Assessment Committee recently reported that 2,3 million people would need
food aid in the coming months.
The government, increasingly
delusional and paranoid, has denied these reports, claiming that Zimbabwe has
enough food to feed itself.
Now the Department of Information has
gone one step further and warned that the media is liable to prosecution for
reporting "falsehoods" about food shortages.
Reminding the media
of its obligation to verify information before publication, it said
"publication of falsehoods, however well-sourced" was "punishable in terms of
the law of the land".
So the conclusions of the Bulawayo city
council, including its health director, and the observations of international
agencies concerned with food security, have been deemed "falsehoods" which
cannot be cited while the government continues to pretend that the country is
self-sufficient in food?
Apart from the sinister attempt to abridge
the duty of newspapers to keep the public informed, this sets a new precedent
in requiring the independent press to follow the state media in publishing
official deceit and denying civic concerns. The gratuitous insults heaped on
the archbishop of Bulawayo in the Department of Information's statement
expose the partisan and unprofessional agenda at work here.
Pius Ncube is "quite unwell", what are we to make of the seriously deranged
people working in the government's propaganda department who think they can
win converts by placing the word "British" in front of everything?
So we had the "British-fronted tabloid", a "British-sponsored mayor", and
"British-backed doctors" all in cahoots!
Is this not the point at
which men in white coats step in to sedate those in need of help before they
become a danger to themselves?
Another clear "falsehood" by the
department is the claim that the government introduced executive mayors to
"fight urban poverty". Whereupon it proceeded to cleverly warn that if the
"false" Standard story was investigated and "found to be true" it "would
point to punishable gross negligence" on the part of the Bulawayo city
council! So in fact the department is denying what it doesn't even
Luckily Ignatius Chombo has taken over control from all
executive mayors and we hope he is aware of his new responsibilities to feed
Somebody else in urgent need of help is geography
teacher Caesar Zvayi. He has on several occasions referred to Ian Smith's
"open weeping" at Rufaro Stadium as the Union Jack was lowered at midnight on
April 17 1980.
This is a poignant historic moment that Zvayi has
captured for posterity. We presume he has done his homework and can confirm
that Smith was in fact present at the ceremony? It's just that we are a
little surprised by the tears seeing that the rebel leader had 12 years
earlier dumped the Union Jack in favour of some green and white
These and other "falsehoods" can be found daily in the
Herald. Not long ago we were told the Inkatha Freedom Party was the second
largest party in South Africa. And more recently we were surprised to read
that Mike Auret had said Harare Archbishop Robert Ndlovu was "the best black
man for the job".
In fact he said he was the "best man for the
job". Not quite the same thing is it?
We liked the story
about Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono walking around Bulawayo "incognito"
in a bid to learn more about the operations of the black market.
Did he wear a false moustache and funny nose with horn-rim glasses? No, the
state media tell us, he just changed his jacket.
Bulawayo populace is familiar with the governor's jacket! But unsurprisingly
his concealment didn't last long. Two ladies he was in conversation with were
tipped off as to his real identity and abandoned what we are told was a
proposed forex deal.
But then they were picked up by the police and
detained for five days on the basis of a photo published by the Chronicle.
Their lawyer pointed out that in the absence of witnesses prepared to testify
as to the nature of their conversation with Gono, this was a manifest
infringement of their constitutional rights.
"The facts of the
case," Sindiso Mazibisa of Cheda & Partners said, "evince a clear abuse
of power and arbitrary arrest and detention of citizens of
What is Gono's view on this? Locked up for five days
just because they were pictured talking to him when he was supposed to be on
a fact-finding mission? Is this all OK with him?
unusual for us to agree with President Mugabe. But speaking at Mark Dube's
funeral last Friday, he offered some words of wisdom.
political, religious and community leaders of their responsibilities, he said
it was very easy to throw a nation into strife, to trigger an unhappy fate
through unmeasured language meant to inflame, incite, and
"Is that the fate we wish for our country?" he asked.
"Let us pose this question to ourselves and give honest answers to
Indeed, Mr President, we await your answer! Meanwhile,
perhaps you could tell us who went to Britain and said "please come and
invade our motherland". We can't find any record of Pius Ncube - or anybody
else for that matter - having said that.
Readers may recall,
however, what Mark Dube said to Geoff Nyarota about reporting Willowgate. And
what he did to Gibbs Dube for daring to expose Zanu PF's dirty
Mark Dube was one of the first to show us the "democracy"
such heroes fought for.
In fact, President Mugabe need not wait
for long to hear those who want to "incite and instigate". Just listen to
Information minister Jonathan Moyo talking about almost anyone or anything
that is not Zanu PF. Or those writing using pseudonyms in the state media to
attack senior members of the ruling party. Is that the culture we want to
inculcate in our children Mr President?
Muckraker was a
bit confused this week to see the Sunday Mail's political editor Munyaradzi
Huni under fire from Lowani Ndlovu for not getting to the core of the issues
in his "Constituency Watch" column. We felt very sorry for poor Huni for he
is a man already down.
But Lowani's exposé was the cruellest
backstabbing of modern times. If they are friends, as claimed by Lowani, why
not pull him aside and whisper to him a few guidelines instead of taking him
to an open arena for public flagellation?
And why the glaring
contradictions that almost bring the two "friends" to the same wavelength?
You can't have the most "innovative" column that shows the leadership role of
the newspaper being at the same time "irrelevant, inappropriate and
So it is that Lowani concludes with devastating brutality
that Huni's column is an "incredible waste of time that is so boring, so
irrelevant, so inappropriate and so useless" as to risk gross
Lowani should be directing his satirical barbs at
the person who fast-tracked Huni to reporter, chief reporter and political
editor in three years. So much for advice from a friend! Indeed, with friends
such as Lowani, does Huni need enemies?
The Mail &
Guardian continues to attract fire from Tafataona Mahoso, this time wearing
his hat as a columnist. He appears offended that the paper could suggest
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema is an evil man who should not be welcomed in
South Africa. Is he any more evil than US President George Bush and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mahoso asks, studiously ignoring Obiang's dispatch
of his uncle and routine torture of perceived opponents.
He is also
annoyed that the M&G should take issue with the crackdown on NGOs in
"All Zimbabwe is trying to do is demand that NGOs apply
to themselves the same requirement for transparency and accountability which
they have been demanding of government and public bodies," he helpfully
There should be no sacred cows, Mahoso says, citing the
example of the M&G's coverage of its own predicament in
This was an attempt by the newspaper to draw "imperial
attention on itself as one of the sacred cows", he suggested. The M&G has
been giving the impression that "the entire government machinery in Zimbabwe
had run out of priority business to attend to and was preoccupied with
stalking journalists and editors".
How on earth did that
impression manage to take root? Anyway, our thanks to Mahoso for putting the
record straight. By the way, all those parastatals that haven't submitted
their accounts for years: they will be subject to the same rules of
accountability and transparency as NGOs will they? Including the outaged Zesa
and the creaking, accident-prone NRZ!
Nothing is so
comforting as when the truth finally shoots forth from the horse's own mouth,
as they say. This is one horse that bolted out of the Zanu PF stable to join
the MDC stud. Then it bolted back to rejoin its original stable claiming it
had been under surveillance because it was always suspected to be a wrong
So the pony appeared this week in its true Zanu PF
colours and to make a public confession.
"I was born in Zanu PF
and grew up in Zanu PF. I had just strayed, but now I am back home," the mare
neighed as she was led into the owner's enclosure at the Heroes
At least that's how Muckraker read Sekesai Makwavarara's
"mass defection" from the MDC. We dare not say treachery, because that would
sound like the forever bitter Lowani Ndlovu. But her coat is about as turned
as it gets.
She claimed she could not "deliver effectively"
during the time she has worked as an independent, which in itself is pregnant
with irony, but which we are prepared to pass. But to then claim, as she
naively does, that as an independent "I am unable to get the full support of
the people I serve, the majority of whom, if not all, belong to the ruling
party - Zanu PF" is to stretch credibility to breaking point.
Was she ever elected as an independent? No! Did she ever stand as a Zanu PF
candidate? No! So which "majority" was Makwavarara serving?
Ignatius Chombo, the mayoral mansion and the two
Which accords well with her assertion that she
is "the mayor of Harare".
And the gap-toothed goon behind her
understandably grinned. After all, he knows a thing or two about taking
ratepayers for a ride in 4x4s!
Dreaming Vincent Kahiya THE
Greek government has told Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere that he is not
welcome in Athens for the Olympic Games because he is on the European Union's
list of banned persons.
The news was devastating for Chigwedere, who
could have taken the opportunity to savour the Hellenic culture to which his
name bears witness, and perhaps brag about the success of Zimbabwe's sports
policy in the unlikely hope of a medal for the country.
politics of European sanctions aside, Chigwedere did not deserve a seat on
the plane to Athens because his policies are destroying sport.
Education minister he has embarked on a systemic policy to ensure
that hitherto well-run and well-equipped schools are reduced to the
same condition as other dilapidated and non-performing government
institutions. And he has not fared any better as minister responsible for
I feel Chigwedere, through his policy of forcing schools to
charge unrealistically low fees, is the biggest threat to sports development
in the country. I recall the minister in an interview at the beginning of the
year accusing private schools of buying sports equipment instead of books.
Is this the same minister who expects the country to do well in sport when
he is throttling sports development?
The team to Athens -
comprising about 11 contestants and an equal number of officials - is the
smallest fielded in the past 24 years with only four disciplines
"The question is why only four sport disciplines?"
"Is it out of choice that we are only selecting from
the four disciplines?
"We can produce more athletes who can qualify
if we make adequate preparations," he said.
He forgot to mention
the role of his ministry in all this. Perhaps Chigwedere is not aware of his
responsibility as Sports minister. Let me restate for his benefit what Unesco
says about sport.
"Physical education and sport are vital for the
overall education of young people. They help children to achieve mind-body
unity, to learn how to seek victory and accept defeat, and respect their
"Physical education and sport facilitate the foundation
of democratic and social values through basic concepts such as: no victory at
any price, equal opportunities with the same rules for everyone and the will
to improve oneself."
Zimbabwe is being represented at the Olympics
by a small team of 11 competitors - Winnet Dube, Lloyd Zvasiya, Lewis Banda,
Talkmore Nyongani and Brian Dzingai from athletics, swimmers Kirsty Coventry
and Brendan Ashby, and shottist Michael Nicholson. Wayne Black, Cara Black
and Kevin Ullyett form a strong tennis team.
"The Zimbabwe Olympic
Committee must prioritise the sports that have the potential for medals for
the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games," the minister said.
"I would like to urge
ZOC to seriously consider their talent base for the next Olympic
"I urge you (the athletes) to prepare hard for us to have more
qualifying out of a population of more than 11,6 million. We can produce more
athletes who can qualify if we make adequate preparations," he
Dream on Aeneas. The question to ask is: what have you done
since Sydney 2000?
There will be nothing to show so long as
schools are forbidden to charge fees which are commensurate with services
they offer and facilities to hand.
Chigwedere should wake up to the
elementary reality that to produce more swimmers who can make Olympic
standards, there should be qualified coaches and good
There is one such facility in Chitungwiza built for the
All-Africa Games. At the time we asked whether it would not become a white
elephant and were told it would be put to all sorts of uses. Does Chigwedere
know that the pool is currently a cesspool of dark green water a metre
The same is true of pools at many former "Group A" schools
which have abandoned aquatic sports altogether. Private schools and a few
government institutions which can still offer water sports have been told not
to raise fees. They will soon be unable to maintain their pools and the
Chitungwiza saga will be re-enacted at those schools.
vividly in 1994 writing strongly against the construction of the pool in
Chitungwiza saying the huge facility would go to waste after the 1995
All-Africa Games. I was right, as Chigwedere's ministry has made sure the
fears at the time become reality.
Tennis courts at most schools are
overgrown with weeds. Equipment for field events in athletics have become
antiquated or disappeared altogether. Very few schools have hurdles,
mattresses for high jump and pole-vaulting or javelins. Most schools can only
perform in track events which explains the poor representation in field
events at major competitions.
Cde Minister: schools need money to
replace equipment so that athletes do not use spears instead of javelins! You
should not dream of Zimbabwe sending hockey teams to the Olympics because
state-of-the-art facilities at Magamba Stadium in Harare have been allowed to
go to waste.
The Astro-turf surface now has potholes like most of our
roads. Can Zimbabwe ever dream of repeating the 1980 feat of an Olympic gold
with you as our sports minister? It seems unlikely.
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono is to
be congratulated for bringing economics into the centre of public debate
and for livening up what would otherwise be unbearably dull fare that is
churned out by ZTV.
It is a great pity that there is such a gap
between his smoothly delivered rhetoric and the economic reality on the
ground, and that the private sector has been bullied into giving sycophantic
applause rather than informed criticism. In his latest performance, the
governor went so far as to dub anyone who fails to give him their
unquestioning support as lacking the adequate expertise to analyse the policy
regime and come to the conclusion that Zimbabwe is on what he terms the "full
economic recovery route".
This sort of outburst is
symptomatic of the governor himself losing confidence as he tries to contend
with the increasingly evident contradictions in his policies. As any
professional economist would tell him, indeed any first-year economics
student, in the four core areas of responsibility of a central bank, Gono's
approach has exacerbated rather than relieved the underlying
These four areas are: supervision of the banking
sector; management of the money supply; interest rates; and the exchange
The remaining dozens of topics dealt with in his latest
monetary policy statement are not normally the preserve of a central bank,
but perhaps serve the function of obfuscating the failings of the RBZ in
its core areas of responsibility.
If the statements in his
maiden monetary policy statement (MPS) in December 2003 are anything to go
by, Gono started in a much more promising fashion. Let us take each of the
four areas in turn and evaluate what he has done in relation to what he said
he would do in his December speech.
"In order to safeguard the stability and soundness of the
financial system, and minimise distortions, the bank's supervisory role has
had to, and will continue to be, strengthened . . . The message that this
conveys to the market is that the curtain has been drawn against the era for
the proliferation of weak, poorly managed financial institutions dependent
on cheap and unlimited central bank credit." (December MPS, Pages
When he took over at the RBZ last December, Gono was
rightly concerned about the state of the banking sector. But instead of
giving the banks time to adjust, he precipitated a much greater crisis than
He did this by starving the market of liquidity,
driving interest rates by the end of 2003 to as high as 1 000%. This caused a
number of poorly run banking institutions to default and other well-run banks
to be caught in the crossfire when the cheque clearing system went into
In January 2004, Gono bailed out the ailing
institutions through the Troubled Banks Fund, giving them three months to
sort themselves out. Inevitably, however, when the three months were up, many
of the problems were still there and in the meantime the Troubled Banks loans
plus interest had ballooned into hitherto unimaginable sums.
Whereas the governor expressed horror in his December statement about the
level of public domestic debt ($607 billion on December 5 - MPS, Page 46), by
July just one of the private defaulting banks owed more than this amount to
the RBZ. So much, as the quote above would have it, for the end of the "era
for the proliferation of weak, poorly managed financial institutions
dependent on cheap and unlimited central bank credit".
banking crisis is by no means over. Further negative economic fallout and
appropriation of public funds for dubious support to private institutions is
in store for later in the year.
"It is critical that fiscal prudence, as intended in the budget,
be complemented by a tight monetary policy. To this end, the bank will aim
to contain money supply (M3) growth from levels around 500% by the end of
this year, to below 200% by December, 2004." (December MPS, Page
Under Gono's stewardship, the money supply was dramatically
augmented in the first half of 2004 not just by the injection of hundreds of
billions of dollars for the troubled banks but by $1,700 billion of
"productive sector" loans attracting a highly subsidised interest rate of 30%
(recently raised to 50% - figures from July MPS, Page 83). The net result, as
reported in the July MPS, has been a very dramatic increase in the money
supply, albeit that the rate has been declining from 490% in January to 400%
in May (July MPS, Page 72).
The increase in reserve money,
which is a particularly important indicator of future inflation, between
December 2003 and May 2004 was already over the target he had set for the
entire year of 200%. On a year-to-year basis, between May 2003 and May 2004
reserve money increased by a staggering 875%.
"Pursue a dual interest rate policy which, on one hand,
seeks to encourage economic growth, while on the other, fight inflation
through discouraging speculative and consumption borrowing. In this regard,
interest rates on consumption, speculative and other non-productive
activities will attract unsubsidised market-related rates." (December MPS,
A dual interest rate policy is simply not consistent
with a commitment to what the governor characterises as his number-one goal,
which is reducing inflation. As the governor well knows from his time as a
banker, money is fungible.
Providing $1,700 billion at 30%
or later 50% frees up money elsewhere to be used for "consumption,
speculative and other non-productive activities". The increasingly intrusive
attempts to control the use of the "productive sector" funds are inherently
As the governor rightly said back in December, "we need
to show sustained discipline and commitment to the programmes that we
undertake, and resist the temptation for policy reversals in the face of the
inevitable pain of adjustment." (December MPS, Page 50). But his interest
rate policy has been anything but predictable.
rates in the money market have been characterised by extreme volatility,
veering from rates well above inflation to sustained periods of nominal
interest rates well below 100% with inflation of the order of 400%.
Negative real interest rates provoke dis-saving, excess
consumption, inflationary pressures and speculation. Evidence of the latest
bout of such behaviour is the speculative mini bull-run on the stock exchange
On interest rates, as in other crucial policy
areas, Gono finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He knows that
positive real interest rates are needed to conquer inflation and restore a
coherent incentive structure in the economy.
But he also
knows that paying real interest rates on the national debt would blow the
budget out of the water. Despite claims of budgetary balance from the
Ministry of Finance, under the present ill-conceived policies, domestic debt
has mushroomed from $603 billion in December 2003 to $2,040 billion on July
23 2004 (RBZ website - domestic debt figure not mentioned in the July
The non-market solution that has been implemented is to
compulsorily appropriate any liquidity surpluses of the banks and put these
into Special Treasury Bills at rates of interest determined by fiat by the
RBZ. This creates a new form of distortion which down the line will have
further adverse economic consequences.
"We seek role prominence, in the area of relative price
stability at home, and the preservation of the value of the Zimbabwe dollar
relative to that of other currencies. In this regard, we will pursue policies
that fight inflation and stabilise our exchange rate." (December MPS, Page
At the time of the announcement of the controlled foreign
exchange auction, the MDC expressed alarm at the idea of control, continued
taxation of exporters through the 25% surrender requirement and the
orientation to stabilising the exchange rate (as presaged in the statement
above) rather than to ensuring export competitiveness.
worst fears have been justified. The controlled auction has de facto been
used to re-impose a system of import control more stringent than existed in
the 1970s or 1980s. At the same time, the exchange rate has
been systematically overvalued to an extent that has, by July 2004, destroyed
the incentive to export in almost all sectors.
an intermediate economic objective - the real goal is to create
jobs and increase real incomes for Zimbabweans. Thus the economy will only
have "turned the corner" when sustainable economic growth is
Regrettably, that prospect becomes more and more
difficult every day that Zanu PF remains in power. This is not just because
of the contradictions in the macro-economic policies and the resultant
contraction of export and import substituting activities, but because of
fundamental flaws in the environment.
Recovery is ultimately
a question of confidence and this is impossible in a situation where, to take
Kondozi as one of the most egregious examples, an indigenously owned business
with Export Processing Zone status is nonetheless hijacked by rapacious
members of the political establishment.
It is also impossible for
international support to be resumed under this government - any other reading
of the recent surprisingly harsh criticisms of the President Robert Mugabe
regime by the IMF is just wishful thinking.
international support to Zimbabwe would require a legitimate government to be
in place, willing to restore the rule of law in all its aspects and to
formulate and implement a comprehensive economic recovery programme,
including negotiating bridging loans to clear the accumulated foreign
currency arrears - which by now amount to well over a year's export
-Tendai Biti is the MDC's economic affairs
Moeletsi Mbeki is both right and wrong By David
Moore AS with many Marxists converted to the free-market, Moeletsi Mbeki is
both right and wrong. In his How political élite underdevelops Africa,
published in the Zimbabwe Independent on August 6, he illustrates the
enthusiasm for the market that only a reconstructed Trotskyite
He combines acute materialist analysis and heady criticism of
Africa's ruling class with the strong dose of missionary idealism for which
high priests such as Hernando de Soto ("set up private deeds and poverty
will disappear like magic") are famous, and authorises it all with citations
from the World Bank and the IMF. Perhaps if he is still a Marxist, he
believes that when the peasants and the transnational corporations are freed
from the grip of Africa's predatory élite, a true working class will emerge
and join its comrades in the West for a real revolution - the one for which
Trotsky and Lenin could not wait.
There is much in such an
analysis with which one can agree. More than a decade after the end of
Soviet-style socialism and mixed-up third world experiments, one sees a
litany of mistakes. Thus we have to move back to the starting point. How did
capitalism develop in its heartlands?
How can it begin again in its
hinterlands, in a global conjuncture of qualitatively different hues - where
huge amounts of capital are sloshing around the world, just like at the turn
of the last century, begging to be attached to a labour force and to build up
the forces of production instead of chasing currency exchange rates, but
where so much of Africa seems unable to attract it, let alone keep its own
capital inside its colonially misconstructed borders?
It is here
where Mbeki tries to hit the nail on the head, but misses. One hopes he did
not break a finger with the blow - but if applied incorrectly, his lessons
could break a continent. He has come face to face with the question that hit
Marx in the face, but that Adam Smith avoided. It is the problem of primary,
or primitive accumulation: how did a subsistence producing peasantry in
Europe, obliged to turn over most of its surplus to feudal lords, become two
things? How did one part of this class become a group of small capitalist
farmers (while the lords became big ones) and the other part a working class
with nothing but its labour to sell?
The latter proletarians became,
almost in spite of themselves, a prime force for capitalist development
because they forced the bosses (some of them feudalists turned capitalists,
others guild-masters turned entrepreneurs) to pay more wages and thus
increase profit through innovation and productivity increases instead of
cheap labour. The former small capitalist farmers diminished dramatically in
size, as their more successful brethren bought them out.
southern Africa, the story of settler colonialism is well-known: a
strict Marxist would account for the pernicious combination of race and
class formation in these societies as a story of only partial
primitive accumulation. European settlers did not want competition from
emerging capitalist peasants, nor for the wages of miners to rise, so the job
of original capitalist development was only half-way completed. Even
with liberation, racially distorted capitalism remains. Even after
"fast-track" land reform, there seems to be no capitalist nirvana on the
Thus far, Mbeki might agree (aside from the time-frame,
which, as with all market missionaries eludes him completely): but his hammer
is only taking aim. It is with the vexed question of the peasantry where he
misses the mark. Towards the end of his piece, however, he picks up the
hammer and tries again. There, he gets closer to the target, but by then the
work is almost ruined. In his focus on the "political elite" which is somehow
able to manipulate the peasants, the multinationals and the
international financial institutions all at once, he misses a little layer
of functionaries and the relations of production and authority around them
that have everybody in the above list - and probably themselves, too -
confused. What about the "chiefs"?
When he first confronts the
peasantry, Mbeki says they constitute "arguably (!) one of the largest
private sectors in the world today . free to pursue their search for security
and comfort . control the means of their objectives . (and) exchange what
they produce". He thus ignores the complex array of land tenure relations in
the communal areas (constituting nearly half of Zimbabwe's reach - and still
relatively untouched by the heralded land reforms - and perhaps a third of
South Africa's) about which Marx, Smith, Hayek, and de Soto would sing in
chorus: "not 'free', not 'private'". He also forgets about the fact that the
"chiefs" - not feudal lords, not capitalists, not the state (although the
state has nominal title, the fact that this class of colonially re-invented
mediators is wooed so assiduously fictionalises that ownership) - are the
social group hindering the "freedom" of the peasants assumed to be waiting
for the freedom to truck, barter, and trade.
By the end of the
London School of Business sermon, the preacher takes aim again, remembering
that his peasants are not free. The "passive peasantry . must become the real
owners of their primary asset, land . freehold must be introduced and the
so-called land tenure system which in reality is state land ownership, must
be abolished". This is the phase of primary accumulation that Marx thought
spelled the beginning of capitalism - and led to the blood coming out of its
every pore - but that Smith and his disciples thought happened magically.
This is the phase that takes a strong state to perform (think of Japan, South
Korea, and even "primitive socialist accumulation" in China). What state can
do this job now? Would it be the international one represented by the World
Bank, or the US? This is the phase that countless land commissions in
Zimbabwe have advised - but pull back from, even now, because they know that
the chiefs will not go without a fight, and that if the "market" is created
overnight only the rich will be able to buy into it. Would we just get more
cellphone farmers, or will Waitrose and Anglo-American just buy the farms -
with chiefs as junior partners - rather than contract for the fresh
Even if a solid group of yeoman farmers emerged from the fray,
where is the industry in the urban areas to soak up the ones short a plot and
a hoe - let alone oxen or tractors? Will they all sell "juice" to the
cellphone farmer-bureaucrats? No, they'll be destined to a
"semi-proletarian" condition - or migrate to England and South Africa to siya
so there, perhaps buying some of the plantations' produce. And let's for the
time being ignore the former large-scale commercial farmers, who so
ingeniously mixed their capitalism with feudal farm-worker relations
subsidised by communal modes of production: they are heading off to Zambia
and Nigeria, where states think miracles can take-off beyond the stagnation
that characterised Zimbabwe.
No, there's no miraculous market
formula, Mbeki. The new generation of Zimbabwean marketeers have made their
fortunes with media and money, the magical commodities that can produce more
of the same, but don't break down the barriers of land beyond their reach.
Hayek's "information spontaneity" models have an affinity with their mode of
production, but he completely forgot about the pre-capitalist conundrums
facing Africa. Maybe it would be better for ex-Marxists to turn to Keynes
when looking for a pantheon of advisors: he said something like "madmen in
power simply echo the words of academic scribblers 25 years before". Better
to look again at the chroniclers of capitalism's early phases more carefully.
After that, another commission could be struck to see how the South Koreas of
the world performed their tasks of primary accumulation. It would find no
magic market, but a geo-politically informed statist project that will be
very difficult to pull off today. In the meantime, we should be saved the
spread of illusions.
-David Moore teaches economic history and
development studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban.
Give RBZ autonomy, IMF tells Zimbabwe Godfrey
Marawanyika THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) needs to be independent from government to achieve its
In its working paper entitled Zimbabwe: A Quest for
a Nominal Anchor, prepared by Arto Kovanen, the IMF said it was possible that
once inflation declined to a relatively low level, another monetary
aggregate, such as reserve money, could be useful for the conduct of monetary
Kovanen said high inflation and the accompanying policies had
undermined the stability of structural relations which was likely to
complicate future macroeconomic management.
"I wish to emphasise
that economic policies are only effective if accompanied by credible and
genuine commitment of the authorities," the report said. "In the past, the
credibility of monetary policy has been undermined by the lack of support
from fiscal policy as well as the lack of consistency in policy
implementation. Strengthening the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's independence and
clarifying its policy objectives should assist in enhancing its
In the report the IMF came up with a six-point
conclusion. It said there was a strong linkage between the currency in
circulation and the price levels in the country, which suggests that the
currency in circulation would provide a good leading indicator of any future
The report said that a "cointergration" analysis
establishes a well identified "long-run money demand relation for currency in
circulation, suggesting that this monetary aggregate could be helpful to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as an intermediate monetary operating
It said the reserve money which the central bank had been
using as an intermediate policy target, was ineffective in a high
inflationary environment, "because the demand for reserve money is not
well-defined while its information content for predicting future price
movements is weak".
"Well-defined money demand functions for narrow
and broad money cannot be established in the full sample," the report
"Statistical relations seem to break down during the high
inflation period of the past few years. This raises serious challenges for
monetary policy implementation, particularly regarding the appropriate anchor
to facilitate disinflation in the Zimbabwean economy."
said the pegging of the exchange rate had not succeeded in constraining other
monetary and fiscal policies.
Chinese delegate 'rushed' Ngoni Chanakira WHILE
President Robert Mugabe and his government officials continue to blow their
horns about seeking investment from China, a top company boss from that
country was last week given shoddy treatment by Ministry of Industry and
International Trade technocrats.
What could have been an otherwise
interesting and informative presentation on "Doing business with China -
current opportunities for developing countries", turned into a nightmare for
Development Research Centre of the State Council boss, Long
Things turned sour for the Chinese tycoon, a special guest
of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), when his computer failed
to perform its duties at the beginning of his presentation.
event had to be stopped while CZI officials tried to make
When the problem was solved, Guoqiang's
time was almost up and he was rushed through his 20-minute presentation by
the session's chairman, National Economic Consultative Forum head Nicholas
After much embarrassment, Guoqiang told the business
delegates that products worth US$128 million had been exported from Zimbabwe
to the People's Republic of China during the first half of this
China has a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$1,4 trillion and
its gross national product (GNP) per capita is US$1 090.
said the country's exports were US$438,4 billion which is ranked about fourth
in the world and third in terms of its imports which amount to US$412,8
There was a further fall-out during tea break when Agribank
chief executive officer and former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe deputy governor
Sam Malaba took Katikiti aside and chided him for not allowing Guoqiang to go
through his presentation.
"You do not do this to the Chinese,
especially having invited them to this event," Malaba said. "You have not
only embarrassed him but he could take this further to his countrymen. These
people are very sensitive about such things."
In an interview
later, Guoqiang told businessdigest that he was "not really bothered about
"China has many opportunities and I just wanted to show
Zimbabweans what they can offer us," he said. "You can send tobacco, food
items and leather and there are opportunities in tourism."
has several projects in Zimbabwe especially with the profit-making Industrial
Development Corporation of Zimbabwe led by Mike Ndudzo.
also built the National Sports Stadium and Chinhoyi University.
'RBZ policy leaves banks with little for
agriculture' Conrad Dube THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s new
capitalisation requirements for banks leaves financial institutions with very
little to invest in national programmes such as agriculture, Kingdom
Financial Holdings Ltd (KFHL) chairman Richard Muirimi has
Addressing an analysts' briefing on the six months to June 30
results this week, Muirimi urged the "regulatory authorities to look into the
issue as it leaves banks only 40% of total banked funds available to
banking institutions making it difficult to support reforms such as
RBZ governor Gideon Gono's December 2003
monetary policy statement requires banks to deposit $10 billion with the RBZ
as paid-up capital by the end of this month as the central bank moves to
address liquidity problems that rocked the financial sector early this
"Yes we want to support national projects such as agriculture
but with 60% of our funds under RBZ management, we are left with less
resources to use according to our discretion," Muirimi said.
said although it was necessary to channel more funds into the agricultural
sector "until there is sustainable agricultural production that ensures food
security, financial institutions were limited in their efforts to raise money
for the national project due to the statutory requirements." The requirements
reduce banks capacity to support reforms as the resource base has been shrunk
significantly, according to Muirimi given that banks were no longer allowed
to depend on interest income as interest rates were now prescribed with the
central bank calling on banks to lower rates in line with the "declining rate
"The central bank has directed banks to lower interest
rates in line with the declining rate of inflation irrespective of the cost
it takes to provide services and considering that we are left with only 40%
to invest it may be difficult to make money going forward," he
But, Muirimi said, KFHL had put in place strategies to
complement the on-going restructuring programme to make up for the shift in
policy. "Such strategies include rationalisation of the whole group, some
units coming under one umbrella controlling unit and the suspension of the
branch roll-out programmes. We hope these strategies would ensure that we
perform much better than we did in the first half to June 30," Muirimi
Zim goes for Chinese trains Godfrey
Marawanyika ZIMBABWE intends to import Chinese-made railway wagons and
locomotives to replenish those dilapidated among its fleet. The deal is,
however, still subject to negotiations.
A team of Chinese, which was
in the country to inspect some of the railway infrastructure, has gone back
to complete their evaluation.
Transport and Communication minister
Christopher Mushowe said although the delegation from China was in the
country, nothing concrete had been reached as yet.
"I went to
China early last month to discuss some of the problems our railway sector is
facing. The visit was meant to assess and see how we can refurbish our own
infrastructure which includes locomotives," he said.
delegation also came and did its own feasibility study on our locomotives. If
all goes well we might get some locomotives from them. However, the
delegation left for China last week."
Mushowe's comments come in the
wake of last week's accident which left 70 people seriously injured when two
commuter trains carrying 3 500 passengers collided.
railway sector is dogged by problems pertaining to lack of spare parts which
have affected the signalling system since most of the equipment is
Last year 50 people died when two trains collided in Dete
in an accident largely blamed on the poor signalling system between the
Bulawayo/Victoria Falls route.
Mushowe, however, refused to
disclose how much it could cost the country to secure the equipment from
China, saying Zimbabwe was also in discussions with other unnamed
"We are not only in discussion with the Chinese but with
other countries. I cannot disclose which other countries we are discussing
with for possible assistance because right now we have not even signed a
memorandum of understanding."
RBZ to track forex use Eric Chiriga THE Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will with effect from September 1 issue all importers
and other users of foreign currency a tracking and import mechanism to be
used to trace all foreign currency usages.
Under the system, users of
foreign currency who will not have the Import and Tracking Control Number
(ITCN) will not receive foreign currency from the auction
The RBZ's exchange and control department says the tracking
system would be noted on all auction-related documents, including foreign
exchange bidding forms, invoices and documents of entry of imported
"Exchange control will register and assign the tracking
numbers to all importers. All authorised dealers are directed to submit
details of all their importing customers by August 18," a statement by the
exchange control said.
Morris Mpofu, who heads the RBZ exchange
control department, could not be reached for comment this
The central bank advised all importers to approach their
bankers to ensure that they were registered with its division and assigned an
import and tracking control number.
During his monetary policy
review last month, RBZ governor Gideon Gono raised concerns about the abuse
of the auction system.
The system is the brainchild of the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries born out of its desire to access foreign
currency easily introduced in January.
Gono said some of the
abuses had taken different forms including the repeated accessing of foreign
exchange on the auction for purposes of externalising funds under false
During the policy review statement, Gono said all
recipients of foreign currency via the diaspora system would no longer
receive their money in hard currency, since it eventually found its way onto
the "black market".
The RBZ said the ITCN, which would be assigned to
both exporters and non-exporters, should be used for all foreign currency
Civil society condemns economic liberalisation Staff
Writer LOCAL civil society organisations have condemned economic
liberalisation saying it undermined national industries and
In a statement released at the end of a three-day workshop
last week, participants said liberalisation had far-reaching implications on
Organised by the Southern and Eastern African
Trade Information and Negotiations Institute in conjunction with the
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the workshop was on globalisation and bilateral and
multilateral trade issues.
It drew participants from business, academia,
labour and students.
It was aimed at reviewing post-Cancun
developments, especially negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
and the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European
"We note that these have got far-reaching implications on
national economies, people's livelihoods and the role of the state as a
provider of basic social services: health, education, water, transport,
food," the statement said.
"There is need to protect local infant
industries and all other established industries from unfair competition
brought about by liberalisation."
The statement said Africa was under
siege and experiencing re-colonisation through corporate-led globalisation
championed by economic and financial institutions such as the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WTO.
said the WTO had emerged as one of the most powerful and influential
international institutions since its establishment in 1995 and this had set
the legal framework for multilateral rules not only on strictly trade issues
but also with regard to other dimensions such as services, intellectual
property and agriculture.
"The interests of the WTO do not only lie
on its regulation and monitoring of trade agreements between and amongst
member countries, but also on the fact that its agenda extends into domestic
policy by forcing national policies to be WTO-compliant," said the
The civil societies said such developments and the current
Economic Partnership Agreements negotiations between the EU and Africa had
negative implications on national economies.
"For Africa and
Zimbabwe in particular, the notion that 'people first before profits' should
be the basis on which the country must negotiate," the statement
The civil societies acknowledged that agriculture, which is one
of the issues at the centre of controversy at the WTO negotiations, was
crucial for developing countries.
In Zimbabwe, for instance, the
sector used to contribute 17% to the country's gross domestic product, employ
26% of the total labour force and contribute 33% to foreign currency earnings
before the land reform exercise.
Civil society organisations called for
the strengthening of trade negotiators' capacity to fully analyse the
implications of regional and multilateral trade agreements and work out
"This must include all stakeholders, including
the private sector, civil society organisations, government officials, the
media and workers' representatives," the statement said.
preparations for trade negotiation with the European Union have gathered
businessdigest heard that the Trade Centre, a local NGO,
held a workshop on negotiating skills. Held a fortnight ago, the workshop
drew participants from ministries of Agriculture, Foreign affairs, Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe
THE acquittal of the six persons accused of killing former war
veterans leader Cain Nkala shows that there is still some integrity and
courage within the judicial system.
In a normal environment it would
be stating the obvious to say that all those responsible for arresting,
prosecuting and publicising the arrest and incarceration of these six
innocent Zimbabweans have a lot of egg on their faces.
these people all have faces already covered with egg, it would be hard to
notice yet another facial covering of egg from yet another
Can we look forward to a public apology from
Newsnet's chief correspondent Reuben Barwe for the manner in which he so
eagerly reported from the shallow grave where Nkala's body was allegedly
Can we look forward to disciplinary measures being taken against
the policemen who were so strongly castigated by Justice Sandra
Can we now look forward to the apprehension by the police
of the real culprits? Can we... I doubt it.
All freedom loving
Zimbabweans undoubtedly offer their heartfelt good wishes to these
unfortunate victims of Zanu PF-style "justice".
Let those who
continue to turn a deaf ear, blind eye and keep a silent mouth to the
suffering of their fellow Zimbabweans remember that they could
Let them also remember that their deafness, their
blindness and their silence in the face of so much suffering is itself a
major contributing factor to the perpetuation of all the injustice that daily
affect so many Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe's "silent, deaf and blind
majority" have much to answer for.
They bear a large measure of
responsibility for the continuation of the suffering and oppression that
characterises Zimbabwe today.