The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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Zim Independent

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 reforms.

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 repression.

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 Monday.

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 awareness.

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.

"We 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.

"Secondly, to engage on the issue of the regional consultations that are
currently taking place in relation to developing electoral norms and
standards for Sadc."

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 electoral

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 Mugabe.

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 institutions.

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 consensus.

The MDC has also threatened to block the electoral reforms in parliament
unless Zanu PF stopped its attempt to get away with cosmetic changes.

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 month.
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Zim Independent

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 this week.

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

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

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 to collapse.

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 Kingdom.

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 recover.

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

"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."

Robertson said 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.

Many banks have not been able to access loans offshore because of weak
fundamentals in the economy and the country's poor credit rating.

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Zim Independent

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 labour.

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 system".

"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."

He said 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.

"These are private schools, full stop," Zembe said. "Chigwedere is killing

our 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 schools.

"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 country."

Meanwhile, Chigwedere has banned schools from offering any extra lessons
during school holidays without the ministry's approval.

Documents to hand show that extra lessons have been prohibited and

anyone found defying the ministry's directive will be arrested.

A circular to parents by a Harare primary school headmaster said the
ministry had prohibited extra lessons unless the school applies for

"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."

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Zim Independent

      MDC takes Posa to court
      Staff Writer

      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 addressing

      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 Hwedza.

      Bango said Tsvangirai believed the police were abusing their powers in
denying him his freedom of expression and association.

      "Tsvangirai has no option other than to put up a test case in the
courts to get clarity on the police interpretation of Posa," Bango said.

      "Posa merely requires political parties to inform the police as a
formality, not to ask for their approval, to hold meetings."

      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 understanding.

      "The reasons given by the police vary from place to place," Bango

      "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 next

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Zim Independent

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 week.

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.

"After 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 the

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 selfish end."

Tsvangirai said the reactionaries were blocking reforms to buy time in power
and continue to loot the prostrate economy.

"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.

"Unless we 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.

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Zim Independent

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 situation.

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.

Parliament mandated the committee to assess the food situation following
conflicting claims by government and independent bodies regarding this
year's harvest.

President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly insisted that the country harvested
enough grain and told donor agencies to look elsewhere for hungrier people.

The United Nations has however insisted that more than 2,5 million
Zimbabweans would require food aid until the next harvest.

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 (CSO).

"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," said Ncube.

"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.
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Zim Independent

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 the

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

"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 said.

"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

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.

"The 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 government said.

However, Ndabeni-Nc-ube said there was no way the figures could have

been falsified since the statistics were collected from doctors across the

"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.

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Zim Independent

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 this year.

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 Zimbabwe.

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 claim.

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 shortages.

The country needs 1,8 million tonnes of maize for consumption and a further
500 000 tonnes for the strategic grain reserve.

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 assurance."

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 Mundia.

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 Zimbabwe.

He however said that a "trade mission was expected to visit Zimbabwe" soon.

l Meanwhile, in a related event, Human Rights Watch yesterday accused the
government of gambling with its citizens' access to food.

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.

"By 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 Division.

"Under international law, the government must take all necessary steps to
fully ensure its citizens' right to adequate food."

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Zim Independent

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 candidates.

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

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.

The 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 Mutyambizi.

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 elections.

"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 elections.

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.

Sikanyika 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 complacency.

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.
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Zim Independent

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 projects.

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 consumers.

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.

The 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 future".
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Zim Independent

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.

Zimbabwe was 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 bovine animals.

"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.

He 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 said.

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.

"FMD has still not been brought under control in some areas," the CPA said
in its annual report.

"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."

The 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 environment.

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

"Beef 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."
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Zim Independent

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 PF

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 MDC

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 assaulted.

"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 says.

"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."

In 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 council".

"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

-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.

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Zim Independent

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.

The system 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 countries.

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.

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Zim Independent

Who killed Cain Nkala?

 Gift Phiri

THE 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?

High Court 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

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

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 duress.

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 home."

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.

The acquittal 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 charged.

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.

On 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 duress.

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 statement.

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.

Arguing 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.

"The 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 party.

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.

The statements 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.

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Zim Independent


Zim's prosperity lies in the future, not past

 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

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 perpetuity.

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 programme.

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 party.

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 rhetoric.

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.

Zimbabwe 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 nourishment.

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
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

      Labour becoming own worst enemy

       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 official

      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.

      A 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 operations.

      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.

      It has 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 them.

      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 cataclysmic

      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 1 000%.

      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 ended June.

      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.

      Many 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 agreements.

      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.
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Zim Independent


      Wanted urgently: men in white coats

       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.

      If 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 know?

      Luckily Ignatius Chombo has taken over control from all executive
mayors and we hope he is aware of his new responsibilities to feed the poor!

      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 concoction.

      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

      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.

      Presumably the 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 Zimbabwe."

      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?

      It is unusual for us to agree with President Mugabe. But speaking at
Mark Dube's funeral last Friday, he offered some words of wisdom.

      Reminding 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 instigate.

      "Is that the fate we wish for our country?" he asked. "Let us pose
this question to ourselves and give honest answers to ourselves."

      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 laundry.

      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

      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

      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 useless".

      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 misunderstanding.

      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 Zimbabwe.

      "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 explains.

      There should be no sacred cows, Mahoso says, citing the example of the
M&G's coverage of its own predicament in Zimbabwe.

      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 pedigree.

      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 Acre.

      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

      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?

      Perhaps Ignatius Chombo, the mayoral mansion and the two council

      Which accords well with her assertion that she is "the mayor of

      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!

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

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.

The politics of European sanctions aside, Chigwedere did not deserve a seat
on the plane to Athens because his policies are destroying sport.

As 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 sport.

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 participating.

"The question is why only four sport disciplines?" Chigwedere pondered.

"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 challenger.

"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

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 Games.

"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 said.

Dream on Aeneas. The question to ask is: what have you done since Sydney

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 facilities.

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 deep?

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.

I remember 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.

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Zim Independent

      Gono's rhetoric far from reality
      By Tendai Biti

      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

      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 problems.

      These four areas are: supervision of the banking sector; management of
the money supply; interest rates; and the exchange rate.

      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.

      Supervision of banks

      "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 35-36).

      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 was necessary.

      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 gridlock.

      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".

      The 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.

      Money supply

      "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 8).

      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%.

      Interest rates

      "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, Page 19).

      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

      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 futile.

      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.

      Interest 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 in

      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 MPS).

      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.

      Exchange rate

      "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 2).

      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.

      Our 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.

      Inflation is an intermediate economic objective - the real goal is to

      jobs and increase real incomes for Zimbabweans. Thus the economy will
only have "turned the corner" when sustainable economic growth is achieved.

      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

      Resumption of 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 revenues.

      -Tendai Biti is the MDC's economic affairs spokesman.
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Zim Independent

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 could.

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.

In 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 horizon.

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

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 peas?

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.
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Zim Independent

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 policy

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 policy.

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 credibility."

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 price movements.

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 target".

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 said.

"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."

The report said the pegging of the exchange rate had not succeeded in
constraining other monetary and fiscal policies.
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Zim Independent

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 Guoqiang.

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.

The event had to be stopped while CZI officials tried to make alternative

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 Katikiti.

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 year.

China has a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$1,4 trillion and its gross
national product (GNP) per capita is US$1 090.

Guoqiang 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 million.

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

"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

In an interview later, Guoqiang told businessdigest that he was "not really
bothered about the mishap".

"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."

China has several projects in Zimbabwe especially with the profit-making
Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe led by Mike Ndudzo.

The Chinese also built the National Sports Stadium and Chinhoyi University.

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Zim Independent

'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 said.

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 agriculture

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 year.

"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.

He 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 of inflation."

"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 said.

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 said.
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Zim Independent

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.

"A Chinese 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

The country's railway sector is dogged by problems pertaining to lack of
spare parts which have affected the signalling system since most of the
equipment is imported.

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 countries.

"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

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Zim Independent

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 system.

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 goods.

"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

Morris Mpofu, who heads the RBZ exchange control department, could not be
reached for comment this week.

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

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 import documents.

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 payment applications.
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Zim Independent

Mazoe underutilised
Eric Chiriga
MAZOE Citrus Estates is failing to fully utilise its estate as its land
remains listed under the controversial land reform programme.

Of the 88% land listed by government 46% is already occupied by new farmers.

"Mazoe Citrus Estates remains dogged by the uncertainty of listed land,"
said Interfresh chairman Lysias Sibanda.

Mazoe Citrus Estates is a subsidiary of Interfresh Ltd.

Sibanda said although they were continuing to invest in infrastructure at
the estates for future potential use, the uncertainty hinders them from
maximising its full potential.

Interfresh has since engaged in dialogue with local authorities with regards
to their listed land but the efforts have so far been fruitless.

"We remain challenged by the uncertainty of the outcome of our dialogue with
government with regards to our land. We are still confident that our efforts
will yield a positive outcome," Sibanda said.

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Zim Independent

Civil society condemns economic liberalisation
Staff Writer
LOCAL civil society organisations have condemned economic liberalisation
saying it undermined national industries and institutions.

In a statement released at the end of a three-day workshop last week,
participants said liberalisation had far-reaching implications on national

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 Union.

"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.

Civil societies 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 statement.

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 said.

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 holistic strategies.

"This must include all stakeholders, including the private sector, civil
society organisations, government officials, the media and workers'
representatives," the statement said.

Meanwhile preparations for trade negotiation with the European Union have
gathered momentum.

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 industries (CZI).
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Zim Independent


Silent citizens abetting injustice

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

But as these people all have faces already covered with egg, it would be
hard to notice yet another facial covering of egg from yet another public

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 found?

Can we look forward to disciplinary measures being taken against the
policemen who were so strongly castigated by Justice Sandra Mungwira?

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 be

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

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.

RES Cook,

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