Farm workers' future thrown into disarray after
8/16/02 9:22:57 AM (GMT +2)
Zimbabwe's now jobless farm workers are a heart-rending
sight as they clutch their lifetime collection of possessions of rolled-up
blankets, reed mats, pots and plates - destined to
Runaita Bob of Chidembo village in Bindura, for
instance, has never known any other life outside Condwelani Farm in
Mashonaland Central. That life was shattered on Wednesday as she watched in
despair her employer of 26 years, Terry Hinde, pack his belongings under the
intimidating supervision of about 120 pro-Zanu PF vigilantes. Runaita Bob,
54, a mother of three, fought tears back as she pondered her future . She
said: "For all these years we have been able to send our children to school.
We worked with the Hindes in peace but all that has come to a sad end. This
is tragic for us." She said Hinde, 60, had treated them with affection and
had become part of their lives and the future of her children.
"My husband and myself have no other source of income," she said. Her husband
worked as a foreman at Condwelani. Runaita Bob's predicament epitomises the
plight of 65 farm workers at Condwelani farm whose future was thrown into
disarray when Hinde was evicted from his property of 27 years. He is among
the 2 900 served with the controversial eviction orders under Section 8 of
the Land Acquisition Act. Before the evictions, relations between Hinde and
his workers were probably typical of that of a caring boss and his loyal
workforce. Then, it probably never dawned on them that a day would come when
they would face similar fates - what life would have to offer beyond
The grieving workers, had the same tale to tell - life
would be unbearable without their average monthly income of about $5 000.
Paul Saulo, 38, who has worked on the 1 000-hectare farm which grew tobacco,
wheat, maize and reared cattle, said he fully supported the land
redistribution programme but was against the disorderly manner in which it
was being implemented. Saulo said: "This place had become part of my home but
I have now lost my only source of livelihood. The government's land programme
is noble but if it threatens our livelihood, then it becomes
totally irrelevant." Paulo said every farming season, Hinde would assist them
with free seed and fertiliser for their small farming plots on the same
At Mukaro Farm in Marondera, more than 200 workers who
were evicted from the farm are now living on the streets of Marondera. Others
have built makeshift structures in the bush, where they have no access to
proper health facilities. The 65 workers at Condwelani Farm are among over
300 000 farm workers on Zimbabwe's commercial farms who have been left
without any source of income, shelter, peace of mind and even a village home
to turn to for comfort. Most of the workers said their sudden displacement
meant that they could no longer afford to buy basic foodstuffs such as
maize-meal, sugar and cooking oil. The workers said they had known no peace
since the chaotic land programme began nearly three years ago.
Hinde said only seven of his workers had benefited from the chaotic land
redistribution exercise. Hinde said his eviction has led to the abandonment
of field crops worth about $60 million and equipment worth US$100 000 (about
Z$65 million on the parallel market.) "There is nothing that we can do about
it," Hinde said. "There comes a time when you do not care what happens to
you. This is the only farm I have in Zimbabwe which I had developed with all
my passion for the past 27 years."
CLOSE to 500 000 people in the commercial
farm-worker community are likely to be homeless if the 2 900 commercial
farmers issued with Section 8 eviction orders vacate their farms, officials
in the commercial farming industry have said.
thousands of farm workers and their families have been left in the cold
following the departure of white commercial farmers issued with eviction
Out of the 2 900 commercial farmers notified of expulsion,
30 percent have left the country while the fate of their workers is not
known. The 2 900 commercial farmers were given a 90-day deadline to vacate
their farms to make way for the resettlement of landless black
Zimbabweans.The deadline expired on 9 August.There are allegations that the
police and armed soldiers are evicting farmers who have vowed to stay put and
challenge the evictions in court in the Middle Sabi and Bindura.
According to Justice for Agriculture the Hinde family in Bindura were evicted
yesterday from their Condwelani Farm and 60 farm workers were
left exposed.Farm workers on four farms in the Middle Sabi face an
uncertain future as Land Committee members and soldiers visited the farms on
Saturday and ordered farmers to leave by last Sunday.
director of the Zimbabwe Community Development Trust (ZCDT), Tim Neil, said
from a survey they conducted, 110 000 farm workers were expected to become
homeless if the 2 900 commercial farmers vacate their commercial farms as
directed by government in its 9 August notices. Agriculture production in
Zimbabwe has been severely crippled following the violent farm invasions in
2000If the farm workers' families are to be included, at least half a million
people from the community would be destitutes soon, Neil said.
The ZCDT conducted their survey in commercial farming areas where it received
254 responses, which represents about 10 percent of commercial farms in the
Neil said the figure of 110 000 farm workers only includes
workers faced with vagrancy if the farms they are working on are to be
acquired by the government.
Neil said: "We are likely to have
more than 10 000 orphans and 11 000 old people made vulnerable immediately
following the break-up of the farm compounds caused by the evictions. In the
next six weeks we will see an increase of street children in urban areas as
some of the orphans living in commercial farms will seek refuge in urban
"Many old people, who had retired and were being looked
after by the farmers will die of starvation soon as the farmers are leaving."
General Agriculture and Plantation Workers' Union (GAPWUZ) Bindura
provincial officer, Jotham Mutemeri, said 200 farm workers, who add up to 700
people if their families are included, had had their homes on
Leopard Lay Farm in Bindura torched by settlers two weeks ago and they had
become destitutes. The pupils who resided there have dropped out of school.
Leopard Lay Farm has been taken over by the First Lady Grace Mugabe's
brother, Reward Marufu.
Mutemeri said: "Many children in Bindura
have dropped out of school because their parents are no longer working as
their employers have left. They are not able to work elsewhere because
farmers are not employing farm workers due to uncertainties caused by the
evictions."The farm workers have also not been resettled."
GAPWUZ secretary-general Clemence Sungai estimated that about 150 000 farm
workers would be left in the cold if the government evicted all 2
900 commercial farmers.
This means that if 150 000 farm workers
are left homeless when the farmers are evicted, more than half a million
people, which includes spouses and children, would be affected.
Sungai said: "I can only estimate that 150 000 farm workers will be affected
by the Section 8 eviction notices but we are in the process of compiling the
"We do not have reliable statistics at the moment
because some farmers are in the process of leaving while some have said they
will remain on their farms and their workers are still working."
There is a total of 350 000 full-time farm workers in the country and if
seasonal workers are included, the total number of farm workers increases to
500 000.The total number of people living in the commercial
farm-worker community is more than two million.
government has said it would also include farm workers in the resettlement
programme, the majority of farm workers are not being given land and in most
cases are chased away by settlers.
and that includes The Mole - who listened to President Mugabe 's "speech"
during the combined ceremony at the national Heroes' Acre last Monday to mark
Heroes' Day and the burial of our world-class technocrat, Bernard Chidzero,
are all agreed on one thing: he didn't sound like himself at all. And I am
not talking about his voice or intonation but about the speech's
Described by The Herald as "philosophical", the
first time ever that the paper has found it necessary to interpret or label
Mugabe's speeches, it lacked most of Mugabe's favourite phrases and did not
have his typical thrust. In fact most people are convinced it was written by
Professor Jonathan Moyo whose hallmark when writing hate-filled political
propaganda pieces these days is incoherent demagoguery. You would think he
went to the same writing school as Tafataona Mahoso, that other insufferable
Obviously meant to sound highfalutin, the "speech" simply
didn't flow smoothly and instead left you wondering what exactly he wanted to
say - which is not at all like Mugabe, who has a reputation of being not only
an inimitable orator, but also of arranging his thoughts in a
faultlessly logical way. For example, can anybody make sense out of
connecting the following paragraphs: "Today, in the eerie silence of this
sacred acre, they (heroes) ask you and me many questions. What have you done
for your country in your sphere of activity? President Mugabe said people
should ask themselves what they were doing for their country, fellow citizens
"Or are you negating the very illustrious essence
of these proud and venerated men and women of honour we gather yearly to
acknowledge? "If Joshua Nkomo were to rise , would you be fit to hold his
hand and walk in step with him down the path that emanates from this very
sacred shrine and ends in a great future for our country?" Save for the two
questions about what some people have done for their country in their "little
spheres of activity" and whether they would be "fit to hold Joshua Nkomo's
hand and walk with him if he were to rise this instant", I would salute
anybody who says they are able to connect the ideas in these paragraphs. And
I suppose Mugabe would have little difficulty answering those
His reply to the question about what he has done for his
country would be short and straightforward. He would simply say: "I have
destroyed it, Cde Josh!" As to the question about what he has done
for the children, Mugabe would simply reply: "I have built for them a
training camp named after our tireless political activist, Border Gezi, where
we are turning them into anarchists, rapists, torturers and ruthless killers
of our political opponents." To the question whether he (President Mugabe)
would be fit to hold Joshua Nkomo's hand and walk in step with him into the
"great future of our country," Mugabe's only honest reply would be to say:
"Nope! Instead I would run away because I would be filled with so much shame
over the terrible damage my party, government and I have done to this
n Still on Mugabe's marathon Heroes' Day speech, a second
front-page story in the same issue of The Herald sounded a lot more like
Mugabe, though - bitter, vituperative and filled with sour grapes and
wishful thinking. What else, if not wishful thinking, would you call a grown
man in a poor Third World country's threat that he will apply his own
sanctions on all those powerful countries that have applied sanctions on him
and all the leaders of his party? In the story, Mugabe fumes: "We will in due
course announce our own comprehensive response to those countries that
have declared sanctions on us. Just as they regard it as their right to
impose sanctions on us, they should recognise that we reserve the right to
respond as best we know. They appear to have forgotten that they also have
interests here," Mugabe gloated.
And just how are you going to
respond, Mr President, if we may ask? By taking away all the Lonrho and
Anglo-American mines and properties and run them down until they close down,
as we did with all the parastatals we inherited as flourishing concerns, I
suppose? Perhaps the most ticklish part of Mugabe's speech was when he
expressed outrage at the fact that those who should know better than to lend
legitimacy to his government's ruinous policies have also been caught in the
sanctions net by either being deported or denied visas to enter Europe or the
United States. He bellowed: "Let Europe banish all holy men who obey their
conscience and stand by our cause as they have done with the likes of Bishop
(Nolbert) Kunonga. Let Europe banish all the disabled as they have done with
the likes of Cde (Joshua) Malinga, banish all wives, children, brothers,
sisters and cousins."
Claiming that most Europeans opposed to the
sanctions against him and members of his government were being dragged by
"the gangster of 10 Downing Street (Tony Blair)," he asked somewhat
rhetorically: "But why should they be dragged in that willing manner by
someone who has gone insane?" The Mole is not too sure about that insanity
bit as it would appear more appropriate applied to some people closer to home
than to Tony Blair and his government. But one thing is certain:
reference to wives, children, brothers, sisters and cousins" being banned can
only mean one thing: the sanctions have really started to hurt.
'Loyal farmers' can believe Zanu PF and its leadership
at their own peril
8/16/02 9:37:38 AM (GMT
Reading the Reuters report of President Mugabe's speech
on Monday 12 August, he publicly referred to "loyal farmers" for the first
time in living memory. Beware! This is another instance of his
classic "divide and rule" strategy. (Kiss my . . . and you'll be OK).He is
obviously worried that farmers are finally speaking out through Justice for
Agriculture and rebutting his claims.
More evidence of this
concern is his and his party's evident reluctance to become the focus of a
"negative Press".Believe him at your peril, he has never in his entire life
been known to stand by an honourable commitment.Don't get caught napping yet
again by this master of corruption and deception. With Mugabe, the only
tactic is to demand discernible action. His words mean nothing and are only
aimed at treachery.
Meanwhile, keep shouting the truth, specify
names and expose dishonesty to the glare of public scrutiny.
government nearly lost $4 million to two fraudsters who allegedly raised a
fake invoice purporting they had supplied stationery to the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture.
The suspected fraudsters
allegedly wrote a quotation to the Central Payments Office (CPO) on a Sebago
Utilities letterhead demanding payment for the "ghost" stationery shipment.
The CPO issued a cheque on the strength of the invoice. Collin Nyawodza, 32,
who owns Sebago Utilities and Installations (Private) Limited, and Tonderai
Mhindo of Queensdale, Harare, appeared before Harare provincial magistrate
Dominic Muzavazi. Mhindo allegedly collected the cheque which was deposited
into Nyawodza's account with First Bank. The cheque was dishonoured when the
offence came to light and the police immediately launched an investigation
leading to the suspects ' arrest on Friday last week.
and Mhindo were granted $50 000 bail each and remanded to 3 September. The
court ordered them to report once every week to the Criminal Investigation
Department Fraud Squad in Harare. Chifarai Dube prosecuted.
international civic organisations have described the plight of thousands of
farm workers rendered jobless as a humanitarian disaster thrust on the nation
by the government.
Dr John Makumbe of Crisis in Zimbabwe,
said the desperate situation on commercial farms had been deliberately
created by the Zanu PF government in its desperate bid to hold on to power.
He said about 150 000 Zimbabwean farm workers were now homeless and jobless
due to the government-sanctioned evictions of thousands of commercial
farmers. Makumbe lamented the fact that thousands of children of displaced
farm workers would not be able to continue with their lessons at their former
farm schools because of the haphazard evictions. He said the government
should have allocated land to the farm workers who would be affected by the
"These innocent children are the victims of the
so-called Third Chimurenga and there are thousands of them who are now
homeless and will be literally living on the streets without food," Makumbe
said. Scores of displaced and harassed farm workers have been living by the
roadside, particularly in Mashonaland East, West and Central, where the bulk
of farmers have been forcibly ejected from their farms. An
international independent non-governmental organisation, the Centre on
Housing Rights and Evictions based in Switzerland, said in a statement
yesterday, the latest developments were a cause for great
"The programme embarked upon in the past few years by the
Zimbabwean government has been politically motivated and is in flagrant
violation of the basic human rights of thousands of farmers and tens
of thousands of farm workers, who will be left both homeless and without
income." It urged the government to reconsider its approach, even at this
late stage. n Zimbabwean police yesterday summoned six white farmers to
appear at the Gwanda magitrates's court today to face charges of defying a
government eviction order, Reuters reports. Justice for Agriculture, a
farmers' pressure group, said the six from Matabeleland South province were
believed to be the first to be charged for defying President Mugabe's August
8 deadline to vacate their farms. The charge carries a fine or a two-year
When Joshua Nkomo died, the
then legitimate President of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe (now considered
illegitimate by many) said the violence and war against the people of
Midlands and Matabeleland and the assassination attempt on Joshua Nkomo, ("if
a snake enters the house, hit the head to kill it" - Mugabe) was a "moment of
madness".With those conciliatory words, we assumed that that instant of
insanity had passed and would never be repeated.But no, with the use of a
partisan and brutal police force and the directionless CIO, we have seen how
the same government with Mugabe (the presidential elections have been
condemned by all sane people) at the helm, has again started a campaign to
purge this country of all MDC supporters and their leadership.They pick up a
man, MP Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, from an operating table in hospital; they raid
Morgan Tsvangirai's rural and urban homes looking for imaginary weapons of
war; they starve MDC supporters in rural areas; they have curtailed the
movement of urbanites, and keep on arresting people today because they burned
DDF tractors "tomorrow".
Maybe soon when they have forcibly
assimilated the MDC, as they did Zapu, they will again ascribe it to "a
moment of madness". This shows that dementia has been at play in this country
since independence. Who cannot see that the country is running on sheer
lunacy?The senselessness is evident when we go to get doctors from Cuba
because we cannot pay our own. We would rather send them to Border Gezi youth
centre to instil patriotism! Folly is apparent when we devalue the dollar
only for importing cars, which we are not assembling in this country anyway.
Madness is when we call our own rational minister and governor "saboteurs"
when we know of real saboteurs in the Ministry of Agriculture, in the
presidium, in the so-called indigenisation lobby groups and in some sections
of the war vets.
Derangement is when we lose our souls and starve a
large section of our people because they do not support Zanu PF.We have
created heartless murderers, cruel youths, rude ministers and a fearful
populace. How history repeats itself. Yesterday it was Joshua Nkomo, now it
is Morgan Tsvangirai and the same man is responsible.
blame others even on his deathbed. We, the people of Zimbabwe, will always
tell our children that during our generation a man walked this land and a lot
of innocent blood was shed in his name.
the MDC secretary-general says his party did not sanction calls for armed
intervention by United Nations troops to prevent mass starvation in the
Ncube was responding to a story in Tuesday's issue
of The Times of London which quoted Roy Bennet, the MP for Chimanimani, as
having called for military mediation in the country. Ncube said: "The MDC has
become aware of a story published in The Times of London, which quotes Bennet
saying that the opposition leaders are calling for armed intervention by a UN
force to prevent mass starvation. "While we have not been able to establish
from Bennet himself if he was quoted correctly, we wish to state
categorically that the MDC has never developed a position or policy that
advocates armed intervention." Ncube said his party's position was that the
crisis in Zimbabwe required a political solution worked out by Zimbabweans
themselves and not through armed intercession from the UN or any other party
for that matter.
He said what was required was humanitarian food
assistance to ensure that all the people in the country were saved from
famine. "This would ensure that no one dies as a result of the failure by the
government to provide food for all Zimbabweans in a non-partisan manner." The
UN has said that more than six million Zimbabweans face starvation as
President Mugabe proceeds with the eviction of white commercial farmers to
pave the way for the resettlement of landless peasants ahead of the farming
season. The MDC has complained that its supporters were being marginalised in
the distribution of food aid by Mugabe's supporters, an allegation denied by
Opposition official escapes captors after alleged
8/16/02 9:25:26 AM (GMT +2)
Mangwende in Mutare
FANUEL Marange, the MDC's district co-ordinator
for Mutare South, who was allegedly abducted by a group of Zanu PF youths,
escaped from his captors after six days of torture.
Relating his experience, Marange alleged the youths assaulted him
with sticks, iron bars and burning logs. Marange who had welts on his back,
also sustained facial injuries. "A Zanu PF youth whom I know as Given
Maringahosi approached me, saying I was on their 'wanted' list," Marange
said. "All of sudden, about 10 youths surrounded me and took turns to assault
me." Marange said he managed to escape and run to his house. "As I was
packing my bags to leave the house, in fear of further attacks, the youths
surrounded my house. I ran into a nearby bush but my dog gave me away. It
followed me and they trailed it." he youths found him and frog-marched him to
Nyamanhindi Store where they prodded his legs with burning logs. "For three
days they took turns to assault me, asking why I had joined the MDC," he
After his fourth day in captivity, Marange said he was
transferred from Nyamanhindi Store in Bazel Bridge to a war veteran's house
in the same area. He said: "I did not know what they were planning to do with
me. The war veteran gave me food and water and I slept in the same room as
some of his children. I was not beaten up. But after I learnt he had gone to
prepare for the Heroes' Day celebrations on Saturday, I managed to
Govt finally legalises dollar devaluation Godfrey
Marawanyika THE government has belatedly legislated for the devaluation of
the local currency from $50 to $55 against the greenback two years after it
introduced the move.
Initially banks and financial institutions were
operating under the open-mouth-system, where government publicly announces a
policy shift before legislating it.
Finance minister Dr Simba
Makoni announced the legislation on August 2 in consultation with the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe. Makoni and central bank governor Dr Leonard Tsumba have
been advocating for devaluation but have met stiff resistance due to a lack
of political will by the government.
The local currency had been
hedged to the greenback since October 2000 but has been now been devalued by
The Exchange Control (Exchange Rate) Direction, (2002) Statutory
Instrument 223 of 2002, provides for a $55 mid-rate to the US unit, with a
10% band either side plus a maximum 2,5% commission, up from the previous
The latest regulation applies to every foreign
currency dealer and any other person as specified by the central
"The bands within which every foreign currency dealer shall
maintain the exchange rate above or below the mid rate shall be 10 per centum
below the mid rate," said Makoni in the Statutory Instrument.
maximum commission, fee or charge that may be levied on any foreign currency
exchange transaction shall be two comma five per centum of the total nominal
value, expressed in Zimbabwe dollars, of the foreign exchange transaction
Makoni said the move repealed the General Notice 453C of
2000, published in the Gazette of October 2000.
Due to the hedging
of currency, the country has been operating a multiple exchange rate regime
that has had serious effects on some sectors of the economy not granted
Zimbabwe is operating a multiple exchange rate
system for imports of luxury goods, a Gold Floor Support Price and a
different exchange rate for tobacco farmers. A thriving parallel market where
the US unit changes hands at $650 is also in place. The official exchange
rate is $55/US$1.
Zimbabwe's global rating continues downward
spiral Godfrey Marawanyika ZIMBABWE'S global rating has continued to
plummet, with the latest list from the United Nations Human Development
Report (2002), showing Harare is now ranked 128 out of 173 countries
Since the economic meltdown began two years ago, Zimbabwe, once
ranked as the best emerging market in the region, has seen its fortunes
In the Human Development Index, Zimbabwe is now ranked 128, way
below its biggest competitor in the region, South Africa, ranked 57. Last
year Zimbabwe was ranked 117. Botswana is in the same report ranked
126, Swaziland 125 and Lesotho 132.
Both Zimbabwe and South Africa
are classified under the Medium Human Development group, which is the middle
level group after High Human Development. The least ranking is the Low Human
On subjective indicators of governance, which
include among other things, voice and accountability, government
effectiveness and corruption perception, Zimbabwe is ranked in the negative
group. On voice and accountability Zimbabwe is given a minus 0,90 mark. In
this group Harare competes with countries such as Angola with a minus 1,26
points and Rwanda which has a minus 1,42 points.
stability and lack of violence, Zimbabwe was given minus 1,25. South Africa
has 0,07 points with Botswana's score being 0,71.
The indicators used by
the UN in the report were developed by the World Bank Research Unit, and are
based on a statistical compilation of perceptions of the quality of
governance. The index ranges from around minus 2,50 to
Harare's rankings on government effectiveness are
even worse with a minus 1,03 points, where it is competing with countries
such as Togo which has got minus 1,32 points and Guinea-Bissau with a minus
1,48 points. Both Togo and Guinea-Bissau are ranked in the Low Human
On the rule of law, Zimbabwe was given minus 0,94
points where it shares rankings with Chad at minus 0,86 points and Burkina
Faso with minus 0,79 points.
Failure to respect the rule of law by
the government came to a head in 2000 when it launched its fast-track land
Numerous company invasions followed in 2001, with
war veterans being granted free rein in the country. The situation companies
found themselves in led to the resignation of the then Minister of Industry
and International Trade, Dr Nkosana Moyo.
On corruption levels
Zimbabwe was given a minus 1,08, the same rating accorded to Tajikistan.
Kenya was granted a 1,11 points in the same grouping.
rights, Zimbabwe was given six points where the lowest achievable score is
seven. On freedom of the press, Zimbabwe scored 69 out of a possible 100
points, Botswana 27, Swaziland 77 and South Africa 23. For civil liberties
Zimbabwe was given five points from a total of 10.
Mugabe has failed to give the nation direction WHAT
will it take for President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF to realise the country
is inexorably sliding down the proverbial drain which will only take us as
far as the Heroes Acre?
As Affirmative Action Group president Sam Ncube
noted over the weekend: "This (Zimbabwe) should be a land of milk and honey,
but things are going wrong. Instead of wasting resources on the (Heroes Day)
celebrations, we should instead direct them to those left behind by the
heroes. These people are suffering."
Ncube was referring to the
families of the deceased heroes, many of whom are living on the scabs of
wounds while the heroes' comrades-in-arms live in unparalleled wealth. Ncube
could also have been referring to the generality of Zimbabweans suffering at
the hands of living Zanu PF "heroes".
Would the heroes lying at different
provincial acres throughout the country and at the main shrine in Harare
recognise the Zimbabwe of today? Would they walk tall and say the status quo
is what they fought for? Forget the Tony Blairs and George W Bushs of
Mugabe's speeches. Does the Zimbabwe we live in today reflect what the heroes
and us all fought for in one way or the other?
While Mugabe accepts there
is widespread famine, he denies food is being used as a tool to force people
to vote or support Zanu PF. Millions are going hungry only because they
support the Movement for Democratic Change party. But this should never have
come to pass. A country that once had a strategic grain reserve of a million
tonnes now finds itself without maize or the foreign currency to buy
The famine ravaging the country is due to the denial mode Mugabe and
his coterie of hangers-on have adopted. The collapse of the
country's agriculture can be traced directly to Mugabe's desperation to hang
on to power.
Even as food aid trickles in, Zimbabwe will not be able
to cross the chasm we have created between ourselves and the international
community to assist us. During the liberation war, we had to appeal to the
international community for guns, ammunition, clothing and moral support.
Logistical support was provided by the very people Zanu PF is today denying
food on the grounds that they support the British government. How soon we
With unemployment now over 65%, the crime rate is on the increase
as even law-abiding citizens are forced to circumvent the law to make ends
meet. Industrial sites are bursting at the seams with men of all ages looking
for any menial job to enable them to put bread on their tables, if the bread
can be found.
Our neighbours who until now have kept their borders
open will soon have a double-think. That Mugabe is a tyrant who threatens the
stability of southern Africa is now beyond doubt. Mugabe exults in defying
external pressures and has appropriated anti-terrorist rhetoric to justify
violent repression of his people. Southern African leaders lack the will to
get tough with Mugabe. This is notably true of South Africa's Thabo Mbeki,
who simply cannot bring himself and his government to act as a major
continental power in response to a renegade neighbour.
economist John Robertson, Zimbabwe's conduct has led to withdrawals of
development aid from most Sadc countries. Zambia believes it would have had
much more success attracting direct foreign investment as well as in
restoring more of its own manufacturing capacity. The amount lost cannot be
estimated accurately, but it probably exceeds US$500 million.
Africa, lack of will to disapprove Zimbabwe's conduct since 1997 has caused
the rand to fall from R6,5 to US$1 to figures that recently reached R11 to
At 2001 Zimbabwe dollar prices, Zimbabwe has seen export trade fall
by $134 billion over just two years, which converts to US$600 million at an
exchange rate of $220/US$1, or to US$2,4 billion at the official exchange
rate of $55/US$1. The US$600 million is equivalent to a whole year's earnings
from tobacco, the country's most important export crop. Because it was
lost, about 20 000 jobs have been lost in industry.
The US$600 million
would also be enough to pay for all the food imports now that we have failed
to produce the needed crops. Instead, we have to beg for loans or grants to
pay for it. The social disaster in Zimbabwe cannot be measured. Perhaps 80
000 industrial jobs will be lost in industry as supplies of agricultural
inputs run down, or as their former customers for crop inputs are driven from
Three quarters of agricultural exports will come to an end with
the destruction of commercial agriculture and the loss of this revenue
will damage or destroy the prospects of survival of most of the
remaining businesses and most other urban jobs.
By being forced to
accept the basic farming methods of their ancestors, Zimbabwe's new farm-land
occupiers will face poverty and starvation on the million small plots being
carved out of the 6 000 commercial farms now being nationalised. Only the
people of this country can stop the madness before it explodes in our faces.
As former United States president John F Kennedy once said: "The task (of
government) is not to fix the blame for the past, but to fix the course for
the future." Mugabe has failedto do that.
calls have been made this week to tackle the worsening political and economic
crisis in Zimbabwe. The calls have come from Britain, other Commonwealth
countries and from within Zimbabwe itself. There is despair, rightly, that
the Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe, continues to violate the rule of law
and harass white farmers and political opponents, and all at a time when aid
agencies are warning that half the population of the country is facing
famine. Much of the focus on Zimbabwe in this country is because white
farmers with British links are involved. Without that element, Zimbabwe would
receive much less press attention and fewer expressions of outrage from here
and from white Commonwealth countries. Mugabe's record is abysmal, especially
in recent months when he has presided over a press crackdown, but there
are other just as bad governments in Africa that receive scant
Against the background of Mugabe's ultimatum last week to white
farmers to hand over their land, Helen Clark, the New Zealand prime minister,
urged the Commonwealth finally to expel Zimbabwe. The British foreign
minister and arch-critic of Mugabe, Peter Hain, blamed him for the famine:
"Despite Harare's claims that this is purely a result of drought, everyone
knows it is a man-made tragedy: one man's." Michael Ancram, the shadow
foreign secretary, called for Tony Blair to put together an international
coalition. Roy Bennett, an MP with the Zimbabwe opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change, urged United Nations
None of this huffing and puffing helps much. Clark's call
for expulsion from the Commonwealth will not worry Harare: the Commonwealth
has long ceased to have any relevance. And the chances of a UN force becoming
involved are pretty much zero, given the political failure of the UN to put
together a force to deal with the much more serious problems of Zimbabwe's
neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a fragile ceasefire is
just holding. As for Hain, he is guilty of wildly overstating his case:
Mugabe, assuredly, has made the famine worse but that famine is primarily a
result of a drought that has brought misery across a whole swathe of southern
African countries that Mugabe has no control over.
community had an opportunity two months ago to exert real influence over
Zimbabwe and spurned it. At the summit of the world's richest nations (the
Group of Eight) in Kananaskis, in Canada, in June, leaders could have opted
to divert significant financial resources to Africa. The channel would have
been the new partnership for African development, a plan worked out between
African and western leaders. The west was to have invested heavily in African
governments committed to democracy, transparency and the rule of law. But the
G8 leaders - apart from Britain and Canada - refused to countenance the huge
sums of money involved.
Nepad offered the west a significant lever in
African politics. Better still, it would have provided the African architects
of the plan, Thabo Mbeki, and the Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, with
a rare chance to exert real influence over their African neighbours, people
such as Mugabe.
Mugabe can safely ignore the calls of Clark, Hain, Ancram
and Bennett. He would have found it harder to have resisted pressure from
Mbeki, Obasanjo and other African leaders supported by the financial muscle
of the G8.
inability to confront the realities underlying the breakdown of any semblance
of civilised order in Zimbabwe is tragic (letters, August 14).
The very welcome decision to grant asylum to Mr Ephraim Tapa (report, August
9) highlights the magnitude of what must now be classified as one of the most
serious abuses of human rights sustained by state terrorism in sub-Saharan
Africa. It is likely to lead to a massive demand, not only for food aid, but
for assistance to the 1.75 million black farm workers facing expulsion and
Yet in this context the Foreign Office Minister
Mr Mike O'Brien apparently chose not to discuss with Colonel Gaddafi the
impact on President Mugabe's policies and actions of the "farms for oil" deal
(report, August 9). This deal may well conform to Gaddafi's desire to control
events elsewhere in Africa, but it cannot be described as other than the sale
of land acquired by acts of blatant and indefensible terrorism for
If Gaddafi's undertakings to join the worldwide
coalition against terrorism and its consequences are to have any meaning
whatsoever, this is a deal which the civilised world should condemn without
Mr Tapa's statement that "Governments talk
openly about overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Why not Mugabe?" poses a question
which should properly be addressed first to Tony Blair. It is also,
doubtless, a question for both President Bush and Kofi
The question which the international community has yet
to resolve is whether and in what circumstances the UN should authorise the
use of power in defence of civilised order, especially when that order
is imperilled by undemocratic regimes, organised terror, or
Yours faithfully, IAN
LLOYD (Conservative MP, 1964-92), Bakers
House, Priors Dean, Hampshire GU32 1BS. August
From Professor Richard M. S.
Sir, In the light of Robert Mugabe's economic
mismanagement and apparent disregard for the rule of law in Zimbabwe, it is
interesting to note that, in his Who's Who entry, Mr Mugabe claims to have
not only BSc (Econ) and LLB degrees from the University of London, but also
MSc (Econ) and LLM degrees from that same institution.
Whilst it would be hard to believe that either the tuition he received or the
curriculum he followed in studying for these London degrees aimed to bring
about the current sad state of affairs in Zimbabwe (and the broader region of
Southern Africa), is there not a risk of British university education being
brought into disrepute when the holder of such degrees so conspicuously
disregards what he has been taught?
RICHARD WILSON (Professor of Business Administration and
Financial Management), The Business School,
Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU. email@example.com
Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2002 10:08 PM Subject: Immoral
FEATURES Immoral maize Hugh Russell
unveils the recipe for nshima, and the cause of Zambia's impending famine
Unless you're suffering a severe attack of compassion-fatigue,
you'll know that famine is with us again, and this time it's happening right
here on my doorstep, in southern Africa. Food stocks officially ran out in
Zambia last Thursday, much to the admitted surprise of our vice-president,
the Honourable Enoch Kavindele, who said rather plaintively that the
government had thought the stocks would last a little longer, but they
hadn't. Shame. Help is at hand. The United States and Canada have offered
Zambia several zillion tons of food for free. But wait just one
cassava-picking minute - there's a snag. Yes, they're offering us maize. Yes,
that's what we need. But ...it's genetically modified maize!
no, you don't, Uncle Sammy! Some of our politicians are sharp enough to
realise that GM food is, of course, part of a cunning neocolonialist plot to
destabilise decent African countries by weakening our physical
condition, robbing us of our manhood and making the potholes in the road even
deeper and more numerous.
Our redoubtable President, Levy Mwanawasa,
has refused to allow this maize to be distributed to the starving until he
can be sure that it's safe. No doubt he's seen the video footage of protests
against GM food in the UK. Two or three hundred muzungus in green anoraks
trampling over fields in Norfolk can't be wrong, can they?
he's called a conference to debate the issue. This conference is taking place
as I write, in our splendid Mulungushi International Conference Centre, where
delegates will undoubtedly be provided with mid-morning coffee and biccies,
lunch, mid-afternoon tea and biccies, and din-dins.
While the conference
confers, children in the drought-stricken villages of the worst-hit regions
will sit down to meals of rats, roots and other rubbish, and shortly you can
confidently expect to see television pictures of Zambian kiddies with those
tell-tale swollen bellies.
The country needs maize, and it needs it
badly. Without maize there can be no mealie meal, and without mealie meal
there can be no 'nshima' - our national dish. Cue, once again, vice-president
I'm rather fond of Enoch. He cuts an endearing figure as
he blunders around the Lusaka political arena, one step ahead of his harassed
press officer, spraying misguided and ill-chosen remarks like an African John
Prescott. This time he came up with a vintage Enochism. Zambians, he
announced, should diversify their diet. They should eat potatoes or rice or
pasta instead of nshima.
That might sound reasonable to European ears.
To appreciate just how ludicrously unreal a suggestion it is, you need to
understand the place of nshima in our society and culture. The truth is, if
you sit a hungry Zambian down in front of smoked trout, steak au poivre,
French fries, crème caramel and a decent Stilton, he may eat it. But
afterwards he will look up and say, 'Fine. Now, where's the
To a Zambian, nshima means more than his daily bread, more even
than the bread of heaven. It means more than a full rice bowl does to a
Chinese peasant. It means more than a sack of spuds does to Paddy O'Gob
from Ballykisselbow. Nshima to a Zambian means everything. It is food. It
is medicine. It is comfort and security. It is a remedy for loneliness, it is
a celebration of family life, it is a refuge in time of trouble, it is
a hangover cure. It is literally the stuff of life. In Zambia we eat
nshima for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, and as a midnight snack. Our idea
of a change from nshima is more nshima. Our idea of a varied diet is nshima
on two different plates.
What is it? To make nshima, you take cobs of
maize, strip the kernels from the cobs and grind them into a fine whitish
powder, known as mealie meal. Then you cook it in boiling water, and it is in
the cooking that the mystique of nshima begins. Actually, all the nshima cook
does is boil the stuff. But she - note, always 'she'; this is Africa, man! -
she stirs it with a special stick. An nshima stick. All right, it's actually
only a long wooden spoon - long, because as nshima comes to the boil it spits
at you - but it's a special stick, nonetheless. Eventually the mixture
thickens and is scooped out on to a large plate, where it lies in thick,
glutinous heaps, looking for all the world like mashed potato.
the very hungry eat it on its own. Otherwise it is always eaten
with something else; that something else being known as 'relish'. If you're
well off, your relish might be meat with gravy. If not, perhaps kapenta -
tiny dried fish with a strangely pungent smell. In the worst-case scenario -
that is, if you are one of the 85 per cent of Zambians who live in
extreme poverty - your relish will be a few edible leaves, plucked from the
garden or the bush, and cooked up with onion and tomato.
important thing is the nshima. And the next important thing is how you eat
the stuff. Yes, you've guessed. Those who live hand-to-mouth
eat hand-to-mouth. You use your fingers. The skilled Zambian nshima-eater -
and there is no such thing as an unskilled Zambian nshima-eater - takes a
small portion of nshima, rolls it deftly into a ball in the palm of his
hand, dunks it into whatever relish is going and pops it delicately into
his mouth. If a naive European takes a knife and fork to it, every
Zambian within a hundred yards will pee himself laughing. I know. I was
And what does it taste like, after all this? Well,
there you have me. To my palate ...nothing. Nothing I can put my finger, or
fingers, on. Nshima is so bland, so 'pappy', so hopelessly uninteresting, so
eternally boring that I find I lose my appetite just thinking about it. But
we need it. We've got to have it. It's what we eat. So why, you may be
forgiven for asking, don't we grow enough of it?
Drought, says the
government. Bollocks, say the critics. They point out that Zambia is a
country riddled with rivers, studded with gushing boreholes. The government
apparently reckons on two crops of maize a year. My gardener, who should
obviously be the Zambian minister of agriculture, produces three with ease.
This year's third crop is currently as high as - oh, as an elephant's eye.
(Or would be, if we had an elephant to measure against it, but we ate most of
our elephants years ago, too. With nshima, of course.)
Common sense tells
us that all it would take for Zambia to be self-sufficient in its favourite
food is a little forward planning - the same forward planning that would have
told vice-president Enoch that the country was running out of food stocks
long before last Thursday. But forward planning, like mealie meal, we don't
have. And soon you'll see the pictures of the kids in the villages, lying in
the dust, too weak to flick the flies from their faces.
It's not only
genetically modified maize our country needs. It's some genetically modified
In light of the compensation claims now
being lodged by victims of "apartheid" against international banks and
companies, for prolonging the "apartheid" era in South Africa, the time has
come to not only start suing Zanu PF and its leader, but also all other
countries, organisations and individuals that prolong the misrule of the
present illegal regime in Zimbabwe by turning a blind eye to its actions and
indirectly supporting it.
Zimbabwe out of fuel, President Mugabe has already gone begging to places
such as Tripoli and the Lord knows where he is going next.
dependence on outcast nations contributes to Zimbabwe's diplomatic isolation
and economic decay.
Remember Sudan when it was going bankrupt? They
went as far as Baghdad, Damascus, Tehran, and Tripoli looking for aid and
these pariah nations helped Sudan translate its petroleum reserves into
economic and political capital.The ability to produce its own weapons then
left Sudan far less beholden to fundamentalist regimes and international
rogues like Osama bin Laden, who was welcomed into that country.
Sudan even strengthened its ties with Iran, Iraq (which it supported in the
Persian Gulf War), and Libya.
What little popularity the Sudanese
gained was eroded, as the government's policies sank Sudan deeper into
financial destitution, political turmoil, and international
Is this the way beautiful Zimbabwe should go?The damage
caused by the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) in Ghana also
took place here because Zimbabweans were unfamiliar with its effects. But
Zimbabweans now know that their problems are because of Mugabe, his
government and twenty-year-old so-called war veterans, and that his regime
has to be abolished.
Morgan Tsvangirai cannot do anything more
as long as he is in Zimbabwe. Credit must however be given to him because he
has done his part. Mugabe has him under control as long as he is inside
Zimbabwe. Although isolating or attacking Zimbabwe as a nation may be futile,
the parties to the conflict - in this case the people of Zimbabwe and its
government - cannot bring about justice and stability on their own because
the government which is in control is not playing a fair game.
The only way is to fight Mugabe from outside. As an effective step, Western
countries should use their diplomatic offices in Zimbabwe as a conduit for
communicating their displeasure with Mugabe's abuses and for pressuring the
regime to restore law and order and observe the rule of law. It would also
send a very important message to other human rights violators, that, like it
or not, a good government has to be answerable to its people. The world
should not put economic pressure on Zimbabwe through the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund.These sanctions have long-term effects on
innocent citizens and can cause irreparable damage to the economy.
This would help avoid what happened in Rwanda when the UN acted too late,
after even recalling a Canadian UN commander and his peacekeeping contingent
from Rwanda when they were most needed.
Interestingly, the Canadian
commander continued the mission at his own risk. Hats off to him. This is
exactly what might happen in Zimbabwe if Mugabe continues to cling to
The killings which took place in Matabeleland were tribally
and politically motivated, as well as unjustified. Up to today racially
and politically driven killings and evictions are taking place. I foresee
a truth commission for Zimbabwe being set up in the near future, and this
is exactly what Mugabe is afraid of. He has to protect himself and his
cronies by remaining in power indefinitely.The alignment of Mugabe with Libya
and his bad governance has the people of Zimbabwe looking eagerly to the West
to build and lead a coalition to force Mugabe and his war veterans
commodities such as maize-meal, bread, sugar, salt and cooking oil are still
in short supply countrywide.
Zimbabwe has been facing food
shortages since December last year when the government introduced controls on
While sugar, salt, cooking oil are scarce
because of the controls, bread and maize-meal are in short supply due to the
unavailability of maize and wheat. There are maize-meal shortages because of
droughts in the past two seasons while a reduction in plantings in the
commercial farming sector also contributed to the shortages of both wheat and
Most supermarkets in Harare yesterday had no bread on
shelves for the second month running. The few shops which have supplies
either had super white bread stock, which is not controlled and more
expensive or people waited to be served while the bread was still in the
Super white bread costs about $104 compared to the controlled
price of a standard loaf of bread of $60,44.
The Grain Marketing
Board which has the monopoly to import wheat, has no wheat stocks while it is
failing to raise foreign currency to import the commodity. Producers of basic
commodities have said the controlled prices are too low to an extent they
have been making losses.
A former intelligence officer at the Libyan embassy in
Harare, Yousef Murgham, has been deported, the state controlled daily The
Herald reported on Friday.
Murgham is alleged to have been "engaging
in activities that posed a threat to the security and national interests of
Zimbabwe," according to the newspaper.
The action comes as President
Robert Mugabe is desperately seeking Libyan support for his economy,
including reported oil-for-farms deals.
The newspaper suggested the
authorities may have tried to silence him before he could give information
about controversial business deals to independent media.
say expulsion of the diplomat-turned-businessman on Thursday was legally
dubious as he is married to a Zimbabwean and entitled to permanent
Independent sources said there were unruly scenes at Harare's
international airport as Murgham (43) was dragged aboard a flight to Nairobi,
accompanied by agents who were to hand him over to Colonel Muammer Gaddafi's
security police in Tripoli.
Officers of the Zimbabwean Central
Intelligence organisation prevented his wife Jean from serving officials with
a High Court injunction delaying deportation until after a
"My husband was a staunch Zanu (PF) supporter and ally," she
told The Daily News. "It was sad that the man who negotiated the current fuel
deal for the government of Zimbabwe with the Libyan authorities left the
country without a cent."
Murgham leaves behind his wife, and children
Samia (12) and Mohammed (8).
"We are ready to take the matter to the
International Court of Justice at the Hague, if my husband disappears," she
The Herald said Murgham's deportation was "carried out with the
full knowledge and co-operation of the Libyan Government" after he "used
the cover of contacts he made within the ruling Zanu(PF) party and
government while a diplomat" between 1986-1992.
"The former diplomat
was also working very closely with British intelligence and the opposition
MDC whose leadership he once met with," the newspaper claimed.
become an undesirable element by engaging in activities threatening the
interests of the country.
"He had also developed links with certain
private newspapers in the country and has tried to blackmail the authorities
by claiming he had given damaging information on the government to one local
newspaper, which planned to run a series of stories using the
President Mugabe's ruling party is known to be riven by
rival factions. Many members of his elite own multi-million dollar businesses
that vie for lucrative deals, including the import of famine relief and
Murgham's lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, said he would go ahead with
plans to have the High Court declare the deportation unlawful. He had a
residence permit valid until 2004. - Sapa-DPA
8/16/02 9:21:57 AM (GMT
By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter
Murgham, a former counsellor at the Libyan Embassy in Zimbabwe who was
arrested on Tuesday by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) for
allegedly compromising national security, was deported
He was escorted to Harare International Airport
under heavy guard from State security agents, where he boarded a plane to
Mahmoud Youssef Azzabi, the Libyan Ambassador to
Zimbabwe, yesterday said he was unaware of the deportation.
said: "I am not aware of that incident but thank you for
informing me."Murgham, 43, left aboard an Air Zimbabwe flight UM 9346 which
took off for Nairobi at 10:30am via Lusaka. He was expected to catch a
connecting flight in Nairobi to Cairo. His brother, Khaleb, 32, was barred
from boarding the same plane by airport security officials.
Khaleb could not be reached to comment on why he had been prevented from
accompanying his brother.
Murgham, who is credited with negotiating
Zimbabwe's oil deal with Libya that ended the country's fuel shortages, was
driven to the airport in a police vehicle under the watchful eye of seven
heavily armed police Support Unit officers.
CIO men prowling
around the airport building denied his wife, Jean, the chance to bid him
The CIO officers also prevented Jean from serving the
security officers in charge of his deportation with a copy of an urgent High
Court application to stop the deportation.
Jean said: "The CIO
officer, Max Gweshe, who was in charge of the arrest of my husband, phoned me
on my cellphone and said that he would not allow me to see Murgham if
reporters from The Daily News were around the airport. "I refused to accept
his conditions because I have nothing to hide," she said.
said she would hold the CIO responsible if anything untoward happened to her
husband. "We are ready to take the matter to the International Court of
Justice in The Hague and wherever else it matters, if my husband disappears,"
Jean said she was not sure how the government expected
Murgham to travel to Tripoli as he had no money on him. Murgham left behind
his Zimbabwean wife Jean, 39, daughter Samia,12, and son Mohammed, 8. Jean
said Gweshe called her in the morning telling her to bring her husband money
and clothes before his deportation. She could not do so as she was
busy arranging to stop the deportation with the family lawyer, Jonathan
Samkange of Byron Venturas. Samkange confirmed his client had been deported
but said he would go ahead with his application to reverse the decision. "My
husband was a staunch Zanu PF supporter and ally," said Jean. "During
the presidential election campaign he attended more rallies than
most Zimbabweans did."
She said she was hurt when she was told
by Samkange that Murgham was in leg irons in the holding cell at Hatfield
Police Station."It was sad that a man who negotiated the current fuel deal
for the government of Zimbabwe with the Libyan authorities left the country
without a cent. He did not deserve such treatment," she said.Jean said
Murgham came to Zimbabwe in 1987 as a counsellor at the Libyan Embassy and
resigned from the government in 1993 but preferred to remain in Zimbabwe.She
said that on 15 July this year Murgham received a telephone call from the
immigration department asking him to leave Zimbabwe within 24 hours, despite
being in possession of a residence permit valid until 2004.
Samkange intervened and wrote a letter to the department on 19 July asking
them to put their directive in writing. The response came on 24 July revoking
"While this was taking place, my husband
disappeared from home from 16 July to 25 July. When he was found by a family
member, he refused to say anything about his absence from home," she said.
Jean said her husband was arrested on 13 July 2002 in the streets of Harare.
The family was only informed of the arrest by an official from the Libyan
Embassy. At the time of his deportation, Murgham was finalising his permanent
residence status with immigration officials, Samkange said.
Libyan Oil Group Hit By Its Dealings With Zimbabwe
August 16, 2002 Posted to the web August 16,
Jean-Jacques Cornish Johannesburg
Tamoil offers 70% of
800000 barrels a month
PRETORIA Tamoil, the Libyan stateowned oil company
is faced with bankruptcy over its dealings with Zimbabwe, industry sources
So desperate is Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to maintain this
vital source that he had handed the deeds of Zimbabwe House, the home of
his country's high commission in London, to Libya's leader Muammar Gadaffi
as surety. Libya already owns vast tracts of land in Zimbabwe as a result
of the deal.
Following the $360m-a-year deal struck between Mugabe and
Gadaffi last December, Tamoil was contracted to provide 70% of Zimbabwe's
800000 barrel a month requirement.
The rest of Zimbabwe's oil came
from IPG in Kuwait and overland from SA.
Oil industry sources said one of
those suppliers, BP, would close the taps to Zimbabwe because of
The sources said the Libya-Zimbabwe transaction took an early
turn for the worse. Supplies had been stopped twice. Zimbabwe was unable to
meet the $90m quarterly payment in May this year and Tamoil turned off the
taps for 21 days. Gadaffi personally intervened to get the oil flowing
Among the items taken in payment were controlling interests in the
Jewel Bank, formerly the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe and in the state
travel company, Rainbow Tourist Group.
Gadaffi has been given a
controlling share in the oil pipeline between Zimbabwe and the Mozambique
port of Beira. He also has a significant shareholding in Zimbabwe's
state-owned energy company Noczim. Gadaffi had said he also wanted shares in
the Victoria Falls Hotel and the Sheraton in Harare.
understood to have facilitated foreign travel for 10000 Libyans by giving
them Zimbabwean passports. Sources inside Zimbabwe said more than 1500
Libyans had been given homes, work permits and jobs in
Nevertheless, Tamoil had cash flow problems resulting from the
overly generous transaction with Zimbabwe and other mismanagement. It could
not make the $45m safety upgrade to its 340km pipeline that runs one metre
below the road surface from Genoa in Italy to the Colombey refinery
Swiss authorities reacting to the fires in the Mont
Blanc and Gothard Tunnels said the line had to be moved away from the Great
Saint Bernard Tunnel pipeline in Switzerland. Tamoil assets in Hungary and
Slovakia had been sold at knockdown prices to Agip of Italy.
Libya could negotiate a $500m soft loan for Tamoil, more of the company's
$2bn in assets might have to come under the hammer.
Tamoil looked likely
to pull out of a deal to buy 40% of Egypt's Midor refinery.
from Tamoil, which had offices in Monaco, London, Milan and Geneva, had been
sacked for complaining and for providing information to the international
media. They included former Tamoil CE Muhamed Abduljawad.
employees in Europe could lose their jobs, while those involved in the deal
with Zimbabwe had pocketed their commissions and left. Businessmen trusted by
Gadaffi used the investment system to bypass remaining
Zimbabwean representatives were starting to talk out about the
damaging relationship causing Mugabe to give away or pawn his country's
assets. A Zimbabwean diplomat in Paris described the Libyan assistance as
Zisco operating capacity drops to 20% Barnabas
Thondhlana Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) is operating at only 20%
of its capacity, down from 30% in April, forcing most steel users to resort
to imports from South Africa.
The reduced operating capacity has also
dealt a blow to the company's exports, which have drastically gone down at a
time when the major shareholder, government, is desperate for foreign
currency from any quarter.
Zisco spokesperson Fortunate Chikukwa said
the shortage of working capital was adversely affecting both local and export
"As a capital-intensive and integrated operation, Zisco needs
a capital injection of $3 billion to enable it to operate sustainably,"
She said Number Four blast furnace was working normally
except for occasional maintenance and working capital shortages that
necessitated stoppage. The blast furnace, the heart of the Zisco operation,
was nearly shut down following an industrial upheaval at the company last
Chikukwa said Zisco had the capacity to produce quality steel
"but this needs to be matched by sufficient working
"Although Zisco has been operating at 20% of its capacity,
it has managed to contribute significantly to the country's foreign currency
needs through its export of steel to the Far Eastern countries like Taiwan,
Singapore, China and the Philippines," she said.
many Zimbabwean companies imported most steel products that were not produced
by Zisco, while they bought the Zisco range of
Negotiations for financial injection of $10
billion required to boost operations have been going on since the beginning
of the year.
The Jewel Bank is the lead bank in the negotiations. In
April, Jewel Bank CEO Gideon Gono said: "Mistakes have been made in the past
to refocus resources on Zisco alone and forgetting the inter-linkages that
are critical for its success."
In June, Zisco's debt to Wankie
Colliery stood at $2 billion, and Wankie management had proposed that it be
converted into equity. The debt accrued from coal supplies to the
Redcliff-based company, the country's sole steel manufacturing
"Zisco has the capacity to generate more foreign currency if
the working capital problem that the company is currently facing is
resolved," said Chikukwa.
German bank KFW withheld a $2,4 billion
loan to Zisco citing the unstable economic environment prevailing in
Zisco has for a long time been facing operational problems
and towards the end of last year introduced a three-day working week for its
3 000 workers to ease pressure on working capital.