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Zimbabwe fuel supplies dwindle as imports stalled

August 17, 2000
Web posted at: 12:38 PM EDT (1638 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe has less than five days worth of fuel stocks with no immediate prospects for fresh supplies, industry officials said.

Most garages ran out of fuel stocks on Thursday and one industry official, who declined to be named, said state oil importer National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) had no foreign currency to buy more.

"We have run out of both diesel and petrol and from what we gather there are no prospects for fresh supplies any time soon," one attendant at a Harare garage said.

A coalition of oil industry stakeholders said the fuel situation "is extremely critical countrywide" and urged motorists to conserve fuel so that essential services could remain in operation.

Zimbabwe has been grappling with a fuel shortage since NOCZIM had its credit lines cut over a Z$9 billion ($180 million) debt. Several of the company's senior managers have since been arrested for alleged corruption. NOCZIM has also been hit by an acute foreign currency shortage.

Last month President Robert Mugabe raised fuel prices by up to 26 percent and promised more hikes, saying NOCZIM was selling petroleum products at prices of between 30 and 40 percent below the cost of procurement.

On Thursday, the private-owned Daily News quoted a NOCZIM official as saying Zimbabwe's fuel suppliers, including Independent Petroleum Group of Kuwait, were withholding deliveries because of non-payment.

The official said a number of fuel tanks were docked at neighboring Mozambique's port of Beira but no fuel could be piped to land-locked Zimbabwe since the suppliers had not been paid.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Zimbabwe Opposition Says Illegal Land Reform Risky

Reuters - Aug 17 2000 10:52AM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition warned on Thursday that President Robert Mugabe's government would plunge the country into further chaos if it took illegal steps in resettling black peasants on seized white farms.

``The government cannot lawfully acquire these farms within the time available, implying that it intends to use...extra-legal means, hence plunging this country into further anarchy,'' Tendai Biti, land secretary of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, told a news conference.

Mugabe has announced plans to take over nearly half the 12 million hectares (30 million acres) owned by about 4,500 white farmers. Last week the government began settling black families on 200 farms whose acquisition the farmers have not contested.

On Wednesday the government said that before the start of the rainy season in three months' time it would have resettled landless peasants on about 100 farms in each of the country's eight provinces.

Biti also warned that the ``fast track'' resettlement approach would not allow the cash-strapped government to equip peasants with the means to farm the land, further undermining the key agricultural sector which contributes 20 percent to gross domestic product.

``Our people will be dumped on unsurveyed pieces of land, in the middle of the bush, under circumstances where there are no access roads, no social infrastructure, no support services and no capital support,'' Biti said, adding that Mugabe's land program made no mention of title deeds for resettled people.

``What the government is doing is sentencing people to perpetual subsistence,'' Biti said. ``If people don't have titles to land, how are they going to borrow from banks?''


The program would also displace about 500,000 farm workers and their families and threaten the viability of financial institutions exposed to targeted farms, Biti said.

``We estimate that the 804 farms that have been targeted for acquisition were indebted to about Z$5 billion ($100 million) to financial institutions. Surely it is foreseeable that domestic finance capital will collapse,'' he warned.

Self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence have invaded almost 1,000 farms since February, disrupting farming activity and damaging the vital agriculture sector.

Farmers say the invaders are still stealing, poaching, assaulting and threatening farmers and their laborers despite assurances from the police that they would stop the violence.

Commercial Farmers' Union President Tim Henwood said last week that the group of mostly white farmers was dropping a court application challenging the constitutionality of government plans to forcibly acquire white-owned farms to resettle blacks.

He said the union was committed to working with the government on land reforms.

At least 31 people, mostly opposition supporters, were killed during the farm invasions and a wave of violence that swept across Zimbabwe ahead of a June general election which the ruling ZANU-PF party narrowly won.

Mugabe has passed legislation making former colonial power Britain liable to pay compensation for land ``stolen'' from blacks by colonialists.

Britain says it will only fund a fair and transparent land reform process that benefits the needy.

Zimbabweans Face 45% Hike in Price of Staple Food, Paper Says

Bloomberg News - Aug 17 2000 2:58AM

Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabweans may see the price of their staple food, maize meal, increase as much as 45 percent in coming days, the weekly Financial Gazette, reported, citing Titus Ncube, president of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe.

The planned increase of 25 to 45 percent comes after a similar increase in wages at grain milling companies last month and the 24 percent devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, which has increased the price of imported packaging.

``We are certainly under pressure because production costs are killing us,'' Ncube told the newspaper. ``We use imported material to package some of our products and we had budgeted on the old exchange rates.''

The maize meal price increase, the second this year, would spur inflation, already at 59 percent, as prices rocket in the wake of the devaluation, which aimed to revive flagging export earnings.

In addition, motor fuel queues are lengthening after the government failed to pay for fuel delivered to the Mozambican port of Beira, where it is being stored until payment is received. Zimbabwe has been short of fuel since December.

(The Financial Gazette 8/17)

Zimbabwe govt warns farmers not to ``play games''

Reuters - Aug 16 2000 12:08PM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government welcomed on Wednesday the withdrawal of a court challenge by white farmers to its land reform program but warned them against ``playing games,'' state media reported.

``We appreciate that they (white farmers) want to work with us,'' the state news agency ZIANA quoted Vice President Joseph Msika, who also chairs the government's land acquisition committee.

He added that whites had in the past secretly worked to thwart the program.

``If farmers continue to play games we will lose control of the people. We want to establish a system that will not bring chaos but sustain stability,'' Msika warned.

Commercial Farmers' Union President Tim Henwood said last week that the group of 4,500 mostly white farmers was dropping a court application challenging the constitutionality of government plans to forcibly acquire white-owned farms to resettle blacks.

He said the union was committed to working with the government on land reforms.

Msika said before the start of the rainy season later this year, the government would have resettled landless peasants on about 100 farms in each of the country's eight provinces.

Mugabe has announced plans to take over nearly half the 30 million acres owned by about 4,500 white farmers. Last week the government began settling black families on 200 farms whose acquisition the farmers have not contested.

The government has given its support to the invasion of white-owned farms by war veterans since February, which has disrupted farming activities and threatens to damage the key agriculture sector.


The CFU said on Wednesday that, despite pledges from police that new invasions would be blocked, there had been 78 new occupations and reinvasions during the past week.

Veterans had forced laborers to stop work on dozens of tobacco farms and 12 farmers had been issued eviction notices.

The invaders also continued to wreak havoc on farms, stealing, poaching and threatening farmers and their labourers, the union said.

Mugabe insists former colonial power Britain must compensate white farmers for forcibly acquired land because its nationals ``stole'' the land from blacks when they colonized the country more than a century ago, leaving more than 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best land in the hands of minority whites.

Britain has said it will only fund a fair and transparent land reform process that benefits the needy. Critics say land acquired since independence in 1980 has largely benefited Mugabe's cronies.

At least 31 people, mostly opposition supporters, were killed during the farm invasions and a wave of violence that swept across Zimbabwe ahead of a June general election which the ruling ZANU-PF party narrowly won.

Southern African leaders have pledged support for Mugabe's land drive and have asked South African President Thabo Mbeki and Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi to press Britain to support the program financially.

Maize meal price to go up

Financial Gazette 17 August 2000 - Staff Reporter

BULAWAYO - A mealie-meal price hike of up to 45 percent is looming within days as hard-pressed millers here seek to recoup spiralling input costs due to the devaluation of the dollar and the recent fuel price increase, milling industry sources said yesterday.

The sources said salary hikes of up to 45 percent awarded to workers in the industry last month were also putting immense pressure on millers to increase the price of mealie-meal, the staple diet of the majority of Zimbabweans.

"We have had certain production inputs going up in the last few weeks. Several millers, especially small millers, are looking at upping the price of the end product in the next few days," Titus Ncube, president of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, told the Financial Gazette.

"We are certainly under pressure because production costs are killing us. For instance, packaging has become expensive following the devaluation of the dollar. We use imported material to package some of our products and we had budgeted on the old exchange rates," Ncube said.

The local currency was two weeks ago devalued by 24 percent from $38 to $50 against the American greenback.

Petrol has been hiked by 25 percent to $27, 46 a litre while diesel has gone up 19 percent to $23,67 from $19,80 a litre in the past few weeks.

"With such increases we also need to adjust our prices," Ncube said. "But it is going to be difficult to effect a blanket increase of up to 45 percent because of stiff competition in the market.

"It is up to individual millers to decide what increase to put in place but it will be between 25 and 45 percent."

For the past few months, millers in the country have been pressing for a price hike of up to 45 percent. The last increase was in February when the price of mealie-meal went up by between four percent and nine percent, lifting the cost of a 50-kg bag of roller meal from $471,32 to $491,34.

Some millers were yesterday said to have already hiked the price of the staple diet.

Fuel consignment docked at Beira as govt fails to pay

Financial Gazette 17 August 2000 - Abel Mutsakani, Chief Reporter

THOUSANDS of litres of fuel destined for Zimbabwe are docked at Mozambique's port of Beira because the government has failed to raise payment for the supplies, it was established this week.

An official from the troubled state oil procurement company, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), yesterday confirmed that fuel had been off- loaded from ships into storage tanks at Beira this week but could not be pumped into the pipeline to Zimbabwe because the government had no money to pay for it.

"We have got sufficient supplies at Beira to sustain us for some days but we have not paid yet," the official, who declined to be named, told the Financial Gazette.

He said 24 tankers containing an assortment of fuels had also been loaded in South Africa and were expected in Harare today to ease a worsening shortage.

The NOCZIM official spoke as panic set in among consumers countrywide following reports that the scarce fuel supplies were dwindling fast.

"The overall supply situation is extremely critical countrywide," a spokeswoman of the oil companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

Since the end of last year, NOCZIM - crippled by massive corruption and foreign currency shortages - has been unable to import enough quantities of fuel, triggering a crisis that threatens to bury an already tottering economy.

While queues for diesel had become an almost permanent feature around Zimbabwe in the past few months, petrol was still relatively easier to get. But from yesterday, long and winding queues for petrol could be seen at many pump stations in Harare.

Many of the stations in the capital were rationing both petrol and diesel. Most of those visited by the Financial Gazette in Harare yesterday limited motorists to only $500 worth of fuel.

Illuminating paraffin, used for cooking and lighting by many of the country's poor urban households, was also in short supply, with long queues forming at the few garages that sold it in Harare's high-density suburbs.

In Mutare, two of the three main fuel stations in the city centre were also selling no more than $500 worth of fuel to motorists.

The situation was the same in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, and in Masvingo and Gweru where pump stations fixed various limits to the amount of petrol, diesel and paraffin that could be bought by a customer.

The biting fuel shortage has gripped Zimbabwe since the end of last year, although the government has repeatedly assured the nation that supplies would improve.

In March, ZANU PF stalwart and then Transport and Energy Minister Enos Chikowore resigned over the crisis amid allegations that he had failed to stamp out corruption at NOCZIM.

More than $1 billion has been reported missing from the state company's coffers in shady deals involving some of its managers and some government officials.

Several senior NOCZIM officials have since appeared in court on various charges of corruption. President Robert Mugabe's office then took over the critical oil procurement, promising to end the country's fuel problems but a severe foreign currency shortage and half-fulfilled promises of oil by his Kuwaiti friends have put paid to his promises.

The crisis, now under the office of former State Security Minister and new Mines and Energy Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, is worsing rapidly.

Sekeramayi could not be reached for comment yesterday. His office said he was "out of town".

Meanwhile, NOCZIM said this week it was still the sole importer of fuel in Zimbabwe, dismissing reports that some black business leaders had been licenced to import oil and ease the chronic shortage.

The state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation earlier this week reported that four indigenous-owned companies ¾ Atrax Commodities, Migdale Investments, Kadoma Haulage and Exar Enterprises ¾ had been given licences to import fuel.

The NOCZIM official said the four had merely been given permission to purchase fuel for specific end-users and not for resale to the public.

"The four companies have only been registered as oil companies and under a temporary arrangement agreed in February they can import fuel for end-users who can provide their own foreign currency, just like the established companies like Mobil and Total are doing," the official said.

Officials of two of the four companies - Exar Enterprises and Kadoma Haulage - confirmed that their licences limited them to the importation of fuel for end-users only and not for general resale.

"NOCZIM is the only one with the mandate to generally import oil to meet the general fuel needs of this country," the NOCZIM official said

Farmers stop work as govt keeps lid on new land seizures

Financial Gazette: 17 August 2000, Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S commercial farmers say growing uncertainty is gripping the sector because of the government's failure to release a new list of farms it is targeting for resettlement, a development which has forced farmers to stall production.

The government announced three weeks ago it was acquiring an extra 2 237 farms on top of more than 800 others it had already earmarked for seizure earlier this year, but the list of the farms

to be acquired and the criteria to be used have not been made public.

The government intends to use the extra farms to rapidly resettle thousands of peasants ahead of the coming

rainy season, which starts around October/November.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) spokesman Steve Crawford said this week the government's refusal to name the farms it intends to acquire had created a confidence crisis which had forced some CFU members to temporarily halt farming.

"Farmers are waiting for direction as of now, which means they cannot plan nor work. Most of

the farmers are uncertain about their properties because the list of extra farms to be acquired is still to be made public," he told the Financial Gazette.

"Even banks say they are in a difficult situation to provide finance for this season's cropping because there is concern over security of tenure on most farms," he added.

Land preparation for planting major cash crops, which is underway, had already been severely disrupted by independence war veterans who have seized more than 1 600 farms since February.

Most individual farmers are expected to challenge the latest acquisition of their farms, a development that is likely to lead to long-running legal battles.

Massive disinvestment in the sector, Zimbabwe's economic mainstay, is likely to occur as the government moves to issue notices of acquisition of the farms.

Under the amended Land Acquisition Act of 2000, the government can forcibly acquire land without paying compensation except for improvements made on farms and if money is available.

Crawford said despite earlier statements by the government, the veterans still remained on farms, and described the situation there as generally quiet. But there had been reports of skirmishes between farmers and veterans in Macheke district in Mashonaland East.

In a dramatic about-turn last week, the CFU withdrew court cases it had lodged against President Robert Mugabe, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and the Zimbabwe War Veterans' Association and its leader Chenjerai Hunzvi on the roles they have played in the farm invasions.

The CFU said the decision to drop the cases was aimed at creating an atmosphere conducive to dialogue among the major players involved in the land reform exercise.

The wave of invasions has resulted in the deaths of five white farmers, a policeman and a farm foreman. Scores of farm workers have been harassed and assaulted. Some claim to have been gang-raped by the marauding mobs.

Farming industry sources say the CFU, by dropping its court cases, expects the government to move all veterans off the farms, a development most analysts say is unlikely because Mugabe says he will not do so until his supporters are given the land.

Analysts say the move by the CFU was ill-conceived and will not yield the desired results, pointing out that previous talks involving Mugabe, the farmers and the veterans had failed to end lawlessness on the farms.

Mugabe accuses white commercial farmers and their workers of supporting and bankrolling the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which narrowly lost the June 24-25 parliamentary election to the governing ZANU PF party.

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Everyone's duty

Financial Gazette, 17 August 2000

ALL right-thinking Zimbabweans will be dismayed by the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) decision to be cowed into withdrawing litigation which sought an end to lawlessness on farms and the eviction of those illegally occupying their properties.

The union has succumbed to intimidation and arm-twisting, setting an intolerably dangerous precedent on a fundamental issue that affects not only its members but the entire country.

The restoration of law and order throughout Zimbabwe is not negotiable because it is a basic and cardinal right of all who live in the land, and the CFU cannot suspend this right for its members because of short-term gains, however useful and whatever they are.

President Robert Mugabe's government is taxing and testing the nation's patience to the limit precisely to see how far it can get away with the suspension of the rule of law and we cannot have any groups of Zimbabweans aiding this illegality.

In fact, the government-sponsored violence on farms and in the run-up to the June general election was a clear payback for the country's paralysis when confronted by this evil that was left to go unpunished during several past elections.

Because no one acted to end mayhem then, the government was emboldened to step up the assault, both physical and pyschological, on the nation in the just-ended polls.

We can be certain that there will be real armageddon come 2002 when the stakes will be that much higher, precisely the reason why the current violence on farms and in towns and cities is not relenting. Mugabe is simply preparing the nation for the very worst and to begin to accept that state lawlessness can go unchallenged.

Holding peace talks among belligerents is, under normal circumstances, always the preferred route to conflict resolution but both sides must be sincere in these efforts.

In Zimbabwe's case, repeated talks and pleas from the public in the past on so many burning issues have failed to move the government even an inch from its chosen path, however perilous it is.

Indeed the CFU should know better, having held a series of such futile negotiations with Mugabe and the war veterans during the violent run-up to the parliamentary ballot.

Then as now, the talks will achieve nothing because the government is not serious nor sincere in ending a conflict which it precipitated. It simply wants to use the violence as a negotiating tool while at the same time escalating it to achieve its political goals.

Having succeeded in whipping many in rural areas and on farms into supporting the governing ZANU PF party in the parliamentary vote and having also convinced the directionless SADC that there is nothing amiss about this, the government will raise the tempo of the violence in the impending presidential polls.

It is the only instrument that ZANU PF now has because Zimbabweans are truly fed up with its corrupt misrule which has killed a promising and resourceful country in a short 20 years.

All patriotic Zimbabweans - and their genuine friends and partners across the globe - must stand resolute and firm against any state-led violence and the usurpation of their hard-won freedoms and rights.

No one - and this includes the CFU - must ever negotiate to dilute these God-given rights. It would be treason of the worst order and a monumental betrayal of all who paid the ultimate price to free this country from oppression of man by man.

Yes, let us have the land being given back to blacks but let us have law and order.

Murdering a farmer or worker cannot and will not aid or accelerate the land redistribution plan. It is purely murder and a bestial criminal act that must be punished most harshly by any civilised society.

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24th July, 2000


The election period is now over, except for those constituencies where the
result will be contested. The results speak for themselves and I wish to
thank all those who voted positively for change which resulted in the party
securing 57 seats in Parliament. The leap to democracy officially came
about on Tuesday 18 July, when 57 MDC Members of Parliament were sworn in
after a hard fought campaign. I am sure you all join me in congratulating
them for the opportunity to serve the nation.

As we move forward we must not forget that a lot of the suffering
experienced by so many citizens was a direct result of the breakdown in the
enforcement of the rule of law as enshrined in our constitution. "The rule
of law should not be applied selectively."

In the post-election period, sadly we are witnessing a continuation of
selective enforcement of the law. Violence and intimidation continues to be
meted out in several sectors of our society, in particular the urban
townships where an unofficial curfew now exits, citizens are being beaten
up by the very people who should ensure their safety. For having dared to
express their democratic right. Illegal farm occupations continue unabated
in spite of government assurances to the contrary.

The economic suffering of the country is well chronicled and is being
exacerbated by the current lawlessness. Unless this situation is
immediately reversed Zimbabwe will deteriorate further to the extent that
tourism will not recover, agricultural exports will not regenerate and
investor confidence will remain low. This will continue to have an obvious
impact on the country's capacity to earn foreign exchange-the key to
resolving our economic problems. We may then expect further weakening of
our currency, inflation, high interest rates, low investment, and loss of jobs.

It is against this background that I urge all Zimbabweans, and in
particular those responsible for law and order to ensure that an immediate
return to the rule of law is achieved. It is important that all law
enforcement agents regain the confidence of the public. This can only be
achieved if all reported incidents are actioned timeously and those
responsible brought to account.

Zimbabwe is on a knife-edge and we should all play our part to avert
disaster. I therefore urge you all to obey the rule of law, and to
meticulously report all instances of illegal acts as well as insisting that
law enforcement agencies carry out their duties without fear or favour. MDC
will pursue these issues through Parliament and the respective agencies.
Zero tolerance must be our target.

Yours Sincerely,

Morgan Tsvangirai
President, Movement for Democratic Change


Response to the Minister of Finance's Short-Term Stabilisation measures
announced on 3 Aug 2000

The statement was welcome in its honesty about the extent of the economic
crisis and the sense it gave that the new Minister is aware of the need to
address economic issues with urgency. However, a close analysis of Dr
Makoni's speech gives rather less cause for optimism about the country's
immediate future than the tone of the speech seemed to imply. We know that
Dr Makoni is not a doctor of economics, but we had not before thought of
him as a doctor of spin. Surely one spin-doctor in a ZANU-PF government is
more than enough?

Dr Makoni takes as a fait accompli in his speech the 43% increase in
budgeted expenditures for this year, but, as I stressed in my maiden
speech, this enormous increase was not put to the previous parliament and
remains ultra vires the constitution until formally submitted to and
approved by this House. Presenting a revised year 2000 budget for debate
and approval by Parliament has to be treated as a top priority by the
in-coming government.

The economic measures the Minister referred to in his speech can be
classified under 8 headings:

1. Tightened management of expenditures to prevent further cost over-runs

The Minister stated that there would be no supplementary expenditures
unless matched by additional revenue sources and that cash budgeting would
be introduced in 'the shortest possible time' - an indefinite phrase used
twice in his speech. Cash budgeting is very stringent and could inflict
even greater damage to the health and education sectors, which would
further worsen the day-to-day problems of ordinary Zimbabweans. In the
absence of donor support to fill the gap, significant reallocations within
the budget would need to be effected before cash budgeting was introduced.

2. Govt restructuring to permanently reduce expenditure in the budget

As I made clear, again in my maiden speech, a fundamental requirement for
restoring macro-economic stability is structural change within government.
Dr Makoni mentioned a specific target, that public service wages and
salaries should be reduced to 12,5% of GDP. Using the Ministry of Finance's
own figures for this year, wages and salaries (if approved by this House)
will be 18,2% of GDP and consequently a reduction of at least 30% in the
civil service is what is required to reach the Minister's target. Once
again the time frame the minister gave the Public Service Commission to
come up with a "credible programme of rationalisation" was the same
''shortest possible time''.

This rings hollow, in that speedy action to restructure government was
promised in the ESAP document, which was published in January 1991, and has
been said to be imminent ever since, over the last 9½ years. In fact,
during this time only cosmetic reductions in the civil service have been
made, while in some areas the complexity and stultifying overlapping of
government functions has become worse. What has the Public Service
Commission been doing all this time if it does not have a complete
restructuring blueprint to hand? As was made clear by the recent
announcement of ministries with no reduction in their number (17), merely a
bit of reshuffling and name change, the real problem is political, an
unwillingness to slim government, to give up the patronage of multiple
ministerial posts.

3 National Revenue Authority

This important institution was promised in the July 1996 budget speech.
What excuse can there possibly be for a further delay until January 2001
for the NRA to be operational?

4 Borrowing and Government Guarantees

The Minister's statement says that the government overdraft with the
Reserve Bank will be limited to Statutory Provisions, with a ceiling
equivalent to four months' of expected revenue. In terms of the Ministry of
Finance's figures this would be a ceiling of $32 billion, which really is
no limit at all. In addition, this provision by the Minister shoots down
his earlier "cash budget" suggestion. For the cash budgeting to be
meaningful, it must depend solely on raised revenue and not on further
credit expansion, which is the very scourge of the country's present problems.

The Minister talks of transferring short-term high-interest debt to
longer-term debt, carrying presumably a lower level of interest. However,
government's first attempt to do this kind of debt swap - the issuing of
the NOCZIM bonds - failed, as only half of the $5 billion offer was taken
up. To solve the budgetary debt problems, the Minister would need to
convert $100 billion of short-term debt and clearly this would require even
more generous terms than the 50% tax-free, government guaranteed 5-year
NOCZIM Bonds. The cost for tax payers of such debt swaps could be extremely
high. If the strategy succeeded, interest rates might come down to say 10%
while the bonds were still being serviced at 50%. This is an important
issue because it could be seen as an attractive route for this ZANU-PF
government to try and get out of the mess that it has created, but it would
imply very high costs down the road for taxpayers and the next government,
which will be MDC.

Finally under this heading, the Minister stated that government guarantees
would only be given in future for viable projects. Is he thereby admitting
that in the past non-viable (otherwise known as 'political') projects have
been guaranteed by government, with a totally unjustified cost thereby
being imposed on the Zimbabwean taxpayer?

5. Public enterprises

The Minister stated that in future the Ministry of Finance would ensure
that there was timely reporting from parastatals, on the model of the
private sector. Good luck to the Minister! All previous attempts by the
Ministry of Finance to achieve this simple goal have failed. In any event,
the problems of the parastatals, particularly as they impact on the budget,
are only tangentially related to late and inadequate reporting on financial
and other performance data. Government has to stop intervening in a clumsy,
political way in the running of parastatals, in particular allowing them to
properly price the goods and services they provide so as to avoid
accumulating enormous debts which ultimately have to be paid for by
consumers and taxpayers.

6. Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies

Monetary policies were announced the next day by the Reserve Bank Governor.
The main elements are a lowering of the bank rate and permission for
statutary reserves to be lent at concessionary rates of interest to
exporters. Both of these measures are problematic in terms of the stated
goal of reducing money supply growth and inflation. Whether the concession
to exporters will be taken up depends on the goodwill of the banks, which
will always try to make loans at higher rates of interest if possible.

Another concern is that if the Reserve Bank intends to target interest
rates, which is the core policy measure in the infamous Millennium Economic
Recovery Programme, then the rules of macro-economics are such that the
authorities cannot at the same time successfully target the exchange rate.
Yet the Minister in his speech said on the issue of the exchange rate that
purchasing power parity or inflation differentials would be used. There is
some confusion there, as the two approaches are not quite the same. In
applying one or other, there has to be some benchmark to refer to: does the
Minister consider the recent devaluation to Z$50 to the US$ has achieved
that base, or is the currency still overvalued in his view?

In any event, does the Minister consider that after 10 years of the
Ministry of Finance and Reserve Bank failing to benchmark the exchange
rate's misalignment it has now suddenly discovered purchasing power parity,
a simple textbook estimation tool, to correct Zimbabwe's exchange rate
misalignment? I wish to submit that the tools the Minister is referring to
are normal ex post measures of benchmarking the exchange rate. For the
government to be on top of the situation, it will have to take into account
all the fundamentals of misalignments and imbalances which have been
created by 2 decades of economic mismanagement. The Minister did not
outline these fundamentals in his speech.

7. Measures to stimulate Productive Sector especially exports

Reducing tariffs on inputs and raw materials always sounds good but, in an
economy such as Zimbabwe's amounts to little more than a nice-sounding
promise. It would be simple in a less diversified economy, but in the case
of Zimbabwe, one firm's input is often another firm's output, so that
reducing the level of protection for the first firm may put the second firm
out of business. What we should be striving to achieve in tariff policy,
and I quote her from official government Industry Development Policy
document (page 7), is "to progressively reduce the overall levels and to
narrow the spreads". This is because it is only in a regime of low, uniform
tariffs that an export-oriented economy can reach its full growth potential.

In respect of exporters, they are anyway not supposed to pay duty on
imported inputs. That is what Export Processing Zone, Inward Processing and
Duty Drawback are supposed to achieve. The so-called incentive that the
Minister announced in his speech of providing coupons for exporters to
rebate their duty on imported inputs actually amounts to an admission of
failure on the part of government to implement the duty draw-back scheme
properly. First prize would be to get those schemes operating properly,
which in the past has been promised just as soon as the National Revenue
Authority is in place, rather than introducing yet another bureaucratic
hurdle. Exporters are supposed to export, not to spend their time and
energy battling with bureaucrats.

8. Institutional changes

The Minister announced two new institutions, one being the Economic
Recovery Consultative Council. This can only be effective if it has a
proper mandate to make decisions, which will then be carried out by
government. It might then attract the proper representation it requires to
be effective (that is government, labour and business). Otherwise it will
suffer the same fate as the NECF of becoming a de facto apologist for poor
economic policies propagated by government seeking to have somebody else
take the blame for their impact on the economy.

The second institution is a Cabinet Committee on Investment, which would
"remove impediments for investment to be attracted to Zimbabwe". The
biggest single impediment to investment at present, domestic as well as
foreign investment, is the absence of the rule of law in our country. To Dr
Makoni's credit, he did make clear that his programme would not get
anywhere unless the environment was, as he put it, "influenced by broader
issues of peace, stability, law and order and confidence". What he did not
do was to take any responsibility for these things. He merely said that
"relevant authorities in government" were addressing those concerns. If the
Minister was really concerned about 'confidence' he would commit himself to
taking an active, indeed a primary role in ensuring the restoration of the
rule of law in our country.

The main reason for the country's poor performance in the past has been
ineffective leadership. The starting point in redressing the economic
crisis has to be in convincing the public at large that government has the
determination and the vision to formulate and implement coherent policies,
including those where tough political decisions will be made. Dr Makoni's
speech is a start, in that it admits to the state of the crisis, but the
actual policy measures still leave much to be desired. More importantly,
the fundamentals need to be addressed first. MDC yearns for the day when
there is unambiguous action to restore the rule of law and a comprehensive
economic policy package, with clearly specified dates and targets, is laid
before this House. MDC would then be ready to "buy-in" (as the Minister put
it) and provide our whole-hearted support to rebuilding Zimbabwe, but what
has been presented thus far falls far short of what is required and is
largely viewed as economic policy posturing because the political will is
not there.

Shadow Cabinet Minister For Finance and Economic Planning
MDC Support Centre
8th Floor, Gold Bridge

Guqula Izenzo/Maitiro Chinja
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Letters to the Financial Gazette editor: 17 August 2000

We can't settle for crumbs

E Mpofu, Bulawayo.

EDITOR - Driving around the industrial areas and the suburbs of Bulawayo, I see a growing number of African women setting up tiny stalls selling sweets and a few oranges and bananas as they endeavour to eke out a living.

My heart bleeds for them as I doubt that they make enough profit in one day to afford a single loaf of bread. Brothers and sisters, we are becoming a nation of beggars. This is what Zimbabwe has come to and make no mistake - it is set to get much worse in the next two years.

Meanwhile, our maniac masters Robert Mugabe and Chenjerai Hunzvi ride the gravy train with no concern for the people as they mastermind our slide into total poverty.

I cringe when I see Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa holding hands like schoolgirls and see the support Mbeki, Sam Nujoma and other Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)leaders are giving him.

Mugabe's SADC, comrade leaders, must be shown that we the people of Zimbabwe are not prepared to settle for crumbs. We want a Zimbabwe where we can live with dignity and in harmony.

We have the land and people to achieve great things but we cannot afford to have 11 million people being held to ransom by Mugabe, Hunzvi and a handful of war veterans and unemployed thugs who are totally ruining our country.

At the constitutional referendum and the election we took one small step for the people of Zimbabwe. Now it is time to take one giant leap.

Everyone who loves this land must down tools and take to the streets in peaceful demonstration until Mugabe goes, until law and order return and our troops are withdrawn from the Congo. It would be better to suffer a few weeks of hardship now than to go on like this for another two years. Let's get this madness over so that we can get on with restoring our country to a better state.

Our brave leaders who have opposed ZANU PF must act as the catalyst for this last step. ZANU PF Members of Parliament could short-circuit this exercise by working with the opposition to rid us of this problem or they may find that they too will be ousted when the people have their way.

Mugabe is reported to be one of the richest men in the world, while thousands of women are sitting on street corners selling sweets and oranges to buy a loaf of bread!

Chinja - the time is now!

What does ZANU PF prefer?

N Etnus, Harare.

EDITOR - This is an open letter to all ZANU PF Members of Parliament.

I realise that I must be a bit on the slow side and I am therefore requesting help from you.

Foreign donors (first among them Britain) have offered money and help to redistribute land, with their only condition being that the exercise be transparent and fair. If you do this, infrastructure will be set up, loan schemes made available and farmers compensated, etc.

My questions are:

Since you reject this, it therefore means that you prefer secrecy and unfairness. Why?

Since you have singled out white farmers and in fact, Mugabe called whites "enemies of the state", do you all admit to being rabid racists?

Gentlemen and ladies, these are two questions I wish to get answers to. They are pure fact, therefore do not try to talk around the issues - just answer these two questions, no "but . . ." or "what about . . .", and so on.

Answers can be sent to e-mail: nicholas etnus@mailandnews.com and I await your responses.

Politics is no longer voluntary risk-taking

Hudson Yemen Taivo, Harare.

EDITOR - Eddison Zvobgo has repeatedly maintained his belief that ''politics is a voluntary assumption of risk''.

While no one will disagree that politics was indeed a risky profession when Zvobgo and his contemporaries ventured into it during the colonial era, I do not think it is wise to maintain this belief 20 years after independence.

If Zvobgo and company were fighting against these and other injustices of the colonial governments, we expect them to adopt a new political culture where killing, maiming and torture are permanently erased from the political thesaurus.

The focus should be on improving the economy and standards of living for the people.

Political parties should not see each other as enemies, but as brothers working for the good of the country, albeit with different approaches.

It is unfortunate that because people like Zvobgo still associate politics with risk, more than 30 lives were lost in the run-up to the elections.

Zvobgo (who is my hero) is an intellectual who still commands respect from different sectors of the country and, as such, should desist from issuing irresponsible statements.


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Threat to the Black Rhino

Poachers are enjoying a free run in Zimbabwe thanks to the political unrest which saw the mass-occupation by war veterans of many white-owned farms.

Among the species under threat is the black rhino. In the past week alone two have been snared and slaughtered according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

Poaching has increased in the six months since government-backed squatters began invading farms reports Channel Africa radio.

About 450 black rhinos - around 16 per cent of the wild population - are to be found in Zimbabwe.
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17 August 2000

In today's issue :

From The Star (SA), 17 August

Zimbabwe warns farmers not to 'play games'

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government has welcomed white farmers' withdrawal of a court challenge to its land reform programme but warned them against "playing games", state media reported. "We appreciate that they (white farmers) want to work with us," the state news agency Ziana quoted vice-president Joseph Msika, who also chairs the government's land acquisition committee, as saying on Wednesday. He added, however, that whites had in the past secretly worked to thwart the programme. "If farmers continue to play games, we will lose control of the people. We want to establish a system that will not bring chaos but sustain stability," Msika warned.

CFU President Tim Henwood said last week that the group of 4 500 mostly white farmers was dropping a court application challenging the constitutionality of government plans to forcibly acquire white-owned farms to resettle blacks. He said the union was committed to working with the government on land reforms. Msika said that before the start of the rainy season later this year the government would have resettled landless peasants on about 100 farms in each of the country's eight provinces. Mugabe has announced plans to take over nearly half the 12 million hectares owned by about 4 500 white farmers. Last week, the government began settling black families on 200 farms whose acquisition the farmers have not contested. On Wednesday, the CFU said that, despite pledges from police that new invasions would be blocked, there had been 78 new occupations and re-invasions during the past week. Veterans had forced labourers to stop work on 42 mainly tobacco farms and 12 farmers had been issued with eviction notices. The invaders also continued to wreak havoc on farms, stealing, poaching and threatening farmers and their labourers, the union said.

From The Daily News, 16 August

Terror returns to commercial farms in Matabeleland North

Bulawayo - THE violence that haunted Matabeleland North farms before the parliamentary election in June has resurfaced, says the CFU provincial chairman, Mac Crawford. Referring to the alleged abduction of two farm workers by war veterans and Zanu PF supporters from Alex Goosen's Goodwood Farm in Bubi District last weekend, Crawford said the CFU provincial wing was highly concerned about the latest developments in the region. "It looks as if Matabeleland North is being targeted once again. It is disturbing to see people, farm workers in particular, being pushed around and forced to belong to such and such a party," Crawford said. "As it is, farm workers are now scared even to go to work because they are afraid they may be harassed. Everyone has the right to belong to a political party of their choice. Morale is at its lowest ebb within the farming community. We are just praying that things change for the better," he said. In March, farm workers in Bubi vowed to fight off any war veterans who dared occupy their places of work. The threat came after a group of war veterans was attacked by farm workers for trying to occupy Gourlays Farm. After the skirmish, two men employed by Goosen, Isaac Ezekiel Kamoyo, and James Ndlovu, were picked up by the CIO. Four days later, about 25 ex-combatants camped outside Dudley Nicholas' farm, about 25km west of Gourlays. A number of farms, including Gourlays and Goodwood, had been earmarked for invasion by the war veterans at the time, sources said.

From The Star (SA), 16 August

Zim food prices soar with political woes

Harare - Zimbabwe's butchers and bakers have hiked their prices by as much as 25 percent in the last week, which has left many families scrambling for alternatives to put on their tables. "It doesn't affect me," said Norman Makiyi, who was at one shopping center here. "I raise my goats and chickens at my home, and I prefer to eat those." Makiyi works during the week in Harare, but returns to his home about 50km north of the city on the weekend. He said he uses his own animals for almost all his meat, because it's now too expensive for him to buy.

Oliver Takawire is a butcher in downtown Harare. He said that many people are buying cheaper and smaller portions of beef, while steaks sit in his cooler. The price hikes came after the government devalued the Zimbabwean dollar by 24 percent on August 1, setting the official exchange rate at 50 to 1 US dollar. Businesses had begged for the devaluation, and economists said the government should have set the exchange even lower. But consumers, who already face runaway inflation estimated at 60 percent and unemployment levels over 50 percent, suddenly found their money doesn't go as far as it used to. Slaughterhouses and the refrigeration companies that store and transport beef quote their prices in US dollars. The devaluation sent their prices up 24 percent overnight, and one week later the Zimbabwe Association of Butchers announced a 25 percent hike in prices.

Although Zimbabwe produces much of its own beef, rising prices mean that many families can't afford to eat meat every day. One consumer group has started organizing clubs to buy beef in bulk - by purchasing an entire cow directly from ranchers and dividing it up themselves. Elizabeth Nerwande, executive director of the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, said the people most affected by the price increases are the ones least able to afford it. She also said that by not eating meat, many people may have trouble keeping their diets balanced and avoiding protein deficiencies. Bakers have faced a similar problem. During the winter months, Zimbabwe imports wheat until its own wheat crops are ready for harvesting. The weaker Zimbabwean dollar quickly made foreign wheat more expensive to buy, and the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe announced last week that most of its members would raise prices 15 percent to compensate.

The food price increases come amid widespread uncertainty about the future of agriculture here. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said the government will seize 3 000 of the nation's 4 500 white-owned farms to resettle them with landless blacks before the rainy season begins. But it remains unclear whether Mugabe will be able to pull off the resettlement programme, and the government has only identified 804 farms that will be seized. That leaves many commercial farmers, who work the most productive land, unsure how much to plant or whether to plant at all. The occupations have already disrupted wheat crops, which are harvested later this year. Reports here have said the smaller plantings will leave Zimbabwe in need of 250 000 tons of flour to meet its consumption needs. And some cattle ranchers have started slaughtering their breeding stock, which means smaller supplies of beef over the next year as well.

From The Star (SA), 16 August

Mugabe threatens to pull troops out of DRC

President Robert Mugabe publicly criticised DRC President Laurent Kabila on Tuesday and is understood to have told him he will withdraw most of Zimbabwe's troops by the end of the year. Kabila's intransigence has wrecked yet another regional summit aimed at getting the deadlocked DRC peace process back on track. The summit in Lusaka ended early on Tuesday without conclusion after Kabila rejected appeals to accept former Botswana president Ketumile Masire as facilitator, and to allow United Nations peacekeepers to be deployed in government-held war zones. "President Kabila has refused to listen or discuss the matter. He says he does not want Sir Ketumile Masire - period," Mugabe said after the talks.

"It is not good that President Kabila does not want to listen. It is important that he sees the views of other leaders - if the problem is to be solved." Senior Zimbabwean government sources said Zimbabwe Finance Minister Simba Makoni had told Mugabe two weeks ago that he could not rescue the plummeting economy while the 13 000 Zimbabwean troops in the DRC were draining Z$1,3-billion a month from the treasury. Most analysts believe Kabila cannot survive without these troops. Meanwhile, the United States has issued a stern warning to Kabila to support United Nations-backed efforts to end the two-year war. Nancy Soderberg, a senior member of the United States mission to the United Nations, said on Tuesday the talks had produced "broad consensus on a number of key issues" among all those taking part except Kabila. She described the 1999 ceasefire agreement as "the most viable means for bringing the conflict to an end" and said Kabila's government "must provide the requisite security guarantees, access and co-operation that will enable the United Nations to deploy its peacekeepers".

From The Star (SA), 17 August

Congo says FW's the man to mediate talks

Kinshasa - The DRC's embattled government is looking for help from former South African president FW de Klerk. DRC Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Yerodia said on Wednesday that De Klerk would be a more suitable internal mediator than former Botswana leader Ketumile Masire, the current facilitator. The former president had shown a willingness to accept change and had won a Nobel peace prize alongside former president Nelson Mandela, another mediator, said Yerodia, explaining his preference. This latest move in the intricate game of the DRC peace process comes as the foreign minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, blamed DRC President Laurent Kabila for the impasse in the implementation of last year's peace accord, ahead of claims by Zambian President Frederick Chiluba that Kabila had changed his mind on at least allowing United Nations peacekeepers into the country. Other candidates suggested by Yerodia were South African businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, former Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda, former Senegalese president Abdou Diouf, and former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar. The OAU's choice of Masire was not acceptable, Yerodia insisted. However, the DRC's minister of information, Didier Mumengi, could not confirm or deny that Masire had been ruled out by Kinshasa. Negotiations were still going on in Lusaka, he added. The Kinshasa government claims Masire is not impartial.

From The Star (SA), 16 August

Miners' strike contunues

Harare - About 15 000 of 40 000 mine workers affiliated with Zimbabwe's national Chamber of Mines continued their strike on Tuesday as violence escalated in the country. The government unofficially declared the strike over pay rises illegal. A written order for work to resume immediately is expected on Wednesday. A meeting between the National Mineworkers Union, the employers and the government broke up after government mediators were apparently repeatedly insulted by union officials. The worst violence occurred at Freda-Rebecca gold mine, owned by Ashanti of Ghana, where a car was set alight and several people were beaten up. "The situation is essentially the same as Monday," a senior industry official said, "except that more incidents of violence are being noted." Political observers say the violence could be politically motivated. "There has been a pattern of incidents in areas where the ruling Zanu-PF party holds sway and it could be because mineworkers virtually all voted for the opposition MDC and are venting their frustration on ruling party followers," said one analyst. There has also been intimidation of staff involved in essential services and safety maintenance.

From The Financial Gazette, 17 August

ZANU PF stalwarts mull name change

SOME ZANU PF stalwarts are working towards the revival of the Patriotic Front as the new name for the restructured ruling party, sources said this week. ZANU PF politicians from the southern provinces of Matabeleland, the Midlands and Masvingo are understood to be lobbying for the return of the Lancaster House-era name as one way to boost the party's flagging fortunes in their provinces. Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF and the then ZAPU, which was led by Joshua Nkomo, participated jointly in the pre-independence Lancaster House peace talks in London in 1979 as the Patriotic Front. ZAPU was absorbed into ZANU PF after the merger of the two parties in 1987 and the newly formed party retained the name of ZANU PF.

The ruling party's name has been said to be a source of irritation for some former ZAPU members who feel that the merger completely obliterated Nkomo's party. The sources said this week that senior party politicians in the three provinces had met under the aegis of the so-called "south-south" co-operation and were understood to be lobbying for the change of name of the ruling party. The "south-south" co-operation is said to be a lobby group of politicians from these provinces who are fighting to end the Zezuru domination of ZANU PF. Some politicians in Matabeleland have openly complained that the name ZANU PF did not go down well politically in the province and that its continued use was one of the reasons for the waning popularity of the party in the region.

The issue was said to have been part of an agenda of a meeting held in Bulawayo last week and chaired by former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa. Dabengwa, said to be one of the leaders at the forefront of efforts to revive the Patriotic Front as the name of the ruling party, this week said the Bulawayo meeting was a post-mortem on why ZANU PF had fared badly in Matabeleland in the June 24-25 election. He denied that "south-south" co-operation was discussed at the meeting. "It (the Bulawayo meeting) was a closed meeting with an intention to address issues. As for the south-south co-operation, I am hearing it from you and I have no interest in it," Dabengwa told the Financial Gazette. Among some of the political issues that formed the agenda of the meeting was the need for proper retirement plans to be worked out for the party's ageing leadership, the review of its constitution and a fresh look at the unity accord between ZAPU and ZANU PF. The agenda also highlighted the need to engage regional leaders in the ruling party's internal conflict resolution. Follow-up talks are expected to be held in Bulawayo at the weekend.

Jonathan Moyo, ZANU PF's spokesman and Information Minister, confirmed yesterday that there were some politicians who were mooting the return of the Lancaster House agreement name but dismissed it as a desperate act to salvage dimming political careers. "We are aware of these developments but this act is by politicians whose ideological imagination has run full circle," Moyo said. "This is being done by a few leaders who have vested interests and have become desperate and think that the only way to revive their falling political fortunes is by opening old and healed wounds."

Among other issues discussed at the Bulawayo meeting was the Zambezi Water Project to draw water from the Zambezi River to Bulawayo and the surrounding areas. The project is seen as the future lifeline of the semi-arid Matabeleland region but some leaders in the provinces have repeatedly complained that the government is reluctant to see its speedy implementation. Several companies, citing Bulawayo's erratic water supplies, have in the past relocated from the city to Harare which has better water resources. The meeting also urged the government to stick to an orderly and transparent land redistribution programme in line with the wishes of Nkomo, who died last year and has been declared a national hero.

From The Daily Telegraph, 17 August

Voice of democracy is heard at last in Mugabe's talking shop

Harare - Zimbabwe's parliament has been turned from a rubber stamp for the president to a packed debating chamber, where the traditions of Westminster are scrupulously observed and a government is coming under sustained pressure for the first time. Zimbabwe's parliament, once crushed under the weight of President Robert Mugabe's one-party state, has been transformed by the election of 57 members from the opposition MDChange. Until the election in June all but three of the 150 seats were held by the ruling Zanu-PF party and vital legislation passed without the formality of a vote.

Things are different now. Cheered by the MDC benches, Job Sikala, an opposition member, accused the president of "betraying our country and selling out our people" and called for his immediate impeachment. The resounding shouts of support left Zanu-PF members visibly shocked and prompted veteran cabinet ministers to shake their heads in disbelief. Parliament may be powerless to obstruct Mr Mugabe's policies - the constitution allows him to rule by decree and the legal changes necessary for his land grab were pushed through before the election - but the noisy debates show that his one-party state is no more.

Until the election, it would have been inconceivable for an MP to demand impeachment. Government and opposition benches were packed with Zanu-PF members, organised dissent barely existed and all criticism was dismissed as subversive. Budgets, new taxes, even declarations of war sailed through the House without debate. Mr Mugabe went to war in the DRC in August 1998 without any parliamentary discussion. But the MDC's electoral success has broken the mould of Zimbabwean politics and the ornate debating chamber, with a large portrait of the Queen in its entrance, is now a forum where the grievances of the nation are vigorously expressed. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker, was forced to call the House to order amid the uproar caused by Mr Sikala.

The young MP's outrage arose from Zimbabwe's chief grievance against Mr Mugabe, the wave of political violence before the election that claimed 37 lives. MDC members find it hard to contain their rage against Zanu-PF. "It is difficult being in the same room as those fascists and murderers," said one member of the shadow cabinet before entering the chamber. Their fury is directed at one Zanu-PF member in particular, Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, leader of the War Veterans' Association and the prime mover behind the illegal occupation of white farms and the brutal onslaught against the opposition. Mr Hunzvi appeared in the chamber during Mr Sikala's speech and immediately accused his opponent of high treason for daring to suggest impeachment of the president. He shook his head in anger as Mr Sikala said the election violence was "almost genocide". One of many Zanu-PF members horrified by Zimbabwe's new democracy, Mr Hunzvi shouted threats at the opposition. Yet insiders suggest that the feelings of Zanu-PF pale by comparison with the anger of the architect of the one-party state, who has seen his creation come crashing down.

From The Daily News, 16 August

Party enquires on State funding

THE MDC has written to the government to ask when the party is likely to receive its share of the money due to it under the Political Parties (Finance) Act. The MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube, yesterday said they had written to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa. "It is now 51 days since the last day of the parliamentary election and the Act gives the Minister 60 days to publish a notice announcing how much each of the contesting parties will receive," Ncube said. The MDC won 57 of the 120 contested seats in the June parliamentary election to become the major opposition party in Parliament.

According to the Political Parties (Finance) Act, parties must win the support of at least 5 percent of the voters in a general election to qualify for State funding. The act used to stipulate that a party must win at least 15 of the 120 seats until the United Parties won a High Court order compelling the government to amend the law last year. Ncube said the MDC had won about 48 percent of the total votes cast while Zanu PF won close to 52 percent of the votes and the two parties would get almost similar amounts of money. In this year's budget, Zanu PF received $65 million after winning 117 seats in the 1995 election. "All we want to know is how much we will receive and when we will receive it because the stipulated 60 days for publication of the public notice are running out," Ncube said.

From The Daily News, 16 August

Chihuri on the warpath

AUGUSTINE Chihuri, the Commissioner of Police, is suing The Daily News for alleged defamation resulting from the publication in the paper on Monday of his picture as he slept while President Mugabe spoke at the National Heroes' Acre last Friday. Chihuri, a former freedom fighter, whose term of office has just been extended for the second time, demanded a retraction and an "appropriately worded apology" of equal prominence to the picture and caption. A letter addressed by Chihuri's lawyers, Kantor and Immerman, to the newspaper's Editor-in-Chief, Geoff Nyarota, and chief executive, Muchadeyi Masunda, yesterday, reads: "We refer to the photograph published on page 2 of the Monday edition of your newspaper headed, 'Taking a snooze', depicting our client. "We address you at the instance of our client. Our instructions are that the clear and expressed objective of the publication of this photograph was to convey the false impression that our client took a nap during the Heroes' Day commemoration proceedings. Our client denies that he was snoozing and further, close scrutiny of your own photograph will reveal that our client was not asleep."

The picture, according to the lawyers, therefore, gave a false, scandalous and defamatory impression in that it suggests that Chihuri, who is a senior officer of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, was in breach of a statutory duty, in that he took a nap while on duty. The lawyers say the article further demeaned Chihuri in the eyes of the rank and file of the police force, the readers and the public in general. They state: "The impression created by the publication in the eyes of the public in general and in particular of the serving police officers and of Chihuri's principals, is that he has no respect for the nation, national events nor his seniors to the extent that he will sleep whilst on duty." The letter states that as a result of the publication of the picture, Chihuri had been inundated with calls by a number of people asking for an explanation and had to endure the unnecessary inconvenience and embarrassment of explaining the correct state of affairs concerning the photograph.

But The Daily News photographer, Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, who took the allegedly defamatory photograph and another as the police chief started to doze off, says his photograph is a factual portrayal of an event that happened at Heroes' Acre last Friday. He says he kept the police chief under observation for some time after he noticed that he was dozing off intermittently. He stole two shots of the commissioner, once as he started to doze off at one point and again after he succumbed to the soporific effect of the presidential address. "The commissioner dozed off for about 30 to 60 seconds at a time," said Mukwazhi yesterday. "This went on for about 20 minutes during President Mugabe's speech." Mukwazhi said he had positioned himself appropriately to take the pictures after he noticed this unlikely behaviour on the part of the Commissioner of Police. Nyarota said yesterday that Chihuri would make legal history in Zimbabwe if he sued and won the case. "The Daily News reserves the right to sue any member of the public who suggests that its photographs are false impressions," he said.

(This report included two photographs - one showing Chihuri dozing off, and one showing him fast asleep.)

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White Zimbabwean families make their way to country Qld

KERRY O'BRIEN: Australia has watched with the detachment of distance Zimbabwe's latest crisis between its black and white citizens.

20 years after independence, President Robert Mugabe has been seizing properties owned by white farmers, to redistribute the land to the black veterans who helped him win power after a long and bitter civil war.

Although none of the dispossessed farmers have come to Australia yet, increasing numbers of white Zimbabwean families have made their way here, with many of them making a new home in Toowoomba in regional Queensland.

Simon Royal reports.

TIM HOWMAN: We love the country, we love all of the people there.

That's why we've stayed.

But there comes a time when you've got to fear for your own safety and a lot of people were getting killed.

We'd told our boys to get out early, to leave Africa.

SIMON ROYAL: Tim and Leslie Howman have taken the advice they offered to their two sons.

Now the whole family is out of Africa and in Toowoomba on Queensland's Darling Downs.

Two months ago, the Howmans gave up their plumbing business, packed up their home in the capital, Harare, and became part of a growing exodus.

They're escaping from a government in Zimbabwe they say doesn't want them.

The country's President, Robert Mugabe, has labelled white farmers in particular as the enemy.

President Mugabe needs the farms to keep promises of land he made to veterans of the country's independence war.

TIM HOWMAN: It's heading, in my opinion, for chaos, anarchy.

It's a sad thing to say, but I think that's where we're heading and we just didn't want to be there when that all happened.

SIMON ROYAL: The Howmans consider themselves lucky -- living in Harare meant they weren't directly affected by the violence.

As yet, none of the families who've come to Toowoomba have been those displaced by President Robert Mugabe's policy of seizing white-owned farms, but some of these families have been at the sharp end of the breakdown in Zimbabwean society.

For 20 years, home for Don and Rona Fraser was this farm about 100km out of Harare.

DON FRASER: Today's 24 September, 1999, and I'm just going to have a quick look around the farm here to see what we've done here this year.

SIMON ROYAL: Don Fraser took a home video of the property just before he leased it to another farmer.

As yet, the Fraser farm has not been seized but the family decided to leave last year after one of their neighbours was held up at gunpoint.

DON FRASER: We got the radio call to say that they had left the home and could we try and block the roads off, because they thought their daughter had been kidnapped.

And after sticking a Landcruiser across the road to block my access road off, they arrived.

And after challenging them, a couple of shots were fired and one went through the windscreen of the Landcruiser.

RONA FRASER: It was the final straw for me, but I think the the decision was made when we picked up the newspaper and saw that there was an immigration lawyer who was coming to talk.

SIMON ROYAL; The Frasers and the Howmans are just two of about 30 families who've made new lives in Toowoomba over the past two years.

Their arrival is not the result of happy coincidence, but rather, a determined marketing program by Toowoomba Council and several Queensland immigration agents.

Damien Griffiths is a Darling Downs local.

He's spent the past three years travelling throughout southern Africa seeking new migrants for Queensland.

DAMIEN GRIFFITHS, IMMIGRATION AGENT: Toowoomba has all the selling points, because it has the excellent education, it has the agricultural background, housing is affordable and it's close to Brisbane.

So, a lot of people, when they emigrate from a country like Zimbabwe, don't want to go and live in Sydney and Melbourne.

They don't want to live in a large city.

They want to go and find a smaller city, somewhere they can call home.

And that's why Toowoomba all of a sudden became very attractive.

SIMON ROYAL: The Federal Government's business migration program has also been crucial in attracting Zimbabweans to Toowoomba.

Australia currently accepts 12,000 people a year on refugee and humanitarian migration programs.

The quotas are strictly enforced.

In fact, Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock doesn't think the violence in Zimbabwe is bad enough to qualify anyone as a refugee.

But business migration numbers are a different matter.

PHILIP RUDDOCK, IMMIGRATION MINISTER: The category is one that I call "demand-driven", so we take as many as we can get.

It is highly beneficial.

SIMON ROYAL: 5,000 people come to Australia a year on the business migration program.

Toowoomba Council thinks it's not enough.

So keen is the town on attracting more migrants -- just as long as they're business migrants -- the local mayor thinks Canberra should offer financial incentives.

DIANNE THORLEY, TOOWOOMBA MAYOR: I would like to see that there's some sort of sponsorship with them to get them here.

Even though they have money, I believe that you should put a bit up first and get them to come.

PHILIP RUDDOCK: The Government is not in the business of providing capital for people overseas to establish businesses.

SIMON ROYAL: But that refusal doesn't seem to matter.

Toowoomba's message of security and prosperity has struck a chord in Zimbabwe and with President Mugabe on the verge of seizing thousands of farms, it's expected many more white Zimbabweans will join the queue for Queensland.

TIM HOWMAN: There's a future here, there's a long-term future.

You could plan your future for three generations hence, whereas there you couldn't even plan for a month's time.

We've cut our bridges.

We'd like to go back in years to come, if things are still right, and just see people.

But, no, we're here for good now.

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There will be a brief for FA Chairmen at 8.30am on Friday 18th August, 2000, in the CFU Dining Room, Marlborough.  Please ensure that all FA Chairmen are advised. 
We wish to retract the incorrect reports for Ruia Farm, Mvurwi, made yesterday, which were untrue and sincerely apologise to the farm owner for the incorrect information put out.
Centenary - Two intoxicated war vets were arrested yesterday afternoon for attempting to steal tobacco out of the grading shed on Mutwa Estate.  Ploughing and general outside work has been prevented in what appears to be retaliation for the above incident.  The owner has been advised to go and see the senior war vet to resolve this issue and police have been informed.
Horseshoe - War vets refused accommodation offered in response to their demand as they wanted the foreman's house at Blue Grass Farm.  Police were informed and the situation is ongoing.  ZTA initiated a Police response on Manovi Farm when they expressed their concern of the situation to Propol.  Guruve Farm has been reoccupied by an aggressive group.
Victory Block - ZRP Mvurwi were notified on Monday of malicious damage to borehole equipment on Brookfield Farm. There has been extensive wood cutting by people from the resettlement area on Msitwe River Ranch.  There have been reports of poaching on Disi Farm.
Mvurwi - The owner of Luwali Farm was asked for transport, which was refused, and told to allow his labour to attend the "official" hand over of Dandajena Farm.  Two men, one claiming to be political officer, advised the owner of Forrester Estate that they had a mandate from Chitengwende to take sections L and B of the estate.
Tsatsi - Approximately six war vets assaulted a farm labourer suspected of being a MDC supporter on Dorking Farm. War vets set fire to a paddock on Nyachura Farm as they thought they saw a snake.
Mutepatepa - There has been a build up of war vet numbers on Felton Farm and Insingisi Farm.
Mazowe/Concession - War vets have formed a camp on Estes Park.  A group of war vets from Glenara visited Makalanga and threatened the manager with death, giving him 24 hours to leave the farm.  This group moved on to Marodzi River Farm and joined a group of striking mine workers there.  They threatened to take over the farm and began chopping trees outside the fence, but later in the afternoon the group dispersed and left.
Harare West/Nyabira - War vets have given the owner of Rydale Farm a 24 hour eviction notice. At Selby Farm, the war vets demanded the owner's son vacate his house so that they could move in.
Christon Bank - Border Estates has a weekend presence of peggers. Occupiers peg a plot then disappear to town leaving someone to start building for them. They are paying one of the domestic workers to start digging the soak-away for the house they are to build.
Marondera - On Munemo 8 invaders were arrested from Irenie base camp and have been jailed in connection with the problems on the farm. There are now 18 huts on Tranquility. Occupiers informed the owner that they are not moving until they have been allocated other land. On Monte Cristo an elderly man is building a hut in the middle of the centre pivot ground, cutting trees and ploughing up a bit of land that he has burnt. Occupiers have now moved on in large numbers and their dogs are hunting daily on the farm.
Marondera North - Police have reacted positively and are following up reports made by Chapunga and Dormavale. They went to Chapunga and collected the head war vet and taken him away.
Beatrice/Harare South - On Innisfree occupiers are ploughing with a Chinese tractor. A police detail is investigating. On Evergreen there is another tractor ploughing. Old Blackfordby was reoccupied over the weekend, and huts have been  built in the ploughed lands. 3
Featherstone - On Monday 14 there was wide scale pegging on Christiana, Lot 2 of Kuruman and Callais. On Tuesday 15 on Kuruman a 5 tonne truck arrived with about 30 people who had decided that they were moving onto the small holdings. The farm has a S/D permit and the land is clearly demarcated by the owner but is not gazetted. This is a new occupation. On Lot 2 Kuruman two war vets arrived in a white mazda and harassed the owner and his son. Later about 4 war vets visited in a white Nissan and then in a blue Peugeot. The war vets have told the owner that he has to share the farm with 5 war vets. All of the visitors have been from Harare/Beatrice. Yesterday they arrived from Chikomba resettlement. The Head of CIO is also the chairman of the war vets in the Featherstone area. Information has been received that he has been instructed to increase the pace of the fast track resettlement from yesterday. The occupiers on Dunkirk were moving cattle as they cut fences, and mixing them up. The Featherstone Police should be reacting.
As of 7:30 this morning the MIC had received no signal to help the farmers with the invader problems.
There will be a launching of the fast track resettlement at Antelope (Chivhu) on Thursday. Hoekies and Highlands are having problems with fence cuttings etc.
Wedza - Another beast was shot on Poltimore last night and another slashed. It may not survive.
Enterprise/Bromley/Ruwa - A new hut has been built on Bromley Park. The owner of Oribi was by occupiers told to dismiss a labourer seen wearing an MDC hat.
Macheke/Virginia - After Police collected the main trouble causers in the area yesterday, they were in a meeting with Dispol Minor. They were aggressive after the meeting and told the farmers that they were told they were allowed to build huts in the irrigated lands. Dispol claims that this is not a directive from him, and that this message is to be disseminated to the war vets on the ground. There were work stoppages on Fault, Camdale, Castledean and Lamjung. On Castledean the owner became a bit aggressive and as a results the war vets have allowed him to start working again.  The Police reaction is very slow and they do not want farmers to react.
Tengwe - Still only grading  is allowed on Kapena Farm.  No land preparation is permitted no Parendale Farm and Alpha. Cattle have been driven off.  Grading and seedbeds continuing on Medbury.  The owner of Alpha is unable to return to his home.  Dendanyani has 8-10 occupiers resident.  Irrigated lands have been ploughed but pre-irrigation stopped on 10 August.On Jambo Cattle have been driven off.  Land prep and pre-irrigation has been stopped, and grading and seedbeds continue.  The owner of Dendanyani, Jambo and Kilinidini is only permitted to use just over a quarter of his land. The shortage of grazing will seriously affect the viability of his pedigree herd. 
Ploughing on Silver Lining started on Thursday 3 August and the occupiers claim that the ploughed lands are theirs and no tobacco will be planted.  The domestic worker's house was taken over by occupiers over the weekend.  No cattle are permitted on this farm. The owner of Camper Down has been instructed to move cattle off.  The owner of Mpata has completed land prep, but the war vets now claim that all this land is theirs and therefore no tobacco can be planted.   Farmer threatened again today, 15th August, that cattle to be moved off the farm.
50ha of land prep has been stopped on Inanda Farm. Tobacco regrowth has not been chopped out yet on Driftwood Farm.  Six  resident occupiers at Tulbach sent a written demand for the labour to move out of their homes on Tulbach by Tuesday 15th.  ZRP has been informed and the farmer is ignoring them.  Occupiers continue to make demands. Nevern Place has no presence left.
Illegal brickmaking is taking place on the following farms (not war vets by their own admission): Gwiwa, Inanda, Driftwood, Kukura, Glendene, Ian Penny, Pollux, Dendayani, Tulbach, Nevern Place, Jaybury, Mudiki Estates, Datenda, Chitonga.
There is no change on Ian Penny Farm.  On Mudiki Estates 250 ha of the 750 ha of grazing land has been claimed by the occupiers. Grazing is critical and this must be resolved. There are 10 occupiers on Chitonga Farm being a nuisance. Ledon and Shargazan were reoccupied on Monday 14 August, with structures being erected on both.  Dana has been occupied.
Chinhoyi - On Amagora Farm a veld fire was started by war vets.
Mhangura - There are more war vets moving on Highbury Estates and building houses.  It has been reported to the Police. 
Lions Den - There are reports of war vets constructing on Zebra Vlei Farm. The leader refuses to give his name but is responsible for allocating land to a possible bigger crowd. The matter has been reported to Murereka Police. On Upper Romsey war vets are walking through the farm destroying hay bales.  They are also interfering with the movement of irrigation pipes. These people are reported to be sleeping in the labour housing at Athens Farm.
Chinhoyi - On Ilanga Farm a cow was slaughtered.  A Police investigation is in progress. On East Range Farm two men claiming to be ex-army majors arrived late yesterday afternoon and told the foreman that the farm had been taken and the staff are to start pegging and register their claims in Chinhoyi.
Chegutu - On Kutawa a war veteran was arrested for maize theft.  On Concession Hill there was a reoccupation which broke up in confusion and the war vets left.
Chakari - On Newbiggin Farm guards were chased by war veterans; Police have not reacted yet.  Police visited Blackmorvale and told war veterans to take down their huts that were in the middle of lands. 
Norton - On Sherwood Farm war vets threatened the driver of a Mobil fuel truck.  There was a reoccupation on Serui Source. Shots have been heard at Lake Chivero Recreational Park.  It is believed that war veterans are poaching.  One farm has lost over $1 million as a result of maize theft. There has been theft of internal fencing standards on Merton Park.
Kadoma/Battlefields - On Damvuri and Madodo hunting is difficult because of the war veterans presence.  Four reports have been made by the owner of Queensdale to Eiffel Flats Police since Thursday regarding a reoccupation of 60 to 100 people, but no one has investigated.
Selous - Numbers on Meadowlands increased this morning, with hut building continuing.
Masvingo East and Central - Vredenburg Farm was reoccupied by 75-100 war vets and all their belongings. They claim that this farm has now been designated, and it is believed that the war veteran Kid Muzenda is running this invasion. Oxen have been pushed onto the property and were seen carting timber out.  It is also believed that Muzenda is responsible for the reinvasion of Yettom and Marah Farms.
There are still communal cattle on Dromore Farm, and trees are being cut down and firewood being carted out in wheelbarrows. Poachers with packs of dogs were seen yesterday and timber cutting continues extensively. Another theft of wire has occurred and this has been reported to the Police. This is the second occurrence of wire theft that has occurred on this property - the last amount amounted to $166 000. Tree cutting continues on Good Hope Farm.
Mwenezi - There is continued tree cutting and clearing of land on Reinette, Moria, Lumbergia, La Pache Ranches. On Moria Ranch small quantities of sugar cane have been stolen.  Two heifers were snared last week Thursday on Kleinbegin Ranch. A report was made to the Beit Bridge Police who declined to give any CR Number. A follow up was made yesterday morning by the FA Chairman and the owner and nothing further has been done by the Police. On Klipdrift Ranch as previously reported there still remains an estimated 80 head of cattle missing.  On Quagga Pan Ranch poaching continues, many trees are being cut, a whole village is being erected and timber and grass are being cut and carted out and sold in the communal area. All the occupiers are from Village 4 of the neighbouring resettlement area.
ChiredziOn Buffalo Range threats of fires have been received for the last two weeks and there have been ongoing fires here and there. In all events arson has been suspected. A person in possession of a 303 rifle was found trying to shoot an eland for the Heroes Day celebrations. There is continued chopping of trees, which has become a big business. Big mopanie trees are being chopped down at an alarming rate and sold in the townships. Reports received are that certain prominent members within the townships are selling off properties and timber for a minimum fee of $5.00
On one ranch a hunting camp has been constructed. Occupiers barricaded the road last week, entered the camp demanding vegetables, and demanded that the owner move all his cattle off the property immediately. The rhino population is at threat, and reports made to Police were followed up by the owner and the FA Chairman and nothing has yet been done.
On another ranch the occupiers are poaching, being nuisance to international clients, interfering with game scouts, cutting trees and building houses.
On Ruware and Ngwane Ranches as from Thursday last week, a team apparently sent by the DA Zaka has been there marking plots with a theodolite and moving masses of people onto the properties. Reports indicate that all properties from there to the Chiredzi tar road will be covered, designated or not.
Save Conservancy - The owner of Sango Ranch reports a wild dog caught in a snare on Mapari Ranch. It managed to break free and ended up on Sango Ranch with all of its intestines hanging out - it later died. "A Reserve" was called in to help resolve this situation of poaching / invasions and they were assaulted. The Support Unit was then also called in and they too were assaulted. Extra forces were then called in and some arrests have been made. The situation is out of control. 150 snares are being taken off the property daily.
Chatsworth/Gutu - The situation remains the same - continued chopping of trees, pegging of plots.
Nyazura - On Welkompas Farm, which has received a Section 8 Order, the farmer is trying to organise a capture team and the relevant paper work in order to relocate some wildlife to a safer area. War vets are being held back by Police and Agritex is busy marking out plots. The capture team refuse to start work until their safety is guaranteed.  They are hoping to have this operation completed in the next few weeks.
Chipinge - Yesterday the District Attorney approached the owner of Smithfield and demanded a portion of the land saying that he would start pegging there on Friday. This farm has NOT had a Section 8 Order.
Headlands - The situation on Wakefield Farm has been resolved but on Gwaai Farm it is still ongoing.  On Wakefield Farm the reaction from the police and senior war vets was very good.
Nyamandhlovu - On Spring Grange Farm a white commuter omnibus arrived at the gate, the occupants assaulted the farm guard and penetrated the security fence but did not enter the homestead. The farm owner was verbally abused and told to leave the farm. The visitors were apparently angered at the destruction of three half built huts. The community reacted rapidly, followed by the Police. The situation is now calm. 
Shurugwi - Edwards and Outwardbound Farms have been overrun for 2 to 3 weeks now. Occupiers are building huts, cutting trees and  clearing land. Cattle and labour have been chased off Outwardbound and are not permitted back on. Cattle are feeding off stova which is nearly finished and will then have no grazing.
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