The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has come out in strong
support of the regime of Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president. This is
contained in its organisational report presented at its 22nd congress
currently underway in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.
movement has reiterated its call for a redress of the land question in
Zimbabwe. It also blames much of the land problems in Harare on the British
government's failure to honour the Lancaster House Agreement regarding land
reform in Zimbabwe.
The youth league also contends that on the days of
Zimbabwe's national elections, the atmosphere for a free and fair election
existed. President Thabo Mbeki along with Jean-Bretrand Aristide, the deposed
Haitian president, addressed the congress yesterday.
The congress is
expected to emerge with a new and young leadership on Sunday.
Zimbabwe's mining on road to recovery
August 20, 2004
By Stella Mapenzauswa
Zimbabwe's mining industry was on track for recovery after central bank
measures boosted earnings and access to foreign currency for imported raw
materials, a senior industry official said yesterday.
Last year the
Chamber of Mines said about 12 gold mines had closed over a three-year period
amid steep operating costs and delays in payments to producers by the Reserve
Bank, the sole buyer of the precious metal in Zimbabwe.
Murangari, the chamber's chief executive, said the gold sector, which
accounts for about 52 percent of all mineral production in the country, had
been buoyed by an increase in the central bank's support price for producers
to Z$85 000 (R100) per gram from Z$71 000.
The non-gold sector was
also benefiting from new concessions allowing them to keep more of their hard
currency export earnings in return for making timely statutory remittances to
the central bank, he said.
"Frankly there is a recovery process and
we have reports of improved revenues by the major producers.
Hopefully in the next three months we should be able to see a specific impact
in terms of how much surplus companies are able to plough back into finding
new resources," Murangari said.
The mining industry has grappled
with acute shortages of foreign currency and fuel in recent years, as well as
ballooning operating costs.
Murangari said producers, previously
forced to source foreign currency from an informal market where the Zimbabwe
dollar plummeted to Z$7 000 per US dollar in December, were now able to buy
it at roughly Z$5 500 per dollar from central bank-managed auctions
introduced in January.
Last month central bank governor Gideon
Gono said gold export earnings in the first half of the year rose 87.1
percent to nearly $150 million, after deliveries increased to 10.5 tons from
5.96 tons over the same period last year.
He forecast total
output of 22 tons this year and 30 tons in 2005, compared with 12 tons
produced during the whole of 2003.
Murangari said the mining sector
could surpass the 2005 output target as more companies revisited their mine
development and exploration work which were abandoned when times were
SA hunters on 'wildlife killing spree' in
Zimbabwe August 20, 2004
By Melanie Gosling
Conflicting reports are emerging from Zimbabwe about poaching and illegal
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force has heard of
illegal hunting in the Metetsi area near Victoria Falls, its chairman, Johnny
"Our informant met ... some South African hunters.
He was told they were engaged in a massive hunting expedition on a game ranch
or conservancy now being taken over by settlers.
"He saw a large
number of vehicles with South African number plates ... He says these people
are ... on a killing spree. Among the carcasses he saw were lion, leopard,
buffalo, elephant, kudu, sable, impala and even baboon ... He was invited to
the abattoirs, which were full of game meat.
Our informant was told
one of the settlers was paid US$50 000 by the hunters."
the government officials to whom he used to report such incidents had quit
because of pressure, Rodrigues said.
A professional hunter said
there was hardly any game left on the commercial ranches.
property near Bulawayo used to get a quota of one bull elephant every two
years for trophy hunting. This year five bulls have been shot.
is illegal to shoot animals with radio collars as they are part of research.
In Hwange National Park, four of the five collared lions have been shot. In
many places there is uncontrolled slaughter, where people are even shooting
Sally Bown, of Zimbabwe's Professional Hunters and Guides
Association, said there had been poaching on private land, but there was
"plenty of game" on state land.
director-general of Zimbabwe's Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said
illegal hunting was not widespread. "On farms it was a problem up to a year
ago, but new farmers are seeking quotas. We appreciate information on illegal
hunting and will investigate it."
African coup suspects' need for artillery
A POLICE investigator told
Zimbabwe's trial of 70 suspected mercenaries yesterday that much of the
group's equipment could be used by security guards, but arms such as
artillery were only used by the military.
Most of the men pleaded not
guilty on Wednesday to charges of conspiring to possess dangerous weapons in
connection with an alleged coup in Equatorial Guinea.
held the men since 7 March, when their plane landed in Harare en route for
what officials said was a coup against the African state's president, Teodoro
Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The men say they were headed for the Democratic
Republic of Congo to guard mines. But a police investigator, Clemence
Madzingo, testified artillery and other arms the men wanted to buy are not
suitable for such duties.
Trust in Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe,
has more than doubled in the past five years, despite the nation's political
and economic crisis, a survey indicated yesterday.
The polling group
cited widespread government propaganda as the reason.
Zimbabwe law would criminalise church charity
A proposed law to regulate non-governmental organisations in
Zimbabwe would effectively criminalise much Christian charity work and
deprives millions of impoverished Zimbabweans of aid.
Catholic News reports that the law does not interfere with strictly spiritual
aspects of church work, but requires all charitable organisations to register
with the state under stringent conditions. It also bans overseas
On Monday, the Bulawayo-based interdenominational Christians
Together for Justice and Peace joined mounting protests against the bill,
calling it "another attempt to whittle away our rights and privileges as
Christians, and to restrict or imprison us within a strictly religious
"Will churches be allowed to feed the hungry, care for orphans,
educate the poor, empower people to think for themselves without fear of
being answerable to the government?" Are we now to submit to a
man-made authority?" the alliance asked in a statement.
Robert Mugabe has repeatedly castigated church groups, charities and human
rights groups for criticising his increasingly autocratic government, and
accused them of fomenting dissent.
The proposed Non-governmental
Organisations Bill would require that such groups register with a
state-dominated regulatory council and disclose details of their funding and
programs. Groups that continue to operate after being denied registration
would be closed down and their officials subject to arrest. Parliament,
dominated by Mugabe's Zanu PF party, is expected to approve the bill within
weeks ahead of legislative elections in March.
Welfare groups warned that
the bill's ban on foreign funding threatens assistance to millions of
impoverished Zimbabweans, reeling from the effects of the worst economic
crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.
"The bill criminalises a
sector that is providing social safety nets to a lot of communities,'' said
Jonah Mudehwe, head of the National Association of Non-Governmental
This in a country where more than 70% of the 12.5 million
people live in poverty, a quarter of the population is infected with HIV and
one million children are orphans, he said in a statement on
SOURCE Zimbabwe: proposed law would criminalise church charity
work (Independent Catholic News 19/8/04)
(CPOD) Aug. 20,
2004 - Many residents of Zimbabwe are very cautious when discussing politics,
according to the Afrobarometer conducted by the Institute for Democracy in
South Africa, Ghana's Centre for Democratic Development and Michigan State
University. 83 per cent of respondents say they often or always have to be
careful about what they say.
Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has acted as the country's
president since 1987. In 2002, Mugabe earned a new six-year term in an
election deemed as "deeply flawed" by foreign observers and human rights
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has criticized the government-sponsored
Public Order and Security Act, claiming it has affected his party's rights.
In the past two months, law enforcements officers have relied on the
legislation to stop at least 11 political rallies.
next parliamentary election is tentatively scheduled for March
In this country, how
often do people have to be careful about what they say about
Source: Afrobarometer / Institute for
Democracy in South Africa / Centre for Democratic Development / Michigan
State University Methodology: Interviews to 1,200 Zimbabwe
adults, conducted from Apr. 26 to May 17, 2004. No margin of error was
Zanu PF old guard in comeback bid Dumisani
Muleya/Augustine Mukaro RULING Zanu PF heavyweights defeated in the landmark
2000 parliamentary election are making frantic efforts to bounce back into
mainstream politics ahead of their party's key congress in
Informed sources said the Zanu PF bigwigs, who were consigned
to the political wilderness after dramatic reversals by candidates of
the newly-formed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), are manoeuvring to
make a comeback before what ruling party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira
described as a "watershed" congress.
The Zanu PF luminaries were
said to be eyeing top posts in the party's hierarchy that could undergo a
major shake-up if President Robert Mugabe accepts recommendations to revamp
Those mentioned as plotting comebacks include Zanu PF chair John
Nkomo, parliament speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, and politburo members
Dumiso Dabengwa, Joshua Malinga, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Tony Gara, among
The Zanu PF leaders were said to be lining up to contest the
party's primary elections in October to ensure they attend congress as
official party candidates in next year's general election.
now widely regarded as a frontrunner together with Mnangagwa in the race to
succeed Mugabe, could contest the primaries in his Tsholotsho home area
against Zanu PF deputy information secretary Jonathan Moyo. Nkomo and Moyo
have of late been at each other's throats in the media in the ongoing tussle
over land that is linked to the internal Zanu PF power
Sources said Mnangagwa was planning to recover Kwekwe
Central from the MDC's Blessing Chebundo.
"Mnangagwa has of late
been addressing meetings in the party's district structures and schools and
giving promises of assistance to the elderly in Kwekwe," Chebundo said. "He
wants to come back."
Mnangagwa is widely expected to be appointed
vice-president at the congress to replace the late Simon Muzenda. Zanu PF
external affairs secretary Didymus Mutasa has also expressed an interest in
Sources said Mugabe wanted to appoint Mnangagwa
co-vice-president with Nkomo in December if his current deputy, Joseph Msika,
agrees to retire. However, it is understood Msika has refused to go. This has
left Mugabe facing the invidious task of having to destabilise his party's
carefully contrived pecking order by parachuting either Mnangagwa or Mutasa
in above Nkomo who is effectively the third most powerful official in the
Nkomo cannot be appointed vice-president while Msika is
still there because they both come from the now defunct PF Zapu. In terms of
the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu and Zapu, the two vice-presidents have to
come from both parties. Mugabe said two weeks ago he still wanted the two
posts to remain.
Dabengwa, who lost Nkulumane in Bulawayo to MDC
vice-president Gibson Sibanda, confirmed he was planning a
"I have made indications to my constituency, so they will be
making a decision in the primaries," Dabengwa said.
The former PF
Zapu intelligence supremo has said he will consider taking over from Mugabe
if people choose him.
Malinga, who was defeated by MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube in Bulawayo North-East, said he was also
prepared to return.
Ndlovu said people in his former Mpopoma
constituency had approached
him to stand. Ndlovu lost to the MDC's
"I cannot say no to the people's will because they are
not happy with the incumbent," Ndlovu said. "The people of Mpopoma have
openly disapproved of the sitting MP calling him 'Missing Person' instead of
Member of Parliament. I won't impose myself."
Sadc corners Mugabe Dumisani Muleya THE Southern
African Develop-ment Community (Sadc) has put President Robert Mugabe in a
tight spot ahead of next year's general election by adopting the raft of new
electoral standards at its just-ended summit.
unanimously voted for the Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic
elections at their summit which ended on Wednesday at Grand Baie,
The Sadc standards - which Mugabe has signed up to -
demand free and fair elections, upholding of civil and political liberties,
press freedom and access by all parties to state media, and the independence
of the judiciary, as well as the impartiality of electoral
They also encourage member states to "take all
necessary mea-sures and precautions to prevent perpetration of fraud,
rigging, or any other illegal practices" during elections.
has left Mugabe, who had proposed piecemeal electoral re-forms before the
summit to ward off inevitable pressure for fundamental changes at the summit,
in a cleft stick. His government will now have to adhere to Sadc principles
and guidelines which threaten its tenure on power.
The exacting new
standards put pressure on Mugabe ahead of the March parliamentary election.
Local opposition and civic groups met with Sadc leaders, including the new
chair of the regional bloc, Mauritian Prime Minister Paul Berenger, to press
for free and fair elections.
The Movement for Democratic Change, the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition held
meetings with political and civic leaders from Mauritius and the region to
deal with the current situation, including Mugabe's widely-criticised
proposals for a new electoral commission.
Berenger, whose office
deals with electoral issues, subsequently made it clear that the bloc would
not be satisfied with cosmetic changes in Zimbabwe.
and fair elections mean not only an independent electoral commission, but
also include freedom of assembly and absence of physical harassment by the
police or any other entity, freedom of the press and access to national radio
and television, and external and credible observation of the whole electoral
process," Berenger told a Sadc audience that included
"With free and fair elections due in Zimbabwe at the
beginning of next year we can already start preparing for the normalisation
of relations between Sadc, the European Union and the United
Zimbabwe has held two hotly-disputed elections in 2000 and
2002 whose aftermath has destabilised the region and forced millions of
Zimbabweans into the diaspora.
Sadc leaders, especially President
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, have for the past four years been struggling to
resolve the Zimbabwe crisis but Mugabe has resisted their pressure to either
change his leadership style or go.
Diplomatic sources said Sadc
leaders would now use the electoral route to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.
Berenger will work with the new Sadc troika of his deputy, President Festus
Mogae of Botswana and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania. The team will be reinforced
by Mbeki as the new chair of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security
and his troika colleagues Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho and Sam Nujoma of
The sources said African Union chair Olusegun Obasanjo of
Nigeria would also be involved. Berenger, Mogae, Mbeki, Obasanjo, and to some
extent Mkapa, were said to be ready to put pressure on Mugabe to organise a
legitimate election next year.
Mogae, an Oxford-trained economist
and one of Africa's most competent leaders, has said Zimbabwe is suffering
from a "drought of good governance".
52 000t of food needed to 11/04 Roadwin
Chirara ZIMBABWE needs 52 000 tonnes of food assistance this year for the
period July and November, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee
(Zimvac) has revealed.
In a report compiled by Zimvac and published by
Fewsnet this week, an estimated 2,2 million people in the rural areas will be
unable to meet their own food requirements without external
"About 2,2 million people in the rural areas will not be
able to meet all their food needs on their own between July and November
2004, during which they would require food assistance of at least 52 000
tonnes," said the report.
The report said the suspension of
supplementary feeding by aid agencies because of government claims of
sufficient food was likely to leave a majority of households vulnerable to
hunger. It said lack of consensus on the actual harvest between government
and independent assessors made contingency planning by aid organisations
"The lack of consensus of the cereal harvest and the
inaccessibility of government cereal import figures for the current marketing
year make food availability analysis and contingency planning for
international agencies very difficult," said the report.
said out of Zimbabwe's 57 districts, Buhera, Mutare, Bulilimamangwe and
Beitbridge would have used up their cereal and grain by the end of
The report said the hungry rural populace had resorted to
selling cattle for the purpose of buying grain. If such a situation was
allowed to continue grain values would increase compared to livestock because
of poor grazing, leading to a continued deterioration of the food
Zimavc also said government shuld continue to engage the
United Nations in dialogue for the purposes fo the continuation of food aid
and recovery programmes. It said appropriate food assessment programmes were
urgently required. It highlighted high rates of unemployment and inflation as
major contributory factors to the food situation in the
The report said the erosion of the purchasing power of most
households continued to limit food access to low income earners.
Meanwhile the World Food Programme (WFP) has denied an agency story carried
in the Zimbabwe Independent last week suggesting that the United Nations body
had contacted the Zambian government regarding food assistance to
Zim anti-graft chapter set for relaunch Conrad
Dube THE African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (Apnac),
Zimbabwe chapter, which seeks to strengthen the commitment and capacity of
MPs to fight corruption, will be relaunched next week, public accounts
committee chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga has said. Apnac is a
continental network which seeks to build the capacity of parliaments to
exercise accou-ntability with particular relation to financial matters,
undertaking projects to control corruption and cooperating with organisations
in civil society with shared objectives.
"We will relaunch the Apnac
Zimbabwe chapter which we hope will go a long way to curb corruption right
from the top," said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
"Corruption can best be
control-led by strengthening systems ofaccountability, transparency andpublic
participation in the gove-rnance processes of our countries. It is essential
that we develop healthy, balanced relations between the state, civil society
and the marketplace and that parliaments be strengthened as effective
insti-tutions of accountability in over-seeing the policies and actions of
"We believe it is possible to apply the lessons learned
and best practices of past anti-corruption campaigns to fight corruption
across Africa," she said.
Corruption poses a grave danger to the
well-being of African people and to the development of their countries.
Corruption diverts scarce resources from basic human needs and destroys
confidence in the integrity of our institutions, according to
Apnac is a network which aims at
coordinating, involving and strengthening the capacity of African MPs to
fight corruption and promote good governance. The network was formed in 1999
in Kampala, Uganda. It also seeks to advocate inclusion of anti-corruption
measures in government priority programmes, to liaise with national and
international organisations and institutions in matters of
The network also seeks to mobilise internal and external
resources to promote anti-corruption pro-grammes and to develop links with
oversight committees of parliament and parliamentarians across
The network will be relaunched amid calls for
parliamentarians to disclose assets in a bid to encourage transparency among
Parliament will also investigate sources of funds which
prospective candidates donate to communities in the run-up to
"Some sitting parliamentarians have been donating large
sums ofmoney, much more than their monthly salaries and one wonders where all
this money is coming from," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
that already have Apnac chapters include Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and
Nhema orders probe of parks Godfrey
Marawanyika ENVIRONMENT and Tourism minister Francis Nhema has ordered the
National Parks and Wildlife Management board to investigate the suspension
of operations director Vitalis Chadenga on allegations of failing to
account for US$500 he was given as part of an allowance.
The board is
also expected to brief Nhema on other allegations that Chadenga ordered the
capture and relocation of animals from Nyamaneche sanctuary in Mashonaland
West to private lands.
Nhema this week confirmed that an internal
probe had been set up, adding that he was concerned with what was
"The board must carry out investigations and give us
(ministry) a report. But
it looks like people are just saying things
without facts, so it is difficult to distinguish facts from rumours right
now," Nhema said.
"The board must give us a report on the issue of
stray animals and charges levelled against the officer (Chadenga). But has
such a senior officer failed to remit the US$500 in question? This money
might just be two days' allowance," said Nhema.
Chadenga arose when he was allegedly given US$500 as part of a travel
allowance to South Africa.
It is alleged Chadenga did not travel to
South African but instead went to Mozambique.
Chadenga is also
accused of writing a letter to a warden of Nyamaneche sanctuary, instructing
him to capture stray animals that were destroying crops and disrupting
resettled people in Mashonaland West province.
chairman Bu-zwani Mothobi confirmed that an internal probe had been set up,
but could not say when the case would be finalised.
"The machinery is
under way fullstop. At this stage there is nothing to say besides that the
investigations are under way," he said.
Shamuyarira dragged into vehicle wrangle Godfrey
Marawanyika ZANU PF In-formation secretary Nathan Shamuyarira has been named
in a civil suit over a vehicle that was forcibly taken and parked at his
house. According to an urgent High Court ap-plication by Elton Madzima
against Nomsa Murambiwa on Friday last week, Madzima is seeking to recover a
Land Rover Discovery SUV which was removed from his premises by the
respondent and parked at Shamuyarira's house.
In his application,
Madzima said Johanna Nomhle Hayford, a sister of the respondent, gave him
general powers of attorney. Madzima said this did not go down well with
The documents say the respondent started to harass Madzima
accusing him of owing money to Hayford. She confiscated the vehicle to force
Madzima to pay up.
"Indeed if there was anything that is lawfully
due to the respondent then her entitlement lies in bringing the matter before
the courts, as opposed to taking the law into her own hands in the manner
that she chose," said Madzima in his affidavit.
"I reported the
matter to Borrowdale police who have been dealing with the matter ever since.
From the threats that were being uttered by the respondent, it then appears
that she is well-connected because my vehicle was towed to Dr Nathan
Shamuyarira's place of residence. The police appear somewhat perturbed by
this development and have not acted as swiftly as I believe they ought to
have," he said.
Madzima said in the vehicle when it was towed away
was $12,5 million in cash, a firearm, cheque books, his driver's licence,
safari jackets and cattle dip worth $2,5 million.
He said he
wanted to use the money to buy farm supplies.
Madzima said the Land Rover
was towed from his workplace on July 30 at the instigation of the
"To make matters worse, the keys were accidentally locked
in the vehicle. As such the respondent had the vehicle towed away. This was
done improperly because the steering wheel was locked," Madzima
"During the time that I sought legal advice and while these
proceedings were being prepared for, it was brought to my attention by police
at Borrowdale that while parked at Dr Shamuyarira's place of residence, my
vehicle was forcibly opened."
He said the money which was in the
vehicle, together with the firearm, were removed.
"There can be no
doubt that there is no basis at all, in fact and in law, for the respondent
to forcibly remove my vehicle and to store it at Dr Shamuyarira's place of
residence (or indeed to any place for that matter)," Madzima said in his
Air Zimbabwe market shrinks Itai Dzamara AIR
Zimbabwe has leased one of its two Boeing 767 aircraft to Ghana Airways after
losing its market share to competitors.
Air Zimbabwe legal and corporate
affairs manager, Arthur Manase, yesterday confirmed the national airline had
leased the plane to Ghana Airways.
"We have leased the plane but it
is not true that this was because of lack of business," he
An official at Ghana Airways offices in Accra told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week the Air Zimbabwe plane had been hired due to
"We have been failing to cope with the
bookings and therefore requested Air Zimbabwe for a plane. I am not sure
whether the plane was not working at Air Zimbabwe," said the official.
However, highly-placed sources at Air Zimbabwe revealed this week that the
national airline had lost nearly all the routes it used to ply to other
airlines, especially South African Airways (SAA).
"SAA now flies to
Victoria Falls twice a day from South Africa and at times flies from Harare
to Victoria Falls," said an industry source.
The source said there
had been a drastic fall in the number of people travelling between Harare and
the UK. Air Zimbabwe has only four planes, and only three are functional
while one is grounded.
Air Zimbabwe was suspended from the
International Air Travel Association earlier this year after failing to meet
* Meanwhile, Air Zimbabwe has advertised the post of
managing director. Rambai Chingwena who held the position resigned in
Chingoka payment touches off row Staff Writer A ROW
has erupted between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) board and members of
provincial structures over a payment of £50 000 to ZCU chairman
Peter Chingoka by the union.
The ZCU is also accused of spending more
than $300 million last year in travel and accommodation expenses for all 12
board members when they accompanied the Zimbabwe national cricket team on a
tour of Australia. It is claimed that the board members took their wives
along with them.
The issue of payment to Chingoka and the trip to
Australia had been concealed by the ZCU leadership, with former general
manager Vince Hogg having remarked earlier this year that the matter was
confidential. He reportedly asked how it got to be known.
have been wagging in the cricket fraternity over Chingoka's payment as well
as the cost of the board members' trip to Australia.
Independent has been investigating the issue since last week. Chingoka was
interviewed on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, a story appeared in the Herald
yesterday that appeared designed to pre-empt these investigations, claiming
there was a "conspiracy" to sully Chingoka's name.
at the recent ZCU annual general meeting that he received the money after
former cricket administrator Ray Gripper raised a question from the floor.
Chingoka refused to explain the circumstances under which he was given the
In an interview on Wednesday, he admitted to having received
the money from the ZCU. He also confirmed all 12 board members travelled to
Australia last year.
"The matter was discussed by the board of
directors on January 18 2003. It was minuted following a meeting," said
Chingoka. "I was not in the meeting but I was advised that there was a
unanimous decision to give me the money. They said it was for service to
cricket for 21 years," Chingoka said.
Hogg, who resigned at the AGM two
weeks ago, said the matter was meant to be confidential.
said the spending on the board's trip to Australia was justified.
normal practice for various board members from all over the world to visit
and interact. For example, when Sri Lanka came here there were three board
members and Australia had one. Yes, all our board members went across. But
there were no expenses incurred on members' wives. Probably board members
paid for their wives' expenses. The expenses, which I can't give a figure
for, are part of the board expenses in the report. We can't state every
The financial report for the just-ended ZCU calendar year
indicates that board expenses were over $500 million.
Paradza appeals to Mugabe for respite in troubled
Makonde Staff Writers ZANU PF Makonde MP Kindness Paradza has appealed for
President Robert Mugabe's intervention to stop the chaos fuelled by senior
ruling party officials in the constituency.
Highly-placed sources said
Paradza had sought Mugabe's intervention, accusing top politburo members of
ganging up to advance their favourite candidates to wrestle Makonde from
"Paradza has now appealed to President Mugabe for help because
there is chaos in Makonde as politburo members like Edna Madzongwe, Ignatius
Chombo and Enos Chikowore are fronting their candidates to destabilise
the constituency," a source said.
"Initially, Paradza wanted the
issue dealt with at constituency level. But in the end he had no choice
because his seniors are wreaking havoc in the area."
Chikowore and Madzongwe were understood to be trying to sponsor Lashiwe
Murefu who was defeated by Paradza in the primaries last
Another camp of Sabina Mugabe and Philip Chiyangwa was said to
be pushing for Leo Mugabe who was also defeated by Paradza in the primaries.
Sources said last weekend Chombo, Chiyangwa and Chikowore led a group of more
than 30 low-ranking party officials to invade Makonde under the guise
of restructuring the party structures.
"The team went round the
constituency denouncing Paradza and claiming that he was no longer a party
member," another source said. "It was clear their agenda was to demonise the
incumbent MP ahead of the primaries scheduled
Sources said in Mhangura, the Chombo team told the
electorate that Mashonaland West province's alleged dismissal of Paradza
would not be overturned by the national disciplinary committee
Chiyangwa said his province had recommended the dismissal of
Paradza because he allegedly did not have a party card and wanted to source
funds from Britain to fund his now closed Tribune
However, President Mugabe recently said he was surprised
to hear accusations against Paradza when he was allowed to join the party in
broad daylight and not through witchcraft. Paradza is aligned to Zanu PF
spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira.
"NDC and the politburo are entitled
to overturn a provincial verdict, so the claims by Chombo's squad are a clear
violation of the party's procedures," a source said.
a number of local leaders seen as sympathetic to Paradza were removed from
their positions and replaced by those supporting the
"At Gudubu district, Chikowore incited youths
to prevent Paradza from holding meetings in the area."
claimed the anti-Paradza camp was justifying its arbitrary actions saying the
Zanu PF national commissar, Elliot Manyika, had given them a directive at a
meeting in Mhondoro three weeks ago to dismiss indisciplined party cadres.
Manyika's alleged directive was now being taken as the "holy bible
superseding the party constitution", a source said.
Efforts to get
comment from the Zanu PF officials were unsuccessful but it is understood
Paradza was trying to get President Mugabe to issue an order for Chombo and
his colleagues to stop interfering in Makonde.
RBZ arm fails to pay workers Loughty Dube GOLD
Mining and Minerals Development Trust (GMDT), a subsidiary of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has failed to pay its workers for two months after
allegations the RBZ has severed ties with the trust.
The workers claimed
that their salaries should come from the central bank while RBZ officials
have distanced themselves from the unfolding drama.
Fortune Chasi, this week said the GMDT was not an RBZ subsidiary. He said the
trust was dissolved earlier this year.
"The RBZ is aware of the
existence of a trust by that name which was set up three years ago to handle
gold issues but the trust was dissolved this year when the new governor
assumed office and government took over control of gold buying through
Fidelity," said Chasi.
The spokesperson also indicated that the GMDT
used to depend on handouts from the RBZ but that the contract was terminated
when the new gold policy came into effect earlier this year. The workers from
GMDT's branches in Kwekwe, Mutare, Bulawayo and its headquarters in Harare
were not paid their July salaries. Latest investigations indicate that they
may not receive their August salaries on time as the money has not yet been
deposited in their bank accounts.
"We have not been paid for last
month (July) and salaries for August have not been deposited into our bank
accounts but our bosses at the RBZ are not coming out in the open to tell us
the truth," said a worker in Harare.
GMDT workers' committee chairperson,
Innocent Shuro, refused to shed light on the matter and referred this paper
to the organisation's chairman, Nhlanhla Masuku, for comment.
asked about the issue, Masuku was evasive and switched off his
It also emerged this week that trusts that were set
up by the previous Leonard Tsumba administration were a source of contention
at the RBZ when the new governor, Gideon Gono, took over in
A reliable source at the RBZ said the salaries that were
paid from RBZ coffers to the trustees of some of the organisations incensed
Gono. The trustees are Masuku, Charles Chipato, Chief Cyprian Malisa, a Dr
Mandal and Violet Madzimbamuto.
The source said GMDT trustees were
paid salaries ranging from between $30 million to $50 million a month, which
was higher than what some senior managers at the central bank were
Harare-Kariba drive mirrors land farce Augustine
Mukaro I HAD always assumed that all Zimbabweans who were given farms seized
from white commercial farmers desperately needed land to till. The situation
on the ground has proved me thoroughly mistaken.
motive could have been a noble desire to rectify skewed land ownership
patterns and reclaim an important national resource, it now looks as if the
whole exercise was inspired by greed and subliminal racial
A drive along the Harare-Kariba road shows a shocking picture
of the effects of the chaotic land reform programme that has destroyed the
agricultural base and left many hitherto productive farms as
I travelled to Kariba during the weekend for a parliamentary
reporting workshop. I used the opportunity to assess the situation on farms
along the highway. I only saw six farms under wheat cultivation along
the 360-kilometre stretch of what used to be the nation's
This was unbelievable, especially after Agriculture
minister Joseph Made recently claimed 80 000 hectares of wheat had been
planted this year.
The first wheat field along the road was just before
Gwebi College, about 40 kilometres outside Harare, two others between Banket
and Chinhoyi and the rest after Angwa River towards Karoi. Thereafter,
I was curious to know what the new farmers were doing if
they were not tilling the land. It's either they are cutting down trees or
harvesting grass - and not crops - for resale.
Stacks of firewood
and thatching grass are the hottest selling commodity on both sides of the
road. Hungry peasants dumped on virgin farmland under the fast-track land
reform programme have to find the means to survive after failing to
productively till the land. They have taken to logging big time and damn the
consequences. Poaching of wildlife - and sometimes domestic animals - is
rampant as a result of the failed resettlement of villagers.
fields are vast stretches of dried grass, crop residue and hastily cut tree
stumps. Where the dry grass has been cleared, there is extensive burning,
with the fires sometimes turning into uncontrollable blazes that destroy all
But what should be happening to these fields if they are not
under winter crop? Land preparation for either irrigated early maize and
tobacco crops or even for the dryland crop should at least be taking
Most of the new farmers say they have no resources such as
draught power or money to farm. They have no money to buy fertilizer. In fact
they have no other means of survival except cutting and selling firewood on
It is hard to understand why then government grabbed
over 11 million hectares of land when only a tenth of that could be utilised.
It is difficult as well to escape the conclusion that wholesale land seizures
were motivated by political survival and self-aggrandisement by those in
power. But at what cost, is the big question?
Union (CFU) Mashonaland regional executive, Ben Kashula, said it was sad to
see the destruction wrought on large-scale commercial farms in the name of
"There is no doubt the place no longer looks like it
used to be before the
land reform programme," Kashula
"It's sad because the land is not being fully utilised. Lovely
green fields stretching as far as the eye could see were common in the winter
season on both sides of the highway but all that has been reduced to
scattered little patches."
The Nicole family and Les deJager were
among the top farmers in the rich Mashonaland West province. They used water
from the multi-billion-dollar Biri dam to irrigate thousands of hectares of
Farmers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this week
said the havoc in Mashonaland West was a microcosm of a national tragedy
after a noble cause went horribly wrong.
"We have the same
calamity repeated along the Mazowe valley estates," one farmer said. "Farms
such as Thromes and Boroma Estates which used to produce a lot of wheat and
maize for the nation have been forced to close down and that spells doom for
commercial agriculture and the economy."
According to a CFU annual
congress report for 2003, commercial production since the beginning of the
fast track resettlement in 2000 has declined as follows: flue-cured tobacco
(-72%), maize (-72%), cotton (-95%) and soyabeans (-70%).
time of its congress on August 3 this year, the CFU estimated that of the 4
500 white commercial farmers who were on the land in the year 2000, there are
now less than 500 who are either fully or partially operational.
ZCTU, informal traders forge ties Staff Writer THE
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has signed a Memorandum
of Understanding (MoU) with the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal
Economy Association (ZCIEA) aimed at uplifting the living standards of
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo and ZCIEA president
Valentine Chikonyora and the two organisations' secretary-generals appended
their signatures to the agreement. According to the MoU, the bi-partite
relationship will allow the two organisations to jointly lobby for
legislation that promotes the operations of the informal economy. It is also
aimed at securing financial assistance by lobbying for a budget allocation
from government, fundraising and donations.
The ZCIEA hopes to
benefit from the arrangement through the incorporation of its interests by
the ZCTU onto the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) and any other
"We dedicate ourselves to the transformation of our
activities, we want to stand up and be counted," Chikonyora said at the
signing ceremony in Mutare last week. "We want to be reflected in the
national figures not as estimates or just as outflows of revenue. Our
productivity shall add value to our GDP and so we shall push for our national
policies, development plans and programmes to accommodate informal economy
Ombudsman's office a shambles Gift Phiri THE
Ombudsman's office is a shambles due to lack of personnel,
gross under-funding and alleged mismanagement.
The office is operating
with only two law officers instead of the desired 10, a situation that has
led to a huge backlog of cases at a time human rights abuses are increasing
in the country.
The office was established by Act of Parliament in
1982 and is mandated to investigate cases of administrative malpractice and
alleged contravention of the Declaration of Rights by members of the defence
forces, police, government departments and the prison
While it does not have powers to enforce its findings, it
recommendations to various arms of government.
office currently has a backlog of 1 500 cases which it is battling to clear.
The Ombudsman, Bridget Chanetsa, this week admitted that her office was
facing serious problems.
"We have a backlog because we have low
manpower," Chanetsa said. "We have however obtained authority from the Public
Service Commission to engage eight more law officers after February next year
and we believe this will greatly improve the performance of the
The Ombudsman's office is funded through the Ministry of
Justice and the department got a paltry $120 million in this year's budget.
Of that amount, $50 million is a human rights vote.
"We are not
the only government department that is not adequately funded," Chanetsa said.
"We get our budget every year."
The office has been accused of taking
too long to investigate case. Despite poor funding the Ombudsman office's
performance has been widely described as poor and in some instances partisan.
Chanetsa is married to former Mashonaland West governor Peter
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that there was a
deliberate effort to avoid confrontation with any of the government
departments cited in public complaints. Chanetsa however dismissed the
allegation saying she was a professional.
"My private life has
nothing to do with my work," Chanetsa said. "I am a professional person and
being married to a politician does not mean anything. We are non-political.
We have received cases from government officials and MDC officials and we
have investigated them."
Last month a stinging African Commission on
Human and People's Rights report on Zimbabwe criticised the Ombudsman's
office whose mandate is human rights protection and promotion.
was evident to the mission that the office was inadequately provided
such a task and that the prevailing mindset, especially of the
Ombudsman herself, was not one which engendered the confidence of the
public," the report said.
There had been complaints that she
failed to follow up cases, it said.
"That did not surprise the mission
seeing that in her press statement following our visit, and without
undertaking any investigations into allegations levelled against them, the
Ombudsman was defensive of allegations against the youth militia. The office
needed to be independent and to earn public trust," it said.
office hit the headlines two years ago after producing an annual report that
was five years late.
REGISTRAR-General Tobaiwa Mudede this week announced that the
voters' roll for the Seke by-election was ready for inspection.
by-election will be held to replace Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) legislator Ben Tumbare-Mutasa who died last month after a short
illness. Tumbare-Mutasa became MP in 2000 after trouncing Zanu PF's Phineas
Zanu PF will be under pressure to demonstrate that it can
participate in an election that conforms to minimum standards for free and
fair elections as adopted by Sadc this week in Mauritius. This by-election is
a make or break vote for Zanu PF, because if they fail to deliver in terms of
conduct, there is a risk that the electorate will treat the legislative polls
next year with scepticism.
The ruling party will have to use the
by-election to demonstrate that it can conform to minimum electoral standards
such as equal access by all political parties to the public media, an
overhaul of the voters' roll and equal access for local and foreign monitors
The ruling party will also have to dissuade itself from
the violence and lawlessness that have marred previous by-elections. Violence
has been used as a weapon by the ruling party to cow the opposition. Ruling
party militia, war veterans, the police and army units have, in previous
by-elections such as Lupane and Zengeza, been deployed to intimidate
opposition MDC members and leaders. The ruling party will have to ensure that
people responsible for this violence will be subjected to due process of the
law. The opposition has called on security forces, the police and army,
to demonstrate their professionalism by refusing to be used for partisan
President Robert Mugabe has said the ruling party's position is
that the 2005 parliamentary election should be held in an atmosphere of
"You cannot force people to vote for you if they do not want to
and violence can only result in tarnishing the exercise rather than
benefiting anyone so we appeal to both sides to recognise that the people who
have the right to vote must be allowed to vote in peace and calm," Mugabe
The remarks followed his address at the opening of parliament last
month in which he mooted "far reaching reforms to our electoral
"These proposed changes, which also take into account ongoing
regional consultations on developing electoral norms and standards for the
Sadc, envisage the creation of an independent electoral commission as
the principal player in running all our elections," Mugabe said. He
also proposed voting in one day, counting of ballots at the polling stations
and the use of translucent ballot boxes.
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba
Nyathi said Zanu PF thugs had already started harassing the rural electorate
"Zanu PF thugs are telling rural folk in Seke that since voting
is now going to be done in one day, it would be easy to deal with all the
culprits who would have voted for the MDC," Nyathi said. He stated that
ruling party supporters were also lying to the electorate that transparent
ballot boxes, instead of translucent, would be used during polling. MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai recently said Zanu PF's proposals were
"People are still demanding more measures towards a
democratic order," Tsvangirai said. "The recent appointment of a soldier as
chief electoral officer does not inspire anybody. It is a step backwards." He
said electoral reform was a central part of political and democratic
transformation. Electoral reform, in the case of Zimbabwe, was a serious
"To be effective, electoral reforms needed a
solid backing of independent institutions dealing with electoral disputes,
handling political excesses and taking care of the whole electoral process,"
he said. The MDC leader said the absence of credible, legally empowered
institutions for recourse and reliable monitoring bodies with statutory
powers of censure, direction and correction created a shaky process open to
contest regardless of the winners.
Tsvangirai said people were worried
about the lack of confidence-building measures, especially on the secrecy of
the ballot. He said there were no mechanisms and institutional frameworks to
guarantee a free and fair election. He cited the Lupane and Zengeza
by-election held earlier in the year.
There are allegations that
hundreds of youth militia from Matabeleland provinces were bused into Lupane
constituency to register as voters. The seat became vacant following the
death of MDC legislator David Mpala. It is alleged youths from areas such as
Jambesi, Kamativi and Wankie were bused into the constituency where
arrangements were made by ruling party officials for them to get
recommendation letters from the local chiefs and headmen for them to register
At Lupane business centre alone where the youths were booked
at a guesthouse until April 27, more than 300 youths were registered between
March 22 to 24. Some of the youths confirmed that they were indeed
registering in preparation for the by-election. They disclosed that they had
been instructed not to talk about it to the public.
In an attempt to
disguise their strategy, each group was moved out to either Dadaya camp in
Zvishavane, Mushagashe in Masvingo or Border Gezi in Mashonaland Central as
soon as registration was completed. They underwent youth training in those
respective centres before being re-deployed back into Lupane to vote in the
"It is not surprising that Zanu PF will employ such diabolic
tactics," Nyathi said.
In Zengeza there were numerous reports of
violence and harassment in the weeks prior to the poll. Hospital officials
said that they treated at least 50 people for injuries immediately prior to
and during the two days of voting. Other reports told of 200 people being
attacked and chased away from a voting queue by a "riotous" group of ruling
party youths. In one violent incident on the first day of voting the
opposition reported that four truckloads of ruling party youths stormed the
house of the MDC candidate. Twenty-two-year-old opposition supporter Francis
Chinozvinya was shot in the chest and pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
In the same incident another man, Arthur Gunzvenzve, was shot and
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, in a report of the
Zengeza by-election, said the atmosphere was extremely tense and intimidatory
and said there was "not a chance this can be called a free and fair
"Only 32% of registered voters exercised their right to cast a
ballot in the Zengeza by-election which the opposition called 'daylight
robbery'. It was an election that has made all Zimbabweans start thinking
seriously about parliamentary elections due in March next year," Zesn
executive chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said.
There is already much
debate about whether or not the opposition should boycott next year's
elections - considering the violence which arose in the Lupane and Zengeza
Political pressure group Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said
this week the absence of popular outrage at electoral irregularities was
"The most depressing thing about Zimbabwean elections now is
the tired resignation with which people accept the results and the almost
non-existent outrage," Crisis Coalition said.
"Police, government and
the state-owned media say the election was peaceful or that there were minor
skirmishes, they don't talk about cold-blooded murder, terror and
perpetrators walking free."
THE Sadc summit which ended in Mauritius this week set a
challenging threshold for President Robert Mugabe to elevate Zimbabwe's
electoral standards to.
Sadc heads this week trod with caution in
tackling Mugabe but in the end made their point by coming up with an
electoral charter that exposes the paucity of transparency in the country's
current electoral process. This was very much the "high bar" that the
government will have difficulty clearing.
The charter commits
member-states to levelling the playing field by affording all parties equal
access to the media and unfettered campaigning. It proposes the setting up of
independent and impartial bodies to run elections.
Sadc leaders like
Thabo Mbeki have been reluctant to tackle Mugabe head-on, especially on
issues relating to repression and the rule of law. In Mauritius, Tanzanian
president Benjamin Mkapa employed the carrot and stick tactic. He attacked
the West and spoke strongly of the need for regional countries to get back
land from former colonisers, which is exactly what Mugabe wanted to hear. But
in his address to the summit on Monday, Mkapa managed to smuggle in a
reminder to his colleagues that the process of land reform should be done in
a "civilised" way.
Despite pronouncements of solidarity and praise for
Mugabe's valour in wresting back land, no country in the region shows any
enthusiasm for taking the disorganised, lawless and often corrupt route
carved out by Zimbabwe's rulers.
"In a much more civilised way, we
want to create fair and just mechanisms - not to dispossess anyone, but to
redistribute land, and to help new land owners become productive in the
quickest possible way on lands over which they have secure property rights,"
Zimbabwe's delegation to Mauritius had tried to do its
homework by heavily publicising Mugabe's newfound credentials as a doyen of
progressive electoral reforms. Mugabe preached the need for peace during
elections ahead of the summit. He never spoke of equal access to the media or
unfettered opportunities for the opposition to campaign.
New Sadc head
Mauritian Prime Minister Paul Berenger did not pull his punches when he
defined what he believes constitutes a free and fair election.
free and fair elections mean not only an independent electoral commission,
but also include freedom of assembly and absence of physical harassment by
the police or any other entity, freedom of the press and access to national
radio and television, and external and credible observation of the whole
electoral process," he told the gathered heads.
Mugabe has heard about
the need for reform from his peers. He was in Mauritius when the charter was
tabled and debated which should ultimately make him want to own the process
and product. But will he deliver to ensure that Zimbabwe's poll conduct
chimes with agreed Sadc standards? This will be the key test over the next
He has to ensure that the Department of Information and
Publicity in his office refocuses the public broadcaster Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings so that the opposition MDC gets equitable coverage on
radio and television. That will entail a return to professional standards in
news coverage. The public print media will also need to be instructed to
cover the opposition's activities without bias.
The government will
need to instruct police not to deny political parties, labour organisations
and civil society the right to hold meetings. Youth militia and party
hoodlums employed to disrupt opposition rallies will have to be reined
Mugabe needs to instruct senior government officials including
ministers to leave the judiciary alone instead of making contemptuous attacks
on judges who refuse to toe the line.
Perhaps his adherence to the
precepts of reform agreed in Grande Baie can be readily judged by the persons
to be appointed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The return of Tobaiwa
Mudede - regarded by many as an agent for election rigging - will not inspire
confidence nor will the appointment of soldiers or policemen.
was tinkering with the electoral law right up to the eve of the presidential
election in 2002. He has to desist from that unsavoury practice.
scale the heights of optimism Mugabe's reform package should
include amendments to the Public Order and Security Act which Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa has said was useful in dealing with the
opposition. There will also need to be a relaxation of the campaign against
the private media which has been hounded by Information minister Jonathan
Moyo over the past two years as part of a wider campaign to close down
democratic space. The airwaves will have to be opened to allow more players
into broadcasting in line with a Supreme Court ruling. The NGO Bill cannot be
allowed to pass through parliament in its current state.
this Mugabe will need to discard the myth that an opposition victory means a
return to colonialism. Indeed, he will need to discard what he perceives to
be the instruments of his political survival.
None of this is very
likely. While the government will now address the technical shortcomings of
electoral administration, it is unprepared to address the context. That
remains one of violence, hate-speech, coercion and manipulation. Zimbabwe's
democratic deficit remains the worst in a far-from-perfect region.
what we have now is a set of rules to measure the government's commitment and
performance. That at least is a start.
AMONGST the achievements in the Zimbabwean post-Independence
era was the outstanding growth in levels of literacy, which in a period of
less than 10 years rose from approximately 38% to approximately 88%. This was
attained by the determination of government to enable all to receive a good
and sound education.
The upward surge in literacy, with concomitant
growth in overall educational standards reached by most Zimbabwean youth,
opened the doors to tens of thousands per annum into tertiary educational
institutions. Very commendably, government worked vigorously to maximise
access to such institutions, expanding very considerably the polytechs and
technical colleges and the then only local university, the University of
It also actively enabled the establishment of other
universities and tertiary educational institutions.
a wealth of highly educated and skilled persons as required by all sectors of
the economy - industry, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, finance
and services - and required to sustain and develop all of Zimbabwean society,
including doctors, nurses, others with medical and related skills, teachers,
public servants and many others.
Education and skills are amongst the
greatest assets any country can possess, and a conduit to economic
advancement and well-being. After the first 15 years of Independence,
Zimbabwe appeared to be well-placed for major economic growth, the
combination of its agricultural resources, mineral wealth, unique and
abundant tourist attractions, technological infrastructure and much else
being the catalysts which, fuelled by the educational and skills resources,
would bring about that economic growth.
Unfortunately, the economy, which
began to blossom between 1994 and 1997, began to wither in late 1997, when
government allowed political ideologies and objectives, hunger for retention
of power, and contempt for fundamental principles of democracy, justice, law
and order, to override the needs of the populace for a stable and growing
economy. It stubbornly rejected any and all well-founded and well-intentioned
advice from the international community and from the captains of the economic
sectors, wheresoever such advice was in conflict with its
Steadily over the years 1998 to 2004 the economy shrivelled,
bringing closure to many business, contractions of operations by most
other enterprises, decimation of the tourism industry, almost total
agricultural collapse and, as a result, a markedly lesser need for educated
and skilled, let alone the unskilled.
Some decided to embark on
self-imposed exile, because of their pronounced abhorrence for government's
policies and its authoritarian control of Zimbabwe. They found it intolerable
and untenable to reside in a state which had no respect for the fundamentals
of human rights (as recently evidenced by a report by the African Union which
government strenuously tried to suppress at the recent AU meeting in Addis
With over 80% of Zimbabwe's employable population unemployed,
nearly half the population barely surviving below the Poverty Datum Line,
hundreds of thousands of Aids orphans, and many others debilitated and unable
to sustain themselves, those who were fit and able departed Zimbabwe in order
to gain employment elsewhere, yielding valuable foreign exchange which could
provide financial support for dependants.
In addition, others, such as
white commercial farmers, also departed for pastures further afield, for they
were viciously deprived of their livelihoods, vilified and mentally and
physically abused. Increasingly, the Zimbabwean economy declined, primarily
as a direct consequence of government 's actions of economic destruction,
alienation of international goodwill and support, fiscal mismanagement, and
intentionally myopic oblivion to corruption. But the decline was exacerbated
by the mass exodus by the majority of Zimbabwe's skilled. Productivity
diminished, technological awareness and ability decreased, investment became
the exception instead of the rule, and economic viability was markedly
However, this tragic circumstance has continued to worsen.
Admittedly, the rate of economic decline was curtailed by the dynamic and
resolute stance of the governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono. He
determinedly applied constructive monetary policies (although some have been
muted to accommodate political circumstance) with a result that the
possibility of the contraction of the economy being halted was considered by
some to exist. That was more recently reinforced by a belated implementation
of long required fiscal policies and disciplines.
As pleasing as these
changes are, as possible indicators of positive further changes in the
future, they did not suffice to stem the flow of the skilled from Zimbabwe.
The brain drain has continued apace, for economic needs still motivate the
exodus of many. That brain drain is a further and intensifying economic
constraint, greatly hindering the valiant attempts of the few (and, in
particular, of Gono and of the acting Minister of Finance and
Economic Development, Herbert Murerwa) to bring about an economic
Zimbabwe has developed a critical lack of accountants,
engineers, architects, trained industrialists, and many other vitally needed
skills.And that lack is becoming greater. Remarks by the president that
continued possession of some farms by whites is an anomaly and irregularity
to be corrected, spurs fears of intensifying racism. So too do many of
the diatribes by many of his ministers and especially by the Minister
of Fiction, Fable and Myth, being targeted against minority racial
groups. Recurrent modifications of the Citizenship Act underscore the
contempt for those minorities, and for justice and equity.
more and more of the remaining skilled in Zimbabwe have been motivated to
leave Zimbabwe. They do so out of fear of total collapse of the health
services due to the very pronounced numbers of doctors, nurses, radiologists
and radiographers, physiotherapists, anaesthetists, surgeons and others of
the medical professions as they have taken up employment in South Africa,
Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
That fear is
experienced by whites, Asians and blacks alike, resulting in mass departures
by people of all races. In the last few months, the fears of the collapse of
health services have been compounded by fears of sharply declining
Tertiary institutions have been struggling for
some time to obtain a sufficiency of professors, lecturers and other
academics with requisite knowledge and skills. And now the Minister of
Education, Sport and Culture is determinedly destroying primary and secondary
schools. He has a shrinking pool of capable teachers to staff fully the
government schools and his stance against independent schools is clearly
driven by a wish todestroy their independence and subject them to his total
Not only has he prevented them from raising essential revenues,
necessary if standards are to be maintained, but he has insinuated racial
discrimination, devoid of foundation, and has unhesitatingly assured the
schools' representatives of his increasing interference and control, until
the schools are wholly subjugated to him. As a result parents of thousands
of pupils are, irrespective of their race, leaving Zimbabwe or intend to do
so, so as to assure their children's education.
The Zimbabwean economy
is the victim, and the minister can justifiably be identified as yet another
major contributor to economic collapse, and increased poverty and misery.
Unless the brain drain is reversed, the Zimbabwean economy cannot
MUCKRAKER was surprised by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's
refusal to speak to the Zimbabwe Independent last week on the troubled banks
"No, no. I spoke to the nation a few weeks ago," he told our
reporter. "Please refer to my statement. I can't be speaking to the press
Is this the same governor who has assiduously courted the
press, paying Mighty Movies huge amounts in public funds to ensure his every
word is recorded for posterity by their camera crews?
woken up last Friday by the beeping of their cellphones with an SMS from the
governor congratulating them on helping to bring down inflation. This is a
modern-minded Reserve Bank chief who understands very well the importance of
media coverage. But he should also understand that when reality on the ground
doesn't quite match the comforting assurances contained in his statements,
reporters may have questions. And he must deal with those questions openly
Loftily referring us to his most recent epochal "address to
the nation" doesn't really cut it.
Please Gideon. Tell it like it is
occasionally, not like you want it to be. A whole raft of banks are having
difficulty staying afloat because the economic fundamentals that caused their
problems remain the same. Most are struggling to repay their loans. That's a
fact. It wouldn't hurt you to admit it when asked.
amused by William Nhara's open letter to President Olusegun Obasanjo in the
Sunday Mail last weekend - the same paper that had the previous
week published a false report about Nigerian funding for the MDC in the
Nhara took the Nigerian leader, whom he addressed as "Oga
Kwata Kwata", to task over Nigeria's reported support for the MDC. The fact
that Nigeria's foreign minister had dismissed the Sunday Mail story as
"ludicrous and false" did not deter Nhara from repeating the
"I write as a disturbed Zimbabwean, as a patriotic pan-Africanist,
as a progressive internationalist," Nhara wrote. He forgot to add that he
was also writing as a political failure. Voters declined to buy
his blandishments in a Harare Central by-election last year.
Obasanjo had read the latest issue of New African magazine he would know that
Robert Mugabe had been voted the "number three greatest African of all time",
Nhara pointed out. Obasanjo, on the other hand, belonged in the Moise Tshombe
category, he suggested.
"Let me refresh your memory on what your
counterpart President Mugabe said: 'Zimbabwe will never be a colony
That's as far as Nhara's persuasive powers extend, it would
seem. By repeating this facile mantra as some Delphic oracle the pathetic
Nhara is simply demonstrating the limited orbit of his
Don't we recall some research agency coming under his
auspices? What happened to that? And who else would take the results of a
survey by Barmy Baffour's pan-Africanist vehicle as a guide to anything in
The survey, which placed Obasanjo 19th, "should leave you
thinking and thinking hard why the world and Africans just love this Robert
Mugabe", Nhara bleated.
After this performance, many readers will
agree with Nhara when he describes himself as a "disturbed
Below Nhara's less-than-incisive piece was another
vacant lot by political editor Munyaradzi Huni describing Obasanjo as a
chameleon. It contained the usual abuse.
We can well understand why
Nigerian Foreign minister Olu Adeniji should express such shock at Zimbabwe's
campaign of calumny against his country. After all, it was Nigeria which gave
Zimbabwe the US$5 million it needed to buy out the Argus group's shares in
what is now Zimpapers.
Adeniji called in Zimbabwe's acting ambassador to
express his displeasure at a "patently untrue publication in the press of a
friendly country for which Nigeria has sacrificed so much".
the acting ambassador with communicating his government's displeasure to
Harare over such claims against Nigeria "which have become a pattern in
At least the facile claim that Zimbabwe was the victim of a
conspiracy by the "white" Commonwealth has been disposed of by this latest
development. The truth is now evident. The "conspiracy" goes much further
And it was good to see Botswana's assistant minister
for presidential affairs Olifant Mfa standing his ground on the flogging
issue. Why should a country like Zimbabwe with an appalling record of abuse
of detainees lecture Botswana on "human rights"? When did Botswana last
torture a detained lawyer, an MP or a journalist?
government should now adopt a more robust position over hosting radio
stations which the Zimbabwe state media accuse of "anti-African
Who are the masters of hate language? Who have closed
the airwaves to public discourse and reduced Zimbabwe to a desolate prison
from which hundreds of thousands of its citizens have been forced to flee to
countries of refuge like Botswana?
Joke of the week: the
Sunday Mail's editor who thinks we are all "kicking ourselves" for rejecting
the draft constitution. The commission, we are told, "comprised some of the
most eminent and honourable thinkers the country could assemble".
that include those who ignored the views expressed in the outreach programme
and allowed proposals on land acquisition to be smuggled in by
The state media has been busy pretending that
none of the Sadc states have in place the electoral proposals adopted this
week in Mauritius. In fact nearly all have independent electoral commissions
and one-day voting. Above all they have ruling parties that allow the
opposition to campaign!
Protest group Zvakwana, which handed out
pro-democracy leaflets at a demo in Grande Baie and flew banners from boats
offshore during the summit, found it considerably easier to exercise freedom
of expression in Mauritius than at home!
The Sunday Mirror, it
would seem, is attempting to match the Sunday Mail in the wildness and scope
of its conspiracy theories. Last weekend brought revelations of a plot by
Zambian tour operators to warn visitors against crossing into Zimbabwe
because of the volatile situation here.
The Mirror's intrepid business
reporter had managed to get a tape of a Zambian tour operator warning
Zimbabwean tourism executives disguised as Kenyan tourists that this country
was not a safe destination.
The reporter is going to hand the tape over
to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority which he appears to think is some sort of
This latest "onslaught", the Mirror's reporter suggested,
was part of a plot by "enraged" former commercial farmers to "unleash a blitz
of inaccurate information" about Zimbabwe.
That was the last we heard
of them. They didn't feature again in the story and no evidence was provided
linking them to the tour operators except the claim that they were part of "a
grand plan of syndicates involving the powerful Western media bent on
securing the demise of the local tourism sector".
In other words
nothing to justify the Mirror's headline "Ex-farmers hatch plan to block
Where's Tendai Chari when you need
Muckraker is always surprised at the panic by mafikizolos in
Zanu PF every time the subject of talks with the MDC is mentioned. This week
it was Mzala Joe who devoted a whole article to denying that there were any
talks between the two parties on electoral reforms.
that any such talks between Zanu PF and the MDC might result in people like
him being sidelined, Mzala Joe told his Sunday News readers any such talks
would be a betrayal of the people. The Independent was attacked for reporting
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's remarks that there were hardliners in Zanu PF
who were opposed to such talks. Such hardliners would appear to include
mafikizolos like Mzala who have just dipped their snout in the feeding
The truth is that if there was any positive outcome from the
talks, the likes of Mzala Joe and his partner in propaganda, Lowani Ndlovu,
would find themselves out of employment. They thrive on perceived
irreconcilable divisions in the country.
The Sunday News clown claimed
the opposition was desperate for talks "because it is now clear to every fool
that the MDC has become so irrelevant that the only thing that can bring back
life to the sellouts are talks with Zanu PF".
Those like Muckraker not
privileged to be "every fool" have not shut out all prospects of Zimbabweans
one day overcoming their adversity and working together to restore the
country to its past glory. Apart from the politics of division that have
provided sheltered employment to Mzala Joe and his ilk, life in Zimbabwe has
deteriorated severely in the past five years. And the issue of unity and
restoring national prosperity is not about scoring cheap points.
wonder if Mzala Joe and his other fools really believe the puerile propaganda
that the Independent is a treacherous pro-Tony Blair newspaper for giving the
MDC a chance to air its views. Not all editors are thought-terrorists allowed
to carry the views of only one minister.
Nothing in the Sunday
Mail beats Lowani Ndlovu's fascination with blair toilets. He claimed in his
"uncolonised" column that after the "final push" campaign the MDC fell into
the blair toilet. What remains "is for it to be flushed down that toilet" in
next year's parliamentary election.
This exposes alarming ignorance from
one who claims to be a son of the soil. He doesn't know you don't flush a
blair toilet. Nor a bush toilet.
And why is Lowani Ndlovu so terrified of
change? This week his effort was directed at confusing a very clear demand
for electoral law reform with his so-called regime change. Fortunately he is
powerless to stop the process because people have decided to ignore unhinged
fellows like him. Even President Robert Mugabe, whom he pretends to be
defending, has realised he cannot stop any more the tide of change. So it is
that the likes of Lowani will be forced to accept change even as they squeal
and rant against the people's will.
No one believes Lowani's deranged
humbug that electoral reform means "unconstitutionally" removing Mugabe from
power. Unless that has been his wish but he lacks the means. Why waste space
trying to poison people's minds?
A fan of Muckraker has
written to complain about an MBA student at the University of Zimbabwe
behaving like a Zanu PF cadre. This came out last week when a lecturer on
corporate governance, Victor Mhizha-Murira, said it was "unfortunate" that
Zimbabwe had withdrawn from the Commonwealth since most of the codes on
corporate governance originate from that grouping.
One Margaret Sangarwe
is said to have taken great exception to the use of the word "unfortunate".
Muckraker understands the woman is the permanent secretary in the Environment
and Tourism ministry and apparently they have been told to praise every
individual deed by President Mugabe as a collective decision of the people of
Zimbabwe. So she went ballistic demanding that Mhizha-Murira withdraw the
word "unfortunate" in regard to Zimbabwe's expulsion, and pretend everything
According to our reader, the stand-off ultimately sucked in the
entire class on the side of the lecturer, himself a war veteran, who refused
to be intimidated.
We wonder who is paying for Margaret's MBA
programme if she can't function outside Zanu PF's ideological straitjacket.
What hope do we have for our kids if somebody doing an MBA can be so
indoctrinated she must defend the indefensible?
So despite all
the noise about Africans being able to go it alone, there is in fact a secret
craving and longing for all things European, or English to be more specific?
We always wondered why there was so much coverage of English soccer in the
state media despite the Dear Leader's almost choking anger against Tony
Robson Sharuko let the cat out of the bag this week when he
expressed his disappointment about Warriors captain Peter Ndlovu's decision
to leave England to join South African soccer side Sundowns. This was a
huge climbdown, moaned Sharuko.
"Peter should not have gone to South
Africa," he said. "It's a total waste of his talents, a total waste of his
time and a total waste of his efforts. Peter is way above South African
football, way above any football played in all the African countries
So the best of our footballers don't deserve to play in South Africa?
We need not ask where he wants them, and that's not politically-correct, or
is it called "ideologically confused"?
We have noticed that
Housing minister Ignatius Chombo has been making noise about evicting illegal
settlers from Porta Farm along the Bulawayo highway. How come very little is
being said about squatters randomly scattered at White Cliff Farm, along
Airport Road and along Chitungwiza Road, all closer to Harare than Porta
Farm? In fact we have just been informed that another illegal settlement is
taking shape opposite new government flats in Marimba.
Muckraker is told
that two weeks ago a so-called war veteran led his friends in the name of
something called Leopold Takawira Cooperative. They hoisted the national flag
in an open space on the roadside and one house is
You can be sure that there are no sanitary
facilities. There is no planning of any kind. Considering the time taken to
erect the house, you can be sure these are not desperate people. It is what
we call lawlessness at its worst. Squatters at Porta Farm are less of a
nuisance than those messing around near a proper residential area near
Marimba police station!
Keep your eyes on this one and see if there is
going to be any movement ahead of an election!
prime minister Lee Hsien Loong appears to be adopting a different stance from
that of his stern father, founding statesman Lee Kwan Yew. In remarks that
will come as cold comfort to the Zanu PF regime, hoping to build bridges to
the East, Lee said: "Our people should feel free to express diverse views,
pursue unconventional ideas or simply be different."
So petrol prices are going up? How long ago was it that the
Herald assured us they were coming down? Part of the "economy on the mend"
message we understood. Time for another call to Dr Gono!
Water shortage hits soft drinks supplies Godfrey
Marawanyika THE country's largest distributor of soft drinks, Delta
Beverages, has been hit by serious water shortages, a trend which has greatly
affected the company's ability to meet consumer demand.
The failure to
get adequate water supplies from the Harare City Council has now resulted in
retail outlets limiting the number of drinks clients
During the past six months, however, Delta, which
controls and markets the Coca-Cola brand name has seen its production improve
when compared to last year.
The company's recent production levels
have been affected by the water woes.
Delta needs large quantities of
water for purification and during the production of fizzy
Council spokesperson Lesley Gwindi confirmed the problems
Delta was facing and said a series of meetings had been held with the
"We have met and spoken to the guys from Coca-Cola Central
Africa," he said. "We looked at the problems they are facing and we both
agreed that these would continue for sometime.
"The problem of
water will continue as it is not only confined to Delta."
During the last
festive season Coca-Cola was affected by problems of gas procurement from a
South African firm.
Delta is again having problems procuring carbon
dioxide from a South African firm because of foreign currency constraints.
Carbon dioxide is used during the production of soft drinks to produce the
Delta spokesperson George Mutendadzamera confirmed
that since July 30 they had been experiencing production interruptions which
resulted in a supply backlog.
"Volumes are significantly ahead of
the same period last year and this has been so for three months in a row," he
"While this is very good for our business it makes the impact
of recent water supply problems quite severe on our customers."
said although they had met with City of Harare officials on the
problems, it would take time to reduce the existing supply
He could, however, not be drawn into commenting on the problems
of gas shortages.
Although the company is understood to be facing
problems due to the non-availability of bottles from Zimglass (Pvt) Ltd, a
subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Ltd, the
managing director of the parastatal Mike Ndudzo said the firm still had
sufficient quantities of glass in stock.
"We have not reduced any
production but we are rebuilding our plant," Ndudzo said.
Govt claims on expenditure untrue - Robertson Shakeman
Mugari THE government's claims that it managed to maintain a positive balance
on its Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) account and cut down on expenditure
are misleading and should be regarded with suspicion, economic commentator
John Robertson has said.
Robertson said government had managed to
maintain a positive balance on its account because it had not paid Value
Added Tax (Vat) refunds to local companies for the past six
He said it was "not true" that government had a positive
balance on its expenditure.
"They have a positive balance because
they are not paying their debt. They have not paid billions in Vat refunds,"
said Robertson this week.
"Anyone can have a positive cashflow if
they are not paying their debts."
Government recently announced that it
had cut down on expenditure as part of its inflation-reduction
The Treasury department in the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development also said government had managed to maintain a positive
balance on the accounts as part of efforts to reduce
This, Robertson said, was not "honest in its assessment"
of the situation on the ground. He pointed out that there was still a massive
budget deficit which government was deliberately down-playing to boost their
claims of controlled expenditure.
"(Acting Finance minister)
Herbert Murerwa's fiscal policy states clearly that there is a budget deficit
of $830 billion. If there is any surplus then it is billions that have not
been paid to local companies," he said.
"They (government) continue
to live beyond their means. Their expenditure remains high. How can they have
a positive balance? It's misleading."
Government continues to fund its
bloated expenditure through borrowing.
Vat refund delays have seen the
government maintaining a positive balance on its central bank reserve
account. The positive balance account is also an accumulation of billions of
dollars that government and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) have not
paid to exporting companies, Robertson said.
The government owes more
than $25 billion in outstanding refunds to bakers.
NRZ crisis affects Zimplow's earnings Roadwin
Chirara THE shambles in the rail transport system has severely affected
Zimplow's foreign earnings capacity as the company fails to deliver to
external markets, a top company official has said.
executive officer Tony Rowland said delays in transport logistics were having
a negative impact on the company's exports.
"We have been having
problems with the NRZ in the movement of our products to South Africa and
this has become a serious problem because we have failed to deliver timeously
to our customers," Rowland said.
He said the company was facing serious
viability problems due to the persisting exchange rate which, he said, was
failing to tally with inflation.
"The current exchange rate has
impacted negatively on us. We feel the local currency has been over-valued
mainly because the local dollar has failed to converge with the local
inflation rates," Rowland said.
He said the auction system had become
a buyer's market where there were more bidders than funds
He said exports were contributing two thirds to the
company's earnings, a situation which he said was being threatened by the
Rowland said there was need for a liberalised
exchange which would reflect the true picture of the exchange rate in
comparison to other regional currencies.
"We are going to continue
with our exports although their earnings will continue to be eroded. But you
must realise that it has taken time for us to source these markets and to
stop would prove difficult for the company," Rowland said.
What's new? Vincent
Kahiya SADC heads of state and government meeting in Mauritius this week
have finally adopted the much-touted electoral guidelines and
principles committing them to hold free and fair elections.
charter implores member countries to ensure that there are
equal opportunities for parties to campaign and to access public media. It
also stresses the importance of an independent judiciary and impartial
The principles are, however, neither new
to the continent nor are they a peculiarly African innovation as some African
leaders would have us believe. These are universal tenets which perhaps
explains why before last month they were so strongly resisted by demagogues
in our midst who thrive on coercion to govern.
Other countries in
the region have already embraced many of the electoral principles and have
been encouraging errant members of the bloc such as Zimbabwe to adopt
These are the same standards which Western critics of Mugabe
pushing Zimbabwe to adopt. The elections in South Africa and
Malawi this year were held under the dispensation of transparency and
political tolerance of the opposition. Mozambique and Namibia will hold
elections later in the year using the same basic
Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa however, in pursuit of
regional solidarity and redundant militancy, let fly against the West saying
Africa was "tired of being lectured on democracy by the very countries which,
under colonialism, either directly denied us the rights of free citizens, or
were indifferent to our suffering and yearnings to break free and be
While we are mindful of his need to soften up our autocrat
by means of flattery, Mkapa should be reminded that liberation movements
which fought to break free from colonial bondage have no monopoly over the
freedoms which are our birthright.
The liberation struggle was a
fight for equity as much as anything else. Sadc leaders have no right to deny
others rights on the spurious premise that they brought us democracy and
therefore should not be censured when they err. Modern-day oppression cannot
be justified on the grounds that colonialists once oppressed
For Mkapa and his colleagues who supported the flawed
Zimbabwean elections of 2000 and 2002 there is no denying that African
countries still need to forge relations with rich nations and conform to
attendant conditionalities. In fact, the adoption of new electoral standards
fits into that paradigm. Sadc will never be a zone of peace and stability
unless it has elementary rules on governance that the rest of the world can
Mauritian Prime Minister Paul Berenger, whose country has
reaped huge benefits from exporting textile products to the United States
under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), knows about the contagion
effect of bad governance on trade. His summation of prospects of free and
fair elections in Zimbabwe - albeit too optimistic - is
"And with free elections due in Zimbabwe next year, we can
already start preparing for the normalisation of relations between Sadc, the
European Union and the United States," he told the assembled heads of state
Free and fair elections in Zimbabwe are possible if
regional leaders drop their doublespeak with Mugabe who has found solace -
not to mention obduracy - in solidarity from fellow Sadc heads. They attack
the West and heap plaudits on the octogenarian Zimbabwean leader while
negotiating with the same Western countries for trade and
None of the Sadc leaders have joined Mugabe in shouting "to hell
with the West". None have spurned the IMF or World Bank. And even Mkapa was
measured in his remarks on land reform.
Agoa has provided duty and
quota-free access for a wide range of products from African countries that
meet United States political and economic requirements. To qualify, countries
should satisfy minimum governance standards as set out in the Act. The Act
also allows exporters to source raw materials for their exports to the US
locally or regionally. The US has allowed African countries to import raw
materials from non-Agoa countries including Zimbabwe, but this preferential
condition expires on September 30. Benefiting countries are scheduled to
negotiate new preferential terms with the US.
About 10 members of
Sadc are signatories to Agoa while Zimbabwe has been excluded. Member states
have derived immense benefits from the textile and clothing industry. In
Lesotho, more than 40 000 jobs have been created as a result of
Countries in the region are also negotiating with the European
Union for development aid - including Mkapa's Tanzania. Mkapa, during the
negotiations will have to attend the "lecture" on good governance and
But this is not a Western conspiracy to emasculate African
governments. Patrick Mazhimaka, deputy chairperson of the Commission of the
African Union (AU), spoke at the regional summit of the envisaged partnership
between the AU and regional bodies like Sadc.
"In this regard, a
protocol on relations between the African Union and Regional Economic
Communities (RECs) is soon to be concluded which will usher in a new
dimension of co-operation between the AU and the RECs,"
"It has been necessary, indeed imperative, to
establish co-ordination and co-operation mechanisms to ensure the promotion
of good political, economic and corporate governance, human rights, the rule
of law, humanitarian concerns and a democratic culture."
a lecture to African demagogues by a senior official of their own mother
body. Hopefully some of them were listening.