|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU),
a major supporter of humanitarian
efforts in Zimbabwe, yesterday indicated that it was studying the impact of
the government directive to determine if it would hamper food distribution.
The government last week
ordered relief agencies to surrender food aid
to village headmen for distribution to food-insecure communities, despite
earlier promises by President Robert Mugabe to the WFP that the agencies
would be allowed to operate independently.
Under the new directive,
non-governmental organisations (NGOs)’
feeding programmes would now be harmonised with the government-run public
But according to an instruction sent out by the WFP to its
implementing partners this week and obtained by this newspaper, the UN food
agency instructed NGOs to stop all feeding programmes if local authorities
insisted on distributing food aid.
Feeding programmes, the organisation
said, would only resume after the
government clarified its role in donor-driven food aid initiatives.
However, feeding programmes
would continue where village headmen did
not insist on implementing the new government directive, the WFP instruction
“If there is
full agreement with the authorities that distribution can
continue according to the modalities previously in effect, then WFP field
monitors should be present at any distribution, even if this means that the
number of FDP (Food Distribution Points) to be supplied be reduced,” the
instruction reads in part.
“If not, then the distribution itself should be postponed
have received appropriate clarification,” the WFP added.
WFP spokesman Luis Clemens yesterday said his
“maintains a zero tolerance policy on political interference in
donor-provided food aid”, adding that a number of international donors had
already expressed concern over the new government directive.
Clemens said WFP officials had met Social Welfare
Minister July Moyo
on Wednesday to seek clarification on the directive.
“WFP is concerned about several issues raised in
this new government
directive. WFP met yesterday (Wednesday) with the Minister of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare and expressed our concerns. WFP informed
the minister that several donors had contacted us and expressed their
worries, as well.
“The minister said he is
planning to have a meeting with donors,” said
Clemens said Moyo had not consulted food donors before coming up with
“Neither the WFP management nor the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator have
been consulted prior to the introduction of the policy, which we believe
would represent major changes in the operational modalities for the
distribution of food aid under general distribution,” he said.
Moyo could not be reached for comment yesterday, but said
that the government had the right to distribute food because it had
requested the food aid from donors.
The government has
asked for 700 000 tonnes of food to feed about 5.5
million people estimated by UN agencies to be in need of emergency food aid.
have indicated in the past that they are not willing to
provide food that would be distributed by the ZANU PF government, which is
accused of denying food aid to supporters of the opposition.
Before the latest
government directive, NGOs involved in relief
efforts could use their own criteria to select beneficiaries of their
programmes. The organisations would also physically distribute the food.
However, according to the
new policy directive, the NGOs would have to
surrender their food to village headmen, who would be responsible for
choosing the beneficiaries as well as physically distributing the food.
According to sources within
the donor community, the move caused
widespread alarm because it could lead to international donors cutting off
supplies to Zimbabwe. The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU,
a major supporter of relief efforts in the country, indicated yesterday that
it was studying closely the impact of the new rules and would be concerned
if they hampered its operations in the country. “We’re aware of some changes
to the law in Zimbabwe, and we do have some food aid operations in Zimbabwe
that are ongoing,” commission spokesman Michael Mann was quoted as saying in
the foreign Press reports yesterday. “We would be very concerned if there
was some sort of a move to hamper ourselves and people like the World Food
Programme from distributing food aid which is a vital service to the people
there.” He added: “We’re assessing exactly what this law means when it comes
into force and what it will mean for us.” The European Commission has
already pledged 25 million euros (Z$20.6 billion at the official exchange
rate) in response to Zimbabwe’s appeal for food. By Farai Mutsaka Chief
‘HIV prevalence down’
NEARLY two million Zimbabweans, or 24.6 percent of the country’s 11
million population, are living with HIV/AIDS, according to Health Minister
Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe National
2003 report, the minister said the number of people living with the disease
had dropped from last year’s estimate of 33 percent of the population.
Parirenyatwa said the estimates were based on data
women attending ante-natal clinics, adding that the figures still needed
He said the data was
collected through stratification of urban and
rural areas, growth points and mining areas.
“More data and further surveys will be required
to validate this,” he
According to statistics issued
yesterday, out of an estimated 1.82
million people living with HIV/AIDS countrywide, 1.54 million are adults
within the 15-49 age group, 870 000 are women and 165 000 are children.
“We are at the epicentre of the
epidemic because of high estimates
that were generated by UNAIDS in Geneva, Switzerland, and now, with
collaboration from the Centre for Disease Control, World Health
Organisation, UNAIDS and other partners, we (have become) the first country
to generate its own HIV and AIDS estimates locally,” he said.
Parirenyatwa added: “We decided to give our people an
arrived at scientifically because haphazard figures have not done the
country any good. Today, we announce that national HIV and AIDS prevalence
among the adult population is now down to 24.6 percent.
“These estimates are based primarily on surveillance
from pregnant women (15-49 years) attending our ante-natal clinics, on the
assumption that HIV prevalence in this group sampled at the clinics is
similar to the prevalence of the rest of men and women of the same group in
the community. “
Meanwhile, International Labour
Organisation (ILO) director for
Southern Africa, Ullrich Flechsenhar, this week told representatives of
employers, labour and government to intensify internal efforts to raise
funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and capacity building because donors were not
keen to assist due to the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
Flechsenhar said the country should not expect much
international donors because the political and economic situation in
Zimbabwe had deteriorated.
“The ILO is not a
donor organisation, but we will facilitate the
funding of your project action plans,” he said.
“What l am saying is not any political
statement, but it’s a basic
fact. Some donors will continue to shy away from disbursing funds to certain
countries, including Zimbabwe, for a period of time because the situation
has remained critical. You have my full support, though.”
He was addressing delegates at a meeting organised by
sub-regional office in Harare to develop action plans to implement the
Zimbabwe transport sector HIV/AIDS policy, which was finalised in June.
In its appeal to the United Nations for food aid in July,
government indicated that it would need US$3 million ($2.472 billion) to
import anti-retroviral drugs for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Supplementary budget presented
FINANCE Minister Herbert Murerwa yesterday presented a supplementary
budget to Parliament that will widen the government’s 2003 budget deficit to
$301 billion, or 18.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Nearly half, $311 billion, of the supplementary budget tabled before
the House will go towards the government’s huge wage bill, following the
awarding of hefty salary increases to the “executive, judiciary and
legislature as well as staff in other public sector institutions” in July.
Murerwa said the domestic banking sector would once again finance most
of the budget deficit, which stood at $230 billion – or 11.5 percent of
GDP – when he presented this year’s budget last November.
He said the
government would have to borrow $195 billion from the
banking sector to finance the deficit, while the non-banking sector would
contribute $45 billion and the remaining $61 billion would come from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s statutory reserves.
The $672 billion supplementary,
together with the 2003 national budget
will bring the government’s total expenditure for this year to $1.44
however, said the government’s revenue would increase by
$600.8 billion, from the $540.5 billion projected last year, bringing to
$1.1 trillion total revenue for this year.
He said this would minimise the budget deficit.
“The increase in revenue is benefiting from
increases effected from the second half of the financial year, Murerwa told
He added: “Furthermore,
adoption of the export support rate for
customs duty purposes, coupled with the removal of price controls on most
items, are also contributing towards improved revenue.”
According to Murerwa, revenue collection in
the first half of this
year, at $343.4 billion, was 48 percent above target, while total
expenditure at $411.9 billion was 12 percent lower than expected as a result
of shortages of goods and services, fuel and foreign currency.
The government will set aside $73.7 billion for the
Ministry, of which $45 billion will go towards crop inputs for the coming
agriculture season. An additional $60 billion will be made available from
the newly-reconstituted Agriculture Development Bank, which will itself
receive $5.5 billion for capitalisation.
Finance Minister said agriculture, which has experienced a slump
in the past three years, was projected to recover by 2.3 percent this year.
Murerwa said 900 000 households countrywide would experience food
deficits between October and the next harvest in April 2004, and the
government would set aside $27 billion for food aid.
A total of $48.4 billion
was set aside for the Health and Child
Welfare Ministry in the supplementary budget, with $29.5 billion going
towards the procurement of drugs and other hospital supplies.
The government has continuously failed to
reduce its recurrent
expenditure and yesterday, Murerwa said about $47.7 billion would be set
aside to fund ongoing capital programmes such as dam construction,
irrigation development and development of airports, among other things.
Other ministries that received huge allocations in the
budget are Finance, allocated $104.4 billion, Defence and Home Affairs, $47
billion and $45.9 billion respectively, Education Sport and Culture, $153
billion, and Public Service, which got $35.2 billion.
According to the Finance Minister, the government has
taken a decision
to deregulate the fuel sector under a dual pricing system and Amos Midzi,
the Energy and Power Development Minister, will shortly issue a statement to
Murerwa, who last November
projected that inflation would come down to
96 percent by the end of this year said inflation would remain high, eroding
incomes and rendering valueless individual savings.
He said high money supply growth
of 226 percent in April, foreign
currency shortages and a decline in GDP were among the major drivers of
inflation, which rose 399.5 percent in the year to July.
Although he did not say how the government would fight
Murerwa said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would announce a new monetary
High inflation has been blamed for cash shortages and Murerwa said the
government was reviewing the bank notes situation and might issue “even
higher” denominations of notes. Business Reporter
Judge throws out Mudede application
HIGH Court judge Justice Moses Chinhengo yesterday threw out an
application by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede to set aside a judgment by
Justice Lavender Makoni last year ordering him to surrender all material
used in the 2002 presidential election for safekeeping.
Justice Makoni had
ordered Mudede to transport to Harare all ballot
boxes, ballot papers and other relevant material used during the March 2002
presidential poll when she granted a provisional order sought by opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Dismissing the application with costs, Chinhengo
said Mudede, who was
represented by Loyce Matanda-Moyo of the Attorney-General (AG)’s Office
(civil division), had failed to proffer convincing reasons why the court
should rescind Justice Makoni’s ruling.
In his 30 October 2002 application, Tsvangirai, through
Bryant Elliot of Gill Godlonton and Gerrans, said he had reasonable fears
that Mudede was not complying with Section 78 of the Electoral Act, which
deals with the security of election residue.
He said Mudede had caused “material prejudice” in the
Democratic Change (MDC)’s election petition to have the results of the
presidential election set aside.
He said the
documents were “central to the allegations of
irregularities and corrupt practices” referred to in his election petition.
Makoni’s order was confirmed by Justice Yunus Omerjee. Mudede
had not filed opposing papers.
In his application for recision of Justice
Makoni’s judgment, Mudede
said he could not comply with Justice Makoni’s order because his office did
not have money to transport the requested election material to Harare. He
said he had applied for funding from the government.
He said he intended to file opposing papers to
application, but the papers were lost in the registry at the AG’s office.
Tsvangirai’s lawyer argued that the application
for recision was meant
to frustrate the MDC leader and prevent him from examining the requested
election material in Harare.
turn, this frustrates and severely prejudices the respondent
(Tsvangirai) in bringing the election petition,” Elliot said in his heads of
He said Mudede knew as far back as 12 September
2002 about Tsvangirai’
s interest in the ballot papers and should have made arrangements from then
for the transmission to and storage of the material in Harare in compliance
with Section 78(3) of the Electoral Act.
“The transmission of the papers to Harare is not, in my
function outside the ambit of the applicant (Mudede)’s functions,” Elliot
AIDS plight prods Red Cross to act
MATOBO – Draped in a cheap blanket, the woman’s emaciated body is
wracked by spasms as she coughs. She is still for a moment as if she is in a
trance or the breath has left her body, then slowly she opens her eyes
revealing dilated pupils that are as white as snow.
As distressing as the sight
might be, it is one that has become common
at many homesteads in rural Matabeleland South, where the AIDS pandemic has
blazed a trail through several families, leaving thousands of orphans in its
Anti-AIDS activists partly attribute the high incidence of HIV
infection in the area to the unemployment that is forcing a large number of
males to cross the border to neighbouring South Africa and Botswana in
search of jobs.
The job seekers – some of who are married and are forced
their wives behind – contract HIV from their adopted countries, whose
infection rates are among the highest in the world, bringing the infection
back home with them.
In Matobo district in
Matabeleland South, the unfolding human
catastrophe has prompted the Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe to launch a
home-based care, feeding, water and sanitation programme to assist those
infected by HIV or affected by the pandemic.
Although it is restricted to only a small part of the
Matabeleland South province, the programme already has 13 000 “clients”, the
term the Geneva-based international humanitarian organisation uses to
describe AIDS patients.
About 780 children orphaned by
AIDS are also receiving assistance from
the humanitarian agency, which is working in only five of the 20 wards in
Matobo district. The Red Cross is assisting 119 000 people affected by
HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe – 72 000 of these are HIV-positive and the rest are
orphans, some of who are also infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
Since the Red Cross’ Matobo
programme began at the end of 2002, an
estimated 5.7 tonnes of food have been distributed to people whose plight
has been worsened by the severe food shortages affecting Zimbabwe.
Among the families being assisted
by the Red Cross is one headed by
70-year-old Gogo Simangaliphi Ndlovu at Shumbeshabe Village in Natisa. Six
adults in the family have died from AIDS-related illnesses, leaving nine
young orphans in the care of the old woman.
Harvests in the area have been meagre in the past two
years because of
drought and serious farming input shortages. Meanwhile, most villagers are
unable to buy commercially produced grain because it is in short supply and
whatever is available is too expensive for them.
The food shortages have worsened the plight of families
already struggling because of the impact of the AIDS pandemic.
“We sometimes go for days without food,” Ndlovu says.
“It is very
difficult, especially for the children and my stepdaughter.”
One of the orphans, a nine-year-old boy, is
himself frail because he
was born with the HIV virus.
of the huts at the homestead lies Gogo Ndlovu’s stepdaughter,
widowed when her husband died of an AIDS-related illness, leaving her to
care for their only child.
The child is one of the nine who are now the
responsibility of Gogo
Ndlovu, whose stepdaughter cannot assist in caring for them because she is
now in the final stages of the disease.
For those children who do not have relatives to take them in, Red
Cross Zimbabwe is financing Ethandweni Children’s home, which takes care of
children orphaned by AIDS in the district.
The home cares
for 34 children. The youngest is one year old and the
Birthe Kristensen, the principal of the home, says one of
Ethandweni is fighting is to discourage the stigmatisation by local
communities of children and women who have been orphaned or widowed by
The home is attempting to re-integrate the
children in its care back
into Matobo society. Already, those orphans of school-going age are being
sent to nearby government schools.
“Our selection criteria are very stringent because
there are many
deserving cases in the district. We work very closely with the community,”
Red Cross communications officer Varaidzo Dongozi says her
organisation plans to consolidate its food aid, home-based care and water
sanitation programme in an attempt to reach as many people living with AIDS
as possible in Matobo. In an attempt to effectively cater for households
affected by AIDS, the organisation is forced to screen out food-insecure
people who are not directly affected by the pandemic. “Although we sometimes
get people who are not HIV-positive benefiting from our programme, we try as
much as possible to screen them,” Dongozi said. Because of severe shortages
of petrol and diesel in Zimbabwe, the government has allowed the Red Cross
to import its own fuel so that it can distribute food under the programme.
As well as providing food to householders living with AIDS, the Red Cross
also tries to instil in its clients the importance of nutritious food, which
is cheaper than anti-retroviral drugs. The Red Cross’ Matobo programme also
emphasises hygienic habits. “An area of the fight against AIDS which has
been neglected is the area of hygiene and good sanitation,” acting Red Cross
president Jimmy Gazi pointed out. He added that a recent survey had shown
that 30 percent of the opportunistic infections that affect people infected
with HIV are due to poor hygiene. From Chris Gande Senior Reporter
Swallow the bitter pill
DISTRESS calls by Zimbabwe’s mining and manufacturing sectors
indicating that they face collapse unless the government urgently devalues
the local currency should be a clear signal of the folly of continuing with
price and exchange rate controls.
Exporters want the Zimbabwe dollar devalued by about
118 percent to $1
800 against the American greenback, barely eight months after the state
fixed the exchange rate at $824 to the US dollar.
Also on the recommendation of industry. Now the same
is complaining that the exchange rate is no longer viable due to the huge
gap between Zimbabwe’s inflation rate and that of its major trading
partners, as well as the country’s worsening operating environment.
The Chamber of Mines has already met Mines
Chindori-Chininga to alert him of looming disaster in the troubled sector
unless the government reviews the exchange rate.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has also
recommendations to the government, reportedly urging it to devalue the
dollar to save businesses from collapsing.
Zimbabweans would clearly want the government, which loves
to react to crises rather than prevent them, to swiftly move for once to
avert disaster by devaluing the dollar.
It may cost a few more votes, but it is a
bitter pill the government
But not that on its
own, devaluation of the dollar, or even totally
lifting exchange controls, will be the panacea to the problems industry and
the economy in general are facing.
Rather, the solution lies in the government coming to
reality by addressing the causes and not the symptoms of the crisis.
Distortions in the exchange rate and the thriving
parallel market are merely a reflection of the acute shortage of hard cash
in the country, itself a result of the government’s ruinous economic and
land policies that scared foreign capital and investors out of Zimbabwe.
It is not too late for the government to
revisit and revise its
chaotic land reform programme that has all but destroyed the country’s
biggest foreign currency earning sector, agriculture.
The government would also be better served if it
began to live within
its means in order to reduce the budget deficit, the chief cause of Zimbabwe
’s ballooning inflation.
now pegged at 399.5 percent, is threatening the viability
of the mining, tobacco and manufacturing sectors that depend on foreign
suppliers for machinery, spares, chemicals and some raw materials.
Unfortunately, the government does not appear prepared or willing to
abandon its wayward spending, if Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa’s request
from Parliament yesterday for $657.8 billion in more spending money is
anything to go by.
But more critically, the ruling ZANU PF party and the
urgently seek a political settlement with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change that will allow this country to return to democracy in
order to entice Zimbabwe’s key donors, trading and development partners to
release aid critically needed to revive the economy.
Tinkering with the exchange rate or seizing more land
farmers in the name of a dubious economic and agrarian reform programme is
just not good enough to save Zimbabwe from certain economic and social
Preaching unity and practising division
IT must have been a day in the late 1980s when people were
assembling for a demonstration in the Harare city centre – do you remember
what those were? Without teargas and beatings from the riot police – or it
may have been a public prayer.
Certainly, most of the churches were involved.
The aim was to protest
and to pray for peace and justice in South Africa and, if I remember
rightly, for the victims of apartheid attacks here in Zimbabwe.
Groups from several different churches had already
arrived at the
assembly place and we were all waiting for the others. Some of them were
singing as they approached.
We heard voices
singing something about how Jesus founded the
priesthood to carry on his work. And someone said “A! VaRoma vasvika”. True,
with that song it could not be anyone else. But was I the only one who felt
I am not criticising only one church.
Many of them do something
similar. In this case, a group of church people chose not to sing a song
about justice, God’s love for us all (which is the root of our search for
justice) or about us all as the one family of God, although they were going
to join in common cause for justice with members of other churches.
They chose a song that marked their church as
different from all the
others. They were stating their separate identity. It’s not only the
churches who do this. Very many people, when you ask them what they are,
will prefer to say what they are not.
are members of the Apostolic Faith, which means they are against
the Pope and his followers; they are supporters of Dynamos, which means they
are against CAPS United and Black Rhinos; they are supporters of ZANU-PF,
which means they are most emphatically not MDC and hate anything that
carries that label, even if it is only their own ZANU-PF leaders who tell
them “So-and-so is MDC”.
This is very dangerous. Labelling yourself as “Not
makes it easier to see such-and-such as the enemy and to fall into an
attitude that says “whoever is not for us is against us”.
Some political parties do this to make their supporters
line up behind
them without questioning, shouting slogans, beating opponents and doing
everything else we know.
It works in the
short-term if your aim is to dominate absolutely and
make the other side give in to you on every point, but that only provokes
your opponents to build up their strength until they can hit back at you
You have started a cycle of violence, and it will roll on until it
crushes you and everybody else.
But real life isn’t a game where the
winner takes all. If we are to
live in peace with each other, everyone must see that they win something,
even if it is only a very small prize. Intelligent politicians see this.
I am constantly surprised
that the churches, or people of any
religious persuasion, fall so easily into the same trap, defining themselves
by what they are not, which means opposing “the others”, whoever those
others might be.
They are only
making their members see divisions, when surely all
religions teach us that we are all children of the one God?
Jesus, in particular, made
a point of welcoming the outsiders, the
people excluded by the rules made by pious believers. I can’t understand
when I see his followers behaving so differently, defining themselves by who
still shocked when I see a wedding ceremony where one of the
partners is not allowed to share communion because they don’t belong to the
Isn’t a wedding about what unites the couple? If we
make divisions in
the wedding celebration itself, how are we going to build united families?
Incidentally, even the Pope recently gave
communion to Tony Blair
because Mr and Mrs B came together to Mass at the Vatican. She is a
Catholic, he is not, but John Paul saw the unity of their family as the
important thing. Even his friends admit he is rather conservative, so how
can his followers not follow him on this?
Then, just to show how deep the spirit of division goes,
cannot converse with the clergy without asking them to repeat how different
they are from other churches. I recently heard a young man trying to make
conversation with a priest (not Anglican).
“What do you think of the Anglican church ordaining a gay
bishop?” The priest replied,very sensibly I thought: “I don’t think of it. I
have enough problems of my own.”
That seems to me the sensible, Christian and constructive approach. I
hope that if the Anglican church had asked that priest to help them sort out
their problem, he would have done his best. But when a member of his own
church is only looking for the familiar sense that “We are different from
them”, and that usually implies better than them, he would not meddle in
someone else’s problem. We have seen too much intolerance in the name of
God, who, we are told, is love. History has seen too much killing in the
name of God: crusades, pogroms, jihads over the centuries, and it continues
today: Catholic against Protestant, Hindu against Muslim, Muslim against
Christian. Even some Buddhists, who are supposed to be the most dedicated to
peace, kill their opponents. If the preachers of peace and unity behave like
this, are you surprised that politicians don’t hear the peaceful message?
“Don’t do what I do, do what I tell you” is not very credible preaching. By
Magari Mandevu Magari Mandevu is a social commentator
Major parastatals run $30.4 b losses
FIVE of Zimbabwe’s major parastatals recorded losses amounting to
$30.4 billion in 2002, or 75 percent of the Agriculture Ministry’s 2003
total budget, according to statistics from the government that show public
companies continuing to gobble up huge state subsidies.
were made available to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) by the Zimbabwean government, which rarely publicises the financial
results of its parastatals.
They are contained in a report published by the
IMF at the end of last
month and made available to the Business Daily this week.
According to the statistics quoted in the report, the
Board recorded a deficit of $14.4 billion in 2002, which was equivalent to
1.4 percent of Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product (GDP), given in the report
as $1.2 trillion.
GDP is the total goods and services produced in a country in a year.
figures show that the state-owned, Midlands-based
steel manufacturer Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) also posted a
loss of $9.5 billion in 2002.
The national power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity
(ZESA), as well as the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and meat
processor Cold Storage Company (CSC) incurred losses of $1.1 billion, $2.1
billion and $3.2 billion respectively.
total loss for the five parastatals, which was $30.4 billion,
amounted to 75 percent of the total agriculture budget allocated this year.
The Ministry of Agriculture was allocated $40.5 billion this year, but
was expected to be allocated more money in a supplementary budget presented
to Parliament yesterday.
The ministry is spearheading the
government’s controversial land
reform programme, which kicked off in 2000, and which analysts say has not
been adequately funded.
However, the government says agriculture will drive the recovery of
the country’s economy, which is in its fourth year ofrecession.
GMB and ZISCO have been a perennial drain on the national fiscus,
despite repeated attempts by the government to rescue the firms from
The GMB, which ran a $4.5 billion loss in
2001, was last solvent in
the 1995/96 July-June financial year, when it chalked up a profit of $29
The last profit for
ZISCO, of $97 million, was posted during the
fiscal and calendar year ended 31 December 1999.
The two parastatals, together with the CSC
and NRZ, have over the past
few years struggled to maintain clean balance sheets, surviving on rescue
packages from the Treasury.
CSC was $1.5 billion in the red during the period of January to
December 2001, while ZISCO suffered a loss of $4.1 billion during the same
The GMB, which enjoys a monopoly in the buying
and selling of grain in
Zimbabwe, is saddled with a more than $13 billion debt, part of which is
owed by the government.
GMB’s position was worsened by the government’s decision
last year to allow it to sell grain at a loss, in a populist move that was
supposed to protect consumers.
In the past, the parastatal has been kept afloat by
grain bills, which have not been issued so far this year.
Despite the losses of state-owned firms, Finance Minister
Murerwa indicated in June that privatisation of loss-making parastatals was
not a priority for the government because it was not in the national
This was despite his assurances to the nation last November that the
privatisation process would be speeded up. The Privatisation Agency of
Zimbabwe last year abandoned its plans to raise $40.9 billion through the
disposal of loss-making entities, with only $462 million being realised from
the disposal of government shareholdings in some entities by September last
year. The $462 million was raised from the disposal of stakes in CAPS
Holdings Limited, the Zimbabwe Reinsurance Company, Zimchem Refineries and
Munyathi Mining Limited. ZESA, one of the country’s largest parastatals, is
still in the process of unbundling its operations and is battling foreign
currency shortages that have seen it being switched off by regional power
suppliers earlier this year. The government plans to sell 50 percent of its
shares in the coal-fired Hwange Power Station and Kariba Power Station, but
analysts have long doubted its commitment to the venture. Economist John
Robertson said there was no way the government could extricate the
loss-making parastatals from their position unless it disposed of them. Most
of the state-owned firms have been hit hard by foreign currency shortages
and can no longer import spare parts or replace obsolete machinery.
Robertson said the fact that Zimbabwe had lost its international credit
rating meant that its parastatals could no longer secure international loans
critical for their operations. “The government has no other way out of this.
It’s either they sell or continue to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise
parastatals,” he told the Business Daily. By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business
Doctors’ stance on human rights commendable
At last, the people who receive and treat victims of political
violence in Zimbabwe have spoken and ZANU PF is in a terrible state of panic
as a result of that.
I would like to say well done
to the Zimbabwe Doctors’ Association for
Human Rights for speaking out on the cases of human rights abuse. Do not be
intimidated by the ZANU PF propaganda machine because there is nothing
political about you telling the world what you see and attend to on a daily
basis. You are the people who receive victims of all the violence that goes
on in the country whether they come to you dead or alive.
The reaction of ZANU PF, through its
mouthpiece ZBC, during newshour
on the 20th of August was enough to show the whole world how much they are
panicking because of the power of your evidence.
As for Ngugi Wa Mirii’s comments over the phone, all
I can say is that
people like Ngugi should just shut up if they have nothing to say and not
waste our time.
The fact that there were
human rights abuses during Smith’s time and
doctors never said anything does not mean that today’s doctors should not
speak out on today’s abuses, Mr Ngugi. Wa Mirii should really be ashamed of
himself for saying something so stupid on national television.
And for ZBC, next time please
can you make sure that the listeners
hear the questions that your reporters ask the people on the streets. We are
tired of hearing people say things out of context because you want them to
air their views in line with what you want them to say.
Some of us are well aware of your tricks and
do not think that you are
getting away with it.
obvious that the question that people were responding to during
newshour on the 20th of August was phrased something like this: “What do you
think about doctors’ involvement in politics?” or “Do you think it is right
for doctors to be involved in politics?”
ZBC, don’t think that you can fool all of us.
To the Zimbabwe Doctors’ Association for Human
Rights, I say continue
the good work, expose whichever political party violates human rights.
The whole nation is behind you.
Trainee teachers’ new salaries a mockery
Allow me space in your widely read newspaper to air my grievances on
behalf of all student teachers.
About two months ago, all education
stakeholders met and agreed that
teachers’ salaries need to be adjusted.
Even the President announced at a rally in Mhondoro
salaries were going to be reviewed.
student teachers have since received the shock of their lives.
Instead of having their salaries increased, they were actually reduced by
$400. This implies that the education Minister saw it fit to act against all
Student teachers are now getting a meagre $32 800.
A figure which is
just enough to cater for transport. I don’t know how we are expected to
survive considering that we are getting a housing allowance of $4 900 when a
single room in the high-density suburbs now costs $15 000 to rent.
Given that we will be teaching just like any other
or temporary) it is unjustified for us to be left in the cold.
Can the minister explain why student teachers are still
an amount when the recommendations made to the Public Service Commission
revealed that the salaries should be increased to about $146 000 .
Upgrading of Major Airports Progresses Well
August 22, 2003
Posted to the web August 22, 2003
THE multi-billion dollar massive refurbishment and upgrading of the
country's four major airports is reportedly proceeding well with work having
already been completed at some of the sites.
The refurbishment which is being undertaken by the Civil Aviation Authority
of Zimbabwe is expected to cost $800 billion (US$100 million) at the
existing exchange rate.
The chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, Mr Karikoga
Kaseke said this week that the refurbishment and upgrading process was
expected to be completed by the year 2006.
"Work is going on at the Harare International Airport, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo,
Victoria Falls and Buffalo Range airports.
"The whole exercise is going on smoothly and significant progress has been
recorded despite the critical shortage of cement, diesel, bitumen and
paraffin," he said.
Already, the concrete pavement at the Harare International Airport has been
refurbished to the tune of $430 million.
The refurbishment, which started early this year, was completed in June.
Mr Kaseke said the refurbishment of the airport's runway was also going on
"Work is currently in progress at the site. A fifth of the runway has
already been covered. The refurbishment of the runaway, which is expected to
cost $21,8 billion, will be completed in November 2004," he said.
Mr Kaseke said work on rehabilitating the approach lights at the airport has
already been completed.
He added that new lights would be installed by September 15.
On progress at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport, Mr Kaseke said foundation works
and excavations for the piles and beams have already been completed.
"Concreting of the foundation is in progress and the contractor is working
on the first floor beams," he said.
The upgrading of the JM Nkomo Airport that will cost $8 billion will be
completed in October 2004.
Apart from the expansion of the terminal building, the project also involves
the upgrading of the car park and associated landside roads.
Mr Kaseke said work had already started at the Victoria Falls Airport.
The airport's terminal building will be upgraded and a new runway will be
constructed at Victoria Falls.
The whole exercise will be completed in 2006 is expected to cost at least
The apron and taxiway rehabilitation works at Buffalo Range airport were
also complete while the department of roads had completed the topographical
and soil surveys and was clearing the area to be extended.
The project, which would involve the expansion of the runway to cater for
critical aircrafts like the Boeing 737 will cost $7,5 billion.
Mr Kaseke dismissed reports that several airlines had withdrawn from the
country due to poor state of the Harare International Airport runway.
"Harare airport runway is still one of the best in the world. It is utterly
misleading for some to suggest that the withdrawals of airlines from
Zimbabwe had something to do with the state of the runway.
"Lufthansa stopped flying into Zimbabwe in 2000, Qantas in 2000 and Air
France in 1997. Not even a single official from the respective airlines
raised a complaint about the runway. The reason for their withdrawal had
nothing to do with CAAZ facilities," he said.
Mr Kaseke said several international airlines were still passing through the
Harare International Airport to drop off passengers.
"In fact we are gearing ourselves for more business. There are indications
that the number of flights into the country will increase in the near
"The national airline has re-commenced flights to Bulawayo, Victoria Falls,
Lusaka and Lilongwe while South African Airways, the biggest regional
carrier has increased flights from South Africa to Victoria Falls and
"British Airways has indicated that it will be increasing it flights into
Harare and other carriers have shown interest in flying back into Zimbabwe.
All these developments are signs of recovery and not collapse," he said.
Government directed the Civil Aviation Authority to upgrade the country's
airports as part of efforts to revive the tourism industry.
MDC slams new government food aid policy
August 22, 2003, 10:10 PM
Zimbabwe's main opposition has slammed what it called an attempt by
President Robert Mugabe's government to manipulate food aid handouts to
millions of hungry people for political gain. However, the United Nations'
food aid agency said the government had not yet enforced the new policy that
would see village heads and state authorities taking over from aid agencies
in distributing food.
Mugabe's government appealed in July for more help to stave off looming
starvation. The country needs 350 000 tonnes of food aid before June 2004,
and aid agencies say 5.5 million people will need handouts by the end of
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it was concerned by
the new policy, which it argued would leave food distribution in the hands
of officials loyal to Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party. "The announcement
revokes a previous commitment that allowed donor agencies to distribute food
aid independently (and) betrays a potentially sinister political agenda,"
said Renson Gasela, MDC's shadow minister for agriculture. "By manipulating
the food aid distribution process...ZANU-PF would put in jeopardy the whole
humanitarian relief programme in Zimbabwe. Donors would cut their aid to the
country leaving millions of ordinary Zimbabweans facing the very real threat
of starvation," he added in a statement.
ZANU-PF officials were not available for comment today, but last year the
government rejected accusations that it had hijacked food aid programmes in
some of Zimbabwe's hungriest districts to benefit ruling party supporters.
Luis Clemens, a United Nations World Food Programme spokesperson, said today
the agency, which runs the largest food donation programme to Zimbabwe, had
met July Moyo, the Social Welfare Minister and architect of the new
distribution plan, to seek clarification on the policy.
"The directive has not been implemented yet, apparently because local
government authorities are also seeking clarification from the ministry
because the system for the last 18 months has largely been working well,'
Clemens said. Zimbabwe's food shortages are one aspect of a deepening
economic crisis plaguing the southern African country. However, Mugabe
rejects charges that his seizure of white owned commercial farms for
redistribution to landless blacks has partly contributed to reduced domestic
food output over the past three years, blaming the crisis solely on
drought. - Reuters
Zanu-Pf Prefers Direct Talks With MDC, Says Minister of Justice Chinamasa
The Herald (Harare)
August 22, 2003
Posted to the web August 22, 2003
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick
Chinamasa, yesterday reiterated that Zanu-PF preferred direct talks with the
MDC that should result in the establishment of common national values
binding the two parties.
Cde Chinamasa, who is also the Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs, told
journalists attending a United Nations Development Programme workshop that
although there was no clarity on the objectives to be achieved through
dialogue Zanu-PF was supportive of the resumption of talks.
He said the generality of Zimbabweans supported the resumption
"Direct contacts by their nature will help get to know each other better and
demystify a lot of things. I am sure the contacts, when established, will
contribute immensely towards the easing of tension," said Cde Chinamasa.
He said Zanu-PF and the MDC were committed to talks and there was a lot of
good will from both parties to pull the country out of current problems it
is facing. The minister said the talks should not be hurried as was the case
with the last aborted talks between the two parties. He said the talks
should guarantee a successful conclusion, and should not fail.
He said the MDC should not seek to enter into dialogue with a hidden agenda
to achieve an imposed solution or to achieve what it failed to achieve
through an attempted assassination, stayaways, mass actions and so-called
The minister said the primary concern of the dialogue should be aimed at
ascertaining and probing common ground for shared core values.
Some of the core values include the respect of the country's symbols and
institutions such as the national flag, national anthem, constitution, the
presidency and the judiciary. He said both parties should be able to
acknowledge the contributions of the Second Chimurenga to the liberation of
Zimbabwe, adherence to the democratic principles and recognition of the
irreversibility of the land reform programme.
"All political parties should be nationalistic in spirit, in character and
philosophies. They should espouse policies and manifestos that promote
national interests," Cde Chinamasa said.
He called upon the MDC to campaign for the lifting of sanctions and that no
common ground could be found with a party that was the footstool of Blair
Cde Chinamasa, said the two parties needed no mediation as they were already
The churches, led by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches president Bishop
Sebastian Bakare, have been trying to mediate in the dialogue between
Zanu-PF and the MDC. However, Cde Chinamasa said the problems affecting the
country were centred between Zanu-PF and the MDC, and not the churches.
"I don't see any reason why someone should come and tell me that I want the
two of you to start talking. Clearly, I don't see the role of the church,"
Cde Chinamasa led the Zanu-PF team in the last aborted talks.
Zimbabwe's clergy speak out
8/22/2003 3:38:59 PM (GMT +2)
Imagine you are a pastor and you are preaching to a church of about a
thousand people when suddenly four or five men in black suits and sunglasses
slither in. Suddenly there is a hushed silence as the men walk down the
aisle to take seats at strategic places inside the church building. Even the
"Amens" from the cheerful women at the corner and the raucous old man closer
to one of the intruders cease and you suddenly find yourself having to
suddenly change your sermon. Just before the men in black walked in, you
were talking about the political mayhem in your country and how everybody
must love their neighbours and enemies. Now you have to change your sermon
and talk about angels and how they spoke to Mary and the other women in the
bible. And everyone understands. And you know doing otherwise would mean a
stint behind bars or worse still torture and death.
This is the situation that the Church in Zimbabwe finds itself in.
According to a delegation of Zimbabwean pastors who are in Botswana "to seek
solidarity" with their brothers and sisters, President Robert Mugabe's
government has become so paranoid that church ministers are monitored on a
24 hour basis by security intelligence. Members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) who are identifiable by their smart black suits and dark
sunglasses have been intimidating the pastors after they started talking
about political issues.
Things became worse after a multi-denominational organization of
church ministers, the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference's (ZNPC) decided
to start advocating for political changes.
"As the church, we have realised that unless we stand up and speak
about the situation in our country, we will only get worse. We therefore
need to join hands with the rest of the civil society and call for order.
The church is the last available space," a member of the delegation Rev Noah
Madzikatire told Batswana clergymen at the Botswana Christian Council's
Tshwaragano House on Wednesday.
"As the church we long for a time when there will be political and
tribal tolerance in Zimbabwe, we long for the respect of the rule of law. We
long for good governance and leadership and annulment of repressive laws,
and we want to see government working with the church," said Madzikatire.
It is especially Mugabe's government's refusal to appreciate the role
of the church that is worrisome, he said. The government's lack of
appreciation is shown by the arrest and torture of the clergy.
"Twenty three pastors from different denominations were arrested in
February while we were on our way to present a petition to the Police
Commissioner. As the church, we felt the police have become partisan and
needed to be reminded that they are there to serve the nation without regard
for party affiliation," he said. The torture and intimidation would however
not deter the church in its mission of condemning wickedness, commending
goodness, and offering help to those who have been traumatized.
"For a long time the church has watched silently as things went the
wrong way. But we would not like our country to plunge further into violence
which will then be followed by a peace accord some fifteen years later, when
many people would have died, so we have decided to take our place as
mediators," another Pastor Angelimo Mugayi said.
Already the ZNPC have met with Zimbabwe's main political parties, the
ruling ZANU-PF and the MDC to lay some groundwork for talks.
"The MDC have already submitted their position paper, but the
government seems to be buying time," he said. He added that the government
needs to be put pressurised to act and that is why they are seeking support
"We believe if you people could join hands with us and speak to the
Zimbabwean government, there would be a change for the better," said Mugayi.
He said the Church in Botswana and the SADC region needed to realise
that quite diplomacy has failed Zimbabwe and its people. All who watched in
silent diplomacy would also become liable before God, he said.
"We expect his fellow Presidents to clearly articulate on issues, to
be able to denounce repressive laws. We expect SADC governments to
communicate their displeasure to Robert Mugabe, privately and publicly," he
The ZNPC have already visited other SADC countries including Zambia,
Malawi, and South Africa.
Transfrontier Parks Restore Lost Spiritual Connection
August 22, 2003
Posted to the web August 22, 2003
Communities divided arbitrarily from each other in the past will be among
the beneficiaries of new approach
A THRONG of international delegates will deliberate on the future of many
things related to protected areas and people at the World Parks Congress to
be held in Durban next month.
One particular theme to receive considerable attention is the issue of
transfrontier conservation areas, or what elsewhere are also called peace
parks. Once a patchwork of protected areas lining the borders of southern
African states, conservation areas are being knitted together as one
landscape, through fencing and the closure of borders.
Peace parks will be like the conservation parks we are used to, with animals
in and people out. But they will dwarf a normal park.
The vast tracts of land being fenced off have been a source of spiritual
connection, kinship links, mixing of different people across borders, and
agroclimatic conditions that were breeding places of unique repositories of
human culture and history.
One need only consider the Kalaghadi, the recently signed Ais-Ais treaty
between SA and Namibia, and Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which were
the pathways where different people of a varying ethnic and linguistic
backgrounds met. These pathways, where different people interfaced and which
hold dear memories, are about to be effaced by the new icons of
In addition, a range of dependencies has developed from the use of natural
resources by rural communities living adjacent to or within demarcated
transfrontier conservation areas. These dependencies are important safety
nets and means of livelihood for those who live between cash and
In times of great economic upheaval unfavourable trade, high inflation,
unemployment and lack of investment in the formal economy poor people become
wholly dependent for survival on what little they can get from natural
resources and available work opportunities, as the luxury of remittances or
state grants and social welfare schemes are eroded because of gloomy
The closest comparison of the effects of transfrontier conservation areas on
local economies, people, regions and perhaps states, is that of large dams.
While certainly with transfrontier conservation areas one will see more
ecological benefits (even this is disputed by some), on the socioeconomic
scorecard they are likely to fall miserably lower on development
effectiveness than dams.
The comparison with large dams is apt, as transfrontier conservation areas
by their nature have to command large tracts of land if they are to be
successful. The shift from one landuse type to another holds certain
opportunity cost for a range of potential investors and users. This is not
without pain and risk to poor people who in general bear the largest
nonbeneficial burden of protected areas.
To take the example of Gonarezhou (Zimbabwe-Mozambique), people will have to
be relocated to make way for fences and animals. Not only are people being
displaced, but so are long-established networks and forms of adaptive
organisational capacity, and access to a range of natural resources from
which livelihoods and welfare are secured. This entire edifice of livelihood
is dislodged, and often not quantified or spoken about by development
practitioners and promoters of transfrontier conservation areas. This is so
because practitioners focus on physical assets, not "soft" assets.
Rural communities that have been displaced are given less secure forms of
livelihood often a paltry handout from donor funds or a promised Eden from
ecotourism. Seldom are these options really viable economically, as often
they are mere mirages to silence the rumbling discontent of the victims of
A simple back-of-the-matchbox calculation will show that the compensation
that can be offered to displaced people cannot match the assets that have
been built up over generations.
"Soft" assets that are discounted the most are: social capital, customary
rights or informal rights over resources, institutional capacity, knowledge
and systems of production. In cases where people are not being displaced
other things stand to be lost. These include the historical rights of access
to resources such as water, wild foods, medicinal plants, land for grazing
and cross-border trade and migration. Also, residents may face costs not
incurred before, such as for special veterinary precautions to avoid the
spread of diseases such as bovine TB from cattle to wildlife.
Loss of income or livelihood can also result from cross-border hassles
through stricter border controls that will limit informal trade and barter.
If large dams are an apt comparison, then transfrontier conservation area
stalwarts would do a lot better if they were to study the World Commission
report on dams. The report takes a rights-based approach to development, and
focuses on defining a matrix to assess peace parks' development
At present, neither a rights-based approach nor a development effectiveness
scorecard to measure the performance of transfrontier conservation areas has
been established. The scorecard would allow a development effectiveness
index to be generated for peace parks.
Factors that need to be measured are the very promises and values upon which
the areas are built. They are: ecological, local economic development,
cultural, organisational, peace and security. Developing a model of
development effectiveness for transfrontier conservation areas increases
levels of transparency, accountability, and provides a better measure of the
value of the investment.
It also allows a sounder sampling of risk, rather than the random and
idealised ramblings of proponents. It allows a more robust cost benefit for
such conservation areas to be formulated in the current cloud of one-sided
statements of benefits by proponents.
For now, transfrontier conservation areas exist on the pedestal of iconic
imagination and political goodwill in some quarters. They will soon have to
show more than a golden nameplate of a prominent patron.
For peace parks to achieve appropriate development they cannot rely on
paltry promises. They must complement and support marginal people against
risk and vulnerability from insecure economic and political environments.
Both the envisaged displacement and further curbs on those reliant on
natural resources stand to be worsened by often dismissive attitudes towards
The adaptive strategies of the poor come about only through building strong
local institutions and capacity to deal with and negotiate through conflicts
over rights and benefits. Secondly, development with integrity and meaning
is that which focuses on nurturing local entrepreneurial capacity and
This is more lasting than bold pledges and irresponsibly dangling cash from
donors and investors. Sustainability has never been fulfilled by external
welfare-based models of development, but rather by self-motivation,
confidence and having the capacity to take care of one's self by
participating freely in public life and seeking opportunity.
If we are to learn anything from large dams, it is that development that is
not well managed leads to more inequity, and irreparable social damage.
Peace parks, rather than being a source of peace, can easily be transformed
into icons of social discontent.
Fakir is director of the World Conservation Union (IUCN-SA).
22 August 2003
Zimbabwe: SADC Leaders Should Place Zimbabwe on the Agenda of Their Summit
On the eve of the annual Summit of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) in Tanzania, Amnesty International is calling on SADC
leaders to jointly and publicly express their concern regarding Zimbabwe's
deepening human rights crisis.
Zimbabwe: Rights under siege
An Amnesty International report
More on this Website:
"We acknowledge and commend the on-going efforts of some African leaders in
promoting human rights on the continent. However, the situation in Zimbabwe
has yet to be adequately addressed. While the July Summit of the African
Union was an important occasion at which to discuss the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe, regrettably, African leaders failed to put Zimbabwe
on the agenda. This was a missed opportunity to constructively raise human
rights concerns with the Government of Zimbabwe," Amnesty International
Amnesty International has been closely monitoring the human rights situation
in Zimbabwe. State-sponsored harassment, attacks and torture directed at the
opposition, civil society and independent media workers continue unabated.
For example, following a mass national strike in June 2003, approximately
800 supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were
arrested, two people reportedly died and approximately 150 people were
injured in attacks by supporters of the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), members of the Zimbabwe National Army and
the police. MDC member Tichaona Kaguru was brutally attacked by police and
army officers with whips, rubber batons and sticks and subsequently died
from his injuries on the second day of the strike.
"Tichaona Kaguru's case illustrates the widespread human rights violations
taking place in Zimbabwe and the extent to which the government will go to
bludgeon dissent," the organization said.
"SADC leaders and Zimbabwe's neighbours have a critical role to play in
demonstrating their commitment to the respect for human rights in Southern
Africa. They should include Zimbabwe as a specific point on the agenda of
the SADC Summit and to bring all possible pressure to bear on the Government
of Zimbabwe to respect and protect the fundamental human rights of its
citizens," Amnesty International urged.
More recently, President
Mugabe announced at the opening of the fourth
session of Parliament in July 2003 that the government would introduce new
legislation governing the operations of Non-Governmental Organizations
(NGOs). Amnesty International is concerned that as with legislation
introduced in the past two years, the government will use this new NGO Bill
to silence dissent and further restrict the right to freedom of association.
In May, 2003 Amnesty International published a report entitled Zimbabwe:
Rights under siege (AI Index: AFR 46/012/2003) which examined how the
Zimbabwean authorities, in particular, members of the police force are using
legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act, to severely restrict
the rights of all Zimbabweans to freedom of expression, assembly and
Source: Source: Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton
Street, WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom
From SW Radio Africa, 21 August
Road show victim
member says military personnel have been looking for him at the
workplace after he participated in an MDC road-show in Harare, Wednesday.
The MDC held the road-show to campaign for the Harare Central by-election.
It was the first time in three years that the opposition has been allowed to
campaign freely in Harare. MDC Parliamentarians and supporters were out in
full force campaigning for their candidate. This man says he had been
interrogated by the red-bereted soldiers during the road-show but had to run
away from his workplace when they allegedly came looking for him today.