The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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      The time has come to stop the politics and get our priorities right

      8/1/02 8:20:43 AM (GMT +2)

      WHO would have ever believed that Zimbabwe would one day be referred
to as a country facing famine?

      In our wildest dreams and worst nightmares I don't think any of us
could have imagined the day when almost half of our population would be

      Did we ever think we would see all our elders reduced to hungry
beggars? Could we have foreseen the old women and men standing in endlessly
long queues waiting patiently for someone to give them a small bowl of beans
or grain?

      How can it be that our beloved Zimbabwe is now no better than the
Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia?

      How can it be that in our warm and fertile Zimbabwe whose dams and
rivers are full, one banana costs $10, a single egg costs $25 and people sit
picking maize grain off the side of the road behind the donor grain trucks.

      Why, in just 29 months, have people in the countryside, been reduced
to eating leaves and field mice? Is it really possible that the tail end of
a cyclone in March 2000 and a single drought in 2002 could have caused such
massive starvation?

      I wonder if the men and women who lead and govern us knew what they
were doing when they sanctioned the takeover of 95 percent of Zimbabwe's
commercial farms.

      I wonder why those men and women with their doctorates and degrees
could not see the day when we would have no salt or sugar, no cooking oil
and no maize.

      I always thought tertiary education was a sign of great wisdom, but
now I know that I was wrong.

      A master's degree or doctorate may give a man letters after his name
but without a doubt those letters do not spell the word common sense.

      I wonder how much longer the people and leaders of Zimbabwe are going
to sit back and do nothing about this hell we live in.

      During the last week the President made a few public speeches.

      In one he said that he was going to widen all of the country's main
highways to cut down on the number of traffic accidents.

      In a country whose roads are littered with potholes, where street
signs are non-existent
      because they have been stolen, and where only one in 10 street lights
work, we are talking about widening thousands of kilometres of main

      In another speech last week, the President said that the British were
secretly recruiting all of Zimbabwe's doctors and nurses.

      If I was a nurse in Zimbabwe I don't think it would take an awful lot
of secret plotting or clandestine recruiting to get me to go and work in
another country.

      Why would I want to work in a Zimbabwean government hospital when
there are not even disposable gloves, let alone drugs, pain killers or the
most basic of equipment needed to comfort and care for my patients?

      Instead of addressing the real emergencies in Zimbabwe, like 6 million
starving people,
      we are talking about widening roads and secret British plots.

      I just cannot believe that all the men and women in Cabinet with
degrees and doctorates
      are going to let this go on for much longer.

      As a nation we look to you, our leaders, Cabinet, government and
President for wisdom and guidance.

      We look to you for example and national pride. We have become the
laughing stock of the world. Our people have become starving beggars, our
lush fields have become barren, weed-filled, dust bowls.

      Surely now the time has come for all our leaders to stand together and
stop the madness. When people have crops in the ground and food in their
bellies, we can talk about widening highways and secret British plots. The
time has come to stop the politics and get our priorities right.
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Daily News


      Confrontation with EU: Zimbabwe stands to lose

      8/1/02 7:41:25 AM (GMT +2)

      THE recent expansion by the European Union (EU) of the list of names
of some Zimbabwean political leaders who can no longer enter any EU country
is certainly not of little consequence as some government officials seem to

      Zimbabwe is an impoverished country whose population is less than that
of London. Its budget is less than that of some of the states of Germany.

      Zimbabwe is only 22 years old, landlocked, industrially
under-developed and, therefore, economically weak and vulnerable. That the
country needs international aid is an incontrovertible fact.

      The European Union comprises highly industrialised countries some of
which have been in existence for several centuries and their economies are
far more advanced. Our standard of living is much lower than that of the
poorest EU country.

      It is not our fault that we are a young and relatively undeveloped
nation. A variety of historical, social, political, cultural and
geo-political factors have produced the current Zimbabwean socio-economic

      Our wish should be to develop the country's economy by creating a
conducive internal and external environment.

      The Government should be presently promoting a rapport between itself
and the outside world, while at home a visible and audible process of
reconciliation should be given high priority.

      This approach was conspicuous by its absence in President Mugabe's
speech at the opening Parliament last week.

      The speech was accusatory, confrontational and uncompromising. He
described as sinister and enemies of State those who advocate devaluation of
the Zimbabwean dollar.

      Among the advocates of devaluation are Mugabe's Minister of Finance,
Dr Simba Makoni, and the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr Leonard Tsumba.

      While devaluation could certainly disadvantage the vast majority of
consumers in Zimbabwe by increasing prices of goods and services, it would
benefit importers of Zimbabwean products and services, and tourists by
strengthening the value of their (importers' and tourists') currency
vis-a-vis that of Zimbabwe.

      However, whatever the merits or demerits of the matter, it is vital
that a full debate be undertaken by all concerned, including the country's
Finance Minister and the Reserve Bank Governor.

      Their views are vital to the decision-making process on this issue. It
was, therefore, grossly unfair for Mugabe to describe their view as
sinister, and that protagonists of devaluation of the Zimbabwe currency as
enemies of the State.

      It should be understood and appreciated by every Zimbabwean that
difference of opinion on virtually every issue is a sine qua non to a
healthy democratic dispensation. It is socially unhealthy and politically
unacceptable for all people in all nations to agree on all issues at all
times at all forums.

      Only in churches do people sing the same hymn and at the same time,
but even then, some sing soprano, some alto, some tenor and others bass,
creating a most harmonious musical sound through that contrast.

      When it comes to interpretation of biblical texts read in church,
there is bound to be a difference of opinion among members of the
congregation. But that does not mean or imply that those members of the
congregation whose interpretations differ with that of the pastor or priest
are heretics.

      Mugabe pulled no punches against the British Prime Minister, Tony
Blair, and other leaders of the EU who are critical of the Zanu PF
government policies.

      No sooner had he finished reading his speech than the EU announced
that it had added 52 more names to the list of names of Zanu PF leaders
barred from entering the EU.

      The whole episode is tragic. It is not necessary to worsen an already
sad situation because, all said and done, it is Zimbabwe that will be the
loser of this most unfortunate confrontation. I do not see how Denmark or
Sweden or Spain or Belgium has anything to lose by telling Zimbabwe to get
lost hell, so to speak.

      But we have a great deal to lose by throwing dust into the eyes of
those nations that have helped us to build roads, schools, clinics, bridges,
industries and a variety of infrastructure.

      I am not aware of a single clinic or road or whatever that Zimbabwe
has built in Sweden, Italy, Denmark or any other EU nation.

      Zimbabwe needs the EU nations' moral and material support more than
they need our support. The government should acknowledge this basic fact
when it formulates national policies.

      The question of national sovereignty has been harped upon ad nauseam.
There has even been some suggestion that there could be plans to recolonise
Zimbabwe! Zimbabwe's national sovereignty is protected by the country's
constitution and guaranteed by its membership of international bodies such
as the United Nations.

      But national sovereignty does not and cannot make nations immune from
international criticism. Zimbabwe is criticised for what is perceived as
poor governance and not for being a sovereign state.

      Some Zanu PF leaders have been harping on our national sovereignty
repeatedly as if the British government has demanded to send a colonial
administrator from Whitehall to take charge at Munhumutapa Building. The
deliberately misleading and faulty defence of their failures as a government
is deplorable and must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.

      The government has a responsibility to treat internal and external
criticism as an opportunity for improvement, and not as an affront or
insult. All civilised and human beings accept, in fact invite, criticism and
then take advantage of it to eliminate their weaknesses and mistakes.

      What Zimbabwe urgently requires is to initiate a reconciliation
process with the EU. That process would necessarily demand a give-and-take
as opposed to an arrogant approach.

      It would be in Zimbabwe's best national - as opposed to individual
personal interests - to launch such a programme to stop the country from
slipping deeper into an intolerable socio-economic mess.
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Daily News

      MP's son convicted of stealing Aids funds

      8/1/02 8:13:20 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Gweru

      Godwin Mkandla, the eldest son of the Gokwe North MP, Eleck Mkandla,
was on Monday sentenced to four years for defrauding the district HIV/Aids
fund of $140 000.

      But Mkandla, 30, and his accomplice, Town Kudakwashe Mudzungairi, 28,
will not serve the jail term after the Gokwe provincial magistrate, Godfrey
Ruvetsa, fined them $10 000 each.

      He ordered them to make restitution to the Gokwe North Rural District
Council before 23 August.

      The accused were represented by Kosamu Zingoni of Zingoni and
Associates of Kwekwe.

      The court heard that Mkandla was the finance clerk directly in charge
of the district's HIV/Aids funds.

      On 29 November 2001, Mkandla was instructed by Gokwe North rural
district council chief executive officer (finance), Watson Ushemakota, to
buy 600 litres of diesel worth $42 000 using the District Aids Action
Committee account.

      He prepared a cheque for $42 000 and cashed it at the Jewel Bank Gokwe
      He later withdrew $50 000 cash from the safe box and converted it to
his own use.

      To cover up the crime, Mkandla altered the figures on the fuel invoice
claiming he had spent $92 000 to buy 1 600 litres of diesel.

      The account was prejudiced of $50 000 and none of it was recovered.

      On 10 December 2002, Mkandla wrote out a cheque with a face value of
$8 500 to Sekai Chokodza on behalf of Takaingei Kanosvova. The court was
told that the latter had rendered some unspecified services to the Aids

      Mkandla later connived with Mudzungairi, an accounts clerk, and
altered the records to reflect $90 500.

      They later withdrew $90 000 from the safe box and converted it to
their own use.
      Nothing was recovered.

      Allan Chino, the council's chief executive officer, unearthed the scam
during an audit, which led to the arrest of Mkandla and Mudzungairi.
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Daily News

      Zanu PF youths accused of beating up transporter

      8/1/02 8:02:40 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      ZANU PF youths allegedly beat up and confiscated the property of a
Gokwe-based transporter last week, accusing him of being an MDC agent.

      Josphat Jazi, 29, said he sustained internal injuries when he was
assaulted all over the body with sticks and iron bars.

      Jazi said he was assaulted by about 30 Zanu PF supporters during one
of his routine trips to Gokwe growth point, where he rents a house in
Mapfungauti suburb.

      He said: "I was awakened by knocking on my bedroom window by a mob of
people armed with sticks and iron bars."

      "The youths had some personal information about me and I suspect my
landlord was working with them as he is a well-known Zanu PF sympathiser."

      He alleged he was then force-marched to the party's headquarters at
the growth point where the youths handcuffed him and took turns to beat him
up for nearly four hours.

      Jazi alleged that some police officers witnessed the assault but
ignored his pleas for help.
      The youths then robbed Jazi of $5 000 before bundling him into a rural
bus, and threated to kill him if he returned to Gokwe, he alleged.

      He reported the matter at Kwekwe Central Police Station after he
managed to escape.

      On 15 July 2002, Constable Sithole, the investigating officer gave
Jazi a request for a medical report form to facilitate his treatment at
Kwekwe General hospital.

      In his report, Sithole said: "The complainant was assaulted with a log
and an iron bar all over his body."
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      What a crazy way to run a country

      Chido Makunike
      8/1/02 8:10:57 AM (GMT +2)

      Robert Mugabe is finding out that it is one thing to allege that you
won an election and call yourself president, but quite another to rule

      Mugabe has been reduced to roaming parts of the world that still
entertain him, looking for validation for his presidency, and issuing
threats virtually every time he opens his mouth.

      In terms of half-hearted attempts to solve the many problems
bedevilling the country, he and his regime seem completely out of ideas.
Cornered as the regime is, it is sort of understandable that the only
response they have been able to master is childish aggressiveness. It is
like saying "we may be helpless and incompetent, but we still have the power
to threaten, beat, jail and persecute you, so there!"

      A big deal was made about Mugabe's trip to Cuba, with the "success" of
that junket said to be the sending of some medical doctors from there to
Zimbabwe. Many have pointed out that rather than making Mugabe look like a
dynamic problem solver, it only showed the deficiencies of a regime that has
to go and plead for skilled personnel because it has done such a splendid
job of alienating its own trained people, who have been leaving the country
in droves to escape his disastrous rule. It apparently had not occured to
Mugabe and his propagandists that this is the connection people would make
with his pleading for help from Cuba.

      Cuba has been diplomatically and economicallty isolated from much of
the world for 40 years now, but has still managed to do rather well for
itself in biotechnology and medicine. Zimbabwe, a once proseperous, well
connected country of well educated citizens that once enjoyed the world's
goodwill for most of its two decades of existence, should not be in a
position of pleading for technical skills from the likes of Cuba.

      Despite Castro being a despot, he has shown vision and dynamism for
his country that Mugabe and his regime embarassingly lack.

      Cuba, despite the lack of political freedom and its economic
depradations, has more to show for its brand of "revolution" than Zimbabwe
does, which continues to fall behind despite all the many things going for
it. It is a question of a lack of vision, concern, imagination and common
sense on the part of Mugabe's regime.

      When Mugabe and his ministers visit countries like Cuba and Malaysia,
they would do better to try to find inspiration on how to learn to fish for
posterity, than to merely make a nuisance of themselves by begging for fish
to eat for a month or a year.

      Never has there been a character like Mugabe's propagandist, Jonathan
Moyo, on Zimbabwe's political scene. Here is a man whom people acquainted
with him say is intellectually brilliant.

      Why then does he talk and act in the unschooled way he does? I do not
know many people who any longer expect him to say anything to help improve
Zimbabwe's image, but even evaluated as Mugabe's personal public relations
operative, it is truly shocking how incompentent the man has turned out to

      Let us ignore for a minute the many Zimbabweans who have no use for
Mugabe that he alieanates every day with vitriol even worse than Mugabe's.
How do you explain the lengths to which Moyo goes to step on the toes of his
ministerial colleagues and his seniors in ZANU-PF? What has Moyo achieved
other than making himself arguably the most hated man in Zimbabwe?

      There is nothing even remotely clever about the way he has conducted
himself since becoming a minister.

      I had to laugh last week when Mugabe, trying to pass himself off as
the caring, concerned president for a change, attended a memorial service
for the students of the Masvingo college who died in a horrific road
accident recently. He promised that every major highway in the country would
be widened as part of efforts to make the roads safer. Yet his government
has neither the money nor the concern to pay medical doctors a living wage
commensurate with their training and responsibilities. If there is no money
for food imports, where will money to widen roads come from?

      Even if road money could be begged from Libya or Malaysia, what would
it say about Mugabe, his priorities and sense of planning to plead for money
to widen roads when he is too "presidential" to roam the world raising money
for urgent, life or death crises like hunger and AIDS? I no longer have any
respect for Mugabe the man, but I would be relieved to see him get things
right once in a while.

      Another comic non-event was the meeting between agriculture minister
Joseph Made and some bankers.

      Made excitedly announced afterwards that the banks were now fully on
board the land reform wagon. So much so that they would now do the
unprecedented and lend billions of dollars to new farmers, accepting their
leases as collateral! "That's a brilliant concession for Made to have wrung
from the banks", I thought to myself, "I wonder how he pulled off such an
unheard of stunt?"

      It turns out that the banks had agreed to no such thing. A lease to an
inexperienced, first-time farmer that can easily be overturned on the whims
of some minor ZANU-PF operative is hardly likely to make any bank worth its
salt rush to advance millions of dollars. Yet all this seems to have
by-passed Made. I was extremely dissapointed at this because my impression
had been that he was a crack technocrat hired into the Mugabe regime to
impart some brilliance, worldileness and realistic innovation, not pie in
the sky daydreaming.

      "Rule of law" is one of the most bastardised expressions in Zimbabwe
in recent years. I do not know why Mugabe and ministers like Chinamasa and
Moyo bother with trying to convince us that it is important to them, when
they also openly declare that they will only respect the concept when it is
favourable and convenient to them. In this regard characters like Castro and
Gaddaffi are more honourable because they make no pretence of being law
respecting democrats.

      They are quite comfortable with being the absolute dictators that they
are, while others imagine that despite their actions they can still lay
claim to a veneer of democratic legitimacy.

      The first lady, who this year has loyally accompanied Mugabe to
fashionable Rome, Durban and New York, could not make it to Havana,
Socialist Republic of Cuba. I wondered why, but the mystery was solved when
it was announced that duty called her to be away from her husbands side, in
Switzerland, allegedly to attend an AIDS conference. I caught myself
wondering why somebody more professionally suited was not sent to
deliberation on a problem that is every bit as serious to Zimbabweans as
Mugabe's misrule, but I decided to lighten up. Nothing might have been
achived by the first lady in Switzerland, but hopefully with the change from
her foreign currency allocation she brought us a few bars of those delicious
luxury chocolates the Swiss are so famous for.

      Such is a tragic comedy - its all hard to beat, but what a hell of a
way to run a country.

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FinGaz - Letter

      Wake up and stop the rot before it's too late

      8/1/02 8:47:25 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR - The deadline for farmers with Section 8 notices draws closer
and yet the people of this country continue to act like a herd of ostriches
with their heads in the sand.

      The impending disaster is monumental as the maize shortage and
imminent wheat shortage shows. The maize grown by the war vets/settlers last
year was such that any farmer worth his salt would have hung his head in
shame to admit to such a poor crop.

      The people of the country are already short of wheat and we can see
this being far worse next year, as even more farmers are prevented from
farming. If you are to listen to our ministers of agriculture and
information, you would believe that everything is rosy and you will all be
fed next year.

      We have a war vet growing wheat on this farm who has been advised by
the Agritex officer in the area that he is wasting money and that it would
be better off to abandon the crop - the government will no longer supply him
with diesel to run the motor used to irrigate the crop.

      We would have had at least 50 ha of wheat that would have produced a
reasonable yield. I am told that many of the settlers have planted wheat
very late and that will probably only produce stockfeed as they will be
unable to harvest it before the rains come.

      Have the "powers-that-be" taken into account the large number of farm
workers that are going to be laid off and will then descend on their
relatives and friends and form squatter camps? The number of people
displaced off this farm is nearly three times the people settled here. I
doubt if the production equals one percent under the new settlers.

      It is all very well saying that the farmers have to pay the workers
large severance packages - many of the farmers will still have crops in the
ground or tobacco waiting to be graded and are totally unable to pay out. I
would also point out that the farmers are not being paid for the
improvements on their farms and have their own future to look after as well.

      We all believed Robert Mugabe when he said in 1980 that he wanted us
to stay and farm. Many of us have poured everything back into the farm in
capital development trusting that Mugabe meant what he said. Now we have no
other homes and no money.

      There is another aspect of the maize grown in this country in the
past. Many of our workers came from the adjacent communal lands and
purchased their fertiliser and seed through us. They could then afford to
fertilise their crops well by working off the cost of their inputs and the
resultant crop would be adequate to feed their large families and sell some
as well.

      The school fees and uniforms would also be covered by a father's
salary. We also purchased their crops from them and paid cash on delivery -
not three months later as the Grain Marketing Board does.

      People from the communal lands are already complaining that they want
their jobs on the farm back as they prefer the secure income to a promise of
land and government inputs. They have heard all these promises from the
government before and no longer believe them.

      The civil servants who blindly carry on following instructions to
settle people on our farms and ignore court orders to remove illegal
squatters will surely rue the day when they too have no food. The day will
also come when they have no pay as a large percentage of the government's
income will also disappear when the farmers close down and the many
businesses that are agriculture-related follow suit.

      The Minister of Finance has an interesting task when he next produces
the national budget. I wonder where he will find his income - the
expenditure seems to increase in leaps and bounds as more and more is being
promised to these "new farmers".

      Wake up people of Zimbabwe. Stop the rot before it is too late.

      Disgusted Farmer,

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      Farmers, government in showdown over title deeds

      Staff Reporter
      8/1/02 9:18:02 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S white commercial farmers have resolved not to cede the
title deeds of their farms until they are compensated by the government,
thus throwing down the gauntlet to the state ahead of an August 10 deadline
to vacate their farms.

      At a meeting between the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) and Vice
President Joseph Msika last Thursday, the farmers said their title deeds
were lodged with banks as collateral while others wanted the issue of
compensation to be clarified.

      The government has refused wholesale compensation for the farms it is
seizing from the farmers, saying it will only pay for improvements made on
the properties and not for the land itself which it says was stolen from
blacks by British colonists.

      Only 106 farmers out of nearly 3 000 whose properties are being seized
have been partially compensated since the government started taking the
farms in 2000.

      CFU president Colin Cloete this week confirmed that Msika had raised
the issue of title deeds during their meeting last week, which the vice
president facilitated to try to thaw frosty relations between the two sides.

      "The farmers want to know how much the government will pay before they
give away their title deeds," Cloete told the Financial Gazette.

      "On the other hand, most farmers have their title deeds lodged with
banks and they cannot supply them to the government until they repay their

      "The farmers were using letters and signed affidavits to confirm that
they were giving their farms on an uncontested basis but the government is
saying this is not enough - it wants the title deeds."

      Cloete said during the meeting, Msika accused farmers, descendents of
the 1890s British colonists who settled in then Rhodesia, of being insincere
in their dealings with the government because they were not providing the
state with title deeds.

      About 2 900 farmers face eviction when the 90 days they were given by
the government to vacate their farms expire on Saturday next week but the
farmers say they will hold on to their title deeds until the compensation
issue is resolved.

      The farmers are estimated to owe banks more than $80 billion in loans
and outstanding overdrafts. The government has not made a pledge to pay the
debts if the farmers lose their land.

      Up to 80 percent of the farmers borrow from commercial banks to fund
their farming while a few use their own cash.

      The banks have refused to bankroll the operations of newly resettled
black farmers because they do not have collateral. The government says it
will not give the new farmers title deeds but 99-year lease agreements.

      Sources at the Msika-CFU talks said Msika accused the farmers of even
failing to provide the government with title deeds of 500 farms offered by
the farmers on an uncontested basis last year.

      The properties were offered under the so-called Zimbabwe Joint
Resettlement Initiative, which the government at the time lauded as the
right way to finding a lasting solution to the vexed land question.

      The meeting with Msika came after President Robert Mugabe rebuffed a
request for a meeting by the farmers two weeks ago.

      The farmers are expected to meet Msika again after the government's
Land Committee comes up with a report on its audit of the land reforms now

      The committee, headed by Agriculture Minister Joseph Made and Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, was this week in Matabeleland winding
up the audit.

      Cloete said the issue of the August 10 deadline for farmers to quit
their land did not come up during the meeting with Msika but would be
discussed at their next talks.

      He said the next meeting will help give direction on whether the
farmers will be able to plant in the coming season, if they are still on the
land, and more importantly if Zimbabwe-based banks will still support the

      "Banks are now increasingly nervous, especially the international
banks," Cloete said without elaborating.

      "They do not want to make a decision on lending next year but if
government makes a positive statement they will lend us the money."
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      More doctors join strike

      Staff Reporter
      8/1/02 9:36:17 AM (GMT +2)

      DOCTORS at district hospitals in Zimbabwe yesterday joined a six-day
strike by their colleagues in most urban areas to press for improved pay and
better working conditions, an official of the strikers said.

      Howard Mutsando, president of the Hospital Doctors' Association, said
the doctors would only go back to work once their on-call allowances and
basic salaries had been improved.

      They would also require a written agreement from the government that a
viable grading system would be instituted immediately.

      "The mood right now is that the doctors will remain on strike until
such a time as when their grievances have been addressed. In the past,
promises made to us have not been kept, even though we had in good faith
agreed to go back to work," he told the Financial Gazette.

      "We had asked district hospital doctors (at the start of the strike)
to continue working but now they are all pulling out," he said without

      Mutsando said the strikers wanted basic remuneration of $220 000 a
month, inclusive of the monthly salary and the on-call allowance. The
doctors currently earn a gross salary of $50 000 a month.

      "There are standing regulations that no matter how much overtime you
do, the call allowance should not be more than your gross salary, and yet
because of the shortage of medical doctors we work more hours," he said.

      He said his association on Tuesday met Deputy Health Minister David
Parirenyatwa, who promised that the doctors would be paid their call
allowances by tomorrow.

      But a source close to the meeting said Parirenyatwa, his permanent
secretary Elizabeth Xaba and other officials walked out of the talks when
the doctors refused to return to work before their grievances had been fully
met, a charge Parirenyatwa denied.

      Major state hospitals in Harare had very few patients yesterday and
these said they had been at the hospitals since morning and were still to be
attended to.

      A couple which had brought an elderly relative into Harare Central
Hospital said it had decided to leave and seek medical attention from a
private doctor because no one at the government hospital could attend to the

      In Bulawayo, several patients at the two major state hospitals
complained that they were being attended to by nurses even for cases where
that needed specialist care.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday
condemned what it said was the government's lack of interest in the welfare
of the doctors, who have long complained of their poor pay and have been on
strike several times in the past few years.

      "The doctors' strike is symptomatic of the decay that is eating away
at the heart of Zimbabwe's public services as a direct result of lack of
funding and the sheer incompetence of the ruling elite," the MDC noted.

      "Mugabe's response to the strike and the decline of the health service
he once helped to build is to revert once more into a state of denial and
blame others for the problems that are clearly of his own making," the party
said in a statement.

      It said although the government had blamed Britain for allegedly
stealing Zimbabwean doctors, the truth was that the doctors were leaving on
their own because of despicable working conditions and miserable
remuneration at a time of runaway inflation.
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      Landmark court ruling on official exchange rate

      By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
      8/1/02 9:15:48 AM (GMT +2)

      IN a landmark ruling which highlighted the confusion caused by
Zimbabwe's multiple exchange rates, the High Court has ruled that the
official exchange rate must apply in disputes involving foreign
currency-denominated debt where parties agree that repayments are to be made
in local currency.

      High Court judge Justice George Smith said the official exchange rate
of 55 Zimbabwe dollars to the US greenback should apply in a case in which
British Virgin Islands-registered Echodelta Limited was disputing an offer
by Zimbabwean firm Kerr and Downey to pay off more than US$90 000 owed to
the overseas group at the official rate.

      The arrangement between the two parties was that Kerr and Downey would
pay off the debt, which stretched back to May 1997, in Zimbabwe dollars.

      The dispute arose in October 1998 when Echodelta contested the offer
by the debtor.

      In court documents with this newspaper, Echodelta argued that it would
incur exchange losses amounting to more than US$70 000 if the official
exchange rate was applied.

      Converted at the official exchange rate, the debt of US$90 385
translated to about $5 million.

      Echodelta argued that, due to shortages of foreign currency on the
official market, it would be forced to buy foreign currency on the parallel
market and that it would therefore fail to raise the US$90 385 from the $5
million the debtor was proposing.

      The company's lawyers argued that only US$18 300 would be raised from
the $5 million offered.

      Dealers on the parallel market are trading foreign currency at about
700 Zimbabwe dollars to the US unit.

      Kerr and Downey was engaged by Echodelta to act as agents for the
foreign firm on a project involving a tourist resort on the island of
Margaruque, off the Mozambican coast.

      The firm was responsible for marketing, booking, operations,
logistics, staffing, accounting and other issues related to the daily
management of the resort.

      Justice Smith, in a recent ruling seen by this newspaper this week,
said the debt must be repaid in accordance with the Exchange Control
(Exchange Rate Management) Order of October 2000, which makes it illegal to
quote rates above what is offered on the official market.

      The judge however conceded that the 21-month-old artificial exchange
rate was causing confusion because it was divorced from the reality on the

      "It is not disputed that the official rates of exchange for foreign
currencies are far removed from reality," Smith noted.

      The judgment, which is expected to set precedence for other local
firms with foreign currency-denominated debt that they are supposed to pay
back in Zimbabwe dollars, came against the backdrop of the proliferation of
multiple exchange rates caused by the selective devaluation of the Zimbabwe
dollar by the government.

      Firms with similar arrangement include the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), which last year entered into an arrangement with the
Libyan Arab Foreign Bank (LAFB) under which the LAFB financed NOCZIM's
imports of fuel from Libya.

      NOCZIM imports about 80 percent of Zimbabwe's monthly fuel
requirements from Tripoli under a barter deal brokered by President Robert
Mugabe and Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi.

      Under the deal, the LAFB is supposed to get part of what it is owed by
NOCZIM in Zimbabwe dollars while the remainder is repaid in the form of
shareholdings in state-owned companies.

      The ruling by Smith therefore means that in the event that NOCZIM
defaults on its commitments to the Libyans and the total debt becomes due
and payable, the Zimbabwean firm would only be obliged to pay the local
dollar equivalent of the foreign currency-denominated debt calculated at the
official exchange rate.

      At present, Zimbabwe has about five exchange rates for different
sectors of the economy as the government continues to dither on calls to
devalue the local currency.

      There are separate rates for gold miners, tobacco merchants and
growers, tourism operators as well as the "official" and parallel markets.

      Gold miners, citing rising production costs exacerbated by the
scarcity of hard cash, have successfully lobbied the government for a
subsidy which, when converted, amounts to an exchange rate for bullion
equivalent to more than twice the official rate.

      Growers of Zimbabwe's golden leaf tobacco have also arm-twisted
authorities to reluctantly revise the exchange rate for export tobacco at
$158.50 for one US dollar, about three times the official $55 to the
American greenback.

      Analysts this week warned that the multiple exchange rates would cause
administrative nightmares for the central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which
last month instituted a probe into the role of financial institutions in the
parallel market.

      "The multiplicity of exchange rates is going to cause serious
nightmares for the Reserve Bank in terms of its supervision and surveillance
of the foreign exchange market," an economist at a Harare commercial bank

      Independent economist John Robertson said: "There is already confusion
about which rate should be used whenever one carries out business and in
each case the figure you get depends on which rate you have used."

      The increase in the number of exchange rates is therefore expected to
make it difficult for local firms to plan, worsening Zimbabwe's economic
crisis at a time the country desperately needs to boost exports and improve
hard cash earnings.

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      Proposed exchange controls kill goose that lays golden egg

      By Joseph Ngwawi
      8/1/02 9:25:50 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S manufacturing base, already shaken to the core by more than
two years of skewed economic policies, is expected to shrink further while
inflation is seen hitting 200 percent by year-end as the government ponders
tougher action against illegal foreign currency dealers and the extension of
price controls, analysts said this week.

      A study just released by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
shows that about 100 firms closed shop in 2001 but analysts say the
haemmorhaging of local industry could worsen this year if the government
presses ahead to clamp down on a parallel forex market that has been the
lifeline for most companies in the past two years.

      According to a report by the Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU), the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is considering a return to strict exchange
controls last used in the 1980s as well as the introduction of other
measures aimed at destroying the parallel market for hard cash.

      Quoting from two policy papers presented by the central bank to the
government, the EIU notes that other proposals under consideration by the
RBZ include the indefinite suspension of bureaux de change and the
centralisation of all hard cash transactions within the bank.

      Analysts warned this week that, if implemented, the proposed measures
could hasten the shrinking of Zimbabwe's manufacturing base, worsen the
shortage of foreign currency and further fuel the country's inflation, which
is presently pegged at 114.5 percent and is already one of the highest in
the world.

      Independent economist John Robertson said the proposed measures, which
were quickly crafted after the Cabinet had thrown out another set of
proposals early last month, were likely to compound Zimbabwe's hard cash
crisis at a time the government is battling to contain leakages from the
official system.

      "One of the effects of the new measures will be greater shortages of
foreign currency, which will also have an effect on companies that do not
have access to foreign currency," Robertson told the Financial
Gazette.Zimbabwe has faced a severe hard cash crisis since November 1999,
with monthly inflows averaging US$25 million out of total requirements of
about US$250 million.

      The crisis, worsened by the decision by the government to fix the
exchange rate at 55 Zimbabwe dollars to one US unit since October 2000, has
spawned a thriving parallel market where dealers quote rates as high as 700
local dollars to the American greenback.

      The EIU warned that any attempts to destroy the parallel market
without concrete measures to contain inflation would push most exporters out
of business.

      "This will be accompanied by increased shortages and a growing black
market," the EIU said.

      "Indeed, government officials privately predict that consumer price
inflation will reach 200 percent by the end of the year," the EIU said.

      The analysts said extreme nature of the proposed measures reflected
growing desperation by the government over the direction of economic policy.

      "There is no doubt that we are drifting towards exchange controls but
all these measures are a sign of desperation within government to arrest the
parallel market," said Nyasha Chasakara, an analyst at First Mutual Asset

      "But to impose exchange controls might be a problem because of the
current level of speculation caused by inflationary expectations," he noted.

      Other measures proposed by the RBZ include a reduction of lending
rates for exporters and the productive sector as well as maintaining the cap
on treasury bills at around 26 percent.

      The RBZ plans to cut lending rates on its $15 billion concessional
revolving fund from 15 to five percent for exporters and from 30 to 15
percent for other productive sectors.

      There are also plans to cut the bank rate from 57 to 27 percent,
according to the EIU report.

      Robertson said the cut in lending rates would fail to entice the
private sector to invest in new projects because of fears of future sharp
increases in interest rates.

      "The greatest concern of the private sector when it comes to
investment is that they fear they may be caught up by future increases in
rates after committing themselves long term," he said.
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Daily News


      Is MDC's urban fortress showing signs of cracking?

      8/1/02 8:23:06 AM (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka, recently in Kadoma

      IT's definitely a no-win situation when you deal with Zanu PF.

      The sight of a frightened Editor Matamisa, the MDC candidate for
Kadoma, fleeing the counting centre through a back exit, left an indelible
mark in my mind.

      She had lost the election but jubilant Zanu PF supporters still wanted
to celebrate by beating her up. It is likely she would have met the same
fate if she had won the election.

      It took a vigilant policeman to restrain a Zanu PF supporter who was
baying for her blood, threatening to beat her up with a baton.

      But following her narrow defeat to the Zanu PF candidate, Fani Phiri,
a question has arisen whether the ruling party has finally broken the jinx
in urban areas, where they have always played second fiddle to their
political rivals.

      This was indeed a highly charged political contest in the small mining
town. This culminated in an equally charged atmosphere both inside and
outside John Simpson Hall at Jameson High School where the counting took
place on Monday afternoon.

      On that sunny afternoon, Zanu PF, in a rare victory in an urban
environment, finally broke the jinx and won a mayoral seat.

      Since the MDC was formed in September 1999, Zanu PF had never won
elections in urban areas, the bed-rock of the opposition.

      Zanu PF lost the mayoral elections in Harare, Chitungwiza, Masvingo,
Chegutu and Bulawayo. They were not expected to win in Kadoma, where they
lost to the opposition party in both the parliamentary and presidential
elections in 2000 and 2002 respectively.

      Sensing a second defeat in President Mugabe's home province of
Mashonaland West since they lost Chegutu to the opposition last year, Zanu
PF ventured into the Kadoma fray in grand style.

      Two weeks before the election, the whole town had turned green
following an unprecedented influx of the notorious "green bombers".

      They were to play a crucial part in hi-jacking the venue for a legally
sanctioned MDC rally, which was supposed to be addressed by the party's
president Morgan Tsvangirai, a week before the polls.

      In the run-up to the polls, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters established
several bases at Mabanana creche, Kadoma Vocational Training Centre and
Specks Hotel. The party's senior officials booked themselves at Westview
Lodge and Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre.

      Two weeks before the polls, the "green bombers" were a common sight,
especially at the Zanu PF offices in Rimuka, which operated as the party's
command centre.

      On the first day of the two-day poll, a group of Zanu PF youths,
flanked by two police vehicles, attacked Matamisa's home. Ironically, the
police arrested the victims, 12 of whom were still in custody by the close
of voting on Sunday.

      Two days before the election, Matamisa's election agent and Kadoma
Central MP, Austin Mupandawana, three polling agents and eight others were
arrested following a clash with Zanu PF supporters in Eiffel Flats.

      At the Women's Club Centre in Eiffel Flats on Saturday, Zanu PF trucks
were distributing food to a group of women before they proceeded to vote at
Cam and Motor primary school.

      The drama finally reached fever pitch at Jameson High School, where
Zanu PF - fairly or unfairly - broke the MDC dominance in an urban election.

      Outside the hall, Zanu PF supporters in a green pick-up truck attacked
their MDC counterparts outside the gate and the police dispersed the
opposition supporters "for their own safety".

      Some of them were injured in the process and had to be ferried to

      The Zanu PF supporters had already erupted into song and dance,
celebrating their victory exactly an hour before the results were announced.

      Inside the hall, a tense atmosphere enveloped the occasion.

      Clad in loose-fitting blue jeans, Phiri paced up and down the hall and
occasionally engaged in hushed discussions with his polling agents and made
rough calculations on a piece of paper as the moment of truth beckoned.

      His counterpart, Matamisa, sat unmoved at the corner of the counting
table, even after Phiri was eventually announced winner, sparking wild
celebrations in the Zanu PF camp.

      Former minister Enos Chikowore took leave out of the political
wilderness and joined Phillip Chiyangwa, the Zanu PF chairman for
Mashonaland West and Kadoma East MP, Paul Mangwana in congratulating Phiri.

      The jinx had finally been broken.

      As the MDC goes back to the drawing board, the question remains
whether their loss in Kadoma is a harbinger of worse things to come.

      For Zanu PF, they are likely to employ the tactics they used in Kadoma
to win in future mayoral elections.

      Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, said Zanu PF had stolen the
      "The full Zanu PF machinery was involved in constructing a warped
victory against a genuine expression by the people of Kadoma," he said.

      Ncube said his party had detected serious irregularities. He said
Matamisa's election agent, Kizito Mhike, was denied access into Rimuka high
polling station.

      He said the MDC would decide what action to take regarding his party's
participation "in these fraudulent exercises".

      Yet, others maintain that Zanu PF has indeed turned a new chapter by
destroying the barriers to what had turned out to be the MDC's impregnable
fortress - the
      urban areas.

      For a 52-year-old former head teacher called Editor Matamisa, who did
not even have sight of the voters' roll before the polls, it turned out to
be a tough adventure in a dangerous, male-dominated game called politics.
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Daily News

      MDC members arrested for alleged burning of tractors

      8/1/02 7:56:50 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

      FOUR MDC members, including Prosper Mutseyami, the vice-chairman for
Manicaland, have been arrested on allegations that they burnt three tractors
parked at a government complex in Chipinge North on Sunday.

      The others are Zakaria Makoni, Shane Kidd and Daniel Ngorima. Makoni
is a traditional healer.

      Police in Chipinge confirmed the destruction of the tractors and the
arrest of the four.

      A policeman, who refused to identify himself, said: "Three government
tractors were burnt and we have arrested some suspects."

      He would not comment any further and referred all questions to Edmund
Maingire, the police provincial spokesperson.

      Maingire could not be reached for comment. An officer said he had gone
to Grand Reef Infantry Battalion, about 30km south of Mutare. Pishai
Muchauraya, the MDC spokesperson in Manicaland, said: "Why is it that
whenever a crime is committed, only MDC members are arrested? I smell a rat.
"The police should be impartial. Mutseyami has become their scapegoat.

      "He was arrested on yet another charge and immediately after his
release they re-arrested him. These intimidatory tactics by the police will
not work because as a party we are determined to soldier on."

      Meanwhile, two MDC activists in Buhera South, including the party's
treasurer in that constituency, were last week allegedly kidnapped by Zanu
PF youths. Muchauraya said their whereabouts were still unknown.

      Musande Matsveta, 30, the treasurer, was reportedly abducted as he
attended a funeral in Masasa. Kudzai Magama of Chibidza Ward in Buhera South
was abducted from his home on the same day.
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Daily News

      Makoni refutes rumours of his resignation from Cabinet

      8/1/02 7:55:55 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      SIMBA Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development,
yesterday dismissed persistent rumours that he had resigned after a
disagreement with President Mugabe.

      Makoni, speaking through his secretary, said it was untrue that he had
decided to jump ship to join Nkosana Moyo, the former Minister of Industry
and International Trade, who resigned over what he said was frustration and
non-co-operation from Cabinet colleagues.

      Moyo, now based in the United States, left the country and reportedly
faxed his resignation to Mugabe from South Africa.

      "The minister says he has not resigned at all," Makoni's secretary
said. "Actually you are not the first person to call asking the same
question. He says it's not true."

      Makoni has always been viewed as "the odd man out" in Mugabe's Cabinet
and is probably one of the few ministers acceptable to the international
community and most Zimbabweans.

      The plot against the former Southern African Development Co-ordinating
Community executive secretary thickened following a veiled attack on him and
the governor of the Reserve Bank, Leonard Tsumba, by Mugabe.

      The two have repeatedly called, so far in vain, for the devaluation of
the Zimbabwe dollar against the major currencies.

      The Cabinet action committee on financial and economic affairs has
rejected their proposals, saying they would trigger a rise in inflation.

      Makoni has also been at variance with his colleagues over the
implementation of fiscal and monetary policies to prop up the tottering

      Mugabe said at the official opening of Parliament last week, in
apparent reference to Makoni and Tsumba: "Devaluation is sinister and can
only be advocated by our saboteurs and enemies of this government. . .
Devaluation is thus dead."

      Sources close to Makoni insisted he resigned after Mugabe's speech but
only after taking the issue up with the President. They said Makoni had
discussed the matter with Mugabe at a reception the President recently
hosted for MPs at State House.

      The sources allege Mugabe then summoned Makoni to his ffice the
following day and dressed him down over the devaluation proposal, saying a
"runaway" exchange rate was not the answer to the country's economic woes.

      Economists and individuals have urged Makoni to resign as his Cabinet
colleagues seem to constantly spurn his advice.

      There are now believed to be pro- and anti-Makoni factions in Zanu PF,
with the latter campaigning for Makoni and Tsumba's dismissal.

      Makoni admitted he has had differences with his colleagues, especially
over policies pertaining to the exchange rate.

      "I do not give up after only one attempt. I will go back again and
again until I am able to convince my colleagues that this is the right way
to go, or alternatively until my colleagues can offer me a better
alternative," he has been quoted as saying

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      ZFTU accused of extorting $3bn from farm workers' exit packages

      8/1/02 7:54:14 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote Farming Editor

      THE Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) has allegedly extorted
more than $3 billion meant for farm workers' retrenchment packages.

      According to the Justice for Agriculture (JAG), an association
representing commercial farmers, during the past three weeks more than 100
farmers, issued with eviction notices were barricaded in their homes, under
pressure to pay staff retrenchment packages.

      The packages are alleged to run into an average of more than $30
million for each farm.

      Commercial farmers and farm workers affected are mainly from the
Mvurwi area of Mashonaland Central.

      JAG was formed following divisions within the Commercial Farmers'
Union (CFU).

      The ZFTU, a pro-Zanu PF workers' union, is alleged to be forcing
commercial farmers issued with Section 8 orders to pay farm workers their
retrenchment packages.

      The union is allegedly taking between 30 and 40 percent from the
workers' total packages.

      About 3 000 commercial farmers are expected to vacate their farms in
nine days' time (10 August), as the government takes over their land under
its controversial land reform programme's second phase, expected to be
completed this month.

      According to labour regulations, commercial farmers are supposed to
pay retrenchment packages as soon as they are compensated by the government
for making improvements to the farms they formerly owned.

      The CFU alleged last month that only about 100 commercial farmers
issued with eviction notices had been compensated.

      Most commercial farmers who have paid laid-off farm workers so far are
using their own resources.

      Jenni Williams, a spokes-person for the JAG, said Chigamire Farm in
Mashonaland East was one such property where the owner was under pressure to
retrench workers. The owner has not been issued with eviction notices.

      Williams said: "ZFTU have taken it upon themselves to visit farms to
incite and
      intimidate a traumatised workforce into breaking their contracts of

      The General Agricultural Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe
(GAPWUZ), the union which represents commercial farm workers, confirmed
yesterday the ZFTU were extorting money from commercial farmers.

      Clemence Sungai, GAPWUZ secretary general said: "The ZFTU are taking
      30 and 40 percent from the packages paid to farm workers. That is

      Sungai sad no union was entitled to workers' retrenchment packages and
this included the GAPWUZ.

      Sungai alleged the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare was aware of the ZFTU extortion issue and that investigations had
been instituted.

      There was no immediate confirmation of this from the ministry last

      Sungai could not indicate the total number of farm workers affected.

      Contacted for comment, ZFTU president, Alfred Makwarimba, referred the
matter to another ZFTU member whom he only identified as Mudanwa.

      Mudanwa was contacted on at least four occasions this week, but he
claimed he was driving each time and could not discuss the matter.

      Farmers yesterday said most of the farms affected by Section 8
acquisition orders still had produce in their sheds awaiting delivery to

      An estimated US$ 330 million (Z$18,1 billion) worth of tobacco still
being graded.
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Daily News

      Parliament endorses pan African Parliament

      8/1/02 8:14:24 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

      PARLIAMENT met on Tuesday and approved the protocol establishing the
Pan African Parliament, the Legal Affairs accord in the Southern African
Development Community and the Appropriation Bill giving the government the
right to access funds given to it under last week's supplementary budget.

      After approving the three, Patrick Chinamasa, the Leader of the House,
adjourned Parliament to 10 September.

      The protocol establishing the Pan African Parliament falls under the
recently launched African Union. MDC MPs said it was not clear how the
parliament would function since most African leaders were "despots and
dictators" who did not even have parliaments in their own countries.

      MDC MPs like Job Sikhala (St Mary's), Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga
(Glen Norah) and David Coltart (Bulawayo South) said most African leaders
did not adhere to the principles of democracy and good governance that the
AU and Nepad were calling for.

      Coltart said Zimbabwe and Libya were some of the African countries
that were most undemocratic unlike South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.

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      Storm brewing over hiring of Mutare's medical officer

      8/1/02 7:58:58 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

      MORGEN Chawawa, Mutare's town clerk, on Tuesday refused to shed light
on the circumstances leading to the controversial hiring of Dr Christopher
Zishiri as the city's medical officer.

      Earlier this year, the council submitted three names to the local
government board, which appoints all senior officials in local authorities.

      The successful candidate was to succeed Diarmuid McLean, who resigned
from the eastern border town's council two years ago.

      On the list as first choice was Dr R Gwisai, followed by Zishiri and
Dr G L Mpala, respectively.

      Chawawa's task was to submit the names to the board and advise the
candidates on the dates of their interviews.

      Instead, the town clerk allegedly recommended Zishiri ahead of Gwisai
who was council's first choice.

      Contacted for comment, Chawawa said: "You go ahead and write what you
want to write. You are being paid by people who do not have progressive
ideas for the country.

      "You have been diminishing my image ever since you came to this town.
I do not want to be part of any of your reports. Your paper is out to get
me. I have given you the latitude and granted you permission to go ahead
with your reports but do not involve me."

      Yesterday, Lawrence Mudehwe, the Mutare executive mayor, said Ignatius
Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
had put Zishiri's appointment on hold pending investigations into the
controversy surrounding his appointment.

      Yesterday, Zishiri, the Midlands provincial medical director, said: "I
resigned from central government after Chawawa told me that my application
had been successful.

      "But up to now I have not received any correspondence regarding my
      "To my surprise, senior officials in the Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare told me that I had been imposed on the council.

      "I have always wanted to work in Mutare, but it seems I have been
caught up in the political cross-fire."

      Mudehwe confirmed Zishiri had not been appointed because of the
controversy surrounding his recommendation.

      The mayor said: "Only after the situation has been clarified to the
full council can we make a decision on whether or not to hire him."

      Zishiri has since expressed disapointment at the controversy
surrounding his recommendation.

      "I have been told a lot of unpalatable things about my recommendation.
Now I'll just wait and see what happens. However, Mutare was just one of my
options." he said.
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      Zim agriculture to shrink by 25%

      Staff Reporter
      8/1/02 8:41:53 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S mainstay agriculture sector, in turmoil in the past two
years, will this year shrink by 24.6 percent instead of only six percent
projected at the beginning of the year, Finance Minister Simba Makoni has
told Parliament.

      "The agricultural sector faces a decline of 24.6 percent," Makoni told
the House last week when seeking approval for a $52.97 billion supplementary
budget for food imports and farming inputs for farmers resettled under the
government's land reforms.

      But the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), whose white members
contribute 60 percent of total agricultural output, this week said the
sector would fall by much more than the 24.6 percent predicted by Makoni
because of an alarming 40 percent decline in commercial agriculture.

      CFU president Colin Cloete said "our sector will shrink by 40 percent
and although I don't have the overall figures, it is however more than that
(24.6 percent). The commercial sector will decline because of inability by
farmers to plant."

      For example, Cloete said, commercial wheat producers had slashed their
hectarage by nearly 50 percent from the 53 829 hectares planted each year in
the past five years to only 27 000 hectares put under wheat this year.

      The huge cutdown in wheat production has not been matched by a
corresponding rise in production by small-scale growers.

      Production of the country's staple food maize by commercial,
small-scale and communal farmers had this year fallen by 66 percent while
national output of most major crops like cotton and soya beans tumbled by
between 33 and 59 percent.

      Cloete said farmers had been unable to plant to capacity because of
disruptions of farming operations by government supporters and the seizure
of farms by the government under its fast-track land reforms.

      Makoni, who made no reference to the disruptions on agricultural
production by the government's reforms, blamed the drought that has ravaged
parts of southern Africa as the chief cause of the huge decline in

      Zimbabwe and regional farming experts acknowledge that the poor rains
last year are partly to blame, but say the huge decline in Zimbabwe's farm
output and the resultant food shortages are self-inflicted disasters.

      The experts warn that production could tumble further in the 2002/2003
farming season due to an El Nino-induced drought expected to hit southern
Africa this year.

      The Department of Meteorological Services in May this year said it was
monitoring developments in the Pacific where the warming of waters to above
normal temperatures usually triggers the El Nino.

      An El Nino warning is expected to be issued by regional weather
experts next month to enable countries to come up with contingency measures
to deal with the effects of a possible drought.

      Agriculture contributes 17 percent to Zimbabwe's annual gross domestic
product of $928 billion.

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Market Watch

      Makoni warns of worse forex crisis

      FINANCE Minister Simba Makoni projects that Zimbabwe's
balance-of-payments (BOP) deficit is set to worsen almost 10-fold this year
in what analysts say is another sign that the government is now realising
its policies have failed to arrest the free-fall in exports and contain a
two-year-old foreign currency crisis.

      Makoni, who last week requested parliamentary approval for a $52.9
billion supplementary budget and presented a half-year economic update to
Parliament, said the overall BOP deficit was expected to increase from
US$194 million in 2001 to US$1.1 billion this year.

      He conceded that Zimbabwe's BOP position remained under severe
pressure from poor export performance and reduced capital inflows.

      "The estimates show that the overall balance of payments recorded a
deficit of US$194 million in 2001, which is projected to worsen further in
2002, with a preliminary estimate of US$1.1 billion deficit," Makoni said.

      Acute shortages of hard cash have resulted in the accumulation of
external payment arrears, which stood at US$1.1 billion as at July 19.

      Zimbabwe also requires to import grain to feed about 7.8 million
people who are in need of food assistance until the next harvest in May

      According to Makoni, the government needs to raise more than US$310
million ($17.1 billion) between now and December 2002 for food imports.

      "The above review presents the context within which, half way through
2002, we should brace ourselves as leaders and citizens of a nation in deep
crisis to resolutely, decisively and definitely confront the challenges
facing us," the minister said.

      Analysts this week said Makoni's speech painted a grim picture of
Zimbabwe, particularly regarding the foreign currency crisis that has beset
the economy since November 1999.

      They said the deteriorating BOP position pointed to deepening hard
cash problems for the southern African country, already ostracised by major
Western donors and multilateral financial institutions.

      "This means they are not expecting an improvement in export
performance and that local companies and ordinary Zimbabweans should brace
for even worse foreign currency problems in coming months," economist
Witness Chinyama said.

      Official statistics show that Zimbabwe's exports have declined by more
than 30 percent in the past five years, from US$2.5 billion in 1996 to
US$1.7 billion last year.

      Reflecting the sluggish export performance, hard cash receipts from
the export of services, which accounts for about 16 percent of total foreign
currency earnings, declined from US$50.9 million five years ago to US$35.3
million last year.

      "The poor performance of exports is a cause of concern in the economy,
especially given the cold diplomatic relations with industrialised
countries," financial services group Century Holdings said in a commentary
on the economy.

      Zimbabwe, its ties with the international community strained by the
government's encouragement of its supporters to seize commercial farms, was
further dealt a major blow in June when it was barred by the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) from accessing the Fund's technical assistance.

      The IMF's decision followed the government's failure to make regular
payments to retire outstanding arrears, which stood at US$132 million on
June 12 but have since increased to more than US$137 million.

      Meanwhile, heightened speculation about a possible reduction in
interest rates and $4.8 billion worth of treasury bill (TB) maturities on
Monday and Wednesday last week drastically dragged short-term money market
rates to below 20 percent for negotiable certificates of deposit and a
discount rate of 21 percent for the indicative 90-day TBs.

      The discount on 90-day TBs was pegged at around 27 percent at the
beginning of last week.

      The pressure on the rates was worsened by resistance by the central
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to accept bids quoting rates above 21

      "The belief in the market is that rates will come down, most probably
before the end of this week and therefore no one is prepared to commit long
term before everything becomes clear," said one money market dealer.

      The RBZ has been widely expected to cut interest rates as part of a
strategy to cushion the government from the high cost of domestic borrowing.

      The government currently sits on a domestic debt of more than $310
billion and needs to raise about $5 billion during the current fiscal and
calendar year to meet the expenditure levels proposed under the revised
budget presented last week.

      Under the supplementary budget, Makoni proposed to raise $46.5 billion
of the additional $52.9 billion required until December 2002 through a
reallocation from non-priority areas.
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      Oppenheimer says SA mine plans worrying

      8/1/02 8:30:59 AM (GMT +2)

      JOHANNESBURG - De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said this week
South Africa's draft proposals to shake up the mining industry had set off
some alarm bells, but he did not expect mines to be expropriated as some

      Oppenheimer also said the world's biggest diamond group - which is 45
percent owned by Anglo American - had had a "good" first half and was
working to bring more black people on board at De Beers and in the wider

      De Beers reports its first-half sales on August 12. In 2001 the group,
which supplies two-thirds of the world's uncut gems, had sales of US$4.45

      Last month South Africa approved a hotly contested Minerals Bill that
aims to give blacks a larger role in the sector, which is one of the pillars
of the economy but is still dominated by whites eight years after the end of

      Before the Bill was passed, De Beers said it could put 8.5 billion
rand (US$840 million) in investment at risk because it threatened mining
firms' security of tenure.

      But the release last week of the draft Mining Charter - the meat on
the Bill's bones - for industry discussion has caused even more concern,
with its clear targets and deadlines.

      "I think this government knows full well that nationalisation of parts
of the industry is a disaster. I don't think we'll end up with that,"
Oppenheimer said.

      Asked at a foreign correspondents' briefing if he ruled out mine
expropriations, he said: "Absolutely."

      The draft of the mining charter says control of all new projects must
rest with new black business within 10 years.

      - Reuter
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      Teachers reject 20% pay rise

      Staff Reporter
      8/1/02 9:39:46 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S more than 90 000 teachers yesterday rejected a 20 percent
pay rise given to civil servants last week and threatened to go on strike to
force the government to hike their salaries to match the country's current
annualised inflation rate of 114.5 percent.

      "The 20 percent increment is too little to match our country's
inflation rate which is above 100 percent," Progressive Teachers' Union of
Zimbabwe secretary Raymond Majongwe told the Financial Gazette.

      "Next term we are going to take action over the November exams and
this will have an impact on the government which is supposed to pay what is
due to us," he warned.

      The larger Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA), which last week
said it planned to stage demonstrations to pressure the government to award
teachers a 60 salary hike, this week said it was consulting members on the
next course of action.

      ZIMTA president Leonard Nkala said: "Teachers are not happy about the
20 percent increment and as of now we are making consultations on what to do

      Givemore Masongorera, who heads the Public Service Association which
represents all government workers, said the entire civil service was unhappy
about the government's latest pay rise but added that his association was
concentrating on negotiating for a higher salary increase for next year.

      Finance Minister Simba Makoni announced the 20 percent pay rise for
all the government's 160 000-plus workers in Parliament last week
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