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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mail and Guardian

US calls for Mugabe's isolation


      29 August 2003 07:46

The United States on Thursday angrily denounced this week's calls for the
lifting of US and European Union sanctions against Zimbabwe by the leaders
of Southern African nations and urged them to "openly distance" themselves
from President Robert Mugabe's government.

The State Department said the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
was misguided in making the appeal and suggested its leaders did not
understand the dire situation in Zimbabwe.

"The statements on Zimbabwean sanctions ... are disappointing and do not
accurately reflect conditions on the ground," said Jo-Anne Prokopowicz, a
department spokesperson.

She said Mugabe and his policies and not the sanctions were responsible for
the poor economic and social conditions in which the people of Zimbabwe are
now living and accused the government of manipulating the crisis to
consolidate power.

"The humanitarian and economic crises in Zimbabwe are a direct result of
failed Zimbabwean government policies," Prokopowicz said, citing the
imposition of price controls, artificial exchange rates and the
controversial land-reform program as examples.

She added that foreign and local investment in Zimbabwe had been paralysed
by the Mugabe government's "decision to abandon the basic tenets of rule of
law and democracy".

"There is clear evidence that the government is trying to consolidate its
own political position with no regard for democratic institutions or the
effect on the citizens of Zimbabwe," Prokopowicz said.

On Monday, Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, the chairperson of the SADC,
declared that US and EU sanctions against Zimbabwe were unwarranted and
ineffectual and called for them to be lifted.

The State Department ridiculed his allegation, noting that the sanctions
affected only Mugabe and his inner circle and said that if Southern African
nations truly cared about the Zimbabwean people, they would work to isolate
the government in Harare.

"SADC member states concerned about conditions in Zimbabwe should openly
distance themselves from the failed economic and political policies of the
Mugabe regime and press for full restoration of democracy and the rule of
law," Prokopowicz said.

The US and EU sanctions were imposed last year over the effects of the
Mugabe government's often violent land-redistribution program launched three
years ago and his re-election in 2002 polls that were widely condemned as

The SADC includes Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South
Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. -- Sapa-AFP

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zanu PF accused of vote-buying
Loughty Dube
ZANU PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are this
weekend poised for a bruising battle for control of urban and rural councils
amidst allegations that the ruling party's councillors in Bulawayo have
reduced the price of maize in a vote-buying bid.

Both parties have vowed they will secure a majority of the seats in
elections that begin tomorrow countrywide.

The cities of Mutare, Gweru and Kwekwe are holding mayoral and council
elections while other towns and centres will only elect councillors.

MDC director of elections Remus Makuwaza said his party would win most of
the seats if Zanu PF does not intimidate voters.

"The MDC can win anywhere in the country," said Makuwaza. "As long as the
elections are peaceful we are going to win not only in urban areas but even
in the rural areas that people say are Zanu PF strongholds," Makuwaza said.

Meanwhile in Makonde where Zanu and MDC are fielding candidates in a
parliamentary by-election, members of the notorious Zanu PF Top Six gang
earlier this week attacked the MDC election agent, Joseph Mutsvangwa.

They are said to have stolen $34 000 and a bag containing important
election-related material.

"A report was made to the police, and the culprits were arrested with the
assistance of members of the Police Support Unit, but they were later
released," the MDC said in a statement.

The MDC is fielding Japhet Karemba while Kindness Paradza will represent
Zanu PF.

In Gweru the MDC has accused Zanu PF of ferrying voters from rural
constituencies into the city to vote. Provincial campaign manager Jacob
Mlambo said yesterday that DDF trucks were being used to ferry rural voters
into Gweru urban.

"More than 1 000 voters have already been ferried into Gweru urban for the
purpose of rigging," said Mlambo. "The people are staying at Mpumelelo
Primary School as well as Gweru Technical College, whilst others are at
houses belonging to Zanu PF officials. These people are on a supplementary
roll which the MDC doesn't have access to."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zim should explain food policy - donors
Staff Writer
THE donor community is demanding clarification from Zimbabwe of the
government's new policy on food distribution, without which the country
risks losing much-needed supplies.

Diplomatic sources that attended a donor meeting this week in South Africa
said Zimbabwe should explain its new policy as soon as possible.

"Donors have asked for clarification as quickly as possible, otherwise there
is a strong possibility that capitals may withhold funding," a diplomat

"This could have dire consequences for the people of Zimbabwe as it takes
several months to get food aid into the country from the time a donor makes
a pledge."

Two weeks ago government ordered relief agencies to surrender food aid to
village headmen for distribution to needy communities, directly violating
earlier promises by President Robert Mugabe to the World Food Programme that
the agencies would be allowed to operate independently.

The diplomat said donors reiterated that the system of food aid distribution
that had been in place prior to this new policy had been satisfactory and
that it would be a serious mistake to make changes now.

"Donors strongly supported the urgent need for WFP to sign a memorandum of
understanding with the government that ensures food aid distribution cannot
be subject to political manipulation," he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Exodus gathers pace as economy sinks deeper

        JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwean Kenneth Khumalo has worked in South Africa
for nearly a decade and says the turmoil at home is unlikely to see him
return any time soon.

      With unemployment hovering above 70 percent, many Zimbabweans have
sought work in neighbouring South Africa and Botswana while thousands of
others have gone as far as Britain, the United States and Australia.

      The Zimbabwean exodus has gathered pace as President Robert Mugabe’s
government faces its sharpest economic and political crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980.

      While Mugabe and his political opponents wrestle over how to pull the
country out of its mess, more and more Zimbabweans are voting with their
feet – joining a flow of economic refugees that poses new problems for both
Zimbabwe and its neighbours.

      Khumalo, born Kenneth Sibanda, adopted the more South African surname
Khumalo to get "more of a South African feel", an indication he is ready to
stay in his adopted country.

      "I still have friends and relatives in Zimbabwe, but I only see them
once a year at Christmas. There is nothing to draw me back home
permanently," said Khumalo, who left Zimbabwe’s south-western city of
Bulawayo after leaving school in 1992.

      Mugabe’s critics, led by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), say he has mismanaged the country during his more than two decades in
power, leading to acute shortages of foreign currency, food, fuel and –
increasingly – patience.

      White-collar Zimbabweans, who once enjoyed one of Africa’s most
promising economies, have seen their standard of living drop and many are
now leaving the country to take up menial jobs abroad working as bus
drivers, street cleaners and hotel workers, often illegally.

      "It is hard sometimes, you never completely get over the
homesickness," said Khumalo, who said he was in South Africa legally.

      The influx of Zimbabweans has raised hackles in South Africa, which
has its own serious unemployment problem and where locals increasingly
accuse foreigners of taking scarce jobs.

      Figures from South Africa’s latest national census show that 41.6
percent of adult South Africans lacked formal work in 2001. Among majority
blacks, one in two people were unemployed.

      South African statistics say almost 47 000 Zimbabweans were legally
resident in the country in 2001, but officials estimate that about one
million more are in the country illegally and say between 3 000 and 4 000
are deported each month.

      Zimbabwe, too, is struggling to cope with what amounts to a serious
brain drain.

      The country’s health and education sectors have been hit particularly
hard as salaries for teachers and medical workers fail to keep pace with
Zimbabwe’s rocketing inflation, currently rated among the highest in the
world at nearly 400 percent.

      Zimbabwe government doctors went on strike in June, complaining that a
recent evaluation and pay review of public sector jobs had whittled away
their already unsatisfactory monthly wage.

      The Harare-based Scientific and Industrial Research and Development
Centre says more than 479 000 Zimbabweans work outside the country, mainly
in South Africa, Botswana, Britain and the United States – but the
opposition and human rights agencies say the hardships at home have driven
many more people out.

      South Africa, which lies just south of the Limpopo River, is the
nearest land of opportunity, and has the added advantage of allowing
Zimbabweans to visit home regularly and send back essential commodities
unavailable there.

      Work may be better in South Africa, but many Zimbabweans still long to
return home and avidly read Zimbabwe’s newspapers online to track political
and economical developments.

      "It all looks gloomy at the moment, but I believe one day I will be
able to return to a more prosperous Zimbabwe," said Thulani Dube, another
Zimbabwean who works at the same hotel as Khumalo in Johannesburg’s posh
Sandton district. Dube’s wife and three children still live in Zimbabwe’s
Gweru city.

      Among those who have sought employment across Zimbabwe’s borders are
former agricultural labourers left jobless by Mugabe’s seizure of
white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks – a
political move that critics say is partly responsible for the country’s
economic headaches.

      Industry officials say over one million commercial farm workers had
lost their jobs or been displaced by the land reforms by December 2002, and
that fewer than 1 000 commercial farms remain operational out of 4 400 when
the drive began. A large number of white families have also emigrated to
South Africa over the last three years, joining thousands who left Zimbabwe
when Mugabe took over in 1980, ending decades of white minority rule in the
former Rhodesia. Human rights groups say only about 60 000 whites remain in
Zimbabwe from about 100 000 just after independence. Expatriate Zimbabweans
and their South African allies have held a number of anti-Mugabe
demonstrations in South Africa, and many count themselves as supporters of
the MDC, which was formed in 1999 and has emerged as the most potent
political opposition. The MDC controls slightly over a third of the 150
parliamentary seats in Zimbabwe after 2000 elections. Its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has launched a legal challenge to Mugabe’s victory in last year’s
presidential elections, condemned as fraudulent by the opposition and
several Western countries. Mugabe, who says the MDC is a puppet of Western
powers, denies the mismanagement charges levelled against him, and in turn
accuses local and international opponents of his land seizures of sabotaging
Zimbabwe’s economy. Zimbabweans abroad remain divided about what has brought
their homeland so low. Both Khumalo and Dube agree that whoever is to blame,
the road to recovery will be long and hard. By Stella Mapenzauswa – Reuter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Land reform threatens wildlife in Beitbridge

        BEITBRIDGE – Villager, Sebastian Malungwana, 77, says for more than
20 years now, he has not seen the battle eagle, a vicious mid-air fighter
bird that only a few decades ago was a common sight in Zimbabwe’s serene

      "The battle eagle does not exist any more in this area. If you see it,
which is only on the rarest of occasions, it will be on its migratory trail
into or out of Botswana or South Africa," Malungwana said.

      "The eagle left because its habitat has disappeared, its prey died
while hunters and traditional healers tracked down the eagle.

      "Our children will never know the battle eagle," a visibly dejected
Malungwana lamented.

      With the air of a veteran conservationist, Malungwana, explained to
the Daily News crew how less than 50 years ago, the powerful flutter of the
wings of the battle eagle and its piercing cries were a common experience in
the Gwanda South and Beitbridge areas.

      But the fighter image of the eagle was to be its demise as traditional
healers here hunted down the bird to use it to make magical charms,
explained Malungwana.

      And as the local population expanded, encroaching onto previously
uninhabited forest areas, which is where the battle eagle had made its home,
the bird was forced to seek refuge in less crowded commercial farm areas.

      But now with the government’s fast-track land reform, that has seen
villagers moving onto the commercial farms, the battle eagle has been
virtually driven out of its home in Gwanda South and Beitbridge areas.

      Malungwana said, "The last habitats for the big, predatory birds was
on the farms. But when poachers are brought closer to them by the fast
track-resettlement programme, the birds have no choice but to search for
virgin habitat, which I believe no longer exists in this country except in
the national parks and sanctuaries."

      Reflecting the concerns of many villagers here in Gwanda and
Beitbridge, Malungwana explained how the little wildlife still roaming the
newly resettled areas faced extinction because of a combination of natural
and man-made disasters.

      He said: "Birds are blessed because they can fly away. Chances are
high that any animal that tries to leave the newly occupied farms will walk
into a snare, a party of dog-hunting or gun-totting poachers or wander into
the dry wilderness to die of thirst like all our cattle."

      Environmentalists and other animal lovers here had hoped the
three-nation Trans-Limpopo Frontier National Park, combining three national
parks in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa into a giant wildlife
sanctuary would be home to animals made homeless by natural calamities and
man-made disasters.

      But the slow pace in the development of the park that brings together
Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou, South Africa and Mozambique’s Kruger and Gaza
national parks respectively has left desperate environmentalists here
searching for quick-fix solutions.

      Don Davidson, of the Beitbridge chapter of the Zimbabwe Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said he was now working with
other animal lovers from South Africa to establish a 300-hectare bird and
game sanctuary that will encompass the sections of the Limpopo which have
now become a temporary habitat for wildlife.

      She said: "The aim is to establish a safe habitat for the birds and
animals whose numbers are dwindling at an amazing rate around here.

      "Beitbridge is blessed with some of the rarest animals and birds which
are threatened with extinction due to widespread poaching by trophy hunters
and those who kill for consumption.

      "Some birds, like the blue heron which thrives only in swampy areas,
are also dying due to drying up of habitat as the drought lays the wetlands
to waste."

      Davidson said some of animal species that were likely to be found in
the proposed new game sanctuary included the wild dog, civet cat, leopard,
cheetah and lion.

      From Oscar Nkala

      Staff Reporter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Majority of invited African ministers snub Harare summit

        ONLY one minister out of an invited 12 Eastern and Southern African
urban development ministers turned up in Harare yesterday for a two-day
regional Ministers’ Conference on Urban Agriculture and Food Security being
held in the Zimbabwean capital.

      Out of the 12 countries invited only five, including host country
Zimbabwe, are attending the regional meeting which was organised by the
Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the
Municipal Development Partnership (MDP) for Eastern and Southern Africa.

      Even Zimbabwe’s Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, supposedly
hosting the conference, appeared to snub the event, only sending his deputy
Fortune Charumbira to represent him.

      Ministry officials at the conference, which ends today in Harare,
refused to comment on the absence of invited guests.

      The conference seeks to garner support for urban agriculture from
governments within the region which is considered another way to ensure food
security and poverty reduction within the cities and towns.

      But low turnout marred the conference, with only Swaziland’s Housing
Minister Albert Shabangu turning up for the meeting, while Botswana, Uganda,
South Africa, Zambia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ethopia and Namibia.failed to

      Special Affairs Minister John Nkomo, who opened the meeting yesterday,
told delegates that the government had identified 18 farms for acquisition
within Harare as part of the government’s controversial land reform

      However, Tobias Takavarasha, the director of Food, Agriculture,
Natural Resources and Policy Analysis Network, said that although the
government had acquired some land in urban areas, it had failed to come up
with a policy on how the land should be utilised.

      Staff Reporter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Settlers now homeless

        SOLUSI – At least 57 families who invaded a farm here in 2000 are
now living in the open after their huts and property worth millions of
dollars were burnt down by the farm’s owner, Tanias Mumbengegwi.

      Mumbengegwi, a doctor in Bulawayo, confirmed that he had, with the
help of the deputy sheriff and riot police last week on Thursday, burnt down
the "illegal structures" following a court order.

      "We burnt down the huts because they were illegal structures. The
settlers defied a court order and therefore their structures were illegal,"
said Mumbengegwi, who also showed the Daily News copies of title deeds
confirming he owned Letterstedt Farm.

      According to Mumbengegwi, the court order granted after the settlers
failed to appear in court in June to show cause why they were not supposed
to be evicted, gave the families seven days to leave the farm or face

      Mumbengegwi said: "We bought the farm in 1989 and it is registered
under Tate Ranching Company which I jointly own with another businesswoman."

      Letterstedt Farm was initially listed for acquisition but was later
delisted after Mumbengegwi contested the decision.

      The settlers however showed this newspaper a copy of a letter written
by the Umguza district administrator, a Mr E Sithole, in which he pleads
that they be left to stay on the farm "till a suitable place is found for

      Part of the letter, dated 8 August 2002, reads: "To whom it may
concern. May you be advised that we are still in the process of trying to
find a place for resettling the 57 families who are residing at Letterstedt
Farm. May you therefore allow them to stay till a suitable place is found
for them."

      The settlers’ spokesman, Lucas Nkala, said: "We feel this is
insensitive because we had been occupying the land since 2000 and we feel
that we should have been resettled by now," he said.

      Earlier this week, riot police torched settlers’ homes at Windcrest
Farm in Masvingo, leaving over 1 000 families homeless.

      The Daily News established yesterday that police in Masvingo had by
yesterday completed driving the villagers off Windcrest, which is to be
occupied by a senior government official.

      Acting police provincial spokesperson, constable Shelter Rufu, refused
to speak on the matter.

      From Chris Gande

      Staff Reporter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Let’s keep our emperor isolated and get on with life

        SOMETIMES our boys surprise me. I had almost got used to the idea
that the only videos they enjoy were either music too loud for me, and often
with that overtone of violence and anger I always hear in rap music, or
films with even more violence, either of the American high-technology
variety or Chinese, where guys seem to do just as much damage to each other
with their bare feet.

      Then I brought something different home and they watched it right
through three times in a week.My choice was The Last Emperor, based on the
life of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China. He made emperor at the age of
three, but when he was only six years old; there was a

      revolution which overthrew the empire.

      End of story, you might think? But no, that was when it got
interesting. Nobody told young Pu Yi about the change of government, until
he discovered it for himself about 10 years later. Inside the palace
compound, he was still emperor, with all the traditional ceremonies and
crowds of servants to obey his every wish, as long as he did not wish to go
outside the compound. But then, emperors never did that anyway.

      But outside, China was governed by an elected president. When he was
old enough, Pu Yi even had a wife and an official chief concubine, and they
played the game with everyone else, pretending that he was still emperor.

      Now it struck me that maybe the boys had seen what I saw in that: a
suggestion on what we might do with our own emperor. He keeps himself so
distant from us ordinary people, with all those armed guards to keep us away
from him when he does decide to go out of the palace, to open Parliament, to
a ceremony at Heroes’ Acre or to the airport, that it might be fairly easy
to persuade him to stay inside the palace while we get on with life without

      I even saw a cartoon recently which showed him asking for State House
as part of his retirement package. Why not? Of course, his wife would not be
able to leave the palace either, but we would save a lot of money by
stopping her shopping trips to Paris and Singapore. We could probably keep
the palace running comfortably enough on the money we would save by doing

      His loyal guards could stay there to guard him. His loyal ministers
could visit him daily, take his orders and then go back into the real world
where nobody obeyed them any more, as long as they didn’t spoil the game by
telling him what it is really like out there.

      We could even arrange for videos to be played over his security
cameras showing crowds of enthusiastic women in party uniform cheering,
singing and dancing. He seems to like to see that sort of thing, and if it
keeps him happy and quiet, why not? There must be a lot of film like that in
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation archives, so it would hardly cost us

      We could even send camera crews to film any speech he wants to make.
We don’t have to tell him that it is only played on his TV, while the rest
of us watch football or something else that we find more interesting. If it
keeps him quiet and happy, it is worth the expense.

      All this would be easier for us than it was for the Chinese. Pu Yi was
very young, so the game could not have been kept going for his whole life.
Our emperor, on the other hand, is already an old man. We don’t have to keep
playing this game for 60 more years.

      If the Chinese could keep it up for 10 years, so can we. In our case,
that would probably be long enough.

      It’s all a question of being patient. If we can keep him quiet and
harmless while he waits to be called to his final reward, why persecute a
sick old man?

      Many displaced dictators, like Mobutu Sese Seko or Mohammed Reza
Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, died quietly soon after going into exile.
Maybe they were ill when they went, but I suspect that many men who are as
addicted to power as they were simply lose the will to live when they lose
power. They just fade away quickly.

      Now I don’t want to hasten anybody’s death, even our man.

      On the other hand, we must stop the deaths he is inflicting on us, but
if we can do that and make him harmless without hastening his death, that
seems the civilised thing to do.

      If he believes that someone as remote and as busy as Tony Blair spends
more than half a minute a week planning to assassinate him, that is indeed a

      If we cannot treat it, we can at least make it harmless. He should be
happy to be left in peace in his palace, surrounded by his guards so that
the British MI5 (or is it MI6?) can’t get at him. Let us leave him that way,
safe and protected, as long as the rest of us are also safe and protected
from him.

      The isolation he has always sought can cut both ways. Let us use it to
our advantage.

      Of course, some of his cronies present another question. They are
young enough, like Pu Yi, to be dissatisfied with safe isolation. Maybe I’ll
talk another day about what to do with them.

      By Magari Mandebvu
Magari Mandebvu is a social and political

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Universal crises amongst our Elderly

Ann Bishop, who has been instrumental is setting up and supporting the
Nerina Gardens Home for the Elderly Benevolent Fund in Cape Town,

We need someone in each of the main towns or cities wherever they live,
to put an insert in the newspapers, and then field the calls from our
Mdalas.  I need to know Names (or initials if they are too scared to
give names), last date of pension payout, and which fund they received
the pension from.  If they would then pass them on to me, I will give
them to Tony Leon who is the Leader of our Opposition, who will in turn
pass them on to George Bush who is interested in helping us.

Things have reached crises level here in Cape Town, with the S/A Legion
feeding many of our folk.

Pick and Pay and the Salvation Army are helping us with food etc., and
various Rhodesians have managed to persuade companies to help with all
sorts of things.  Some of the Elderly are now homeless, and our
Outpatient and Trauma centres are reporting suicides and severe
malnutrition amongst the Zimbabwean Pensioners.

I know for a fact that at least 6 Elderly Rhodesians have committed
suicide in this area, and I have heard from others that this is
happening a lot in the Durban area too.  Nobody should have to resort to
this.  I received one letter from a lady whose husband used to be a
Headmaster, and she apologized for being such a nuisance, but felt that
the elderly had just outlived their savings, and had no option but to be
a burden to us!  Awful hey?

Please note we are NOT asking for money.  I just need to know how many
folk there are out there who are not receiving their pensions, or grants
from the Zimbabwe Government.  Each area must be responsible for their
own Elderly.  This crisis is universal, and we need to find our Mdalas
wherever we live, and then take care of them.  If you think about it, if
it wasn't for them we wouldn't be here.  They deserve our support and

In South Africa, the Social Welfare Department is just not helping.  We
have been trying to get hold of the Minister for Social Services for
over a fortnight, he just doesn't answer any calls.  One day I did get
through to a lady who asked me if I was distraught just because it was
Whites in trouble?  I rest my case - it is up to us.

You know that we are having the most horrendous time with this
non-payment of pensions; well we have reason to believe that if we make
enough of a noise, and get a comprehensive list of everyone who is not
receiving pensions - we stand an excellent chance of actually getting
them paid out.

80% of the people who have not received anything belong to Old Mutual,
which is now appearing to be the main culprit.  I have been in contact
with one of the big hot shot Human Rights lawyers, and he is very
interested in taking on the case, BUT we do need to have a really
comprehensive list.

There MUST be pensioners in crises in Australia and other countries as
well.  I have now come across 8 couples who haven't had electricity for
months, and some who have stopped taking medication as they cannot
afford to get to the hospital, and many other terribly sad stories.  The
Rhodesian Army chaps have given me over R8000 of food via Metro Cash and
Carry, and with Salvation Army and Pick and Pay's help we have handed
out a lot of 'Gift Boxes', but this won't last forever, we do really
need to get something permanent arranged.

We recently had a court case in the Northern Cape where some Asbestos
workers sued Britain for damages, and when they all actually got
together they got paid out a lot of money, yet when they were fighting
in little groups they got nowhere.  The lawyer that fought their case is
in fact a Rhodesian.

What I am actually after is, for each area/Country or whatever to just
put a notice in their media, or however they want to do it, for anyone
not receiving a pension from Zimbabwe, when they should be, to let me
know their names and Pension Fund.  If they are scared of retribution on
family or friends in Zimbabwe, they can just give their initials.  We
really do need this ASAP.  It is also a good way of checking whether the
Mdalas are alright.

Ann Bishop
Tel: +27 21 782 6123
Cell: +27 82 214 9304

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Roy Bennett’s Newsletter no 3


  1. Statement by Roy Bennett
  2. National Parks order prosecution of corrupt cops
  3. Zanu-Pf outsider appointed to be Chimanimani DA


Statement by Roy Bennett


Fellow Zimbabweans (and friends).


We stand at the cusp of a new era in Zimbabwean history. One of freedom, prosperity and hope.


The Zanu-Pf regime is crumbling as the old man grows weary and the dogs fight over the bones.


Yet as the regime crumbles, so does our country. Our cash has run out, our food has run out. Our families are hungry and our jobs are disappearing.


The time has come for a new wave, a new breed of activists, of leaders. We can be these leaders. We do not need titles or fancy cars. We just need the courage to stand up, and oppose the oppression we face.


Our courage will inspire others; with their actions we all will be free. Ask yourself, was I born for just to be silent, or can be a leader in this time of need.


In the bank queues, at the taxi ranks, in the sport stadium, in the church, our voice must be heard. Whereever people gather, we should denounce these few who try to hold us all captive, these dealers in fear.


The time for skulking in the corners and hiding from the crooks is over. We are not the criminals, the criminals are Mugabe and his Zanu-Pf. Let them run like thieves, it is time for us to speak out, and our voices must clear and strong.


When we have won our freedom, those who stood at this crucial time will be able to say, I was there, I have the courage to stand up against the crooks, I was one of the ones who started it all, I was one of the ones who saved Zimbabwe.


We cannot fear the police officer and the prison cell. They too feel shame at their actions, at their orders. Let them try and lock us all up. They cannot.


We are entrapped by fear, it is only fear that tells us “I must not speak out, they may focus in on me.” Every one is suffering, everyone can see our great country dying. Everyone is thinking that the time has come.


It only takes those courageous few, to stand up in the bank queue and demand a country where there is money in the banks. To stand up in the sports stadium, and demand a weekend when the children are not hungry. To stand up in church and say God helps those who help themselves, we must help our country.


If we do not stand up, there will be nothing left of this country for our family, our children. How can we fear for the future stop us, our future is already being destroyed.


People of Zimbabwe, your country needs your action. Break free from fear and feel your strength. Lead your brothers and sisters to glory, to freedom, to prosperity.





The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management in Chimanimani has written to Chimanimani ZRP, calling for the prosecution of police officers involved in the illegal poaching of an Eland on Charleswood estate, the farm of MDC MP Roy Bennett.


The Investigation Branch of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management based in Mutare on the 2nd of June this year wrote to Assistant Inspector Chogugudza of the Zimbabwe Republic Police calling for the prosecution of Assistant Inspector Mupfuriranwa and other police officers from Chimanimani Police Station.


The National Parks made this call after a National Parks officer witnessed a police officer with nine others being caught poaching at Charleswood Estate by security guards on the 29th of January 2003, and then Chimanimani police corruptly released the culprits and disposed the carcass of the Eland bull .


The ten people who were caught poaching by some farm workers who effected a citizen’s arrest including a police officer Assistant Inspector Chivandika, Luke Zvidzayi, Mathew, Joseph Mazuva, Luke Mutsigo, Misheck Mazango, Luke Zvinaye, Fadzayi Jiri, Elias Mushonga and Peter Fox. The farm security informed the National Parks officer Mr. Frank Ashala. When Mr. Ashala attended the scene he interviewed the culprits. The police did not attend the scene immediately due to transport problems it is reported. However when they finally arrived Assistant Inspector Chivandika had fled the scene.


When the police eventually arrived they were in the company and under the leadership of Joseph Mwale who is the Officer- in – Charge of the Central Intelligence Organisation Chimanimani. They ordered the poachers as well as the farm workers to disperse, without arresting anyone. There after four police officers, Sergeants Nasho, Hove, Assistant Inspector Mupfuriranwa and Constable Tawonezvi loaded the carcass of the Eland bull into Joseph Mwale’s vehicle and they went away. This is in contradiction of a High Court order which prohibits Mwale from entering Charleswood, an order he has repeatedly flouted.


The Eland bull, which was killed by these poachers, is worth about US$ 1500 on a commercial hunting market but the meat was never seen again. The poachers and the police officers that corruptly released the culprits are seen on Charleswood Estate on a daily basis but they are not getting arrested. Mr. Roy Bennett, The MP for Chimanimani has been on the receiving end at his farm for close to three years now, with Chimanimani police officers beating and arresting him and his farm workers willy nilly. Inspector Chogugudza once promised that he was not going to render any police assistance to Roy Bennett for as long as he owns the farm. The failure by Chimanimani Police to effect legal arrests and prosecutions of the police involved in the poaching story is seen as way of punishing Mr. Bennett because of his involvement in opposition politics.


The incidence of police abuse and corruption is just one of many that has occurred on Charleswood Estate since the Parliamentary elections of 2000. What is unusual in this case is the courage and determination of the National Parks to stand up to this corruption when it affects their area of responsibility, in marked contrast to the police and other government officials who have at best turned a blind eye to the corruption and abuses of power that occur in Chimanimani. It also corresponds with an increased militancy by the people of the Chimanimani region, who have lost all patience with an overtly politicized police force supported a regime that is destroying their livelihoods and well being.


One of the most significant indications of this political determination has been the voluntary picking by Chimanimani residents of Roy Bennett’s coffee. The daily disturbances on Charleswood Estate have severely affected the production level of the farm,  and not prepared to see their MP stand unassisted, for the first time every, the poverty stricken residents of Chimanimani have been voluntarily picking coffee on Charleswood estate. This has been their contribution to support their MP in his struggle with the government and police and CIO.


Zanu-Pf ‘outsider’ to be appointed Chimanimani DA


The Chimanimani District Administrator Nyagawaya is retiring. Reliable sources state that Mr Siwela, the headmaster for Rusitu Mission School in Chimanimani is to be appointed as the new DA. This is in spite of the fact that he has not worked for the Department of Local government or held an administrative position.


Mr Siwela is instead a member of the Zanu-Pf Chimanimani District Committee and a committed Zanu-Pf activist. He has none of the experience necessary to qualify him as a District Administrator, and is merely being appointed for political expediency.


Mr Siwela is notorious for the harassment and unfair dismissal of teachers and security guards under his authority as headmaster for Rusitu Mission School who were seen to support the MDC.


This is a continuation of the process of reducing government departments into Zanu-Pf institutions and a total abuse of power for the sake of partisan positioning and self-enhancement.


It is also undoubtedly part of a campaign lead by the affirmed murderer Josph Mwale of Chimanimani for the simple strategy to destroy & crush the opposition.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Church’s approach could be more vigorous

        The long history of the Church’s indifference to the political
turmoil in Zimbabwe has in many ways been castigated by well-meaning

      That the Church is finally starting to realise the inevitability of
its assumption of an active role in the restoration of sanity to our
country, which has been wrecked by a handful of intransigent people, is most

      It, however, remains saddening and unforgivably so that this
realisation manifests itself when nearly everything in the country is
grinding to a halt. It is therefore not shocking that most Zimbabweans
hardly have any faith in the sudden "awakening" of the clergy, evident from
their attempts to address the national crisis.

      It is also interestingly ironic that some key figures in the circles
directly responsible for the problems that Zimbabwe is facing today have
also expressed reservations in the sudden awakening of the clergy in trying
to resolve the current political impasse – for the wrong reasons, though!

      It really boggles the mind to try to unearth reasons why the Church
hardly arose at a time when this whole rot was in its infancy. It is in this
context that I am equally tempted to view the recent "developments" with
reservations. Mere posturing when it comes to issues of this great magnitude
cannot be afforded at this point in time.

      In a situation where man has assumed a carefree attitude to the
apparent suffering of the masses and opts to continuously crack the whip
regardless of the piercing cries of his own people, it defies logic for the
men of the cloth to be economical with the truth in terms of the plight of
the common man on the ground – outright condemnation of evil is no vice at

      There comes a time when human anguish becomes so compelling that the
keeping up of appearances cannot in any way be tolerated – the time cannot
be any further than now.

      Interestingly and in fact more painfully, the long period of
indifference to the disintegration of the socio-political fabric by the
clergy has also been characterised by an upsurge of a cold-hearted breed of
"church ministers" whose key agenda has been to serve the interests of
evil-doers, in efforts to perpetuate the status quo which is obviously
beneficial them.

      This proliferation of heartless men of the cloth who sing praise songs
to those responsible for the hardships of their kith and kin is no strange
phenomenon at all. It is reminiscent of key scenarios in the Old Testament,
where false prophets surfaced and took sides with the wayward authorities of
the day, whom they continuously flattered for purposes of self-gain.

      One is particularly reminded of Hananiah, the false prophet who
featured during the time of Jeremiah. His function was to rubber-stamp a
corruptive status quo through impersonating the true men of God.

      Resultantly, the true men of God suffered great condemnation by the
authorities of the time when they spoke powerfully against the ills of the

      Similarly, some of the Zimbabwean clergy who unwaveringly continue to
fight for the restoration of sanity and the observance of the sanctity of
human life have suffered unwarranted condemnation and criticism from key
authorities who seem resolute in perpetuating a state of affairs that has
literally destroyed the once-vibrant and promising Zimbabwe.

      Despite the variegated nature of Zimbabwe’s Christian community, one
thing is certain: that all Christian denominations have a similar underlying
characteristic – the nurturing and cultivation of man’s moral conscience.
The Church, therefore, is seen by society as a paragon of moral values that
govern the spiritual well-being of a people within a given context.

      This ideal function of the Church can, however, only come to fruition
through a proper leadership that wholeheartedly strives for the observance
of a good moral conscience, even in the face of persecution.

      It stands to reason, therefore, that any church leader who approaches
this key function with a double-barrelled conscience is misplaced and indeed
questionable as a true messenger of God’s values.

      It is indeed a fact that no nation can win a battle without faith, and
if our faith in our God is spoilt by our having to see Him through the eyes
of the same people we are seeking to correct, then there obviously begins to
be something wrong with that relationship.

      Hayes Mabweazara


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

  Zanu PF/MDC break deadlock
      Dumisani Muleya

      FORMAL talks between Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) to resolve the country's crisis will resume towards
the end of next month, it emerged yesterday.

      Sources close to the current informal discussions said the two parties
were now ready for a negotiated settlement to break the political impasse as
they have managed to clear obstacles to dialogue, including President
Mugabe's disputed re-election last year.

      The issue of Mugabe's legitimacy that stalled the talks last year
would now be removed from the agenda but electoral irregularities would

      "We are expecting Zanu PF and the MDC to start formal talks towards
the end of September," a well-placed source said. "An announcement to that
effect will be made soon."

      Zanu PF and the MDC have been talking informally to clear hurdles to
dialogue and ensure the process is irreversible.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai last weekend gave Zanu PF an October 1
deadline for the resumption of talks. The ruling party is also keen to
ensure dialogue restarts before the hearing of Tsvangirai's election
petition against Mugabe which begins on November 3.

      Diplomatic sources said South African president Thabo Mbeki and other
regional leaders want talks in progress before the Commonwealth summit on
December 6 in Abuja, Nigeria, to ensure the lifting of Zimbabwe's suspension
from the club. Zimbabwe was suspended in March 2002 for electoral fraud.

      African leaders ignored the Zimbabwe crisis at the African Union
meeting in Mozambique last month. They, however, called for the lifting of
targeted sanctions against Harare during the Southern African Development
Community meeting in Tanzania this week.

      Sources said Mbeki and Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo would
"underwrite" whatever deal emerged from the talks, while the United States a
nd other donor countries would provide a reconstruction package.

      It is understood the agenda for talks would remain largely unchanged
from the one agreed before dialogue broke down in May last year.

      The agenda includes confidence-building measures, the constitution,
political violence, multi-partyism, sovereignty and economic recovery.

      The constitution item would now take centre stage as the two parties
regard it as offering a way out of the current deadlock.

      In its position paper to church mediators recently, the MDC listed
constitutional reform, electoral law changes, restoration of economic
stability, political liberties and law and order, cessation of political
prosecutions, torture and depoliticisation of food relief as key agenda

      The ruling party has refused to deal with the clerics, saying it
prefers direct talks with the MDC.

      Zanu PF and the MDC first entered talks in April last year under the
mediation of Mbeki's envoy Kgalema Motlanthe and Obasanjo's emissary Adebayo
Adedeji after the disputed presidential election.

      Mbeki and Obasanjo kick-started the initiative after visiting the
country on March 18, a week after the poll. They met Mugabe and Tsvangirai
in Harare en route to London for the Commonwealth meeting where Zimbabwe was

      Obasanjo was also in Harare on February 9 this year after meeting
Mbeki in Pretoria the previous day to broker dialogue between the two
parties. After his visit Obasanjo wrote to Commonwealth chair John Howard of
Australia lobbying for the lifting of measures against Zimbabwe. Howard said
last week that Canberra would push for the extension of Harare's suspension
in Abuja because the situation, far from getting better, had in fact got

      Mbeki and Obasanjo also visited Zimbabwe on May 5 over the talks.

      Their trip came a few weeks before MDC officials met Convention for a
Democratic South Africa (Codesa) veterans to exchange notes on political

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Fuel dealers reject new prices
Vincent Kahiya
INDIGENOUS fuel dealers have rejected new prices announced by government
this week as uneconomic and vowed to sell petrol and diesel at rates
determined by supply and demand.

Energy minister Amos Midzi on Wednesday said the fuel sector had been
deregulated - giving marketers the green light to import fuel but requiring
them to sell it at stipulated prices of $1 170 a litre for petrol and $1 070
for diesel.

The minister said the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe would continue to
sell petrol and diesel to public transporters and government departments at
$450 and $200 a litre respectively.

The long-awaited policy, touted as the panacea to the country's four-year
fuel crisis, however appears to have compounded an already precarious

The dealers yesterday said the prices set by the government did not make
business sense as they did not take into account the problems of procurement
amid foreign currency rate volatility.

The dealers, who have been selling petrol at about $1 800 a litre, said they
had kept the country's fleet rolling after government abandoned fuel
procurement due to forex scarcity at the official exchange rate.

The government on Wednesday said it had increased the price of fuel from the
gazetted prices to the new rates to encourage private imports and boost

"It is actually criminal for the government to say it has increased the
price of fuel to $1 170 a litre because motorists have for the past six
months been buying the product at above $1 500," said an executive with one
fuel company.

"We are not party to that arrangement because it does not make business
sense for us to import fuel and sell it at a loss."

The dealers said government was landing fuel in the country at about US39c a
litre while indigenous marketers have been landing the commodity at about
US35c a litre. At the black market rate of $5 000 to US$1 the prices
translate to $1 950 and $1 750 respectively for petrol and diesel. The
pricing structure proposed by government assumes a foreign currency exchange
rate of about $3 000 to US$1 which is still way above the prescribed rate of

The government has over the years kept the pump price of fuel low through

Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Masimba Kambarami said
the only positive aspect about Midzi's announcement was the decision to open
the fuel sector to competition. He said there was a trigger mechanism in the
pricing system which allowed for adjustments in the event of movements in
variables such as offshore prices and the exchange rate.

"But we do not want the price to be changing all the time," said Kambarami.
"There should be stability in the prices. We will be talking to the banks
soon to get a reasonable rate."

Asked when fuel would be available at service stations which have been
closed for over six months, Kambarami said fuel would start trickling in

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

ZBC sued by couple over false claim
Blessing Zulu
THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and two of its presenters are
being sued for defamation by Topper and Laurinda Whitehead for alleging that
the two fabricated the story of a man who was clinging to the back of their
car and threatening them.

In early June ZBC flighted film footage of the man threatening to burn their
car and claimed that the episode was stage-managed to coincide with the G8
meeting in France. ZBC said the man at the centre of the controversy might
have been a journalist.

The two ZBC staffers who are being sued are David Ochieng and Tazzen
Mandizvidza. Ochieng is a news presenter and Mandizvidza is the executive
producer and presenter of programmes Behind the Camera and Media Watch,
among others. Mandizvidza is being sued for $300 000, Ochieng $1,5 million
and ZBC $1,8 million.

In all three claims Topper and Laurinda Whitehead said the sum should be
with interest at the prescribed rate from June 11 to date of payment and
include costs of the lawsuit.

In their affidavits, the couple have taken issue with Ochieng's utterances
that the video evidence was "concocted".

"Tazzen Mandizvidza looks at the many concocted video clips shown
extensively on Sky News today as part of the British attempts to demonise
Zimbabwe," Ochieng is alleged to have said.

The Whiteheads said the words were wrongful and defamatory.

ZBC did not retract or apologise after the plaintiffs' lawyer wrote to them
on June 19 demanding that they do so.

Topper Whitehead in an interview this week said the man jumped onto his car
in an attempt to seize his camera.

"The man was infuriated when we captured footage of him and his colleagues
attacking a man outside Meikles Hotel during the mass action called by the
MDC," said Whitehead.

"When the men saw that we were filming them they ran towards our car and we
started off. Only one of them managed to cling onto the car and he was the
one who was threatening us," said Whitehead.

Whitehead said the man was a war veteran and police were handling the

"We gave the police the person's name," said Topper.

"We have also indicated that the person moved from Sunningdale to a farm in
Mazowe," he said.

Ray Moyo, the lawyer representing the couple, said the police had at one
time assured them that they had identified the suspect.

"The police said they had identified the suspect in Mazowe," said Moyo.
"They said a car had already been dispatched to pick him up. That was the
last they communicated to us. We do not know what happened after that."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

US institute urges sustained pressure
Dumisani Muleya
A NEGOTIATED political settlement between Zanu PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) offers Zimbabwe the most credible
chance for a resolution of the current crisis, a United States research
institute has said.

But it urged the international community to maintain pressure on Harare.

In a report titled Zimbabwe and the Prospects for Non-violent Political
Change, the United States Institute for Peace said there was need for local
political parties to intensify the search for a solution to the country's
problems through dialogue.

"A negotiated or mediated strategy holds the strongest prospects for
breaking the deadlock between the two parties and for charting nonviolent
political change in Zimbabwe," the report said.

"It is unclear, however, who might have sufficient confidence of both
parties to carry through the negotiations. Both local actors and
international ones will have to overcome doubts about their neutrality if
they are to be accepted as reliable mediators by the opposition and civil

But the report said the settlement would be accepted as legitimate by the
broader society only if it incorporated ideas of other stakeholders.

It said the balance of political forces at the moment made the environment
for crisis talks ideal. Although Zanu PF is still in control through the use
of force, it is not able to rescue the country from the crisis on its own.
As for the MDC, it has widespread support of the people but has no capacity
to impose itself on power.

"While the balance of power in Zimbabwe appears to be shifting away from the
ruling party, it has not shifted sufficiently yet for change to occur," the
report said.

"Zanu PF's incumbency, its ability to capitalise on historic grievances, and
its liberation credentials make many Zimbabweans feel that its continued
involvement in any government is inevitable."

It said there was need for a transitional arrangement in Zimbabwe to restore
democratic legitimacy through free and fair elections.

"The best means of ensuring the peaceful establishment of a transitional
authority is a combination of increased international and domestic pressure
on the sitting government," it said.

"Mediation by international or domestic third-party actors, particularly the
African leaders, is probably a necessary but not sufficient condition for
peaceful change."

The report noted that President Robert Mugabe was a hindrance to change.

"There is a growing consensus that Mugabe is the stumbling block to
constructive dialogue, although increased calls for his resignation may have
the unintended effect of strengthening his resolve to stay in power," it

"Though there is a danger that mass action could turn violent, a prolonged
domestic campaign may be necessary to loosen Mugabe's hold on power and to
increase the MDC's position at the negotiating table."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Hippo Valley land still listed
Eric Chiriga
HIPPO Valley Estates Ltd (Hippo) still awaits government's decision to
de-list its Hippo Valley North and Mkwasine Estate.

Chairman Godfrey Gomwe said there had been no response to the applications
for delisting.

He said both Mkwasine Estate and Hippo Valley North were relisted for
compulsory acquisition by government in its fast-track land resettlement

There have been conflicting decisions about whether the land programme had

Last week the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Joseph
Made listed several farms for resettlement at a time when government claims
the programme is over.

Gomwe said there was a dispute between the commercial farmers and the A2
farmers on the ownership of delivered cane.

He said the case was still to be resolved by the High Court.

"In the meantime, all proceeds from the delivered cane are being paid over
to the High Court in accordance with the provisions of the interpleader
proceedings," Gomwe said.

He said sugar supplies into the local market were lower than target due to
production bottlenecks at the refineries in Harare and Bulawayo caused by
shortages of coal and raw sugar transport problems.

"The sugar price increase awarded on May 9 has already been overtaken by
spiralling production costs threatening viability and sustainability," he

"The industry has not been allowed to increase its prices des-pite extensive
lobbying and the fact that sugar is not a price con-trolled product but a
monitored one in terms of the guidelines of the National Economic Revival
Programme announced in February."

Gomwe said the industry continued to engage the "relevant authorities" in
order to correct the price discrepancy caused by runaway inflation which
reached an official all-time year-on-year high of 399,5% in July.

He said all preferential quota and regional export markets would be supplied
in full.

"Erratic supply of rail wagons and locomotives has caused delays in railing
stocks to port for export," he said. Zimbabwe is facing a serious sugar
crisis because of low production and worsened by the lucrative parallel

Sugar is now available on the streets instead of in supermarkets.

Gomwe said the milling season had begun a week later than scheduled mainly
due to delays in cane deliveries from independent cane growers.

The chairman said the ZSE had exempted his company from publishing its
interim results.

"In view of the seasonal nature of the company's operations, interim
financial statements are meaningless and could be misleading," Gomwe said.

"Consequently, the ZSE has exempted the company from the requirements to
publish interim results."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Forex levels worsen - RBZ
Ngoni Chanakira
THE acting Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Charles Chikaura says the
country's foreign currency situation remains critical, against the
background of declining inflows and widening foreign currency demand.

In a written response to questions sent by businessdigest Chikaura said over
the last three months, foreign exchange inflows had largely been outweighed
by requirements for external payments, resulting in net outflows of foreign

"This has exacerbated foreign exchange shortages currently being experienced
in the economy," Chikaura said.

Most of these external payments are for diplomats living abroad at
Zimbabwe's 33 missions, debts for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Zesa), fuel supplies for the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), and
essential drugs for the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

"Foreign exchange shortages, over the last five years, have largely been a
result of poor export performance due to a shrinking export base,
deteriorating terms of trade for primary exports and suspension of
international balance of payments support, as well as drying up of external
lines of credit,""Chikaura said.

"As a result, growth in exports has fallen from 13,9% in 1996 to an
estimated 14,3% in 2002."

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Herbert Murerwa, while
presenting his $672 billion Supplementary Budget in parliament last week
said foreign currency shortages had resulted in inflationary pressures on
the economy.

The country's inflation stands at 399,5% for July but analysts predict it
will continue soaring to bash the 500% mark by year-end, with some even
suggesting that it could reach 1 000% because of the parallel market.

"Major inflationary pressures in the economy have been emanating from
several factors," Murerwa said. "Foreign exchange constraints, leading to
low capacity utilisation in the productive sectors of the economy and the
entrenchment of parallel market activities."

Chikaura sad while exports and export earnings had continued to decline,
demand for foreign exchange to procure critical imports such as food, fuel,
electricity, drugs and imported industrial inputs, had risen sharply,
resulting in crippling foreign exchange shortages.

"The sharp escalation in inflation, from 55% at the end of December 1999 to
just under 400% by July this year, against levels of below 10% obtaining in
most of the country's regional and international trading partners, has
severely affected export performance," the RBZ boss said.

He said due to persistent mismatches between demand and supply of foreign
exchange, a parallel market for foreign exchange had developed.

"Parallel markets for foreign exchange develop whenever demand outstrips
supply, particularly if the official price does not respond accordingly," he

The Ministry of Industry and International Trade, which introduced price
controls on various commodities, threw out the decision after discovering
that the idea was very difficult to implement. Some of these products are
now being "monitored" instead of being controlled.

"Whereas in many developing countries, widespread trade restrictions and
stringent foreign exchange controls have led to proliferation of parallel
markets for foreign exchange, the Zimbabwean situation arose from persistent
macro-economic imbalances, in particular high inflation," Chikaura said.
"Speculators have taken advantage of the resultant crippling foreign
exchange shortages to continuously depreciate the exchange rate, for
desperate importers in the parallel market."

He said the long-term solution to the foreign exchange problem and the
parallel market however, was for the implementation of a "consistent and
comprehensive set of macroeconomic policies, aimed primarily at promoting
export growth, so as to ensure that the economy realised adequate foreign

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Bribery won't save Zanu PF from defeat

GIVEN Zanu PF's prominent record for manipulating food relief in order to
achieve political objectives, the MDC is deeply concerned by the Robert
Mugabe regime's announcement that all relief agencies have to surrender food
aid to village headmen and rural councils.

Both are dominated by Zanu PF, a factor which betrays a potentially sinister
political agenda which has influenced this U-turn in policy. The
announcement revokes a previous commitment that allowed donor agencies to
distribute food aid independently.

The timing of the announcement, 10 days prior to council elections, raises
the very real prospect that Zanu PF is likely to deploy a crude "food for
votes" tactic in a desperate attempt to deliver a credible performance at
the polls.

Given that most ordinary Zimbabweans know that Zanu PF's mismanagement of
the economy is to blame for the cash, fuel and food shortages that are
paralysing the country, Zanu PF is under no illusions that its candidates
would get trounced in a free and fair poll.

Recent incidents of state-sponsored violence in areas where polling was
scheduled to take place and evidence of Zanu PF illegally registering
candidates after the official termination of the registration period are a
clear demonstration of Zanu PF's fear of being humiliated at the polls.

If Zanu PF adopts the cynical tactic of manipulating food aid in return for
votes, not only will this provide further confirmation that the party has
lost all popular support, but it would also provide unequivocal evidence
that the party simply does not care about the suffering of ordinary

By manipulating the food aid distribution process in return for votes, Zanu
PF would be putting 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.

For the sake of the people of Zimbabwe, we urge Zanu PF not to go down this

Zanu PF should wake up to the fact that coercion and bribery will not be
enough to save them from defeat in the forthcoming polls.

In the eyes of the people they have failed to deliver and have no solutions
to the daily hardships afflicting the majority of Zimbabweans. Enough is

Rensen Gasela (MP),

MDC Shadow Minister

of Agriculture.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Victory over Mugabe is certain

WHEN I got to the front of the queue in one supermarket the teller remarked
that I didn't have many groceries in my trolley. I laughed and said that
what I had was all I could afford.

He said I shouldn't worry, I should just go and get what I need and then pay
by cheque. Again I laughed and said the cheque would bounce. "No problem,"
the teller said, adding: "We'll send the bounced cheque to the government
and tell them to pay the bill because they are the ones who took the farms,
didn't pay for them or any of the assets and it was that mess that has left
the whole country barely surviving."

The teller knows me well. I've been shopping there for 15 years but this was
an amazing little conversation. Normally people whisper these sorts of
comments, look over their shoulders to see who may be listening or simply
don't say things like this at all.

Equally amazing is the fact that it's taken this long for people to find the
courage to say it like it is. In three and a half years I've had thousands
of letters from people who ask me: "What the hell is wrong with you people
in Zimbabwe, why do you put up with what's going on?"

I wish I knew the answer because as each new catastrophe erupts, we all say:
"Ah, this is it, this is the thing that will bring the nightmare to an end."

We thought that when farms were being grabbed and given out to government
officials, people power would stop it. Then when there was no maize, sugar,
oil and flour we said that would do it. When the bread price rose from $48
last year to $1 000 today, we thought that would cause an uprising. Then
when petrol completely disappeared from service stations and now, when the
banks haven't got any money in them - each time we think this is it, people
just won't stand it. But amazingly enough, the masses just stagger on saying
"nothing to do."

I think there are lots of reasons why we Zimbabweans behave the way we do.
Maybe we are a nation of cowards. Maybe we are paralysed by fear.

Maybe we are waiting for someone to come riding in on a white horse to save
us. Or maybe it's because we just don't want another war.

I think we all know that if the chaos in Zimbabwe degenerates into an armed
civil war then that really will be the end of hope. We know that wars don't
end in three weeks or even three years and that the physical and mental
destruction they cause takes decades and decades to repair.

I believe that civic society in Zimbabwe and the opposition political party
have shown immense maturity by not calling for an armed uprising.

Zimbabweans have proved to the world that not all opposition politics in
Africa means rebels with guns. We all know that the end is near now. The
government knows it too. We know that when Zimbabwe emerges into a democracy
it will be a more united and dignified country than ever before.

Already there are resolutions being tabled that a Truth and Justice
Commission will be established. Among other things, it has been agreed that
past human rights abuses will be redressed, both pre- and post-colonial, and
that people will be made to answer and pay for their crimes - whether that
involved stealing someone's farm and assets or murdering and raping.

Zimbabwe has learnt that sweeping things under the carpet is not the answer
because sooner or later we'll have to lift the carpet. Until then, we all
keep turning the other cheek, trying to help others in worse positions than

Robert Mugabe and his government and greedy supporters have destroyed almost
everything in the country now. They may be the financial winners but have
blood on their hands. We are the moral victors and the one thing this
government can never take away from us is our pride and dignity.

Cathy Buckle,


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Under-development is Zanu PF's strategy for Mat

NEWS in the Zimbabwe Independent of August 22 that the Matabeleland Zambezi
Water Trust (MZWT) has squandered $500 million without any meaningful
development on the project comes as no surprise.

Lack of development in Matabeleland is well-documented and it would seem it
is the Zanu PF government's strategy, if not policy, to underdevelop the
region. How else can one explain President Mugabe's and Zanu PF's sidelining
of the Matabeleland region?

Construction of the Bulawayo/Nkayi road started in 1998 but up to now only a
30-kilometre stretch has been completed. Where has the money gone?

It does not need a rocket scientist to find out. Maybe vice-president Joseph
Msika, Jonathan Moyo and governor Obert Mpofu, who recently travelled on the
same road to the late Micah Mahamba Bhebhe's funeral, can shed light as to
what is going on.

The Bulawayo/Kezi road was widened up to Matopos during the Ian Smith regime
and no further development was made after 1980. The Bulawayo/Plumtree road
too was constructed by the Smith regime. What road construction, I ask, has
been undertaken by the Zanu PF government in Matabeleland over the last 20

Mtshabezi Dam in Matabeleland South and Inyathi Dam in Matabeleland North,
like a lot of other projects which the Zanu PF government may wish to take
credit for, were planned by the previous regime.

As for Inyathi Dam, which was planned by the previous government in the 60s,
it took the present government 20 years to authorise construction. For those
who may not remember, it was called the Pollard Scheme.

The only noticeable development in the region was the construction of
Mhlahlandlela complex in Bulawayo, probably meant for the convenience and
comfort of bureaucrats transferred from Harare head offices of government
departments, as if Matabeleland had no experienced, qualified and capable

What we see now are Zanu PF apologists and faithfuls falling over each other
grabbing multiple farms at the expense of landless local people. The group
challenging Ibbo Mandaza's greed in grabbing four farms in the Bubi area is
setting a good example to be emulated by other villagers. The landless
villagers need to claim their land from greedy men who want to reduce them
to serfs.

Since the honourable MP Sydney Malunga died, nobody it would seem, except
the MDC and Bishop Pius Ncube, has had the guts to challenge the authorities
for their inequities.

Former governor Welshman Mabhena's was a lone voice and it cost him his
governorship. At least we know he is a principled man, we respect him. We
need more people from Matabeleland to challenge Zanu PF's oppression.

Dalenda est Zanu PF.

Bigboy Boka,


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Govt now a liability to the taxpayer

AS MDC we are concerned about the principle of fiscal prudence and fiscal

It is very clear that the government has failed to live within its means at
a time when everybody in the country is reeling from economic hardships. If
workers exhaust their disposable incomes at the end of the month, where do
they get supplementary income?

Why should everybody tighten their belts when government is showing such
extravagance? The supplementary budget is a clear signal that government has
failed to operate on a budget which is critical for macro-economic

Government has shown beyond reasonable doubt that it is
politically-insentive to the suffering of the people because it is digging
deeper into public funds.

The record of the ruling regime is marred by fiscal indiscipline to such an
extent that government seizes the consolidated revenue fund as a milch cow.
Because of the huge expenditure overruns, government has become excess
baggage to the people. It has become a liability to the taxpayer and the
most unfortunate thing is that parliament is being used as a conduit to
siphon public funds, something we find morally reprehensible.

The fiscal record of this regime is a disaster. Successive ministers of
Finance from the late Bernard Chidzero, Ariston Chambati to Herbert Murerwa
have dismally failed to ensure that government lives within its means. It is
our submission that public funds should be used with economy.

It is our further submission that the exchequer account should not be
grossly abused as is the case right now.

It is also instructive to understand the knock-on effects of the expenditure

overruns on macro-economic stability. Expenditure overruns lead to a vicious
cycle of higher budget deficits, higher inflation, low growth and the
crowding out of the private sector.

We need fiscal prudence in order to turn this vicious cycle into a virtuous
cycle of fiscal discipline, balanced budget, low inflation and sustainable
economic growth.

Tapiwa Mashakada (MP),

MDC Shadow Minister of


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Deposit guarantee fund is yet another tax
Tawanda Hondora
THE Zimbabwe deposit insurance scheme (DIS) introduced over a month ago and
referred to as the Deposit Guarantee Fund is a sham.

Commentators such as Witness Chinyama and stakeholders such as the
vice-president of the Zimbabwe Bankers Association, Jerry Tsodzai, praised
the introduction of the fund without considered analysis.

Zimbabwe's long suffering public will be shocked to realise that the
much-touted Deposit Guarantee Fund is nothing more than another tax on their
meagre and fast-dwindling financial resources. And it is most disturbing
that there has been little informed public discussion of the virtue of
introducing a DIS in Zimbabwe at the present time. The compulsory DIS
commenced on July 1.

But what is this DIS? Simply put, DIS is insurance of deposits. This means
in the event of a participating bank being unable to reimburse depositors
funds due to insolvency, the public will receive reimbursement of their bank
deposits from the fund. While a DIS targets the small depositor, the primary
reason for introducing the scheme is to create confidence in the financial
services industry by reducing the incidence of panic withdrawals of cash
from banks in the event of one or more institutions facing insolvency.

Every Zimbabwean with money in a bank is urged to buy a copy of and read
Statutory Instrument No 29 of 2003 (Banking (Deposit Protection Regulations)
2003) [SI-29-2003], ie the statutory instrument which operationalises the
Deposit Guarantee Fund.

The statutory instrument makes disturbing reading. A depositor will ask the
question: "Should my bank face insolvency, will I be reimbursed the full
amount of my deposit?" None of the stakeholders, i.e the participating
banks, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, or the Deposit Guarantee Fund Board
(DGF board) will be able to provide an answer to this question. This is
because SI - 29- 2003 does not state the maximum amount of deposit
guaranteed depositors under the scheme.

In the event that a bank is declared insolvent the DGF board will decide, in
its discretion, how much if any, the affected bank's customers will be
reimbursed. Most countries that introduce such insurance schemes set the
deposit amount guaranteed in the event of bank insolvency. In Argentina the
amount is US$30 000. It is such knowledge that reduces the incidence of bank
runs in the event of insolvency, real or perceived.

Assuming two or more banks are declared insolvent at the same time,
SI-29-2003 permits the DGF board to set different reimbursable amounts for
the different banks as well as classes of deposits. This is highly unusual.
It is possible, therefore, that current account holders may receive more or
less than savings account holders. The non-stipulation of the maximum amount
guaranteed betrays the absence of official policy on whether deposit
coverage under the scheme will be partial or total. It is unrealistic and
fatal to the scheme to expect the extent of coverage to be determined at the
discretion of a politically compromised body, and on a case-by-case and ad
hoc basis.

The DGF board appointed to implement the scheme is not immune from political
(read Zanu PF) influence and control. The chairperson of the board is the
governor of the RBZ. Two other board members will be deputy governors of the
RBZ. These persons are presidential appointees. The governor of the RBZ will
appoint the other three board members. It is conceivable that certain banks
will receive more favourable treatment than others in relation to the
Deposit Guarantee Fund.

Who funds this deposit insurance scheme? Panic withdrawals of deposits hurt
affected banks, and ultimately the whole financial services system. It is
usual therefore that participating banks pay premiums to the Deposit
Guarantee Fund. Tsodzai was reported in the Herald of March 26 welcoming the
introduction of the DIS and stating that banks should set up appropriate
levies to recoup from their customers the cost of the premiums they pay to
the fund. In essence, therefore, the answer to the question posed above is
that depositors will pay for the deposit insurance scheme.

Put differently, the public will pay a tax for placing their money into bank

Zimbabwean banks have run out of bank notes and the maximum amount of
withdrawals depositors are permitted to make is now severely restricted. The
country is already in the midst of a financial crisis. Behind this backdrop,
it is the policy of the present government, with the complicity of the
banking industry, to introduce a scheme that taxes individuals that deposit
their savings with banks.

And what is even more shocking is that banks do not seem to have objected to
the nature of deposit insurance scheme created. Ordinarily, the formula for
computing premiums payable by banks is stated in law.

In Zimbabwe, the DGF board in its absolute and unfettered discretion,
determines premiums payable. In addition, the DGF board does not refer to
scientific formulae in computing premiums payable. Premiums payable are
determined after taking into account the institution's deposit liabilities
and the volume of the deposit business which the board expects the
institution to conduct in the year concerned; and the estimated expenditure
from the fund for the coming year, including any amounts payable by way of

The determination of formulae used is left to a politically partial board.
In addition, premiums payable by any one contributory institution are
determined by either or a combination or all of three criteria (listed
above), as is "appropriate in the circumstances".

Tawanda Hondora is a lawyer based in the United Kingoom

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Mugabe's 'enemy' talk not good for Zim
By Obediah Mazombwe
IN one gigantic step backwards, President Mugabe on Heroes Day suddenly
lapsed into vitriolic vituperative against the opposition MDC, referring to
the party as "enemies" of Zimbabwe.

With a mixture of truths, half-truths and non-truths, the president reversed
an emerging trend towards reconciliation and accommodation among the
polarised Zimbabweans. He sought to stir up in his audience feelings of
hatred towards members of the opposition MDC.

Yet Mugabe made massive personal sacrifices to free this country and its
people. He sacrificed a promising teaching career, the joy of living with
his wife and daughter, to go to the bush and lead a vicious war of

Here is a man who only a couple of weeks earlier had raised the hopes for
peace, security and prosperity for millions of suffering Zimbabwean souls in
our rural areas, our cities and in foreign cities where they are exiled.

I believe millions of Zimbabweans, Zanu PF and MDC, black and white, young
and old, fell in love with the Mugabe who told guests at a luncheon in
Harare that Zanu PF must listen to what the MDC has to say and the MDC must
do likewise. The Mugabe who is reported to have looked at a luncheon table
occupied by MDC legislators and said: "I may be an old man but, I am 'your'
old man."

The president, indeed all Zimbabweans, must stop referring to those who
differ with them as "enemies".

In politics we have people in "opposition" to each other. We have political
"opponents", we have "contesting" political parties. We have "rival"
parties. We do not have enemies.

Enemies are "opponents unto death". Enemies seek to annihilate, decimate and
eliminate each other. Contestants seek to "win", to "beat", to "triumph
over" their rivals, not to bring their lives to an end.

Imagine someone saying Dynamos Football Club are enemies of Caps United
Football Club. Can a husband who has quarrelled with his wife declare her an
"enemy"? If he does so then there is no marriage left to talk about.

By the same token, one political party in a democracy cannot declare its
rival party an enemy, otherwise you have no democracy worth talking about.

Clearly, to the extent that Mugabe's reconciliatory stance after the opening
of parliament was genuine, the president has since been won over by Zanu PF

There is emerging in Zanu PF an increasingly powerful lunatic fringe,
sometimes erroneously referred to as the "New Guard", made up of technocrats
brought into Zanu PF as non-constituent MPs, supposedly to bring greater
light into the party. The lot has brought greater darkness instead.

They are accelerating the hijacking of a once glorious nationalist party
into a mercenary, opportunistic, despotic, get-rich-quick movement, while
keeping up pretenses of a nationalist, pan-African people's party. They
promise the people a future heaven on earth, even as they die daily from
famine and disease.

As these "hawks" try to out-Zanu Zanu and out-Mugabe Mugabe, they insist
that Zanu PF has now conquered the MDC and almost has everything wrapped up.
They do not see the need for Zanu PF to talk to the MDC until the latter are
ready to capitulate.

This Zanu PF clique believes all they need to do is maintain repressive
legislation, relegate opposition to the status of national "enemies", and
let the police, the army, the CIO, and various Zanu PF militia do the rest.

They believe that way people will be cowered into accepting their lot as
unavoidable and allow the "leaders" to loot and pillage national resources
under the guise of people's schemes.

For this clique it is important that there always be "enemies" to blame for
their failure to bring about any meaningful improvement to the lives of
suffering Zimbabweans.

One would have thought that Zanu PF and Mugabe had learned the folly of
labelling opposition as "enemies" from what has transpired regarding the
late Joshua Nkomo.

Today Joshua Nkomo's life is commemorated as exemplary. He is referred to as
"Father Zimbabwe" and a music gala is held every year in his honour. Yet
when he was in opposition Nkomo was labelled an "enemy". At no time did
Nkomo ever "repent".

In his Heroes Day speech, Mugabe went on endlessly about the need for
Zimbabweans to observe the values and principles that were promoted by our
fallen heroes.

He made the point that those who were diverting from those values and
principles were betraying the cause for which our fallen heroes laid down
their lives. Here Mugabe is largely correct and his comments fair enough.

However, can anyone really claim that the MDC has betrayed any of the values
that drove the fallen heroes to fight and die for this country? The key
issues that drove the nationalist fighters, including Mugabe himself, were
the desire to achieve self-rule and self-determination by the black African
majority, the determination to repossess land and livestock that the
colonialists had militarily and unjustly dispossessed the Africans of and
the desire for justice and equality for all persons.

In its earliest operations and in the kind of personalities the MDC
surrounded themselves with, the party did create the impression that it was
open to influence and manipulation by persons and groups whose interests may
not have been reconciliable with those of Zimbabwe's majority.

However, I would attribute all this to political ineptitude rather than a
conscious decision to subvert the Zimbabwean interest. The MDC's
shortcomings do not discount the many valid points they have made especially
concerning Zanu PF corruption. Nothing they have done or not done qualifies
them to be classified as "enemies" of Zimbabwe.

Obediah Mazombwe is a lecturer in Languages, Literature and Media Studies at
Zimbabwe Open University.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zim crisis: deal with causes not symptoms
Tafirenyika Wekwa Makunike
DESPITE rapid advances in sciences and development, the Homo sapiens are
still far closer to the animal kingdom than we care to acknowledge.

How do we explain the rabid fascination with violent sport like America
wrestling and boxing?

The thrills seem to come from seeing another human being hurt badly, never
mind the fact that they are paid to do so. It is almost a mirror image of
what happens in our own politics.

Another obsession that people have is with the Costa Nostra popularly known
as the mafia. How else would we explain the numerous violent movies that
have been recycled since time immemorial through our televisions and movie
theatres? Could it be the violence and raw power that we find so enchanting?

Perhaps it is the ability to say kapish with no legal hindrances that the
Mafia exhibits or their code of silence know as omerta. Mafia kingpins
assume their authority usually by violent means, exercising their authority
mainly through fear. Their authority lasts for their life time and their end
usually mirrors their entrance in the degree of violence and the baton stick
is passed on at the death bed to the one with the potential to follow a
similar path.

This August I thought I should drive home a few days before the Heroes Day
stampede of people rushing to perform grave rituals under the guise of
memorials. I was last at home in March and driving from Beitbridge through
Masvingo, Mutare, Harare back to Beitbridge I watched with interest the
kaleidoscope of what we all call home and how fast everything is changing.
Driving the Beitbridge-Mutare route in the evening, the only regular vehicle
one encounters is the double cab belonging to the ruling Mafioso, a few
commercial vehicles and a few funeral cortèges. A business colleague wanted
to know why I always make these trips back home despite the problems. They
say to return is to realise that you never left. Even if things were to
deteriorate any further I would still come.

As soon as I picked up a signal I tuned to one of Johno's stations to hear
what he has been up to lately and I immediately encountered my first audio
assault from Rambai Makashinga, a tune that was to be repeated with
astonishing regularity until fortunately I lost the signal and went back to
the tape. During my whole stay it was Rambai Makashinga ad neaseum. Even
Hitler's Geobbels was more subtle than this. Why they had to overdo this to
the point of sadism left me somewhat perplexed. As Zimbabweans our capacity
to take whatever is dished at us is legendary, stretching from pre-colonial
era to the current Zanu PF kingdom.

I lost two years of my schooling life making my own minute contribution to
the liberation of this country and had to skip a grade just to narrow the
gap with my peers. I can assure you that by any stretch of imagination this
is not the utopia we dreamt of. We have watched many mafikizolos in the
Mafia restructuring their curriculum vitae to give them a revolutionary
tinge! We suddenly get told that while they were at some far flung US
university they were in fact representing us there, notwithstanding the fact
that the majority of the people there did not even know what Rhodesia was.

Going to school in Mutare I had watched in 1980 staunch UANC supporters
(Madzakutsaku chaiwo) converting to Zanu and persecuting those they left
behind. As soon as there is potential for real change watch with me how all
those businesspeople will make a somersault and start splashing their
funding to any potential new dispensation. It complies strictly with all the
laws of the jungle.

While in Zimbabwe I bumped into this old acquaintance who is in alliance
with the ruling clique. He was eager to show me how well he has done for
himself while we were toiling in foreign lands. According to him if the
great uncle stays in power for another year his children and their offspring
will never need to work again. He had made more money in the last two years
than all his life and as he counts the accompanying trappings I could not
help noting that they were indeed massive.

Does your great uncle know that when you shout that only he should rule "for
ever and ever" it is out of self-interest? I enquired. Again he explained
that the Great Uncle had a big ego which when stroked properly can produce
astonishing results. What about the workers and our parents - the pensioners
who have seen their life's savings reduced to nothing? He was starting to
believe that I was getting jealous of his excesses so I closed the chapter.

Homecoming will not be complete without a trip to the bank, the storehouse
of the troubled currency and a mass of angry people. If the Mafia does not
seriously deal with this one, it could be the albatross that will ultimately
plunge the nation totally back to the animal kingdom. Failing to extricate
sufficient zim kwacha from the tellers I made a request to see the bank
manager at some bank I had an old company account. While I was pleading my
case a minister phoned the manager setting up the time for collection of her

With an air of self-importance the manager was making me aware who was on
the other end of the line. Needless to say I left with no joy at all. While
my experiences were only for a few days I can only imagine the effect on the
national psyche for those who have to endure on a daily basis.

It seems the police have totally adapted to the environment and have lost
interest in any form of policing. Not even once during my whole travel
through the country was I asked about anything including the drum of petrol
I brought from South Africa which was at the back of my car. Francis Nhema
is ordinarily a nice person but he will go down in history as the minister
who presided over the environmental destruction of our land.

Driving from Harare to Masvingo I could not help but infer that many of the
new farmers are more wood vendors. There are piles and piles of wood with no
takers. Instead of preparing the land for the next season another industry
seems to have started. Curiosity got the better of me with all road waving
and strange signs that I stopped. When I enquired about the signs they
explained that they were selling petrol hidden back in the bush.

Between Chivhu and Masvingo I counted at least five such selling points.

One question for the mafia is: what is it that makes it more worthwhile for
people to pan for gold, wheel and deal in practically anything than to till
the land? Are they not taking the cue from the ruling elite that it is more
valuable to shuffle things than to actually produce anything?

Governance is about satisfying the needs of the majority at the very least,
but ours seems to be inflicting the most pain on the majority while a
selected few make loads of money. Commissions and more price controls are no
substitute for the leadership vacuum. Changing $500 notes or printing indoor
travellers' cheques is just fire fighting dealing with symptoms and not the
causes. There is no political will to solve the problems of our nation
precisely because those who have arrogated themselves the right to rule over
us are benefiting from the problems they have created.

Politics used to be about a desire to serve but in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has
reduced it to mere rulership. It stopped being about winning the minds of
the people a long time ago to just showing them who is boss.

Tafirenyika Wekwa Makunike is a business consultant based in South Africa.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Murerwa fails to tackle inflation head-on
Ngoni Chanakira

FINANCE and Economic Development minister Herbert Murerwa last week
announced a $672 billion supplementary budget, admitting in the process that
Zimbabwe’s macro-economic fundamentals are deteriorating.

Total expenditures of $1 442,3 billion and revenues of $1 141,3 billion will
result in a budget deficit of $301 billion against the original $230 billion
forecast in November last year.

This translates to an increase from 7,3% of gross domestic product (GDP) to
11,5%, a symptom of gross economic mismanagement on the part of government.

Murerwa said while performance during the first half of the year had been
characterised by over-performance of revenue and under-performance of
expenditure, other developments had necessitated additional demands on the
fiscus. These included the implementation of the results of the civil
service job evaluation exercise, pension reviews, provision for requirements
of measures contained in the National Economic Revival Programme (Nerp), and
capital development.

Since 1997 Zimbabwe’s economy has weakened and inflation has continued to
accelerate from an average of 18% to 70,4% in October 1999. It has spiralled
to a new record of nearly 400% in July.

High inflation levels have progressively eroded the country’s
competitiveness. This has resulted in diminished exports and foreign
currency earnings.

Typically long on problems but short on solutions, Murerwa said “containing
inflation remains central to reversing output decline, restoring business
confidence, increasing foreign currency generation, encouraging savings,
investment and employment creation”. He didn’t say how inflation would be

Murerwa admitted that as inflation escalates and economic performance
declines, a huge proportion of the population now lives below the poverty
datum line. Unemployment is now estimated at 75% due to company closures and
reduced output.

The financial discipline that is needed to rein in spending and inflation
are lacking in government, analysts say. Ministries are competing to out-do
each other in blowing their budgetary allocations instead of saving. The
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says both domestic and foreign savings have
been declining since 1995.

The civil service, armed forces, and even village heads and war veterans,
receive regular salary hikes from government. These, in most cases, are not
budgeted for and Murerwa admits this. Gone are the days when budgeting was
done before increments were approved and then dished out.

Ever since war veterans managed to arm-twist President Robert Mugabe into
granting them packages of $50 000 each in 1997, government’s auditing
department has virtually ceased to exist.

The RBZ appears to have forgotten its functions and has allowed government
to borrow billions of dollars every week to finance unbudgeted projects. The
last time we heard from the RBZ, government was borrowing $50,2 billion
every week.

On the ground, however, real GDP growth declined from 10,6% in 1996 to near
zero in 1999. The weakening performance of the economy was initially
reflected in the slump in manufacturing and mining.

Manufacturing and mining declined against a background of weak domestic and
export demand, foreign exchange shortages, cash flow difficulties, rising
production costs and energy shortages.

Since the introduction of the fast track land resettlement programme in 2000
agriculture, previously the backbone of the economy, has been in free-fall.

In fact the country’s agricultural performance has turned into a tragic
tale: from being one of the best in the region, Zimbabwe now depends on
international goodwill to feed itself.

The deteriorating macroeco-nomic environment necessitated the introduction
of the Millennium Economic Recovery Programme (Merp) to “raise economic
growth and improve living standards”.

Other fantasy programmes include the National Economic Recovery Programme
(Nerp) and the latest mirage, the National Economic Revival Programme

The RBZ recently put its head on the block when it said domestic and foreign
savings, a major source of financing, were in a state of disaster. It said
these were critical in determining the level and rate of investment and
economic growth.

The central bank is now being attacked by politicians for exposing
government’s profligacy and failure to adhere to its own fiscal policy.

The country’s domestic savings ratio fell from 20,8% of GDP in 1995 to 9% in
2000, while the capital account balance deteriorated from a surplus of 7,1%
of GDP in 1995 to a deficit of 6,5% last year.

The bank says the decline in domestic and foreign savings has adversely
affected investment and industrial capacity utilisation, leading to a sharp
contraction in domestic output.

“The long-term solution to stimulating investment and growth, therefore,
hinges on the country’s ability to reduce inflation to sustainable levels in
order to enhance savings mobilisation,” the RBZ said in a recent analysis of
the country’s investment financing. “Zimbabwe’s high inflation has resulted
in more resources being channelled to non-productive speculative activities
and consumption. Sustained reduction in inflation restores the real value of
domestic savings and is, therefore, key to economic recovery.”

Instead of going cap in hand to parliament to beg for more funds government
should save money for a rainy day, the RBZ says.

Murerwa is correct when he says the major challenges the country faces arise
mainly from high inflation and poor foreign currency generation and that
many countries in the region and beyond have gone through similar
experiences and successfully resolved them. But that is easier said than

Analysts for example question why Zimbabwe continues to maintain numerous
embassies scattered across the globe when there are no dividends flowing
back into the country? Why, for example, does Zimbabwe have such a huge
cabinet with ministers in other ministers’ offices? Why, for example, does
President Mugabe continue to play the political balancing act by keeping two
vice-presidents each with ministers in his office?

All these projects are costly and Murerwa needs to tell his colleagues about
this. Zimbabwe’s long gravy train has turned the country into an
international laughing stock!

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


Scene from the House of Hunger

THERE was a ludicrous article in the Sunday Mail by Clever Chirume about
Zimbabwean media failing to transform “in line with democratisation
processes”. The article seems to mirror the writer’s confusion. In the
article, Chirume talks about democracy but is contemptuous of “the rule of
law” which he dismisses as an abstract value.

He blames the Daily News for publishing the MDC’s position paper on the
talks but says nothing about Zanu PF which is refusing to move with speed to
deal with the nation’s snowballing problems.

The media can play a constructive role provided political leaders are
serious about their business.

“The talks should be about the immediate strategies of solving our problems
as well as the long-term strategy of bringing food on the table through
addressing the national question,” says Chirume. Then he proceeds to attack
what he calls the MDC’s wish list.

Surely Zanu PF simply has no solutions to the country’s problems that it
created while the likes of Chirume and other praise-singers cheered on. We
are in this situation because since 1980 we have had too many Chirumes — a
gullible mass of people who simply followed Zanu PF slavishly down the road
to ruin.

The arrogant declaration by Zanu PF leaders, including national chairman
John Nkomo, that no-one can tell their party how it should do “its business”
reveals hubris that has been the ruin of many despots.

“The media has completely ignored to enlighten the people about the
unsustainability and the destructive consequences of the stalemate between
Zanu PF and the MDC,” says Chirume.

“The political impasse between the two parties has no doubt blocked options
to the resolution of the country’s problems.”

What planet has Chirume been living in? Which media is he referring to? Who
has been stonewalling on the talks? Why duck and dive Chirume?

The MDC might only have a “wish list” as Chirume calls it, but at least it
has a position paper on the way forward.  What is Zanu PF’s position?
Chirume and other Zanu PF columnists must tell us.

The Sunday Mail also carried a piece by Professor Kangaroo Manheru’s embed
reporter, Munyaradzi Huni. Huni reproduced a New African magazine article on
how Britain and America allegedly helped Idi Amin stage a coup in Uganda in
January 1971. Only at the end of the article were we told why this
propaganda piece was relevant to Zimbabwe:

“Now, is there any similarity between the dirty games that the British
government employed to smuggle Amin into power and the way they wanted to
push the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai into power through the back door?”
asks Huni. Of course, there is no similarity.  Why ask such a preposterous
question? But you can’t put anything beyond Huni (deadwood).

“Just like Amin,” explained Huni, “Tsvangirai has sell-out tendencies as was
shown by his actions when he abconded from the liberatin struggle after a
few days.” Has Huni ever heard of Mgagao before? Why is he being so unkind
to his master?

Everybody knows Tsvangirai got nearly as many votes as Robert Mugabe in the
presidential election. The outcome of that election is still being
challenged in court and might yet prove that there were lots of
irregularities in the way Mugabe emerged the winner. The MDC won 57 seats in
the parliamentary election in 2000 while Zanu PF got only 62.

We are not aware of British citizens who voted for the MDC as part of a plan
to push Tsvangirai “into power though the back door”.

Only a few weeks ago Huni was urging the media to get sober when reporting
national issues. It seems he is getting more drunk with propaganda.

The psychopath calling himself Under the Surface — whatever that means —
appears to be getting increasingly deranged. This week he took an unprovoked
lunge at the new American head of the political section at the US embassy in
Harare, Win Dayton, warning him of unspecified dire consequences if he tried
“to play any silly games”.

“Ask the British high commissioner to Zimbabwe Brian Donnelly what will
happen if you try to do so,” Under the Surface threatened.

We don’t know what happened to Sir Brian. Muckraker is curious to know. And
why does Under the Surface sound afraid?  Surely Dayton is not President

ZBC’s Tazzen Mandizvidza strug-gled through his soporific weekly programme,
Media Watch trying to explain what a supplementary budget means. At the end
of the programme we were no wiser than the buffoon he interviewed who didn’t
seem to know there had been such a thing.

The media, Mandizvidza claimed, was failing to educate the public about
budgets. But the ZBC has so much time wasted on propaganda music that no-one
wants to listen to. The public media which Moyo seems to think belongs to
him should give informed people time to explain budget issues.

But unfortunately that would expose a government committed to spending
taxpayers’ money on useless undertakings like Rambai Makashinga or training
thugs at the Border Gezi Institute instead of funding capital projects.

Genuine analysts would lay open government’s reckless spending pattern and
financial abuses over the past 23 years.  Mandizvidza is not the type to
undertake such a risky enterprise. We all know the reason. He would be in
the streets the following day looking for a job.

A great quote from the Herald’s psychotic columnist, Nathaniel Manheru:
“Things have gone out of hand and too far and the time has come to tell
Howard that he is one huge disgrace and that, because he has done an
unbelievable disservice to the Commonwealth, he will not be allowed to cause
more damage.”

Zimbabweans would be forgiven for a sense of déjà vu.  Remove Howard and put
Mugabe and substitute Zimbabwe for Commonwealth and the scene from the House
of Hunger is complete.

Australian prime minister John Howard was being lambasted for calling
President Mugabe an “unelected despot”.

Manheru seems to be living in a fool’s paradise. Just listen to this:

“Fortunately for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans, the gulf between Howard’s
mythical Zimbabwe and the real Zimbabwe is widening by the day with the
effect of exposing the lies and deceptions that have come to typify the
approaches of the white world …” Manheru claimed.

Isn’t it true that the widening gulf is between suffering Zimbabweans and
its rulers living in a mythical Zimbabwe of milk and honey?

After destroying agriculture and causing massive shortages in Zimbabwe
Manheru and his ilk go down south to shop for scarce foodstuffs in
Johannesburg. Not so the poor who must literally fight everyday to get a
meal. Let’s hope the Sunday Times will continue to do its job of exposing
hypocrites who create hunger in their own countries and rush to foreign
lands to buy food using taxpayers’ money.

Muckraker does not normally comment on football matters because soccer
journalists are less sycophantic compared to their counterparts who cover
politics. But the Herald’s overzealous coverage of Dynamos’ impressive 3-0
victory over Highlanders was slightly over the top. They splashed three
rambling stories on the same issue.

ZBC’s SportFM immediately after the game on Sunday indulged in a similar
orgy. The disc jockey on air, whatever his name, played Dynamos’ praise song
by Zex Manatsa twice inside 10 minutes. Come on guys, be professional and
stop being DeMbare mambaras. We know you support the team.

Still on soccer, we were amused to see Zifa guys writing a letter to their
patron Simon Muzenda complaining about junior minister Jonathan Moyo’s
interference in their affairs. Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere
complained about Moyo’s interference and attempts to make a name for himself
in football.

The Daily News captured the humour on Monday when it carried a cartoon of a
tall, lanky and bespectacled fellow with receding hair and a potbelly
standing under a washing line with T-shirts written “Moyo the farmer”, “Moyo
the media analyst”, “Moyo the politician”, “Moyo the musician”, and “Moyo
the soccer fan”.   What is his portfolio? we really wonder!

Where is the instant multimillionaire in impoverished Zim-babwe who is not
claiming his Lotto prize?

We are told one of the three winners from the August 9 draw has not claimed
his $63,3 million.

It is clear the winner-at-large is unaware of his new status given the
hyperinflationary environment we live in.

It’s also likely the winner is not a committed gambler and therefore did not
bother checking the winning numbers or the winning ticket was misplaced long
before the results were out.

If the winner does not come up soon, there is every chance that somebody
from the thriving crime sector will try a few tricks and produce a fake

If they can do it with hard cash, musical concert tickets and cheques, why
not with a lotto ticket?

If the winner is still in the country and has not bothered to check his
ticket then he is the unluckiest person because there is not much chance
that he will land the big one again.
Back to the Top
Back to Index