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

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      Decision on Zimbabwe asylum cases
      The High Court in London is to consider on Thursday whether asylum
seekers from Zimbabwe should be sent back home if their applications fail.
      Some Zimbabwean refugees say they are in danger of being ill-treated
by Robert Mugabe's regime because they claimed asylum in the UK.

      Scores had been on hunger strike before deportations were suspended
last month.

      A group of asylum-seekers has staged an all-night vigil outside the
High Court to draw attention to the case.

      In July, the government suspended removing failed asylum seekers until
the High Court ruled on their legality.

      It followed comments by a judge, Mr Justice Collins, who appealed to
Home Secretary Charles Clarke to block all deportations until the test cases
had taken place.

      Asylum seekers at Harmondsworth detention centre at Heathrow and
Yarlswood in Bedfordshire went on hunger strike in June to highlight their

      The action is being taken by one Zimbabwean on behalf of other failed
asylum seekers held at detention centres around the country.

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The Herald

RBZ hikes interest rates again

By Brian Benza
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has increased interest rates for the second
time in as many weeks as the fight against inflation intensifies.

Secured accommodation has been increased to 190 percent from 180 percent
while unsecured borrowing has gone up to 200 percent from 190 percent.

This is the second increase in two weeks following an adjustment announced
in the mid-term monetary policy review statement last month.

The latest development could push deposit and minimum lending rates up as
financial institutions seek to maintain their profit margins.

"After the last increase in the accommodation rates in the mid-term monetary
policy review, the central bank has again on 28 July 2005 increased the
accommodation rates to 190 percent for secured accommodation while the
unsecured rate is now at 200 percent," said an RBZ official.

At the beginning of the week, deposit rates continued to firm, with the
90-day Negotiable Certificates of Deposit (NCD) quoted between 130 percent
and 140 percent.

Call rates were indicated in the 3 percent to 40 percent range and the Inter
Bank Overnight rates firmed to around 145 percent.

With liquidity shortages of as high as $700 billion currently being
experienced on the market, rates are likely to continue firming.

Lending rates, on the other hand, are gradually creeping up, although some
banks are still to factor in last month's rise in the accommodation rates.

The Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group, Barclays and FBC Bank were among the
first to adjust their rates upwards after the mid-term review and will be
expected to further up the rates shortly in line with the RBZ's latest hike.

While the rise in the interest rates will kill off the speculative
activities because of the increase in borrowing costs, producers who do not
qualify for concessional loans will feel the pinch as banks' lending rates
are likely to shoot to anything above 210 percent.

On the other hand, the stock market will be suffocated by the increase as a
flight of funds will be expected at hints of even the slightest rise in
positive real returns on the market.

As finance houses began to factor in last month's rise in the accommodation
rates the stock market traded mixed last week after a strong bull run as
returns on the money market increased.

As the central bank seeks to meet an inflation target of around 80 percent
by year-end, the monetary authorities have identified the interest rate
regime as the chief weapon against the resurgent inflationary pressures
coupled with a positive response on the money supply side.

Last season's drought, along with foreign currency shortages and other
unanticipated strains on the fiscus, have continued to mount pressure on the
annual inflation rate which has increased for the third time in a row and is
expected to maintain an upward momentum until September before it starts to

Inflation has caused a number of social and economic problems such as the
arbitrary redistribution of wealth in favour of borrowers since the prices
of goods and services do not rise at the same rate, thereby creating
distortions in the economy.

In addition, the purchasing power, especially of those on fixed incomes such
as pensioners, has been eroded while speculative activities tend to rise at
the expense of production.

In light of this, the central bank has continued to implement an aggressive
open market operations policy to staunch any inflationary surplus liquidity
conditions from the money market.

As part of the anti-inflation drive, annual money supply growth has trended
downwards from 490,9 percent in January 2004 to 235 percent in May 2005.

Stringent liquidity management through the central bank's open market
operations (OMOs), supported by continued fiscal moderation, has lowered the
rate of growth of money supply and played a key role in lowering the rate of
inflation from a peak of 623 percent in January last year.

The coming into effect of new statutory reserve payment guidelines for
commercial banks to the central bank have also tightened the market
liquidity effectively.

The new guidelines increased the tenor of investments that could be included
for the purposes of computing statutory reserve payments from a minimum of
seven days to 91 days.
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The Epoch Times

Aid With a Not-So-Hidden Agenda
On Beijing's Aid Deal with Zimbabwe

      By Martin Croucher
      The Epoch Times UK Editoral Staff
     Aug 04, 2005


Faced with severe economic crisis and international condemnation for the
forced evictions of close to a million Zimbabweans, Dictator Robert Mugabe
sought refuge with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) last week, who
wholeheartedly welcomed him.
Whereas the G8 gives financial aid to African states on the condition of
improvements in human rights, the CCP offers its support to dictators
without moral stipulations.

In Beijing, Mugabe struck up a deal with his Chinese equivalent Hu Jintao on
aid; however the details of the agreement, which is assumed will benefit
China as much as Zimbabwe, remain undisclosed.

What will frustrate many is that prior to the deal Zimbabwe was at a turning
point. Faced with the option of total economic collapse or the adoption of
Western-led development projects, Mugabe's days seemed numbered. The CCP
however, gave him an escape route.

As well as economic protection, the CCP's veto in the UN Security Council
puts it in a position to block any resolution directed at Mugabe, which many
claim is what he fears is in the pipeline. The CCP, which brutally represses
thousands of innocent people, has always been keen to steer the UN agenda
away from "meddling in internal affairs".

British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry was blocked by China, after a request
for a public briefing of a damning Human Rights report on Zimbabwe by UN
official Anna Tibaijuka last week. The report, which was made public on
Friday, lashes Mugabe for his `urban clearout` policy; it says the operation
was carried out indiscriminately and without regard for human suffering.

Under the auspices of the CCP the long-held dream of fuller democracy in
Zimbabwe will wilt. Zimbabwean business could be stifled by cheap Chinese
exports, and the nation's natural resources will be sucked dry to fuel the
horrific industrial growth policies of the CCP.

"I can't think of any country where oil imports have increased so rapidly
both in relative and absolute terms. you have to wonder, can they continue
to afford buying the oil that they need to support their economy,
particularly if prices of oil stay where they are at today's level?" said
Robert Ebel, of the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies,
to Radio Free Asia in an interview last year.

Hungrily eying the oil reserves of African states, the CCP has engaged in a
program of investment in the continent, which is undercutting the holistic
development packages of the World Bank. This has added to Washington's fast
growing suspicion of the CCP.

"There is concern that the Chinese intend to aid and abet African dictators,
gain a stranglehold on precious African natural resources and undo much of
the progress that has been made on democracy and governance in the last 15
years in African nations," US Republican Chris Smith told a Congressional
committee last Thursday.

The committee highlighted how China's intervention in Africa may serve to
stifle social development in the continent.

"Diplomatic and economic pressure to encourage reform, including sanctions,
could have a reduced effect if regimes look to China as an alternative
source of aid, trade, and investment," read the introduction to the meeting.

In a Channel 4 special report on China's involvement in Africa, Sierra Leone
Human Rights politician Zainab Bangura expressed a fear that the Chinese `no
strings attached` aid policy will be a more appealing prospect to African
dictatorships than the development model promulgated by the World Bank;
leading the West to lower their high human rights benchmark.

"If anyone starts trying to change the constitution or imprisoning
journalists or breaching procurement rules and regulations, they'll (the US
and UK) pretend not to understand because they're afraid they'll go over to

In the Darfur region of Sudan, where civil war led to a humanitarian
catastrophe, the CCP's arms sale and foreign investment ran counter to the
international attempt to restore peace.

"Business is business. There's no business but the business." Channel 4
reported the Sudanese energy minister, Awad Al Jaz, as saying in relation to
deals with the CCP.

Human Rights Watch claim that the CCP has supplied the Sudanese government
with ammunition, helicopters, tanks, fighter aircraft, and anti-tank mines
to participate in the country's civil war, which many claim was an act of

The CCP have also made a practice of supporting oil-rich dictatorships
around the world that have strong anti-American inclinations.

While the US and EU tried to curb the emerging nuclear project in Iran, the
CCP funded it with oil purchases and the promise of protection from a UN
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Pretoria News

      South Africa hoping Mugabe will play ball
      August 4, 2005

      By Moshoeshoe Monare

      South Africa is hoping to get a reluctant Zimbabwean government to
adopt a draft constitution and ensure Press freedom as a condition to paying
off Harare's debt and providing agricultural assistance.

      Faced with a potential economic collapse, it is believed that the
government of President Robert Mugabe had initially agreed to these
conditions after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) threatened to expel
Zimbabwe for failing to settle its debt.

      But while Mugabe tentatively agreed, he weighed his options by
knocking on the doors of other countries such as China to bail him out as a
way to avert imposed conditions from South Africa.

      Government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe yesterday confidently confirmed
the continuing talks this week after South Africa waited to see what Mugabe
would do after returning from China, fearing that Pretoria's opportunistic
leverage could be dashed by Beijing. The resumption of discussions between
Zimbabwe and South Africa on financial assistance is an indication that
Mugabe would now use Pretoria. Mugabe has a month to repay the IMF after the
international financial institution extended Zimbabwe's expulsion deadline,
which was yesterday.

      South Africa will pay half of the debt to retain Zimbabwe's IMF
membership, but under strict conditions which, if Pretoria gets its way, may
see constitutional, political and economic reforms in Zimbabwe.

      But South Africa has not heard anything from Zimbabwe as per the
initial agreement.

      Netshitenzhe made it clear that they were not prepared to throw Mugabe
an unconditional lifeline: "(We will look at) how do we ensure that such
assistance results in a sustainable recovery so that we don't find ourselves
in a similar situation in a year's time," he said yesterday.

      He also sent a strong message to the Mugabe regime, further allaying
fears that the government was bankrolling Zimbabwe to come out of problems
of its own making.

      "What we need to emphasise is that in principle, government is open to
assisting Zimbabwe and this will be premised on the principle that (such)
assistance should be to the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe as a whole,"
Netshitenzhe said in Pretoria.

      But he went the diplomatic route when pushed about conditions imposed
on Zimbabwe.

      "As a matter of principle we do not relate to other countries on the
basis of conditions, we don't behave like a Big Brother" he said.

      Netshitenzhe said cabinet agreed that in addition to paying the IMF
debt, they would consider assisting Zimbabwe with seeds, fertilisers and
other agricultural facilities.

      "Government will be working with the UN and religious leaders in order
to provide humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of "Operation Restore

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The Epoch Times
Zimbabweans Protest at Chinese Embassy in London

By James Earll and Richard Lines
The Epoch Times UK Staff
Aug 03, 2005

Zimbabweans protest outside the Chinese Embassy on Friday, July 29 against the People’s Republic of China `propping up` Dictator Robert Mugabe’s regime with financial aid. (Mo Zhengfang/The Epoch Times)
High-resolution image (1280 x 960 pixels, 72 dpi)
Exiled Zimbabweans staged a demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy last Friday, to protest the People’s Republic of China `propping up` Dictator Robert Mugabe’s regime with financial aid.

“The money won’t be used for the benefit of the people, it will be used for the benefit of the ruling elite.” said Dennis Benton of the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition, speaking of the recently arranged aid package Mugabe will receive from China.

Many coalition members believe that the money would be used to bolster Mugabe’s military capacity to suppress his own people.

Under Mugabe’s rule, Zimbabwe’s economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. Over 70% of the population is unemployed, while the inflation rate is at 150%. Millions are facing starvation due to food shortages.

One protestor told The Epoch Times that while Western donors would only give aid to Zimbabwe on the condition of him furthering democracy and human rights, the PRC simply doesn’t care.

“They are going to give him the arms that he needs and in return he is giving them the land and the right to go and mine minerals – which is really the wealth of the country, and of future generations… China is the only country which is saying that it doesn’t care about human rights, it doesn’t care about democracy, it doesn’t care if people are starving in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The Chinese embassy refused to accept petition forms from Zimbabwe Vigil.

The event comes at a time when the UN is condemning the Mugabe regime’s recent acts of violence against its own citizens, most notably “Operation Murambatsvina” (Shona for “Operation Drive Out Trash”), which has made homeless an estimated 700,000 people.

“What was going on when I left was that he [Mugabe] was going into the cities and destroying peoples homes – even tiny businesses. He even took bulldozers and went into the Churches where people were being sheltered,” said Rev. Dr. Martine Stemerick, who is conducting a Human Rights investigations in Zimbabwe.

The protest was held next to the 24/7 `Stop the genocide against Falun Gong` vigil, which has been maintained for over two years outside the Chinese Embassy.

“The Falun Gong can speak at first hand of the Chinese Communists’ contempt for human rights. Do Zimbabweans really want to be beholden to these people [the CCP]?” says a statement on the Zimbabwean Vigil website.

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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe suffers worst economic crisis ever

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 08/04/2005 09:23:31
ZIMBABWE was blighted by probably its worst economic crisis yet this week
with chronic electricity and water shortages in the major cities of Harare
and Bulawayo.

Doctors and industrial workers were also on strike, with a decision to
suspend Zimbabwe from the International Monetary Fund imminent.

The state-owned power company blamed a series of prolonged countrywide
blackouts this week on delayed coal deliveries at the Hwange Power Station,
equipment breakdowns and interruptions in electricity imports.

Thousands of Harare residencies -- including the plush Borrowdale suburb
where Zimbabwe's celebrities and politicians have their homes -- had gone
without electricity for close to 20 hours last night.

In Bulawayo, a biting water shortage was felt across most of the high
density suburbs, including Entumbane, Lobengula Cowdray Park and parts of
Luveve. There were fears of a disease outbreak, with some houses entering
the fifth day without water.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority's woes are a sign of the
devastating crisis gripping what was once one of southern Africa's most
prosperous economies.

In a brief statement to consumers, ZESA said Zimbabwe was experiencing 400
to 450 megawatt shortfalls on its daily winter requirement of 2 100

The result has been power cuts in towns and cities at the height of the
southern hemisphere winter. Farmers have also been without electricity to
operate irrigation equipment at a critical growing stage for vital crops
such as wheat.

Several banks and other key industries were shut down on Wednesday.

Political scientist Professor Jonathan Moyo who until recently was a
government spokesman described the economic crisis as unprecedented.

"Without warning or effort to inform, we have been plunged into darkness.
One would expect these problems during winter when utilisation is high, but
we are getting out of winter. This kind of crisis can only happen where the
centre is no longer holding," Moyo, who lives in Borrowdale and had gone for
14 hours without electricity told New

"For anyone who has lived in Africa and seen government transitions, this is
the clearest sign yet of not just a ship sinking, but one without a captain.
We are engulfed by darkness."

President Robert Mugabe held meetings with his ministers on Tuesday and
Wednesday. He also met members of Zanu PF's politburo at the Zanu PF
headquarters in Rotten Row.

Also on Wednesday, the South African cabinet committed itself to helping
Zimbabwe with a US$300 million loan which Zimbabwe urgently requires to pay
the IMF. The load alone is not enough and Zimbabwe will need much more
financial help from its Asian allies to ward off a total collapse.

The often-violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms for
redistribution to black Zimbabweans, combined with years of drought, have
destroyed the country's agriculture-based economy. Inflation has soared to
164 percent, and Zimbabwe is also suffering critical shortages of food, fuel
and foreign currency.

A senior official at the power monopoly denied reports that Zimbabwe has
been unable to buy electricity from neighboring South Africa and Mozambique
because it lacked the foreign currency.

"We have been importing the maximum accessible power from Eskom in South
Africa and HCB of Mozambique but cannot match demand due to the winter
peak," Obsert Nyatanga, general manager for corporate affairs, said in an
interview with the state-run Herald newspaper.

But he said there has been a disruption in electricity supplies from Congo
due to a major generator failure there.

Meanwhile, the key Hwange thermal power station in northwestern Zimbabwe has
"ground to a halt" due to generator and boiler failures caused by the lack
of currency to import spare parts, Nyatanga told The Herald.

He said smaller thermal power stations in the western cities of Bulawayo and
Munyati were supplying only 30 percent of normal output due to a shortage of
train cars to deliver coal.

On a state visit to China last week, President Robert Mugabe announced that
Beijing has offered to provide two 300-megawatt generators for the Hwange
plant on undisclosed terms. A controversial 1990s deal with Malaysia's YTL
Power International Bhd. to upgrade the facility never materialized.

In another sign of the country's economic troubles, the black market rate
for its currency has reportedly soared to 45 000 Zimbabwe dollars to the US
dollar, compared to an official rate of 17 500 Zimbabwe dollars. The British
pound is now fetching $65 000 against the dollar.

In a bid to relieve gas stations, where drivers have been waiting in line
for weeks to buy fuel that rarely comes, the government is allowing some
stations to sell privately imported stocks at US$1 a liter. The first such
station opened on Wednesday, state radio reported. State-imported fuel sells
for 10 000 Zimbabwe dollars a liter.

Without paraffin to cook and heat their homes, Zimbabwe's poor are resorting
to building wood fires. This in turn is aggravating the denudation of the
about 5 000 seized commercial farms as their new owners seek to make a quick
profit by selling firewood.

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      Zimbabwean president leaves for AU summit 2005-08-04 14:36:13

          HARARE, Aug. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean President Mugabe has left
here for Ethiopia to attend the African Union's extraordinary summit in
Addis Ababa, where he joined other African leaders to discuss the proposed
reform of the United Nations.

          He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and
other senior government officials on Wednesday.

          The Addis Ababa meeting, which will deliberate Africa's position
on the reform of the world body, comes in the wake of reports that some
African countries had shifted from the position the AU had adopted regarding
the UN reformation.

          At the fifth AU summit in Libya last month, African leaders
reaffirmed their desire to strengthen the United Nations Security Council by
pressing for increased representation for Africa.

          More than 40 African heads of state and government reaffirmed
their desire to strengthen the leadership of the UN Security Council to
enable it fulfill its role as the most representative and democratic organ
of the UN systems and world parliament.

          The African Union presented a measure to the General Assembly in
early July, proposing an increase of six permanent members, allwith the veto
power, and five non-permanent members on the council.

          At present, only the so-called Big Five permanent members -- 
Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- have the right of
veto within the council, which also has 10 rotating non-permanent members
without veto power. Enditem

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Business Day

Posted to the web on: 04 August 2005
Crunch for Mugabe as $1bn loan talks start
Vukani Mde and Karima Brown

FINANCE Minister Trevor Manuel and Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni will
meet their Zimbabwean counterparts in make-or-break talks today on strict
conditions in exchange for a $1bn bale-out for SA's troubled neighbour.

SA has put in place tough political and economic conditions aimed at
normalising crisis-ridden Zimbabwe.

They include the urgent resumption of talks between President Robert Mugabe's
government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
constitutional reforms, restoration of the rule of law and repealing
repressive laws.

Sources in Harare confirmed last night that Zimbabwean Finance Minister
Herbert Murerwa and central bank governor Gideon Gono were already in
Pretoria ahead of a Southern Africa Development Community finance ministers'
meeting tomorrow.

Manuel is expected to use today's meeting to spell out to the Zimbabweans
the strict conditions under which SA is prepared to extend financial aid.

The conditions are in line with President Thabo Mbeki's stated view that
Zimbabwe needs an extensive economic recovery plan that will be sustainable
in the long run. This would include a review of the role of Zimbabwe's
central bank and the ditching of its dual-currency system.

Following a cabinet meeting yesterday, government was at pains to avoid
being seen as imposing conditions on Zimbabwe at today's talks.

"On principle we don't deal with other countries on the basis of
 conditions," said chief government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe. SA was also
keen to avoid being viewed as "big brother" in its dealings with Zimbabwe.

Today's talks are seen as crucial to averting Zimbabwe's expulsion from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), something Mugabe would like to avoid. The
country needs to settle its IMF arrears of $295m to avoid expulsion.

Netshitenzhe said the IMF had given Zimbabwe four weeks' grace, following
talks between the country and the international lender. SA was willing to
put up the minimum needed to prevent Zimbabwe's expulsion.

"In principle, government is open to such assistance, including provision of
a loan facility in relation to Zimbabwe's obligations to the IMF. Our
approach on this matter is premised on the principle that such assistance
should be to the benefit of the Zimbabwean people as a whole, within the
context of their programme of economic recovery and political
 normalisation," Netshitenzhe said.

Today's meeting comes amid tangible signs of a meltdown of Zimbabwe's

Crippling fuel shortages coupled with frequent power outages are about to
bring the country to its knees. There are also massive food shortages,
particularly in rural areas, where the chaotic land-redistribution strategy
has undermined food security.

There are also signs that Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) party are
increasingly under pressure to secure quick funding sources.

Following his failed bid to secure money from China last week, Mugabe is now
reportedly making overtures to Uruguay. It is not known whether the pleas to
the South American country have yielded any results.

His trip to China, which some analysts said was an attempt to avoid SA's
loan conditions, backfired as he returned from Beijing with a pledge of only
$6m for food aid.

Zimbabwe's government has previously relied on assistance from Libya's
Muammar Gaddafi in exchange for mineral rights in the resource-rich country.

However the situation has so deteriorated in Zimbabwe that Mugabe has no
option but to turn to Pretoria for a lifeline, despite his announcement last
week that he would not be dictated to by any foreign country.

Today's talks, coupled with the dire situation in Zimbabwe, will for the
first time allow SA to exercise leverage over Mugabe.

However, Mbeki has always insisted that Zimbabweans themselves come up with
the solution to their country's impasse.

Mbeki has also recently insisted that the international community stay
engaged with Zimbabwe.

Yesterday Netshitenzhe reiterated this call.

"Government will work with the United Nations and South African religious
leaders to provide emergency humanitarian assistance particularly in the
aftermath of Operation Restore Order," he said.

SA has indicated its support for UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka's scathing report
on the urban forced removal operation, which she said had displaced 700 000
people. SA's talks with the Zimbabwean officials today mark the culmination
of Mbeki's multi-pronged approach, marking a departure from expectations
that the South African government alone had to broker a solution in

Besides Manuel's financial leverage, Mbeki has also given his blessing to
civil society organisations. He is expected to meet the South African
Council of Churches (SACC) on Tibaijuka's findings, as well as to be briefed
by the church group on its humanitarian mission which left for Zimbabwe
earlier this week.

Meanwhile, opposition parties reacted with outrage to yesterday's cabinet
announcement that SA would bale out Zimbabwe.

"The decision in principle by cabinet today to provide a loan facility for
Zimbabwe, for it to meet its debt obligations towards the IMF, amounts to an
endorsement of the Mugabe government and its policies. SA is helping to prop
up a government which has recently been described by the United Nations as
carrying out policies which are a 'clear violation of international law',
said Democratic Alliance chief whip Douglas Gibson.

Gibson said government had shifted from "quiet diplomacy" to "active
 support" of Mugabe.

"This is taxpayers' money which will be spent on Zimbabwe, hence taxpayers
are entitled to know the conditions attached to this gift," he said. The
Constitution required the final decision on the gift to be debated in
Parliament as soon as it reconvened later this month, he said.

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      Mozambique's dawn
       Richard Tren
      Posted: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 08:24 | © Moneyweb Holdings Limited,

      Driving around Maputo is like driving through the pages of a socialist
history book. Avenida Vladimir Lenin leads into Avenida Mao Tse Tung and
Avenida Kim Il Sung runs parallel to Avenida Salvador Allende. So in fact,
it is more like driving around a history book of disastrous economic
policies and human catastrophes. And yet Mozambique is not the desperate
failure that the capital's street names would suggest. By abandoning years
of failed socialism and embracing economic freedom, life for ordinary
Mozambicans is improving.

      It was not only the failed socialist policies that ruined Mozambique.
Years of bitter civil war destroyed most of the country's infrastructure, to
say little of the destruction of human lives. Yet the country has been at
peace for more than 15 years and has had several democratic elections.
Successive peace-time governments have steadily increased economic freedom
and have been rewarded with increased economic growth.

      According to the Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom, the
Mozambican economy moved from a score of 4.39 in 1995 to 3.34 in 2005, where
5 measures the least free and 1 the most free. There are still many aspects
of the Mozambican economy that are not free and overall the country is
ranked as "mostly un-free". Yet the trend is towards greater freedom and
given the obvious benefits that the country has reaped from freedom, it is
hard to believe that it will regress.

      Economic growth was above 7% last year and inward investment has been
impressive. According to Heritage, "Mozambique allows 100 percent
repatriation of profits and retention of earned foreign exchange in domestic
accounts." Mozambique's wealthier neighbour, South Africa, still has foreign
exchange controls, which limit repatriation of profits and foreign currency

      You can see the evidence of this openness to foreign investment as you
drive towards Maputo from the South African border. Rising out of the flat
bush is BHP Billiton's Mozal aluminium smelter - a state of the art facility
in one of the poorest countries on earth. Smelters are not the most
attractive constructions, but this one stands out of the featureless
surroundings like a beacon of hope.

      Not only does Mozal represent an inward investment of more than a
billion dollars, but BHP Billiton has also been funding malaria control in
the country. The malaria control programme run in conjunction with South
Africa and Swaziland has ensured that malaria cases in the south of the
country have plummeted. The programme, which involves spraying tiny amounts
of insecticide inside houses, has been so successful that a similar
initiative is soon to be started further north.

      I first came to Maputo seven years ago and was shocked to see many
dilapidated buildings and roads in a state of disrepair. Yet then, as now, I
was struck by the fact that so many Mozambicans were not sitting around in
the street begging or waiting for a handout, but were busy selling, trading
and creating something out of nothing. This attitude of self-reliance,
perhaps born out of years of adversity, seems to have paid off. There is
still a great deal of poverty now, but the streets are cleaner and improved,
the buildings are smarter and there are several new, gleaming hotels and
office blocks. My own hotel, on Avenida Julius Nyerere, is one of the nicest
I have ever stayed in and I am using the wireless internet connection for

      As I wandered down Julius Nyerere I considered how grateful ordinary
Mozambicans must be that Nyerere's vision of African socialism and
collectivisation has been consigned to history. Even though the Mozambican
economy is far from free, the growth in that country shows how readily
countries are rewarded for adopting policies that increase freedom.
Mozambicans seem to exude a sense of optimism and hope that is quite

      But if Mozambique demonstrates how important increasing freedom is,
Zimbabwe is a constant and ugly reminder of how countries are punished for
reducing freedoms, disregarding property rights and abandoning the rule of
law. However one chooses to place the current Zimbabwean crisis in a
historical context, one cannot escape the fact that life for ordinary
Zimbabweans is now immeasurably worse than when President Mugabe came to
power. Not only are Zimbabweans poorer, but they are sicker too, with a life
expectancy of just 33 years.

      Mozambique and Zimbabwe stand in stark contrast to each other; the
former progressing, the latter regressing. But if Mozambique and other
southern African nations want to secure the freedom of their people and the
resulting prosperity that arises from that freedom, they must take a stand
against Mugabe's tyranny. If that happens, many more good news stories will
flow from the continent.

      Richard Tren is a director of the health advocacy group - Africa
Fighting Malaria.
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      Makamba flees?

      Njabulo Ncube
      8/4/2005 7:53:24 AM (GMT +2)

      MYSTERY surrounds the whereabouts of Harare businessman-cum politician
James Makamba, who faces prosecution for illegally dealing in foreign
currency, with speculation rife that the former television talk show host
might have sought refuge outside the country.

      Sources close to Makamba told The Financial Gazette this week that the
former ZANU PF central committee member, whose last public appearance was in
June when he ceded part of his stake in Telecel Zimbabwe, left the country
two weeks ago on a South African Airways flight but hinted he was unlikely
to come back.
      A few days after his departure, the Supreme Court rescinded a High
Court judgment that had set the Telecel chairman, who was facing five counts
of breaching the Exchange Control Act, free in August last year.
      The government - fighting the worst recession in the history of the
southern African state - is dealing ruthlessly with perpetrators of economic
crimes in its fight against graft. Former finance minister Christopher
Kuruneri, the most prominent government official to face the wrath of the
anti-corruption blitz, was only released from remand prison last month on
$50 million bail after spending nearly 18 months behind bars. He was placed
under 24-hour house arrest.
      Sources said Makamba, who spent more than six months in remand prison
last year following his arrest in February 2004, might want to turn a new
page in his life by scouting for greener pastures outside the country.
      It however, remains to be seen whether the businessman will come back
to face trial once the court proceedings resume.
      George Chikumbirike, Makamba's lawyer, yesterday flatly denied his
client had fled.
      "It is a speculative article which does not do anyone any good," said
      "When the Supreme Court judgment was delivered, neither he (Makamba)
nor I was there. He read it in the papers just like me. He is always in and
out of the country and I think it does not make sense to speculate that he
has fled," said Chikumbirike, adding that he could not possibly know the
whereabouts of his client all the time.
      Inquiries made to companies and businesses associated with Makamba
over the tycoon's whereabouts revealed he was in South Africa.
      "He is out of the country on sick leave," said one official at Kestrel
      The businessman could not be reached on all his mobile phones
      Makamba walked away a free man in August last year after the High
Court acquitted him on five counts of illegally dealing in foreign currency.
But last Friday Justice Luke Malaba ruled that Makamba had a case to answer
and that the magistrate's court was correct in holding that there was enough
evidence for his prosecution.
      Investigations by The Financial Gazette this week confirmed that
Makamba left the country long before the rescission of the High Court
judgment that secured his freedom. Justice Lawrence Kamocha, who presided
over the case on review, released Makamba from remand prison after he set
aside a decision by the magistrate's court declining to discharge him and
ordered his acquittal.
      Regional magistrate Virginia Sithole had rejected an application by
Makamba's lawyers for his discharge, saying the businessman had a case to
      However, the state filed an appeal to the Supreme Court seeking the
reversal of the High Court order on the grounds that Justice Kamocha "erred
in interfering with incomplete proceedings where there was no danger that
grave injustice might result."
      In rescinding Justice Kamocha's High Court ruling, Justice Malaba said
Makamba's case should be remitted to the trial court for its continuation
and conclusion. Makamba, who was on trial facing 11 counts under the
Exchange Control Act, was convicted on his own plea of guilty to six counts
of illegally dealing in foreign currency.
      He allegedly sold foreign currency amounting to US$133 000 to Telecel
Zimbabwe, an unauthorised dealer. He was fined $7.3 million.
      No date had been set for the resumption of the trial.

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      Tsvangirai takes fight to Ari Ben-Menashe

      Staff Reporter
      8/4/2005 7:54:25 AM (GMT +2)

      OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who successfully negotiated a
legal minefield when the state dropped treason charges against him, has
vowed to take the fight to Canada, where Ari ben-Menashe, the government's
star witness in another treason case in which he was acquitted last year,

      It is understood that lawyers representing Tsvangirai have filed
papers in Montreal, Canada, in which the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader is seeking US$100 million.
      Tsvangirai, who was acquitted over the charge last October, confirmed
this week that court proceedings had been initiated and that he had not
abandoned plans to sue Ben-Menashe.
      "It's in the pipeline. Various court papers have been filed against
Menashe. I will be talking to my lawyers to see how they are proceeding with
the issue," said Tsvangirai.
      Ben-Menashe made headlines three years ago after taking a lucrative
consultancy post with President Robert Mugabe's government, ostensibly to
spruce up its image.
      In sensational claims made on the eve of the landmark 2002
presidential election, Ben-Menashe charged that Tsvangirai approached his
firm, Dickens and Madson, to help in a plot to "eliminate" President Mugabe.
      To bolster his claim, Ben-Menashe produced a grainy videotape of
meetings he held with the MDC leader in London and Montreal where, , the
alleged assassination plot was discussed.
      The tapes were handed over to the Zimbabwean authorities and
Tsvangirai was subsequently charged with treason, a crime punishable by
      Tsvangirai went to trial in 2003 and Ben-Menashe, as the prosecution's
star witness, caused a sensation in the High Court in Harare when he angrily
clashed with defence lawyers. Judge Paddington Garwe described Ben-Menashe
as a "rude, unreliable and contemptuous" witness.
      In acquitting Tsvangirai in October last year, Justice Garwe found
that "nowhere" in Ben-Menashe's videotape was there "a direct request made
by the accused . . . to assassinate the President."
      Tsvangirai said for the two-and-a-half years during which he had the
treason charges hanging over his head, he had endured "daily vilification
and state demonisation."

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      Energy crisis worsens

      Ruramai Mutizwa
      8/4/2005 7:56:14 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S enfeebled economy continues to plumb new depths, hit by a
worsening energy crisis that will see already shaky electricity, liquid fuel
and coal supplies worsening.

      Power utility ZESA Holdings this week warned that power shortages will
persist due to constant breakdowns at its power stations and worsening coal
      Obert Nyatanga, ZESA's corporate affairs director, said power supply
would be affected by the loss of 80MW from Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC) supplier SNEL, the breakdown of three Hwange generators and the
failure of smaller generators to meet increasing demand.
      ''We lost 80MW from SNEL due to a generator outage at Inga Power
Station. We also lost three generators at Hwange Power station (one of)
120MW and two of 220MW due to forced outages and boiler feed pump failure,"
Nyatanga said.
      The country is experiencing incessant power outages as ESKOM of South
Africa and HCB of Mozambique cannot supply the maximum power supply needed
to meet the high demand of the winter peak season without the supplementary
cover of the DRC power supply.
      Power shortages have been experienced consistently since the start of
April this year. This forced ZESA to ration electricity in the residential,
industrial and farming areas, seriously disrupting business activities.
      The problems are mainly a result of shortages of foreign currency to
purchase spare parts to repair the generators.
      The shortages of coal have impinged on the operation of small thermal
power stations in Bulawayo and Munyati which are producing a combined
maximum of 50MW of electricity.
      Harare Power Station is not despatching power because of the
non-availability of coal, Nyatanga said.

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      ZANU PF hesitates on war vets shakeup

      Staff Reporter
      8/4/2005 7:56:41 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF might delay the eagerly awaited overhaul of the
militant Zimbabwe National Libera-tion War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) for
fear of fuelling conflict within the party's ranks, insiders confided in The
Financial Gazette this week.

      They said intelligence gurus within the party want the restructuring,
being masterminded by former ZANLA and ZIPRA commanders, deferred
indefinitely to give ZANU PF, riven by factionalism, ample time to deal with
challenges confronting it.
      While the party has a comfortable two-thirds majority including
non-constituency Members of Parliament appointed by the President, ZANU PF
has lately come under intense political and economic pressures that threaten
its 25-year grip on power.
      The insiders fear that internal squabbles within ZANU PF could get out
of hand should the party stretch the patience of the former liberation
fighters, who were not spared by the two-month raid on urban slums that
ended after the intervention of the United Nations.
      "It may be dangerous to deal with the war veterans now. The only
sensible way would be to deal with issues that need our immediate attention
before moving on to implement recommendations that might come up in the
report," said an insider who, however, admitted the final say lay with
President Robert Mugabe.
      "The party is better advised to keep the report, whenever it is
produced, a closely guarded secret and only act on it when it is absolutely
necessary," added the insider.
      President Mugabe late last year tasked former ZIPRA intelligence
supremo Dumiso Dabengwa to head a four-member committee in restructuring the
      The committee, which also includes retired army general Solomon
Mujuru, retired chief air marshal Josiah Tungamirai and retired army
commander Vitalis Zvinavashe, is still to submit its report to the
      The four former liberation war fighters, conspicuous by their silence
in the wake of the widely condemned blitz on slums, are still considered
useful to ZANU PF's continued hold on power.
      The ZNLWVA has been rudderless since the suspension last year of its
chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, after he was linked to an unsanctioned meeting
in Tsholotsho whose agenda was allegedly to determine the composition of the
      Following the clean-up campaign, the Movement for Democratic Change
claimed some war veterans affected by the exercise had approached the party
with appeals for food and blankets.
      On the economic front, ZANU PF is trying to stabilise a five-year
recession that analysts say was partly caused by the payment of unbudgeted
gratuities to the former liberation war fighters in 1997.
      The economic struggle has been overshadowed by fights in diplomatic
circles, where the government is increasingly being isolated over
allegations of human rights violations, charges denied by ZANU PF, which has
been adamant that it has largely been targeted for redistributing land from
minority whites to the majority blacks.

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      Thought paralysis grips leadership

      Denford Magora
      8/4/2005 8:24:55 AM (GMT +2)

      A PARALYSIS of thought and thought leadership has gripped Zimbabwe and
it appears our government, opposition and the people do not realise this.

      I maintain that this country and its people have what it takes to get
this country breathing again. This can only happen if thought leadership is
provided by our politicians and the business community.
      Thought leadership means thinking the unthinkable and then planning
for it. It means not having to limp along surviving on hope as the country
is doing. It means ensuring that people who have no ideas are removed from
positions of responsibility, whether in business or in government.
      That this country is still experiencing economic decline six years or
so after the rot began is a serious indictment on the people who are
supposed to be leading the nation. Business points a finger at government
and government points a finger at everybody. Is this any way to get Zimbabwe
out of its problems? Will we achieve economic growth and a comprehensive
turnaround by having business fighting Governor Gideon Gono while government
fights business, the West and anyone else who happens to point out that our
problems are actually multiplying every year, not decreasing?
      Increasingly, it is becoming clear that only the empowerment of
"thought leaders" in both business and government will get us out of the
quagmire we find ourselves in. Disappointingly, however, government
ministers have shown that they lack the imaginative boldness required to
kick-start this process. Only last year, in response to government's Public
Private Partnership proposals, I pointed out that there was a distinct lack
of commitment to this policy by the ministry responsible. I predicted that a
year down the road, we would still be hearing government "urging" the
private sector to partner it on specific projects. I hate to say this, but I
am being proved right. To date, no Public Private Partnership has taken off.
Not one.
      The problem here is once again thought leadership. There are many
policy documents gathering dust in government offices all over Harare. They
are announced amidst much fanfare, accompanied by much eating and drinking
at expensive functions and launches. Then nothing is heard of them ever
again. This has been happening since 1997 and it appears both government and
business are failing to learn new tricks or even to perform the old tricks
that they already know.
      My opinion is that the root of our problem is that both government and
business are operating only in survival mode. Shrinkage of the economy
appears not to matter to them as long as we get by. The same attitude has
also now been transmitted like a disease to the population at large. Our
people are now content to simply breathe. It appears they have given up on
living a full life. This explains the fact that no one, not in government,
not in business, not among our people, is prepared to demand a full day's
work from the people whose salaries we pay with our taxes and rates.
      Ministers are now of the opinion that their jobs only involve
"launching" policies and projects and then going back to their private
businesses or to sit at one of their numerous braai resorts (also known as
cellphone farms). Business, on the other hand, believes that the
government's job is to make sure private enterprise gives as much return as
possible for as little effort as possible.
      The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe's economic fundamentals are
sound. Our resources and our infrastructure are also still in good shape.
But there appears to be a lack of the type of leadership that can bring all
these things together for the betterment of Zimbabweans.
      A very disappointing case in point is the recent request by government
for a loan from South Africa. The loan, according to reports, is for buying
fuel, medicines, and other "essentials". One question immediately springs to
mind. Who in their right mind borrows in order to consume? It is exactly
like an unemployed loafer getting a $100 million loan from a bank to buy
food, clothes and a personal vehicle. It is irresponsible for government to
behave this way. If we are borrowing money on the international scene at
all, we should be doing so to invest in greater productivity, not to buy
maize and petrol.
      There are bigger fish to fry, such as the capitalisation of a plant to
extract fuel from coal, the importing of farming hardware and the support of
measures that can bring foreign currency into the country. Has any one in
government asked themselves what will happen when South Africa, China and
all the other countries we want loans from decide enough is enough? What
will we have to fall back on when they realise that Zimbabwe is refusing to
be taught how to fish but simply wants to be given fish? I know what will
happen. We will rail against these very same people we call our friends
today. We will accuse them of being stooges of Tony Blair and George Bush.
We will blame them and not ourselves. But that will not solve our problems,
just as this blame approach has failed to yield tangible results for the
country so far.
      So far, we know that the Reserve Bank governor has put his weight
behind finding alternative fuel sources. He has said that he stands ready to
assist. But he can not walk into Trade and Industry or into the office of
the Ministry of Energy to actually get the project off the ground. I can bet
my bottom dollar that, even as you read this, the civil servants in this
ministry have no intention of doing anything about this project. We have
been talking about it for too long now and it is time somebody within these
ministries actually sat down and looked at the project in detail. What would
it cost? Of that cost, what can be financed from our own resources and what
will have to be financed with foreign currency? How many litres would we be
able to produce in a year? Will there be a surplus that we can sell to other
countries to recoup the cost of setting up the fuel-from-coal plant?
      Right now, not one of these questions have even been asked, let alone
answered. The time for government and business to provide leadership beyond
speeches and "launches" is now.
      Failure will mean the end of Zimbabwean civilisation as we know it

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      ZANU PF acting like an ostrich: Tsvangirai

      Njabulo Ncube
      8/4/2005 7:59:41 AM (GMT +2)

      MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai has
accused President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF of persisting with an
"ostrich mentality" in refusing to embrace international mediation efforts
to end the country's ruinous political stalemate.

      Zimbabwe's worsening economic descent, underpinned by a six-year-old
political crisis, has elicited calls for internal dialogue between ZANU PF
and the MDC, especially in the aftermath of the roundly condemned
demolitions of illegal dwellings, informal industries and vending sites by
the government.
      United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose special envoy Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka produced a scathing report on Operation
Murambatsvina/Restore Order, has only recently joined South African and
Nigerian presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo, respectively, in
trying to promote internal dialogue in Zimbabwe.
      Former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano recently revealed that
Obasanjo, who is also the current African Union (AU) chairman, had appointed
him as his emissary in efforts to get Zimbabwe's main political
protagonists - ZANU PF and the MDC - to the negotiating table.
      However, upon arrival at the Harare International Airport on Sunday,
President Mugabe, buoyed by a six-day Asian trip where he secured unwavering
diplomatic support from China in the face of a vigorous international
onslaught that followed the damning UN report on the humanitarian crisis
spawned by countrywide demolitions, delivered a typically caustic warning to
all, including Annan, against intervening in Zimbabwe's internal politics.
      "I invited the secretary-general of the United Nations to come and see
what demolitions we have done here and why we did them. That's the area I
invited him for. I never said he should superintend our political relations
with the MDC," said President Mugabe.
      "No one shall dictate to us that we should accommodate the MDC. Anyone
who seeks to foster relations with the MDC will be going against our own
democratic principles and we shall resist that stance from whomsoever. I
want to say that because there are these moves from various quarters and we
cannot succumb to them," added President Mugabe.
      The ZANU PF leader further said the MDC, which he accuses of being a
front for the West created to "reverse political gains of independence",
should use its representation in Parliament where it has 41 seats to debate
issues with the ruling party and the government.
      "They (MDC) are in Parliament. They can debate in Parliament in any
way they like. But they have no right to say that they should be partners
with us in government. We can never do that."
      South Africa, the globally preferred broker in Harare's stalled
political negotiations, is also understood to have put dialogue between ZANU
PF and the MDC as one of the conditions for the release of US$1 billion
Harare is seeking from Pretoria to buy fuel, grain and repay escalating
foreign debts, among other urgent financial obligations.
      Tsvangirai, speaking after the state dropped another treason charge
against him on Tuesday, chided President Mugabe for his uncompromising
stance' saying his rejection of Annan's initiative and others pushed by his
peers in the AU contributed greatly to the stalled political situation in
      "This ostrich mentality must end," said Tsvangirai. "Mugabe is running
out of time and I hope my protagonists in ZANU PF are aware of the
      "The burden has shifted to Africa to solve the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Resorting to hard-line positions and populist posturing denies Zimbabweans
the golden chance to capture their experiences for translation into shared
ideas, shared knowledge and national unity," said the MDC leader.
      Tsvangirai said given Zimbabwe's pariah status in global politics, the
MDC fully understood President Mugabe's growing frustration with "a tired
political defence mechanism, which has begun to give in to reason,
international exhaustion and fatigue."
      "Taking potshots at the United Nations, the AU, the European Union and
other goodwill institutions for suggesting corrective action to raise the
international profile of Zimbabwe is a futile exercise that is loathed by
the people of Zimbabwe and shall get us nowhere.
      "Given the seriousness of our plight, let us avoid embarrassing
ourselves by attacking and trading off sanity and international advice for
short-term political expedience," he added.
      On charges that the international community wants the MDC to partner
ZANU PF in government, Tsvangirai said the six-year-old party, the biggest
opposition political grouping since independence, had no wish to forge a
government of national unity with ZANU PF.
      "For the record, the MDC has never sought to partner ZANU PF in
government. We have made the point abundantly clear that we seek no such
partnership, not another so-called unity accord nor the kind of cooperation
that leads to the demise of any political party in Zimbabwe.
      "We value the principle and benefits of a multi-party political

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      Money gurus contemplate life after IMF

      Rangarirai Mberi
      8/4/2005 7:59:01 AM (GMT +2)

      THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been called a lot of names.
Former World Bank chief economist, Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner,
once likened the IMF's policies to "high-altitude bombing".

      Jeffrey Sachs, the Harvard economist who advised Poland and Russia
during their transition from communism to free market economics, once said:
"IMF programs don't instil confidence, they don't stop financial panics. In
fact, they often incite them. It (IMF) is deeply corrosive."
      But Zimbabwe will have to set aside its own deep-seated dislike for
the fund and pray the IMF will take the country back-even if the IMF is like
that visiting ugly aunt whose choking embrace that children everywhere
      A shrill critic of the IMF, Zimbabwe has assumed a humble silence over
the IMF in recent months, deciding that it would be better off inside the
IMF's smothering embrace than farther out in the freezing cold, on its own.
      South African president Thabo Mbeki has suggested that South Africa
could settle part of Zimbabwe's US$290 million IMF arrears in order to
prevent a situation where "South Africa would inherit all the consequences
of Zimbabwe collapsing".
      But, as D-Day approaches, Mbeki's promises are not going to stop
government officials and economists from pondering an unpleasant future
outside the IMF membership.
      Zimbabwe has not been under an IMF programme for six years, but its
desperation to repay any amount big enough to appease the IMF board and
convince them not to cancel its membership shows a deep fear for a future
outside the fund, despite earlier hawkish rhetoric that Zimbabwe can go it
      Analysts say staving off expulsion from the IMF is more of symbolic
value to Zimbabwe than it is about financial aid, which the country is
unlikely to get from the IMF any time soon. If the IMF board keeps Zimbabwe
as a member, it would be a signal to the world that the economy is not yet
beyond help. But if expelled, Zimbabwe fears it could lose the patience of
even the most patient of its supporters-even those that might be IMF critics
      "It's a lonely world out there. If we are honest with ourselves, we
would admit that the past five years have taught us that economies never
prosper on their own, without the support of other countries and the
protection you get from membership of economic blocs," a senior government
official, declining to be named, told The Financial Gazette this week.
      Zimbabwe will know its fate in the IMF by the end of this month,
according to a spokesman for the fund.
      Thomas Dawson, IMF's director of external relations, said the IMF
Executive Board would meet to discuss on Zimbabwe at the end of its recess,
which begins on Monday. Dawson however gave no specific date.
      "The present timetable for the consideration of the Zimbabwe case has
been sort of a six-month timetable, and the last Board discussion was on
February the 6th, I believe. It happens that the six-month period will come
during our Board recess, so I would not necessarily expect our Board
discussion (on Zimbabwe) will happen before the Board recess. It will happen
shortly thereafter," Dawson said.
      The IMF board has been meeting this week. Zimbabwe was not on the
agenda of the meetings, which break tomorrow.
      The IMF has, over the years, faced strong criticism over its policies,
particularly in the developing world, where critics say its
one-size-fits-all strategy forces governments to cut back on crucial social
spending in exchange for expensive balance of payments support.
      In Zimbabwe, the IMF has been seen as an agent of "imperialist
control", especially given US influence at the fund. But ahead of the March
31 election, opposition MDC MP Tendai Biti noted in a television interview
that Zimbabwe had voluntarily joined the IMF, and had to abide by the
demands that came with its membership.
      Given the slim options remaining for a country needing urgent rescue,
it is unlikely there will be any IMF-bashing over the coming weeks-unless,
of course, the fund does decide to sack Zimbabwe.
      Even if, as suggested by Mbeki, Zimbabwe does get South Africa to
settle part of its IMF arrears, it would be a while longer before Zimbabwe
can become a full member and once again access IMF lending.
      The IMF has told Zimbabwe to introduce "a more comprehensive policy
package" of "structural reforms", including the floating of the currency and
the removal of administrative controls. These are demands that Zimbabwe has
previously rejected, and on current evidence, there is no sign government
intends to suddenly embrace such reforms.

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      Talks beyond Parliament: Tsvangirai

      Nelson Banya
      8/4/2005 7:57:25 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S deepening political and economic crisis requires engagement
outside Parliament to accommodate all stakeholders in an eventual détente,
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai has said.

      President Robert Mugabe's government has persistently parried rising
calls for internal dialogue, insisting that Parliament, where the MDC holds
41 seats against ZANU PF's 78, offered a sufficient platform for political
      Harare has stuck to its guns despite a damning United Nations (UN)
report that, among other things, also called for dialogue.
      "Remarks by an irate (President) Robert Mugabe on his arrival from a
worthless trip to China indicating his resentment at suggestions for
principled dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC are unfortunate. The
benefits of political dialogue need no particular emphasis, given the dire
consequences, political polarisation and humanitarian emergencies that
confront us today," said the MDC leader, who was speaking in the aftermath
of the state's decision to drop treason charges against him.
      "To the ruling elite, we make it clear that there is a huge difference
between national dialogue and political accommodation. We further make it
clear that Parliament has a clear constitutional mandate to execute its
duty. That duty does not include the kind of interaction which our
neighbours, the international community, local political parties, civil
society and other stakeholders engage in from time to time when a nation
faces an emergency and a crisis such as the one created by ZANU PF in
Zimbabwe during the past 25 years," he added.
      Speaking after his arrival from a weeklong state visit to China,
President Mugabe reiterated his position on political dialogue with the
opposition, following reports that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had laid
down conditions for his proposed trip to Harare.
      A damning UN report on Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order has
further heaped coals on the embattled ZANU PF government.
      Tsvangirai added that the latest clamour for internal political
dialogue, which has sucked in the UN, the African Union and other regional
leaders, was testimony "that Zimbabwe is now a failed state".
      "The UN recently sent out an envoy to Zimbabwe because our
institutions and systems have all crumbled to a point where the state is
unable to protect the people. The African Union has appointed former
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano as a special envoy to Zimbabwe
precisely for the same reason. ZANU PF and Mugabe are running around with a
begging bowl to seek some relief. The IMF (International Monetary Fund), the
African Development Bank and other creditors are unhappy with the behaviour
of this rogue regime.
      "All these august bodies have come to acknowledge the failed state
status of our country. This is the sad reality we have to live with. It is
beyond Parliament to tackle, hence the need for an all-inclusive process
involving all Zimbabweans."
      Tsvangirai was last year acquitted on a treason charge arising from
his party's dealings with the controversial Ari Ben-Menashe, who alleged
that the MDC leader had contracted his firm, Dickens and Madison, to
"eliminate" President Mugabe.
      The second treason charge arose from Tsvangirai's "final push" speech
of June 2003 in which he called for a march to State House.

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      Govt edgy over aid to demolition victims

      Njabulo Ncube
      8/4/2005 7:58:10 AM (GMT +2)

      LOCAL humanitarian agencies were yesterday frantically trying to
engage the government in a bid to ensure the smooth clearance of the first
consignment of relief aid from the South African Council of Churches (SACC)
destined for victims of the government's Operation Murambatsvina.

      This was amid revelations that the ruling ZANU PF was unsettled by the
      Sources said although the government would allow the local agencies to
proceed with food distribution, state security agents would monitor the
exercise around the country "to ensure the aid initiative was not
      State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa told the media that the
government was better placed to know the people in need of help than foreign
clergymen. He accused the SACC of hypocrisy, alleging that the church
movement in South Africa had failed to help Zimbabweans in their "greatest
hour of need during the country's liberation struggle".
      "This (aid) is really not intended for what they say it is supposed to
be, that's not true. They are doing it to help the (opposition) MDC," Mutasa
      Although no comment could be elicited from Labour and Social Welfare
Minister Nicholas Goche, government sources said the SACC had angered the
government by "twice sneaking into the country" to assess the impact of the
widely discredited clean-up operation.
      The aid consignment, consisting of 37 tonnes of an assortment of food,
including maize, beans and oils, and over 6 000 blankets, left Johannesburg
on Monday by road under escort by the South African Defence Force, according
to a statement from the office of Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ngugane.
      The consignment was due to reach the Beitbridge border post, the major
gateway between Pretoria and Harare, late yesterday.
      The SACC said it had raised R350 000 for the relief effort, dubbed
Operation Hope for Zimbabwe.
      "Once in Zimbabwe, the aid will be distributed to those most in need,
in and around Mutare, Bulawayo and Harare - from church halls and the
resettlement camps," reads part of the statement. It adds that the South
African embassy in Harare would ensure that the aid reached the intended
      Christian Care, a relief arm of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the
local church grouping that coordinated the effort with the SACC, has been
designated the distributing agent.
      "It will be here (Beitbridge) anytime. We are waiting for commercial
invoices and the GMO (genetically modified) clearance certificate from the
people who will bring the cargo when they get to the border but at the
moment we are busy trying to engage the Ministry of Labour and Social
Welfare to distribute the food," said an official privy to the relief
      Another consignment is expected in Zimbabwe on August 18.

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      Zimbabwe dollar takes a severe battering

      Rangarirai Mberi
      8/4/2005 8:00:08 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe dollar dived to new lows on both the formal and parallel
markets this week, under intense pressure from dealers vying for a lucrative
slice of the recently deregulated fuel import business.

      The dollar sank to $17 694.15 on the formal foreign currency auction
Monday from $10 745.01 just before the July 21 monetary policy statement,
but a steeper plunge was seen on the black market where illegal dealers
called the Zimdollar/US dollar rate at over $40 000. The local unit had been
trading at $25 000 last week. The South African rand was selling at Z$6 000,
but desperate buyers were prepared to pay Z$7 300.
      Government last month lifted all controls on fuel importation,
allowing any citizen with access to foreign currency to import fuel. The
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has also slashed import duty on fuel.
      Government's decision to end control of fuel imports reveals the
gravity of a crisis that has crippled industry for months. However, although
people with foreign currency holdings immediately cheered the announcement,
there were reports the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had been opposed to
total deregulation, afraid it would spark the black market activity it
blames for the acceleration in inflation.
      On current evidence, it appears the central bank's fears were not
without foundation. Foreign currency trade on the black market has soared,
and demand from arbitragers looking to barge in on the lucrative fuel market
is likely to pound the Zimdollar even lower.
      The RBZ itself announced a measure to allow dealers to sell fuel at
US$1 a litre, seeking both to contain fuel demand and raise foreign
      Fuel importers are now barred from bidding for hard cash at the
foreign currency auction, following the deregulation. At current black
market rates therefore, a US$1 price would place the price of a litre of
petrol at over $40 000, well above the official price of $10 000.
      Because most companies now access their fuel on the black market -
where massive premiums are slapped on prices - economists say the RBZ's
target of 80 percent inflation by December, already seen by many as beyond
reach, looks to be in even greater danger.
      Reports say Zimbabwe will this week take delivery of an 11 million
litre consignment of fuel from South African fuel supplier Sasol, but the
consignment is said to be solely for government operations - where it would
still be short of requirements.
      Zimbabwe needs a minimum of about 40 million litres of fuel a month
for its basic needs.

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      Go beyond rhetoric

      8/4/2005 8:18:22 AM (GMT +2)

      UP until now, government apologists, known for their endless swirl of
polemics, have always painted a rosier-than-real picture of the situation as
regards the land reform programme. This they have done by way of engaging in
an orgy of self-congratulation on the supposed success of the most radical
change in land ownership on the African continent.

      Despite the obvious painful impression left by the shrunken state of
the agricultural sector, which in itself is a national embarrassment, they
have been determined to push the line that the back-to-the-land idealism has
been a resounding success. Nothing could, however, be further from the
      The euphoric mood of self-congratulation touched off by the exercise
masked more sobering realities which to this day still need to be dealt with
to ensure that the land reform initiative indeed becomes a genuine avenue of
redress for those negatively affected by historical injustices. And
government's inaction over these issues has not only been extraordinary but
extremely perplexing, and hence a cause for concern.
      We have in mind here the issue of the more than 300 influential
individuals who have more than one farm each in flagrant violation of the
government's one-man-one-farm policy. It is our contention that despite
government's seeming reluctance to prosecute these culprits - reducing what
was ostensibly meant to be an equitable redistribution of the country's key
but finite resource into a senseless land grab orgy is corruption by any
definition. In the eyes of those who bore the brunt of the bitter war of
liberation but are condemned to the dust bowls dotted around the country,
owning multiple farms not only borders on criminality but is also an
egregious sin.
      Not only that but there is also the issue of those self-centred
politicians who despicably helped themselves to farm equipment acquired by
the state under the land reform exercise, adding to the chaos in the
agricultural sector. They did this with impunity in spite of government
directives that they desist from doing so. They still did anyway, probably
deriving comfort from the knowledge that despite hollow pledges to take the
anti-corruption drive to its full expression, there were red lines the
government would not dare cross for political convenience.
      The sad story does not end with this plundering and looting. There is
also the painful fact that only 44 percent of the land allocated under the
agrarian reforms is under productive use. This has partly seen Zimbabwe, the
erstwhile regional breadbasket, being lumped together with Lesotho,
Swaziland and Malawi as food deficit countries. Drought or no drought, there
is no excuse for this whatsoever. Zimbabweans understandably look with a
mixture of disgust and despair at vast tracts of arable land lying idle,
which is a sad reflection of the savage slump in agricultural production. We
cannot over-emphasise the fact that this is luminous evidence of a sector in
      It is because of the foregoing that the much-hoped-for guaranteed food
security, improved economic activity and most importantly, black economic
empowerment, have largely remained a pie-in-the-sky. We have said it before
and we will say it again, and that is the fact that owning land has not
translated into an improved economic status for most of these farmers
because they do not have the wherewithal to work the land - it is a cheque
they cannot encash.
      All this explains why we cautiously welcome - because we are not sure
there is sufficient political will and commitment - the belated announcement
by National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Didymus
Mutasa that the government would soon unveil a land policy which would
address the problems surrounding the exercise.
      Ideally this should provide the government with a window of
opportunity to deal once and for all with the strategic mistakes made under
the land reform initiative. As pointed out in our editorial comment of March
3, 2005, there should be no sacred cows when it comes to issues regarding
land. The repossessing of land from those who are underutilising it or those
who have multiple farms, as well as naming and shaming them, should be
undertaken without fear or favour and without regard to the stature and
status of the culprits.
      And yes, Minister Mutasa has said he is going to do something about
the mess in agriculture. We would like to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But do not hold your breath. Frankly speaking, we no longer have any high
hopes for it. The longer we waited soon after the Utete and Bhuka reports,
the less we hoped. Indeed past experiences make prospects of the government
taking the bull by the horns rather slim. We would however be pleasantly
surprised if government goes beyond rhetoric this time around.

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      ...and now to the Notebook

      8/4/2005 8:26:45 AM (GMT +2)


      "WHEN you re-read a classic, you do not see more in the book than you
did before; you see more in you than there was before", said United States
prolific writer, critic and raconteur Clifton Fadiman.

      This should ring true today if a Zimbo were to read or re-read that
classic Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell.
      Though the book was written nearly 60 years ago, it does not really
appear like events captured by Orwell were all imagination running riot.
Looks like most of the things that used to happen in Orwell's imaginary
country, Oceania, are also happening in this country . . . a lot of them.
      For starters, in Nineteen-Eighty-Four there was all-powerful Big
Brother. Don't we have a local equivalent? And The Party? There was the
Thought Police to deal with Thought criminals . . . don't we have them too?
We do, although most of them are fellows of paralysing stupidity - those who
at one point were notorious for wearing dark sunglasses even at night! Those
that are always lurking behind proud and happy thought-criminals like CZ and
others of his ilk?
      In Oceania unwanted people were vaporised, does it happen here? There
was double-speaking and double-thinking as official government policy and
don't we have the same? Falsification of records, history, facts, etc . . .
is it new to us? Production targets being reportedly surpassed when in fact
nothing has been produced; this and that programme being very successful,
when nothing is moving; people being reported as very, very happy and
satisfied when they are in fact angry and thoroughly disgruntled . . . that
sort of thing!
      In Oceania, they had their infamous Two-Minute Hate Speeches and here
we have much longer hate speeches on our telescreens . . . just watch what
is foisted on us as news on our one and only TV station!
      There was that public enemy, Emmanuel Goldstein, who was blamed for
anything bad . . . counter-revolutionary, sell-out, primal traitor . . . and
don't we have his local equivalent at Harvest House?
      In Nineteen-Eighty-Four Oceania had four key ministries: Ministry of
Plenty (Miniplenty) which in fact created and managed shortages; Ministry of
Love (Miniluv) which preoccupied itself with promoting hatred and distrust
among citizens; the Ministry of Peace (Minipax) which started and waged
continuous wars with neighbouring states; and Ministry of Truth (Minitrue)
which handled loads of propaganda and other brain-washing material. Locally,
the set up is more or less the same.
      In Oceania people were brainwashed from childhood: "War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength."
      The list goes on and on but someone would want us to believe that we
are living a life that is much more civilised than those hapless denizens of
      Anyway this is what The Book in Nineteen-Eighty-Four says: "We all
know that no-one seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power
is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship to
safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a


      A FRIEND of CZ - yes CZ also has friends! - recently got a
prescription from his doctor. And because he is poor like CZ, he started
shopping around. In the six pharmacies he visited, the price ranged from
$170 000 to $1.8 million - for the same drug. Naturally, he ended up buying
from the cheapest pharmacy.
      When he got home, he realised that there was a world of difference
between the application method that the doctor had told him and what was
written on the drug. He was supposed to insert the tablet and this and that,
but where? So he decided to double-check with his doctor. And guess what? It
turned out that it was the wrong drug!
      Because the so-called pharmacist in the chemist is not qualified for
the job, he was doing guesswork, especially after failing to decipher the
prescription! Most pharmacies in Zimbabwe can no longer afford to retain
qualified personnel, so most of them are putting lives at risk by employing
people with dubious credentials! Watch out!
      And security guards are another criminal lot. What happens these days
is that when banks close for the day, there could be one or two individuals
very desperate to deposit large sums of cash. So the guard at the door tells
them that they will have to try the following day. And if the people
persist, then the guard will ask how much is involved. Once the guards know
that the amount is good, they pretend to understand. They then ask this
desperate person to complete the deposit form and surrender it, together
with the cash, to one of the guards outside the bank - who can go in and out
of the banking hall at will - so that he can deposit the money for them.
They are told to wait at the door for him to come out. They wait until the
following day . . . because the criminal simply uses the back door and
disappear with the loot!
      Hopefully Operation Integrity will deal with this.


      SATURDAY, July 30, was a sad day for Africa as a whole. Dr John
Garang, former rebel leader turned vice president of Sudan, perished in a
helicopter crash on his way to his base from neighbouring Uganda. That is
really a big loss to all people like CZ and millions of others worldwide who
understood and appreciated why the man spent decades of his life in the
      Hopefully Garang's followers will accept the explanation that it was
inclement weather that caused the crash that killed their dear leader . . .
and also that nothing untoward will happen to the nascent peace process.
      In six years' time, when the Christians and animists in southern Sudan
overwhelmingly vote in favour of cecession, it would not be a bad idea if
the resultant new country would be named after him. Republic of Garang!
      On his own behalf, and on behalf of all freedom-loving Zimbos, CZ
would like to extend heartfelt condolences to his brother-in-thought crime,
Woodpecker, who happened to be a personal acquaintance of the late Sudanese
vice-president. Woody will surely miss the man who, for decades on the end,
most people could not understand. We will all miss him dearly!


      AT the weekend Deputy Minister of Youth, Gender and something Saviour
Kasukuwere was in Njube, Bulawayo, where he reportedly raised concern about
ever-increasing cases of child sexual abuse. But he didn't mention any
names. We wonder why, when some of the abusers are very senior government
officials who continue strutting around like peacocks! Is he afraid of them?
      And this reminds CZ of one incident that took place in Kariba some
time ago. It was supposed to be a workshop involving these MPs, so the then
host MP went to Nyamhunga and Mahombekombe townships and rounded up a
mini-busfull of bare-bossomed young girls to dish out to his colleagues -
from both the ruling and opposition parties - all of whom he knew were
perverts like him. So how can perverts lead the fight against child sexual
      RECENTLY a road traffic accident occurred at the intersection of
Robert Mugabe and Mbuya Nehanda streets in Harare. And CZ overheard some
bored looking Zimbo remarking that accidents at this particular intersection
are a daily occasion. The reason? Because Mbuya Nehanda would never have
agreed to the way things are being done! Please don't quote CZ. You know
these Tsunami-hit Zimbos?

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      Let's bring back ethics into politics

      Isaya Muriwo Sithole
      8/4/2005 8:19:20 AM (GMT +2)

      It is still mind-boggling to many Zimbabweans why a government that
claims to be a people's choice can undertake certain acts that are so
grossly immoral, unethical, anti-people and with no regard to human
suffering, and then remorselessly stand in defense of such acts despite the
fact that the whole world holds the opposite view, including the people in
whose favor such acts are purportedly implemented.

      The answer to this phenomenon is complex but perhaps what is evident
is that there is a progressive moral degeneration in our society and the
concept of "ubuntu/hunhu" has been thrown over-board and this effectively
permeates all aspects of Zimbabwean life.
      This concept is highly cherished in neighboring South Africa and is
actually enshrined in the country's national constitution as a way of
sensitising South African citizens to the need to maintain a certain minimum
moral standard in all spheres of life.
      Here in Zimbabwe we have so many things that are falling apart. Even
our very sense of nationhood is under serious threat and ironically the
greatest threat comes from the government's divisive policies, unequal
distribution of the national wealth and a unilaterally defined concept of
      There is today in our country a frightening and continuously widening
"public trust" gap between the leadership and the people which, if left
unchecked, could have disastrous consequences for posterity.
      Public trust between the leaders and the people cements a nation
together and in its absence the centre can not hold.
      As we celebrate our Heroes holiday we must realise that as a people we
should never forget what we went through together because this is how we
build a nation. The present scenario where the governing political elite and
their connections seem to enjoy the independence dividend at the expense,
and to the exclusion, of the masses is immoral, unethical and divisive by
      Thus when the people are not impressed by the progress the
post-independence political class claim to have brought about, it is clear
why these elite are baffled, aggrieved and pained. From their point of view,
and with regard to their material interests, progress has in fact been
      If, in the course of administration or maladministration of national
economic policies, a well-connected handful of people accumulate wealth at
the expense of the masses, this is considered to be progress, even if in the
meantime prisons go on filling up with potential opponents and social
contradictions continue to deepen and threaten the very stability of the
      Those of us who do not share the leaders' perspective on progress are
regarded by them as subversive, for the leaders believe that we are making
progress, slowly perhaps, but progress nonetheless.
      Progress within a context of stagnation and worse still, recession, is
a contradiction in terms, and yet the Zimbabwean government believes in it.
Their standard plea is: "We are sorry if our progress is not rapid enough,
but it is not our fault. Look at the world situation! We are sorry if the
gains are partial; we would like to see everybody enjoy the fruits of
independence, but we can't do everything at once. Rome was not built in a
day! Work harder!"
      The point, however, is not what the ZANU PF leadership believe, which
is what they want to believe, but what the rest of the people experience and
feel in their daily lives. This is what is called the real, objective world
around us. To the masses, these contradictions are healthy since they are
gradually taking on an antagonistic character and therefore, as far as they
are concerned, can not be wholly negative but rather, are actually
functional in nature in so far as they are now producing positive
counteracting tendencies.
      There is a compelling need to have a competent, honest, ethical and
imaginative leadership in Zimbabwe. But experience here and elsewhere in
Africa demonstrates that, with regard to the selection of candidates for top
positions, such qualities are not seen to be necessary; what qualifies a
person to be a leader is his personal loyalty to the person or persons in
power, and a fair degree of shameless sycophancy. This happens because those
in power feel so insecure as a result of their failure to satisfy the
people's aspirations, that they distrust anybody who does not prostate
himself before them in abject humility.
      But nobody with any intellectual or moral honesty, to say nothing of
competence, would stoop so low. So the leaders get what they want:
mediocrity and guile; and the country loses some of its ablest sons and
daughters, who either go into exile in frustration, or engage themselves in
undertakings not commensurate with their talents and abilities. The price
for this sort of leadership is paid by the masses in terms of their lost
liberties and economic misery. A combination of authoritarian rule from the
top with a supporting staff of incompetent, yet cunning, mediocrities
results in laxity, commandism, arbitrariness, corruption and finally,
      But the more important philosophical question is whether Zimbabwe as a
nation still has any cherished values and ideals.
      In the early eighties ZANU PF had a "leadership code" against which it
wanted the people of this country and the world at large to judge them. The
"leadership code" has since died and lies forgotten.
      When we professed to follow the socialist ideology, we seemed
preoccupied with values and ideals, in spite of our shortcomings. We at
least had a vision, though a relatively mistaken one. But since "market
forces" seized us, we seem to have forgotten everything and everybody except
ourselves as individuals.
      We have become so possessed with self-interest that it has become
pathological. We can not see beyond individually motivated self-interest,
expressed in the isolated and separate struggles of the individual, often in
conflict with other individuals- struggles.
      But the ideology of "market forces" has its leadership code, too. It
is only that, in the excitement of our newly found ideology, "socialists" as
we were, we did not take the trouble to grasp the "capitalist leadership
      Consequently, we are moving in all sorts of directions, doing all
sorts of things that are even harmful to our interests.
      There is need to craft and develop a new code of conduct and
fundamental guiding principles in the new capitalist dispensation but the
irony is that it will not be different from the previous leadership code in
its demand for public accountability.
      The point though is that let Zimbabwe be governed by principles that
are publicly known once more as a way of restoring public trust and
confidence in the political leadership. The question, however, is whether
the current ZANU PF leadership still has the capacity for self-renewal and
rejuvenation, or has it run its course?
      The national agenda of bringing back ethics into Zimbabwean politics
can not be dissociated from the constitutional reform project.
      The American political system, and therefore the US economy, is
founded on a solid constitutional order without which neither the country's
politics nor economy would thrive. Part of why South Africa today is so
attractive to investors is the sound and democratic constitutional order it
has established. It is my hope that the ruling party will acknowledge the
need to make a paradigm shift from a commandist to a consensual polity. This
inevitably entails moral regeneration on our part and invoking the concept
of "ubuntu / hunhu", which would usher in ethical political conduct.

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      Paint shortage looms

      Audrey Chitsika
      8/4/2005 8:05:56 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE - on the threshold of a massive housing programme to
accommodate victims of its infamous clean-up campaign - might experience a
critical shortage of paint soon because of inadequate foreign currency to
import raw materials.

      Industry experts say the yawning foreign exchange gap, worsened by the
drought as the government had to divert resources to avert starvation, also
threatens the survival of manufacturers and distributors of paint.
      They warned that persistent foreign exchange shortages might delay the
recovery of the construction sector, which has also been weighed down by
relentless increases in prices of building materials such as cement, bricks
and sand.
      Unconfirmed estimates suggest that paint production has suffered a 10
percent dip since the beginning of the year as the industry battles to
secure imported raw materials. At least 60 percent of the raw materials are
      Mac Mazimbe, a director of Astra Paints, told The Property Gazette
this week that it had been difficult for the industry to get sufficient
foreign currency allocations from the central bank.
      "The foreign currency we are getting from the auction is not enough.
The challenge lies in increasing our export performance," he said.
      The country has been experiencing an acute shortage of foreign
currency since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) withdrew balance of
payments support in the late 1990s. Donors, taking a cue from the fund, have
also been giving Zimbabwe a wide berth.
      The shortage of foreign currency has been worsened by poor export
performance, which has seen the central bank revising downwards its export
earnings forecast.
      Zimbabwe is currently scrounging around for rescue packages from
neighbouring South Africa, Namibia and other "friendly" Asian states such as
China and Malaysia to pay off arrears to the IMF and escape expulsion from
the 184-member financial institution.
      Charles Nandu, the managing director of Alka Paints, said companies
were being forced to negotiate extended repayment periods with foreign
suppliers of raw materials to give themselves sufficient time to raise the
foreign exchange at the auction and keep their production lines running.
      Highlighting the panic gripping the industry, Nandu said: "Some of our
executives resigned from the company last year thinking that it was going to
face closure due to the shortage of raw materials to manufacture paint."
      Executives from Chroma Paints and Dulux Limited, some of the country's
major players, also confirmed the difficulties in the industry, amid fears
these may derail recently announced government programmes.
      Faced with an estimated 700 000 people affected by its controversial
clean-up campaign, the government has announced a $3 trillion construction
programme codenamed Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle to create accommodation
for those affected by the nationwide blitz on slums.
      Parallel to the programme, widely seen as an afterthought following
international condemnation, the central bank is also rolling out massive
housing schemes under its Homelink initiative.

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      Bulawayo approves $15 billion building plans

      Charles Rukuni
      8/4/2005 8:06:44 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The Bulawayo City Council approved building plans valued at
over $15 billion in May and June, at the height of the government's
"Operation Muramba-tsvina".

      According to statistics released by the council, it approved 182 plans
valued at $7.9 billion in May and 197 plans valued at $7.4 billion in June.
      Up until then, the value of plans approved had hovered around $3
billion a month, with total plans approved in the first half of this year
totalling $29.5 billion.
      The council approved plans valued at $18.6 billion for the whole of
last year. It approved plans valued at $6 billion during the first half of
      The Bulawayo City Council was one of the few local authorities that
came out openly against the government's "clean-up" programme, Operation
Murambatsvina, which involved demolition of mainly urban dwellings and
informal businesses, because several legal structures were being destroyed
during the exercise.
      The operation was also criticised by United Nations (UN) special envoy
Anna Tibaijuka, sent to Zimbabwe by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to
assess the humanitarian implications of the demolitions.
      The government has blasted the Tibaijuka report, claiming that only
133 534 families were affected by the clean-up operation and not the 700 000
mentioned by the UN envoy.
      Statistics provided by the government showed that only 7 959 families
in Bulawayo were affected by the clean-up operation, and that 4 904 illegal
structures were demolished in the city.
      The government said 70 000 houses or stands were required in the city
but only 1 003 serviced and 10 997 unserviced stands were available as of
July 8.
      It said 4 915 illegal structures for small and medium enterprises
(SMEs) had been demolished. Bulawayo requires 10 740 structures for SMEs but
only 46 have been serviced.

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      The twin towers of Babel and babble

      Mavis Makuni
      8/4/2005 8:29:00 AM (GMT +2)

      WHO to believe and what to believe is a puzzle that Zimbabweans must
struggle to unravel everyday as the ongoing rapid-fire explosion of
government statements and announcements becomes an ever more entangled
jumble of confusing and contradictory voices.

      Government communication is difficult to understand at the best of
times but in the prevailing situation in which the state finds itself under
siege following the release of United Nations Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka's
report, attempting to decipher a coherent message from the verbal deluge is
a nightmare. What, for example is one to make of the claims and counter
claims about Zimbabwe's response to the report?
      When the document was first made public, the nation was told with
blistering vehemence that Zimbabwe categorically rejected it because among
other fanciful reasons, Tibaijuka was a puppet of Tony Blair and the West in
general. She was accused of conducting a biased and judgmental assessment of
the nationwide demolition of shacks and other illegal structures under the
universally condemned Operation Restore Order/Murambatsvina to please her
imperialist masters.
      The articulating of Zimbabwe's reaction to the stingingly critical
document included a statement by President Robert Mugabe himself, who
reacted to the report's contents during a state visit to the People's
Republic of China. He was unambiguous in stating Zimbabwe's stance and
scathing in his criticism of the forces that he believed had conspired to
influence Tibaijuka to write a negative report condemning his government's
actions. To underscore his contempt for Tibaijuka and her alleged western
handlers, the President announced that he had instead extended an invitation
to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to visit Zimbabwe.
      The President's sentiments were echoed by a number of officials.
Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi blasted Tibaijuka for penning a
biased and "value-laden report" which demonstrated hostility to the clean-up
exercise. Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya weighed in with statements
expressing similar sentiments.
      It therefore came as a surprise to suddenly one day last week hear
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga telling Parliament that Zimbabwe
had never rejected the report and admitting that some mistakes could have
been made. He even suggested that the victims of the demolition spree could
be compensated if they sought redress through the proper legal channels.
      This is not the first time conflicting statements and declared
positions have clouded this burning issue. When the clean-up exercise was
first embarked upon, it was touted as. a move to restore the capital,
Harare, to its former glory as the "Sunshine City". The nation was also told
that the colonial-style police raids were intended to flush out criminals,
foreign currency dealers, illegal vendors and other undesirable elements.
From there the violent operation mushroomed to all urban centres and rural
areas, becoming more callous and incomprehensible as it gathered momentum.
      All this time different officials such as Sithembiso Nyoni, Ignatius
Chombo, Sekesai Makwavarara or David Karimanzira rallied around with their
own versions of the rationale for this impulsive and haphazard destruction
of homes, shops, livelihoods and the unleashing of untold human misery.
      It is not difficult to see why the government would rather take the
risk of appearing to have something to hide. Because it indeed has something
to hide, it would rather leave observers to make deductions from its
defiance rather than tell the truth. The government of Zimbabwe has
habitually depended on subterfuge and feigned bravado to avoid confronting
serious issues for some years.
      The result is the prevailing confusion in which the twin towers of
Babel and babble are now a permanent obstruction to any real vision. The
government knows the height of the hill from which it must climb down to
regain the trust and confidence of the people and there is simply too much
pride to consider such a possibility.
      With respect to the current controversy over Tibaijuka's report, a
free-for all in which anyone can throw spanners in the works enables the
government to save face and avoid responding to specific issues raised by
the UN envoy. For example, we have been bombarded with endless bluster that
Zimbabwe is being demonised for its noble decision to rescue its people from
squalor by building them decent houses.
      But despite all the babble, not a single minister has ever explained
why the government acted in such a punitive manner as to rush headlong into
Operation Restore Order/Murambatsvina before ensuring that those displaced
by the exercise could be accommodated somewhere. This is a concern that has
been raised not only by the UN but also by local observers, human rights
groups, opposition parties and the victims themselves.
      In addition, in the spirit of this policy of indifference, none of the
officials who have spoken self-righteously and indignantly about
Murambatsvina/Garikai has explained why a project purportedly planned well
in advance needed to be implemented in such a rash and callous manner.
      The truth is that there are so many red herrings out there now that it
is difficult for officials to keep track of all the cock-and-bull stories
they have told. By creating such a wide credibility gap, the government is
throwing a long rope for eventual self-indictment and crucifixion.

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