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Zim Independent

Zimbabweans face bleak Christmas
Blessing Zulu
CHRISTMAS without basics like mealie-meal, bread, meat, tea or even rice is
what Zimbabweans can look forward to this festive season as consumables have
disappeared from supermarket shelves.

Chicken is out of the question.

This is set to be the most miserable Christmas for a country that was once
the breadbasket of southern Africa with an abundance of affordable luxuries
as well as necessities.

The new list of products which the government has targeted for price control
include beef, sugar, salt, cooking oil, margarine, milk and dairy products,
flour and yeast. The list was gazetted last Friday.

The Statutory Instrument also plugged the rebranding loophole that had been
used by producers to escape the price control net. Most producers had
resorted to re-branding products. This can only now be done with the
authority of the Ministry of Industry and International Trade.

Zimstock Sales director, Lesley Mallett, blamed the price controls for the
disappearance of Christmas goods. "We are currently negotiating with the
Ministry of Industry in an attempt to redress the situation," said Mallet.

The crisis, which began in Harare when government price monitors visited
retail shops forcing them to lower their prices last week, has now spread to
all parts of the country including Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru and Marondera.
Shops have been swept clean by consumers and there have not been fresh
supplies of any of the gazetted products.

The Ministry of Industry has contracted monitors to curb the overcharging of
basic commodities.

While the government has been quick to deal with retail outlets, it has
failed to deal effectively with the black market.

The Independent this week conducted a survey which revealed that the black
market was rampant.

A 3kg bag of maize meal disguised as a 5kg bag is being sold at $800. The
gazetted price for 5kg is $380. A 750-litre bottle of cooking oil is being
sold for $1 000 instead of $136,78. The gazetted price for a 2kg packet of
sugar is $150 but it is being sold for $700.


      Petrol fetches $1 000/litre on black market

      Staff Reporter
      12/12/02 11:09:33 AM (GMT +2)

      BLACK market traders were yesterday charging as much as $1 000 per
litre of petrol, 13 times the normal pump price, as Zimbabwe virtually ran
out of the commodity this week despite reports that the government had last
Friday paid for the country's December fuel allocation from Libyan oil firm

      Queues of vehicles stretched for kilometres at the few garages that
were still selling petrol in Harare and a few other major centres.

      More desperate motorists opted to secure fuel from an illegal but
thriving black market where traders were making a killing, charging between
$700 and $1 000 per litre of petrol.

      The pump price for petrol set by the government is $74.74 per litre.

      Motorists interviewed by the Financial Gazette said they planned to
simply park their vehicles until the situation improved.

      As an increasing number of desperate Zimbabweans opted for public
transport, taxi operators were also quick to cash in on the crisis, charging
at least 10 times their normal fares.

      The petrol shortage is just one of a plethora of shortages of
essential commodities affecting Zimbabwe, which is grappling with its worst
economic crisis since independence from Britain 22 years ago.

      Consumers are also facing shortages of the staple maize meal, bread,
sugar, cooking oil, essential drugs, crop inputs and foreign currency.

      Oil industry officials said this latest petrol crisis was triggered by
Zimbabwe's late payment of US$40 million to Libya's Tamoil, which has
resolved not to supply fuel to the country unless it receives payment in

      The company supplies 70 percent of the country's fuel, with the
remainder coming in by land from South Africa.

      Sources said the payment for Zimbabwe's December fuel allocation had
only been made last Friday, resulting in pumping into the Beira-Harare oil p
ipeline only resuming on Monday this week.

      It could however not be established whether the government, which this
week blamed the biting petrol shortage on technical hitches at the
Mozambican port of Beira, had paid in full for a whole month's supply.

      But sources said although Harare had renewed a US$360 million fuel
line of credit with a Libyan bank, this had failed to improve the fuel
situation because Zimbabwe did not have foreign currency to pay timeously
for fuel, forcing Tamoil to frequently switch off supplies to press for

      "The problem is payment for the fuel, which is why there are all these
interruptions to supplies," a well-placed oil industry source told this

      "The government needs to raise US$40 million every month for fuel but
this is not happening on time, so the supplier will just turn off its taps
until payment is made."

      Petrol Marketers' Association of Zimbabwe chairman Simba Kambarami
said: "There are problems with suppliers from that side (the Beira pipeline)
but the southern region has some fuel. I think the root problem is obviously

      "We are holding frantic meetings with the ministry who have promised
us that the situation will "ease" by the end of this week."

      Sources said the Ministry of Energy and Power Development had now
taken direct control of fuel distribution from the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe in a desperate bid to resolve the deepening crisis.

      A former intelligence operative, Justin Mupanhanga, has been brought
in as secretary of the Energy Ministry in what sources alleged was part of
efforts to strengthen the government's hands on day-to-day management of
fuel supplies.

      Meanwhile, Kambarami said oil companies had written to the government
last week as a follow up to a memorandum of understanding that the two
parties had entered into to pave the way for private oil companies to import

      Kambarami however said there was no official communication yet from
the government to say that the oil companies could now proceed with
importing the fuel.

      He said the oil firms would be able to secure lines of credits from
international institutions and procure fuel much more efficiently.

      "We have received no official communication to say that we can proceed
(with fuel imports) so there is no specific time we can say we will do it,"
said Kambarami.

      "The only thing we can promise is that we will be able to get lines of
credits and we can procure fuel much more efficiently."
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Poverty, not activists, is a threat to national security

      12/13/2002 9:06:23 AM (GMT +2)

      I HAVE always told my friends in the Anti-Globalisation Movement that
while I am as anxious as they are about the many negative aspects of
globalisation, I am also an enthusiast for certain aspects of it: the
Internet and the general multimedia permutations. They are globalising
influences I am not opposed to.

      Even those who oppose globalisation have to globalise the struggle.
Therefore. none of us can be exempt from it.

      My experience last week with the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS)
further solidified my faith. Within a few minutes of my passport being
impounded and being told I could not travel, just one mobile phone call to
my wife, and the whole issue ceases to be local as the radio and Internet
broke the story.

      In a similar situation in 1993, it took several hours before the story
broke even on radio. One had to do a bit of merry-go-round to give the slip
to the SSS chaps, find a relatively secure phone line and pray that the
calls, either in or out, would go through.

      It is not just the technological environment that has changed. Even
the political environment internally. Nigeria is not yet a democratic
country by design, but it is now showing some veneer of democracy by

      The SSS itself is trying to adjust to "the new dispensation" of
reluctant democracy.

      Hence, their unusual politeness and even apology in executing their
wrongful orders. Contrary to an alarmist report that I have read about my
ordeal, I was neither manhandled nor maltreated. The truth was bad enough
without any need for embroidery.

      My own intention is to use the experience for a real engagement on the
nature of national security and provoke discussions about their
accountability to the society they are allegedly constituted to protect and

      I was initially prepared to accept that my being prevented from
exercising my right to freedom of movement was the result of administrative

      Someone just forgot to delete my name from the so-called "list".
      However, when three more pro-democracy activists faced similar
restrictions in the same week one is forced to think again.

      Iheoma Obibi, Director of Alliances for Africa, a British-born
Nigerian; Mr Jiti Ogunye, secretary-general of the Association of Democratic
Lawyers; and Joy Ngozi, of Women's Aid Collective all became victims on the
same grounds of either "your name is on our list" or "threat to national

      Iheoma was only able to leave Nigeria on Tuesday night with her
five-year-old son, Dilim, to whom it was difficult to explain what "national
security" is, let alone how he was threatening it! It would seem there is an
open season on "the troublesome" elements who have been mistaken in
believing that the democracy they helped to bring about will protect them
from such arbitrary arrests.

      If that is not the case, it could be that elements in the security
establishment still beholding to interests that are not altogether
favourable to those in power in Abuja are using security incompetence to
portray the regime as not being different from previous regimes in its abuse
of individual rights.

      There may not be many domestic reasons for wanting to re-elect
President Olusegun Obasanjo, but he seems to have gained international
acceptance as preferable to the other vultures.

      He has reduced the pariah status of Nigeria and is believed (by
outsiders) to be trying his best (which is obviously not enough to many
Nigerians) at the fine mess that Nigeria has become.

      If you can indict him on that front, too, then he would really be on a
limp. The worse case scenario is one in which actually the stoppages are not
the work of overzealous securitate elements or the machinations of Obasanjo'
s powerful enemies, but the deliberate upping of the security alert by Aso
Rock fearing a regrouping of the anti-dictatorship coalition as Nigeria
heads for uncertain electoral battles next year.

      If that was meant to send some strong signal out they could not be
more wrong.

      The threats to national security is not from human rights and
pro-democracy activists. They stem from the grinding poverty faced by the
majority of the population that is manipulated for sectarian and divisive
politics by the generals and their political cronies; the generalised
insecurity across the country; the alienation of the people from the leaders
and the I-don't-care attitude of those in power; the unrepresentative nature
of the Nigerian distortion of the representative democracy; the collapse of
law and order and the threat of total anarchy due to lack of due process and
respect for the rule of law; and, finally, a culture of whimsical leadership
and impunity.
      Though we are talking about Nigeria here, the issues form a generic
that is shamefully too familiar to many Africans.

      African states construct a threat analysis that is similar to the way
the rich and powerful among us build maximum security prisons as their
luxurious homes to keep away robbers.

      They are so fortified against external enemies that when the threat
emanates from inside (like fire) they are unable to escape.

      The threat to the government is from within the same recycled military
and political elite that is wasting the country.

      As the Americans say: "The buck stops here." It stops at the President
's table. He is either presiding or just residing in Aso Rock.

      Under the National Security Decree (now Act No 278, Laws of the
Federation of Nigeria, 1990) further strengthened by section 315 (C) that
gives legal force to the SSS, there is no minister to oversee its work. It
is not under any parliamentary oversight and its operations even preclude
judicial intervention. Its overall boss, the Director-General (DG), reports
directly to the President.

      This is why the other victims and myself are pooling legal resources
to launch a class act against the SSS to stop the DG and/or his operatives
from restricting our rights to freedom of movement, disclose the reasons for
our being on this infamous list, prevent future occurrence to us or any
other person.

      It should be a matter of public interest to decriminalise people who
have done nothing other than to cherish an open society. By so doing we
shall be exposing the real enemies of the open society.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

It's as bad as that
Iden Wetherell
IN August a spokesperson for the World Food Programme met journalists to say
how happy the UN agency was with its food distribution programme in
Zimbabwe. It was little more than a month before the WFP opened its eyes and
added its voice to those of other donors condemning the manipulation of food

It is understandable that diplomats and heads of UN agencies should not want
to be drawn into the heated domestic political discourse when they have a
wider brief. But if they are well-informed and well-intentioned there is
nothing to prevent them adopting a principled and robust position at the

The previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, provided
a good example of what was needed. She called it as she saw it.

The new Dutch ambassador, on the other hand, showed considerable naivety
last week in suggesting Zimbabwe had "genuine concerns" in its dealings with
the European Union. He thus gave a hostage to fortune which the government
media duly exploited. The only "concerns" he should be concerned with are
Zimbabwe's violation of the terms of the Cotonou Agreement.

Like all newly-arrived envoys who try to start off on the right note, Dr
Johannes Heinsbroek will soon be acquainted with certain realities which
require him to speak more plainly!

Another visitor, Stephen Lewis, the UN Special Envoy for HIV/Aids in Africa,
last week demonstrated more than naivety. He thought he would make a ringing
declaration by accusing rich countries of "indifference and insensitivity"
to Africa's plight. Admittedly, he did refer to "denial and silence" from
the continent, a remark that I would like to think had some resonance across
the Limpopo. But Lewis directed the bulk of his fulsome indignation at

"I was surprised to learn that not a penny has yet been received for the
HIV/Aids category in the consolidated appeal in Zimbabwe," he observed after
meeting President Mugabe. "The money that is coming in is coming in for

So the donors are guilty of contributing only to food! And sharply lower
crop outputs in the region he ascribed to the impact of Aids on the region's
labour base.

As the Australians would say, this guy has obviously just got off the boat.
Diminished crop output is the product of a variety of things of which Aids
among farm labourers is only one. The drought currently ravaging the region
is obviously another - and Lewis was right to warn of the terrible human
toll that will result from a combination of Aids and food scarcity.

But in ignoring the self-destructive tendencies of Sadc regimes he chose a
form of diplomacy akin to dissembling.

Those countries suffering the most severe impact of the current drought -
only marginally relieved by the rain this week - are those that have
inflicted the most damage on their agricultural sectors. Zimbabwe is the
worst affected and it has nothing to do with the weather. We survived the
1992-3 drought in much better shape because we had food reserves and a
better transport system. We also had a good flow of forex to divert to food

Malawi was advised by the IMF to dispose of some of its grain surplus. It
sold the lot in opaque circumstances which benefited a few well-connected
individuals and now finds itself dependent upon imports.

Zambia ran down its commercial agricultural sector in the 1970s and is
currently struggling to rebuild it - with the help of dispossessed
Zimbabwean farmers. The same goes for Mozambique. But both countries are
committed to sound economic policies which unlock donor funds.

South Africa and Namibia on the other hand need no help. Their farmers
produce sufficient food to feed everybody and export the surplus - at least
for the time being.

If Western donors are currently experiencing Africa fatigue, that is
entirely understandable. They have seen harrowing scenes from Ethiopia since
1984, and more recently Somalia and Sierra Leone. Let us not forget that
Zimbabwe's current leaders expressed unyielding support for Mengistu's
regime despite evidence that starvation in Ethiopia was linked to policy.

That may help explain subsequent developments here. Zimbabwe has
systematically destroyed its food supply. But as Stephen Lewis could easily
have ascertained, the record of misrule doesn't end there. The regime
diverted scarce resources - we calculate close to $100 billion - to propping
up a dictatorship in the Congo while hospitals and clinics at home ran out
of medicines and equipment that could have been used in the fight against
the Aids pandemic.

Lewis admitted last week that there were no drugs or simple antibiotics to
treat the disease. Given a choice between providing its own people with the
means of survival and assisting a corrupt dictatorship in the Congo,
Zimbabwe's rulers chose to do the latter. And this poses no moral message
for Lewis or the UN. Instead he blames the donors!

Fortunately there were people present at the UNDP boardroom last week who
were able to tell Lewis that anti-retrovirals had been available relatively
cheaply until the recent clampdown on forex; that Zimbabwe's problems were
entirely man-made.

Lewis claimed Botswana, with a stable government and economy, faced similar
HIV levels. What he didn't say was that Botswana can pay for food and drug
imports without the country running out of fuel!

"There are none so blind as those that will not see," it is said.

The World Council of Churches blames foreign direct investment for
"mal-development" in developing countries. It speaks of "ecologically
destructive over-consumption by the wealthy minority and the concentration
of power in the hands of private transnational corporations".

Evidently, the WCC isn't following events in Zimbabwe where
"mal-development" is official policy and ecologically destructive policies
are the direct product of a regime that is distinctly anti-globalist!

At the end of his press briefing last week, Lewis, having apologised for the
attitude of the drug companies and the entire Western world, asked: "Is
there anyone here who is hopeful?"

There was a deafening silence. Zimbabweans are hopeful that a procession of
distinguished visitors will stop glossing over the issues and insulting
their intelligence with disingenuous explanations as to what the problem is.
Zimbabweans are dying of famine and Aids because their government has chosen
to spend public money on other things. It's as simple - and as bad - as
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Zim Independent


The Commissioner, Omissioner & Mad King Sam
HOME Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi seems to have become an accomplished
editor. Reading a carefully prepared text at the police commissioner's
annual sundowner last Friday, he omitted a sizeable chunk of his speech for
reasons that are not entirely clear.

The government media, handed copies of the typed text, dutifully ignored the
bits left out. Readers may be interested in what the minister proposed to
say but didn't.

"At Home Affairs we feel let down by members of the court(s) who don't mete
out justice fairly, eg Blackie, Mandinde, Devittie and others. So we express
disquiet about some groups of people who seem not to be tried or who seem to
be above the law by not being prosecuted. The majority of MDC MPs are being
let off the hook even if they have cases to answer. The abuse of
parliamentary privilege which entailed the importation of vehicles by two
MDC MPs and their subsequent exoneration by the courts raises eyebrows. In
the same vein the variation of Blackie's bail conditions without
consultation with the Attorney-General and the police is also a case in
point. I urge the Attorney-General's office to expedite the prosecution of
those cases as they tend to demoralise the police."

Augustine Chihuri, speaking on the same occasion, was not so shy about
expressing dubious political views.

The country was "on the verge of prosperity", he claimed, before the
vagaries of the weather intervened.

"It is surprising," he said, "that those political parties that went through
the elections and lost with big margins have the guts to brand the
government as illegitimate. The elections were declared free and fair by
prominent international and regional organisations," Chihuri said, "and the
strong showing by the ruling party in subsequent by-elections is a glaring
(sic) testimony of the confidence and trust the citizens have in the ruling

Why does he think a margin of 400 000 in an election involving 2,8 million
voters was so "big" - especially given the circumstances in which it was
procured? At least he acknowledges that those parties contesting the outcome
have "guts", something he can never be accused of!

Warning opposition parties against inciting violence, Chihuri said the ZRP
will "not sit back and watch while the rights of citizens are being trodden
on". Which raises the obvious question: Why is the ZRP only now not going to
sit back when it has been so comfortable in that posture for so long?

The regional police chiefs' organisation, Sarppco, had resolved to set up an
anti-terrorist centre in Harare, Chihuri announced without saying why Harare
was considered an appropriate centre for monitoring terrorism.

Chihuri quoted Ché Guevara who said real liberation is only achieved "when
imperialist economic domination over a people is brought to an end". The
ZRP, he said, had "defied the evil of imperialist machinations". He rather
spoilt the impact of these remarks by next quoting Edmund Burke, the leading
conservative thinker of his day, on evil triumphing when good men do
nothing, a point the opposition has been making for a number of years!

But both Chihuri and the minister were clearly singing from the same hymn

Mohadi referred to "the machinations perpetrated by international capital".
He attacked the private and international media for the "incessant volleys
of blatant lies" aimed at portraying the country as "a jungle of lawlessness
and anarchy". The ZRP had played an "impeccable role" in exporting democracy
to "flashy" points across the globe, he claimed.

In addition to the similarities in content, both speeches were printed in
identical format. Some unkind observers said the minister's speech could
only have been delivered to him at the last minute given the way he stumbled
through it and then had to omit portions he felt were inappropriate.

Following his performance at the sustainable summit in Johannesburg, there
were many who saw in Namibia's Sam Nujoma, another unhinged African ruler,
preparing to inflict gratuitous damage on a hitherto successful economy.
That impression will have been confirmed by an interview he gave to the
German newspaper Die Welt last week.

Nujoma appears to have got up on the wrong side of his bed on the morning of
the interview as he took immediate exception to Die Welt correspondent
Thomas Knemeyer's first question as to whether he would run for a fourth

British prime ministers and German chancellors could be elected for several
terms, Nujoma pointed out.

"Why is that news? Really, is that news? You travelled all the world to come
and ask senseless questions?" Nujoma barked, accusing Knemeyer of trying to
create "confusion in Africa".

Pressed again to say whether Nujoma would stand for a fourth term, Knemeyer
was told to leave that to the Namibian people. "(It's) not for you to come
and decide," the reporter was told.

Asked when the controversial Epupa dam project would go ahead, Nujoma said
it was none of Knemeyer's business.

"It's our land, we fought for it," he said. "You Germans, when you were
defeated your country was divided into two.So why should you want to come
and poke your nose into our affairs? We Namibians know precisely what we
want and how to implement our plans in this country."

Not to be put off, the intrepid reporter then asked what Namibia's policy
would be on foreigners presently holding land in the country who wanted to
dispose of it.

"When we adopted the policy of reconciliation," Nujoma replied, "when we
defeated you Boers and you Germans, we did not adopt that policy as though
we were cowards. We wanted peace and we also know how to protect peace and
how to maintain it. If you violate it, definitely you will feel the heavy
weight of our laws."

Knemeyer: "From this I now take it that you say: in the longer run."

Nujoma: "Don't insult me further! Don't talk about my land. We fought and
liberated this country through bloodshed and loss of life."

Knemeyer: "No Sir, I would never insult you. I really didn't come to insult
you. I'm just here."

Nujoma: (Agitated, points finger.) "Stop that insult of talking about land
in this country! You have no right whatsoever."

Knemeyer: "There is a precedent that happened in the past two years in
Zimbabwe. Can you tell me."

Nujoma: "Now you stop insulting me by referring, talking to me, about
Zimbabwe. Go to Zimbabwe. You know where Zimbabwe is.

Knemeyer: "I have been to Zimbabwe. My question to you would be."

Nujoma: "Don't ask any question about Zimbabwe to me. Go to Zimbabwe. You
know where Zimbabwe is."

Asked about Nepad's peer review mechanism which South Africa's Thabo Mbeki
has championed, Knemeyer got much the same response.

"Don't talk about Mbeki to me," Nujoma huffed. "Why do you come to ask me
here about Mbeki?"

Asked what he would be proud of after 12 years in office, Nujoma at last
revealed exactly what was bugging him. He referred to reports in the German
press about his acquisition of a presidential jet.

Nujoma: "I see here you say Nujoma has gone ahead and bought a Lear jet.
Yes! What do you think? We should travel by donkey wagon? We have resources
here. When the apartheid regime left they took all the aircraft.We are not a
banana state as you think we are. We are entitled to travel by jet just like
other people. If you go to Germany you find all over jets. even private
people have them and therefore the people of Namibia cannot buy a jet? That
is arrogance, arrogance."

Knemeyer: "I didn't ask you about that."

Nujoma: "Well you stop that."

Having discussed the international situation, Nujoma was asked if there was
anything he would like to add.

Nujoma: "No, I just want to say: stop your arrogance. We thought that when
the Cold War ended all countries would work together for the common good of
the people. But if you whites continue with arrogance, surely we will hit
you! We have the capacity to deal with you. You killed our people in this
country - do you think we will just forget? And you write nonsense! If you
don't stop that we will deal with you directly."

The Johannesburg Mail & Guardian, which carried the interview in full,
described it as similar to a scene from the Madness of King George. Their
heading was, "The art of saying absolutely nothing".

We think King Sam said it all.

Somebody else who at times seems unhinged is Tafataona Mahoso. Like King
Sam, he has long-standing grievances against some of us working in the
independent media.

Writing in the Sunday Mail this week he claimed that a Muckraker article of
March 30 1995 entitled "Rage of the dinosaurs" showed that "for these
racists, the African is the dinosaur".

This deception is not even clever. He is the dinosaur and he knows it. By
pretending that any criticism of him is an insult to the people of Zimbabwe,
he is simply seeking comfort where none exists. The only other dinosaurs are
those who think like him, the ideological failures whose totalitarian
project under the guise of a spurious African nationalist mission was long
ago exposed as doomed to extinction. They are the ones who treat Zimbabweans
as "those people over there", people who need to be lectured on their
history by Mahoso every week in case they are in danger of forgetting it;
who need to be reminded of the state's historic mission when it long ago
lost its way.

Mahoso waxes indignant when President Mugabe is compared to Adolf Hitler,
Augusto Pinochet, General Suharto, Mengistu Haile Mariam and Mobutu Sese
Seko. A Zimbabwe Independent cartoon of May 23 1997 showing Mugabe going the
same way as Mengistu and Mobutu appears to have caused particular offence.

"This is the journalist playing god and prophet, no longer reporting,"
Mahoso declared. "The purpose here is to suggest to citizens that the
violent overthrow of African leaders is inevitable regardless of whether
they have been popularly elected."

That's one spin. Another would suggest that such is the fate of African
dictators who manipulate polls and pauperise their people. Will Mahoso, as
chair of the Media Commission, be declaring that cartoonists must not be
prophets, only reporters? That their only legitimate role is to extol the
virtues of our rapacious post-liberation aristocracy?

Mahoso claims that Zimbabwean society is not happy with the media's
performance. But he produces no evidence for this convenient conclusion
because he has none. The public may be profoundly dissatisfied with the
dissembling and dishonest role of a media that claims weekly the fuel
situation is about to improve or "Zanu PF machine unstoppable".

But they have expressed no dissatisfaction with the independent media apart
from the letter-writing department of the Office of the President which no
longer fools even the Herald's readers!

The next time Mahoso attacks the independent press, will he please remind us
what qualifications he holds in the field of journalism - apart of course
from his Ph.Dino!

There appears to be a competition on by our regular e-mail correspondents to
find the most outrageous quote of the year. Submissions to date include the
statement this week from land invaders in Chiredzi who claim the sugar-cane
planters who they chased off had the temerity to take their equipment with

"The white farmers have taken their equipment in an act of sabotage and we
expect the government to act," the new occupiers say. They didn't actually
add: "It's not fair," but we wish they had!

The other main contestant for most outrageous quote was the explanation
given to Swaziland's parliament for the acquisition of a royal jet.

"The jet would help the king travel the world asking for food aid."

Muckraker was certainly taken aback by claims ZBC chief correspondent Reuben
Barwe made that war veterans are a violent crowd. Readers need not be
reminded that it is the same Barwe who has been defending the ruling Zanu PF
party and its suicidal policies as if he is a shareholder.

Barwe is alleged to have fired three gunshots at Isaac Chidhakwa, a war
veteran at Sunnyside Extension Farm near Norton, about 50km from Harare.

Barwe claims that he fired the shots to scare off Chidhakwa who he alleged
tried to strike him with a hoe over a dispute over the ownership of the
farm. Barwe's workers took to their heels with war veterans in hot pursuit.
Barwe has now stopped all farming activities. With Zimbabweans looking to
the new farmers for food next year, we do not want to see scenes of disarray
such as these. Instead of cultivating the fields we are fighting each other.

Muckraker is wondering why people are fighting as there are vast tracts of
land that are lying idle.

As ZBC chief correspondent Barwe was the first with the news of
Zimbabwe-Chave Chimurenga, now he is one of its principal victims. "The
revolution always first eats its own," Reuben!

Although we are now firmly ensconced in December we have a report left over
from last month. A family whose Guy on Guy Fawkes night on November 5 bore a
close resemblance to a vocal minister complained to Muckraker that the large
head wouldn't burn on their bonfire.

"The problem this year is that we couldn't spare any petrol to hasten things
along," they complained. Perhaps after yet another failure in court last
week with the Standard journalists, that famous head may be a little smaller
now. No bets though!
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Zim Independent

The MDC & Gwisai - a marriage made in hell
Blessing Zulu

THE recent dismissal of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP Munyaradzi
Gwisai has brought into sharp focus problems facing political parties which
incorporate a wide range of competing interests.

Analysts say Gwisai's expulsion from the MDC, a broad church comprising
trade unions, civic groups, business, students and professional
organisations of various persuasions, exposed the perennial problem dogging
parties all over the world struggling to submerge individual differences for
collective identity.

Some ideological conflict within the MDC was inevitable given the party's
popular-front make-up but the real test for the opposition was not so much
the looming centrifugal forces but the way it managed them.

Right from the beginning the MDC was a collection of groups representing a
variety of interests. At its centre were activists with a trade union
background. These included former Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
leaders such as Morgan Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda, Isaac Matongo, Gift
Chimanikire and Lucy Mativenga.

This group, which transformed from an original leftist mindset due to
interaction with forces from different political shades, believed the MDC
should be a party whose policies were driven by pragmatism and prudent
fiscal management. It rejected the ideological strait-jacket of Cold War-era
parties and policy frameworks rooted in moribund dirigiste philosophies.

There was also a political grouping within the MDC comprising intellectuals
such as Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti who believed in consensus-based
politics. They wanted an all-encompassing democratic movement including
workers, business and civic groups.

The intellectuals, business people and trade union leaders understood the
need for political and economic modernisation. They recognised the need to
comply with global economic trends in order to benefit from opportunities
arising for trade and investment instead of resisting globalisation and
losing out in the end.

For all its negative impacts, globalisation benefits those economies which
are modern and competitive in their structural organisation. Ruling parties
in other countries, especially those which evolved in terms of their policy
frameworks and organisation in the 1990s, understand this perfectly well.
The African National Congress in South Africa and the Labour Party in
Britain both believe sound economic policy is the basis for improvements in
the standard of living of their people.

Another group within the MDC - which was far removed from the rest in so far
as ideological thinking was concerned - was the Trotskyist International
Socialist Organisation (ISO) led by Gwisai. It wanted the overthrow of the
current political and economic order in favour of a workers' state.

In its quest for relevance, Gwisai's group advocated the seizure and
redistribution of wealth regardless of the consequences for the economy.
This immediately set the Gwisai clique on a confrontational path with other
major components of the party.

The MDC leadership tried to accommodate Gwisai's demagoguery, just as the
ANC unsuccessfully tried to live with Winnie Mandela's and Bantu Holomisa's,
but it was only a question of time before the conflict reached a breaking
point. In the end Gwisai had to go if the ideological conflict could not be
contained any longer.

There are different views on whether the MDC managed its differences or not.
Some analysts say it was good to flush out populist demagogues like Gwisai,
while others said the MDC should have found ways to accommodate his
firebrand polemics.

MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said Gwisai was expelled because he
refused to subject himself to collective party discipline, and in the
process diverted public attention from the real issues of concern in

These issues have to do with bad governance, tyranny and Zanu PF's
determination to destroy any dissenting opposition voices.

Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, said the controversial MP should
feel relieved after his unceremonious dismissal.

"Gwisai should feel happy and relieved that he has been expelled from a
party with which he differs in every respect," Ncube said. "He has taken
every opportunity to attack the party and its policies yet claims to be one
of us, while he disagrees with all of us, including the party policies and

Gwisai said he was in the party under the banner of the left-wing Zimbabwe
Chapter of the far-left ISO.

The outspoken Gwisai clashed with his party on the land issue when he stated
that the white commercial farmers should not be compensated for their land.
He was also vehement in attacking the MDC for engaging with Zanu PF in the
aborted talks on a government of national unity. The talks were spearheaded
by presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa
in an attempt to end the political crisis that is bedevilling the country.

"A perusal of the actions by the MDC leadership will show that they have
clearly sold out on the fundamental reasons why the workers formed the
party," said Gwisai.

"The MDC is not for the leaders, but for students, workers, peasants and the
poor people. The party has become irrelevant to the problems we face today."

Some political analysts and Gwisai himself have pointed out similarities
with events in the ruling Zanu PF where those who do not toe the party line
are ruthlessly crushed.

But Dr Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly,
said there are no parallels to be drawn from these issues.

"There is no parallel here as (Dzikamai) Mavhaire was not expelled but was
only suspended," said Madhuku.

"There is nothing inherently wrong in any movement no matter how broad-based
or democratic in punishing those of its members who stray out of line. I
believe Gwisai was defying the rules of the party and I do not think that he
was expelled because he was outspoken."

Analysts also likened the Gwisai saga to what is happening across the
Limpopo as leftists seem to be causing havoc in the ANC. The ANC, like the
MDC is also a coalition of diverse interests.

Thabo Mbeki recently launched a vitriolic attack on the "ultra left" members
of his party. He singled out Cosatu's leadership in his weekly online column
on the party's website in early October.

There are already moves by the ANC that are seen by political analysts as
aimed at "crushing dissidents". Responding to media reports that the ANC was
rewriting its constitution "to turn the screws on its left-wing critics",
Mbeki on the latest edition of the ANC website said there was nothing
sinister in the proposed amendments.

"The amendments mentioned are consistent with the organisational discipline
required of people who voluntarily join a movement like the ANC. There is
little value in having vigorous internal debate and democratic processes of
decision-making if the members are not obliged to abide by the decisions of
the collective," Mbeki said.

Commenting on the allegation that members are being compelled to abide by
all the policies and decisions properly adopted in terms of its
constitution, Mbeki said the ANC constitution adopted in Mafikeng in 1997
includes a solemn declaration which all members make on joining the
organisation that they will "combat any tendency towards disruption and

It further says an ANC member shall "observe discipline, behave honestly and
carry out loyally decisions of the majority and decisions of the higher
body". This last clause has been part of the ANC constitution since 1958.

Political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said there is need to exercise caution
when comparing Gwisai's case to that of the ANC.

"The Gwisai issue is quite different from the South African scenario," said

"Gwisai's case has to do with internal discipline whereas the ANC one has a
long history of leftist issues which are more grounded."

Raftopoulos said the expulsion was an opportunity for ISO to build its own

"This is a wonderful opportunity for Gwisai and his ISO to stand on its own
and to garner support from the people for its policies," he said.

Other observers believe Gwisai has forgotten the cardinal rule that politics
is the art of the possible. That requires compromises if the party in
question is to occupy the middle ground in its quest for electoral victory.
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Christmas Message to the people of Zimbabwe from President Morgan Tsvangirai
of the Movement for Democratic Change

We enter the festive season as a nation in despair. Traditionally the season
is a period enabling us to share gifts, express our love, facilitate family
reunions and, above all, remember the birth of Christ.
The year 2002 has been the most difficult one for the majority. After the
stolen election in March, we were thrust into darkness. We were disabled by
the scale of the theft of our voice.
Robert Mugabe's forced stay in office was a mere paper crown. As you have
experienced, the situation has worsened since then. We feel vindicated in
that our cries and concerns about Zanu PF's inability to turn around the
country's fortunes are now glaringly clear to all at home and abroad.
Food has become critically short; jobs are vanishing daily; the nation's
health delivery system is on its knees; and essential commodities have long
disappeared from the market.
We are under intense pressure for reasons we all know arise from the
deepening crisis of governance. This will never disappear until we accept
the serious challenges ahead and confront them with a view to pave the way
for a better life for all.
We need to get sufficient food at a rate that is fast enough to avert
famine.  The HIV/Aids pandemic is wreaking havoc, taking away the precious
lives of our most productive citizens.
Inflation is currently running at more than 144,2% in an economy entering
its fifth straight year of recession and expected to shrink by more than the
officially acknowledged 10,6% this year.
Our once vibrant agriculture sector, the mainstay of the economy, is at
present in disarray and in need of urgent and constructive attention. This
has impacted negatively on the stability of the agro-industrial sector, hit
the security of 350 000 permanent farm workers and about 50 000 seasonal
workers. With their dependants, this figure translates to the displacement
of  between two and three million people.
Life expectancy as at the year 2000 had fallen from about 60 years to 37,8
The nation has become de-humanised. The time has come for us  to recapture
the energy we harnessed early in 2000.
Beyond this sad Christmas period, we must reflect and interrogate ourselves
with a view to wade through this darkness and see next year as our year of
 We must have as our lights the values of: compassion, respect, human
dignity and collective unity.
We need a fulfilling policy of inclusion rather than policy that excludes.
Across the political, racial and cultural divides, we must step forward and
play our part especially now that literally everybody, including the staunch
Zanu PF supporters, have accepted that Mugabe and their party lack the
capacity and willingness to save Zimbabwe.
Our position on the way forward remains clear and unwavering:
· Mugabe must accept immediate retirement.
· The MDC will support legislative and constitutional amendments through
Parliament to facilitate the necessary changes for the management of the
interim and transitional arrangements.
· A transitional authority will be set up and the composition must include
representatives from key Zimbabwean organisations and political parties.
· This authority should hold office for a limited period and prepare for
fresh presidential elections.
· During this time the transitional authority must work to rebuild trust and
put in place a conducive climate for free political activity.
· A priority will be to overcome the humanitarian crisis facing our country.

Morgan Tsvangirai
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ZIMBABWE: Govt to seize 'undeclared' maize

JOHANNESBURG, 12 December (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's commercial farmers on Thursday said a government decision to seize "undeclared" maize from white-owned farms would deter farmers from producing the crop in the future.

The state-controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB) on Wednesday announced that it would begin impounding undeclared stocks from farms that had failed to meet the 10 December deadline to deliver the maize to the depots.

The GMB issued a directive on 27 November to commercial famers with maize and wheat to declare it within two weeks, or face prosecution.

But some farmers have been reluctant to sell their crops to the GMB because of the low price. The state-controlled body is the country's only wheat and maize trader.

Recently, the government increased the producer price of wheat from US $40,000 to US $70,000 per tonne, but farmers say the price is still too low.

"The seizures are likely to have a negative effect on production next year. Nobody is interested in growing a crop that is price controlled. If farmers receive a fair price for their produce, they would more willing to sell to the GMB,"  Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president, Colin Cloete, told IRIN.

The government has accused farmers of hoarding their produce in the face of widespread food shortages.

It is estimated that 800,000 mt of food aid is need to feed over six million people facing hunger.

Cloete said there had been reports that GMB officials had already begun seizing wheat and maize from white-commercial farms since last week.

"We have received reports that in the Tengwe area in the Mashonaland West province, about 30,000 mt of maize had been taken from three farms," he said.

The GMB has also threatened to impound stocks farmers were saving to feed workers and livestock.

"Should the GMB move to seize food stocks reserved for farm workers then like everybody else, workers will have to stand in the food queues," Cloete said.




  1. Wheat – Wheat deliveries to the GMB as at the 2nd December 2002 were 137 000 tonnes. Final delivery is expected to be 150 000 tonnes, well below the official estimate of 212 000 tonnes. In previous seasons deliveries were well over 300 000 tonnes.
  2. Barley – National Breweries report an intake of 30 000 tonnes and are disappointed that farmers who had originally signed contracts with them sold their Barley as stock feed. The stockfeed industry could have purchased 20 000 tonnes.
  3. Maize – Seed sales are reported to be 40 000 tonnes which would equate to a crop of 1,5 million hectares. There is little evidence on the ground that a crop of this size will be planted. Some of the seed may have been exported or eaten. The late start to the season, predictions of below normal rainfall and the shortage of inputs would indicate a crop of below 1 million tonnes being reaped. Also of concern is the reduced area being planted to seed maize. Traditional growers are either off their farms or being prevented from planting. At this stage we may produce only 20 000 tonnes of seed maize for next season i.e. 50% of our requirement.
  4. Sorghum – Local seed supplies were inadequate and seed has been imported. Due to the late season there has been increased demand for seed.
  5. Soyabeans – Seed orders indicate a crop of over 45 000ha. Many of the growers will have little experience in soyabean production and we may only produce 60 000 tonnes. Slightly less than last seasons crop but well below the 150 000 tonnes produced in the 2000/2001 season.
  6. Groundnuts/Sunflowers – Very little seed available and there will be limited production.


ZGPA The GMB have again warned farmers to deliver all maize and wheat in their possession to the nearest receiving depot. The first notice appeared in The Herald on the 27th November, 2002 so the closing date was 10th December 2002.

Mash West (North) Report

A well-attended meeting of the Mashonaland West (North) region was held on Friday 6 December, 2002.

Mr. Neville Brown spoke very well on the current topic of compensation and on the need for all farmers, irrespective of their situation, to get on to the database being compiled by the consortium. All FA Chairman were urged to report back to their members and encourage them to attend a meeting at the CFU on Wednesday 18 December at 3.00 p.m. Snacks and drinks in the CFU dining room will follow this on the bases of "chipping in".

Ian Barret reported on the current position regarding soyas. He also spoke about the resolution of the leadership crisis and that Mr. Mac Crawford had been elected in as a second Vice President.

Sadly the region bad farewell to Dave Rockingham Gill, the Regional Executive Officer who had spent several years in the region and who had served all farmers there very well. We wish him all the very best for the future. Jan Botes, the outgoing regional chairman, presented a suitable gift from all FA’s of Mash West (North) to Dave.

If you require any further information on any of the above issues please contact CFU Tel 04 -309800 ext. 279 or e–mail and we will endeavor to supply prompt answers.

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Daily News

      Villagers slam Mahofa over late road project

      12/13/2002 9:13:44 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      The tarring of the Gutu-Kurai road has been delayed as the government
has failed to raise enough funds to complete the project - now five years

      The project should have been completed last year, but to date the
government has only managed to surface less than 20km since 1997.

      Many villagers have blamed the local Member of Parliament, Shuvai
Mahofa (Gutu South) for incompetence and dereliction of duty.

      Mahofa is the Deputy Minister of Youth Development, Gender and
Employment Creation. "Mai Mahofa is not doing her duties properly as the MP
for our constituency," said Tavakotsa Chikunhuwe of Bhasera business centre,
80km east of Mupandawana growth point.

      "She must fight for the development of our area so that we will not
regret having voted for her."

      Other residents said they suspected the money allocated for the
project might have been misappropriated because the completion of the
project had been delayed for so long.

      A villager from Gonye who preferred anonymity said: "We are beginning
to wonder whether the funds are being fully utilised or some people are
diverting them for their personal use because it is time the project was

      Other villagers said the delay in the completion of the project had
aggravated their transport problems since bus companies had withdrawn their
services because of the bad state of the road.

      Mahofa, however, said the government was failing to raise enough funds
to complete the project.

      "You must not listen to the villagers because they don't know
anything. Listen to what I am saying: The problem with the delay in the
completion is because the government has no money and it is giving us money
to surface only eight kilometres every year.

      "You cannot expect the project to be completed early," she said.
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Daily News

      Rusape shop owners allege Zanu PF harassment

      12/13/2002 8:46:06 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      RESIDENTS and shop owners in Rusape have expressed fear at the
increasing number of Zanu PF supporters, including youths from the Border
Gezi Training Centre, whom they accuse of terrorising them with impunity.

      They alleged the intimidation started two weeks ago when the
government gazetted a new list of goods with controlled prices.

      The residents accused the Zanu PF supporters of physically threatening
them when they queue for foodstuffs.

      SW Radio Africa, a private radio station run by exiled Zimbabweans,
which broadcasts from the United Kingdom, last week reported that Zanu PF
militants invaded shops in the town.

      The radio station reported that the Zanu PF militants forced shop
owners, including the major supermarket chains, OK and TM, to reduce the
prices of basic commodities.

      Sheillar Chinhau, a mother of two in the G Section of Vengere township
in the town, said most residents were now so frightened of the Zanu PF
youths they no longer protested, even when their children went without food.

      "We have witnessed the youths and war veterans severely assaulting
      people for allegedly promoting the black market," Chinhau said. "The
      senior politicians in this town have condoned it. I think the Zanu PF
leadership, the government representatives and the policemen in this town
should put a stop to this because it's now unbearable."

      The youths have been accused of making unspecified threats to shop
owners for allegedly overpricing goods on the government price control

      "What the Border Gezi youths are doing is disturbing," said a shop
manager. "They enter your shop and go about the shelves threatening workers
for overpricing goods on the government price list."

      An Asian shop owner along the town's main street yesterday said the
youths and known war veterans, reportedly led by Nathaniel Punish Mhiripiri,
the Zanu PF chairman for the district co-ordinating committee, raided
several shops in the town and ordered them to stick to the controlled prices
or face unspecified action.

      "Mhiripiri came with eight to 10 Zanu PF youths and accused me of
selling my goods above the controlled prices," he said. "They ordered us to
reduce the prices of soap, cooking oil, maize-meal and other basic goods.
Mhiripiri and his people bought most of the goods at reduced prices and
re-sold them at higher prices on the black market."

      Speaking by phone a police constable at Rusape Police Station
yesterday said: "There were reports of people taking goods from the shops. I
only heard about it but l am not sure who these people were."

      Mhiripiri has previously led youths in the town to confront the
business community to release maize-meal to Zanu PF supporters and the

      The shop owner said the town's business community was disturbed by the
constant verbal threats from Zanu PF militants, who have recreated the
conditions that prevailed in the town before the March presidential

      "The government should ensure that their policemen live up to our
expectations, otherwise our businesses will be destroyed by these
politicians who don't have a clue about business management." he said.
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Seizure of grain not a solution to food crisis

      12/13/2002 8:54:53 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is about to worsen the food shortages, especially for
those on farms.

      This week the government started seizing grain from commercial farms,
ostensibly in a bid to alleviate the severe shortage of maize and wheat in
the country.

      Last month, the government increased the producer price of wheat from
$40 000 to $70 000 a tonne. It also issued a directive for farmers to
deliver all grain which is surplus to their requirements this week.

      In sending its inspectors onto the farms the government is conceding
that this year's yields were low and that the increase in the producer price
of wheat, for example, failed to generate more deliveries of wheat.

      But it also creates the dangerous impression that commercial farmers
are deliberately seeking to starve the rest of the population. The
government is promoting hatred of the commercial farmers. That is dangerous.

      In the recent past, it has campaigned to demonise the commercial
farmers, blaming them for everything that it perceived to have brought about
its present harvest of thorns.

      The government is coming face-to-face with the reality of its
sponsored farm invasions: there is not enough maize and wheat for the nation
's requirements.

      It does not take a genius to realise that when an estimated 4 500
commercial farmers are expelled from their properties and are prevented from
undertaking any form of farming activities, there will be dire consequences.

      Today there are an estimated 600 commercial farmers whose properties
the government has not seized. Unfortunately, not all of them grow maize and
wheat. The issue of serious food shortages is one that the government should
have considered before its fast-track land reform programme was launched
amid so much violence.

      But the seizure of grain from farms is not the long-term solution to
the crisis Zimbabwe is facing. The solution lies in importing more food,
allowing other players with resources to import food and engaging the
international donor community to assist. That is the only approach to ensure
people do not starve.

      The government should not pretend it has the capacity to deal with the
food crisis. The sooner it acknowledges its own inadequacies, the better for
the estimated seven million Zimbabweans who face starvation.

      Private companies as well as the MDC have asked to be allowed to
import maize. If the government is serious about tackling this crisis and is
genuinely interested in saving people from starvation, it should stop
playing games.

      For example, a considerable amount of food could have been imported
with the funds allocated for Zanu PF's conference in Chinhoyi. The
government should get its priorities right.

      After Chinhoyi, hunger and starvation will still remain serious issues
requiring the government's urgent attention. It would have shown more
sensitivity to the nation's plight if the conference had been postponed to
March next year, when the picture of the food crisis should be much clearer.

      By raiding farm stocks the government is merely going to deprive
farmers and their workers in order to create the impression among the vocal
urban populations that there is adequate maize and wheat. The government
should stop deceiving itself. It must start behaving like a government with
a crisis on its hands and address it, rather than making these piecemeal

      Farmers always retain stocks for their workers, themselves and their
livestock. If the government is going around confiscating maize in storage,
it will also have to assess the quantities farmers and workers are entitled
to. That is an impossibility.

      In any case it boasted that the bulk of the maize is now grown by
indigenous farmers; it is hoped the government will be raiding more of these
because they knew they had a responsibility to produce adequate food for the
nation's requirements.

      Similarly, with wheat it paraded numerous success stories of
indigenous farmers who had "successfully" ventured into commercial wheat

      They must explain what happened to the wheat fields they were so keen
to flaunt on national television. The people under pressure should be the
new farmers.
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Daily News

      Zanu PF MP denies using food to win poll

      12/13/2002 9:03:03 AM (GMT +2)

      From Amanda Bango in Bulawayo

      ANDREW Langa, the new Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Insiza, says if
he had denied any voters food during the by-election campaign in October,
they would not have voted for him. In papers filed in the High Court against
the challenge to his election by the defeated MDC candidate, Langa said
"there is no scientific analysis in such a proposition because if you deny
people food you cannot expect them to vote for you".

      The MDC last month filed an election petition in terms of Section 132
of the Electoral Act, seeking a nullification of the results of the
by-election in which Siyabonga Malandu Ncube of the MDC garnered slightly
above 5 000 votes against Langa's more than 12 000 votes.

      In the 2000 general election, the MDC won the seat against Zanu PF.
The fresh by-election was due to by the death of the MDC MP. In his
application, Ncube said in the run-up to the by-election, Zanu PF used maize
as its main electoral weapon. He said that gave Langa an unfair
      advantage. He noted that such practices violated the Zimbabwean
Electoral Act and those drawn up by the Southern African Development
Community electoral committee.

      In his opposing papers, Langa argued that food was distributed
according to the government programme of action.He denied there was a
deliberate bias against MDC supporters among the starving population. He
said if the suggestion was that he had caused food to be withheld from
      certain people to obtain their votes, then those very people would not
have voted for him.

      On allegations that Langa and Zanu PF had looted the World Food
Programme food aid, Langa said he had heard about the alleged hijacking from
the MDC but had no evidence to verify how true it was.

      Ncube had accused Langa of manipulating the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority rural electrification programme, launched in Insiza during
the run-up to the election, for campaign purposes.

      Langa denied that charge, saying he did not address the function, nor
was the event a rally."If the petitioner (Ncube) wanted to attend (the
function) he would have been able to attend," he said. Langa denied shooting
Darlington Kadengu, an MDC activist, inside the Filabusi Police Station in
the presence of the officer-in-charge.

      But he admitted that Kadengu was struck by a bullet which ricocheted
when he (Langa) fired into the air to ward off Kadengu and his group of MDC

      On the allegations of bribery, Langa said the manner of the bribes was
not specified and the details remained vague.Ncube's lawyer, Mathonsi of
Coghlan and Welsh, said he would proceed by filing an affidavit, replying to
Langa's, before a date for the hearing can be set.
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Daily News

      Tsvangirai says Zanu PF faces collapse next year

      12/13/2002 8:39:53 AM (GMT +2)

      By Haru Mutasa

      Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, yesterday predicted the exit of
Zanu PF from power next year, saying the freedom that Zimbabweans had
yearned for would come to fruition in 2003.

      He said: "When we come back from the holidays next year, it will be
the year for freedom. Try to liberate yourselves. We will not want to hear
people complaining that they are being denied food because they do not have
Zanu PF cards."

      Addressing an improptu rally in the Graniteside industrial area in
Harare, Tsvangirai said: "It is time to liberate ourselves and for us to
fight for our rights.

      "Harare belongs to the MDC and we cannot allow ourselves to be
persecuted when we are in the majority."

      Speaking to an estimated 350 industrial workers, Tsvangirai condemned
those who did not take part in Tuesday's abortive stayaway. The planned
stayaway was a flop as most workers reported for duty as usual.

      "What is wrong with the people of Zimbabwe?" he asked, "Do we have
some sort of disease? It should not matter who calls a stayaway; everyone
should attend. You cannot wait to act just because Tsvangirai called it.

      "One person cannot remove Mugabe from power. You are the ones paying
the taxes and suffering. You must know what government you are putting into

      He said the MDC would not waste its time organising more stayaways.
      "Next time we are marching into town," he said, "If people are afraid
they must go and vomit out that fear. Mugabe and Zanu PF are nothing. They
are no longer the fearsome snakes they used to be.

      "Soon there will no longer be a ruling Zanu PF government. But you,
the people, must not just sit and talk; you must do something about it."

      Tsvangirai urged the workers to stand by the Harare executive mayor,
Elias Mudzuri, who was voted into office by the people. He said they should
not allow Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and National Housing, to harass the mayor.

      "Go and defend your mayor. He is being harassed when it is the
government that is not providing forex needed to buy chemicals for water
treatment. Why should we have to go without water when we are the ones
paying rates?" he asked.

      He said since Mudzuri was elected by the people of Harare they were
the ones entitled to remove him from office, not the minister.

      Isaac Matongo, the MDC national chairman, said the harassment and
beatings being endured by the people at the hands of Zanu PF youths, even in
the rural areas where Zanu PF claimed it enjoyed popular support, indicated
the party was not popular but that it had actually lost the March
presidential election, the results of which are being challenged in court.
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Zim Independent

Airzim hikes fares by 524% in 10 months
GOVERNMENT through its Minister of Finance and Economic Development Herbert
Murerwa, has emphasised the need for vigorous action to end Zimbabwe's
pronounced hyperinflation. In his 2003 Budget Statement to parliament on
November 14, the minister expressed concern at the uncontained escalation of
inflation and at the consequential repercussions on the economy and the
populace. He also recognised that the most effective strategy to achieve
significant inflation control would be a social contract between government,
labour and the private sector.

Such a contract would prescribe a freeze of prices for all goods and
services, save to the extent of any direct cost increases in respect of
imports. It would also prescribe a freeze on salaries and wages, and upon
all charges by the State, its parastatals, and local authorities. Only by
freezing input costs and overheads can manufacturers, producers,
wholesalers, retailers and other private sector operators freeze the prices
of their goods and services and remain in business.

However, although the tripartite forum of the three elements of society
required for the conclusion of a social contract has met occasionally, no
contract has yet been concluded. Government disregarded that fact, as it
also disregarded the disastrously negative effects of a price freeze and of
price controls which are not complemented by a total social contract.
Instead, on the day after the Budget Statement presentation, in the course
of which the minister announced a wide-ranging price freeze, his cabinet
colleague, the Minister of Industry and International Trade, Samuel
Mumbengegwe, initiated an immediate, very comprehensive price freeze, which
was gazetted into law that day.

Within days of doing so, he castigated those enterprises which had ceased to
sell various commodities. He accused them of hoarding which he said was only
motivated in order to embarrass government and force the withdrawal of the
pricing legislation. That some may be unwilling to trade at losses, which
would be inevitable if they could not adjust prices as necessary, was of no
concern to the minister, and obviously cavalierly dismissed by him as
inconsequential and of no relevance, to such an extent that he threatened
state expropriation of any "offending" enterprises. (Presumably he
contemplates draconian legislation modelled upon the corrupted Land
Acquisition Act, ignoring the fundamentals of international law, good
governance, and justice and equity!)

He also accused those operating in breach of the price control and price
freeze legislation of profiteering without considering that in many, if not
most, instances the breaches were acts of desperation to survive, to avoid
business closure and liquidation, by selling at prices yielding a break-even
or a small profit.

But perhaps most deserving of condemnation is the fact that government does
not lead by example, and does not accept that "sauce for the goose is sauce
for the gander". That this is so is very apparent by the fact that although
not precluded in the discriminatory pricing legislation from doing so,
government's parastatals should observe a price freeze, but do not do so.
The manner in which they flagrantly disregard the spirit of price controls
and of price freeze, and repeatedly inflate their prices by monumental
amounts demonstrates their immunity from almost all that government expects
of commerce and industry, and others of the private sector.

So pronounced are the instances of blatant dismissal of all pricing concepts
enunciated by government that I have been motivated to write to the
parastatals that are at the forefront of inflation stimulation. But the
extent that those parastatals have recurrently increased prices,
intensifying the consumer's burden, instead of seeking opportunities of cost
containment and of enhanced productivity, is such that it is improbable that
they will give any meaningful consideration to any critical communications
from any of their customers. Instead they would either be oblivious to the
contents of the letters, filing them in "bin 13" or would give a soft-soap
response devoid of substance and only containing attempted justifications of
a nature dismissed by government when from the private sector. I have
therefore decided to download some of those letters into this column.

Letter to Air Zimbabwe

Dear Air Zimbabwe,

I realise that it is possibly in bad taste to talk of diminishing returns in
the context of an airline, for one must wish for the same number of returns
as there are departures. However, you are clearly unaware that government
has stated that prices should not increase if hyperinflation is to be
brought under control. Even more significantly, however, is that the extent
that you unendingly increase your fares will result in your losses
intensifying, instead of being reduced. Your fares have increased at a rate
which exceeds inflation immensely.

By way of example: a business class return airfare on the Bulawa-yo/Harare
route was $27 700 in January, $34 960 in October, $51 460 in November, and
now an unbelievable $172 939, admittedly now inclusive of insurance and
departure tax. In other words, the fare has increased by over 524% this year
(and latest available year-on-year inflation is cited at 144,2%!). Economy
class fares have increased proportionately, and commensurate fare increases
apply on other domestic routes. Fares on regional and international routes
have also risen exponentially.

You may think that a 524% increase in a period of 10 months will restore
your financial viability, but it will not. Instead, it will only result in a
sharp decrease in patronage. Many are now resorting to travel by road (when
fuel is available). Others, myself included, will now look to travelling
less frequently. Instead of flying to Harare up to 10 times a month, I will
now consolidate my travel needs into about three more extended trips each
month. Moreover, most who have heretofore patronised your Business Class
will now travel Economy Class.

The bottom line is that the increased fares will yield you diminished
returns, whilst you impact negatively upon the operations of Zimbabwean
business, already much stressed, and you reflect negatively upon government'
s sincerity when it prescribes pricing constraints. In addition, the
devastating impacts of your ill-considered, recurrent fare increases must
render prospects of successful privatisation more and more remote.

Letter to Zimpost

Dear Zimpost,

The timing of your announcement of upward revision of postal charges was
impeccable. Less than a fortnight after government bewailed the magnitude of
Zimbabwean inflation and imposed a wide range of price freezes, over and
above previously promulgated price controls, you announced massive increases
in postal charges. Yes, I am aware that the recent price freeze order does
not apply to you, but that does not justify increases of the magnitude you
have made. A year ago, the postage on an ordinary letter to a Zimbabwean
destination, its weight not exceeding 20g was $12. Then you increased it to
$20 and now the postage on such a letter is $30.

If a private sector enterprise increased its prices at such a pace, and to
such an extent, it would be bitterly berated by government, the Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe and others, but it appears that you can do it with
impunity. So great are the current levels of postal charges that commerce
and industry would be better placed to employ runners with cleft sticks
(which would coincidentally make some contribution to reducing the agonising
levels of unemployment) or of using carrier pigeons, the only significant
cost being bird seed!

In practice, there will be even more usage of e-mail, which is in any event
faster than snail-mail, and of facsimile transmission.

Worst of all, however, is that by exploiting the fact that your services are
not price controlled, you are acting diametrically opposite to government's
espoused objectives and intents. As a result, government policies are devoid
of credibility, as well as being economically destructive.

Stamp out postage rate increases before they totally envelope us.

Letter to Samuel Mumbengegwi

Dear Minister,

Government's recent monetary policies, announced in the 2003 Budget
Statement and set out in a Reserve Bank press release on Friday, November 15
went a very long way towards digging the grave for almost all sectors of the
economy. However, your follow-through of imposition of a price freeze
complementary to last year's price control orders has thrown sand upon the
coffins of vast numbers of the industrial sector and much of the
distributive trades.

Not only are your measures economically destructive, but they are also
discriminatory, for the greater number of Zimbabwe's parastatals are not
affected while almost all enterprises in the private sector are directly or
indirectly severely impacted upon.

With all due respect, the measures cannot succeed if in isolation from an
all-embracing social contract. Either such a contract must be brought about,
or the measures should be suspended or withdrawn. If not, the decline of the
economy will be markedly greater than government has projected, and the
hardships for most Zimbabweans will be great. Repeated attacks on oppressed
enterprises struggling to survive can only worsen the imminent economic

World Socialist Web Site

Air Zimbabwe attempts to break engineers strike

Air Zimbabwe has hired 15 engineers from South Africa and is reportedly
paying them $US55 ($Z3,025) an hour, according to Gabriel Ziki, the chairman
of the Zimbabwe Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Association (ZAMEA). The
South African engineers are servicing two aircraft grounded by a strike, as
well as assisting Air Zimbabwe's newly-recruited engineers who were engaged
after the dismissal of the striking engineers.

Most ZAMEA members have recently been fired by the airline. Air Zimbabwe
dismissed 89 out of the 139 striking engineers and the remainder have their
case pending at the Ministry of Labour. They have been sending their planes
to South Africa for maintenance.

Ziki said that the national airline had not paid the striking engineers
their salaries for the past three months. The striking engineers were served
with suspension letters on September 13, two days after the strike began.
Ziki said the local engineers' salaries ranged from $Z61,000 to $Z97,000 a
month and they are demanding a monthly salary of between $Z200,000 and
$Z400,000 ($Z1,000 = $18).

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Zim Independent

Zim crisis an obstacle to Nepad
Dumisani Muleya
THE much-vaunted New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) faces an
assortment of obstacles - including the Zimbabwe crisis - and a range of
negative perceptions which hover ominously over it, a business forum on the
continental recovery programme heard last week.

Participants at the two-day Nepad conference in Cape Town organised by
Business Day said the African renaissance project had to overcome obstacles
such as Zimbabwe's problems which were destabilising the region if it were
to succeed.

Conflicts and a myriad of other problems in different parts of Africa were
also cited as impediments.

Michael Blank of the Southern African Initiative of German Business (Safri)
was quoted as saying Germans tended to be sceptical about Africa because of
issues like Zimbabwe.

"Something similar is happening with regard to Nepad," he said. "There are
voices, loud voices, in Germany that look upon Nepad as one further example
of an extremely ambitious, but totally worthless attempt by Africans to
fight the negative perception by the rest of the world, a clever marketing
mix, nothing else."

The Zimbabwe situation, he said, perpetuated that negative African image.

"The scepticism is understandable, especially in the light of the most
recent events in Zimbabwe," Blank said. "But Safri's stance is: Let's take
Nepad seriously."

Blank said Germans were shocked by South African President Thabo Mbeki and
regional leaders' "loud silence and a very dangerous one too" over the
Zimbabwe crisis.

He said German investors without "any insight into the southern Africa
circumstances will not differentiate" between Zimbabwe and the region.

For them, he said, a crisis in Zimbabwe was identical to a regional collapse
although there were "solid, reliable and trustworthy governments around that
would not subscribe to the point of view of Mugabe".

German companies were also influenced in their decisions by civil wars,
crime rates, the HIV/Aids pandemic and widespread corruption in Africa,
Blank said.

Mbeki has failed to allay fears that Nepad's peer review mechanism would not
be helpful in reining-in dictators like Mugabe by engaging in rambling
discourse and technically convoluted arguments about how the check-over
system would work. His recent long-winded letter to Canadian Prime Minister
Jean Chrétien over the issue has worsened scepticism within and outside

There were also other problems besetting Nepad discussed at the Cape Town

Douglas Ramaphosa of the South African banking group, Absa, who was recently
in Ghana, said South Africa, the continent's economic

powerhouse riding the Nepad steed bareback, was perceived as the new
colonialist of Africa.

He said South Africa's High Commissioner in Accra had indicated to him his
country was seen as too aggressive in business.

"They see Nepad as big brother South Africa coming to take over everything,"
he said. "But Nepad will only succeed as a partnership."

Richard Loubser of the JSE Securities Exchange SA, told the conference that
Nepad should not be seen as a project but a way of life for it to make good.

Zim Independent

Lisbon summit under threat
Dumisani Muleya
TENSION between European and African countries over Zimbabwe is bound to
rise sharply ahead of a key summit in Lisbon next year.

Portugal, which is part of the European Union (EU), has indicated it may not
allow Zimbabwean officials to attend the April EU/Africa summit because of
travel restrictions which the 15-member bloc has imposed on Harare

President Robert Mugabe and his associates were earlier this year slapped
with a travel ban due to repression and human rights abuses.

EU members have said they would not want Zimbabwe to attend meetings in
their backyard unless he abandons electoral rigging and other facets of
misrule. But he is unlikely to comply.

On the other hand, most African countries have adopted a position that if
Zimbabwe is excluded from such collective meetings, they won't attend.

However, certain Afri- can nations like Ghana and Botswana are exp-ressing
growing impatience with Zimbabwe's continued disruption ofimportant meetings
where development aid stakes are high.

Since May, Zimbabwe's, and Mugabe's presence in particular, have caused a
stir at several international gatherings and diverted attention from the
main issues.

It has become clear Zimbabwe's emergency is driving a wedge between Europe
and Africa - continents still suspicious of each other due to their colonial
history. While Portuguese officials have underlined Lisbon's commitment to
EU resolutions, the Portuguese government is anxious to proceed with its
showcase meeting in line with Portugal's claims to have a special - and the
oldest - relationship with Africa.

The cleavage widened recently following a botched EU/African, Caribbean &
Pacific (ACP) meeting in Belgium. ACP countries forced the cancellation of
the EU/ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the Belgian capital after
European MPs resolved to bar Zimbabwean legislators from entering the
Strasbourg parliament.

Zimbabwe hailed the failure of this important development dialogue as a
major diplomatic coup. But many developing countries think it was a Pyrrhic
victory. Third World governments, which are major recipients of EU aid, have
much to lose if development projects fail due to a quarrel over despotism in

Confrontation between the EU and Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) countries last month also torpedoed a ministerial meeting between the
two trading blocs.

Denmark, initially ex-pected to host the gathering, refused to waive travel
restrictions aga-inst Zimbabwean officials. In reaction, Sadc countries
threatened to boycott the meeting.

When Copenhagen refused to budge, a compromise had to be found in the form
of a neutral venue in Maputo. But the Zimbabwe conflict soured the Maputo
summit and nothing useful came of it. EU countries currently seem reluctant
to compromise again by moving the Lisbon summit to Africa.

The EU/ACP stalemate and the rising tension around the Lisbon summit are
presenting African countries with a hard choice: to close ranks with
Zimbabwe and lose out on development projects or break ranks with it and get
economic benefits from their partnership with the EU.

So far African countries have chosen to show solidarity with Harare as a
matter of principle even though they do not agree with its scorched- earth

But some African countries may soon decide to choose EU development aid for
the sake of their economies instead of adhering to sterile solidarity
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Zim Independent

ZBC hikes advertising rates by 300%
Blessing Zulu
THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has hiked
advertising charges on radio by a whopping 300%, the Zimbabwe Independent
has established.

Chris Goko, ZBC public relations executive officer, confirmed the rate
increases. "ZBC confirms rate hikes of 300% in radio advertising, due
largely to economic considerations," Goko said.

"Firstly, transmission costs have gone up and our service providers, that
include telecommunications, also cite escalating costs. Other costs relate
to electricity and production materials."

Goko said the nature of their medium made it difficult to effect charges

"May I also bring to your attention that the corporation reviews its
advertising rates on a quarterly basis and unlike other competing mediums,
including newspapers, it cannot effect changes in tandem with rapid
escalations as is the case when ink, newsprint and other materials go up,"
he said.

"In as much as we would have wanted the new rate regime to take effect this
month, we have deferred it to January on account of technicalities yet to be
fulfilled, and indeed consideration of our valued customers."

An advertising firm told the Independent the hike would drastically affect
their operations.

"If ZBC was not greedy it would have had a better slice of the cake but
these hikes will drive advertisers away," said the advertising manager who
asked not to be named.

"It is very wrong to compare advertising rates for the print media to the
electronic media because the overheads for the former are more.

Newsprint for example has been hiked and it is understandable to increase
the rates.

"This is the problem of having a monopoly. What is the use of hiking rates
when the listening audience has not gone up?" asked the advertising manager.
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      80 percent of Zim houses neglected

      Staff Reporter
      12/12/02 11:51:10 AM (GMT +2)

      ABOUT 80 percent of residential properties in Zimbabwe are
depreciating in value because of lack of proper maintenance resulting from
the escalating cost of building materials, leading property consultant John
Spicer said this week.

      Spicer, who is the managing director of Seeff Zimbabwe, formerly
Gainsborough Zimbabwe, said owners were no longer able to properly maintain
their properties because the cost of building materials was prohibitive.

      He said maintenance costs for low-density properties had risen
six-fold in the past 12 months to $450 000 per square metre, up from about
$75 000 per square metre last year.

      This is because prices of building materials have risen steadily in
the past two years.

      The cost of imported materials or those products manufactured locally
but from imported raw materials has risen sharply because manufacturers have
to secure foreign currency from the parallel market, where exchange rates
were last month 20 times the official rate set by the government.

      Spicer said: "While it currently costs approximately $1 million to
repaint an average three-bedroom house, the lack of maintenance may be
understandable. But it does mean that in real terms, the value of your asset
may well be declining.

      "What is also indisputable is that many owners are being misled into
believing they are making money on their properties and safeguarding an
investment by holding on to property. While this is true, at least 50
percent and possibly as much as 80 percent of existing properties are in
real terms devaluing due to lack of proper maintenance."

      Meanwhile, the prices of up-scale residential properties this month
hit record highs of close to $1 billion.

      A five-bedroom house in Harare's up-market Borrowdale area is selling
for $850 million while a similar-sized property in Glen Lorne is selling for
$450 million.

      Property prices have risen sharply in the past two years, fuelled by a
loose monetary policy that allowed speculators to borrow cheaply to buy

      Prices were also pushed up by Zimbabweans living abroad, who remitted
foreign currency that was exchanged on the parallel market, enabling them to
secure large sums of Zimbabwe dollars for a little forex.

      Oversupply stifles South African property market

      KEY sectors of South Africa's commercial property market are crumbling
due to oversupply.

      While old central business districts (CBDs) are degenerating because
tenants have fled to new decentralised nodes, the new nodes, also
oversupplied, are suffering high vacancy rates.

      The increase in the number of vacancies has put rental income under
pressure and property values have tumbled.

      The question is why developers do not learn from experience, using
strict planning regimes and thorough feasibility studies to prevent

      The reality is that with the available tools, there is little that can
be done to prevent the commercial property markets from running themselves
into a glut.

      Latest office vacancy rates from commercial property association Sapoa
show a persisting slide in major business centre occupancy rates across the
country, mainly attributable to new developments coming on stream with
additional space, rather than businesses folding and vacating premises.

      Sandton and surrounding areas in the north of Johannesburg recorded a
vacancy rate of 16.6 percent in the three months ended September.

      The area shows a long-term rising trend in vacancies: 12.8 percent in
January, 13.5 percent in March and 15 percent in June.

      Other nodes in the north of Johannesburg, Rosebank, Sunninghill,
Parktown and Rivonia are in a similar situation.

      The Johannesburg CBD's vacancy rate seems stuck on the 25 percent
mark, while Durban's hovers at 20 percent and Cape Town's at 15 percent.

      A significant proportion of these vacancies is attributable to
oversupply, which is a result of declining interest rates.

      Falling interest rates make it easy for property developers to secure
cheap finance for projects, and with it an attractive profit margin.

      Declining interest rates are accompanied by a host of other positive
factors for developers.

      These may include healthier economic growth figures, which mean more
business activity and eventually increased demand for commercial property
space, which in turn propels rentals upwards, along with returns on

      Attractive returns in turn facilitate speculative developments.

      The catch is the long manufacturing phase of products in the
property -development business.

      - Business Day
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Zim Independent

Libyans in Zim on rescue mission
Dumisani Muleya
AS the fuel crisis threatens to grind the economy to a halt, officials from
Libya's Tamoil Trading Ltd are in Zimbabwe in a bid to rescue the rapidly
deteriorating situation.

The latest arrangement involves the setting up of a joint-venture company
between state procurement agency Noczim and the Libyan company to be known
as Tamoil-Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd.

The Libyan initiative comes as Zimbabwe is running dry as a result of
non-payment. Industry sources said the Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of
Kuwait was holding up supplies because of an unsettled US$65 million

The sources said Zimbabwe also owed other suppliers US$106 million. The
Libyans are said to be now demanding cash-on-delivery for fuel as well as
what they are owed.

Official sources yesterday said the Libyan delegation has been in the
country for nine days trying to arrange a new fuel deal with government.

Zimbabwe wants to import 87 000 metric tonnes of fuel a month. The
procurement cost of fuel through the Beira pipeline amounts to US$360
million a year. Normally the country buys fuel through short-term credit
financing, cash, or long-term credit facilities.

The long-term financing has been arranged through the Libyan Arab Foreign
Bank. This is a revolving facility and is drawn through stand-by letters of
credit. The Bank of Negara of Malaysia is also involved in financing fuel
procurement through a clearing agreement with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Energy and Power Development minister Amos Midzi yesterday refused to
explain the currentshortage. "I'm not talking about anything to do with that
(fuel) at the moment," he said.

However, on November 27 he told parliament that Noczim had entered into a
50:50 deal with Tamoil. He said the company would be involved in wholesale
procurement and distribution of fuel to retail outlets which carry the
Tamoil brand.

"As part of its equity Noczim will put forward some of its existing assets
such as storage tanks," he said. "The new company is expected to introduce
more competition in the retail sector as well as bring a new brand of fuel
on the market."

Sources said the Libyans were also trying to muscle in on Petrozim - a 50:50
joint venture between Noczim and Lonrho - by acquiring the Noczim stake. The
Libyans, who eventually want to take over the company, are said to have
brought with them Italian engineers who have valued Petrozim at US$48
million. But the company thinks it is worth US$100 million.

Petrozim owns the Feruka-Harare pipeline, which sources say currently has
diesel and Jet A1 flowing through it, and the Msasa depot. The company
transports and distributes fuel.

The industry sources said the Libyans, who have taken up government equities
in several companies, also want a stake in the government-owned Industrial
Development Corporation. The sources said before the Libyans arrived,
government had been contemplating dispatching teams to Libya and Kuwait in
search of fuel.

"They wanted to target small Kuwaiti companies because major companies are
refusing to deal with them due to their poor credit rating," a source said.

The source said Zimbabwe was promised fuel in Kuwait at a US 16 cents
premium by Elf Aquitaine. Government wanted Nigeria to act as conduit for
fuel to evade a perceived Western blockade of direct supplies.

Libya - the biggest oil producer in Africa and a major player in Europe -
has been Zimbabwe's major fuel supplier until the problematic US$360 million
fuel deal with Tamoil collapsed recently. The Libyans are now attempting to
withdraw from barter deals that centred on land.

Tamoil is 55% owned by Europoil Netherlands BV, a private consortium, and
45% by National Oil Corporation, which together with 33 subsidiaries, is the
biggest Libyan fuel company.

Sources said the fuel situation is deteriorating because government has
rejected the international oil companies' proposal to import their own
commodity and sell it for $420/litre for petrol and $389/litre for diesel.

To make matters worse, foreign currency supplies to Noczim have also
dwindled because of the closure of bureaux de change that supplied the Jewel
Bank at US$1 to between $1 000 and $1 500. The Jewel Bank is selling foreign
exchange to Noczim at US$1:$1 800.
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Natal Witness

      Plagued by schizophrenia

      The positive development of the year has been the recovery of the rand


      As media attention shifts to the ANC's national conference commencing
next week, it is opportune to review a year which, not unlike others, has
been plagued by schizophrenia on the part of the ruling party.

      The brightest development in 2002 has been the recovery of the rand. A
year ago it was in free fall and touched R13 to the dollar. At a cost of R25
million, a commission of inquiry into its fall failed to adduce any
startling evidence. This week the rand nudged below R9 to the dollar,
bringing hopes of a reduction in interest rates and the attainment of
inflation targets next year. Are we going to have an inquiry into the
recovery of the rand? Notwithstanding the vagaries of international commerce
and finance, explaining the rand's rebound is daunting, given the fact that
the same policies prevail as a year ago.

      Looking beyond the revitalised rand, the picture is austere. A year
ago, two million people in Zimbabwe faced starvation. Now seven million
people in Zimbabwe are starving. In January, Thabo Mbeki urged the media to
"stop focusing on Zimbabwe". By and large, that has happened and today the
sort of news that makes the headlines is that, despite Mugabe's tyranny,
World Cup cricket fixtures will go ahead in Zimbabwe. The hypocrisy of the
ICC and the sport-at-any-price mentality aside, Mbeki's cocooning of Mugabe
brings only shame to South Africa's government.

      Of course, it makes no sense in terms of the balance sheet of good
governance, democracy and foreign investment that the ANC government
embraces Mugabe, that it believes his re-election in March to have been free
and fair and that his credentials are good enough to include him in the
African Union and Nepad. Gift-wrapping the whole shambles was the standing
ovation Mugabe received in Sandton on September 2 when Third World delegates
at the Earth Life Summit on Sustainable Development applauded his land
seizures. Such contradiction encapsulates the essence of what is wrong with
this continent and with ANC governance.

      Three times this year, Mbeki has had the opportunity to dispel that
contradiction - at the Nepad launch, the AU inception and the Earth Life
summit. Despite the ritual of political correctness, world opinion remained
unconvinced. All Time magazine would concede about Nepad was that it
received "mild endorsement" by the G8 nations. The $64 billion the Nepad
architects are seeking per annum to transform Africa is on the back-burner
indefinitely, as far as the big donors are concerned. Yet back in June,
Mbeki said: "If Nepad fails, African leaders have only themselves to blame."
Too right, indeed.

      However often and however hard the ANC confer, until they cure
themselves of political schizophrenia, this country will continue to drift.
Officially the ANC cannot be pro-investment while practising prescriptive
labour policies. The ANC cannot woo U.S. investment while denouncing U.S.
policies on terrorism. The ANC cannot embrace human rights legislation at
home while condoning human rights violations by its friends abroad. The ANC
cannot propagate good governance while it condones tyranny in Zimbabwe,
Cuba, North Korea, Iraq and Libya. Above all, the ANC cannot pay lip service
to democracy while it seeks to marginalise and to neutralise political
opposition. An unambiguous agenda on these and other issues must be tabled
if the state of drift is to be arrested.

      Ideologically driven agendas, of course, have long been holy writ for
the ANC. Given the large numbers of unreconstructed socialists from Cosatu
and the SACP who make up the national conference delegates, the likelihood
of liberated thinking emerging is slim. In any event, the floor- crossing
legislation exposes the insidious intent of the ANC to foment disarray in
opposition ranks and to extend ANC power. The fact that the ANC is willing
to vandalise the constitution and basic democratic principles to protect
political defectors provides further proof of its political greed: its aim
is to snatch power in KwaZulu-Natal, the only province not fully in its

      While purporting to support political diversity and democracy, the
actions and manoeuvring of the ANC are those of a predator out to establish
a one-party state. Not surprisingly, 2002 has seen the heat turned right up
on the only credible obstacle to the ANC's quest, the DA. In the broadside
of pejorative politics directed at the DA, the NNP has excelled in its role
as the useful idiot. And although the ANC/NNP's Desai Commission failed to
prove that money changed hands from Harksen to the DA's Gerald Morkel, the
case was milked to the hilt for its propaganda value.

      In contrast, the R66 billion arms deal fiasco was played right down.
Yet Deputy President Jacob Zuma's relationship with arms dealer Shabir
Shaik, who is facing criminal charges for, inter alia, theft of state
documents, and allegations of bribery and corruption against Zuma himself
are dismissed by the ANC as just "minor things".

      If South Africa had a government that had not deliberately blurred the
distinction between party interests and state responsibilities, the
priorities to address in 2003 would be the fact that 12 million people are
poverty-stricken and poorer than they were in 1995 and that, despite
official claims that crime is declining, 96% of South Africans regard it as
a very big problem.

      a.. Duncan du Bois is a Durban Metro DA ward councillor. He writes in
his personal capacity.

      Publish Date: 13 December 2002
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Financial Times

      Manslaughter victim's family wins fraud case
      By Nikki Tait, Law Courts Correspondent
      Published: December 13 2002 4:00 | Last Updated: December 13 2002 4:00

      Nicholas van Hoogstraten, the jailed property magnate, lost control of
his financial empire after a High Court judge yesterday awarded legal
victory in a £5m property fraud case to the family of his manslaughter

      Mr van Hoogstraten, once described as one of Britain's richest people,
boasted in an Old Bailey trial this year that his art collection alone was
worth £200m.

      He is believed to have interests in Europe, the US and Zimbabwe, as
well as the UK.

      Yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Smith struck out Mr van Hoogstraten's
defence to a claim for alleged property fraud brought by the family of
Mohammed Raja.

      This was because the businessman had failed to comply with court
orders that required him to disclose the true extent of his assets.

      For months, the court has been attempting to obtain an accurate
affidavit from Mr van Hoogstraten, following the imposition of an order
freezing his assets in August.

      Mr van Hoogstraten's purported compliance had been a "charade" and he
had held the court in contempt, the judge said.

      Mr Raja, a former business associate of Mr van Hoogstraten, was shot
dead in 1999.

      Earlier this year, an Old Bailey jury found Mr van Hoogstraten guilty
of manslaughter, while two of his henchmen were convicted on murder charges.
Mr van Hoogstraten was jailed for 10 years.

      The prosecution claimed that Mr van Hoogstraten instigated the "hit"
because he wanted to halt the civil lawsuit being brought against him by Mr
Raja, alleging property-related fraud.

      However, Mr Raja's family pursued the civil case, regardless.

      Yesterday, after striking out Mr van Hoogstraten's defence, the judge
ordered him to make an interim damages payment of £400,000.

      The Rajas, however, said the value of the properties allegedly
appropriated by Mr van Hoogstraten, together with lost income from them, was
in the region of £5m - the amount they would now claim.

      He must also bear the costs of the civil case, including an interim
payment of £200,000. The family's legal costs alone are put at about

      Mr Justice Smith cut existing fines against the businessman from more
than £1m to £100,000, but said these would continue to mount at £50,000 a
week unless the contempt was purged.

      The sequestration order, meanwhile, will allow accountants to dig into
the businessman's complex financial affairs, and raise funds to meet the
claims through the sale of assets.
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Financial Times

      Party congress may put focus on Mugabe
      By Tony Hawkins in Harare
      Published: December 12 2002 4:00 | Last Updated: December 12 2002 4:00

      Some 2,000 members of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party are due to
gather in the northern town of Chinhoyi today for a three-day congress. The
congress is expected to focus on bread-and-butter issues - food and fuel
supplies, rampant inflation and the need to provide infrastructure for the
newly settled farmers in the former commercial farming areas.

      The build-up to the congress has seen successive regional party
chairmen focusing on such issues.

      Philip Chiyangwa, Mashonaland West provincial chairman, has said that,
aside from land, the congress must address economic issues, especially the
availability of foreign currency. Chen Chimutengwende, a former cabinet
minister, highlighted the shortages of food and fuel and funding for the new

      Bulawayo provincial spokesman Skumbuzo Ndiweni, meanwhile, called for
the meeting to focus on hoarding, inflation, corruption and unemployment as
well as fuel and food.

      Such a focus will put President Robert Mugabe and senior ministers on
the spot. Mr Mugabe himself is likely to take a broader focus. Now that land
resettlement is over, he will say, it is time to move on by reinforcing the
return to a command economy strategy that party hardliners want.

      Some in the business sector expect the president to blame
private-sector profiteering and hoarding for 145 per cent inflation and the
collapse of the dollar.

      Hardliners may go so far as to call for a Fourth Chimurenga
(liberation war) against foreign-owned industry and mining, but moderates
are confident that there is no support for such a course, although they
concede it might help to achieve greater compliance with price controls.

      But beyond the rhetoric, it is difficult to see what the congress can
achieve. It is only a month since Herbert Murerwa, finance minister,
produced a budget for 2003 criticised on all sides.

      "Rhetoric cannot become totally detached from reality," says a
University of Zimbabwe analyst. "That is why the congress is likely to
centre on delivery - land, prices, jobs, foreign currency, food and fuel."
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