Africa's shame in Zimbabwe The
world's attention has been focused on many disputed elections, from
Afghanistan to Ukraine. But further down the alphabet of government is
Zimbabwe, where the consequences of a stolen election are more apparent
every day. The government of Robert Mugabe pulled out all the stops to
win a new term as president for the 80-year-old former resistance leader,
with international observers decrying the suppression of the
In a free and fair election, there was little doubt that the
opposition would have toppled Mugabe because of misrule of the former
English colony of Rhodesia.
The country has gone from a relatively
advanced economy and high levels of agricultural productivity to Third World
poverty and widespread famines. During the election campaign, the government
used the latter as one of its weapons. Food aid was distributed on the basis
of political reliability.
The Mugabe government is using its power in
parliament to pass more laws restricting the capacity of anyone to question
its actions. The latest, passed Dec. 9, is a bill to restrict the activities
of nongovernmental organizations.
Human rights groups and churches
are the main targets of this measure, passed on a 48-28 vote. It prohibits
domestic groups from accepting foreign money or other support for promotion
of human rights or interference in "issues of governance" in Zimbawe. Fund
raising also is prohibited from Zimbabweans living abroad, many of them
having fled hardship and repression.
The government can dissolve any
group violating the new regulations.
Of great concern is the extension of
the law to all activities by houses of worship, which have been defiant
critics of Mugabe. There is no equivalent to the Constitution and courts of
the United States, where the First Amendment forbids government interference
Rather, the rule of one man is law. He is an aging
dictator surrounded by a corrupt coterie who have seized private property --
in the name of land reform -- and turned choice farms and factories over to
While it might do little immediate good, we hope
international human-rights organizations and responsible governments --
particularly in Africa -- protest the latest attack on dissent in
IF the government
believes it ought to be the driving force behind the successful development
of agriculture, then it should re-examine this role
Parliament recently approved legislation setting
up another parastatal dealing with the marketing of farm produce. Ideally,
the government should play the crucial role of a
If it sets up more parastatals in the mould of the
Grain Marketing Board, then it could be sowing the seeds of more corruption
and inefficiency in agriculture.
The GMB, among other
parastatals in existence today, is not the fine example of efficiency and
integrity that it ought to be. There have been many scandals there, some
involving high-profile members of staff.
One United Nations
agency a few years ago recommended that the GMB be privatised. But for
political reasons, the government has resisted all attempts to rationalise
the operations of its huge, unwieldy machinery.
Like many of
the parastatals now in deep financial crisis, the GMB has been used more or
less as an illicit milch cow for the Zanu PF high echelon.
government must know that farming is not a philanthropic endeavour. Every
potential farmer is in it for profit. To expect them to be motivated simply
by the "national duty" of feeding the nation is woefully
Since 2000, after the farm invasions reduced
our agriculture to a poor cousin of most other sectors in the economy, the
government has played a leading role in agriculture.
land reform programme, though later touted as a rationalisation of the
ownership of the land, was intrinsically a political campaign.
was borne out of the government's fury at the rejection of its
constitutional proposals in the referendum.
In the last
four years, with the creation of A1 and A2 farmers, the government has been
the main player in agriculture. Evidently, it was hoped, rather forlornly,
that the eviction of the white commercial farmers from their properties
would cause only a mild and temporary hiccup to
We now know that this was a grave
miscalculation and people like Joseph Made have not helped matters by
predicting bumper harvests on the basis of nebulous
The drought did contribute to the food shortages, but
the bulk of the problem can be traced to government
The government was ill-prepared for a major overhaul
of a sector which had been the mainstay of the economy for so long. As
someone pointed out recently, the thousands of new farmers have been unable
to produce as much food as the 4 000-odd commercial farmers did in many
years before the tragedy of 2000.
If the government intends
to play an even more prominent role in promoting agriculture, then it ought
to do so very cautiously. Its record of efficiency and integrity, going by
the sorry mess in the parastatal sector, is highly dubious.
Agriculture is, in many ways, too important a sector to be entrusted to this
Journalists still an endangered species -
Date: 16-Dec, 2004
N.B: This is the second of a three part series from the
book: Visions of Zimbabwe which was published in the UK. Saidi is one of the
three Zimbabwean writers who contributed articles to the
At the Times of Zambia, I once wrote a scurrilous
denunciation of Britain's policy on Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was called before
1980. The then British High Commissioner invited me to
He offered me a trip to Britain - to prove for myself
that the British were not racists and were not acting to protect their kith
and kin in Rhodesia. I accepted the offer without
Any travel - sponsored or not - widens the
journalist's horizons. The trip did little to alter my perception of British
betrayal in Rhodesia.
In 1975, I was in Kingston, Jamaica,
covering the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) for The Times
of Zambia. I was introduced to the then British foreign secretary, the
Labour Party's James Callaghan.
When he was told that I was
from The Times of Zambia, he wagged his forefinger in my face,
Years later, at the State House in Harare,
another top politician shook his forefinger in my face. This time it was the
late Simon Muzenda, then Vice President of Zimbabwe. I was working for an
independent newspaper in Harare, having resigned from a ten-year stint as an
editor at the government-owned Zimpapers group.
shortly after independence, I had provoked the same reaction from Joshua
Nkomo. All Nkomo said was: ("Wena Saidi wena!) Which means You Saidi,
Musarurwa, as editor, performed peerlessly, writing gutsy
editorials and en explosive weekly column. But I was not surprised when he
was fired in 1985; the government said he was not following the party
In other words, Musarurwa would not do what he wanted me
to do in Lusaka. His death a few years later was a sad epitaph to the
impending demise of a free press in Zimbabwe.
shamelessly declared him a national hero although the party had denounced
him as editor of The Sunday Mail. I found their cynicism
Zimbabwe Newspapers came into independence in
1980 as part of the Argus Group of South Africa, with its flagship, The
Herald, the largest selling daily newspaper in the country
I joined them in September of that year as assistant to
the editor, the quiet, unassuming Robin Drew. But by 1981, the government
had bought its way into Zimpapers, with a large donation from the Nigerian
All the white editors were soon replaced by loyal
party people - except me. There was undisguised reluctance by the new owners
to let me continue. But I had worked in journalism in the two countries for
I had experience on my side. But I am getting ahead
of myself. On that September day last year, I reminded myself that I had
come across cast-iron evidence, as a journalist, that most African leaders
would never countenance, let alone cherish an independent, privately-owned
press, or radio and television stations.
I was wrong about
Malawi and Zambia, who now have thriving private radio stations. The
Zimbabwe government monopolises the electronic
media. If the new
rulers in Zimbabwe did accept an independent press, then it would be with
You imagine them waiting patiently for you
to make the one fatal mistake that would give them the potent evidence to
sack you. I should have long predicted the closure of the Daily News and The
Daily News on Sunday, of which I was editor at its launch in May
For 17 years I had worked on two newspapers in Zambia. I
had been fired from the Central African Mail, after its take-over by the
government of Kenneth Kaunda and renamed The Zambia Mail. We carried a story
predicting Kaunda's United National Independence Party - UNIP faced a revolt
in the Eastern Province.
I was then news editor under an
English man, William Dullfiorce who had taken over from a Zimbabwean-born
Zambian, Kelvin Mlenga, with whom I had worked with in Salisbury at the
African Daily News. It was Mlenga who had invited me to Lusaka. Mlenga had
taken over from Richard Hall, who had gone to The Times of Zambia. By the
time he returned to England in the 1970s, Hall had fallen out with Kaunda
because he had become critical of the corruption in Kaunda's government. In
1975, I was fired from my job as deputy-editor-in-chief of Times Newspapers.
My letter of dismissal was signed by Kaunda himself. Until then, I had not
been aware he was my boss. But the chairman of Lonrho Zambia Limited, Tom
Mtine told me that Kaunda did have the clout to fire me. Under a deal with
Roland "Tiny" Towland, the British founder-chairman of Lonrho which owned
Times Newspapers, Kaunda could hire and fire senior staff, but Lonrho funded
the newspaper. I was fired by Kaunda over a story on the struggle in
Zimbabwe. But his letter said the reason was that "your performance
continues to be inconsistent with the philosophy and the spirit of the paper
which must be the mouthpiece of the party." I had joined The Times in 1969.
Two years later, I was hauled before Kaunda for writing in the Sunday Times
that the government intended to hold a referendum to turn the country into a
one-party state. That had been my first warning, apparently. The new editor
was Vernon Mwaanga, the former ambassador to the United Nations. He had
succeeded Dunstan Kamana, Kaunda's former press aide, virtually fired by
Kaunda for not doing the boss's bidding. He was later re-assigned to a sort
of political Siberia - ambassador to the Soviet Union. After being fired in
1975, I was reinstated in 1977, Kaunda having admitted to Mtine he had made
a mistake. Our relations remained frosty until I left to return to Zimbabwe
in 1980. I was not fired from Zimpapers, where I became editor of the Sunday
News in Bulawayo before moving to Harare to become group foreign and
features editor. I resigned in frustration in 1990. (To be continued on
Killer anti-rabies dosage claims
fifty-five dogs in Chikomba
Date: 16-Dec, 2004
CHIKOMBA - Fifty-five dogs in Chikomba District of Mashonaland East last
week died after a veterinary dip tank supervisor administered an anti-rabies
dosage widely believed to have either expired or an overdose.
Villagers told The Daily News Online this week that they had tried without
success to have the situation rectified. The anti-rabies dosages were
administered to dogs brought to Pokoteke dip tank in Njanja, in Chikomba
Masimba Mukuku, 48, a villager from Chimova village in
Chief Mutengwa's area said the situation remained bad, especially to fellow
villagers without the resources to buy drugs for their ailing
"I lost my greyhound through the improper dosage," he
said. "We do not know exactly know how the dip tank supervisor could have
administered that poisonous drug. What is certain is that the drug was
"It only took us four days for the drug to work
against the villagers. Our dogs started vomiting and refusing to eat. As a
result most of the villagers have lost their valuable security and hunting
"Four of my puppies died alongside their mother after
sucking the poisoned milk. We have taken samples of some of the dead dogs
for a proper examination by veterinary officers at the Marondera veterinary
provincial offices. They are yet to advise us of what we have to
Mukuku said most villagers relied on their dogs to scare
away hyenas during the night. In their village, marauding hyenas have
constantly killed goats and stray cows.
another villager in the area said he and other villagers have tried to
administer traditional herbs to attempt to save the lives of the affected
dogs with little success.
"Those dogs which survived are
miserable and we expect the veterinary experts to have given us a report on
the samples they took." he said.
The most affected villages
include Chimova, Rupatse, Magomo, and Rundofa.
Choga, a technical superintendent in the department of veterinary services
responsible for vaccinations at their headquarters in Harare, yesterday
confirmed receiving the report but said he was not in a position to know the
status of the investigations.
"Of course, that was a first in
our history of vaccinations and we will carry out investigations to
establish how it all happened," he said. "I will have to send this request
for more details to our provincial offices in Marondera. These dosages are
done every year against rabies."
Rabies kills. Infected dogs
become hostile and once bitten, patients also die unless they receive
Under normal circumstances, Choga said,
dogs administered with the dosage usually took less than a week before the
drug is fully used in the body. During that time, the dog's temperature
rises and it develops a mild fever that easily disappears before finally
Efforts to get official comment from the provincial
veterinary officer for Mashonaland East under which Chikomba District falls
were unsuccessful yesterday.
An official at the provincial
headquarters, who refused to be identified, said the provincial head, only
identified as Doctor Tevera was in Nyanga where he was attending a workshop
on veterinary health services.
Health ministry, RBZ officials loot $40
Date: 16-Dec, 2004
SENIOR Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials were
yesterday implicated in the looting of a $40 billion fund initiated by the
RBZ for malaria control in the country.
According to documents
shown to Daily News Online, the scandal occurred between mid-October and
early November this year. The scandal involved non-existent service
providers, RBZ and health officials who allegedly connived to defraud the
health ministry of the malaria control fund.
officials allegedly created non-existent service providers and raised
invoices against the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, claiming to have
carried out some malaria control work like spraying and awareness campaigns
in vulnerable communities.
The exposure of this scandal comes
hardly a week after the police arrested six RBZ officials for alleged fraud
involving over $3 billion.
President Robert Mugabe has launched
an anti-corruption blitz that has so far netted senior Zanu PF officials
James Makamba, Chris Kuruneri, Philip Chiyangwa, ENG directors and bank
officials have been arrested while others have fled Zimbabwe to the United
Kingdom (UK) and South Africa.
Government and banking sources
yesterday told The Daily News Online that the abused money was given to the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare by the RBZ under the productive sector
facility for malaria control throughout the country.
"Relevant authorities are investigating the circumstances leading to the
fraud at both the RBZ and the health ministry, including the banks
involved," the source said.
"Those implicated would be
punished. But what has become clear to the authorities is that $240 million
of the stolen money was siphoned through Agribank by using an account held
under the name of Navadel Investments. A further $392 million was defrauded
through Standard Chartered Bank through an account held under the name of
Predominant Satellite Systems."
Under the money laundering
scandal, the culprits, believed to be senior RBZ officials in connivance
with health officials, raised fake RTGS (a new electronic transfer system
introduced by the RBZ).
"What was happening was that the
officials who masterminded the fraudulent activities got hold of Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare RTGs forms and authorised funds transfer," the
"They then put authentic signatures of senior
health officials vouching for the services provided. The fake health
ministry money transfer authorizations documents were then forwarded for
processing to the RBZ which in turn used the fake RTGS forms to authorise
respective banks to authorise withdrawals.
did not question documents allegedly raised by the RBZ, believing them to be
authentic and processed payments leading to the massive
The fraud was only unearthed by alert officials at
Kingdom Commercial Bank who raised an alarm and alerted the central
The alleged fraudsters who had transferred the $392
million to Standard Chartered Bank then decided to further transfer $160
million to Kingdom Bank to pay a bogus company identified in authoritative
documents as Delight Systems, whose only signatory (name provided) was
supposed to withdraw.
One of the suspects was arrested by
the police on Friday afternoon while at Kingdom Bank where he had allegedly
gone to withdraw some of the looted funds.
at Kingdom Bank said after they learnt that the signatory to that account
was a known fraudster (name given), they launched their investigations and
subsequently established that the man had been previously worked as a
conduit of stolen funds in government and parastatals.
discovered that the suspect had worked for Megapak Zimbabwe in Ruwa, a
company that manufactures plastic products as a sales executive," the
"Our records clearly show that he defrauded
Megapak of nearly $300 million through the company account with us. He is
currently out on $5 million bail. What he then did was that he formed his
own company called Mega-Plastics and opened an account at Kingdom Bank,
claiming it was a subsidiary account of Megapak Zimbabwe."
After establishing the character of the suspect, the Kingdom security
department issued an alert and froze his account and when he came to
withdraw $40 million out of the total $160 million transferred from Agribank
Commercial Bank, they detained him awaiting the police and RBZ
Investigating officials at Standard Bank, Agribank
and Kingdom estimate the total money that has been defrauded through similar
means around $28 billion, raising fears that the health ministry's malaria
control fight has been sabotaged by RBZ and Ministry of Health Child Welfare
A second suspect was said to have been questioned by
the police but it was not immediately confirmed whether he was a government
or RBZ official. Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, the police
spokesman yesterday refused to comment on the matter.
Situation in Zimbabwe Joint motion for
a resolution on Zimbabwe Doc.: B6-0212/2004, B6-0217/2004,
B6-0219/2004, B6-0225/2004, B6-0227/2004, B6-0230/2004,
B6-0231/2004 Debate/Vote: 16.12.2004 Vote
adopting a joint resolution by 76 votes in favour, 0 against with 1
abstention, MEPs insist that all political interference in the distribution
of international food aid be halted without delay, to prevent the Zanu-PF
government from using food as a political weapon. The House insists that
repressive legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act be repealed
and that the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe be held in accordance with
the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections, including
those agreed in Mauritius on 17 August 2004, with unimpeded access for
international observers and an end to intimidation of opposition supporters.
Parliament demands the immediate release of Roy Bennett MP and the cessation
of all violence and intimidation towards his family and
MEPs call upon Zimbabwe's neighbours and, in particular,
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who recently addressed the European
Parliament, to undertake on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe to bring about
change for the better and ensure that the Zimbabwean Government fully
cooperates with SADC and the wider international community to guarantee free
and fair elections and a robust and timely international monitoring
presence. Parliament welcomes the steps taken by the African Union
Commission on Human and People's Rights to report on abuses in Zimbabwe, and
stresses that the AU must continue to monitor, and also act in regard to,
the human rights, civil rights and political situation in Zimbabwe and to
keep up this process of peer review throughout Africa. Finally, the House
reiterates its demand to the Council and Commission that loopholes in the
EU's targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime be closed, and that the
sanctions be rigorously enforced. MEPs also request that the Council and
Commission provide maximum support for international efforts to ensure free
and fair elections in Zimbabwe, and in particular technical support to
local, regional and international observer missions.
Zim invites chickens to come home to roost December 16
2004 at 03:52PM
Harare - Zimbabwe will unconditionally take back
all Zimbabweans who fled the country in recent years to seek political
asylum in Britain, state media reported on Thursday.
000 Zimbabweans had failed in applying for political refuge in Britain and
will be forcibly repatriated in the coming months, the Harare-based The
Britain announced a month ago that a blanket ban
on enforced deportations to Zimbabwe - introduced in 2002 - would end
because of "clear evidence that it had been exploited" by Zimbabweans and
others posing as Zimbabweans.
Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa told parliament late on Wednesday that any Zimbabwean sent back
home from Britain would be welcomed.
"We accept all our citizens,
they are still Zimbabweans," Chinamasa said in answer to a question by
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmaker Job
Many Zimbabweans, claiming political persecution, fled the
southern African country for Britain, Canada, the United States and South
Africa in the run-up to and after parliamentary elections in
Chinamasa alleged: "The British now know these people were
running away from nothing, they were just economic refugees."
"The chickens are coming home to roost. It's wrong to suggest that they went
there as victims of torture, but the truth is that they were economic
refugees," Chinamasa was quoted as saying in The Herald.
has been beset for years by an economic and political crisis, which critics
partly blame on President Robert Mugabe's controversial land redistribution
Hundreds of Zimbabweans reportedly marched to 10 Downing
Street and the British parliament on Wednesday in protest at the pending
removal of some Zimbabweans in Britain.
OPINION December 16, 2004 Posted to the web December 16,
Daniel Muhau Harare
MANY farmers have started or are now
in the middle of preparations for the 2004/2005 farming season amid
expectations of a favourable rainy season.
Demand for tillage services is
increasing, especially when a significant number of farmers had not started
to plough their land citing the delay in the onset of the rainy
This year's delayed onset had frightened many farmers after the
initial weather forecasts had suggested that the country might not receive
These fears and frustrations have been dispelled by the
current wet spell.
What is more worrisome now is the possible obstacles
likely to be posed by inadequate ancillary equipment to assist the farmers
in preparing their fields.
As the land preparations intensify, some
farmers and farmer organisations across the country are raising concerns
that the major supplier of tillage services, the District Development Fund
(DDF) might fail them due to its ageing equipment which is retarding
operations in most areas.
Farming organisations and most farmers in the
country have raised concerns about the shortage of supplementary equipment
and the seemingly incessant breakdown of tractors belonging to DDF, saying
the situation calls for Government and the private sector to come to their
The DDF is the key Government agency with the responsibility of
providing mechanical tillage services. It has a fleet of 773 tractors, 656
ploughs and 92 disc harrows.
However, since the beginning of the
year, the Government agency has been facing a number of challenges in
carrying out its duties, especially the lack of adequate funds to maintain
existing equipment and buy new tractors that has been attributed to the
This season, the DDF had targeted about 128 200
hectares, but has already indicated that this target might not be achieved
if concerted efforts are not put forward by the private sector and the
Government to assist the farmers.
DDF director-general Mr James Jonga
has already confirmed that the continuous breakdown of equipment and of the
fleet of tractors is hampering progress.
"DDF has 773 serviceable
tractors, but only 304 tractors were operational by the end of
"The number of tractors and implements is fast going down due
to minor but costly breakdowns like worn out tyres and broken sensor
shafts," Mr Jonga said.
He added that while such breakdowns are easy
to fix, it would, however, require at least $3,1 billion to purchase new
tyres and tubes for DDF's old tractors that need major repairs.
implications of such a situation can be far reaching considering that most
newly resettled farmers depend on the provisions of DDF for
Zimbabwe needs about 35 000 tractors of various capacities to
meet the demand for farming machinery arising from the land reform
programme, at least in the next 10 years.
Meanwhile, there is still
some hope that the French firm, Renault Agriculture, which pledged to supply
the country with 5 000 tractors, will fulfil its promise so as to rescue
farmers from the tillage plight. This would boost production and enhance the
drive towards reconstruction.
The need to come up with a lasting solution
to the mechanisation predicament in the agricultural sector was manifested
in the National Budget in which Acting Finance and Economic Development
Minister Dr Herbert Murerwa proposed a $40 billion allocation to the
agricultural sector for both irrigation and mechanisation.
of the land reform programme is to forge the farming community towards
concentrating more on market-based tillage in order to increase the
country's food security and export capacity.
This drive is achievable
through quasi-Government institutions such as the Industrial Development
Such institutions have been urged to take a lead towards
agricultural development by keeping on exploring and forging strategic
partnerships with external counterparts for greater value addition in
Partnership is an indisputable and indispensable strategy
for effective farming. The need to partner Government with various local and
external institutions to boost agricultural production cannot be underplayed
especially where mechanisation is involved.
One area that partnership
would also enhance production in the agricultural sector is the systematic
maintenance of road networks in communal areas that had been highly
under-utilised due to inaccessibility.
Infrastructural development in
communal areas is a huge capital investment that can go a long way in
necessitating expansion and increase business links for
Development partners need to work more closely especially in
rural areas to provide a safe and efficient road network, which acts as a
catalyst for economic development.
The Government has already made
significant strides in bridging the gaps posed by poor road
Now that the land reform programme has been a success,
discussions should relate to a closer co-operation between Government and
the private sector to improve and support farming operations so as to boost
overall production in the agriculture sector.
Talk about the land
reform programme has since ceased to be on how to take back the land neither
is it about reasons for land redistribution anymore. This has been said and
done with resounding success.
What constitutes debate now is mainly on
the implementation of the policies laid down on how to support farming from
the grassroots level to the highest level.
In his 17th State of the
Nation Address, President Mugabe emphasised that agriculture development
remains a top priority for Government as the country forges ahead with the
economic turnaround programme.
"I have adverted to agriculture as one of
the leading sectors we must continue to support in a deliberate way, both
for reasons of food security and overall export capacity.
two years have seen massive investment in the sector, a trend which will
continue until we are satisfied that there is sufficient mechanisation to
drive it, adequate infrastructure to support it, sound knowledge to guide it
and good returns to expand it," said the President.
As efforts to
rejuvenate the agricultural sector continue, it is expected that various
stakeholders play their part in curbing potential problems posed by
The recognition of the agricultural sector as
the cornerstone of Zimbabwe's agro-based and driven economy, manifested in
the 2005 National Budget, calls for closer partnership between Government
and the private sector to reconstruct Zimbabwe as Southern Africa's
It is at the backdrop of such realisations that agriculture
is vital for the country's economy that various sectors should put their
heads together to support Government initiatives and commitment to
substantiate production by resettled farmers.
December 16, 2004 Posted to the web December 16,
PARLIAMENT yesterday approved 2005 budget estimates of
expenditure for the 23 Government ministries and departments amounting to
$28 363 606 415 000 without amendments.
Most of the estimates of
expenditure were approved without debate.
The House approved estimates
for the Ministries of Education, Sport and Culture ($5,6 trillion) Defence
($3,043 trillion), Health and Child Welfare ($3 trillion), Office of the
President and Cabinet ($849,2 billion), Parli-ament of Zimbabwe ($63,8
billion), Vote of Credit ($40 billion) and the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development ($2,4 trillion).
Also getting the nod were votes for
the ministries of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ($1,043
trillion), Water Resources and Infrastructural Development ($272,8 billion)
and Audit ($25,1 billion).
Contributing to debate on the Audit estimate
of expenditure vote, Glen Norah MP Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC)
said the Department of the Comptroller and Auditor-General should be
structured in a way that enabled it to perform its duties
She said the department should be removed from the civil
service and accorded the right to determine salaries for staff in order to
compete for skills with the private sector.
In response, Finance and
Economic Development Deputy Minister Cde David Chapfika said the issue of
salary discrepancies was being addressed, as Government was keen to retain
experienced staff in the department.
Government, he said, had also put in
place measures to ensure that there was accountability of financial
resources by public institutions.
Parliament also approved estimates of
expenditure for the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development ($1,005
trillion), Small and Medium Enterprise Development ($26 billion) and Energy
and Power Development ($15,7 billion).
Budget estimates of
expenditure for the ministries of Mines and Mining Development ($81,3
billion) and Industry and International Trade ($55,049 billion) were also
given the green light.
Contributing to debate on the estimates of
expenditure for the Ministry of Industry and International Trade, Harare
North MP Ms Trudy Stevenson (MDC) said the money allocated was not enough as
the ministry had the key responsibility of stimulating the economy through
Industry and International Trade Deputy Minister Cde
Kenneth Manyonda agreed the vote allocated to his ministry was indeed far
The ministry, he said, had deployed six trade attaches to
various countries and was planning to deploy 10 more next year.
THE opposition MDC wants chiefs appointed by President
Mugabe into Parliament ejected, arguing they add no value to deliberations
in the august House. MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese yesterday described
the current electoral reforms as piecemeal because they did not include
constitutional amendments to scrap away provisions allowing 30 members of
Parliament, including 10 chiefs, to be directly appointed into Parliament by
the President. "Chiefs must not sit in Parliament. They do their work in the
rural areas. If they want chiefs they must have upper and lower chambers
where they can be on their own," said Gonese in an interview with The Daily
Mirror. Ten chiefs are guaranteed seats in the House in terms of Section 38
of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The constitution, however, does not
stipulate that the chiefs have to be neutral, and the President, in his
prerogative, will naturally appoint chiefs who tow his party
line. Apparently, the MDC is becoming frustrated with the chiefs, who are
generally on the ruling party's side and have recently had their perks
improved by the government, including the provision of motor vehicles at
give away prices and the granting of powers to impose fines of up to $100
million against offenders in their jurisdiction. The chiefs are now also
allowed to sanction meetings, which take place in their areas. The MDC
sees this as a ploy to make the chiefs push their subjects to vote for Zanu
PF in any elections and has accused them of blocking it from making in-roads
to capture rural votes. In another incident, jailed Chimanimani legislator
Roy Bennett, in his court papers, said the Parliamentary Privileges
Committee-that recommended his incarceration was not properly constituted -
alleging that its fifth member, Chief Jonathan Mangwende, who is supposed to
be neutral - was a member of the ruling party. Other members of the
committee included Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul
Mangwana (Zanu PF), now vice president Joyce Mujuru (Zanu PF), Welshman
Ncube (MDC) and Tendai Biti (MDC). Bennett said Mangwende, as evidenced by
his voting patterns in the House, was towing the ruling party line, a charge
denied by the Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Last month,
another MDC legislator, Esaph Mdlongwa of Pumula Luveve, attacked chiefs for
not "being knowledgeable" about Parliamentary issues, after ruling party
members walked out of Parliament when the House was debating a motion
condemning government's deportation of a delegation from the Congress of
South African Trade Unions. "There are six chiefs who are seated and they
cannot debate on anything. You leave them here and yet they are not
knowledgeable about these issues. They must go out and deal with traditional
issues. They should not be here," Mdlongwa said, before being asked to
withdraw the statement after Mangwende protested. Joram Gumbo, the ruling
party's chief whip, blasted the MDC for its position on the country's
traditional leaders. He said it was absurd to say chiefs were not
knowledgeable when they presided over customary courts in areas of their
jurisdiction. " It is an insult for the MDC to talk like that. Handizive kuti
vanoda kupenga vachienda kupi? (I don't know how far they want to go with
their madness.) As we stand now, there is no way we can avoid traditional
leaders, as they are a special area," said Gumbo. One of the chiefs,
Fortune Charumbira, is the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and National Housing in the present government.
WAR Veterans leader, Joseph
Chinotimba stormed Herald House, Harare, on Tuesday demanding that the
State-controlled media writes a story distancing him from the "villainous"
Tsholotsho meeting allegedly convened by Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo
to "overthrow" President Robert Mugabe's lieutenants in the
presidium. Herald House is the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group
headquarters. Chinotimba's actions came after The Daily Mirror published a
story saying a vote of no confidence had been passed against him and former
deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Tony
Gara by Harare Provincial Coordinating Committee over the Tsholotsho
saga. Gara confirmed a vote of no confidence had been passed against the two,
but complained that although Chinotimba had openly confessed that he
attended the infamous meeting, he was not there. Yesterday, Chinotimba
said of his visit to Herald House: " I did not storm the Herald House. I
just went to tell them to write the story. I wanted them to write that I was
not under suspension because I did not receive any official communication.
Maybe it's Gara who was suspended. I am not Gara," Chinotimba
said. Herald News Editor, Itai Musengeyi said he did not have the
details. "I came in the afternoon and I did not see him. May be he came in
the morning," he said.
Portfolio Committee has recommended the conscription of every Zimbabwean
into the national army, a situation reminiscent of the colonial era when all
able-bodied citizens were required by law to undergo military training -
dubbed call up. The report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Defence and Home Affairs on the defence ministry's 2005 budget estimates was
presented in Parliament yesterday by the committee chairman Saviour
Kasukuwere, also MP for Mt Darwin (Zanu PF). Treasury allocated the
ministry $3 trillion, which represents 13,5 percent of the national
budget. "The Zimbabwe Defence Forces should establish a National Reservist
Policy whereby every Zimbabwean citizen working in industry, commerce and
government are occasionally called up to obtain military training. This can
help in the reduction of costs which are related to rations, uniforms and
medical services," Kasukuwere said. He said it was clear the ministry
had been getting the "lion's share" in allocations over the years but "there
still remain gaps which need to be filled up" so that the country's
"sovereignty and integrity are not compromised." Kasukuwere's report also
revealed a sorry state of affairs in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP),
which falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The internal department was
allocated $2 485 022 754 000 representing 11,03percent of the $28 trillion
budget. "As it stands there is overcrowding in police camps. Treasury should
clearly commit itself to specific projects for the ZRP to avert a time
bomb'" Kasukuwere observed without giving figures. "Your committee is
concerned by the fact that about 60 percent of the country's police stations
were inherited from the colonial regime. The CID headquarters and Forensic
Science needs to be completed to reduce congestion at the current offices,"
said Kasukuwere. He said treasury had promised to give the police force $300
billion for the purchase of 2 000 land cruisers in rural areas, but had not
honoured that side of the bargain in the budget. On the Registrar
General's Office, Kasukuwere said the office introduced new identity cards
because the department's cameras were now obsolete, as foreign manufacturers
were no longer making the films required. "Your Committee noted that the RG
was introducing a new identity card which requires a huge capital budget
instead of first of all working flat out to clear the queues which have
become an eyesore at Makombe Building. The queues are not acceptable,"
THE Minister of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mangwana, has been accused of
fanning violence against supporters of his rivals in Kadoma East, ahead of
Zanu PF's primary elections to choose a candidate to stand in next year's
parliamentary elections. Mangwana, who is the incumbent Member of Parliament
and is member of the party's central committee, is alleged to have hired a
group of people to assault party officials in the constituency early this
The officials, who were accused of siding with Mangwana's chief
rival former Zupco boss Bright Matonga, were on December 1 accrediting
delegates to the recent Zanu PF congress when the assailants attacked
them. Matonga has publicly declared his interest to stand in the constituency
after resigning from the public transporter. According to Zanu PF Kadoma
East district coordinating committee (DCC) secretary, Onward Chikonamombe,
violence erupted at the ruling party's offices in Kadoma. Chikonamombe
alleged that a gang of people, at the behest of Mangwana, manhandled him and
another party official in the district. "They accused us of plotting the
downfall of Minister Mangwana when we recently carried out a district
restructuring exercise," he said. Chikonamombe also accused Mangwana's
supporters of abducting Zanu PF Kadoma East political commissar, Cain
Mushauri. He said the assailants that assaulted him and Mushauri were ferried
to the party's offices in Kadoma by lorries belonging to a local businessman
(name supplied) at the request of Mangwana. Efforts to get a comment from
the businessman were fruitless yesterday. Mushauri confirmed that he was
abducted and assaulted by people he alleged were sent by Mangwana. "They
assaulted me before they drove me to Chegutu where they said Minister
Mangwana wanted to see me," Mushauri alleged. "On our arrival in Chegutu,
Mangwana phoned his driver demanding to talk to me. I told him I had nothing
to discuss with him and that I had done nothing wrong to be abducted,"
related Mushauri. He said they then waited for Mangwana at Chegutu
Hotel. "When the minister arrived, we had a heated argument, as I sought an
explanation as to why I had been abducted," Mushauri said. Contacted for
comment, Mangwana said being a legislator did not make him accountable for
the behaviour of each and every member of his constituency. "I don't think I
own anyone in Kadoma East. It is only the behaviour of my three kids that I
can account for, not of every Zimbabwean just because they are in my
constituency," Mangwana said. He denied any involvement in the violence that
took place on December 1. Mangwana said he only knew of demonstrations that
took place in his constituency over party cards. "The only incident that
took place were demonstrations in Kadoma town by some members over party
cards and I was called by the police to resolve the case, which I did," he
added. He accused this newspaper of fabricating falsehoods about him and
threatened to take action against it at "the appropriate
time". Mashonaland West ruling party chairman Philip Chiyangwa was evasive
when asked to comment. Chiyangwa said he had heard that the matter had
been taken to higher offices and he had nothing to do with it. "But as
the chairman of this province, the aggrieved parties have not made a formal
report to me and as a result l do not know exactly what transpired. Had l
got a formal complaint, l would have investigated the case and come up with
a judgment." Zanu PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira said the matter had not
yet reached his office, but called upon members of his party to desist from
any forms of violence. "We have been telling people all along that we do
not want violence. This was made clear to everyone and I am surprised to
hear about the incident. We do not want any violence, especially amongst
members of the same party," he said. Kadoma police confirmed the
intra-party violence, but referred further questions to Police General
Headquarters in Harare. "There were incidents of political violence recently,
but you are a stranger to me and I cannot give you any details about it.
Contact Mandipaka or Bvudzijena, they are both aware of it," a police
officer who identified himself as Moyo said. Police spokesman Oliver
Mandipaka said he had not received any reports of political violence from
Kadoma East. Chief Nyika of Mhondoro-Ngezi last month warned Mangwana and
Matonga to restrain their supporters from engaging in violence.
RBZ investigator jailed for receiving $32 million
Court Reporter issue date :2004-Dec-16
A RESERVE Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) employee has been sentenced to five years in prison for
receiving a bribe of $32 million from a director of a company that he was
supposed to probe for irregularities in his business dealings. Edward Pedzai
Samakomva (36) of Mabelreign, an investigator with the central bank pleaded
not guilty to charges of extortion or alternatively breaching the Prevention
of Corruption Act, but was convicted by regional magistrate Virginia
Sithole. However, he was cleared of extortion but found guilty on the
alternative charge of corruption and will spend an effective four years in
prison after one year was suspended. After considering mitigatory
circumstances that losing his job in hard economic times was in itself ample
punishment, Sithole said: "Accused abused his position of trust. The offence
comes at a time when the RBZ is (trying) to bring sanity in the financial
sector and the economy at large. Samakomva benefited from the offence and
from the circumstances of this case. It is the court's view that only a
custodial sentence is called for." Prosecutor Venrandah Munyoro said some
time in March this year, Samakomva was assigned to investigate Banks Trading
(Pvt) Limited, a company owned by Allan Banks, for dealing in foreign
currency, conducting illegal money transfer business and asset management
activities. Acting on information and accompanied by a Dhlakama, they
proceeded to the firm's premises in Willowvale and carried out some
investigations, upon which they stumbled on documents which indicated that
Banks had externalised 72 000 British pounds. Banks was invited to the
RBZ offices the following day and on questioning admitted to committing an
offence and pleaded with the authorities at the bank that he would
repatriate the funds. Members of CID Fraud were called in and Banks was told
that he was to be detained but the police later left as the matter was to be
dealt with internally. Escorting Banks from RBZ, Samakomva showed him a
fax that could get him prosecuted. Later, Samakomva phoned Lewis
Chibikira of Banks Trading and demanded $100 million but was paid $10
million in two batches. He was paid another $20 million and a further $2
million on assurance that he would destroy the incriminating fax but kept on
pestering Banks. Disgruntled by his continued demands for more money, Banks
made an appointment with RBZ governor Gideon Gono and reported the matter,
which led to Samakomva's arrest in April.
During his 10-day trip to Africa that ends Thursday, German President Horst
Köhler lobbied for the southern continent while also criticizing
shortcomings. DW's Ute Schaeffer accompanied him and reviewed the
Just before the end of his first journey to
Africa as German president, Köhler made the case for greater African
involvement in international institutions during a speech before the African
Union in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
same speech, however, the former head of the International Monetary Fund
also pointed to serious problems faced by many African states and denounced
those profiting from armed conflicts.
convinced that it's important to use plain language in Africa and he
certainly did during his trip, which also took him to Sierra Leone, Benin
Some diplomats might have been
petrified with horror when Köhler reminded Benin's President Mathieu Kerekou
of the upcoming Anti-Corruption Day and added that the latter's country
still had a lot to do to combat corruption. And during a meeting with tribal
chiefs, the German president talked about the continuing practice of
mutilating female genitalia.
Wars and failed
Wherever he went, Köhler talked
straight and issued concrete political demands: Africans should stop trying
to find reasons for wars and conflicts outside their own borders. Too many
wars still originate from within Africa, too many states continue to ruin
themselves, he said, adding that many reforms are stuck and countries fail
to move ahead.
Africans have to start addressing
their own problems, otherwise donor countries would start wondering what
they are spending their money on. Africa cannot avoid competition and has to
show more responsibility, Köhler said.
language. But that's necessary as even in countries like Benin and Ethiopia
-- which are largely seen as success stories of democratization --
development aid is not just used to combat poverty but also ends up in the
pockets of corrupt political elites. Köhler views himself as a friend of
Africa and believes that friendship does not exclude
But he holds Europeans responsible as
well since Africa will continue to be reliant on the support of the global
community. Donor countries have to focus on living up to their promise of
raising development aid to 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by
2015, Köhler said, also pointing the finger at his own country, which only
spends 0.28 percent of GDP so far.
and subsidies that distort the global exchange of services and goods should
be dismantled in order to make African products competitive, the German
Köhler spent a lot of time
talking to people during his trip, and he tried to come into contact with
people outside the political arena. He spoke with representatives of
non-governmental organizations, artists and students, with women that have
set up their own businesses with the help of micro credits, with people that
greeted him on the streets.
He listened, asked questions and encouraged
debates, pushing his political goal to create a true partnership between
equal African and European partners.
president listens to people," said several of his astonished conversation
partners -- obviously used to a different approach by their own heads of
Köhler's trip was meant to honor
reform-oriented governments in Sierra Leone, Benin and Ethiopia, but the
president also wanted to increase Africa's visibility in Germany. He intends
to continue doing so as he's announced that he plans to make a longer trip
to Africa during each year in office.
should not view Africa as a continent that has no effect on their lives,
according to Köhle. Weak and failed states such as Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe
pose risks for Europe. Terror cells operating in Africa, especially around
the Horn of Africa, do so as well. With his first major foreign trip, Köhler
has shown that Africa's well-being is something that others should be
Zim farmers due in Nigeria 16/12/2004 12:05 -
Lagos - A team of white Zimbabwean farmers fleeing President
Robert Mugabe's controversial programme of land reform is scheduled to
arrive in Nigeria on Wednesday night to discuss "technical details" of
farmland allocated to them, an official said.
"Four technicians among
the 15 Zimbabwean farmers will arrive at Lagos international airport tonight
and will stay around till December 23 after which they will go for Christmas
and New Year celebrations," said the official, who requested
Authorities in Nigeria's central
Kwara State have allocated farmland to the 15 farmers and the team arriving
on Wednesday will "conclude demarcation" of the allocations after a survey
has been carried out, he said.
Officials said that the 15 Zimbabweans who
visited the region earlier this year struck property leasing deals with
officials in the state.
The government has allocated 1 000ha of farmland
to each of the "pioneer farmers," officials said.
will carry out "irrigation farming and not conventional farming. This allows
them to begin their farming anytime they are ready," a government spokesman
told AFP last week.
In July, a spokesperson for the farmers, Alan Jack,
told AFP that they had each reached a deal with the government to take
separate 25-year leases on thousand-hectare parcels of fertile
"We are very excited about Nigeria and about being granted a
pioneer status. The people are very friendly," he said.
"Nigeria is very good for farming, compared to Zimbabwe
where land is forcefully taken from the whites and given to the blacks. I am
a victim of President Mugabe's policy," he said.
The 15 will farm
maize, rice, cassava, dairy cattle, poultry and vegetables.
white Zimbabweans, the descendants of colonial-era European settlers, have
been driven from their farms since 2000 when Mugabe instituted a policy of
seizing and redistributing prime agricultural land to poor black
Nigerian leaders have promised that their new guests will be able
to make a good living and that the development that their large-scale farms
will bring to rural Nigeria's peasant economy will help the population as a