The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Mugabe seeks safe exit


Hama Saburi Deputy Editor-in-Chief
ZANU PF plans to shift presidential poll to 2010
THE ruling ZANU PF's inner cabal is itching to defer presidential elections
to 2010 and allow an interim head of state to take over from President
Robert Mugabe at the expiry of his term of office, confirming fears that
recent and proposed constitutional amendments are meant to smooth the
veteran nationalist's exit route.

Ruling party insiders said ZANU PF, which tightened its grip on power in the
bicameral legislative assembly after taking advantage of the bickering in
the opposition MDC, is confident it now has the numerical wherewithal to
plan a safe exit for President Mugabe through the constitutional route.
Indications are that more constitutional amendments to enable Parliament to
elect an interim president are in the offing.

Currently, the Zimbabwean constitution requires the holding of an election
within 90 days of the resignation, death or incapacitation of the incumbent.

President Mugabe - battling the worst ever economic crisis to beset the
former British colony - has hinted at retiring in 2008. But the former
guerrilla leader of the 70s war of liberation who turns 82 in February, said
he would not designate a successor for the hot seat as he prefers that the
electorate anoint the country's second executive president since

Sources said in line with ZANU PF's plan of abolishing the holding of dual
elections that had become a major drain on the taxpayer, party heavyweights
were toying with constitutional amendments that would defer presidential
elections from 2008 to 2010 in harmony with the parliamentary polls held
after every five years.

It is hoped that the party would then be able to ensure a soft landing for
President Mugabe from government, and possibly from ZANU PF, at its next
congress with minimum upheaval in the ruling party.

The party suffered its worst divisions in the run-up to the December 2004
congress when a damaging power struggle erupted among factions that were
vying for the second vice-presidency. Joice Mujuru ascended to the position
but ZANU PF emerged noticeably shaken.

"The planned amendments would be such that an interim president would be
able to run the office of the President until the harmonised elections in
2010 during which time the party would have perfected the succession plan,"
said a ZANU PF insider.

The main opposition MDC, now torn into two feuding factions, and the
National Constitutional Assembly headed by Lovemore Madhuku, are against
piecemeal constitutional amendments and want Zimbabwe to come up with a new,
people-driven constitution. But without the requisite numbers in Parliament,
ZANU PF would simply bulldoze through with its agenda.

ZANU PF spokesman and one of President Mugabe's confidantes, Nathan
Shamuyarira, yesterday said while there is "merit" and "a case" for
harmonising the polls, the party was still to agree on how best it could
handle the issue.
"There is merit in harmonising the elections in the interest of saving
costs. So, in principle, there is a case for harmonising the elections.
However, the modalities have not yet been worked out and as to when the
party would have finalised this issue, I can't say at this stage," said

With retired army general Solomon Mujuru's camp dominant in both the lower
and upper chambers of the august House, Vice-President Joice Mujuru could
have an edge over other presidential aspirants in both ZANU PF and the
government.Solomon Mujuru, who is widely seen as the power behind the
throne, is Vice-President Mujuru's husband.

And with the first Vice-President Joseph Msika, who is a year older than
President Mugabe,. most likely to retire before 2010, Mujuru stands a better
chance of making history as the first female to occupy the highest office in
the land during the transitional phase.

While ZANU PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa could not be
contacted for comment yesterday, as he is only expected back in the country
from a visit to China on Saturday, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has
hinted before that the harmonisation of presidential and parliamentary
elections was something ZANU PF was considering doing before the expiry of
President Mugabe's current term of office.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Murambatsvina, MDC newsmakers of the year


Njabulo Ncube

UNTIL October, Operation Murambatsvina, the government's hare-brained,
cynical clearance of illegal settlements and informal vending sites, was -
by miles - the political decision with the farthest reaching consequences.

Then came the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s fateful
meeting on October 12 to decide whether or not to participate in the senate
elections following the re-introduction of an upper house of Parliament
through a constitutional amendment the party had vehemently opposed.

While Operation Murambatsvina, which affected hundreds of thousands of
people and whose effects are still being felt and will do so for a long time
to come, undoubtedly takes the biscuit, the split and confusion within the
MDC over participation in the November 26 election makes the development a
worthy second - if only for the ramifications of an attenuated opposition in
the face of an insensitive and paranoid government.
Few acts will demonstrate this insensitivity and paranoia as poignantly as
the demolition campaign, especially following revelations that panicky state
security agents, not government planners, were behind the slum clearances.

On May 18, heavily armed police descended on Harare's flourishing flea
markets, leaving a trail of destruction. Initial official explanations of
this precipitous action suggested a broad crackdown on illicit foreign
currency trade.

The crackdown was to spread to other towns and cities - resulting in the
arrest of over 22 000 people.
For a whole month, helpless Zimbabweans were to witness an unprecedented use
of force in the destruction of homes housing no less than 700 000 people at
the peak of winter and several informal businesses providing sustenance to
up to 2.4 million people.

The operation, which had all the hallmarks of a military operation,
triggered a flurry of condemnations from local rights groups and the
opposition as well as the United States of America, Britain and Australia,
while there was deafening silence from African leaders.

However, as pressure mounted on the Harare authorities to immediately halt
the operation, the United Nations system responded, with Secretary-General
Kofi Annan dispatching Tanzanian diplomat and UN Habitat executive director
Anna Tibaijuka as a special envoy to assess the impact of the demolition
Tibaijuka, who spent two weeks in the country, cobbled up a stinging report
which incensed the Harare authorities, setting the stage for a diplomatic
row between the UN and Harare, which has continued to the end of the year.

Earlier in the year, ZANU PF garnered an overwhelming majority in relatively
peaceful March parliamentary elections - winning 78 seats out of the
contested 120, up from 62 in the 2000 polls, while the MDC could only win 41
seats, down from the 57 it won in its first election in 2000.
The result, which was disputed by the MDC and condemned by most Western
governments that were not invited to observe the poll, gave ZANU PF its
coveted but technical two-thirds majority.
In addition to the 78 seats, there were 20 presidential appointees and 10
traditional leaders allied to the ruling party, to hand ZANU PF 108 seats -
more than two-thirds of the 120 parliamentarians - in the house of assembly.
ZANU PF expeditiously used its technical majority to amend the Zimbabwean
constitution for the 17th time since independence in 1980.

The controversial amendment included provisions barring the courts from
hearing land-related cases, except where compensation was concerned. It also
expanded the derogations to Section 22, which deals with freedom of
movement, to allow the state to invalidate or withdraw the travel documents
of "traitors".

In keeping with that provision, government agents confiscated passports
belonging to independent newspaper publisher and journalist Trevor Ncube,
opposition politician Paul Themba Nyathi and trade unionist Raymond
Majongwe, amid reports that the state had drawn up a list of persons
targeted for similar action.

The government, however, suffered the embarrassment of having to return the
passports, after the High Court noted that there was no legislation
empowering the state to invalidate passports of persons it deemed "traitors".
The government's renewed crackdown on dissenting voices as ZANU PF charges
towards entrenching its rule has coincided with the split within the MDC,
the most serious challenge to the ruling party's hold on power.

A fragmented MDC only managed to field 26 candidates - who stood in defiance
of party president Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to boycott what he considers
a "ZANU PF project" - in the senate elections, winning just seven seats
against ZANU PF's 43.
Going into the new year, developments within the MDC, which now has two
factions - led by Tsvangirai and secretary general Welshman Ncube
respectively - battling for legitimacy and political relevance, will
continue to grab the headlines.
This might be so perhaps until a scheduled congress in February, although
indications are that even that congregation might not quell the strife.
An intriguing spy scandal which started last December but spilled into 2005
took an interesting turn this month when the government released a South
African man, Aubrey Welken, who was central to the case.

Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo, ZANU PF
director of external affairs Itai Marchi, ZANUPF deputy security chief Kenny
Karidza, former Metropolitan Bank secretary Tendai Mahachi and former ZANU
PF provincial chairman and Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi Phillip
Chiyangwa were all implicated in the spy imbroglio, with only the latter
avoiding a lengthy jail term.

Dzvairo, Marchi and Matambanadzo were jailed for between five and six years
for selling state security information to foreign agents.
Another significant event occurred in February when former information
minister and government spin doctor-in-chief, Jonathan Moyo, sensationally
broke away from ZANU PF after the party sought to bar him from contesting
the Tsholotsho constituency in March as punishment for his role in an
internal plan to elevate Emmerson Mnangagwa to the vice presidency at the
expense of President Mugabe's choice, Joice Mujuru.

Moyo was immediately dropped from government, receiving an indiscrete fax at
a Bulawayo hotel at just about the same time the public media - which he had
controlled imperiously for five years - broke the story to the world.
Moyo, who went on to win Tsholotsho as an independent candidate, has since
reverted to being a strident critic of President Mugabe and his ruling ZANU
PF and claims to have founded the United People's Movement to challenge his
former party at the polls.

During the year, several public figures died.
These included veteran nationalist Ruth Chinamano, Harare Metropolitan
Governor Witness Mangwende and Enos Chikowore.
Although the government remained mum on the cause of Chikowore's death,
speculation was rife that the senior ZANU PF official and former Cabinet
minister could have committed suicide.
Veteran nationalist Henry Hamadziripi died in August and the ZANU PF
politburo declined to accord him the hero status many observers believe he

President Mugabe accused Hamadziripi of "differing with the party in a big
Sungura music super-star Simon Chimbetu also died in August, while veteran
educationist and novelist Solomon Mutsvairo, who composed Zimbabwe's
national anthem, passed away in November.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of 2005


Rangarirai Mberi Senior Business Reporter

IN Sergio Leone's legendary 1966 Western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,
Tuco (The Ugly), relaxing in a bathtub, suddenly comes face to face with a
gunman, who mouths words about finally getting his revenge.

Tuco casually shoots him dead, and advises: "When you gonna shoot, shoot!
Don't talk."

One could easily take Zimbabwe for the dead man: what with the country
having begun the year with loud and regular assurances that at year's end,
as in Western movies, it would be the victorious hero riding off into the
sunset - with the money and the girl.

The fortunes of Zimbabwe's economy in 2005 would give Leone some decent
material for a Western.
You had The Good: material that kept hopes up; The Bad: events that snuffed
out those hopes; and The Ugly: stomach-churning scenes that made you sick.

The Good . . .
Zimbabwe joins the elite nuke club with a uranium find in Kanyemba. Lest UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan send in weapons inspectors, President Robert
Mugabe makes sure to stress that the mineral would be for peaceful purposes
In March, Kindgom becomes the first company to raise over $100 billion in a
rights offer in which Econet raises its holding in the bank, a long-time
buddy of the cellular operator.
CBZ, the country's second biggest bank, in May buys Datvest, then the number
two fund manager, in a cash-and-scrip deal involving 44.375 million shares
and some cash.
On October 20, RBZ governor Gideon Gono commits heresy, partially freeing
the exchange rate and allowing exporters to keep a larger chunk of their
export bounty for longer.
In November, Delta surprises the market with a swoop on Ariston, targeting
70 percent of the agro-processor. The big brewer only manages 54 percent,
but boss Joe Mtizwa tells The Financial Gazette he is not sulking over that.
In April, medical firms MedTech and Strategis announce a merger, a deal
expected to spawn three companies to be separately listed on the ZSE.
In October, NMB - having returned to profit at the half year - raises $64
billion in a rights offer that intrigues the market after reports that
British market hawk Nick van Hoogstraten is lying in wait hoping to take
control. But the "Fab Four", Julius Makoni, James Mushore, Otto Chekeche and
Francis Zimuto, earlier seen as ceding their rights, maintain their footing.
ZSR spins off its most profitable subsidiary, Redstar, and launches the ZSE's
first IPO in two years.

The Bad . . .
In February, the IMF gives Zimbabwe six months to get serious. On September
9, the country is put up for expulsion.
In a bid to soften up the IMF board and save itself the dubious distinction
of being the first country in five decades to be canned, Zimbabwe surprises
everyone - including herself - by making a US$120 million pay-down.
The IMF buys Gono's late-night PR and Zimbabwe survives.
Another six months is given, but the IMF warns: "Unless strong macroeconomic
policies are implemented urgently, economic conditions - particularly
inflation - will deteriorate even further."
World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz says the pace of economic decline in
Zimbabwe - a cumulative 30 percent over five years - is unprecedented for a
country not at war. He evidently forgot the war Zimbabwe is fighting against
British-led imperialists.
In August, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa virtually admits the country is
broke. He denies $31 trillion in requests from line ministries for
additional funding, saying the government "does not have the capacity to
finance them at this time".
Murerwa re-introduces a 10 percent withholding tax on securities and orders
pension funds to place a larger share of the value of their investments in
low-yielding government scrip, drying out trade on the ZSE for a month and
costing the ZSE and investors billions.
But one man who does not lose any money is Afaras Gwaradzimba. It's not
known how much he made from "administering" SMM Holdings, but mid-year
reports suggest he's made over $300 billion, and even more from a massive
sell-off of FSI and SMM assets. The $39 billion he recently took from CFI -
denying shareholders a dividend - was only the cherry on top.

The Ugly . . .
The year nearly ends without a dirty corporate brawl, but ReNaissance saves
the day, swooping on 25 percent of FML.
Capital Alliance goes to court claiming ReNaissance has irregularly taken
over 112 million shares previously held by ENG (the ghost of Christmas
Past). In opposing papers, ReNaissance mockingly asks whether Capital
Alliance can even afford a lawsuit.
After being subdued in 2004, inflation starts running again at the first
quarter, defying a battery of rate hikes and other desperate measures which
include the wagging of fingers at profiteering retailers.
From 133 percent in January, inflation races to 502.4 percent in November.
The bank rate hits 540 percent from 95 percent in January.
Seven asset managers go down, three of them - ReNaissance, Imperial and
GP2 - within days of each other. Mercantile Asset Management, Guardian,
Sunshine, and First Factoring Asset Management are also closed.
In June, Zimbabwe begs South Africa for a loan to relieve debt and fund
critical imports. Government spokesman George Charamba tells The Financial
Gazette that Zimbabwe never asked for money from anybody, but that it was
the South Africans who offered it.
In September, Econet pays US$87.5 million to end a relationship with Altech
amid allegations of rednecks using the "kaffir" word, and reports of the
Venters sneaking behind Strive Masiyiwa's back to fool around with Vodacom,
Econet's bitter Nigeria bid rival.
In November, authorities cancel the licence of second fixed phone network
operator Tele Access, on charges it has failed to roll out its network.
TeleAccess claims the withdrawal was "political".

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Poor Annan: he must be quaking in his UN boots


Rangarirai Mberi Senior Business Reporter

SPARE a thought for Kofi Annan; he surely must be quaking in his UN boots
after ZANU PF stuck out the long finger at him from Umzingwane.

No more wide-eyed envoys, ZANU PF growled in a ten-point resolution backing
President Robert Mugabe's stern warning to Annan that Zimbabwe would no
longer readily welcome any nosy envoys from his office - whether they are
black and female or white and male.

This was in reaction to UN humanitarian envoy Jan Egeland's strong criticism
of Zimbabwe's refusal to allow the world body to provide temporary shelter
for thousands displaced by Operation Murambatsvina, described by the UN
expert as "the worst possible thing at the worst possible time".
So is Annan's Harare invitation still up or not?
Officials won't say, but Egeland told reporters that Annan remained
interested in visiting Zimbabwe, but it would be "a question of
circumstances and time".

Stripping out the diplomatic speak, Egeland actually meant that Annan was
unlikely to visit before Harare unconditionally accepts the provision of
shelter for the homeless and other aid.
But then the sight of tents pitched all over the country would be
conspicuous evidence of what President Mugabe himself called "poor
government planning".

A better option would be for Zimbabwe to fight the UN, even if it means
further isolation.
The government had expected Egeland's visit to result in the shredding of
the Anna Tibaijuka report, with Egeland having found out the real truth;
like the fact that Zimbabwe is able to feed and shelter its own.
This is a proud nation and, besides, "Zimbabweans are not tent people".

But Egeland met victims and aid workers and concluded that there was a
worsening humanitarian situation in the country, winning himself the same
badge reserved for all critics of the policies of President Mugabe's
He is now only the latest in a long line of Tony Blair stooges seeking to
overthrow a government of the people.

So, if Annan does come, and if like his two envoys he refuses to be led up
the garden path and chooses instead to see the real squalor that has thrived
under ZANU PF, how "British" will he be when he inevitably states the
obvious - that thousands are without homes in Zimbabwe?
Who would ZANU PF then call upon to discredit his report, as Egeland had
been supposed to do with respect to Tibaijuka's findings?
How would ZANU PF react if Annan took it a step further and turned the heat
up a notch by prodding debate in the UN on Zimbabwe? Would it then be 2003
all over again, when President Mugabe said: "I refuse to join a club that
won't take me in as a member" and quit the "British" Commonwealth?

That decision was made after another revolutionary fire-and-brimstone speech
at the Masvingo ZANU PF conference, and that is what that conference is
still remembered for.
So why can't the Umzingwane conference be equally remembered for another
revolutionary decision in defence of the country's territorial integrity,
and not for weird statistics and ratios like the number of beasts and
wildlife consumed per delegate?

ZANU PF obviously feels Zimbabwe no longer has anything more to lose, and
any further international isolation by socking it to Annan would not damage
anything that is not already broken.
In fact, even if Zimbabwe thumbed its nose at the UN and decided to become a
hermit state living on the fringes of the world, it wouldn't be anything

It is clear from the Umzingwane conference that ZANU PF has made a decision
to stop wasting any more energy doing what every other country is doing -
trying to run economies that work for their people.

Clearly, ZANU PF feels its energy is best devoted to finding Neverland,
Peter Pan's mythical land where people never grow up - an isolated land
perched so high up in the sky that the whole world can no longer visit,
especially Annan and his pesky envoys.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt ignores Maphenduka's resignation


Felix Njini Chief Business Reporter
Reappoints him MIC board member
THE Ministry of Information and Publicity has continued to disregard the
resignation of outspoken former Media and Information Commission (MIC) board
member Jonathan Maphenduka, by including him on its list of reappointed
commissioners released last week.

Maphenduka, who resigned from the MIC board in August in protest against the
decision to deny Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe a publishing licence, was
this week shocked to read in the state media that his term of office with
the MIC had been extended for another six months.

Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya extended the terms of six members of
the commission for six months, giving them time to wind up their business
before another commission is appointed.
The six commissioners are MIC head Tafataona Mahoso, who has mysteriously
assumed the executive chairmanship at the media regulator which the law does
not provide for, Rino Zhuwarara, Pascal Mukondiwa, Alphinos Makoni, Sephat
Mlambo and Maphenduka.

Sources at the MIC said the six months were enough to give the MIC "time to
wrap up some of its outstanding business, such as legal cases, pending the
appointment of new commissioners".
What has raised eyebrows, however, is the purported reappointment of
Maphenduka, who has criticised the manner in which Mahoso, a former
journalism trainer, is conducting the affairs of the MIC.

"I only know about the purported reappointment from what I have read in the
newspapers and beyond that I will not comment," Maphenduka said.
Maphenduka has previously accused Mahoso of soiling the MIC's integrity and
playing "dirty games".
In an interview with The Financial Gazette two weeks ago, Maphenduka accused
the MIC and Mahoso of bias, saying the media regulator "risks becoming a
costly farce".

Mahoso has repeatedly rejected Maphenduka's resignation, arguing it was
Maphenduka addressed his resignation letter to the permanent secretary in
the information ministry, George Charamba, but Mahoso has been arguing that
he should have addressed his resignation to Jokonya.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC circus deepens


Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter
Tsvangirai alleges deal between ZANU PF, Ncube faction as . . .
EMBATTLED Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
alleged that the pro-Senate camp within the faction-riddled opposition party
entered into a secret political pact with ZANU PF to perpetuate President
Robert Mugabe's rule.

In his end of year address to diplomats accredited to Harare on Tuesday,
Tsvangirai, who also alleged a plot to 'physically eliminate' him, said ZANU
PF was angry with him, not only because of his uncompromising anti-Senate
stance, but also because of his vehement opposition to what he called
President Mugabe's "misrule and dictatorship".

He claimed ZANU PF intended to forge a second unity accord with the
pro-Senate faction of the MDC, which has received much of its support from
the Matabeleland provinces.

Tsvangirai, however, fell short of producing evidence to substantiate his
claims, which were flatly denied by the pro-Senate group.
"Your excellencies, we have irrefutable evidence that our erstwhile
colleagues had entered into a secret political pact with ZANU PF for a
cohabitation political project in an expected post-MDC political

"As an initial demonstration of their good faith, sincerity and reliability
as the new partners to ZANU PF, they had to take part in the Senate

"Subsequent strategies included the removal of those in the leadership
considered by ZANU PF to be stumbling blocks, alter the central focus and
policies of the MDC, compromise its values to resonate with those of ZANU PF
and pave the way for a second unity accord," said Tsvangirai.
In a four-page address, the MDC leader accused his rivals of striking "a
diabolical deal with ZANU PF against clear and better judgment of the
people. It was the people versus a few mercenaries peddling their selfish

"We are fully briefed and painfully aware of the extent to which ZANU PF is
the dynamic force behind the destabilisation of the MDC. Our erstwhile
colleagues are not reading from an independent script. They are not free
agents or autonomous operators. Instead, they are ZANU PF's fifth columns
inside the MDC.

"We are aware of the level of logistical support and the quantities of
material assistance that ZANU PF is providing to our erstwhile colleagues."
In a hard-hitting statement, Paul Themba Nyathi, the spokesman of the
pro-Senate faction, described Tsvangirai's statements as "deplorable".

"Mr Tsvangirai's statement to the diplomatic community was a sad reflection
of a person who has lost all semblance of self respect," said Nyathi. "Mr
Tsvangirai made a number of allegations that are false and slanderous. His
statements were a shameless abuse of diplomats who attend these events to
gain a useful insight into what goes on in Zimbabwe," Nyathi said, adding
that Tsvangirai would have difficulty in producing evidence to support his

"His is a cheap shot that seeks to divert attention from the fact that after
the Senate elections he has nothing to offer as a way of resolving the
crisis in Zimbabwe. We offer our apologies to hard-working diplomats who
have to endure the antics of a man who obviously has nothing constructive to
offer for a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.'
Tsvangirai also alleged that there were covert political machinations within
the government and ZANU PF to use the chaos in the MDC to physically
eliminate him.

"In the past few days it has been brought to our attention by reliable and
impeccable sources that the turbulence within our party over the past eight
or so weeks was also designed to create a convenient opportunity and
circumstances in which some in the leadership, including the MDC president,
are to be harmed and even physically eliminated, and the heinous crime
blamed on intra-MDC conflict. This project is still very much alive and

"Your excellencies, you will recall that only a few days ago, on December 2
2005, the Quarter Master General of the Zimbabwe National Army, a certain
Major-General Chedondo, when addressing crack troops in Gweru, was captured
on Zimbabwe Television referring to me as National Enemy Number One.

"It is well known that in military practice there is only one way to deal
with identified enemies of state - that is, physical elimination. We take
that announcement as an open intention to do grievous harm."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

RBZ rejects council's $1.3 trillion application


Felix Njini Chief Business Reporter

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has turned down an application by the
Harare City Council for $1.3 trillion, throwing into disarray the
municipality's much-vaunted unbundling and turnaround programme.

Officials at Town House said the central bank had refused to give
concessionary funding to the cash-strapped council, in an apparent vote of
no confidence in the people running the affairs of the capital.

The sources said the application had been flatly turned down, with the RBZ
insisting on a guarantee that the money would not be diverted to "other
council business".
The Harare City Council says it needs the $1.3 trillion to finance its
unbundling and turnaround programme.
The sources said the RBZ had also expressed "dissatisfaction at the lack of
professionalism in how the city is being managed".
Chester Mhende, a consultant hired to spearhead the turnaround programme,
confirmed the Harare City Council's application had been rejected.
"The application for funds has not been successful. The RBZ wanted an
assurance that the money would not be diverted to other town council
businesses," Mhende said.
"We are confident that the RBZ will release the money as we are striving to
meet some of their conditions. They were querying the ability of our
managers to perform but we are confident of their ability to deliver," he
Harare, whose mayor, opposition party member Elias Mudzuri, was sacked by
the government more than a year ago amid charges of political persecution,
is now being run by a state-appointed commission.

The commission - headed by Sekesai Makwavarara, a former opposition member
who defected to the ruling ZANU PF party - says it has started moves to
unbundle its operations into autonomous strategic business utilities, nine
agencies and 13 corporate units.

The proposed strategic business units include procurement, water,
sanitation, farming, waste management and staff benefits.
The agencies include automotive workshops, emergency services, estate
development, Harare estates, markets and informal sector business, roads,
public lighting, quarrying, railway service sidings, parks, cemeteries,
overnight accommodation, and the Harare metropolitan agency.
Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya also confirmed the refusal by the RBZ to grant
the capital city cheap finance.
"They (RBZ) wants the entities to be run outside council bureaucracy because
of fears that they will be stifled. They feel that there may not be the
autonomy required for such businesses to operate profitably," Chideya said.
Sources at Town House said officials who have been appointed to spearhead
the unbundling were increasingly becoming frustrated by the RBZ's reluctance
to release the money.

They said the officials were now accusing the RBZ, which in May pledged to
release funds to help local authorities, of "shifting goalposts each time
council comes up with proposals".

"What the RBZ wants is to be able to carry out its own audit of how the
money has been put to use. Unfortunately, this is presenting problems with
some of the commissioners," said a source.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Strike threats at ZIMRA


Felix Njini Chief Business Reporter

A STORM is brewing at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) over management's
refusal to effect a 200 percent salary hike awarded to workers by an
arbitrator and upheld by the labour court.

Documents in the possession of The Financial Gazette reveal that ZIMRA was
early this month ordered by the labour court to pay workers a 200 percent
salary increment, which would translate to a $698.5 billion wage bill.

ZIMRA, which had offered workers a 17 percent salary adjustment prior to the
labour court ruling, is now appealing to the Ministry of Finance to
ZIMRA workers said they had been dismayed by the authority's refusal to
honour the labour court ruling.

Sources said the workers had given ZIMRA a two-week ultimatum to honour its
commitment, after which they would down their tools.
The sources said morale had hit rock-bottom at the revenue collection
agency, with workers accusing management of insensitivity.

In an email circulated to all staff, ZIMRA commissioner-general Gershom Pasi
said the "increment was more than what was budgeted for".
"This increment is more than what was budgeted for as per our original
appeal. We are currently engaging the Ministry of Finance to be guided on
the way forward," said Pasi.

The standoff has come at a particularly irksome time, with ZIMRA officials
manning the country's borders - mainly the busy Beitbridge post - being
accused of clearance delays that have caused long queues in the run-up to
the Christmas holidays.
The workers said they were last awarded a salary increase in January 2005.

"Since then there has not been anything, yet top management has been
indulging in luxuries like buying state of the art vehicles," said one

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Shumba quitting ZANU PF?


Staff Reporter

SUSPENDED former ZANU PF Masvingo provincial chairman Daniel Shumba is on
the verge of quitting the ruling party amid speculation the embattled
TeleAccess boss might join another political party soon.

Shumba, viciously fighting to save TeleAccess' licence, fast slipping
through his fingers owing to the company's failure to roll out the fixed
telephone project that requires a huge foreign currency component, hinted
this week he could be calling it a day in ZANU PF.

"I shall be pronouncing my political position shortly. For now I am still a
Zimbabwean. I remain a Zimbabwean with freedom of choice," he said.
"Political parties are voluntary organisations. I have made up my mind and I
will be making pronouncements in due course," he added.
His departure from ZANU PF could be more out of frustration than anything,
according to sources.
Shumba is among six ZANU PF provincial chairmen served with five-year
suspensions for attending an unsanctioned Tsholotsho indaba last year that
was meant to block Joice Mujuru from becoming vice-president.

It remains unclear whether the other suspended chairmen, who were threatened
with expulsion by Vice President Joseph Msika in the run-up to last month's
senate elections, will follow Shumba's lead and quit ZANU PF.

Shumba's political and economic fortunes have been on the wane since the
Tsholotsho purge, which meant he could neither conduct business on behalf of
the party nor stand for election as a Member of Parliament. His resignation
however, shows internecine conflict within ZANU PF.

Early in the year, former Mberengwa MP Pearson Mbalekwa resigned from the
party because of differences over the controversial Operation Murambatsvina,
which left over 700 000 people homeless.
Asked whether he is not afraid of a backlash should he decide on quitting
ZANU PF, Shumba, who revealed this week he only read of his suspension in
the newspapers but has never appeared before a disciplinary hearing, said he
would not lose sleep over it.

"I fear God and I respect man. I will do as God requires me to do," he said.
The impeding cancellation of TeleAccess' licence is seen as sour grapes on
the part of ZANU PF following rumours that Shumba had crossed the floor to
the United People's Movement (UPM) - a brainchild of dismissed former
information minister Jonathan Moyo.

In the past ZANU PF has turned against its own sons and daughters who have
shown propensity to differ with its principles. Mutumwa Mawere, who has
since skipped to South Africa where he is now resident, lost his empire
through a controversial reconstruction order that critics say was meant to
punish him for declining a party post.
Mbalekwa also lost a farm that had been allocated to him by the government
through the land reform programme, after turning his back on the party.

"I have had discussions with UPM, but I am not a member of UPM. As to
whether that is the reason they want to take away my licence, I am sure it
is not a coincidence," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZUPCO deputy chairperson commandeers $5 bln truck


Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter

CHIPO Dyanda, the deputy Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO)
chairperson, has commandeered a $5 billion top of the range Toyota Hilux
truck meant for senior management at the parastatal, The Financial Gazette
has established.

Dyanda, a non-executive deputy chairperson, appropriated the brand new
vehicle for her own use in November in a blatant show of disregard for basic
corporate governance tenets.

Senior officials at ZUPCO confirmed the development, but said their hands
were tied on the issue.

Dyanda this week denied helping herself to the vehicle - licence plate
number AAK 4041. "It's not true. I have a 405 given to me by the UZ
(University of Zimbabwe). You can come to the university right now and see
the kind of car I am driving. These people lie to you. It's not true, " she

ZUPCO, which has returned to profitability, recently acquired a fleet of
cars for middle and top-level management.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

AVM, FAW sign deal


Staff Reporter

AUTOMOBILE maker, FAW of China has signed an agreement to assemble buses
with AVM Africa, a leading local bus assembler in the country, executive
chairman Kenneth Musanhi has revealed.

Musanhi, who has already begun assembling the FAW buses in the country, said
his company sealed an agreement with the automobile company. Under the same
agreement, AVM was given sole distributorship of FAW buses in the country
and is the local franchise holder.

"We are the local franchise holders and sole distributor in the country.
They are sending their engineers to see if everything is going well here,"
said Musanhi.

FAW made an entry into the local public transport scene earlier this year
when it supplied the government-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger
Company -ZUPCO- with 50 buses. At the time, it was reported that the two
firms were considering a joint venture to establish an assembly plant in the
country. AVM Africa, formerly Dahmer, which was recently acquired by
Musanhi - an indigenous transport baron - has an established presence on
Zimbabwe's roads.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UN envoy's treatment jeopardises donor


Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter

THE ruling ZANU PF's angry response to United Nations envoy Jan Egeland's
assessment of the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe could diminish chances of
securing the donor support required to see the country through one of its
worst crises since independence.

Although Egeland and other UN officials remained optimistic, saying there
was still room for cooperation with the authorities in Harare, diplomatic
sources said the donor community had been shocked by the government's
"undignified" response to the UN envoys' assessments.

Zimbabwe is grappling with widespread food shortages and a housing crisis
compounded by the effects of Operation Murambatsvina.
Egeland entered into an agreement with government to feed the hundreds of
thousands of people up to the next harvest in May 2006, in addition to the
300 000 tonnes of grain arriving in the country in the next few months. The
government , however, rebuffed the UN's offer of temporary tent shelter.

"The agreements could be in limbo from what I gather," said a source.
However, Hiro Ueki, the acting director of the UN Information Centre, this
week played down the diplomatic tiff, saying as far as he was concerned the
agreements between the world body and Harare would be fulfilled.

"You will recall that Mr Egeland said the UN will help the people of
Zimbabwe. The agreement to feed the people is still in place. I don't think
any agreement will be affected," said Ueki.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Uncertainty clouds annual shut-downs


Staff Reporter

UNCERTAINTY clouds the post-festive season period amid indications that a
number of companies might delay re-opening owing to lack of essential raw
materials and components.

Industry sources this week said companies were going into the annual
Christmas shutdown with bruises from the six-year-long economic crisis and
quite a number were unlikely to re-open in the New Year.

In the event that sufficient foreign currency is mobilised to buy critical
raw materials and spares, they might re-open in March, the sources say.
Inflation, which surged past 500 percent last month from 411 in October, has
been the economy's worst enemy. Industry had hoped the just ended ZANU PF
conference would send a clear signal on the future direction of the country's
tottering economy, but as usual, it was full of hot air.

"I know quite a number of firms that have opted to open in late January
because they have not been able to secure hard currency to procure raw
materials," said Eric Bloch, a chartered accountant with extensive business
interests in Zimbabwe.

"Executives are delaying opening by up to three weeks in some instances, as
they hope by mid-January or beginning of February 2006 they will have
sourced the foreign currency they need to start production."

Sources in the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce spoke of low morale with some mooting
retrenchments in the coming year.
Bloch said if the companies delayed opening by three weeks it would
represent a loss in production likely to further delay fulfillment of orders
from customers.

Most established firms are literally operating from hand to mouth while
small-to-medium scale companies are on their knees due to crippling
operation costs.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Compulsory indocrination of journalists


Mavis Makuni Own Correspondent

VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru, who since her appointment has proved to be a
thorn in the flesh for the civil service because of her crusade against
inefficiency, corruption, dishonesty, truancy and dereliction of duty, has
voiced yet another complaint against government workers.

Unusually for a high-ranking government official, she blasted the civil
servants in question for telling superiors what they wanted to hear instead
of describing the situation on the ground as it was.
These particular civil servants had submitted a report painting a glowing
picture about an irrigation scheme, saying it was operating at full capacity
and everything was rosy.

The vice-president was however not amused when she visited the area in
question to discover that the report was a fabrication. The dam that was
supposed to supply water for the irrigation scheme had long dried up and was
now grazing land for cattle. For whatever reason, the government workers had
painted a false picture on paper, which would not benefit anybody.

But this culture of not telling the truth or embellishing reports to cover
up irregularities, abuses, corruption, fraud or sheer ineptitude, is so
pervasive within government that even ministers have been guilty of
misleading the nation. The case of Agriculture Minister Joseph Made
forecasting a bumper season about two years ago using the most amateurish
methods imaginable to make his projections is one of the worst examples but
there have been many others with equally dire consequences.

The Made fiasco makes an interesting case study of this phenomenon because
of the energy and effort devoted to propping up the illusion of bountiful
yields when the situation on the ground pointed to a different scenario.
This was during the tyrannical reign of Jonathan Moyo as chief government
propagandist when the chaotic land reform programme had to be portrayed as a
resounding success regardless of what Zimbabweans could see with their own
eyes or feel in their empty bellies.
Experts who warned against relying on Made's figures and pointed out that
Zimbabwe would in fact record a grain deficit and would need to import food
to make up the shortfall were dismissed as 'prophets of doom' who did not
wish to see the land reform programme succeed.

Newspapers that carried editorials or reports sounding similar warnings were
labelled agents of imperialistic interests or worse. But as is known, all
these stakeholders who were ridiculed for telling the truth were eventually
vindicated when Zimbabwe was hit by severe food shortages that persist up to
this day.
The government has had to climb down from its lofty "we don't need your
food" stance to passing the begging bowl around, but have any lessons been
learned about the pitfalls of misrepresenting or glorifying events for
political expediency or correctness? While the utterance of Vice-President
Mujuru would seem to suggest that there is a realisation that officials must
be realistic and truthful in confronting national issues, other people in
high places seem to prefer deceiving the public so as to maintain a false
macho sense of having things under control.

The ruling party's deputy secretary for information and publicity, Ephraim
Masawi, would seem to fall into the latter category. At the ZANU PF national
people's congress held in Esigodini two weeks ago, he tabled a resolution
virtually calling for the official indoctrination of journalists to parrot
only what those in power want to hear. His resolution, which was
overwhelmingly adopted, makes it a requirement for all aspiring journalists
in future to undergo national service training prior to embarking on their
media studies. He said this was necessary because the ruling party was not
pleased with the way some journalists were currently reporting national

But can patriotism be taught and who defines national interest? If it were
true that one needs to have liberation struggle credentials to be a good
journalist, would veteran nationalist the late, great Willie Musarurwa have
been treated so shabbily when he was fired from his job as editor of the
Sunday Mail some years ago?
Media practitioners already in the field were accused during the Esigodini
conference of not knowing what to write and not reporting in the national
interest. Masawi said if the next generation of reporters underwent training
similar to that undertaken by youth militias notoriously known as "Green
Bombers", "they will know what to write and how to compile stories . . ."
It is clear that as far as Masawi and the drafters of this resolution are
concerned, being properly oriented and being conscious of the national or
public interest means being prepared only to see things one way - the
ZANU-PF way. In other words, it is telling those in power only what they
want to hear. This shows that despite the fundamental importance of freedom
of speech in a democracy, some in the ruling party now believe that speech
should only be free for those who agree with them.

They do not seem prepared to learn from lessons such as the one cited by
Vice-President Mujuru and quoted above that being given a comforting but
false picture of events may be good for the ego but it has no place in
democratic governance.
Government by the people should be based on the people's right to speak
freely and to question and challenge the decisions and actions of
government. This is the only way that those in power can be kept accountable
and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the electorate. The press
should be allowed to play the role of watchdog without any restrictions.

There is something seriously wrong when those in power, who are supposed to
be the servants of the people, resort to draconian laws such as the
misleadingly titled Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) to shield themselves from scrutiny by the same people whose
interests they are supposed to be promoting and safeguarding.

It is even more worrying that in addition to all the gag clauses in AIPPA
that place prior restraint on the press, the ruling party now seeks to begin
muzzling reporters right at the entry point - before they even embark on
their professional training.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UN envoys who refused to put on the blindfolds


Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni

WHERE does Zimbabwe go from here now that the cool African efficiency of
Anna Tibaijuka and the outspoken Scandinavian candidness of Jan Egeland have
combined to pronounce a damning verdict on Operation Murambatsvina which the
government refuses to accept?

When United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy, Tibaijuka
submitted her report after a two-week mission to Zimbabwe in July, telling
it like it is, the government reacted in typical fashion. Tibaijuka was
literally torn to pieces for her frank and accurate observations and was
accused of being an agent of the British and American governments.

Classy and professional Tibaijuka however, decided to let her work speak for
itself and never dignified the ludicrous allegations made about her with a
response or a comment.
Enter Jan Egeland four months later. Confronted by flimsy plastic shacks
tottering in the mud instead of the 200 000 gleaming new houses that were
supposed to have been built under Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle by now, the
horrified UN aid coordinator did not have any time for appeasements or
diplomatic niceties. Based on the evidence of his own eyes, he echoed
Tibaijuka's earlier findings by describing the situation as a humanitarian
disaster and suggesting that the most practical and immediate intervention
in the interim to ease the plight of those living and sleeping in the open
was for the UN to provide tents. He observed that the ideal situation would
have been to build houses under Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle before demolishing
whatever abodes the victims previously called home.

For these compassionate concerns for the immediate welfare and needs of
families exposed to the elements during this wet season, Egeland predictably
sparked a torrent of denunciation and was labelled a liar, hypocrite and an
agent of the British and Americans. But despite all their fury, the
powers-that-be have not addressed a fundamental issue raised by both UN
envoys: why it was so urgent to throw fellow human beings out of whatever
shelter they had before alternative accommodation was in place.

As a result, the question needs to be asked whether anyone who has slept in
a warm and cozy bed over the last six months has any moral right to prevent
those who have been forced to spend the same period with only the sky over
their heads from getting whatever shelter is being offered, even if it is
only tents?

Even the most fanatical state apologist or propagandist can not dispute the
fact that when it embarked on its widely condemned clean-up exercise more
than six months ago, the government's sole objective was to banish informal
traders and occupiers of so-called illegal dwellings from the urban areas
for reasons best known to itself rather than provide better housing for
them. Now that it has a catastrophic situation on its hands, it should not
expect the UN to bail it out with funding while glossing over the causes of
the self-inflicted humanitarian crisis.

After causing unprecedented tumult by unleashing the army and the police to
demolish abodes and other structures and condemning hundreds of thousands of
people to a life of destitution and homelessness, the government has not
shown a similar sense of urgency and zeal to provide new accommodation or
come up with other interventions to ease the plight of the victims in the
I am a nonentity who has never and is unlikely to ever rub shoulders with
Tony Blair or George Bush and that way be invited to be their agent.

I empathise with fellow Zimbabweans who have needlessly been treated so
harshly purely as a human being. Is compassion for others to be criminalised

It is bad enough that the government itself is either unwilling or unable to
assist those rendered helpless by its vindictive programme but it defies
reason for it to bar well-wishers and donors such as the UN from rescuing
these innocent Zimbabweans from the subhuman existence they have been
reduced to. Focusing exclusively on its paranoid need to save face and
maintain a false sense of infallibility in the midst of such untold human
suffering is madness on the government's part.

Some apologists have tried to defend the indefensible by arguing that the
problems arising from Murambatsvina are no different from those in the
Western Darfur region of Sudan and other countries where slums have been

Are these "analysts" seriously suggesting that a "proud and sovereign state"
like Zimbabwe should aspire to emulate some of the worst scenarios in the
world as an acceptable yardstick for its own performance? Some of the
countries cited as going through problems similar to Zimbabwe's have been at
war for years and we should be embarrassed that we are in a similar mess in
peace time.

The need to defy realities explains why, while accusing UN envoys of being
agents of foreign interests, the government expects them to wear blindfolds
during missions to countries like ours. Is it any wonder then that seasoned
and principled international civil servants like Tibaijuka and Egeland, who
are used to bringing a "world view" to their assignments, have refused to be
forced into this ruling party political straitjacket?

It is interesting to note that by trying to force UN envoys to adopt the
same tunnel vision on Murambatsvina that has become the hallmark of its
policy formulation and implementation since the advent of farm invasions in
2000, the government is doing exactly what it accuses foreign powers of. It
is a classic case of projecting one's faults and machinations on to others.

We have been told that from now on Zimbabwe will ask UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan not to send any more envoys. Does this mean our government is
nave enough to expect Annan himself to come to Zimbabwe and adopt the
hear-no-evil-see-no-evil approach?

The world must never be allowed to forget that Murambatsvina affected
millions of real flesh and blood human beings who cannot be expected to
vanish into thin air. Zimbabweans who are lucky enough to have a roof over
their heads must never forget that those barrack-style rows of houses shown
endlessly on television to tout the government's Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle
project are a metaphor for the suffering of their compatriots.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dare we believe?



GOVERNMENT, known for its glaring policy contradictions over the
privatisation of parastatals, has once again pledged to restructure the
haemorrhaging institutions and return them to the black.

After a stop-go privatisation programme that failed to staunch
the never-ending bleeding in state-owned companies, Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa has admitted that parastatals, which have become something of a
national curse, have not only remained a major impediment to economic growth
but a drain on the fiscus as well.

And he could not have said it any better. The ruins of what were
once state companies in fine fettle have remained on life-support with
public funds being poured into these bottomless black holes.

The minister said that turnaround strategies implemented so far
have been inadequate, which is why they have failed to achieve the desired
results. The half-hearted privatisation efforts have, in fact, seen most of
these companies relapsing into mismanagement and operational inefficiencies.
Implicit in the minister's statement was that apart from
throwing good money after bad, government has to all intents and purposes,
been chasing its own tail. He just came short of admitting that government
has not had a well-thought-out divestiture programme.

All along privatisation has been tucked in piecemeal. It has
always been thin on detail and hazy on the time-table. If nothing else,
despite what government spin-doctors, who clearly suffer from delusions of
grandeur might say, this betrayed government's failure to acknowledge that
privatisation is now a fact of life almost everywhere.

However, in a hardly convincing eleventh-hour attempt to restore
parastatal viability and help perpetuate that viability, the government has
undertaken to implement a comprehensive privatisation programme through
joint ventures, strategic alliances and concessioning.

Among the targeted parastatals would be Air Zimbabwe, which is
exhibiting classic warning signs of collapse, ZISCO, which has no reason
whatsoever except in never-never land to operate below the red ink line,
perennial loss-maker NRZ, beef processor CSC and the ailing twins, Net*One
and Tel*One.

The situation at all these companies is shocking and confounding
to say the least, which is why they have become something of a national tear
duct. With political patronage and influence-peddling rife in the parastatal
sector, the institutions have become symbols of corruption and greed. Those
running these parastatals have been, for want of a better expression,
monumental failures. This does not however seem to prick their consciences -
that is if they have any.

The most frightening aspect though is that despite the pathetic
state of most of the parastatals which spells absolute disaster for the
economy and the fact that there is supposed to be a department within
government which is responsible for the companies, it has taken government
this long to attempt to show any serious intent to clean up the rot in state
companies or elaborate a formula out of the crisis.

This makes the latest privatisation attempt appear more like a
panic measure than a well-thought out exercise. If this is the case then it
would be disastrous.

Despite repeatedly admitting that there is need for radical
surgery to stop the rot, government has not shown any keen appetite to
reform the parastatals. This is why we are only cautiously optimistic about
its commitment to finding a solution to the crisis this time around.

What then is the way forward? We have said it before and we will
say it again. Before the government even casts around for possible offshore
suitors for strategic link-ups, a most instructive privatisation experience
from elsewhere shows that it is imperative and prudent that these monoliths
fix their strategic mistakes first.

True, it goes without saying that strategic alliances would be
the next natural step in the evolution of these companies mainly for
critical technology transfer purposes. But any attempt to dispose of them in
their current state would see bargain-hunting foreign predators snapping up
the family silver for a song. The parastatals' situation is rather an
anxious one, which is not the easiest bargaining position to start from.

Not only that but settling for technical partners after
turnarounds would afford Zimbabwe the luxury of selecting strong strategic
partners who would add value to the businesses rather than having to
necessarily settle for the highest bidders. This route will also ensure that
the exercise will not only help reduce pressure on the fiscus but also feed
through into black economic empowerment.

In addition, government should also realise that those under
whose stewardship the state-owned companies have been pushed to the brink of
collapse cannot be trusted to turn around the institutions because
turnarounds by nature challenge the status quo.

In any case, these boards and managements have already shown
that they do not have strategic visions to drive these companies to their
full potential. They have instead sacrificed good corporate governance on
the altar of political ambition as they pandered to the whims of their
political godfathers who fixed these jobs for them. As part of the
parastatal turnaround strategy, it is of paramount importance therefore that
these boards and managements should be forced to walk the plank.

They should simply be wiped out under the pressure of changes.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No wonder AirZim is on brink of collapse


EDITOR - We write to register our disgust with the Air Zimbabwe crew on the
London flight from Harare, UM722 on the 18th of December.

We are Rainbow card holders, a status that is gained from frequent flying.
We asked for an upgrade at the check-in desk and was told that the business
class was full. We were content with that. It is standard procedure and we
also know that upgrades are not mandatory.

We were however amazed that staff members travelling on 10 percent fares
were in business class including the purser's (head flight attendant) son.
That is very unprofessional and untoward in the aviation industry in which
we have worked for 25 years. A former captain with the airline had a family
of six travelling in business class on 10 percent fares.

It is amazing that after having paid Z$112 million and supporting the
airline, they would rather take up all the business class seats and relegate
full paying passengers to economy because staff have stuffed the business
class with their relatives.

No wonder why the airline is on the brink of collapse. We had to serve
ourselves with drinks at the back galley while the flight attendants read
magazines as if they were paying passengers.

We collected signed testimonies from other disgusted passengers on this
flight to hell in case the airline wishes to take up the issue and punish
these unprofessional attendants.

When we complained to one of the attendents about the service, she said it
was not her fault that there was no orange juice on board but that of people
who vote for ZANU PF. She said they were made to break security rules by
serving bottled beer due to the country's rotten leadership.

Another off-duty Air Zimbabwe staff member was going around the cabin asking
unsuspecting passengers whether they could carry some of her cigarettes
through customs in London as she had more than the allowed quantity.

Other staff members were offering passengers a cargo service, saying they
could bring in their goods for a fee. How can the airline make money when
its staff members on 10 percent fares are offering to take away business
from the very institution they work for?

We shall not be flying Air Zimbabwe again especially now when it is cheaper
to fly foreign airlines if you have foreign exchange. Why should one pay so
much money only to be abused.

G. Russell, D. Gough and T. Mberiko

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Prof Moyo far from presidential material


EDITOR - Jonathan Moyo the vicious former minister, dreams that his shadowy
United People's Movement will one day win an election and he will become the
president of Zimbabwe. Can someone please tell the learned professor that
this will not happen even in a thousand years.

After all, Moyo is far from what makes a president, and any one who supports
him in my opinion cannot be in his right mind.
After his election as MP for Tsholotsho he deserted the people. This once
again exposed him as a pathological liar, a tribalist and an opportunist who
wanted to use the people of Tsholotsho to save his face in the wake of his
political demise.
Moyo is not presidential material because he is self-centred and is after
self glorification - remember how he claimed personal responsibility for
ZANU PF's victory in the two previous elections yet it was clear that
victory by fair or unjust means was attained as a party and cannot be
personalised no matter how vigorously the said individual worked.
No individual has ever claimed personal responsibility for Zimbabwe's
independence. A president puts his country's people before self.
Moyo is rabidly intolerant. Imagine what he would do given free will over
the army, the Central Intelligence Organisation and the police. Have people
quickly forgotten how he contributed to violence in the previous elections
by creating animosity against opposition supporters, in the process
precipitating violence? That was uncivilised politics.
We will never forget that dark era when he went on a diatribe muzzling the
press, messing up the public broadcaster, wasting billions of taxpayers'
money and organising all manner of nonsense, all this at the expense of the
Prof Moyo, was it really necessary to turn back the hands of time 50-60
years by adopting costly totalitarian propaganda techniques that would no
longer work for even their original proponents like Goebbels? His silly
vision was to create a supernatural nation that thinks the same way.
Moyo will go down the annals of history as a minister who lacked foresight
and for pouring vitriol against his perceived opponents, his shopping spree
in South Africa, causing unemployment to a multitude of journalist and a
penchant for uncivilised propaganda.
I will never forget his claim that 70 000 people had attended a rally at
White City stadium, when the stadium has a spilling capacity of 12 000.
My final analysis is that Moyo is heading for the precipice and his
political prospects, even through his shadowy UPM, are drab. He might be a
spin-doctor and intelligent as some claim, but I don't subscribe to that
In Ndebele we say: Ubukhosi ngamazolo. (You are a king, but for only a

Asher Tarivonga Mutsengi
Solusi University

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Irony as waiting list grows, stands remain untouched


Audrey Chitsika Property Reporter

THE waiting list for residential, industrial and commercial stands in Harare
is getting longer despite land developers having made available over a
million new stands this year, industry players say.

Property experts told The Property Gazette this week that there has been an
increase in the number of stands offered in Harare, although only a few
projects are underway with much of the land yet to be serviced.

"The waiting list as at December 31 2004 was 96 099 and the current total
number of applicants is 164 432," said James Chiyangwa, the acting director
of housing and community services in the City of Harare.

Planned construction on most stands owned by individuals and corporates has
not commenced while other projects have been abandoned before completion due
to lack of funds, the high prices of building materials and the exhorbitant
rates being charged by contractors.

The construction sector has slowed down over the past few years as
investment into the industry dries up due to the foreign currency shortages
and soaring inflation.

The government, under its new housing programme, plans to have a total of 20
477 stands developed in the short term, with a target of 250 000 stands
being developed every year.
An official with the Zimbabwe Builders Association said the industry had
suffered massive retrenchments this year, with many contract workers going
through the year without jobs.

"Construction companies retrenched workers since there were no projects that
could support salaries," the official said.

The housing waiting list grew faster this year after the controversial
clean-up exercise, dubbed Operation Murambatsvina, which saw a number of
illegal structures that had housed thousands of people being demolished.
Property analysts have urged property developers to limit the number of
stands on their books to support current stand-holders to commence

An assessment by The Property Gazette showed that most Harare stand owners,
especially along the Harare-Mutare road, Budiriro and in Southerton, unable
to build homes, have instead resorted to growing crops on their stands.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Financial constraints stall Garikai


Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief

BULAWAYO-Houses being built under Operation Hlalani Kuhle/ Garikai in
Bulawayo's Cowdray Park suburb cannot be occupied because they do not have
water or toilet facilities.

And some of the beneficiaries could lose their stands if it turns out that
they already own houses in the city.
According to a report by the city's director of Housing and Community
Services, Isaiah Magagula, 700 houses were supposed to be built in the first
phase, which was commissioned by President Robert Mugabe last month. One
hundred of the houses had reportedly been allocated to beneficiaries before
they were complete.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo handed over keys to 10
beneficiaries on November 11, but only seven of these houses had been
"temporarily serviced in anticipation of their commissioning".
Magagula said, apart from the seven that had temporary sewer and water
connections, the rest of the houses had not been serviced. He said progress
had now stalled "as it was said there was no longer any money for the

The houses could therefore, not be legally occupied because the city council
would not issue occupation certificates until the houses had the necessary

President Mugabe commissioned the houses on November 24 during a visit to
Bulawayo, which was part of his senate election campaign. He warned the
Bulawayo city council, singling out the executive mayor Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube, not to frustrate Operation Hlalani Khuhle.

"This is a national programme and it must be accepted," he was quoted as
saying by the local daily. "The politics of MDC must be set aside. There can
never be two governments in Zimbabwe but one. So let's not be driven to take
The Bulawayo City Council has complained about being left out of the
programme yet it is the one that has the housing waiting list and approves
all building plans.

In his report, Magagula said though all the beneficiaries who had been
allocated houses under phase one had been picked from the council's housing
waiting list, it was not clear what format was being used to select the
beneficiaries because the registration sequence had not been used.

"The ideal situation would have been first to register, first to be
allocated the stand or land," he said.
The same applied to phase two, which was launched on October 29 under which
3 000 stands had been allocated to those with a capacity to build their own

Magagula said it was not clear how the authorities had determined the
capacity of applicants to build their own houses. He said although those
allocated stands were also from the council waiting list, it had been
discovered that a number already owned houses in the city.

He said that those who already owned houses should be removed from the list
and the stands should be repossessed.

Back to the Top
Back to Index