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

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Zim Online

Thur 9 December 2004
  HARARE - Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA)
chairman Jabulani Sibanda has vowed to resist pressure by President Robert
Mugabe to give up leadership of the association as rumblings continue over
Mugabe's succession.

      Sibanda and six other top officials of the ruling ZANU PF party were
two weeks ago suspended from the party for backing parliamentary speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa to the post of ZANU PF and state vice- president ahead of
Joyce Mujuru, who was preferred by Mugabe.

      The vice-presidency is seen as the key stepping stone to Mugabe's job
given that the Zimbabwean leader and his other vice-president, Joseph Msika,
81, are set to retire at the same time in about three years.

      Suspending Sibanda from ZANU PF for four years, Mugabe publicly
indicated he also wanted him dismissed as chairman of war veterans -  who
are a powerful voice within ZANU PF that could still have a say in who takes
over from him.

      Sibanda told ZimOnline yesterday: "I am still the chairman of ZNLWA.
To us war veterans, there is no problem with my suspension from ZANU PF."

      Analysts say if Sibanda holds on to his position as war veterans
leader and can ensure the former fighters continue backing Mnangagwa, then
the parliamentary speaker is left with enough muscle to try and wrestle the
presidency from Mujuru in future when Mugabe retires.

      Not as well organised as they once were under the late Chenjerai
Hunzvi, war veterans however remain powerful in ZANU PF. They have ensured
the party stays in power by running a campaign of violence against the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party particularly in remote rural
areas where the former fighters have banned the opposition party.

      The war veterans led the government's chaotic land reform programme
which remains its main vote-catcher ahead of next year's general election.

      Although the veterans backed down from openly opposing Mugabe over his
imposition of Mujuru as vice-president, they have however in the past
successfully stood up to him on key issues.

      Banking on support from war veterans against Mugabe, Sibanda said: "It
is up to the constituency of war veterans (and not Mugabe) that voted for me
to call a congress to decide my fate as chairman of the association."

      But ZANU PF deputy commissar Sikhanyiso Ndlovu insisted Sibanda should
give up his position as indicated by Mugabe. He said: "The war veterans'
association is a creation of ZANU PF. Sibanda is suspended from both
organisations (ZNLWA and ZANU PF)." - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Tsetse flies invade northern Zimbabwe
Thur 9 November 2004
  HARARE - Disease-causing tsetse flies have invaded northern Zimbabwe along
the border with Mozambique and could spread across the country, the
Department of Veterinary Field and Tsetse Control said yesterday.

      Veterinary services director Stuart Hargreaves said his department had
secured foreign currency to import drugs and had the situation under
control. But he still feared the flies could easily spread given that about
half of Zimbabwe was susceptible to tsetse.

      He said: "There has been a tsetse fly invasion but it's along the
northern border with Mozambique. The fly comes from Mozambique and affects
areas such as Hurungwe, Mana Pools, Dande and Muzarabani.

      "At the moment the outbreak is manageable as it is concentrated in
areas where there are very few cattle but we are concerned that it might
spread to other areas."

      Tsetse is a blood-feeding fly of the genus, Glossina. It is found
commonly in Africa and can transmit a disease called, nagana, to cattle. The
disease can wipe out entire herds. The fly can also transmit sleeping
sickness to human beings, which untreated can result in death.

      A total of about 11 million square kilometers in Africa are
tsetse-infested while 30 000 square kilometres of Zimbabwe are infested by
the fly.

      Hargreaves who said his department was operating on a shoe-string
budget said Zimbabwe was working with other veterinary control authorities
in the region to fight off the tsetse invasion. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

MDC to attend Mugabe's state of the nation address
Thur 9 December 2004
  HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party, which officially refuses to recognise President Robert Mugabe as
legitimate head of state, will attend his state of the nation address at
Parliament today.

      The MDC, which has taken Mugabe to court accusing him of winning
re-election in 2002 through violence and open fraud, has in the past
boycotted the state of the nation address as a sign it did not recognise
Mugabe's presidency.

      But the opposition party attended last year's address saying it wanted
to reduce political tension in the country and help foster conditions
conducive to resumption of dialogue with Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party to
find a solution to Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.

      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi yesterday told ZimOnline the party
will listen to Mugabe this afternoon to hear, "what his address will
contain, coming at a time when about 80 percent of Zimbabweans are facing
starvation. The electoral playing field is still uneven. We want to hear
what he has to say about this and other issues." - ZimOnline
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The Telegraph

      Clive Rice furious at 'apartheid in reverse'
      - 'Double standards dragging South Africa down to the level of
      [+uc('Tony Francis The Daily Telegraph')+]
      One of South Africa's leading cricket figures over the last three
decades has condemned the lies, double standards and "inverted racism" which
he claims are dragging his country down to the level of Zimbabwe.

      Clive Rice, robbed by South Africa's isolation of the chance to play
Test cricket, chose the eve of England's tour to launch his blistering
assault on the United Cricket Board. "It's apartheid in reverse. White
players are being driven out of our country in droves. Good luck to them.
There's no future here."

      His comments are all the more remarkable because, according to Rice,
freedom of speech is heavily discouraged. He says: "No one in the press is
allowed to criticise the regime. Television commentators have to present a
sugar-coated view of South African cricket when it's crumbling before their
eyes. Once Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs have retired,
it's Old Mother Hubbard time."

      Rice courted controversy two years ago when he said that South Africa's
players should revolt after black allrounder Justin Ontong was selected to
play against Australia ahead of white top-order specialist Jacques Rudolph.
His latest diatribe echoes the feelings of Heath Streak and Henry Olonga
about neighbouring Zimbabwe.

      Rice blames the current malaise on South Africa's over-eagerness to
compensate for the inhumanities of apartheid. "The board have got it into
their heads that there's a generation of black and coloured players
straining at the leash to play Test cricket and that holding back whites is
the only way they'll ever get a chance to shine. Wrong. Tiger Woods isn't a
great golfer because he's black. It's because he's a great golfer.

      "Nobody would welcome an influx of top-quality black cricketers more
than me. We desperately need them. Unfortunately, few black South Africans
regard cricket as their national game. They are more interested in football.
Recently we were asked to find four black cricketers from Pretoria to make
up a representative team. We couldn't find four in the entire province. They
talk about players from Soweto but most of them have been Kenyans imported
to make it look good."

      As captain of the invincible Transvaal side of the1980s, known as the
Mean Machine, Rice stayed loyal to South Africa through the barren years
hoping they would be allowed back into the fold before he finished. Others,
such as Tony Greig, Kepler Wessels, Robin Smith and Allan Lamb, found their
international outlets in England or Australia. Rice says he didn't become a
naturalised Englishman because he always "had the feeling" that he wasn't

      The Test and County Cricket Board were worried about too many overseas
players in the England team. Besides, Rice had a family business in
Johannesburg. Despite owning a British passport, he never made himself
available for selection. England's loss was Nottinghamshire's gain. Beneath
the benign exterior was a hard taskmaster and supreme tactician as well as
one of the world's leading allrounders.

      He led Nottinghamshire to the County Championship in 1981 and1987,
also winning the NatWest Trophy in that year. The end of apartheid came too
late for him. He was 42. Though chosen to captain South Africa for a one-day
series in India, he was jettisoned before the Test series against West
Indies. Nevertheless, Rice ran the South African National Cricket Academy
for four years during which he had a clear view of flawed policies.

      He says: "A young black player was nearly killed because they insisted
on promoting him beyond his capabilities. Poor guy couldn't handle the
quickstuff. We literally had to rescue him. I warned the board never to send
me a player like that again. Nearly a million pounds was poured into youth
development in Gauteng Province but it didn't produce a single black

      On behalf of the UCB, Moabi Litheko conceded that Test cricket was
struggling in South Africa but insisted: "The quota system was dropped in
2002 because players like Makhaya Ntini resented being called 'quota players'.
I can assure you that our policy is selection on merit, whatever the colour
or creed."

      "Absolute bullshit," says Rice. "The system is heavily biased against
whites. Young sportsmen are giving up on rugby and cricket for that
reason.They're choosing golf or tennis instead. Why do you think South
Africa are slipping down the rankings? We aren't much better than Zimbabwe
or Bangladesh, who are, frankly, pathetic. They call it Test cricket when it's
no better than a series of charity matches.

      "The public aren't stupid. Mediocrity chases crowds away - that's why
our grounds are half-empty."

      It was Rice who introduced Kevin Pietersen to Nottinghamshire. He is a
South African with a British mother. Others are arriving under the Kolpak
ruling - cricket's equivalent to Bosman. Since South Africa and several
Caribbean islands have an associate agreement with the European Union,
English county clubs can sign any number of South Africans or West Indians
on work permits.

      Rice is all in favour. "These chaps have a better chance of playing at
the highest level with England than they do with South Africa," he says. "It
doesn't matter that we lose them. It's more important that they get what
they deserve and preserve the standards of international cricket.

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Business Report

      Carvers hack down Africa's dwindling forests
      December 9, 2004

      Johannesburg - Southern Africa's booming industry in wood carvings may
be coming at a high price: the destruction of the region's hardwood forests.

      Environmentalists say the largely unregulated activity has almost
wiped out the African blackwood in Malawi, a hardwood coveted by carvers for
its colour and texture.

      And as forests vanish in densely populated Malawi - one of the centres
of the trade - they fear an unsustainable demand is being sparked for
hardwood species in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Zambia.

      "As you are losing forest cover, if your wood carving industry is to
survive, it has to rely on timber resources from further afield," said Tom
Milliken, the director of the east and southern African branch of Traffic,
which monitors the trade in wild plants and animals.

      "The resource is under severe pressure, and Malawian carvers are
turning increasingly to other sources of wood from Mozambique and Zambia,"
he said.

      A Traffic report in 2000 on the situation in Malawi painted a bleak

      "Preference for durable, heavy, dark woods with a beautiful grain has
resulted in the depletion of numerous indigenous hardwoods [in Malawi]," it
said. "Exploitation of forest resources continues unabated, with the result
being extreme depletion of selected species."

      Many of the finished products wind up in South Africa, which has a
huge and fast-growing tourist sector.

      In 2002 and 2003, almost R2.3 million worth of curios came through
Johannesburg International Airport from Malawi - a total of 446 326 items,
according to customs figures.

      Customs data show South Africa imported more than R9 million worth of
wood products in 2003 from Malawi, compared with R8.8 million in 2002.

      Illicit supplies, which slip through the border, have obviously not
been measured, but some conservationists fear they could be substantial.

      In Johannesburg's Rosebank suburb, a bustling African craft market has
close to 70 stalls, where hawkers sell carvings from Malawi, Zimbabwe,
Zambia and as far afield as Cameroon.

      Masks hang from walls while bowls and chess sets are stacked together.
Many of the stalls have identical carvings, which are found in other markets
across the country, pointing to mass-production operations.

      Animal carvings are common, with the big five - elephant, rhino,
buffalo, lion and leopard - a favourite theme.

      "Most of the stuff here is made from mahogany, ebony and ironwood,"
said Samuel Sithole, a Malawian craft seller, as he gestured at his stall
crammed with carvings.

      Not all the products are carved from such desirable hardwoods.

      One hawker dragging a 4m giraffe said it was made from jacaranda, a
South American tree famous for its pungent blossoms. It is a species the
government would like to get rid of because it is an foreign plant and uses
lots of water.

      Sithole said that he must pay R1 600 a month for his stall and that
business lately had not been brisk. But some of the price tags are steep and
the pieces are not the bargains they once were for foreign tourists, given
the recent strength of the rand. - Reuters

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Cape Times

      Zanu-PF vultures flock around the carcass of their party
      December 9, 2004

      By Eddie Cross

      Bulawayo: Zanu-PF has put on a spectacular display these past few

      It members have fought each other, gathered in large numbers and
feasted on the carcass of what was once a proud liberation movement engaged
in securing freedom for the people they represented.

      We were visiting a large cattle farm in the midlands one weekend.

      The previous night a cow had died giving birth to a calf and the
carcass was lying out in a vlei some distance from the homestead.

      The farmer said he would leave it there to see what the vultures did.

      The first bird appeared about 11am. By 3pm there were close to 300
birds on the carcass and by evening there was little left except a bit of
skin and the larger bones.

      Vultures are spectacular in flight, but on the ground they are ugly,
savage and have little regard for each other and no respect for the animals
they feed on - anything is fair game.

      The leaders of Zanu-PF have an uncanny resemblance to these predators.

      They can see the leadership is on its last legs and will soon go - so
they fly down and sit in trees near the dying animal, awaiting their time.

      When the animal dies or is nearly dead, they gather in their hundreds
to feed.

      That there will be nothing left after they have finished is of little
consequence to them - it is the feast that counts. Then, when it is over,
they will rest with full bellies before flying to distant places to hunt

      Zimbabwe is dying and all we have to show for life is a collection of
vultures who seek to reap what they can before flying to distant lands where
they can enjoy the fruits of their savagery.

      These vultures are also splendid in flight - Gucci shoes and handbags,
luxury cars and Savile Row suits.

      But think for a while about the carcass; once proud and committed, now
a pile of rotting meat and bones.

      Nor has this been a good time recently for other parts of Africa. At
the United Nations, the African bloc prevented the General Assembly from
debating human and political rights in Zimbabwe and Sudan.

      The European Union tabled the Zimbabwean resolution and this was
blocked by South Africa on behalf of the African group at the UN.

      The same strategy was followed on the Sudan resolution, but this
      more difficult to understand because of the genocide aspect of events
in the Darfur region.

      It is putting it mildly to say that the international community was
angry at this display of African tolerance of the blatant disregard by
African states such as Zimbabwe and Sudan of the rights of their people.

      President Thabo Mbeki needs to be careful in such matters as there are
limits to his "diplomatic and political capital" as president of the most
important African state.

      It looks unlikely that Zimbabwe will comply with the Southern African
Development Community rules for free and fair elections.

      Certainly, compliance in the three months that remain before the polls
is impossible. So the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has a tough
decision to make: does it contest the elections?

      Does it go through the trauma of a violent electoral process, with
people being beaten, imprisoned, even killed, for their political views?

      Does it allow the state to starve its supporters into submission? Does
it go through all of that again - for the third time in four years, just to
see the electoral process being subverted and a false result emerge, which
Zanu-PF will crow is a victory for the "people", and to hear African states
welcome the outcome?

      To argue that the opposition could do as the people of the Ukraine
have done would be nonsense. President Robert Mugabe would not allow mass
demonstrations for democracy.

      The courts are simply a sick joke - the MDC has been waiting for four
years for the results of the cases launched after the 2000 elections and
nearly three years for the presidential election challenge to be heard.

      The tiny group of elected MDC MPs cannot influence legislation as it
is swamped by the votes of the majority appointed by Mugabe under the

      In any new parliament, Zanu-PF would be almost certain to have a clear
two-thirds majority to change the constitution.

      Once again an African country is faced with a choice: use violence and
illegal means to overthrow a government that cannot be removed
democratically because the system is subverted, or continue to suffer under
a regime that looks increasingly like the Burmese junta or North Korean

      South Africa alone has the power and legitimate right to insist on a
free and fair election in Zimbabwe. It is not going to deliver and, like us,
will have to live with the consequences.

      No matter how they dress up this decision, no one who supported the
struggle in SA for justice and change will be able to accept this blatant
subversion of the most fundamental principles that the new South Africa
stands for in the world.

      .. Cross is the economic spokesman of Zimbabwe's Movement for
Democratic Change

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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe NGOs inconvenient to totalitarian project

(This article was originally published by the Zimbabwe Independent in October 2002)

THE government's political language in the last month has signalled the launching of a campaign against non-governmental organisations, the latest targets of Zanu PF's attempt to silence dissent.

The reasons are not hard to find.

Just as the NGOs and civil society braved the counter-insurgency terror of the early 1980s in defence of human rights, they have remained resolute to this date in exposing official violence and repression. These organisations have been branded "megaphones for their foreign masters" and "enemies of the state". Already, two British organisations - Oxfam and Save the Children - have been stopped from distributing food to the hungry.

Commentators this week described the ongoing campaign against the public interest groups as part of a wider plan to sweep away all political liberties, emasculate civil society and entrench the government's totalitarian hold on every facet of life. While the government's intolerance of NGOs is not new, the current hype against them has shown renewed determination to eliminate dissent and destroy their capacity to function. Like the press, the NGOs remain the vital medium for self-expression and public awareness, hence the official hostility.

Since the official announcement last month that the NGOs should register under the Private Voluntary Organisations Act there has been a concentrated effort to single out as "imperialist agents" specific groups such as the Amani Trust, Transparency International, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Legal Resources Foundation and Crisis Zimbabwe -all of whom have helped expose the government's appalling human rights record and its involvement in dubious privatisation deals.

Brian Kagoro, a lawyer and human rights activist, said the government was determined to mount a sustained programme to emasculate civil society and pull the rug from under the feet of the established independent organisations and create its own groups. Already, a disturbing trend is evident with the emergence of state-sponsored groups who pose as civil society while extolling President Mugabe's ideas. "The issue is not about the NGOs having done anything wrong but about control," Kagoro said. "They are aiming at clearing the space for their own pliant organisations who will praise the government in the name of nationalism. When people say there is no associational life in Zimbabwe they will simply point to the ones they have created," he said.

Commentators say these groups are at times led by academics concocting eulogies for Mugabe under the pretext of political analysis - imagining themselves as the liberated scholars espousing the ideals of a misunderstood African patriot. Davira Mhere, a London-based group led by Chinondidyachii Mararike, the Gaddafi Sisters Foundation, and the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions are a case in point. So is Africa Strategy led by David Nyekorach-Matsanga, a wanted fugitive spokesperson for the Ugandan terrorist group, Lord's Resistance Arm.

Feeding from the totalitarian mindset, the plot also involves a heavy propaganda drumbeat and ultra-nationalist rhetoric, deceit and patronage. Analysts said this was evident in organisations such as Heritage-Zimbabwe whose garrulous leader, Jocelyn Chiwenga, has repeatedly exhibited a paranoid disposition imagining white foreigners as the enemies of the state. So has Zim-Alliances led by Bright Matonga who has been sucked into the Mugabe regime's makeover kit. It is through such organisations that the government hopes to limit civic and voter education and counter those which have shown inclination towards exposing political brutality and lawlessness.

Generally, the NGOs are an inconvenience to any totalitarian state as they mobilise a plurality of views and make complex issues comprehensible to the general public.

A piece of history may be in order. Malaysian authoritarian ruler, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has trodden the same course. After his 1986 re-election, Mahathir decided to mount an attack on the NGOs whom he saw as "negative" and anti-government. These organisations had, before and after the election, helped focus national attention on Mahathir's own misrule and hence the crackdown and their labelling as the "enemies of the state" and "tools of foreign powers".

Federal Territory minister Abu Hassan Omar led the crackdown on organisations like the Consumers'Association of Penang (CAP), the Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia (EPSM), the Selangor Graduates Society and the Malaysian Bar Council all of whom he described as being the "thorns in the flesh" of the country.

These organisations had mobilised attention on unjust laws such as the Official Secrets Act and other fundamentally flawed measures designed to stifle dissent and muzzle the free press. Mahathir's antipathy towards them also stemmed from their earlier involvement in the public protests and sharp criticisms of the government's nursing of graft. The judiciary also came under sustained assault leading to the removal of the Chief Justice.

Mahathir's soul mate, President Mugabe, has embraced the same tactic. In addition to blocking Oxfam and Save the Children the government has threatened measures to restrict the operations of civic groups perceived as anti-government. Analysts said by using colonial and fascist tactics in controlling the NGOs the government was missing the opportunity to create conditions for the growth of a fair and balanced civil society.

The proliferation of new government-funded organisations - some of which are single member entities - is seen as a disservice to the democratic cause.

At a workshop organised by the University of Zimbabwe's faculty of law in September 1992, then political science lecturer Jonathan Moyo gave an insightful warning:

"It is true that there is a noticeable proliferation of local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other voluntary associations in Southern Africa". He added: "But this proliferation does not necessarily spell good news for democracy and human rights. Far from it - most of the mushrooming NGOs and voluntary associations are in fact a danger to the prospects of democracy and human rights because they seek a type of particularism, fundamentalism and ethno-nationalism which is based on intolerance of other groups." Ironically today, he is at the centre of the campaign to dislodge the civil society and replace it with fundamentalist and "ethno-nationalist" bodies.

The government today is evidently involved in creating and sponsoring bogus organisations to extol Mugabe's spurious values and mount a propaganda drive, locally and abroad, on behalf of their master who is facing isolation and an ever-deepening legitimacy crisis.
Mthulisi is a Zimbabwean journalist and writes from Zimbabwe. CONTACT MTHULISI AT:

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Zim farmers head to Nigeria
08/12/2004 22:48  - (SA)

Lagos - Zimbabwean farmers fleeing President Robert Mugabe's controversial
programme of land reform will this month formally take over farmland
allocated to them in central Nigeria, an official said on Wednesday.

Tajudeen Kareem, spokesperson for the state of Kwara, said that 15
Zimbabweans who visited the region earlier this year and struck property
leasing deals were expected back with the next few weeks.

"We are currently doing a survey of their plots of land. We expect them back
before the end of the year and once we have finished the survey, we will
hand their farmland over to them," Kareem said from Ilorin, the state

The Kwara State government has allocated 1 000ha of farmland to each of the
"pioneer farmers", he said.

The Zimbabweans will carry out "irrigation farming and not conventional
farming. This allows them to begin their farming anytime they are ready," he
added. Granted pioneer status

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 land.

"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.

Thousands of 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 people.

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 whole.
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Zim hunger crisis deepens
08/12/2004 22:48  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe produced just one-third of the food it needs this season,
the main opposition said on Wednesday, predicting the hunger crisis would
worsen in the impoverished southern African country.

The state Grain Market Board, the sole distributor of the maize staple,
received less than 400 000 tons of the 1.2 million tons of maize and other
grain it needs by the end of the April-October harvest, the Movement for
Democratic Change said in its regular newsletter.

Zimbabwe consumes about 1.8 million tons of maize meal a year, or 5 000 tons
a day.

Without massive food imports, the opposition warned that half the nation's
12.5 million population faced deepening hunger in coming months.

"Anyone who says there is enough food is lying," said Renson Gasela, the
opposition's shadow agriculture minister.

The government has said farmers are holding back large quantities of food,
an explanation questioned last month by a parliamentary panel made up of
both opposition and ruling party lawmakers.

Agricultural production has collapsed in the four years since President
Robert Mugabe ordered the seizure of about 5 000 white-owned commercial
farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.

Last year, 5.5 million people received food handouts from international
agencies in what was once a regional breadbasket.

The government had forecast a bumper harvest of 2.4 million metric tons of
grain this year, telling the UN food agency and other international donors
it no longer needed emergency assistance.

The opposition accused the government of seeking to control food aid in
order to use it as a political weapon in the run-up to key parliamentary
elections in March.

Its officials in some districts of Chipinge, eastern Zimbabwe, have already
reported that maize meal is only being distributed to people carrying ruling
party membership cards - allegations the ruling Zanu-PF party denies.

The South African Grain Information Service, which monitors food movements
in southern Africa, said that last week alone Zimbabwe bought 5 543 tons of
grain from Argentina.

More regular shipments from South Africa and other nations were planned, it
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      Mugabe's mystery hint on successor

      Nelson Banya
      12/9/2004 7:00:28 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, who has steadfastly denied that he will
anoint a successor when he finally retires, has dropped the biggest hint yet
as to who his preferred candidate for the hot seat would be.

      With political analysts and observers still trying to decipher the
real motivation behind his support for Vice President Joyce Mujuru's ascent
to the top of the pile both in ZANU PF and the government, President Mugabe
compounded the conundrum by what must go down as one of his most cryptic
statements ever.
      "When you choose a vice-president you don't want her to remain in that
position forever, do you? Munoda kuti zvigumire ipapo here? Kana kuti
tichaita private yedu next week?" Mugabe said in closing remarks at the
just-ended ZANU PF congress held in the capital.
      Then the clincher: "I have a dream and I will tell you about it," said
the veteran politician, who has been at the helm of the ruling party for
close to 30 years and has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
      Analysts have pointed out that Mujuru's appointment as vice-president
ahead of Emmerson Mnangagwa only serves to cloud President Mugabe's own
succession, a political hot potato the incumbent himself had thrown up for
debate until serious signs of festering internecine conflict emerged.
      The analysts contended that both vice-presidents - Mujuru and the
81-year-old Joseph Msika - were unlikely candidates to replace President
Mugabe, who has stated his intention to retire in 2008. In that regard,
their appointment was taken as a smokescreen in the ZANU PF scheme of
things. Until President Mugabe's weekend remarks.
      President Mugabe's own position on the vexatious succession issue has
been transient and continues to wrongfoot friends and foes, insiders and
strangers alike.
      Early this year, in a hugely publicised interview granted to Britain's
Sky News channel, President Mugabe categorically denied that he had a
successor in mind, despite his plan to exit politics in 2008, at the expiry
of his current six-year term of office.
      Later in the year, in another interview published in his party's
newspaper in August, the President laid down the criteria for his preferred
      "I look at the individual who will appeal to the people and who the
people would have chosen naturally as having the qualities of a leader. We
must have honest leaders. That comes first.
      "One, naturally, with a political record in the struggle, one who
cherishes the objectives and principles of ZANU PF, who is people-oriented
and knowledgeable in other ways. We don't want some stupid fool to arise
because he has lots of money . . . so the people will make the choice, it's
not the President," he said then.
      However, going by what transpired in the run-up to the ZANU PF
congress and how President Mugabe virtually won the vote for Mujuru, it is
inconceivable that "the people" in ZANU PF will go against his express will.
      To date, six provincial chairmen have been suspended for daring to go
against a politburo decree on the nomination of a female vice-president.
      While it has been argued that Mujuru's ascension to the second most
powerful position both in ZANU PF and the government was on the back of a
1999 resolution passed by the ruling party, it has not been explained how
that resolution translated to her nomination - without any election within
the women's league.
      In the run-up to the congress, some senior ZANU PF female politicians
openly questioned the nomination of Mujuru, saying a women's league
September conference had only passed a resolution but not put forward any
candidate for the vice-presidency.
      Most observers however view Mujuru, the wife of Solomon Mujuru, a
retired army general who was the first commander of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, as a dyed-in-the-wool ZANU PF functionary President Mugabe believes
he can trust. But few believe the President can trust her with his mantle
should he shed it, as expected, in 2008.
      Over the years, President Mugabe has assigned Mujuru, one of the
longest serving Cabinet ministers, into various portfolios. At one time, the
former combatant, who joined the liberation war effort at 18, acted as
defence minister.

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      Cabinet reshuffle imminent

      Njabulo Ncube
      12/9/2004 7:01:19 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe - piqued by growing defiance by his
lieutenants - looks set to ring changes to his Cabinet any time soon, in a
mini-reshuffle that could effectively relegate some senior government
officials into political oblivion.

      The veteran politician, who used the just-ended ZANU PF congress to
flex his muscle on "wayward" party chefs, is determined to quash dissenting
voices at the highest level - Cabinet - after announcing his party's new
politburo line-up.
      Sources told The Financial Gazette this week that at least five
changes would be made to the current Cabinet, put in place in February this
year in what turned out to be a major disappointment after President Mugabe
recycled his ministers and dropped only one, former Mines Minister Edward
      The current Cabinet, which replaced the "war Cabinet" of 2002, was
mandated to fight corruption. The anti-graft crusade claimed the scalps of
Finance Minister Christopher Kuruneri and former ZANU PF central committee
member James Makamba, who has since been booted out of the ruling party
policy-making organ.
      A number of business executives have also been arrested on economic
crimes, while over a dozen businessmen have sought refuge outside the
country to avoid being caught by the long arm of the law.
      Highly placed sources said with the elevation of Minister of Water
Resources and Infrastructure Development Joyce Mujuru to the presidium,
indications were that President Mugabe would reshuffle his team prior to his
annual leave, most probably in January next year.
      They said both the President and Vice President Joseph Msika were
likely to be on vacation in January, and President Mugabe wanted Mujuru to
feel the reigns in the New Year, with a pliable Cabinet.
      "We all thought the reshuffle would come after the March 2005
parliamentary elections, but that is not going to be the case. The feeling
is that ZANU PF will win the elections anyway and so the reshuffle has to be
now," said a source.
      Sources said Kuruneri, who has been languishing in remand prison since
April this year for allegedly externalising 5.2 million Rands, US$582 600,
30 000 Euro and 34 471 pounds, tops the list of ministers of potential
      Higher Education and Tertiary Education Minister, Herbert Murerwa, who
has been the acting Finance Minister since April 26 2004 could replace
Kuruneri. Murerwa is not new to the ministry.
      David Chapfika, the deputy Finance Minister, is also said to be in the
running to replace Kuruneri, who has since taken his case to the Supreme
Court as he battles to secure his freedom.
      The elevation of Mujuru to the presidium has also created another
vacancy, which might be taken up by Olivia Muchena, the Current Minister of
Science and Technology, who was saved the embarrassment of being dropped
from the ZANU PF central committee by President Mugabe last week.
      ZANU PF insiders indicate that Information Minister Jonathan Moyo,
Energy and Power Development Minister July Moyo, Transport and
Communications Minister Chris Mushowe and Justice, Legal and Parliament
Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa will either be purged or re-assigned
      The Moyos have already been left out of the ZANU PF central committee
and are now fighting for political survival. Both are non-constituency
Members of Parliament.
      Sources said Webster Shamu, the Minister of Policy Implementation,
could replace Moyo who looks set to be moved to another Ministry after
several clashes with senior ZANU PF officials, namely Joseph Msika (ZANU PF
second secretary and vice-president); John Nkomo (ZANU PF chairman) and
Nathan Shamuyarira (ZANU PF secretary for Information).
      The grouping of political upstarts brought into cabinet in 2000 has
been viewed with increasing suspicion within ZANU PF circles and as an open
threat to the old guard's hegemony in the party.
      The sources said as for Moyo, the government spin-doctor, the die was
cast when President Mugabe, in consultation with other members of the
presidium, removed his name from the list of candidates nominated for the
Central Committee.
      The information minister's exclusion stemmed from a clandestine
meeting he held with six ZANU PF provincial chairmen prior to the
nominations of names for the ruling party's presidium.
      Moyo's camp, which included all the named ministers, were allegedly
working against the nomination of Joyce Mujuru, Msika and Nkomo for the
presidium to lead ZANU PF for the next five years.
      The sources added that Moyo's incessant clashes with some members of
the old guards in the ruling party was the other fact that could coax
President Mugabe to drop him completely or reassign him.
      The combative government spokesman, credited for reviving the fledging
political fortunes of the ruling party by mounting a crude propaganda
onslaught against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has
also been accused of using the media under his control to wedge and fight
personal wars.
      "By all indications Professor Moyo could be on his way out of the
Cabinet but the President is fully aware of his importance especially as we
stare important parliamentary elections next year," said a source. "To spite
the media, who has been calling for Moyo's sacking since time immemorial,
the President might shift him to a lesser important portfolio or a
diplomatic posting," he added.
      July Moyo, the Midlands chairman suspended for six months for
allegedly attending an unsanctioned meeting in Tsholotsho, the sources said,
looked out of consideration for a cabinet post as his suspension only ends
long after the appointment of a new Cabinet.

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      Kuruneri spared

      Chris Muronzi
      12/9/2004 7:02:04 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Parliament of Zimbabwe has spared jailed Finance Minister
Christopher Kuruneri the boot, pending the completion of a court case in
which he is facing allegations of externalising foreign currency and
breaching the Citizenship Act.

      Kuruneri, who became the most senior member of President Robert Mugabe's
government to be caught up in the anti-corruption dragnet, has missed over
21 parliamentary sessions since his arrest in April this year.
      Under normal circumstances, Parliament ejects legislators absent for
at least 21 consecutive sittings, paving the way for a by-election to
replace the incumbent.
      Early in the year, Parliament filled up the seat left vacant by former
Movement for Demo-cratic Change legislator Tafadzwa Musekiwa, who skipped
the country and sought refuge in the United Kingdom, which is now home to
about one million Zimba-bweans.
      Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma this week moved to dispel rumours
that the embattled Finance Minister, who will almost certainly be jettisoned
from President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet, is facing ejection from the house.
      Zvoma told The Financial Gazette yesterday that Parliament would only
make public its position on Kuruneri upon the finalisation of his court
case, which is still pending in the courts.
      "There is no position as yet. The House is awaiting the outcome of the
case. The issue of missing seatings is out of the question and cannot apply
in this case. He (Kuruneri) is not missing the seatings at will," said
      While the embattled minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for
Mazowe West, ranks high in government, he is still regarded as a lightweight
      Charges against Kuruneri, arose between 2002 and April this year when
he allegedly externalised R5.2 million, US$582 600, 30 000 Euros, and 34 470
      It is alleged that the finance minister externalised the funds to
South Africa, where he was constructing an up-market eight-bedroomed
      Efforts by lawyers to secure Kuruneri's release on the basis of his
health problems hit a brick wall earlier in the year.

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      Huge deficit persists in money market

      Staff Reporter
      12/9/2004 7:02:33 AM (GMT +2)

      HUGE money market deficits persisted this week and dealers have
predicted that the market will remain short for the rest of the year.

      The market position has hovered around an $800 billion deficit this
week and was forecast to close at about $754 billion yesterday.
      Dealers said the deficits, that have stalked the market for three
weeks now, are mainly as a result of statutory reserves lodged with the
central bank on investments as well as corporate tax payments and productive
sector facility repayments.
      "Unless there is a change in the alteration of computing the statutory
reserves, I can foresee the situation persisting until the end of the year,
given that there are no significant maturities coming onto the market," a
money market dealer with a leading discount house said yesterday.
      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), through its open market operations
meant to manage market liquidity, has been coming to the market with 91-day
OMO (open market operations) treasury bills whose average yield has been
around 130 percent.
      The interbank overnight accommodation rate was this week quoted in the
125 percent-130 percent range, while 7 to 14-day money was being called at
75 percent, but dealers said most investment houses were shunning the
short-term money, deemed expensive in light of statutory reserve
      Rates for 30-day investments ranged between 90 percent and 95 percent
in the week, while 90-day money was quoted at 110 percent. Investors opting
for an extra day on their investment are offered returns of about 120
percent on their investment as dealers seek to circumvent the central bank's
statutory reserve stipulation.
      The stock market continued to trade record modest gains during the
week and the industrial index closed at 922 212.96 points yesterday, an
increase of 2.8 percent on the previous week.
      The resources index closed at 178 818.57 points, 0.5 percent weaker
than last week's closing figure.

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      Govt, MDC clash looms over food aid

      Zhean Gwaze
      12/9/2004 7:04:17 AM (GMT +2)

      ANOTHER costly confrontation is brewing between the government and the
main opposition party as it emerged this week that the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) is appealing for food aid from international donors
to avert a another crisis.

      Renson Gasela, the MDC shadow minister for agriculture, revealed that
they were holding meetings with the donor community to highlight Zimbabwe's
plight amid revelations that the country, once referred to as the region's
breadbasket, had virtually run out of grain.
      Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, who has on several occasions misled
the nation on the food situation, predicted a bumper harvest this season and
the government has since told donors that it would not require food aid.
      Government has accused international donor agencies of meddling in
Zimbabwe's internal politics, a charge the agencies have denied.
      A draconian law will soon be put in place to keep Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) in check.
      However, a Parliamentary committee on agriculture has established that
the 2.4 million tonnes of maize projected by the agricultural ministry was
unrealistic, citing shortages of agricultural inputs and the chaos on the
farms as factors contributing to a deficit.
      Gasela said the donor community, which includes most Western food
agencies, had assured the opposition party of a positive and proactive
      "I have sensitised all donor agencies on the need for them to
complement the current low food reserves. However, they are waiting for the
government to confirm that there is insufficient food for the nation but
they are willing to pledge support," Gasela said.
      Major food donor agencies that have bailed Zimbabwe out since the
devastating 1992 drought are the World Food Programme, World Vision, Care
Zimbabwe and Plan International.
      Zimbabwe consumes an average of 158 000 tonnes of maize per month and
the country's sole grain marketer, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), has
received only 351 810 tonnes and has imported about 224 554 tonnes.
      "Even if the 224 554 tonnes are imported, this will result in the
country running out of food in the New Year," the opposition party said.
      The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), a United States
Agency for International Develop-ment-funded programme, warned in its latest
report that more than 2.3 million rural people require a total of 178 000
metric tonnes of food in the current marketing year.
      A British-based rights group Amnesty International (AI) this week
reported that supplies of grain may run out by the next harvest in April
      AI added that the cessation of most of international food aid since
mid-2004 had left millions of people dependent on grain distributed by the
state-run GMB, which in the past has been criticised for playing politics of
the stomach and depriving opposition supporters food.
      Gasela said the MDC could not independently import food for the nation
because permits are required and are not easily available.

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      Has Moyo finally got his comeuppance?

      Mavis Makuni
      12/9/2004 7:04:57 AM (GMT +2)

      PICTURES of Information and Publicity Minister Jonathan Moyo taken at
the ZANU PF people's congress at the weekend showed him looking like a man
who did know what had hit him.

      It was however, ironic to see Moyo, who had cultivated an air of
invincibility and impunity for so long, looking stunned and defeated. What
had hit him was the decision of the top leadership of the ruling party to
jettison him from its central committee and politburo, rendering his future
as a government minister uncertain.
      The decision to ditch Moyo was the culmination of a storm that had
been raging around the former university lecturer for weeks. The volatile
Moyo has courted controversy since he made a radical political U-turn in
2000 when he joined President Robert Mugabe's government as its chief
propagandist and spin-doctor.
      Prior to this "change" of his political spots, the professor, as Moyo
loved to be called, had been a fierce critic of ZANU PF and President Robert
Mugabe. It is an understatement to say that Moyo's appointment to the
Information and Publicity portfolio drastically changed the media scene in
      Moyo set the clock back by many decades as he sought to introduce
totalitarian methods of indoctrinating the masses through unrelenting,
repetitive and numbing propaganda. Moyo was aggressive, overzealous and
ruthless in implementing the changes that he had apparently convinced his
employers would turn the tide in their favour.
      Media changes under Moyo were swift. He wasted no time before
embarking on wholesale media "restructuring" exercises under which hundreds
of media practitioners were forced out of their jobs.
      Moyo needed to get rid of older and experienced journalists so that he
could replace them with novices who would be beholden to him and be at his
continual beck and call.
      Scores of seasoned practitioners were retrenched from the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, Zimbabwe Inter Africa News Agency, Community
Newspapers Group and Zimbabwe Newspapers.
      While Moyo's public theatrics spoke for themselves, what is not well
known is the behind-the-scenes tyranny he resorted to when he needed to
impose his obsessive ideas and agendas.
      Some media practitioners who were victimised by Moyo through his
wholesale retrenchments and sackings have described how he would become a
"raging bull" when he launched into illogical and irrational tirades against
      "To be harangued by Moyo for no apparent reason was quite a
spectacle," said a former newspaper editor who endured months of Moyo's
belligerence before being unceremoniously fired.
      Others who suffered the same fate have described how, apart from not
giving a damn about ruining their careers and lives, Moyo was also
determined to ensure that he embarrassed and humiliated them as much as
possible. This was designed to show them beyond any possible shadow of doubt
who the boss was.
      "Moyo's favourite way of undermining and embarrassing an editor was
through his or her subordinates," they said.
      The main function of a subordinate "anointed" by Moyo was to spy on
the editor. In addition, the "plant" became a "parallel editor" receiving
instructions from the minister about stories to be included in the paper and
how they were to be treated.
      As can be expected, no editor worth his or her salt was prepared to
accept this unprofessional and underhand interference by Moyo. However an
editor's refusal to work under these conditions inevitably led to a fiery
clash with Moyo.
      It was not uncommon for such a purely professional disagreement with
the minister to be decreed a sign of a lack of patriotism and being a
supporter of the opposition. The dispute would then be used as a pretext to
get rid of the editor.
      It must be amusing for those editors who were arbitrarily and unfairly
relieved of their jobs to watch Moyo pleading for fair play and objectivity
in judging him with respect to his current troubles.
      While they may be too decent to gloat over Moyo's predicament, these
journalists may just want to ask their former tormentor how it feels to be
publicly humiliated and not have the means to give your side of the story.
      But in addition to the untold human suffering resulting from the
upheavals unleashed by Moyo's draconian media laws under the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) the greatest damage was to
ZANU PF and the country. It will take years for both to recover from the
negative effects of Moyo's overzealous but amateurish propaganda campaigns.
      Observers who have concluded that Moyo's real motive in joining ZANU
PF was to destroy the party from inside have asked how President Mugabe
could place so much faith in a spin-doctor who depended on out- moded
totalitarian methods used in Nazi Germany and Red China to indoctrinate the
      Commentators have wondered how desperate the ruling party's position
was for it to believe that methods that have long been discredited and
abandoned could be successfully retrieved to influence people and win
friends in the 21st Century.
      The President, who congratulated the Department of Information and
Publicity for defending Zimbabwe's sovereignty at the weekend, may not be
aware of this but all Moyo has done is to expose ZANU PF and the country to
ridicule. One hopes that post-Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe will revert to a more
tolerant type of society relying on a freer mass media instead of one
controlled and curtailed by the ruling party.
      Moyo's virulent, costly, all-pervading, hate-filled, reality-defying
and anti-the-whole-world propaganda has not brought a single benefit to the
nation. What a shame that a supposedly well educated man was not able to
advise the ruling party and government correctly on the art of winning
friends and influencing people through effective and civilised

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      Tsvangirai speaks on 2005 election

      12/9/2004 7:05:47 AM (GMT +2)

      MORGAN Tsvangirai, president of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Zimbabwe's main opposition party, returned from a three-week
diplomatic offensive that took him to several African and European states.

      The Financial Gazette's Nelson Banya and Njabulo Ncube caught up with
Tsvangirai this week and sought his party's position on a wide range of
issues. Excerpts:
      Question: What was the purpose of your African and European tour? Do
the African and European leaders you met in the past few weeks understand
the Zimbabwean crisis?
      Answer: The Zimbabwe crisis has been with us for the past five years
or so. The ZANU PF regime has all along been proffering the argument that
the political impasse in Zimbabwe is as a result of the land issue. It has
been depicting a picture that it is a white on black issue.
      The African and European leaders are now fully aware that this line of
argument has been overdone and no longer holds water. They now assess the
Zimbabwean problem as a crisis of governance, not a question of land and
colonial legacy.
      The problem with African leaders is that there is some kind of peer
shielding. They want to shield the incumbents. Because President (Robert)
Mugabe is an incumbent, African leaders feel he should be protected. This is
the reason why democracy in Africa is growing in fits and starts. The
opposition has always been given what I would call a rebel label. The
institutionalisation of leadership is Africa's main problem.
      Q: You met President Thabo Mbeki at the onset of your sojourn. A lot
of people are of the view that President Mbeki probably knows what most of
us do not know, given his constant optimism that the MDC and ZANU PF can
negotiate a settlement. Did you get that impression when you met him?
      A: First and foremost, I wish there could be that robust statement
from President Mbeki that Zimbabwe's next elections must be free and fair in
accordance with the Mauritius principles and guidelines. Such an undertaking
would give an indication that South Africa is serious in helping Zimbabwe
solve its nagging crisis. But we have not been seeing this seriousness from
across the border.
      The problem posed by the Mauritius Protocol is that there is no
punitive course of action against the states that violate the principles and
guidelines. There are no enforcement mechanisms.
      President Mbeki is reluctant to put punitive action against President
Mugabe. He believes in persuasive measures, which have frustrated a lot of
people because these have not worked. As the MDC, we want to cooperate with
the South African president to negotiate ourselves out of the crisis.
      Q: We have heard of informal talks, which were supposed to lead into
formal engagement between your party and ZANU PF. Mbeki himself is on record
as saying there were indeed talks between the two. What really transpired?
      A: I'm sure you know there were informal talks. For a very long time
the South Africans have been pursuing a negotiated settlement between ZANU
PF and the MDC. A formal negotiated settlement could not be achieved because
ZANU PF later reneged on endorsing a number of conditions that had come out
of the informal process and which we were agreeable to. In fact, ZANU PF
retrogressed on the constitutional route that had been proposed and is now
vigorously pursuing the legislative route . . .
      Q. What did the constitutional route entail?
      A: This would have entailed the setting up of a truly independent
electoral commission, the removal of the 30 appointed seats, the
establishment of a bicameral Parliament, reserved seats for women on
proportional representation.
      The constitutional route would also have involved setting up a land
commission to look at the current land reform to rationalise the process.
President Mbeki and President Mugabe had agreed on this constitutional route
to try and end the crisis in Zimbabwe and, as usual, the Mugabe regime
reneged on these agreements which were progressive.
      Instead of pursuing the constitutional route supported by Mbeki, he is
now pursuing the repressive legislative route with amendments to AIPPA and
now the NGO Bill. He is intent on closing down all the democratic space.
      Q: Now, to perhaps the most pertinent issue of all. Are you or are you
not contesting in next year's parliamentary elections?
      A: You want a categorical position on that? I am afraid we will only
be in a position to say later this month or maybe next month.
      When we took the decision to suspend participation, it was informed by
violations of the Mauritius guidelines by the Mugabe regime ahead of the
Seke by-election. We noticed the Mugabe regime was proceeding against the
letter and spirit of Mauritius, which, among other things, advocated for
access to public media.
      A time will come when we will take stock and say: "Oh, in regard to
access to the media, they have opened up space, there is less violence, and
we are now able to hold rallies . . ." We will see if they have made
progress but this is not the case as we talk. The same discredited
registrar-general is still running the voter registration.
      Q: You have recently raised a hue and cry over the voters' roll.
      A: Oh yes. You see, the voters' roll is to a politician what the Bible
is to a priest. We are going to take action on the basis of information we
are currently gathering. We got a hard copy of the roll, but were denied the
electronic version, which means we have to go through the tiny detail
manually. We are still auditing the roll and will take action on the basis
of our findings, but we are sure there are gross irregularities. In the past
elections there were thousands of ghost voters.
      Q: You went into the 2000 and 2002 elections in perhaps the same
circumstances that obtain now and you nearly upset ZANU PF. Some would
venture to say your party is better organised and better known than it was
back then and urge you to participate regardless of the issues that you have
      A: Zimbabweans must never aim for the minimal denominator. What we
need is a legitimate outcome. We want the national crisis to end with an
undisputed election.
      The conditions are not far much better than they were in 2000. There
is no independent electoral commission, just like in 2000. It's worse -
newspapers have been closed, and ZANU PF is closing democratic space,
instead of opening it up. There was no AIPPA, POSA and the NGO Bill, among
other repressive laws the regime has put in place. The only tool ZANU PF had
then was violence, but now they have the militia.
      Q: When you take a peek at what is happening in ZANU PF, what do you
see? Opportunity or a formidable adversary?
      A: ZANU PF has always had glaring weaknesses which we are fully aware
of but we are not going to be influenced by what's happening in ZANU PF. As
for the goings-on at their talk-shop, we were watching. The MDC will take
advantage of any opportunity that will come its way.
      People think we are in politics to sit and keep quiet and not make
assessment of events. The MDC leadership and our various structures, from
branch to district levels, are constantly assessing ZANU PF. We are not
blind to this opportunity. We are also assessing the 2005 elections. We have
our campaign machinery on the grounds; we have selected our candidates. We
are not just passive participants.
      Q: President Mugabe took a jibe at you during the ruling party's
congress last week, saying instead of campaigning locally you were
hobnobbing with European leaders.
      A: It unsettles them that I am able to travel to all these countries
and tell the international community the truth about the situation here.
Ndizvo zvavanonditukira izvozvo (That's why they insult me). In any case, I
do not need to be invited to come and campaign. I have been campaigning
locally for the past two-and-a-half years.
      Q: A common accusation is that you advocate for sanctions against the
country at every turn.
      A: No, no. That is a blatant lie. I went to Europe to brief leaders
about the real problems of the country and enlighten them on our (MDC)
policies. The targeted sanctions target individuals. We don't want them to
hurt the majority, 80 percent of whom are living below the poverty datum
line. Why would we want to compound the suffering of the victims of economic
mismanagement and misrule? ZANU PF should view the targeted sanctions as
incentives for good behaviour. If they restore good governance and
legitimacy, sure, then they can go back and shop at Harrods.
      Q: Turning to the MDC. There have been suggestions of internecine
conflict, particularly over the controversial confirmation process.
      A: Any confirmation process that is democratic is likely to stir
controversy, but there is no need for controversy over that process, as our
constitution is quite clear, unless people want to change the constitution.
      Any sitting MP who wants to stand in an election has to submit himself
to the district committee, which, in our case, is the constituency
committee. And they have to get at least two-thirds of the vote, failure of
which a primary election open to other willing candidates will be held.
      There is no controversy at all. Of course, I have had some people
coming to me for protection, but the president cannot protect anyone from
      In any case, some people, such as Trudy (Stevenson), who had failed to
get confirmation managed to win the primaries.
      The process is yet to be concluded in only a few constituencies, then
we will move into areas where we have no sitting MPs, and of course the
process will be different.
      Q: You were briefly held at the Harare International Airport upon your
arrival. What really happened?
      A: Well, it is the usual intimidation. They took my passport for about
15 minutes for I don't know what, but then that is something we have grown
used to.
      Q: Finally, what would an MDC government bring to Zimbabwe?
      A: First, the restoration of the rule of law and the respect of the
sovereign rights of citizens. Sovereignty does not vest in a name, but in
citizens. But what we have now is a skewed conception of sovereignty and
patriotism. People should enjoy liberty, not the betrayal of a noble ideal
that we have seen from ZANU PF.
      We would pursue ideals laid down in our RESTART policy blueprint in
matters pertaining to the economy, social services as well as pay special
attention to HIV and AIDS. An infection rate of 25 percent means we have an
      Apart from that, we would also engage the international community.
Platitudes of an economic turnaround will remain empty as long as we have no
international support. We have to carve a niche in the globalised world, not
to wallow in isolation.
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      Mugabe firmly in charge

      Njabulo Ncube
      12/9/2004 7:06:20 AM (GMT +2)

      WHILE the undoubted highlights of the just-ended ZANU PF congress were
Joyce Mujuru's election as the first female vice-president and Jonathan Moyo's
exclusion from the central committee, President Robert Mugabe's silence on
his exit will continue to dog the faction-riddled party.

      Analysts who spoke to The Financial Gazette said although the congress
had temporarily muffled the debate surrounding President Mugabe's successor,
the issue could not be wished away.
      The issue of President Mugabe's successor has always been considered a
political hot potato in ZANU PF. President Mugabe himself has repeatedly
said that he will not anoint his successor as this was the prerogative of
the people.
      The analysts said the way President Mugabe had whipped the party's
provinces into line to rubber-stamp Mujuru's nomination and the high-handed
manner he had dealt with Moyo and his coterie of "rebels" showed he was the
last word in ZANU PF.
      The analysts, speaking in separate interviews after the end of the
five-day conference, pointed at the manner in which President Mugabe had
blocked Moyo's central committee nomination despite the fact that the
Tsholotsho "philanthropist" had the unanimous support of his province,
Matabeleland North.
      "President Mugabe just wanted to postpone the succession debate, if we
are to read from the proceedings of the congress," said Eldred Masunungure,
a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe who teaches political science.
      "The debate has been stymied as ZANU PF prepares for the parliamentary
polls next year which it wants to win at all costs, " said Masunungure. "In
light of what happened to Moyo and his group, no one in the next months is
prepared to initiate the debate about who will step into the shoes of
Mugabe," said Masunungure.
      President Mugabe who, in consultation with his party's politburo on
the eve of the congress, suspended six rebel provincial chairpersons for
their role in the contentious Tsholotsho meeting called by Moyo, never
uttered a word about his exit plans during the entire proceedings.
      But the analysts were adamant the veteran politician had something up
his sleeve. Although he has, in the past, hinted that he may bee seeing out
his last term in office, it has proved difficult over the years to
second-guess President Mugabe over his choice of successor.
      Out of the over 10 000 delegates, not even a single person had the
guts to ask about President Mugabe's eventual departure from active politics
at a time when his peers in Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi and Botswana are on
their way out of public office.
      Instead, senior party officials were falling over each other imploring
President Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, to
continue at the helm.
      Reverend Obediah Msindo, a clergyman who heads Destiny of Africa
Network, an obscure religious organisation with close links to ZANU PF,
started the ball rolling with a prayer that President Mugabe should rule
until kingdom come.
      "It's my prayer that President Mugabe should live longer to deliver us
to the promised land," said Msindo.
      "President Mugabe and ZANU PF should remain a permanent ruling party
for this country," he said, much to the delight of the delegates that packed
the Harare International Conference Centre, the venue of last week's
      Not to be outdone by the clergyman, John Nkomo, the ZANU PF national
chairman, told journalists that President Mugabe's exit plans were never
going to be part of this year's congress.
      "The issue of his exit does not arise at this congress. He is still
alive and raring to go. It is not something that we should discuss at all,"
said Nkomo, effectively killing any hopes of discussion of President Mugabe's
exit plan.
      "It is up to him (President Mugabe) to decide if he wants his exit
plans discussed but he has not indicated to us. So we can't discuss the
issue," said Nkomo, who was re-elected national chairman after President
Mugabe thwarted what has come to be known as the Tsholotsho conspiracy.
      Vice President Joseph Msika, who was also re-elected to the same
position he assumed in 1999, added his voice on the need for President
Mugabe to soldier on despite his advanced age.
      "There are some people that are saying it is time for President Mugabe
to go. To go where?" Msika asked delegates when he gave his speech at the
opening ceremony of the congress last Thursday.
      "It's a luxury that we cannot afford . . . we might be given a sellout
in his place. He should rule even it means he is walking with the aid of a
walking stick. He is the father of this nation; he is entitled to rule us
forever. People still want him to continue ruling, so who are we to ask him
to go?" thundered Msika, as party delegates ululated.
      The analysts said it was baffling that the ruling party was still mum
on the future plans of the 80-year-old leader, who has been in power for
nearly 25 years.
      In the late 1990s, Dzikamai Mavhaire, a Masvingo politician linked to
the late Eddison Zvobgo, was suspended from ZANU PF after his famous
statement that "Mugabe must go".
      The analysts said President Mugabe could use the same arm-twisting
tactics displayed in the run-up to the congress to anoint and impose his
preferred heir apparent.

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      Govt hijacked our projects: Byo city fathers

      Charles Rukuni
      12/9/2004 7:03:44 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO city fathers have complained about being sidelined from key
projects they initiated to develop the city.

      They cite the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), which is
supposed to provide a permanent solution to the city's water problems, and
the Trans-Limpopo Spatial Development Initiative (TL-SDI), which is expected
to spearhead economic development in the region, as examples.
      The projects, they claim, have been taken over by the central
government and the city fathers are now being kept in the dark about what is
      The city fathers are concerned that they are already behind in one of
the key objectives of the TL-SDI, which was the twinning of cities in
Limpopo Province and Matabe-leland.
      The town of Gwanda had already established twinning relations with
Makado, formerly Louis Tritchard, while Beitbridge had gone in with Musina,
formerly Messina. Victoria Municipality and Gwanda Rural District Council
were engaged in similar contacts with their counterparts in Limpopo
      Though Bulawayo had made contacts with Polokwane, formerly
Pietersburg, the capital of Limpopo Province, Councillor Matson Hlalo said
he was disappointed by the TL-SDI project because there were no tangible
benefits so far for the grassroots people of Bulawayo in terms of
investment, joint ventures and other economic development projects.
      He said newcomers seemed to be hogging the limelight ahead of
Bulawayo, which was one of the initiators of the project.
      But the biggest contention seems to be centred on the MZWP, which the
Limpopo Province also considers pivotal to the development of the region
because it is also drought-prone. Limpopo Province is reported to be keen to
see the implementation of the project and how it can be integrated to its
water requirements.
      City engineer, Peter Sibanda, said it was now unclear who was
responsible for the implementation of the project, particularly the
construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, a major component of the project.
      The contract to build the dam was awarded to China International Water
and Electric Corporation for a bid price of US$40.9 million by Hope Mount
Services, a company owned by the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust. The dam
was to be built on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement.
      An agreement giving the contractor the go-ahead was signed by the
government and Hope Mount services on May 15 last year with disbursement of
the US$50 million required to construct the dam expected in 60 days. The
amount was never disbursed.
      The contractor was instead advanced $300 million, which it was
supposed to pay back once Hope Mount Services obtained the necessary foreign
funding. The contractor used the money to set up prefabricated houses as
part of the site establishment.
      In January this year the Ministry of Finance committed the government
to financing the construction of the dam, making the government the client
instead of Hope Mount Services.
      But Hope Mount Services received $10 billion from the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe under its productive sector facility for the construction of the
dam, once again making it the client.
      It is therefore unclear what will happen if the Matabeleland Zambezi
Water Trust fails to raise the US$50 million required for the project by the
end of this month.
      While the dithering continues, Bulawayo is facing a serious water
crisis. The city is supplied by five dams and 68 boreholes but the dams can
only provide 112 475 cubic metres of water a day while the daily demand is
141 000 cubic metres.
      The council said that Umzin-gwane Dam, one of the major suppliers, was
only 6.4 percent full.
      Though it is smaller than some of the major supply dams such as Insiza
and Inyankuni, it plays a major role because its effective yield is higher
than that of the bigger dams.
      Besides only five of the 68 boreholes are operating.
      The council said the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam, which is
250 km from the city, was therefore crucial for the city.
      It is therefore requesting a meeting with the minister who replaces
former Water Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru who has now been elevated to
the vice presidency.

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      Land scandal

      12/9/2004 7:31:45 AM (GMT +2)

      IN the run-up to the just-ended ZANU PF People's Congress,
characterised by intense political battling and psychological crises,
President Robert Mugabe, to all intents and purposes seemed to be balancing
on a precarious political knife-edge.

      But after the congress, he has emerged as a stronger, authoritative,
assertive, no nonsense and resolute action-man. That is if the zeal with
which he dealt with issues bedeviling his beloved ZANU PF is anything to go
      We hope that this new-found zeal to deal with burning issues is going
to feed through to outstanding but sensitive issues of national
significance. The multiple-farm ownership where a political legion has
violated a government stipulation by taking over several farms but has not
yet been called to account, is a case in point. Of course there is also the
issue of complacency and incompetence in government to contend with.
      But we feel that the centre of attention for now should be on
corruption, particularly the contravention of government's policy of
one-man-one-farm which has since become an international cause célébré of
the year. This is moreso at a time when the government is trying to lower
the boom on corruption. President Mugabe should therefore act now and let
the chips fall where they may. That is why we hope that the ZANU PF People's
Congress discussed the tragedy of large stretches of lucrative land falling
into the hands of corrupt politicians. It is also our sincere hope that they
came up with a clear position on the need for a systematic and rigorous
attempt to measure the impact of the agrarian reforms so as to move the
discussion on land reform beyond ideology and anecdote to analysis.
      We acknowledge the historical validity of land reform and the folly
and hopelessness of failure to address this emotive issue, nay historical
injustice. Be that as it may, Zimbabweans, most of whom live below the
breadline, are particularly repulsed by multiple farm ownership where
influential politicians, their henchmen and gold-plated businessmen, with
whom they have back-scratching relationships, have helped themselves to more
than one farm per individual against the government's own stipulation of
one-man-one-farm. And worse still, government's clarion call for the looters
to return excess farms has produced no immediate response. If anything, the
land grabbers' intransigence over the issue seems to suggest that they are
either above the law or that have the carte blanche when it comes to
choosing how many farms they should have.
      If this is not morally repugnant, then we don't know what is. Indeed,
the worst thing that we could say about the Zimbabwean system is that it has
tolerated those that continue to plunder the finite national resource -
land - for self-aggrandisement and for such a long time. This is why the
common ruck of folk are repulsed. They are angry because they do not see any
justice in these cheats, who pay no regard to any kind of moral obligation,
holding on to more than one farm per individual.
      And like we said in our editorial comment of September 11 2003,
landless peasants condemned to the dust bowls throughout the country are
disillusioned because there can never be any worse betrayal imaginable to
those who sacrificed lives and limbs for the country than the wanton
usurping of land by a coterie of corrupt politicians, while deserving cases
are practicing backbreaking subsistence agriculture in wastelands.
      When the rampant corruption in the land redistribution exercise was
first exposed by the media, some of the politicians who have the habit of
breaking the rungs of any ladder they put their feet on, dismissed these
reports as nothing more than a product of the media's fertile imagination.
The extremely manipulative, hypocritical, arrogant and contemptuous
political streetwalkers who are lost to any sense of honour and shame told
all and sundry that this was something stewed in the juice of deliberate,
journalistic dirty-mindedness, fault-finding, finger-pointing and
      Nothing could however be further from the truth. Despite empty claims
by those who sought to stifle debate on essential political and
social-economic problems that all was well, the government has, to the
contrary, since admitted that no less than 300 influential politicians and
their henchmen, including those chameleons known to turn into any colour
that might be useful in their chequered political careers, are holding on to
more than one farm each.
      As it turns out fronting was reportedly rampant, with the uncouth land
grabbers registering the farms in the names of their brothers, sisters,
mothers, children or even their footloose and fancy-free girlfriends in the
futile hope that they could cover their tracks in the multiple farm
ownership scandal. This however reminded us of someone making a crank call
to the KGB on the hotline because the respective government arm knew to whom
the farms had been allocated.
      Once the government, through the affable John Nkomo, publicly admitted
irregularities, deception and corruption in the scandal-plagued land reform
process, it seemed like the country's biggest post-independence land scandal
was about to move to centre stage. What with those accusations and
counter-accusations among ZANU PF stalwarts that played out into the public
domain through the media - portending a highly charged show.
      Indeed with the broadside and bombast that became media fodder, many
felt that the truth about the stinking land scandal was beginning to emerge
as bigwigs caught up in the mess unsuccessfully tried to immunise themselves
from blame. But alas it has been an anti-climax of notable proportions
because several months down the line; no one knows where the scandalous
multiple farm ownership in the ongoing land reform programme will go. In
fact, it would seem the curtain is already coming down before the theatre
even begins!
      Why the stall when clearly there is a case of corruption? Indeed why
now especially given that moral pressure had begun to rise inexorably for
government to go beyond rhetoric and deal with land looters from the
generality of the people who are frustrated that what was meant to be an
equitable redistribution of the nation's resources had been reduced into a
senseless land-grab orgy.
      In the court of public opinion - the very people that bore the brunt
of the liberation struggle, those who suffered torture under Ian Smith's
Rhodesia - this was deception and corruption by any definition. The obvious
question is who are these seemingly faceless people? Why should they be
allowed to steal with impunity? Why can't they be dealt with decisively?
      Is it a question of justice being at best cheap and at worst blind for
the rich and politically powerful? Is it a case of being intimidated by the
nightmare of labyrinthine bureaucratic procedures and process? Or a case of
not wanting to risk the ire of the politically powerful? We wonder. Surprise
surprise, despite unanimity among the generality of the people that this is
a sensitive issue that should not be swept under the carpet or glossed-over,
the country's legislature is uncharacteristically silent over the issue.

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      ...and now to the Notebook

      12/9/2004 7:29:18 AM (GMT +2)

      The whole country is holding its breath . . . this entire country is
just wondering if, by any chance, the moment is now . . . the moment for the
best news in nearly five years . . . news that some Professor has finally
been shown the door.

      We mean finally! Because all the good and well-intentioned citizens of
this country have been praying for this event for a long time . . . you know
they expect God and the gods to please answer their supplications. Is it
now, or never?
      If the Great Uncle's closing speech (and developments) at the
just-ended ZANU PF 4th People's National Congress is anything to go by, a
certain well-known professor is surely as good as history.
      If some provincial party chairmen, who were mere invitees to the
controversial Tsholotsho coup meeting earned themselves lengthy suspensions
plus all disruptions to their political ambitions, one can just imagine what
the real brain behind the coup is in for!
      Would it be at all too much to expect the worst! Let's wait and see!
But in the meantime, those journo colleagues, who have what it takes, can
start reporting something like this: "The outgoing Minister of State for
this and that, in the Office of this and that, Professor this and that has
done (or said) this and that"!
      After all, CZ's bereted brother, Cde Ranga, at The Voice might have
been prophetically right when, during his recent verbal exchanges with the
Professor, he warned kana kangoma konyanyo ririsa kanenge kave pedyo
nekutsemuka (a drum makes the most noise when it is about to crack).
      OK. Let's wait and see.
      It was only at the beginning of this year when Education Minister Cde
Aeneas Chigwedere deplo-yed armed police details to various schools in the
country to arrest school authorities who were defying his mind-boggling
freeze on increases in school fees and levies.
      Yes, it was only this year when some schools did not open on time
because Chigwedere had closed them because they had increased their fees by
more than the paltry margin he wanted. And it is true that some school
authorities still have outstanding court cases arising from their decisions
to charge reasonable fees in face of the runaway inflation.
      So it was actually shocking to hear the same Cde Chigwedere appearing
on our one and only TV station last week telling authorities at some rural
school that the levies they were charging were so low as to be meaningless.
Yes, it was actually the same Chigwedere who was giving authorities at this
particular school a lecture about the importance of charging levies that can
do something from the school.
      To our historian, what he was preaching at the beginning of the year
is now history already. Has he already changed his position?
      Today, he is busy ordering the arrest of school heads who increase
school fees and levies . and the next, he is telling the same school
authorities that they should increase their levies! Isn't that madness?
      Last week, ZANU PF held its congress in Harare. It was just curious to
see how many loss-making parastatals queued to take up a lot of expensive
advertising space in the media just to congratulate the party.
      Surely, isn't it scandalous for some public enterprises, which can
hardly afford to pay their own workers and suppliers, to spend so lavishly
on such events?
      Some of these parastatals are reportedly so broke that they are
actually getting money from the treasury . . . and they are so shameless
that they can spend some of this money from the taxpayer on a useless
campaign to endear themselves to some politicians! Is this a management
decision to cover-up for their ineptitude? One just wonders how such
ulcerously spent money is accounted for at the end of the year to the
auditors (if ever it is).
      Is it part of the advertising budget? Advertising what?
      Congratulating this party for holding its congress, congratulating
this individual on his birthday, a condolence message upon the death of this
national hero, or congratulating the appointment of this public servant .
and at the end of the year, a huge debt has accrued and it cannot be
serviced! Talk of misguided priorities!
      If the authorities would allow these non-performing public firms to
use the little resources they have on those expensive but useless adverts,
then these authorities are equally responsible for the poor or
non-performance of these parastatals.
      Still on parastatals, NOCZIM, our public oil procurement firm which
can hardly supply any fuel at all, was also splashing adverts on the ZANU PF
Congress. You know what? - this parastatal, which is synonymous with
corruption just as butter is synonymous with bread, ended its adverts with
the following catch phrase: NOCZIM, fuelling the country.
      A point of correction here . . . CZ thinks the catch phrase should
read something like this: NokoZim, fuelling corruption!

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