By David Blair in Johannesburg
The fate of Zimbabwe's dispossessed white farmers was uncertain yesterday
after the regime publicly contradicted private assurances that some
landowners would be allowed back to their properties.
Ministers close to President Robert Mugabe are considering a partial
reversal of the land grab. Assurances have been given that some farmers will
be allowed to lease back their holdings.
After this was disclosed in The Daily Telegraph, Didymus Mutasa, the
security minister also responsible for land reform, denied any U-turn. "We
are not going to change our land policy and we are not going to surrender
any land that has been given to our people," he told state television.
A constitutional amendment passed last year made every acre of agricultural
land the property of the state.
Mr Mutasa pointed out that the last handful of about 250 surviving white
farmers need official leases to stay on their properties.
"To my knowledge there are not many, if any, white commercial farmers who
have the permission, so most of them who are farming now are doing so
illegally," he said.
Senior figures in the regime have told farmers that, as a first stage, the
surviving 250 will be given leases allowing them to stay on their holdings.
Then a limited number of displaced landowners will be given leases allowing
them to return.
The thinking behind this policy is that it will ease pressure from the
International Monetary Fund, which has threatened to expel Zimbabwe for
failing to pay its dues.
But Joseph Made, the agriculture minister, told the state press that white
farmers were "irrelevant". He added: "The country's land policies are very
sound and will not be frozen or set aside."
Mr Mugabe's regime has invested too much political capital in the land
seizure programme to back down in public.
The president made the dispossession of white farmers the central objective
of his regime, winning two elections on the promise to hand out seized land
But senior officials have privately tipped off displaced farmers that if
they apply to lease back their land, some will be allowed to return.
A number of ex-farmers have duly submitted the paperwork required, but no
one has been granted a lease yet.
Mr Mugabe's land grab has displaced almost 4,000 white farmers over the past
five years. Agricultural production has crashed, plunging Zimbabwe into an
The contradictions have long been a feature of Mr Mugabe's regime.
Its more pragmatic figures, notably Gideon Gono, the powerful governor of
the Reserve Bank, are appalled by the economic collapse and recognise that
returning some skilled farmers to their land is unavoidable if recovery is
Meanwhile Mr Mugabe, who turns 82 in 10 days, appears increasingly detached
from day to day government.
Saturday 11th February 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
There has been a lot of talk this week about an article in an English
newspaper which said that white commercial farmers were about to be given
the chance to lease back farms that were seized by the government over the
past six years. It is an article in which sources aren't named, quotes
aren't given and Ministers were "not available for comment" but everyone
knows there is no smoke without fire so something is very likely going on.
Almost as soon as the article appeared in print there was a flurry of
denials from Zimbabwe. On Thursday night on State TV, Lands Minister Didymus
Mutasa poured scorn on the article saying it was "nonsense." The Minister
went on to say that any whites still on their farms were actually there
illegally and should immediately come forward and ask the government for
permission to keep growing food.
The Commercial Farmers Union then stepped into the fray and issued a
statement to " the government and people of Zimbabwe." I am not sure who the
Commercial Farmers Union represents now that 90% of the country's farmers
have had their land seized by the government, however they obviously thought
now was a good time to do a bit more grovelling. Calling for the government
to "bring all stakeholders together," the CFU said, and I quote: "Whilst
current conditions are indeed tough and testing, it is not the time for
recrimination or going back - it is the time to draw the line and go
forward, learning from the past."
It took less than a day for Zimbabwe's Minister of Agriculture to trash the
CFU's statement and spit on the hand the CFU were holding out - if that is
what they were doing. Minister Made said that only dreamers would make such
calls and said: "The white farmers have suddenly realised their irrelevance
in the current agricultural set-up and have decided to write statements
instead of accepting reality."
To complete the confusion, the week ended with a statement by Justice for
Agriculture - the organisation whose name describes their function. JAG said
they "noted with concern" the CFU statement. JAG had the guts to do what the
CFU didn't do. JAG spelled out the facts that every Zimbabwean is only too
painfully aware of. JAG said that 90% of seized farms were lying idle and
that this years national production levels would be the lowest ever recorded
despite an excellent rainy season. JAG said that there continued to be a
breakdown of law and order in farming areas, no respect for property
rights,moveable farming assets, livestock, crops and personal household
effects in farming areas. JAG also pointed out one critical fact that almost
all these media reports leave out. The fact that it wasn't just 4000 white
farmers who were dispossessed when the government grabbed the farms, it was
thousands of farm workers together with their wives, children, unemployed
relations and members of their extended families.
I write my letter this week in memory of Paul who died at 4am on Monday
morning. Paul's life began to fall apart three years ago when he lost his
job in the land seizures. I pray he rests in peace and am glad he has been
released from the struggles of pain, hunger and penury he endured these last
Until next week, love cathy
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 10 February
At this week's Mining Indaba in Cape Town the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) was touted as a hot new investment destination. But companies selling
the DRC's rich mineral prospects don't always tell investors what they're
getting into, or who they're getting in with. The Mail & Guardian has
tracked two cases featuring listed companies hiding involvement of
controversial partners - both with South African connections.
Case 1: Billy Rautenbach
Last week the Central African Mining and Exploration Company (Camec) -
listed on London's junior exchange and chaired by former England cricketer
Phil Edmonds - announced a $80-million deal to buy lucrative DRC mining
operations and concessions, rich in copper and cobalt deposits. What the
company did not say was that the man behind its new partnership is
Zimbabwean Billy Rautenbach, a fugitive from South African justice. Nor did
it mention that the Rautenbach company that previously controlled the
concessions was exiting from a particularly nasty fight with his former
partners. The dispute involves allegations against Rautenbach of
intimidation, cheating and running the business like his personal piggy
bank. Through his attorney, Rautenbach denied all the allegations and said
the matter had been settled "amicably". There is an international arrest
warrant for Rautenbach, who commutes between Harare and the DRC, on charges
relating to his erstwhile management of Hyundai motors in South Africa.
Edmonds, who is at the Mining Indaba, did not respond to a message left with
his secretary, but earlier told Britain's Daily Telegraph: "We didn't think
it was in any way relevant to talk about Mr Rautenbach." Rautenbach is now
effectively a 20% shareholder in listed Camec via the issue of Camec shares
for part of the $80-million. Edmonds told the British paper: "We believe
[the warrant] is a purely political situation. It has not come to court, so
we are quite happy with the due diligence we have done." Due diligence,
however, apparently did not include talking to Rautenbach's former partner
in the DRC venture, James Tidmarsh, Rautenbach's Geneva-based company
lawyer. Rautenbach was reportedly forced to buy out Tidmarsh and another
minority shareholder after Tidmarsh obtained a court order in the British
Virgin Islands - where most of Rautenbach's companies are registered -
placing his holding company for the DRC operation in provisional
Rautenbach settled "amicably" with his former minority shareholders, lifting
the liquidation, but not before Tidmarsh had placed on record a 100-page
affidavit setting out allegations against Rautenbach in damning detail. They
included claims that he was cheating his compulsory joint venture partner,
the DRC state-owned Gecamines, which holds 20% of Rautenbach's Boss Mining
operation. In a letter to Gecamines, Tidmarsh alleged Rautenbach was selling
them short, paying the joint venture just above cost for the mined ore,
which his wholly owned marketing company then sold at a massive profit. "The
purchase of the totality of the production of Boss Mining . almost at the
production cost cannot be justified," he wrote. Tidmarsh alleged in his
affidavit that this made Rautenbach cross: "He told me the letter had
damaged the company and had cost him more than $1-million to 'sort out'. He
told me the way to treat the Congolese was to 'drip-feed' them with money."
Resigning as director of another of Rautenbach's affiliate companies,
Tidmarsh noted in the minutes that Rautenbach was drawing repayment of
"loans" extended to the company of $10-million: "Such 'loans'. have never
been properly formalised or justified. nevertheless large amounts of money
have been taken, either directly by the majority shareholder, or for his
personal or family's benefit." Efforts by the minority shareholders to
challenge this "loan", to demand audited company accounts, and to get a fair
share of the $1-million in monthly profits led to a breakdown in relations
with Rautenbach. According to Tidmarsh, Rautenbach opted for a forced
buy-out of the minorities and attempted to soften them up with implied
threats, for example telling Tidmarsh that he (Rautenbach) could no longer
"protect" Tidmarsh if he travelled to the DRC and that he could expect to be
arrested on his arrival. At a tense meeting in Harare, Rautenbach allegedly
offered to buy out the 20% minority share for $2-million, paid out over 20
months to make sure the minorities "behaved". If they did not accept the
offer, Tidmarsh alleged, Rautenbach warned that he would engineer to sell
the assets out of the company and make sure the minorities got "nothing".
African News Dimension
Saturday, 11 February 2006, 2 hours, 25 minutes and 58 seconds ago.
By ANDnetwork Journalist
THE persistent water problems in Harare are unacceptable especially
after a decision was made to transfer water supply from council to the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), Vice President Joice Mujuru said
Cde Mujuru said the current erratic water supplies to various major
centres were of great concern to Government, hence the decision to invite
Zinwa to move in and normalise the situation.
But Government was concerned it was taking long to resolve the
"It is therefore of concern to Government that water shortage problems
have continued to be experienced in the City of Harare even after the
take-over of Harare water supply by Zinwa.
"The present scenario is unacceptable and requires immediate remedial
action as we now need a long-term solution to the present challenges," said
Cde Mujuru in a speech read on her behalf by Mr Munesu Munodawafa, who is
principal director in her office.
The speech was delivered at a one-day strategic planning workshop
organised by the Department of Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development in Harare.
A former Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development
herself, Cde Mujuru said weather patterns over the past 25 years have
demonstrated that Zimbabwe was drought-prone and the challenge now was to
harness as much water as possible for agricultural purposes.
She said that while the country celebrated the good rains this season,
it was necessary to bear in mind the negative side that included the
destruction of infrastructure such as roads, boreholes and irrigation
The Vice President said implementation of agreed decisions was one
area that had not been adequately addressed and which, the nation needs to
attend to urgently.
Cde Mujuru said an excellent plan that remained on paper was of no use
to anyone and as a country, the nation can ill afford such attitudes given
the level of expectations of all Zimbabweans.
"I am aware that resources have not always been available to complete
all projects but at the same time with timeous implementation of those
projects allocated funding by Government, I have no doubt in my mind we
could have achieved more.
"This therefore calls for total commitment by all of us gathered here
and I hope we are all ready to take up the challenge and deliver," she said.
Cde Mujuru said it was a good thing that officers from various
provinces were present at the workshop, which will also give participants a
chance to review each province's performance.
She said during her last provincial tours, she was shocked at the
discrepancies between the glossy picture painted in reports and the gloomy
picture on the ground.
"I believe decisive remedial action has been taken in extreme cases of
misrepresentations," said Cde Mujuru.
The Vice-President said she would be resuming her provincial tours
shortly to assess progress on issues left for the provinces' attention and
also to visit other areas not covered during previous visits.
She said she did not expect to find some provinces in the state of
unpreparedness she witnessed during her last tour and this time petty
excuses would not be accepted.
Cde Mujuru said it was to be commended that the workshop had been held
during the beginning of the year when funds for 2006 operations were
starting to be released.
Said Cde Mujuru: "The hyperinflation currently being experienced in
the country requires careful planning of projects if such projects are to be
successfully completed. Without careful planning most projects will be
Speaking at the same occasion, Minister of State for Water Resources
and Infrastructural Development Engineer Munacho Mutezo said because
Zimbabwe was operating in an inflationary economy, there was need to plan
activities in line with the scarce resources with a view to maximising
"We need to put our heads together as we develop our strategic plan
and ensure that all the loopholes that may have derailed our plans since our
inaugural strategic planning workshop last year are closed," said Eng
He said departments with plant and equipment should ensure that these
were fully utilised in order to generate resources.
"Our action plans need to be very specific and time-framed so that we
are able to closely monitor, evaluate and review our activities as the year
progresses," he said.
Source : The Herald
Saturday, February 11, 2006
GOVERNMENT Chief Whip Cde Joram Gumbo has castigated Bulawayo South MP Mr
David Coltart (MDC) for misleading the House of Assembly on the African
Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) position on the human rights
situation in Zimbabwe.
Cde Gumbo told the Assembly on Thursday that contrary to claims by the
opposition lawmaker, the commission had not adopted a resolution condemning
the country’s human rights record. This followed a motion moved by Mr
Coltart that ACHPR had adopted a resolution on alleged human rights
violations in Zimbabwe.
Cde Gumbo said the AU Council of Ministers threw back a report by the
commission imploring the AU to condemn Zimbabwe on alleged human rights
abuses after the ACHPR failed to follow procedures at the summit held in
Sudan last month.
"The truth of the matter is that a confidential document was circulated at
the summit and was discussed and rejected by the AU Council of Ministers,"
"We must respect this House by moving well-researched motions and this
motion should not be allowed to remain on the order paper."
The ruling party legislator said Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi or Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde Patrick
Chinamasa would next Tuesday issue a ministerial statement clarifying the
ACHPR position on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
The commission had produced resolutions on human rights violations against
Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Uganda and
[Refer to https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/feb10a_2006.html for David
February 11, 2006
It is reported that Zimbabwe's premier first class competition, the Logan
Cup, is to be postponed indefinitely with the possibility that it will be
scrapped for the season.
According to original fixtures released by Zimbabwe Cricket, the tournament
was supposed to get underway on Tuesday with Mashonaland, who have retained
the Cup for six seasons, set to clash with fierce rivals Matabeleland at
Harare Sports Club, while Midlands had a date with new-boys Masvingo at
Kwekwe Sports Club.
A reliable source within Zimbabwe Cricket said the Logan Cup was going to be
indefinitely postponed because of the dreadful standard of cricket seen in
last week's Faithwear inter-provincial one-day competition, in which
Matabeleland successfully defended their title amid some dire games.
Mashonaland, for example, fielded a side so weak that only two players
finished with batting averages in double figures. The first five matches
produced a highest team score of 118 and not a single individual fifty.
The source indicated that there were fears that Logan Cup games, which are
scheduled to last four days, could finish embarrassingly quickly.
The Logan Cup fixtures had been planned in a such a way that it would have
taken place ahead of Zimbabwe's tour to West Indies, where they were
scheduled to play two Tests and five ODIs, and players who excelled in the
Logan Cup were to be picked for the Tests. But the Sports and Recreation
Commision appointed interim executive running the affairs of Zimbabwe
Cricket decided to voluntarily suspend Zimbabwe's Test status for this year.
Zimbabwe are now preparing to take on Kenya in five ODIs later on this month
and are then scheduled to play in a triangular series featuring hosts
Bangladesh and Kenya immediately after. Those dates would overrun many of
the rounds in the Logan Cup and so further weaken the standard.
No-one at Zimbabwe Cricket was available to comment.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-11
THE British government has appointed a career diplomat Andrew John Pocock as
ambassador-designate replacing Roderick Pullen who recently left Harare
before completing his tour of duty following reported differences with
London over Zimbabwe.
Until his latest appointment, Pocock (51), who has been in the diplomatic
circles for 24 years, was British High Commissioner to Tanzania.
In a terse statement, Pocock said he was delighted to be posted to Zimbabwe.
"After postings in Nigeria and Tanzania, I am delighted by another
appointment in Africa. I am very much looking forward to my job in Zimbabwe
to reinforcing the British government's commitment to the continent, as
exemplified by the Commission for Africa and the G8 Summit at Gleneagles,
with its historic emphasis on good governance and the ending of conflict.
"I also look forward to helping continue UK support to the people of
Zimbabwe as one of the three largest bilateral humanitarian donor."
Pocock, who is married to Julie, was born on 23 August 1955 and served in
Dar-es-Salaam from 1993.
Between 2001 and 2003, he was the head of the African Department for the
Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) and prior to that, between 1997 and 2001
he was Deputy High Commissioner in Canberra, Australia.
In 1996, he was the Counsellor on loan to the Royal College of Defence
Pocock's predecessor Pullen was posted to Zimbabwe on 28 July 2004 from
Ghana where he served from 2000-2004.
Pullen made a surprise departure back home after serving only 18 months of
his four-year diplomatic tenure in Zimbabwe.
He told journalists: "I am leaving Zimbabwe earlier than expected, not for
anything to do with Zimbabwe or relations between Zimbabwe and Britain, but
for personal reasons."
He cited family commitments as one of the reasons for his premature
Pullen's departure was in total contrast with that of his predecessor, Brian
Donnelly, who after meddling in Zimbabwe's internal affairs, had to sneak
out of the country without informing his hosts as required by diplomatic
protocol. In typical diplomatic style, Pullen paid a courtesy call on acting
President Joice Mujuru and had time to address journalists although he had a
tough time answering some of their questions.
After the circus and drama created by Donnelly, many people thought Pullen
would continue from where his predecessor had left off, but he proved he had
a better understanding of Africa and its people.
When he presented his credentials in September 2004, Pullen was told in no
uncertain terms by President Robert Mugabe that: "Mr (Tony) Blair says do it
my way, but, no, we are not built that way. We do not worship false gods,
but we worship one true God . . .
"You are suspected to be coming for regime change and it's your
responsibility to correct that. You cannot go about the Kosovo, the
Yugoslavia way. Your predecessor tried and failed . . . The lion of Britain
might roar, but we will not hear it. It is far and, besides, I have two
Pullen served in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and this had taught him a lesson
or two about the behaviour of principled African leaders like President
He knew the President meant what he said and he knew that any trespassing or
meddling in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe would backfire.
In November last year he said: "Before coming to Zimbabwe, I have served in
three other African countries, but every country in Africa is different just
as every country in Europe is different. Since my accreditation, I have met
with many members of the Government and Politburo, representatives of the
opposition, members of the business community and of civil society,
including many ordinary Zimbabwean citizens. I have had frank and useful
discussions that have helped me to learn about all aspects of the situation
During his 18 months stay in the country, Pullen buried himself mainly in
developmental issues like handing over medical equipment, commissioning
boreholes and classroom blocks and donating furniture to schools and
Despite his own shortcomings as a human being and the fact that his boss
British Premier Tony Blair kept questioning the legitimacy of President
Mugabe, Pullen ignored all that and met with several ministers, including
In short, Pullen was a laid-back diplomat who had seen it all in Africa and
knew how to avoid starting a fight with his hosts.
Political analysts believe that US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell
would do himself a lot of good by taking a leaf from the way Pullen
conducted himself during his short stint here.
Pullen played it safe by refusing to start a fight with the government, a
situation that made his paymasters back home angry.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
From Nkululeko Sibanda in Bulawayo
issue date :2006-Feb-11
THE High Court on Thursday dismissed an urgent application for a summary
judgment by ruling Zanu PF national chairman John Landa Nkomo demanding the
immediate eviction of indigenous safari and tour operator Langton Masunda
from a disputed property in Matabeleland North.
Nkomo accuses Masunda of illegally occupying a lodge on a farm he claims he
was given under the land reform programme, but the latter insists he bought
the farm situated in Lupane district from a commercial farmer who has since
Nkomo, who is also Speaker of Parliament, has instituted a $5 billion plus
lawsuit against Masunda as compensation for illegal occupation, $500 million
for losses incurred in rentals from 2003 to date, as well as $50 million for
damages and eviction costs for defendant's workers.
Bulawayo judge Francis Bere ruled on the need to refer the case to trial
where both parties would make submissions in defence of their stances.
He said: "Having assessed the submissions made by both the defence and
applicant's counsel, I believe that the respondent in this case (Masunda)
should not be just silenced.
The defence counsel (Masunda's lawyer) raised a number of issues that need
to be taken into consideration...the application for summary judgment in
this matter is hereby dismissed."
In an interview soon after the day's proceedings, Nkomo's lawyer, Brighton
Ndove, said the judgment had paved the way for a trial where there would be
in-depth submissions from both counsels.
"For now, we cannot say that my client (Nkomo) has lost the case. What we
lost was the application to have the respondent urgently evicted from the
lodge that he is occupying which is situated on the applicant's farm," said
He said all other issues pertaining to monies Nkomo wants from Masunda still
remained in the courts as Thursday's judgment only dealt with evicting the
latter from the lodge.
In 2002, Nkomo filed a $5 billion plus lawsuit against the dreadlocked
businessman and safari operator arguing that the disputed lodge, Jijima
Safari Lodge in Lupane, was his property because it was on his farm.
Nkomo said he was allocated the farm by the ministry of Lands, Land Reform,
and Resettlement. The Speaker once headed the ministry.
But Masunda argues that he bought the property from James Chatham who has
since left the country. - The Chathams once farmed in the Gwayi area.
Jijima Lodge is situated on Lugo Ranch incorporating Volunteer Farms 47, 48
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-11
VICE-President Joice Mujuru yesterday read the riot act on the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (Zinwa) over its failure to normalise water supply
situation particularly in Harare.
"The current erratic supplies of water to various major centres is of
concern to the government and hence our decision for Zinwa to move in and
normalise the situation," Mujuru said.
The vice-president made the remarks in a speech read on her behalf by the
principal director in her office, Munesu Munodawafa, at the official opening
of a water resources and infrastructural development workshop at Mandel
Training Centre in Marlborough, Harare.
Mujuru said: "It is therefore of concern to the government that water
shortage problems have continued to be experienced in the City of Harare
even after the takeover of Harare water supply by the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (Zinwa).
"The present scenario is unacceptable and requires immediate remedial action
as we now need a
long term solution to the present challenges."
The vice-president stressed that the prevailing situation called for
"exhaustive but focused consultations" with all stakeholders.
She, however, noted that there had been a slight improvement in water supply
in the capital in the last one and half weeks.
Mujuru said it was critical that the department moves with speed in
implementing a plan agreed at last year's workshop.
"Perhaps this is one area that we have not adequately addressed as a country
and which we need to attend to immediately - the implementation of agreed
"An excellent plan that remains on paper is of no relevance to anyone and as
a country we can ill afford such attitudes given the level of expectation of
the citizens of Zimbabwe," she said.
Mujuru said she was aware that resources have not always been available to
complete all projects.
". But at the same time with timeous implementation of those projects
allocated funding by the government, I have no doubt in my mind we could
have achieved more," she added.
The vice-president told delegates to review the performances of every
"Those who were part of my entourage in my last round of provincial visits
will recall how shocked we were in some areas to see the variance between
the glossy picture submitted in reports and the gloomy picture on the
ground. I believe decisive remedial action has been taken in extreme cases
of misrepresentation," Mujuru said.
She also hinted that she would resume her provincial visits "in the next few
weeks" to assess progress.
"I do not expect to witness some provinces in a state of unpreparedness like
what I saw last time. Petty excuses will not be tolerated this time around,"
The Minister of State for Water Resources and Infrastructural Development,
Munacho Mutezo concurred with the vice-president that some reports "on our
achievements" were contrary to what is on the ground.
"We therefore invited all provincial heads to this workshop so that the
thrust of the department is well understood by all those involved in the
implementation of our programmes," he
"It also gives them the opportunity to explain any shortcomings that may be
hindering the smooth implementation of projects."
The minister noted that since a similar workshop last year in Kariba, there
has been several changes and therefore need to review targets and
"The rains have come along with some negative impact on roads, bridges,
dams, and irrigation infrastructure.
"We therefore, need to brace ourselves for these adverse effects and
at the same time ensure that we harness as much water as possible," Mutezo
He bemoaned reduced budget for the ministry's projects and the economic
environment plagued by skyrocketing inflation.
From The Star (SA), 11 February
By Basildon Peta
It's the time of the year that many Zimbabwean companies dread: President
Robert Mugabe's birthday. Many companies and other well-to-do individuals
are expected to cough up millions to celebrate a private occasion which the
ruling Zanu PF party has nevertheless elevated to a national event. The
party's reasoning for soliciting contributions is because everyone who has
become rich in post-independent Zimbabwe has done so because Mugabe led the
liberation struggle. So his birthday is seen as payback time. And Zimbabwe's
debilitating economic crunch has done nothing to alter the ruling party's
ambitions to mark its leader's 82nd birthday on February 21 with hefty
donations. A target of at least US$1-million has been set. Schoolchildren
and Zanu PF youth brigades from the 10 political provinces will hold parades
to mark the occasion. As in previous years, it is planned as a
military-style operation dubbed the 21st February Movement. Zanu PF youth
leader Enock Porusingazi said at least US$1-million to US$2-million was
needed to "mark our president's birthday with dignity".
A circular signed by another youth leader, Absolom Sikhosana, has been sent
to all major companies in Zimbabwe asking for donations towards Mugabe's
birthday celebrations. The circular was read to the Saturday Star over the
phone by one executive who had received it. It read, in part: "Once again as
a nation we are celebrating His Excellency, Comrade R G Mugabe's birthday
... we are kindly appealing for cash or kind to make this year's event a
historic and memorable one for the children. Kindly make cash donations
payable to 21st February Movement. The account number is 4125-031273003
ZimBank." The distraught executive said: "Apart from the donations, we are
naturally expected to buy advertising space in the press wishing His
Excellency well. It all makes this birthday a very expensive undertaking."
The money targeted for the event could feed hundreds of thousands of hungry
children in a nation in which a quarter of the population is surviving on
World Food Programme handouts and where fuel and electricity shortages have
become the norm.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education on Friday called for the
enactment of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education Act, which will pave
way for the establishment of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education to
advise the minister on policy issues.
Making the call in parliament, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary
Education, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said the Act would replace the National
Council for Higher Education Act.
He said the council would advise the minister on all higher education
matters and develop and recommend policy, including the establishment of
It would also accredit institutions of higher education, design and
recommend an institutional quality assurance system for higher education.
The council would also recommend to the minister institutional quality
assurance standards for the establishment, standardization and accreditation
of institutions of higher education, preparation and amendment of university
charters and statutes, the development of curricula and the standards of
It would advise on the shape and size of the higher education system
and advise on the budgeting and funding arrangements for higher education
for public institutions.
The body would also promote international cooperation and facilitate
exchanges in higher education among other issues.
By Charle Moore
This newspaper's Christmas appeal has just ended. You, the
readers, have contributed £825,148 - £250,506 for Chain of Hope, £259,315
for Emmaus, £315,327 for Rwanda Aid. These annual appeals have been running,
and growing, for 20 years. Those charities that work in developing
countries - this year, Rwanda Aid - have done just as well, often better,
than those that work in Britain. I am sure Telegraph readers would not wish
to boast, but their average record over all this time is more generous than
that of any other newspaper.
Which brings one up against a strange question: how is it that
the cause of international development seems to belong, politically, to the
Left? How is it that the rest of us are somehow discounted as uncaring?
When you think that so much of Africa has been ruined by
Left-wing policies, you might imagine that some humility was in order.
Well-meaning men such as the socialist Julius Nyerere in Tanzania, and
ill-meaning men like the Marxist Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, have brought
poverty and misery to their countries, generally supported, until it was too
late, by Labour politicians, Anglican bishops and Left-liberal newspapers.
These backers do not seem to have paid a political penalty for their
repeated errors. The Left has "ownership" of the subject: the map of Africa
is still, in that sense, red.
This should worry conservatives, and Conservatives. And now it
does. David Cameron has made global poverty one of the six areas for his
policy commissions. He suggests that Darfur matters.
He wants his party to be seen with people such as Bob Geldof.
Last month, the Tory International Development spokesman, Andrew Mitchell,
flew to Rwanda (your columnist in tow) to study conflict resolution. Soon Mr
Mitchell and William Hague will travel to Sudan.
At the same time, the Conservatives are developing Mr Cameron's
campaign idea of some sort of school-leaver programme or youth community
action. He recently met a group of charities such as the Prince's Trust with
this in mind. He is hoping to provide a catalyst by which young people
leaving school can achieve social mixing through benevolent work, both at
home and abroad - a gap year that makes a difference.
It seems to me that Mr Cameron is making a welcome catch-up. He
has grasped something understood for the past 70 years by a former Tory
Cabinet minister not particularly associated with "modernisation", our very
own W.F. Deedes, now aged 92, and the chief reporter for our annual appeals.
This is that it is central to the belief system of the
conservative-minded person (especially if he is a Christian) to want to
relieve poverty wherever he can. Such a person has a powerful sense of the
obligation of each human being to another, especially of the strong to the
weak. Unlike someone on the Left, he will not think that obligation
discharged by government alone.
But the trouble with this subject - perhaps this is why the Left
dominates it - is that it attracts posturing. Africa is, among other things,
a photo-opportunity. As our own educational system makes it harder and
harder to get British pupils to smile at all, so the attraction for
politicians of being snapped with rows of black children with happy grins
grows ever stronger. The dark continent is awash with "goodwill ambassadors"
who fly in for a couple of days to cure Aids before flying out to make the
There is a worse posturing - the pretence that lots of
government money and the interventions of the "international community" are
automatically good. It is only in the past 10 years or so, for example, that
the World Bank has even begun to consider the possibility that the volume of
loans matters less than their quality, or that corruption might be spoiling
huge percentages of its work. All across Africa lies the detritus of aid
projects which - in some cases literally - ran into the sand.
Such things are not just a waste of money - they are deeply
harmful. They divert power and resources to bad people that might otherwise
have gone to good. There is still no proper answer to Peter Bauer's famous
dictum that Western government aid largely consists of the payment of money
by poor people in rich countries (i.e. our taxes) to rich people in poor
With political interventions, the story is often even worse. If
you read the book by General Romeo Dallaire, the UN Force Commander during
the Rwandan genocide (Shake Hands with the Devil, Arrow Books), it becomes
clear that the UN's determination to dither did not just fail to prevent the
genocide: it actually made it easier than if the UN had been absent
altogether. The dithering gave the killers the time they needed - in three
months, they murdered more than 800,000 people.
The temptation for the conservative in the face of so much
corruption, failure, oppression and moralising is to opt out. There is an
unattractive strand in the psyche of the Left which feels that thinking good
thoughts relieves you of the need to perform good deeds. On the Right there
is the equivalent aberration that because most schemes for human improvement
are very laughable things there is no point in trying to improve anything,
But some things do improve. Consider the career of Sir John
Cowperthwaite, who died last month. He was Financial Secretary of Hong Kong
from 1961 to 1971. He stuck fiercely to what he called "positive
non-intervention". He believed that Hong Kong people, many of whom were
desperately poor refugees from Communist China, would prosper if only the
government let them.
Cowperthwaite kept personal taxes to a maximum of 15 per cent,
and forbade tariffs or subsidies. In his 10 years, there was a 50 per cent
rise in real wages in Hong Kong and a two-thirds fall in the number of
households in acute poverty. Exports rose by an average of 14 per cent per
year. Hong Kong became part of the developed world. "I did very little," Sir
John said. "All I did was to try to prevent some of the things that might
undo it" - an attitude so free of posturing that it guaranteed him permanent
Last week, I interviewed Paul Wolfowitz, the former Pentagon
hawk who is now the doveish president of the World Bank: "You know what the
greatest book ever written about a developing country was? De Tocqueville's
Democracy in America [which was published in the 1830s]." De Tocqueville
showed, he said, how a successful society could arise only if its people
formed innumerable civil associations, engaging the whole community,
building from the small to the great.
In modern Africa, of course, the obstacles to this are
formidable. Colonialism created unreal countries, and decolonisation made
those countries more unreal still. People's feeling of community (tribe,
ethnicity) is often at war with their duty to an artificial state. The
rewards to be had from plunder are greater than those from honest work. This
is not about to change.
But, by their generosity, Telegraph readers show their
confidence that good work can be done where giver and receiver work closely
together. From what I have seen of Rwanda Aid, to take this year's example,
I am sure their confidence is not misplaced. Before David Cameron, they
realised that "there is such a thing as society - but it's not the same as
The Herald (Harare)
February 11, 2006
Posted to the web February 10, 2006
GOVERNMENT has pegged salaries of executive mayors at between $65 million
and $85 million a month depending on the city or town.
The approved salaries exclude allowances.
Councils have been authorised to determine their allowances but these should
not exceed 50 percent of a mayor's basic salary.
The 50 percent proportion would, however, exclude such benefits as housing,
water, security and vehicles.
The new structure -- which became effective last month -- has sparked
controversy in some local authorities where town clerks are earning much
higher salaries than mayors.
Previously, individual councils applied separately to the Government for
permission to award salaries of their choice depending on their annual
The directive, it is feared, might create problems in councils like Harare
and Gweru where mayors were earning above the stipulated amounts.
Salaries for mayors in the two cities would have to be revised downwards to
meet the new regulations.
Smaller cities like Gweru, Mutare, Kadoma, Masvingo and Chitungwiza can pay
their mayors salaries of up to $75 million while municipalities like Gwanda,
Kariba, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Chegutu, Redcliff, Marondera and Victoria Falls
will pay up to $65 million.
Councils whose mayors earned less than the stipulated amounts were asked to
apply for a review.
The Government also agreed that mayors who had served a full four-year term
should be allowed to buy their official vehicles at book value.
They are also entitled to a cellphone, a residential stand and 12 months'
A mayor who served two full terms would be entitled to a gratuity of 24
The Government was forced to set a ceiling on mayoral salaries to avoid
discrepancies which resulted in mayors of bigger cities earning less than
their counterparts in smaller cities and towns.
In separate letters to executive mayors of cities, the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Cde Ignatius Chombo, said it
was imperative to set salary limits in accordance with the status of the
"This development is essentially aimed at ensuring that local authorities'
executive mayoral earnings and accompanying perks take into account the
magnitude of their responsibilities, the performance of their local
economies and, above all, the expectations of the residents and ratepayers,"
Cde Chombo expressed dismay at the prevailing situation where some local
authorities agreed to salary increases when they were failing to raise
monthly salaries which had taken root.
"The out-turn of such tendencies is obviously diminished capacity to deliver
due municipal services," he noted.