Sunday Times (SA)
Fighting back against Mugabe's thugs
The Telegraph, London
Thousands of Zimbabweans who grow
vegetables for UK supermarkets are
fighting attempts by a Cabinet minister to
confiscate the land they work.
The rebellion by 6 000 black workers is
the first in nearly four years of
state-sponsored terror on the country's
Kondozi's 600 profitable hectares provide runner
beans, mangetout peas and
red peppers for British stores.
Minister for Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Joseph Made,
the business for himself. A few weeks ago he ordered out Kondozi's
and its white owners.
A fortnight later, Zanu-PF loyalists were sent
in, but around 200 women
workers fought back with broken tiles, stones and
Many of the workers are themselves invaders, but Kondozi's
owners, the De
Klerks, reached a compromise and taught them to cultivate
registered "outgrowers". Kondozi has since prospered - but raids
Zimbabwe's largely white commercial farming sector continue
One worker, who for his own safety may not be named, led
the first squatters
on to white farms four years ago. He pointed to the
horizon where the
government's Agricultural Rural Development Authority owns
more than 20
"Look there, nothing is growing . . . They
couldn't even pay their workers
at Christmas. We needed land reform. OK? OK,
you hear? But now it is gone
too far by politicians. We don't want Joseph
Made or the local MP to come
Chris Mushowe, the local MP
and deputy transport minister, seized one of the
homesteads on the estate
following the violent eviction of Jacobus de Klerk
and his family. Nothing of
value grows on the land now.
Meanwhile, the workers are telling
people to warn their chiefs that
President Robert Mugabe and his cronies
should "go away and let us work".
Patricia Macharaga, 38, is part of
a bean-picking team. She says, "If the
government takes this place, they will
keep only 400 workers. We will have
nothing. I have a job, a house . . . I
can't lose it."
Sunday Times (SA)
Suffering knows no boundaries as it invades the
"Madam, keep quiet and we
won't kill you."
Mary Wallace, a widow in her mid 60s, clearly remembers
words. They were spoken by one of a gang of armed burglars,
who broke into
her home in the northeastern suburbs of Harare in early
The suburb is Avondale, part of a long green swathe that
northern Harare. Unless you come across a tale like Wallace's,
believe that Zimbabwe's upper middle-classes have reposed in
affluence in these neighbourhoods for the past 30
Wallace moved into Avondale in the 1970s. At the time, and
retirement 10 years ago, her husband was a transport manager for
tobacco-exporting company. Her only child, a daughter now living in
grew up there.
Wallace loved the place, which is probably
why she could remember, so
clearly, the night she knew she had to
Wallace was alerted to the break-in at around 6pm. Her dog,
"barking like crazy ".
She turned on the outside
lights. At first she could see nothing, but a
second light illuminated two
men standing on her verandah, close to the
jumped over her garden wall, then another appeared, and maybe a
fifth. "I was
so scared I could not think of the numbers," she said, but
noticed that they
were aged between 25 and 30. She could also see that at
least one of them had
a firearm, and another had a large pair of bolt
instant, the entire gang was inside the home where she had lived on
for eight years since her husband passed away.
"They kept asking me
for my money, but I told them I did not have any. Then
I felt something being
pulled around my neck," said Wallace.
Through it all, Coco kept
barking, eventually drawing the attention of her
neighbours who noticed one
of the gang members standing at her gate with a
gun. They shouted at the man,
who fired a shot in the air, and the gang fled
with some of Wallace's
Within a matter of days, she decided to abandon her
home. A move was on the
cards anyway. In April, eight months before the
attack, Wallace had
submitted an application to the local British High
Commission for a
settlement visa, so that she could join her daughter and
in Wantage, a town between Oxford and
Wallace reached an agreement with the domestic worker who had
lived in her
servants' quarters for 20 years whereby he would move into the
to look after the place, until it could be sold. Over Christmas,
domestic worker's son-in-law, who ran a fleet of minibus taxis, came to
a look at the house, and offered to buy it.
"I wanted him to
buy it because I know in my heart I will never go back
Wallace believed her attack was part of a pattern, one that had
apparent in Harare over the past six or eight months.
knew of three other pensioner couples who had endured the same
Wallace said that the robbers believed that Harare's elderly
had piles of US dollars or British pounds hidden under their
in their bedroom cupboards.
In Wallace's case,
that's a myth, because she had gambled all her capital on
country. She was forced to put down a non-refundable
with the British Embassy when she applied for her
settlement visa. The
British government turned her down.
She appealed against the
decision, but heard last week, that her appeal had
been unsuccessful -
despite her daughter having hired a lawyer to assist.
The fact that exiled
Zimbabwean judges, including former Chief Justice
Anthony Gubbay, presided
over some of these tribunals had not helped.
In order to raise the
application fee, Wallace cashed in a life insurance
policy that her husband
had taken out more than 30 years ago. Don't worry,
he had told her, you will
always be well looked after when I am gone. Six or
seven years ago, an
insurance policy paying out Z1.7-million was enough for
a comfortable life,
but Zimbabwe's inflation rate of over 600% has wiped
Wallace and her daughter, desperate to reunite, are uncertain
what to do
Wallace lives off the balance of her life
insurance policies and her wages
as a receptionist at a software company. She
said her own wages barely
covered the monthly cost of bread and milk, with
the bulk going to her
medical aid contributions.
Wallace has found
refuge in an apartment block in The Avenues, a suburb near
Coco and Wallace's three cats were handed over to the Friends
which supports pensioners trapped in circumstances such as
foundation found a new home for Coco, where he will be able
"to live in a
That's all that Wallace wishes
for herself but, for now, the British
government is unable to oblige.
Zim farmers boost Zambian tobacco industry
February 16 2004 at
By Shapi Shacinda
Lusaka - Zambia's tobacco
production has more than doubled in the last year,
boosted by the arrival of
farmers fleeing land reforms in Zimbabwe, an
industry official said on
Tobacco Association of Zambia (TAZ) executive director John
Zambia's tobacco production rose to 7,2 million kilograms in 2003
million in 2002, largely thanks to white Zimbabwean farmers who
resettled in Zambia following land redistribution in their
"A lot of the expansion is a result of the new farmers... the
from the newcomers have been a wake-up call for our members to
farming techniques and increase production," Downie
'This is exciting as the industry is recording rapid
Downie said 75 former Zimbabwe tobacco farmers and their managers
settled in southern and central parts of the country following
President Robert Mugabe's controversial policy of seizing
to give to landless blacks.
Downie said the TAZ was
helping the newly-arrived farmers to settle quickly
and get on with
"The shortfall in Zimbabwe tobacco production, which fell to
million kilograms in 2003 from about 240 million kilograms before
reforms, has worked to our benefit as our production has been
faster," Downie told Reuters in an interview.
The bulk of
Zambia's virginia and burley tobacco is bought by Altria Group
Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Universal Leaf
Downie said the gross value of the 7,2 million kilograms
of tobacco produced
in 2003 was $12,5-million, adding that 2004 should see
production rise to 15
million kilogram worth around $27 million. Only
$5,2-million was earned from
tobacco sales in 2000.
He said Zambia
could earn well over $51-million in 2005 from tobacco sales
kept increasing rapidly, although he did not give
"This is exciting as the industry is recording rapid
growth, in fact faster
than we anticipated," Downie said.
some 75 former Zimbabwe tobacco farmers and their managers had
southern and central parts of the country following President
controversial policy of seizing white-owned farms in
Zimbabwe to give to
Government officials said the white farmers had not been
given new land in
Zambia but had bought or hired existing farms. Zambia has
hectares of productive land, of which only 10 percent is currently
used for farming.
Unlike Zimbabwe, Zambia has a liberal land
policy which allows farmers to
own land on either 14-year or 99-year
Downie said 17 000 new jobs had been created in the
tobacco sector in the
last three years, raising the total workforce to 25
000. He said land under
tobacco cultivation has also increased to 6 000
hectares from 2 000 hectares
in the last three years.
Zimbabwe Announces Election Details, No Mention of
16 Feb 2004, 14:20
Zimbabwe's justice minister has, for the first time,
announced some details
of the next parliamentary elections, which he says
will take place early
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
announced the timelines for various
processes such as voter registration and
the setting of constituency
boundaries. He did not set the date for the
elections, which must be held by
Zimbabwe's elections are run by
an electoral commission appointed by
President Robert Mugabe, and there is no
independent supervision of any
aspect of the process.
in interviews with state-controlled media, made no mention of
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has frequently
reforms to the electoral process, in accordance with standards set
Southern African Development Community, of which Zimbabwe is a
The MDC challenged the results of the 2000 parliamentary
elections and 2002
presidential election, and court cases for both polls are
charges vote rigging and political violence, among other abuses,
neither election was free or fair.
The office of U.N.
Secretary General Kofi Annan said, in a written reply to
questions from VOA,
that it was asked by the ruling Zanu PF party for
assistance with running the
next parliamentary elections, but this request
has since been
A senior political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe,
says the ruling party would not allow any meaningful electoral
the next parliamentary elections. He said it would be hopeless
for any other
party to take part in the elections unless there is a complete
the Electoral Act and the administration of the
Mr. Makumbe said without major changes, the coming parliamentary
will be, what he called, even more of a farce than the last ones
Amid the charges of massive fraud, Zanu PF narrowly won the
parliamentary elections in June 2000, nine months after the formation of
MDC, the first large opposition party to emerge since independence in
New anti-corruption regulations "unconstitutional"
JOHANNESBURG, 16 Feb
2004 (IRIN) - New anti-corruption regulations allowing
Zimbabwean police to
hold suspects accused of economic crimes for up to four
weeks without bail
are "unconstitutional", a human rights body said
Presidential Powers were used on Friday to amend the
Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act, which now enables the police to detain
people suspected of
committing economic crimes, including corruption, money
illegal dealing in foreign exchange and gold, for up to a
The police can also hold suspects for a further 21 days if prima
evidence of their involvement is produced.
Noel Kututwa, deputy
director of the Zimbabwe-based Human Rights Trust of
Southern Africa, pointed
out that the amendments contravened the
constitutional right of citizens to
be presumed innocent until proven
"The regulations, by denying
bail for seven days, also contravene the
individual's right to a fair
hearing, as prescribed in the constitution," he
said he "failed to understand the need for invoking presidential
the parliament is in session - an issue involving civil
liberties should be
debated in parliament".
The regulations were introduced as part of
President Robert Mugabe's
attempts to clamp down on corruption, following the
arrest of a senior
ZANU-PF central committee member, James Makamba, a week
ago. The official
Herald newspaper said on Monday that figures previously
released by the
police showed Makamba had allegedly transferred several
dollars as well as foreign currency
Telecel, the country's third-largest mobile phone company, of
is a director, also allegedly "externalised" foreign currency
Mugabe last week also created a new Ministry of
Anti-corruption and an
Anti-monopolies Programme, with ZANU-PF stalwart
Didymus Mutasa as the head.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 13 February
give us a thing
In recent months Johannesburg drivers have noticed a
new phenomenon: blind
people begging at traffic lights and major
intersections. They are almost
exclusively Zimbabwean, and their influx to
the city has been sudden. While
the world's attention has been focused on the
plight of Zimbabwean farmers,
journalists and opposition politicians, little
thought has been spared for
the effect Zimbabwe's implosion has had on the
most vulnerable members of
that society. For people with disabilities, many
of whom survived through
working at self-help schemes and on charitable
donations, the current crisis
has ripped away their safety net and pushed
them to the margins of an
already over-stressed society. Most of the beggars
are accompanied by a
sighted companion who helps them navigate the traffic
and proffer a plastic
cup for donations from motorists. Sunduza Ndlovu* is
assisted by family
friend Patricia Ncube. Day after day, the two stand in the
blazing sun to
earn a few rands and get a little to eat. Their clothes are
their shoes worn out. "Do you think we like looking like this?"
displaying her dirty feet in white plastic
Ndlovu and Ncube were initially reluctant to speak to the
Mail & Guardian,
fearing this would alert the authorities who might send
them back home to
Zimbabwe. "We're not getting enough money but it's better
than in our
country," said Ncube. She said they make between R20 and R50 a
day. Out of
this they spend R14 on transport from downtown Jo'burg and are
just a few rands for food. In a good month they manage to save a
take home to Zimbabwe. The money they make from begging pays for
home and some groceries for their families. "I've never stayed here
than a month," said Ncube. They enter the country on visitors'
allowing them to stay a maximum of 21 days. They return home by bus,
is the cheapest form of transport, costing about R200 a trip. "We are
ever, ever interfering with South African politics whatsoever," said
"We, the disadvantaged people, need assistance from everyone who's
this Earth." The Zimbabwean state does pay a small social grant,
government gives us Z$2 000 per month only - and it's nothing. We
afford a loaf of bread that costs $3 500," Ncube
Zimbabwean Abigail Sibanda is very angry with her country's
is sighted and accompanies her blind brother Samson to
are unable to make a living in Zimbabwe. "Zimbabwe doesn't
give us a thing,
not even a spoon of salt," said Sibanda. They pay R30 to R40
a week to rent
a room in Johannesburg. The remainder of the money they make
Sibanda's transport to Zimbabwe and for food for their two families.
share the money equally between them, buying food in Johannesburg
there is nothing to buy in their country. "There are good people in
Africa," said Sibanda. "Only a few are not cooperating." South African
Rights Commissioner Charlotte McClain represents the rights of children
the disabled. She said the meltdown in Zimbabwe has turned many of
people into economic refugees but those with disabilities are
vulnerable. She says foreigners with disabilities cannot get
social grants in South Africa, unless they are granted refugee
should go through normal procedures of seeking refugee status.
There is no
special category for the disabled."
* Not her real
From The Sunday Times (SA), 15 February
Food aid fills erstwhile
Members of the World Food Programme (WFP) based in
Mutare can scarcely
believe their good luck. Out in the light-industrial area
on the eastern
outskirts of the town, a few kilometres from the Mozambican
have acquired the BMA Tobacco warehouse from which to distribute
the 4 500
tons of food aid that pours into Zimbabwe's Manica province each
According to Ibrahim Ibrahim, a WFP logistics officer, it is
designed for its new role. It s capacity matches exactly the amount
aid the WFP distributed in Manica last month. "This is a good
said Ibrahim, a Palestinian. "There is good ventilation, good
methods and it is easy to count the stock." He was also impressed
good quality locks that were fitted to the shed doors. Out at the
trucks laden with 30 tons of maize donated by the US, Europe and
Africa lined up waiting to unload the food aid shipped up from Beira,
away. Two years ago they would be collecting produce for export from
As labourers unloaded 50kg sacks, these were
carefully stacked according to
the system devised by BMA Tobacco when it
designed the warehouse 10 years
ago. Thanks to this system, Ibrahim said he
could tell, almost at a glance,
how many bags of maize, corn-soya blend and
boxes of vegetable oil were
stacked in his warehouse at any one time.
Ibrahim, with all the enthusiasm
of a boutique owner showing off his latest
range of bell-bottoms, is so
excited about his warehouse that he seems unable
to reflect on the tragedy
of it all. According to a bronze plaque at the
entrance, the warehouse was
opened by "John Laurie, Esq" on July 20 1990, as
a facility for exporting
tobacco and maize. The relentless enforcement of the
Land Acquisition Act
over the past four years has meant that production of
maize and tobacco, for
export anyway, has been all but wiped out, in
Manicaland and most of
Zimbabwe. A handful of farmers still hang on, but the
little they produce
now heads for the sales floors in Harare. There is some
respite for BMA
Tobacco, though. The World Food Programme pays the co-op
US$2.60 a month for
each ton of food aid it stores in the warehouse, bringing
in a consolatory
US$11 700 for January, a drop in the ocean compared with the
the industry brought in last year. Then, 165 000 tons were
year's exports are estimated by the Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association to only
reach 85 000 tons
The Standard (Zimbabwe), 15 February 2004
Troubled Air Zimbabwe gets
rid of top managers
By Kumbirai Mafunda
A MAJOR shake-up has been
effected at the cash-strapped Air Zimbabwe,
with nearly all top-level
managers being laid off in an unprecedented
restructuring exercise, The
Standard has gathered.
Sources within the national airline last week said
the massive top
management lay-off, completed last month, targeted the
three levels of management.
They said nearly all of
the airline's senior managers and managing
directors were laid off in the
exercise with the last batch packing
their bags at the end of last
Of the top-line Air Zimbabwe managers, only two people
Director Tendai Majuru and Chief Executive Officer Rambai
An airline official said the airline's board,
chaired by banker
Livingstone Gwata, undertook the restructuring exercise
pressure from the government to rationalise operations.
Zimbabwe had a top heavy management structure. It doesn't work to
aircrafts flying when you have thousands of workers," said
He said the retrenchment exercise was part of the airline's
strategy, which it was carrying out to trim its wage bill and at
same time save money to service its debts, which run into billions
The restructuring exercise has also resulted in the
operations. The legal services department and the
department have been incorporated and will now fall under a
corporate affairs department, which will be led by a lawyer.
series of strikes has been the order of the day at Air Zimbabwe
past few months with workers complaining about poor
year, engineers at the national airline downed tools, demanding
salaries and virtually grounding all its planes.
The airline was forced
to hire engineers from South Africa and had at
times to send its planes to
neighbouring South Africa for servicing,
draining the country of scarce
Some planes were reported to have developed technical
faults in London
The crippling strike and Air
Zimbabwe's failure to fix the recurrent
industrial action, which threatened
to disrupt President Robert
Mugabe's international travels, are alleged to
have invited Mugabe's
ire and he allegedly warned management not to "let
things out of
The airline has already appointed new senior
managers and managing
directors, said sources.
"We have a totally new
team of managers at Air Zimbabwe. The directive
came from government after a
lot of discoveries came to light during
an inquiry into the handling of last
year's strike," said a source.
Air Zimbabwe MD Chingwena confirmed that
the airline was
"We are running up and down but we are
doing a restructuring exercise
which will affect the first three levels of
Early this month, the International Air
Transport Association (IATA)
suspended and blacklisted Air Zimbabwe from its
clearing house over a
US$1,3 million debt that was in arrears for nearly a
The suspension means the national airline can no longer book
passengers on other airlines plying routes that it does not service.
The Standard (Zimbabwe), 15 February 2004
Talk to IMF, says leading
By Kumbirai Mafunda
THERE is urgent need to create a
conducive economic and political
environment if the country is to attract any
international lines of
credit, a prominent banker has said.
Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) vice-president and Interfin
Executive Officer Jerry Tsodzai said it is imperative
now to portray the
right image outside the country's borders so as to
restore tattered relations
with multilateral financiers.
Multilateral development partners, among
them, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, cut off vital
aid to Harare in
1999 because of the government's poor human rights record
failure to settle debts.
"We need our country to be acceptable
to everybody outside our borders
to get lines of credit," said Tsodzai who
was speaking at an analysis
and review of the monetary policy statement in
Harare last week.
Since the pullout of the Bretton Woods institutions in
Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined by about 40%
inflation had risen to 597%by December 2003, say experts.
pleas by businessmen to the government to mend its relations
with key Western
countries, such as the US and Britain, and
institutions, have so far fallen on deaf ears.
Instead President Robert
Mugabe and some Cabinet ministers, such as
Industry and International Trade
Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, have
continued to openly castigate the IMF and
international lenders for
masterminding Harare's economic
Zimbabwe has made minor repayments to the IMF since June 2003
and as a
result, its arrears have increased to US$273 million or about 53%
its quota in the fund as of the end of November.
culminated in the IMF initiating the procedure for the
of the southern African country from the fund.
The Standard (Zimbabwe), 15 February 2004
School heads ignore
By Nyasha Bhosha
MANY schools have simply
ignored the suspension order issued by
Education, Sport and Culture Minister
Aeneas Chigwedere on headmasters
whose school boards have raised levies and
school fees without his
approval, The Standard has established.
are also yet to prefer any charges against the headmasters of
schools, two weeks after Chigwedere's ministry handed
over the headmasters'
names, charging that they had broken the law.
"We are still carrying on
with investigations and the charges will
arise from the Education Act. They
will however vary from case to
case," said Assistant Police Commissioner
A random survey carried out by The Standard to
determine if the
headmasters whom Chigwedere claimed to have suspended from
weeks ago have left revealed that it was business as usual for most
the affected schools.
"We are reading in the newspapers that we are
on suspension. But as
you can see, I am still at work," said a Midlands
name appears on the list Chigwedere says is of suspended
Another headmaster from Masvingo said: "There has to be
memos to that effect. Chigwedere should know better that
ministry's business is not conducted through newspapers."
official from a private college in Chiredzi said their headmaster,
he refused to give, was still at work.
"We have not received any letter
or documentation from the ministry to
inform us that the head has been handed
over to the police, everything
is normal," said the official.
Chigwedere told The Standard on Thursday that he had sent letters
suspension to the school headmasters.
"Those who are still going to work
are committing a serious crime and
will be dealt with accordingly," warned
Meanwhile, by Thursday, police were yet to find appropriate
that could be levelled against the headmasters of private
All schools now need written approval from Chigwedere before
increase fees or levies by more than 10 percent.
The Standard (Zimbabwe), 15 February 2004
Zanu PF in $20bn Lupane
By Savious Kwinika
BULAWAYO: Barely a week after
the burial of Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) legislator for Lupane,
David Mpala, who was murdered by
ruling party supporters, the government has
poured in $20 billion to
the local community in a move viewed by villagers as
a vote buying
gimmick ahead of elections to be held later this year, The
Matabeleland North Governor, Obert Mpofu,
announced on the State-run
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) on
Wednesday that the
government had ploughed in about $20 billion for
When contacted for comment this week,
Mpofu continuously cut his
cellphone to avoid any conversation with The
However the MDC chairman for Lupane district, Sylvester Ndlovu,
his party would stay vigilant and carefully monitor
intentions ahead of the by-election whose dates are yet to
"We know quite well that whenever there is a by-election
government, through Zanu PF, is capable of abusing State resources
machinery as well as unleashing the Green Bombers and CIO
to unsettle the opposition, but this time we will not be moved
a single inch," said Ndlovu.
He said the MDC would do all it
could to make sure that the Lupane
seat is not lost to Zanu PF.
said Lupane villagers were still battling to come to terms with
torture, threats, intimidation and harassment inflicted
by members of the
notorious CIO, war veterans and Zanu PF thugs during
the violent 2000
parliamentary and 2002 presidential election.
"People from Lupane still
remember vividly the psychological trauma
they suffered at the hands of Zanu
PF and they would not dare cast
their votes for the enemy of the people,"
Lupane district, dubbed the provincial capital for
province, has no tangible development to talk about except
portion of the cleared ground meant for a
Villagers doubt if the planned Lupane University will come to
since the National University of Science and Technology (Nust),
was established some 12 years ago, is yet to be completed.
doubt very much if the government would commit itself to the
Lupane University because they have not done anything
positive here since we
gained independence except building small
bridges," said one villager.
introduces apartheid-style laws
Zimbabwe is now looking increasingly more like apartheid South Africa.
This view follows the enactment of new legislation empowering the police
to arrest and detain people without trial for up to a month even though there is
no reasonable evidence of their guilt.
The new law is causing much
consternation in a country where government opponents have been subjected to
repressive media and security laws that have made it practically impossible to
voice dissent without serious reprisals.
Although the government claims
that the amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act allowing the
police to detain people without trial are aimed at rooting out economic crimes,
government opponents fear the laws will be targeted at them and at businessmen
suspected of supporting the opposition.
Already last week, President
Robert Mugabe's regime tried to shut down the country's largest cellular
company, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, owned by Johannesburg-based Zimbabwean
businessman Strive Masiyiwa.
The widely respected Masiyiwa was banished
from Zimbabwe four years ago after his cellular network was used by civic
society activists to distribute SMSs urging voters to vote no and reject an
authoritarian constitution written by a commission handpicked by Mugabe in
The regime has since announced it would introduce another
law banning Zimbabweans based abroad from owning newspapers and other media in
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said the new
laws were designed to circumvent fundamental rights contained in Zimbabwe's
University of Zimbabwe law professor Lovemore Madhuku said
the amendments undermined the most elementary principles of the rule of law. He
said there was no doubt in his mind the new laws were targeted at Mugabe's
critics and opponents.
Even ruling Zanu-PF members who dared criticise
Mugabe were vulnerable to the laws.
Prominent Zanu-PF politician James
Makamba, a known political foe of Mugabe, has become the first victim of the new
Makamba was arrested last week over suspicions regarding foreign
currency transactions. On Saturday, a magistrate remanded him in custody to
February 27 using the new laws.
- This article was originally published on page 1 of The
Star on February 17, 2004
Africa's maternal mortality is highest in the
17 February 2004
The number of women dying from pregnancy complications has kept
rising in Africa, from 870 per 100 000 expectant women in 1990 to 1 000 in 2001,
international consultant on reproductive health Joseph Kasonde said on
"The maternal mortality rate in Africa is the highest in the
world," he told a United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) regional
conference on maternal and new-born health in Harare.
"The risk to a
woman of dying in pregnancy or labour in Africa remains unacceptably high," he
In Zimbabwe the number of women dying from pregnancy-related
complications has nearly trebled over the past decade from 253 to more than 700
per 100 000 pregnant women, according to health and child welfare ministry
secretary Elizabeth Xaba.
Most of the deaths have been due to poverty,
HIV/Aids, shortages of qualified health personnel, poor health facilities,
delays in reaching health facilities because of shortage of transport and lack
of medical resources, she said.
Illiteracy and lack of knowledge on
pre-natal care, are some of the reasons for the rise in deaths, the experts
Many African countries have been hit by an exodus of medical
personnel to overseas destinations in recent years.
"Only 42% of births
in the African region are attended by skilled personnel," said
Unsafe abortions are high among adolescents, according to
The experts, who are drawn from various international
organisations, are examining the extent of the problem on the continent and will
suggest ways of reducing the death rates among mothers and
African governments' health budgets were also identified as
inadequate to deal with obstetric cases.
"The percentage of GDP (gross
domestic product) devoted to health in sub-Saharan Africa remains at between one
percent and 3,7% compared to the large percentage spent on arms," said Kasonde.
UZ Opens as Lecturers Vow Not to Report for Duty
February 17, 2004
Posted to the web February 17, 2004
THE University of Zimbabwe opened yesterday with lecturers vowing not to
report for duty unless they are awarded a 300 percent salary increment backdated
to July last year.
This, however, did not disrupt examinations as temporary
staff were invigilating.
UZ acting director of information and publicity
Mr Daniel Chihombori confirmed that the college had opened but said it was
difficult to tell whether the lecturers were present.
"These first two weeks
are mainly for examinations and actual teaching has not yet started. As such, it
is difficult to tell whether the lecturers are at work or not," he said.
secretary general of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) Mr James
Mahlaule said the lecturers had decided to go on strike because UZ authorities
had ignored their call for a 300 percent salary increment, awarded through
arbitration last year.
The workers were awarded a 250 percent increase along
with other civil servants in January and they now want the balance.
been locked in meetings since morning and have unanimously resolved not to
report for work until our demands are met. I understand that the same applies
for non-academic staff," Mr Mahlaule said.
"The lecturers would only visit
the campus tomorrow to see if any developments had taken place," he said.
Pregnancy-related deaths up in Africa
February 17, 2004
number of women dying from pregnancy complications has kept rising in Africa,
from 870 per 100,000 expectant women in 1990 to 1,000 in 2001, international
consultant on reproductive health Joseph Kasonde said.
mortality rate in Africa is the highest in the world," he told a UN World Health
Organisation (WHO) regional conference on maternal and new-born health in
"The risk to a woman of dying in pregnancy or labour in
Africa remains unacceptably high," he said.
In Zimbabwe the number of women
dying from pregnancy-related complications has nearly trebled over the past
decade from 253 to more than 700 per 100,000 pregnant women, according to health
and child welfare ministry secretary Elizabeth Xaba.
Most of the deaths have
been due to poverty, HIV/AIDS, shortages of qualified health personnel, poor
health facilities, delays in reaching health facilities because of shortage of
transport and lack of medical resources, she said.
Illiteracy and lack of
knowledge on pre-natal care, are some of the reasons for the rise in deaths, the
Many African countries have been hit by an exodus of medical
personnel to overseas destinations in recent years.
"Only 42 percent of
births in the African region are attended by skilled personnel," said
Unsafe abortions are high among adolescents, according to
The experts, who are drawn from various international organisations,
are examining the extent of the problem on the continent and will suggest ways
of reducing the death rates among mothers and infants.
health budgets were also identified as inadequate to deal with obstetric
"The percentage of GDP (gross domestic product) devoted to health in
sub-Saharan Africa remains at between one percent and 3.7 percent compared to
the large percentage spent on arms," said Kasonde.
UN poll plea cancelled by
By Peta Thornycroft in
Zimbabwe has withdrawn an official request for United Nations
help to run parliamentary elections next year as hopes faded for a less unfair
poll than in recent years.
The justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, told the
state-controlled media that the poll would be held before June next year.
Harare residents queue outside a polling station in 2002 when
intimidation was widespread|
The announcement was greeted with derision by analysts. "It will
be more of a farce than the previous elections and meaningless for any party
other than [the ruling] Zanu-PF," John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe
political scientist, said yesterday.
Zimbabwe's electoral authority is appointed by President Robert
Mugabe and the presidential election two years ago was largely run by army
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which was narrowly
defeated in polls in June 2000 that were marred by violence, wants "serious"
Commonwealth observers said the polls were neither "free nor
Imported goods to cost more
will cost more now that Zimra is using the auction rate to value the imports in
Zimbabwe dollars, but for most goods the increased landed cost will amount to
between 11 percent and 18 percent.
Luxuries, such as Mercedes Benz motor
cars, will be hit much harder and in some cases cleared costs will rise by more
than 72 percent.
Duties had been an ever-diminishing percentage of costs
of imported goods since March last year. The change should simply restore the
duties to the same percentages as were seen that month.
Zimra had been
valuing imported goods using the old trading rate of $824 to the United States
dollar. This had, in effect, cut the duties to just one quarter of the rates
that Parliament had ordered. Importers were definitely not using the $824
conversion for valuing their goods for resale, using instead the auction rate.
Thus, on items attracting 15 percent duty — such as books, computers and
software — importers and the subsequent buyers were paying an effective rate of
just under four percent of the real cost of the import to the importer.
The change has little effect on these goods. It will increase the final
price by just 11 percent assuming that the importers, wholesalers and retailers
stick to the previous percentage mark-ups and do not try to cheat the public.
On goods attracting 20 percent, the change in calculation method will
increase the cleared cost of the item by just under 15 percent and on goods
attracting 25 percent the cleared cost rises by just over 18 percent.
For luxuries, the story is different. Buyers of Mercedes Benz cars and
other total luxuries only had to factor in an effective duty of 30 percent of
the cost of the currency used to buy the car in the first place; the real duty
should have been, and now is, 120 percent. This will result in a 72 percent rise
in the cleared cost of such products and end the situation that has pertained
whereby people importing simpler goods were subsidising the owners of Benzes.
With effect from yesterday, Zimra started charging duty on vehicles
using the prevailing rate of the foreign currency auction system which gives $3
546,20 against the United States dollar.
Some essential goods can be
imported duty free. Duty on spare parts for public vehicles was removed by the
Government last year so as to alleviate further financial stress on commuter
operators. At the same time, duty on commuter omnibuses with a carrying capacity
of 26 passengers and above was also removed on the beginning of December last
The change to the auction rate, which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
has made very clear that it regards as the most accurate rate for valuing the
Zimbabwe dollar, was on the cards ever since December last year when the Reserve
Bank issued a booklet replying to questions by importers and exporters.
However, it is now obvious that it was decided to phase in the change
after the Reserve Bank had stabilised the exchange rate and had removed the
speculative pressure that had done so much to push the exchange rate to a level
more than double the purchasing power parity by late last year.
landed and cleared costs of imports is still significantly lower, even with the
new calculation method, than they were in December last year.
yesterday that some unscrupulous business people had already started hoarding
their commodities in anticipation of another round of price increases.
Motorists had already started to feel the pinch yesterday, as most of
the service stations in Harare were dry, while fuel importers were still to
establish the impact of the new rates for duty on their business. It will, in
fact, be minimal.
Economists said the latest development would bring a
lot of relief to local manufacturers who are likely to witness a boom in
business. They had seen their protection erode dramatically, especially in
recent months, as effective duties plummeted.
"Most local manufacturers
could not compete with foreign companies, which were using Zimbabwe as a dumping
"The fact that, it will be more expensive to import most
products will naturally force Zimbabweans to turn to the local market.
Effectively, the local manufacturing industry is likely to thrive,' said
economist Mr James Tapera.
Importers, who had been undercutting local
industry through an unfair cut in taxes, will also be back in the same position
they were in early last year, except that foreign currency is far easier to find
They are still complaining though. "Not many people would have
complained if the increase in duty was applied to vehicles and other luxurious
commodities which are also available in the country.
"But what it now
means is that most of the producers would just factor in the new rates on the
total cost of the product leaving the consumer in a worse off position," said
The general feeling among the importers was that there
should have been a list of goods, which were supposed to be exempt from the new
duty regime. "However, it was shocking that the authorities went ahead and
increased the duty at such a critical point which is likely to see a ripple
effect on other sectors of the economy," said Mr David Mamvura in an interview.
Also Defence Forces Chief Constantine Chiwenga, Tandiwe Nkomo,
Shamu, Lovemore Chihota, Jacob Mudenda, Vincent Pamire, Eddie
Dube, etc (Did ANY ordinary indigenous people benefit except
Campfire? If not, why not? Has an independent survey been done
Campfire, to establish whether supposed beneficiaries actually
Nhema named in hunting concessions scam
Bulawayo Bureau Chief
Minister sucked into hunting
The granting of lucrative hunting and
photographic concessions to Zanu PF
heavyweights in Matabeleland North,
widely seen as a product of
influence-peddling and back-scratching
relationships, has sparked off
controversy that has sucked in Environment and
Tourism Minister Francis
Nhema. Disgruntled Matabeleland North residents and
operators this week raised a hue and cry over the awarding of
and photographic concessions to leading Zanu PF politicians.
This comes at a
time when the government is moving to allay fears that the
programme is only benefiting mostly leading politicians and their
The hunting industry has over the years earned billions of dollars
foreign currency. Although figures for the 12 months to December 2003
not immediately available, Campfire alone last year made US$20 million
controlled hunting. The industry has also since clinched hunting deals
$20 billion for the next hunting season, which commences in
Miffed residents and safari operators alleged that favouritism
reared its ugly head in the awarding of Parks and Wildlife
the potential of generating millions of dollars in foreign
beneficiaries hold long leases on farms in hunting and
destinations in and around Dete, Gwayi Valley, Hwange, Binga and
Falls. Information at hand indicates that Nhema, through his
allocated Tuli Farm to Thandiwe Nkomo, the daughter of the late
President Joshua Nkomo. Nhema himself is the son-in-law of the late
president . Webster Shamu, the Member of Parliament for Chegutu, who is
new Minister of State for Policy Implementation was allocated Matetsi
Five. Deka in Hwange is jointly owned by Tobias Musariri and Mabel Dete,
Zimbabwean presently based in the United States believed to be close
officials in the ministry. She has since registered a safari company
Vincent Pamire, the former Zimbabwe
Football Association interim boss, and a
Manungo, an indigenous
businessperson with strong roots in Shurugwi like
Pamire and Nhema, share
Sengwa. In Matetsi Five concession, seven units in
the area were leased to
ruling party and high-ranking government officials
outside Matabeleland. Unit
1 is in the name of Eddie Kazombe, Unit Two Mike
Chidziwa, Unit Three Enos
Dube, Unit Four Jacob Mudenda, Unit Five Shamu,
Unit Six Army General
Constantine Chiwenga and Unit Seven Lovemore Chihota.
The two beneficiaries
in the Matetsi concession that come from the area are
Mudenda, the Zanu PF
chairman for Matabeleland North and Dube, a relative
and colleague of the
late vice President Nkomo. Previously, Nhema's ministry
had leased Matetsi
Unit Five to Roy Vincent, whose lease expired at the end
of December last
Nhema yesterday confirmed that his Zanu PF colleagues named in
the story had
concessions in Matabeleland North but vehemently denied
favouritism. Trying to assuage the general perception that the
hunting concessions only benefited leading Zanu PF politicians,
of discord, Nhema said everything was done above board.
"Everything was done
above board. It is on record how they got them. Chiwenga
and the others you
mentioned went to tender and emerged winners. They
attended the auctions for
the concessions. It is on record how they got the
concessions and how the
auction happened," said Nhema. "You can ask all of
them." "It is only
relatives and party officials with money that are enjoying
the fruits of the
land reform as far as safari operations are concerned,"
said a well-placed
source. "These are public assets which should benefit
Matabeleland. The criteria used smacks of favouritism. Some of
have concessions elsewhere."
indigenous business people who are not swayed by arguments
concessions were awarded through normal tender procedures and had
hoped to be
doled out concessions at the Parks and Wildlife areas in
have asked their lawyers to write to Nhema about the
anomalies in the alleged
awarding of concessions in the region. Asked to
comment on concerns that most
of the people that were awarded concessions
were from Mashonaland, the
Midlands and other provinces outside
Matabeleland, Nhema said: "My brother, I
don't know whether we should
discriminate, but Mudenda, who is involved in
the safari business, comes
from there (Matabeleland North). It will need a
good discussion on how we
awarded the concessions and how people tendered for
them. It is not true at
all that the concessions were to put to tender. Ask
(Obert) Mpofu, headman Sibanda, they were all involved in
Mudenda in fact, is the chairperson of the Indigenous Safari
Association. Ask him how we gave concessions to all those people.
people on the ground explain." Contacted for comment Mpofu said:
the minister, I am not involved and I think the minister will be
discuss the list with you.
Zimbabwe urged not to execute opposition
Mon 16 February, 2004 21:45
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Britain has told Zimbabwe it must promise not to execute
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai if it wants London's assistance in his
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), denies
allegedly plotting to kill Mugabe and stage a coup before 2002 presidential
Veteran leader Mugabe won the elections amid vote-rigging charges by both the
opposition and several Western countries.
The government has asked Britain for help in finding a potential witness for
Tsvangirai's trial who is in the United Kingdom.
The state's case against Tsvangirai, who could face hanging if convicted,
hinges mainly on a videotape of a meeting he held with Canadian-based political
consultant Ari Ben-Menashe where prosecutors say Mugabe's "elimination" was
As the defence closed its case in the High Court on Monday, Acting
Attorney-General Bharat Patel said the state had failed to locate another
potential witness Rupert Johnson.
Johnson, a Zimbabwean-born grain trader living in Britain, introduced
Tsvangirai to Ben-Menashe.
Patel said his department had written to British authorities asking for help
in bringing Johnson to Zimbabwe, and giving assurances he would not be charged
with treason, detained or harassed.
"The UK authorities have written saying they cannot do so (help Zimbabwe get
Johnson as a witness) in a case where the death sentence might be imposed,"
"They want assurances that the death sentence will not be imposed...but we
have said that is for the court."
Patel said it was not clear in whose favour Johnson's evidence would lean.
The treason trial -- which began at the High Court a year ago -- was
adjourned to February 24 to give the prosecution and defence time to prepare
their closing addresses.
The defence has labelled Ben-Menashe an unreliable witness who entrapped
Tsvangirai, a 51-year-old former trade unionist whose party has emerged as the
strongest challenge to Mugabe since independence from Britain in 1980.
Ben-Menashe admits secretly taping the Montreal meeting for the Zimbabwe
government, but denies entrapping Tsvangirai.
Mugabe insists he won the 2002 election fairly and dismisses the MDC as a
puppet of Western powers, which he says want to see him ousted over his forcible
redistribution of white-owned farms among landless black Zimbabweans.
Year-On-Year Inflation Up By 24,1 Percent
February 16, 2004
Posted to the web February 16, 2004
THE year-on-year inflation rate for January, as measured by
the all items Consumer Price Index, increased to 622,8 percent, gaining 24,1
percentage points on the December 2003 rate of 598,7 percent.
This means that prices increased by an average of 622,8
percent between January 2003 and January 2004.
Of the 622,8 percent, food prices accounted for 237
percentage points while non-food items in the CPI accounted for 385,8 percentage
According to the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the
increase in the month-on-month inflation was accounted for by increases in the
average price of rent and rates, beverages, fruits, vegetables and bread and
Economic analysts had, however, predicted an increase in the
rate of inflation for January after a decrease was recorded for the month of
The annual inflation rate for the month of December 2003
decelerated to 598,7 percent on the back of a significant 84,9 percentage points
decline in non-food inflation.
Since December, most furniture and electrical appliances
shops have been reducing prices of their products, with gadgets such as a
21-inch colour television going down to $1,9 million from $2,5 million and a
four-plate stove declining by 30 percent from $1,4 million to $1 million.
Foreign currency rates have tumbled significantly losing as
much as half of their value following the introduction of the foreign exchange
If the recent events of price stabilisation, tumbling of
foreign currency rates and apprehension of speculative activities in the
financial sector are anything to go by, the inflation rate is expected to
decrease as the year progresses.
Speaking at the monetary policy analysis seminar hosted by
the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) last week, Dr Gideon
Gono correctly predicted that the rate of inflation would rise to above 600
percent before it starts to come down from March. Dr Gono had earlier forecast
the inflation rate to peak at 700 percent.
With other targets set by the central bank such as putting a
leash on money supply growth and boosting of the productive sector to discourage
demand pull inflation, there seems to be some hope mainly for the ordinary
consumer who had been sucked dry by inflation.
Government has also reiterated its revived eagerness to
arrest and reverse inflation to below 200 percent by year-end through the
monetary policy complemented by fiscal prudence.