|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Discontent in army over pay hikes
Army settles on Bennett’s farm
Bulawayo churches spurn Mugabe’s overtures
Fireworks at London meeting
Soldiers terrorise Sakubva residents
Business News: Cresta Calling—Hunting the hunter, part four
RECENTLY, while driving from Francistown to Kasane in Botswana, I and my companions came across an elephant which had been knocked over by a haulage truck. The jumbo was still alive but could not get up while the haulage truck had come to rest off the road. The truck could not move and the elephant could not move—a true clash of titans.
As we stopped to witness this deadlock, I wondered how these kind of animals could possibly survive in our current civilisation? Preservation of our wildlife is key to the growth and development of our tourism industry. Tourists from all over the world come to our country mainly for the game experience rather than for the comfort of our hotels. My experience of seeing a hopelessly wounded jumbo made me wonder whether we have too much wildlife and if so how we can possibly cull them without threatening their existence.
Zimbabwe has had a very successful programme funded by USAid called Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire).
This programme has gone a very long way towards helping us to manage our wildlife resources amongst other natural resources which Zimbabwe has been endowed with. Overcrowding of wildlife has also been addressed through sustainable means instead of through poaching which has been on the increase of late.
However, allegations have been thrown at programmes such as Campfire to the effect that they have been hijacked by a handful of slick academics for the benefit of the international, rather than local, communities. One could argue for and against this viewpoint, particularly given the heated debates that go on at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (Cites). Africans argue that the rest of the world must leave the management of wildlife to Africans whilst the rest of the world has a different view.
The Upper Zambezi Valley has a ballooning population of elephants, a situation which has resulted in lives being lost and crops being destroyed. The communities in the Upper Zambezi region appreciate the reduction in the elephant population. Not only have the elephants been destructive to both lives and crops, but they continue to destroy vegetation in the region.
Culling the elephant will not only result in less destruction but in more revenue generation through the sale of ivory. Because the sale of ivory has resulted in poaching and uncontrolled culling, a debate has raged at the recent three Cites conventions as to whether the elephant should be listed in Appendix 1 or Appendix 2.
Kenya has become one of the most vocal critics of the sale of ivory by three southern African countries—Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, and has persistently objected to the de-listing of the African elephant from a highly endangered species to that whose population can be managed.
The last Cites meeting in Gigiri, Kenya, in April 2000 saw the Nairobi government supporting a total ban on the controlled sale of ivory. It was joined by western environmental pressure groups such as Green Peace. South Africa, which also wants to sell some of its stock piles of ivory, joined its neighbours in a bruising battle to keep the elephant in Appendix 2 to allow for monitored trade of ivory.
Therefore, the debate on the elephant and its status within Cites, has consequences for both the local community and the hunter.
As highlighted last week, the elephant commands the highest trophy price of US$10 000, making it the most favoured prey for the hunter. It is therefore imperative to maintain an ecological equilibrium between the hunter, the hunted and the community. Then on the other side you have animal rights activists who are seeking an end to hunting as a sport. This then leaves us confused; the hunter does not want to come and hunt due to security issues, the hunted is destroying the environment and communities whilst the community is poaching the hunted! Join me next week as I discuss the impact of poaching and hunting concessions.
• Shingi Munyeza is the Group Commercial Director for Cresta Hospitality.
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Pierre Schori, who flew into London after his visa was cancelled, is expected to report to the ministers at the meeting in Brussels.
Possible EU sanctions
Travel ban on Mr Mugabe and about 20 close associates
Freeze on any assets they hold in EU states
But he appeared to play down the prospect of immediate sanctions against President Mugabe's government.
He said he had been accused by the Zimbabwean authorities of political bias and of abusing his status as a tourist - despite stating all along that he was in the country as part of the EU observer mission.
"I think they are trying to fabricate a bad case on semi-legal grounds but the whole thing is absurd," Mr Schori said.
Mr Schori leaves behind a team of 30 observers in Zimbabwe who are continuing to prepare to cover the vote.
Mr Mugabe has been seeking to enlist the support of other African leaders in the face of allegations of violence and intimidation against his political opponents.
He justified the expulsion of Mr Schori when he met other African leaders on Sunday in Mozambique, describing Mr Schori, a Swede, as an "uninvited guest" to Zimbabwe's "election banquet".
His government accuses Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden of supporting the opposition.
He insisted that the election would be "free and fair".
The president of Malawi also chairs the South African Development Community (SADC), which is due to send its own election observers to Zimbabwe on Monday.
But the head of the Zimbabwean opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused the SADC of backing Mr Mugabe.
"SADC must live up to its responsibilities, which is to protect the people and not the leaders," he told a meeting of his supporters
Money Supply Growth Continues to Spiral
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
February 15, 2002
Posted to the web February 17, 2002
ECONOMISTS have warned that government's failure to control money supply growth, which continues to move upwards towards three digit levels on the back of high domestic credit expansion, will fuel inflation.
Bulawayo-based economist, Erich Bloch said the surge in money supply growth was catastrophic as it is the biggest single cause of inflation.
Money supply growth maintained its upswing (89,2% in October 2001) on the back of high domestic credit expansion (75,5%) of which government accounts for 50%.
"Government is the principal cause of inflation," said Bloch, arguing that the extent to which government was heavily borrowing from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was tantamount to the printing of money.
He said the upward trend would continue considering the government's high expenditure to bolster the presidential campaign.
"Until a time when government manages to cut and control its expenditure, the current inflation pattern will remain on the horizon," he said.
Analysts say the prevailing economic instability stifled investment and the situation was worsened by a manipulated foreign exchange policy.
Government's domestic debt had already breached the $200 billion dollar mark. Analysts said this fuelled inflationary pressures.
Independent economist John Robertson said a surge in money supply growth was worrying because it showed that credit creation by government exceeded economic growth.
Robertson warned that borrowing for commercial purposes instead of industrial production was a great source of inflation.
Economists attributed the continued increase of money supply to the government's over expenditure and heavy borrowings from the domestic banking sector amid foreign currency shortages.
They said that government was spending more money than it could save for investment, a situation which would result in continued borrowings to meet its debt repayment obligations.
Robertson said he was worried at the rate at which the economy was shrinking compared to the high rate of money supply.
"We are rapidly heading for a hard landing," one bank economist said.
The economists said with the inflation rate at 112,1%, money policy in 2002 would continue to be driven by the government's need to finance the fiscal deficit, mainly by local borrowings through Treasury bills and by printing of money.
The RBZ reported that the annual broad money supply rate averaged 21,9% in 1998 before accelerating to the current level which is in excess of 8,2% by October 2001.
Analysts said the introduction of higher Zimbabwe dollar denominations was indicative of a rising demand for money transactions on the back of rising commodity prices.
Analysts maintained that the multiple shocks to the government budget which had seen financing increasingly being done through money creation, was also accelerating the depreciation of the local currency.
They said a vicious circle of fiscal deficits, currency devaluation and substitution, fuelling the inflation spiral through the quick rise was now very apparent.
Fund managers said other solutions to arrest money supply growth were to hike the bank rate currently at 52% or for the RBZ to increase the statutory reserve for banks.
Although the government has so far been successful in manipulating monetary policy, pushing interest rates down to levels well below the rate of inflation in the first half of the year, it was not clear how long it could continue with the strategy.
Currently indications were that the domestic financial markets expected interest rates to remain negative until the presidential election next month, although they could increase modestly.
Analysts said they believed that after the election a more conventional (and tighter) monetary policy was likely to be introduced, as part of a post-election reform package, which would push interest rates up.
They said money supply forecasting proved to be difficult as the RBZ confirmed announcing surpluses. The rate at which the money market was continuing to be in surplus even without made difficult for analysts to forecast the direction the market would take, they said.
Maize Shortage Hits Milling Companies
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
February 15, 2002
Posted to the web February 17, 2002
ZIMBABWE'S milling industry is set to scale down operations because of the maize shortages which have thrown the sector into crisis, it emerged this week.
Sources in the industry who spoke on condition of anonymity said inadequate maize supplies had adversely impacted on the production processes of the three major milling companies, National Foods, Blue Ribbon Foods and Victoria Milling.
The country is experiencing serious maize shortages which have resulted in the staple mealie-meal becoming scarce.
It is feared the shortages in the supply of maize-meal might force the industry to adopt measures to minimise production costs.
The Zimbabwe Independent established that while there had been efforts to improve the supply of maize to the milling firms, most millers were still short of the commodity.
"If the situation does not improve, it will be difficult to sustain production in the long term," said a manager for a top milling firm.
The shortage of maize has impacted on the bottom line of the milling sector already reeling under escalating production costs and the negative impact of price controls on the commodity.
Sources in the industry said some millers were planning to scale down non-production departments to stay solvent.
The erratic supply of mealie-meal has also impacted on the retail sector where demand outstrips supply. Long queues have sprouted all over the country and people are being forced to spend days waiting for supplies Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe vice chairman, James Mangwana Tshuma, yesterday said milling industry officials were holding numerous meetings with the Grain Marketing Board to map the way forward.
He refused to give details on the operational crisis being faced by the industry