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

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Jail Fears Prompted Journalists' Flight

Correspondent says he and two of his colleagues had no option but to flee
the country.

By Brian Latham in London (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 09,

Valentine's Day, February 14, saw yet another setback for journalists in
Zimbabwe. Police from the country's feared Law and Order Section raided the
office used by Associated Press freelancer Angus Shaw, Jan Raath a stringer
for the Times of London and me, the freelance correspondent for Bloomberg
News in New York.

The police conducted two searches over two days without warrants. Hard
drives were removed from computers and unencrypted without permission. In
the constant company of officers, we weren't even allowed to visit the
lavatory without supervision.

The office, in Harare's downtown Avenues District, had been used by
journalists for decades. Its location has never been a secret to anyone and
it was widely known among journalists as the old gentlemen's news
cooperative because, uniquely these days, it was shared by competing

Our lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, a brave protector of the press over the years,
received information that Zimbabwe's police were going to pursue charges
against us at all cost. Independently of Beatrice, we were also tipped off
by sources in the country's ruling ZANU PF party who said the authorities
were going to jail us.

The police eventually left the office on Monday evening, saying they would
either come to our homes or summons us by phone to Harare Central Police
Station. After about six hours of endless questioning and not-so-veiled
threats, we jointly decided we had no option but to flee.

Earlier in the day, the police, who refused to give their names, had told
Beatrice Mtetwa they did not need information to search our offices or
question us.

"First we find suspects, then we get information from the suspects," they
said, laughing when Mtetwa said it was supposed to be the other way around.

Leaving the country was fraught with potential difficulties. Harare
International Airport, guarded heavily by police and state security agents
from the Central Intelligence Organisation, was ruled out. Instead we left
by road, separately and heading for different borders at different times.

We left behind us our homes, our country, our friends and our families,
losing everything in a flight for freedom in strange, new countries. The
future has never seemed more uncertain.

As for the people who helped us escape, they cannot be named and their help
cannot be written about. To do so would invite the certain wrath of the
authorities, incarceration, beating and possibly worse. If journalists have
a tough time in Zimbabwe, so too do ordinary people who have seen their
fathers tortured, their wives and daughters raped and their homes burned to
the ground by President Robert Mugabe's notorious Green Bomber militias.

Our departure came just six weeks before a general election set for March 31
that will see the ruling Zanu PF pit itself against the Movement for
Democratic Change. The poll has already been dubbed "the free and fear"
election by residents of Harare's overwhelmingly MDC controlled townships.

With the effective closure of the Associated Press, Bloomberg, DPA and Times
bureaus, Zimbabwe's already embattled foreign correspondents association has
seen its numbers fall catastrophically. Only the tiny Reuters and AFP
bureaus remain to cover an election in a country the size of California. The
Zanu PF-controlled government has already made it clear that "unfriendly
western nations" will be barred from sending observers and monitors.

Still, many say our forced departure was to be expected. We follow in the
footsteps of others evicted even more forcefully. Long-standing old Africa
hands like Andrew Meldrum of the Guardian was deported, illegally and
literally by the scruff of his neck, for no apparent reason. Others like
David Blair of the Telegraph saw applications for their work permits refused
for no given reason.

Our predecessors, though, had all been born abroad. Angus Shaw and I were
born Zimbabweans. We were educated and brought up there and had lived almost
our entire lives in the country. Meanwhile Jan Raath, born in neighbouring
South Africa, had made Zimbabwe his home over 30 years ago and remains a
Zimbabwean citizen. But birthright and citizenship counted for little on
Valentine's Day 2005.

Others have asked why we did not remain to fight the system, why we fled.
The truth is that we could not fight. During the last five years of
political upheaval in Zimbabwe, all three of us have witnessed brutality the
country has not seen since the 1970s bush war that ravaged then-Rhodesia.
For the lonely individual, the massed Zanu PF forces of militias, police,
spy agencies, informers and soldiers is unbeatable. We had to escape because
the option was a disease ridden prison cell, possible torture and almost
certain beating and humiliation.

Uppermost in my mind was the almost nine-month incarceration of Mugabe's own
finance minister, Chris Kureneri. He has been charged, but not tried for,
the very same "economic crimes" the police levelled at us. If Mugabe is
prepared to let his own minister rot in prison, what might he charge us
with - spying, working as "illegal journalists", publishing information
likely to be prejudicial to the security of the state and economic crimes
before us?

Brian Latham has for the time being sought refuge in London.

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

A Troubled Reunion

Ex-teacher returns to his former school to find hope replaced by fear and

By Jim Moffatt in Zvimba (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 09,

I have just returned to the rural Zimbabwean secondary school where I spent
a year teaching twelve years ago before going to university in Britain. I am
shocked by the degree to which the optimism of the past has been overridden
by fear.

The school, when I first arrived as a teenager in 1993, was in a poor
village. There was no electricity and no running water. This, near the small
town where President Robert Mugabe was born and had built himself a small
palace. Mugabe's younger sister, Sabina, was the local MP for the ruling
ZANU PF party.

Although few of the children had shoes and one book had to be shared between
three of them, there was an overriding sense of optimism. Zimbabwe at the
time was the bread basket of southern Africa and the talk was of

I was sad to leave. I had made good friends and had fallen in love with
Africa and the way of life. As I followed the news in Britain from Zimbabwe,
I often wondered what had happened to my school and my friends living there.

At last the opportunity came to return. I noticed the change as soon as I
headed up the familiar old red dirt track towards the school. Where before
the people in the homesteads waved and smiled, now they just stared sullenly
and suspiciously.

I stopped first at the house of the bottle store owner, a good friend in the
old days. He was pleased to see me but was plainly uneasy and uncomfortable.
When I asked if I could stay with him he looked unhappy and said it was
impossible since his sons were about to visit him.

I went to see Tafadzwa, an ex-pupil who was now subsistence farming on his
family plot. Times are hard, he said - no jobs, little money and everyone is
hungry. In the past the villagers grew maize for themselves and sold excess
to the government Grain Marketing Board, GMB. These sales provided money for
school fees, transport and grain out of season.

But now the GMB had no money, so there was no cash income.

We touched on politics and why things were getting worse, but he put his
finger to his lips and said, "We mustn't talk about such things. This area
is politically sensitive." It was a clear reference to the absolute power
ZANU PF wields in the area through the chiefs, police and youth militia, a
violent outfit totally loyal to Mugabe and reminiscent of Hitler's
Brownshirts, but in their case dressed in bottle green uniforms.

I suggested we head over to the school, as I had bought some footballs for
the pupils. Tafadzwa said that I should also give one to the "boys who are
camping around", the local youth militia unit who have the fearsome name the
Green Bombers. He was also keen that I meet the Green Bombers' leader -
"just so there will be no trouble".

As we approached the school, we saw a group of men moving in our direction.
Tafadzwa became agitated and said that the leader was coming. He quickly
showed me how to make the ZANU PF fist salute. Soon we found ourselves
surrounded by five men carrying clubs.

The leader introduced his squad - himself, the secretary carrying a
notebook, and three security men smoking marijuana. I explained who I was,
that I had taught at the school and that we had come to donate footballs,
one of which I would be delighted to offer to the Green Bombers.

The leader said it was compulsory for me to report to the local chairman of
ZANU PF. We went to see him via the school. The library that we had
installed was now just empty shelves. The science block, which was beginning
to be built when I left, was still a pile of bricks.

Past the school we arrived at a homestead where about twenty young men were
sitting around drinking locally brewed maize beer. On seeing me everything
stopped and the ZANU PF chairman led the men towards me. Tafadzwa gave the
fist salute and started chanting in Shona the ZANU PF slogan - "unity,

The ZANU PF chairman stared hard at me and, just for safety, I found myself
also punching the air and chanting the slogan. He relaxed, offered me some
beer and thanked me for the footballs.

I saw Nkani, who was captain of the school football team I had coached. He
was now one of the ZANU PF chairman's gang. He said he had been a miner for
a while after he left school, but that he had injured his leg and returned
to the village. "It is good that you have met the chairman, as now it means
there will be no trouble," he told me. I asked what he did these days, and
he laughed, saying he was "just around, helping out with the guys because
there is no work no jobs".

Keen to get away from the chairman's understated menace, I went with
Tafadzwa to find someone from the primary school to hand over its share of
the footballs I had brought. We met one of the teachers, Mr Marufu, who I
had known well. I asked him what the Green Bombers did in the community. "As
long as you kept quiet and have your party card then things are OK," he
said. Looking embarrassed as he showed me his ZANU PF card, he added softly,
"Things have changed since you were last here."

There followed one of the most unusual football matches I have ever played
in. Both teams, other than Tafadzwa and me, were made up of Green Bomber
youths. The guys were physical, boisterous - they all had the swagger of men
who were used to a certain respect. My team won 4-1.

Afterwards, we headed to the bottle store where it was suggested I make a
donation towards "refreshments". I talked more with Nkani, who admitted,
"Things are bad, but the problem lies with the West which is making it
difficult for Zimbabweans." I saw others whom I had known, but in the
presence of the Green Bombers they were muted and watchful.

I sensed danger to myself and to Tafadzwa and his family if I prolonged my
visit. The prevailing fear was tangible. It was clear also that ZANU PF and
the Green Bombers have a total grip on the rural community that will
translate into votes for the rulers in the parliamentary election on March

Everywhere else I went the situation was equally grim. In the towns, fuel
shortages, power failures, water cuts and downed telephone lines make daily
life trying and business tough. Banks are being closed down because
directors have fraudulently spent their depositors' money.

Things will clearly have to get worse before they can get better.

In the meantime, the people just keep quiet and wait for change. One old man
in my once happy village gripped my arm and said, "We have become like
turtles, just hiding in our shells until it is safe to come out again."

Jim Moffat is no longer a teacher. He now works in marketing in Paris.
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Business Day

Zimbabwe leaves it late for poll observer teams
Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWE will start officially accrediting observers for next month's
general election at the beginning of March, exactly a month before the
polling date.

Official sources said yesterday that the accreditation of the observers, who
have been invited but have not yet received invitations, would begin on
March 1.

Zimbabwe invited foreign observers last week in breach of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) election guidelines, which say the
observers must be invited 90 days before voting day.

The current environment in Zimbabwe is widely seen as not conducive for free
and fair elections.

Zimbabwe has invited 23 African countries, five from Asia, three from the
Americas and only Russia from Europe to observe the election.

SADC leaders have been concerned about the delay in inviting the SADC
election observer mission to participate.

President Thabo Mbeki has stressed the need for observers to urgently go to
Zimbabwe and assess the situation.

Mbeki, who chairs the SADC organ on politics, defence and security, has been
awaiting an official invitation from Zimbabwe to constitute the SADC
observer mission.

After getting the invitation letter, Mbeki will form the team and mandate
SADC executive secretary Prega Ramsamy to notify the members who will go to

The SADC observer mission will be headed by an official appointed by Mbeki
and will be the spokesman of the team.

The team is expected to be given unfettered access within the laws of the
host country to do its job of assessing the legal and political framework
for the elections.

The accreditation exercise in Zimbabwe will be done by the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC), whose chief elections officer is retired Brig
Kennedy Zimondi. ESC, a constitutional body, supervises the registration of
voters and elections.

The newly-formed Zimbabwe Elections Commission, a supposedly independent
statutory body expected to run the coming election, can be overridden by the
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New Zimbabwe

Charamba rings changes at ZBH

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 02/24/2005 11:28:46
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba is leading a dramatic
reshaping of the State media and reversing some unpopular decisions
introduced by the former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, New was told last night.

Charamba, the permanent secretary in Moyo's former ministry is reported to
be trying to streamline changes, beginning at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings (ZBH) which has been struggling to pay staff.

The restructuing is expected to widen to the State newspapers -- mainly the
Herald and Chronicle -- where Moyo still has a lot of supporters.

"Charamba summoned ZBH senior management to Harare on Tuesday where he
announced plans to undo most of Moyo's ambitious but unprofitable
experiments," a ZBH source said.

Moyo was fired from government after he filed nomination papers to stand as
an independent candidate for Tsholotsho in parliamentary elections later
next month.

Moyo's ambitious plans, which included relocating some radio stations from
Harare and Bulawayo to smaller towns, have resulted in the ZBH making huge
losses, with workers sometimes going unpaid for weeks.

Sources said Charamba told the meeting his plans to undo some of Moyo's
plans, including renaming some of the radio stations and abandoning Moyo's
stillborn project of introducing the National Broadcasting Corporation -- a
24 hour television channel.

Although Charamba is clearly in charge of the Ministry of Information
following Moyo's departure, political analysts see him as an unlikely
replacement for the voluble workaholic, Moyo.

The favourite to take over charge of the ministry is Webster Shamu, that is,
if he wins the election.

Meanwhile, as the democratic space continues to shrink in Zimbabwe in the
run-up to next month's crucial parliamentary election, the Voice of
America's Studio Seven has introduced a morning show focusing on the
forthcoming elections.

The morning show, which began early February, is co-hosted by Chris Gande, a
former bureau chief of the Daily News in Bulawayo, and Nigerian journalist
Chinedu Offor.

The breakfast show, which starts at 5:39 am Zimbabwe time, has fast gained

Studio Seven, which has been broadcasting for the past two years for one
hour in Shona, Ndebele and English everyday including week ends, is one of
the most popular alternatives to the state controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting

The radio station is run by Zimbabwe's journalists who include Ray Choto,
who was severely tortured by the army following a story he wrote about an
alleged coup and Blessing Zulu formerly of the Independent.

Brenda Moyo, Praxedes Jeremiah, Carol Gombakomba, all former ZBC workers,
Marvellous Nyahuye, Ndimiyake Mwakalyelye and Jonga Kandemiri are some of
the broadcasters based in Washington DC.

On Tuesday, SW Radio Africa announced it was widening coverage by going on
the Medium Wave with a morning news and current affairs programme.
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      Moyo comes out fighting

      Njabulo Ncube
      2/24/2005 7:33:42 AM (GMT +2)

      DISMISSED Information Minister Jonathan Moyo - still trying to come to
terms with his inglorious exit - lashed out at the system that enticed him
into government in 2000 but later dumped him, saying President Robert Mugabe
is now surrounded by undemocratic tribalists.

      In an exclusive interview with The Financial Gazette yesterday, the
former spin-doctor who courted President Mugabe's ire after he decided to
stand in the March parliamentary polls as an independent candidate, invoked
memories of the 1980s when the United States-educated professor was a
trenchant ZANU PF critic.
      Moyo, who needs to win in his native Tsholotsho constituency to remain
relevant in Zimbabwe's fluid politics, says he is not bitter about his
humiliating exit from government and ZANU PF, which he claims he helped win
the disputed 2000 and 2002 elections.
      The ruling party's old guard, which considers Moyo to be arrogant and
contemptuous, has however since welcomed his departure as good riddance
while the media fraternity loudly breathed a collective sigh of relief that
it would not have to suffer the anguish visited upon them by Moyo, widely
seen as the architect of retrogressive media laws. These laws were used for
systematic bullying and intimidation against the private media which saw no
less than three newspapers close down inside 12 months.
      The tongue-lashing academic-turned-propagandist, who was probably the
most hated government minister ever since independence, said undemocratic
political machinations by senior ZANU PF officials contributed to his
political misfortunes, which he claims started long before the ill-fated
Tsholotsho debacle.
      Since joining President Mugabe's Cabinet in 2000, Moyo has crossed
swords with senior ZANU PF heavyweights such as Vice President Joseph Msika,
ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo and ruling party information chief
Nathan Shamuyarira, among others.
      Moyo had largely avoided crossing President Mugabe's path until late
last year when he was caught up in an alleged Tsholotsho conspiracy designed
to scuttle Vice President Joyce Mujuru's ascendancy to the presidium.
      Moyo denies the charge.
      Yesterday, Moyo attributed his failure to make it to the central
committee, ZANU PF's policy-making organ, and to contest the Tsholotsho
primaries on the ruling party ticket to tribalism, which he said constituted
an internal threat to the ruling party.
      He said President Mugabe was surrounded by tribalists dabbling in the
politics of patronage that is threatening the democratic principles of the
ruling ZANU PF, which has since said it will not miss the mercurial former
information minister.
      "I believe ZANU PF has democratic principles and I am proud of the
fact that ZANU PF is the party of liberation and that before November 18,
2005, (the day of the contentious Dinyane meeting in Tsholotsho) ZANU PF had
a democratic constitution. But I am deeply disturbed that these democratic
principles, the liberation history and democratic constitution, have all not
been applied in letter and spirit, in an honest and fair way," said Moyo.
      "I am standing as an independent candidate in Tsholotsho as a
statement against tribalism, against the politics of patronage, against the
personalisation of national unity by an increasingly selfish, arrogant and
unaccountable old guard and for sovereignty, democracy and development at
local, provincial and national levels," added Moyo yesterday.
      "The issue of indiscipline is total rubbish. It is about the failure
to respect the party constitution, to apply rules in an honest and
consistent way in all cases. The Dinyane meeting was not against any
provisions or procedures of the party's constitution," he added.
      Moyo registered as an independent candidate in Tsholotsho after the
ZANU PF Matabelelend North provincial executive reserved the constituency
for women following a congress resolution that 30 percent of the 120
contested seats be set a side for female candidates. Ruling party supporters
in Tsholotsho had nominated Moyo as the ZANU PF candidate for the
parliamentary polls set for March 31.
      The ZANU PF presidium, which suspended six provincial chairmen and
other senior party officials that attended the Tsholotsho meeting, regards
the gathering at Dinyane School as illegal.
      Moyo maintained yesterday there was nothing illegal about the meeting,
except that some senior ZANU PF officials around President Mugabe were
jealous of the emergent class of young ruling party politicians.
      "It (Tsholotsho) was not against any rule; in fact similar meetings
and gatherings took place in Mazoe, Beatrice, Ruwa to name but just a few
places. No noise has been made about these similar gatherings because the
participants in these meetings were seen as the right people, meeting at the
right places for the right reasons to nominate the right person. We at
Tsholotsho were seen as the wrong people, meeting at the wrong place for the
wrong reasons of wanting to nominate the wrong person.
      "I have no doubt that if we had met as we did with the same people at
the same venue for the same purpose of speech and prize giving but perceived
to be supporting Mai Joyce Mujuru, we would have been congratulated and
Tsholotsho will not have been declared reserved for women. If you understand
that, you will understand why I don't feel I was a victim but discriminated
against. I have sought and looked around why and found that it all because
of tribalism and politics of patronage," said Moyo.
      "There has been a lot of personal rule at the expense of principles
and the constitution and I find this very scary. I don't mind dealing with
an unfair rule as long as I know that it can be amended and changed fairly,
but I have a problem with an unfair person or bad person who happens to be
in a powerful position that he or she can use to impose their will against
clear rules and procedures and get away with it."
      The former information minister, the mastermind behind the draconian
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), who delighted
in pouring vitriol against the opposition and critics within the government,
expressed disappointment at the manner he had been treated in ZANU PF,
culminating to his sacking last Saturday.
      It is understood the government immediately withdrew personal aides,
government vehicles and cut off his mobile phone line a few hours after
President Mugabe faxed the dismissal letter on Saturday evening.
      "I feel it's uncivilised... the manner in which I was treated. It
should not be used as a precedent because it will scare away honest, good,
committed and hard working competent people from working for ZANU PF and the
state. Overzealous individuals behind it should be forgiven for they do not
know what they are doing," he said.
      "I have the greatest respect for President Mugabe. I have first hand
knowledge and experience of his commitment to principle and I know his
legacy will remain difficult to match by many generations to come. But my
heart is bleeding because he is currently surrounded by a visionless tribal
clique whose myopic decisions and actions are putting at risk the
President's exemplary legacy."

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      SA issues warrant of arrest for Rautenbach

      Felix Njini
      2/24/2005 7:34:33 AM (GMT +2)

      SOUTH Africa's crack investigation unit, the Scorpions, last week
issued an international warrant of arrest for maverick Zimbabwean
businessman Billy Rautenbach - wanted across the Limpopo on allegations of
fraud involving billions of dollars.

      The controversial businessman, with extensive interests in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is alleged to have committed various
crimes including fraud relating to the conduct of his Hyundai motor vehicle
importation business when he was still head of Hyundai SA.
      Reports from South Africa say the Supreme Court of appeal last week
reinstated a restraint order by the Scorpions on Rautenbach's house, six
flats in Sandhurst, farms in Kwazulu-Natal and the Western Cape, a Falcon
jet and a Bell Ranger helicopter.
      The National Directorate of Public Prosecutions' Asset Forfeiture Unit
has been pressing the highest courts in that country for a final restraint
order to seize the property, worth around R60 million.
      Rautenbach however, told The Financial Gazette this week that some
influential business people were out to get him and accused the Scorpions of
being used "in pursuit of personal vendettas".
      He said: "Their case is weak ... they have failed to prove a thing
against me for the past five years." The Scorpions have been battling to nab
Rautenbach, who left South Africa five years ago.
      Sources said Pretoria might approach the Zimbabwean authorities to
extradite Rautenbach, whose mining activities in the DRC upset the status
quo in that country, resulting in a blaze of negative publicity in the
      Rautenbach has in the past been linked to the government, and ZANU PF
in particular, although the businessman professed to have no influence in
Zimbabwean politics.
      The businessman, who headed a joint venture cobalt-mining company and
was chief executive of Gecamines from November 1998 to March 2000, said his
problems emanated from his business involvement in the DRC.
      His company, Ridgepointe International, clinched mining rights to
Gecamines concessions at Shinkolobwe, which include substantial deposits of
copper and cobalt.
      "The same people who have tried to bring me down during the past five
years are still after me. I know if I From Page 1
      Mazoe, Beatrice, Ruwa to name but just a few places. No noise has been
made about these similar gatherings because the participants in these
meetings were seen as the right people, meeting at the right places for the
right reasons to nominate the right person. We at Tsholotsho were seen as
the wrong people, meeting at the wrong place for the wrong reasons of
wanting to nominate the wrong person.
      "I have no doubt that if we had met as we did with the same people at
the same venue for the same purpose of speech and prize giving but perceived
to be supporting Mai Joyce Mujuru, we would have been congratulated and
Tsholotsho would not have been declared reserved for women. If you
understand that, you will understand why I don't feel I was a victim but
discriminated against. I have sought and looked around why and found that it
all because of tribalism and politics of patronage," said Moyo.
      "There has been a lot of personal rule at the expense of principles
and the constitution and I find this very scary. I don't mind dealing with
an unfair rule as long as I know that it can be amended and changed fairly,
but I have a problem with an unfair person or bad person who happens to be
in a powerful position that he or she can use to impose their will against
clear rules and procedures and get away with it."
      The former information minister, who delighted in pouring vitriol
against the opposition and critics within the government, expressed
disappointment at how he was treated during his last days in ZANU PF,
culminating in his sacking last Saturday.
      It is understood the government immediately withdrew personal aides,
government vehicles and cut off his mobile phone line a few hours after
President Mugabe faxed the dismissal letter on Saturday evening.
      "I feel it's uncivilised... the manner in which I was treated. It
should not be used as a precedent because it will scare away honest, good,
committed and hard working competent people from working for ZANU PF and the
state. Overzealous individuals behind it should be forgiven for they do not
know what they are doing," he said.
      "I have the greatest respect for President Mugabe. I have first hand
knowledge and experience of his commitment to principle and I know his
legacy will remain difficult to match by many generations to come. But my
heart is bleeding because he is currently surrounded by a visionless tribal
clique whose myopic decisions and actions are putting at risk the
President's exemplary legacy."
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      A  nation of poor millionaires

      Charles Rukuni
      2/24/2005 7:38:28 AM (GMT +2)

      I ALMOST blew my top when the cashier at The Post in Zambia told me
she did not have my change.

      It was only K200. But that was way back in 1997. I was thinking like a
typical Zimbabwean. Two hundred Zim dollars was a lot of money at the time.
      I was baffled when the lady gave me K500. I refused to take it because
it was much more than she owed me. I backed down when she insisted and told
her she could keep the K200 instead.
      I felt very stupid when I got to my hotel and started reconciling my
expenses. I had been fuming over less than 10 US cents.
      Eight years down the line, it has become routine for cashiers at
supermarkets here to take my $200 change without any explanation or excuse.
And at times it's no use complaining because the money is not even enough to
buy a box of matches. How things have changed!
      Way back in 1997, I would have totally refused to accept that we would
sink this deep. We had seen how our neighbours had wrecked their economies,
so we could not make the same mistake.
      After all our leaders had lived or grown up in these countries. We
thought they knew better.
      Though we were off the International Monetary Fund books, our economy
was improving. At least that was what the figures told us. Inflation was
going down and had dropped to 18 percent.
      That was until what has now been dubbed Black Friday in November 1997,
when the Zimbabwe dollar, which had been trading at around 11 to the
greenback, suddenly fell to 25.
      Several theories have been floated.
      Some argue that the crash was due to the disbursement of an
unbudgeted-for $4 billion to veterans of Zimbabwe's war of liberation. That
was a lot of money at the time.
      Others argue that the Zim dollar's fall was triggered by the listing
of more than 1 500 white-owned farms for compulsory acquisition.
      Whatever the reason, the country went on a six-year slide, which saw
inflation shoot up to over 600 percent and the dollar slide to more 8 000 to
the greenback.
      The country had almost become a free-for-all until Gideon Gono was
appointed central bank governor and cracked down on the financial sector,
which was at the centre of widespread speculative behaviour.
      The introduction of bearer's cheques, following a critical cash
shortage that crippled the country for almost six months in 2003 resulting
in cash itself becoming tradable, seemed to compound things.
      People became millionaires overnight. And you could carry that million
in your shirt pocket.
      It appears the government was more shocked by the fall of the dollar
than the public as it kept an unrealistic tax-free threshold of $200 000 a
month for more than nine months after the introduction of bearer's cheques,
yet the bread basket compiled by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe was more
than four times that amount.
      Though the government has since reviewed the tax-free threshold to $1
million, this still falls short of the poverty line. The consumer council
now says a family needs more than $1.7 million for its basic requirements.
      In other words, we now have a ridiculous situation where we have
millionaires who are starving.
      While we basically have five notes that still function, the $20 000,
$10 000 and $5 000 bearer's cheques as well as the $1 000 and $500 notes, we
still have a lot of useless notes in circulation such as the $5, $10, $20,
$50 and $100.
      To make matters worse, the central bank insists coins are still legal
tender, yet no one accepts them now.
      The wear and tear on the notes, particularly the $1 000 and $500, is
just amazing. They are now the equivalent of a $1 and 50-cent coins.
      This has prompted people to argue that when Gono introduces a new
currency next year, he must seriously consider giving Zimbabwe's money some
      There are suggestions that the country should get rid of the last
three zeroes, with the $1 000 becoming a dollar and $1 million becoming $1
      We would not need big denominations like the $20 000 bearer's cheque,
or even the $1 000 note. The $100 which ruled supreme in 1997 would once
again be the highest-denomination currency.
      A lot of things do not make sense as things stand. School fees now run
into millions. Some cars are selling for over a billion. Houses are going
for billions. Companies are making profits in billions.
      Instead of having a millionaires' list, those with billions are the
real rich. Surely, this can be reversed at the stroke of a pen.
      I wouldn't mind earning $2 000 and being able to buy everything I want
and send my children to school, rather than earning $5 million and not being
able to buy enough groceries for a month.
      Let us bring back the respect the word millionaire deserves. We cannot
afford to have too many poor millionaires. Very few people, except us, will
understand that.
      Even children will end up confused if all they can see are seven and
10 figures. They might start thinking: what is the point of starting to
count from one? They might as well start at 100 or 1 000 or even one

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      IMF gives Zim space to mend its ways

      Hama Saburi
      2/24/2005 7:39:41 AM (GMT +2)

      THE International Monetary Fund's (IMF) decision to spare Harare the
rod that would have shoved the country out of the 184-member family, has
given Zimbabwe breathing space to put its house in order.

      The southern African state, wrestling a five-year economic recession,
survived compulsory withdrawal from the IMF last week, which could have
slammed the brakes on overtures to re-engage the fund.
      Compulsory withdrawal, the last step in a series of escalating
measures applied by the IMF to members that fail to meet their obligations,
would also have put paid to efforts to fuse Harare into the international
      The IMF, which pulled the plug on Zimbabwe in 1999 when it withdrew
balance-of-payments support, threw a major lifeline mid last week after its
executive board agreed to give the country another chance.
      That the global financial behemoth, whose backing is considered a seal
of approval by other international financiers could spare the stick on
Zimbabwe, has added verve into Harare's think tanks at the centre of getting
the country out of the woods.
      "If they (IMF) say things are well in Zimbabwe, others will also come
in. That is why Libya and China are also going to the West; and also, as a
strategy, it is better to fight with others through such integration such as
the African Union," said economist Godfrey Kanyenze.
      The IMF postponed a recommendation with respect to compulsory
withdrawal in view of the severity of the decision and increases in payments
from Zimbabwe since the last review in July 2004, providing it with another
chance to strengthen its cooperation with the fund in terms of economic
policies and payments.
      "The executive board will consider again the managing director's
complaint regarding Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the fund within
six months or at the time of the executive board's discussion of the 2005
Article IV consultation with Zimbabwe, whichever is earlier," noted the
      Analysts acknowledged the Bretton Woods institution had loosened the
noose around Harare's neck, particularly when viewed against the voting
pattern seen at the Washington-based fund on Wednesday.
      Out of the 184-member countries, four representing 31.33 percent of
the votes, voted for Zimbabwe's expulsion, while 19 directors - representing
179 countries - voted in Zimbabwe's favour. These held 65.29 percent of the
votes. Only one country, accounting for 2.85 percent of the votes,
      Britain and the United States, accused by President Robert Mugabe of
working with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to topple his
government, casts their votes against Zimbabwe, sources say.
      The rest of the fund's directors, except one, swung the pendulum in
Zimbabwe's favour on the back of increased payments to the IMF and steps
taken so far to arrest the economic decline.
      Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor credited with
instituting bold measures to rescue the economy, picked something positive
out of last week's voting pattern.
      He was quoted saying: "At the end of the day, it is not so much the
vote for or against which matters, the bottom line is that we owe it to
ourselves to turn around our economy first and foremost; to reduce inflation
to sustainable levels; to promote investments and exports; to create more
employment for our people; more self reliance and empowerment for ourselves,
more than it benefits outsiders."
      Economist Kanyenze said the IMF, also accused by President Mugabe of
pandering to the whims of his political foes namely Britain and the United
States, had adopted a carrot and stick approach to entice Harare into doing
      He said the country should now develop long-term developmental
strategies, saying the macro-economic framework contained in the Finance
Ministry's 2005 budget was not enough.
      "At the moment we are leaning on one leg, which is the monetary policy
and we need to fire from all cylinders," he said. "The March 31 elections
are another opportunity for us. Let us have a peaceful election so that we
can score on the political front as well," he added.
      Relations between the IMF and Harare took a turn for the worst in
1999, as the region's breadbasket then descended into its worst economic and
political crisis.
      The IMF then gave notice of intent to expel Zimbabwe in December 2003
and last week's meeting was part of the fund's six-month review of that
      At the core of the fallout was Zimbabwe's arrears with the IMF, poor
fiscal and monetary policies and governance issues.
      Zimbabwe has been in continuous arrears to the IMF since February
2001. As of February 15 2005, the country's arrears amounted to US306
million or about 57 percent of its quota in the IMF.
      The government recently increased its payments from US$1.5 million to
US$5 million.
      Kanyenze said the fund, which closed its Harare office last year due
to the lack of a country assistance programme since 1999, would continue
loosening its grip on Zimbabwe should the authorities show consistency in
implementing policies that would nurse the recession.
      The movement in the exchange rate, according to analysts, presents yet
another danger that could ignite inflation, which took a huge thud from a
peak of around 623 percent in January 2004 to 133.6 percent last month.
      "We need huge dosages of foreign currency to bridge demand because 80
percent of the demand for foreign exchange is not being met by what is
flowing in at the moment," he said. "Everyone should have the passion that
Gono has including labour and other policy matrixes," added Kanyenze.
      Financial Holdings Limited economist Best Doroh, who also welcomed the
IMF's stance, said turnaround strategies being implemented by the central
bank need "a bit of time" for the results to be felt.
      "What is critical is for us to make sure we are consistent with our
repayments, even increasing them to extinguish our arrears . . . the IMF
will be comfortable with us repaying a large chunk of the debt before they
could start re-engaging," said Doroh.
      He said Zimbabwe's recovery would be slower without the IMF.
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      Doek says a lot about Mugabe's state of mind

      Denford Magora
      2/24/2005 8:01:54 AM (GMT +2)

      THE doek worn by President Robert Mugabe as he launched the ZANU PF
election campaign has a significance that has escaped all of our
commentators and observers. Yet this single act of wearing a doek in public
tells us all we need to know about the President's state of mind at the

      And that state of mind is this: President Mugabe is at the height of
his confidence chart at the moment.
      Even as you read this, ask yourself whether you would have walked out
of your house wearing a doek to attend a public meeting (if you are a man).
The answer would probably be no.
      What would people say, you will ask yourself. What will they think of
me, you will wonder. And in order to protect your image as a macho, gung-ho
African man, you would probably have opted for a baseball cap. Or a bare
      To opt for the doek, therefore, is actually to say that your
confidence in your own person is so high that nothing you do can diminish
your stature. This is the frame of mind that the President appears to be in
at the moment.
      So confident is he of victory that he is certain he can give a
preconceived notion the finger and get away with it, which he did. This man,
clearly, is enjoying himself and it is not difficult to see why. He has
whipped his party into line.
      When fissures started to appear in the ZANU PF edifice, he stepped in
and restored some form of order. His views still largely carry the day
within the party.
      And he knows that despite all that has happened between the year 2000
and today, he is still by far the biggest asset that the ruling party has.
      Further, the President must surely be chuckling to himself as he sees
MDC MPs publicly call their own leader names as they threaten to scupper the
campaigns of chosen candidates within the MDC itself. No aspiring ZANU PF
candidate would dare to call the President names or announce in public that
he is going to treat the party's chosen candidates worse than he would treat
the opposition. Unozvitaura wakamira pai? I can almost hear the President
      Events on the ground also give us pointers to why the President's
confidence is so high at the moment. Few people would have missed the data
recently published by the Media Monitoring Project in Zimbabwe, which says
both private and public media give undue attention to ZANU PF.
      In terms of share of voice, the MDC trails ZANU PF both in the
government media and in the independent press.
      Although it seems no one is brave enough to say so, the truth is that
this scenario is a creation of the opposition itself, especially when it
comes to the private press. And by virtue of being the biggest of the
opposition party, the MDC must take full responsibility for this failure in
      The MDC has a constituency that was, at one time, eager to hear its
agenda and its plans for the country. They can be sure of comfortable, even
enthusiastic reception in some of our private media. But that media cannot
manufacture an agenda for the MDC. In essence therefore, despite what others
may say, the scenario painted by the Media Monitoring Project is more a
reflection on the MDC than on the private or government media.
      Here's why: the MDC's strategy all along has been to point at ZANU PF
and shout very loudly, day in and day out. The opposition party has deceived
itself into believing that keeping attention focused on ZANU PF is a
"strategy". But this so-called strategy is deeply flawed.
      For starters, even when ZANU PF bungles, the MDC consistently fails to
capitalise on the situation. Rarely does the MDC actually take advantage of
every misstep made by the ruling party to show people that it has its eyes
on the ball. The private media, especially, is left with nothing to write
about except the goings-on in ZANU PF.
      Should it surprise the Media Monitoring Project and the reading
public, therefore, that both public and private media focus undue attention
on ZANU PF? Why should that be, when it is the MDC itself that has put in
place a strategy that says, "Keep focus and attention on ZANU PF", in the
hope that such focus will translate to the magnifying of the ruling party's
shortcomings? It also exposes the very real thinking in the MDC that all it
needs to get into power is for ZANU PF to misgovern the country.
      This, in a country with the highest number of university graduates on
the African continent? In a country whose people are generally considered
cleverer (though not necessarily braver) than the people who lead them? The
MDC failed to ask itself how this strategy would work when things appeared
to be going right. Focus will continue to be on the President and his party
as Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono pushes inflation down. Focus will still
be on the ruling party as foreign currency inflows start to pick up.
      And what happens when ZANU PF learns from its mistakes and starts to
appear more energetic and more involved with bread and butter issues?
      Democracy's lessons are very easy to learn. Whenever your opponent
puts a foot wrong, you must be immediately there not only pointing out that
your opponent has lost the plot, but convincing people that you would have
done a better job, not because you are different from your opponent, but
because you have real ideas firmly anchored in a passion for developing the
lives of the people you seek to lead.
      This lesson has been in every British election since Churchill lost
the general election in that country immediately after he led Britain to
victory against Adolf Hitler. Any party, in power or not, that fails to
learn these lessons is simply wasting its time and that of its core
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      Fly in the ointment

      2/24/2005 8:04:39 AM (GMT +2)

      TO watch various South African interest groups fumble with the
Zimbabwean question is like seeing a Sevres vase in the hands of a
chimpanzee, as Evelyn Waugh would say.

      On one hand, these misguided groups are increasingly becoming a
political and diplomatic embarrassment for the South African government,
which should surely be desperate to jettison them. And on the other, a
squalid nuisance to the Zimbabwean government which they are driving around
the twist at a time when it has just embarked on the incipient process of
cleaning up its image after being ostracised by the international community.
      First, it was the labour movement, the Confederation of South African
Trade Unions (COSATU). And now, before one can even say Nelson Mandela, the
headstrong, patronising and dangerously opinionated South African opposition
political party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) which is given to
grandstanding, is also at it.
      Last week against its own better judgment, the South African
opposition party which obviously sees foreign policy through the wrong end
of a drain pipe, decided to come to Zimbabwe on a very political mission
without paying due regard to protocol. It sent three officials, Douglas
Gibson, Joe Seremani, and Paul Boughey, on the ill-fated journey.
      The three officials of the party, which behaves as if it is the first
in 2 005 years to know anything about democracy, came to Zimbabwe last week
ostensibly to assess whether the situation in the country was conducive to a
free and fair election.
      We could be fooled if we didn't know better. But we could not be taken
in by the pretensions of this hypocritical poseur that is the DA. Their
little stunt could have been about anything else but the wish to see
Zimbabweans express their universal adult suffrage in a free environment.
      Now, it is well known that the DA has always had an exaggerated
opinion about its relevance in Zimbabwe's politics. Through its leader Tony
Leon, the party, intoxicated by the love of attention, has over the past few
years enjoyed prophesying regime change in Zimbabwe and even intimated a
wish to play a part, any part, in the burial of the incumbent government
except that of a mute, hence its latest antics. Tony Leon's radical stance
and tub-thumping during debates on the Zimbabwean issue in the South African
parliament is well-documented.
      It is against this background that the official thinking within
Zimbabwean government circles is that those who, like the DA, oppose
President Robert Mugabe want to topple him not because of his alleged
undemocratic election but simply to put their man in. And with no other idea
above regime change, the DA's latest publicity stunt would be perceived in
government circles as dovetailing in with well-calculated moves to add to
the Zimbabwe regime's terrible aura to ratchet up pressure on President
Mugabe in a world which, to some extent, has admittedly a distorted view or
exaggerated impression of the situation obtaining in the country. The DA
knew that any reaction by the Zimbabwe government would translate into
another turn of the screw.
      Granted, Zimbabwe has lost its credibility, prestige and friends amid
controversy over the legitimacy of the incumbent government following
allegations that President Mugabe won an election tainted by unfair
campaigning. A lot has also gone wrong, giving rise to near obsolete
socio-political and economic structures, intermittent but sometimes acute
shortages of food and fuel as well as a collapsing health delivery system
among others. Not to mention the promulgation of bad and retrogressive laws
such as AIPPA and POSA.
      However, it is also a historical fact that some of the government's
worst critics do not know any more about the situation in the country than a
pig knows about Sunday! Indeed one "could drive a prairie schooner" through
some of the allegations of official excesses levelled against the government
and never scrape against a fact.
      But this is probably what the likes of the DA are taking advantage of.
Otherwise we honestly don't see how the inconsequent but voluble South
African opposition party hopes to influence Zimbabwe's political
dispensation. Even in their egoistical imagination, they know that their
influence in the country's politics is no more than a whiff of perfume on a
lady's handkerchief!
      The way the DA is handling the whole issue betrays a degree of
political and diplomatic naiveté especially as it emerged later that they
had not even conferred with the country's main opposition, the MDC, which
has since made disparaging remarks about the DA's overzealousness. The South
Africans did not seem to understand the implications, political meaning and
basic significance of their aborted move.
      Put simply, there is a dark side to the way the DA is poking its nose
in Zimbabwean affairs especially insofar as it relates to the relationship
between the ruling ZANU PF and the country's biggest opposition party, the
MDC. It is not difficult to see why.
      In the eyes of the Zimbabwe government, which is increasingly behaving
like a cornered black mamba - the DA was born of a party that was a bloat of
blood upon the history of South Africa, and so is a racist establishment.
True, the DA has protested that it is a new broom. But that is neither
reassuring nor terribly convincing to the Zimbabwean government, which feels
that the broomstick is still being ridden by the same old master who has
links to the deposed but hard to kill Rhodesian element. And rightly or
wrongly, this link is extended to the local opposition.
      Suffice to say that with the MDC considered guilty by association, the
DA was not doing the local opposition party, which the government accuses of
being a Western front to effect regime change, any favours. If anything the
DA is, for want of a better expression, nothing but a fly in the ointment.

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      Does it still make any economic sense going to work every day?

      2/24/2005 7:49:17 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR - It no longer makes any economic sense to continue chasing
after the worthless Zim dollar.

      It no longer makes any economic sense to continue working for someone.
      It no longer make any economic sense to ride a bicycle to go to work
for someone at his or her workplace or premises.
      It no longer makes any economic sense to wake up at 4am and prepare to
go to work for someone.
      The rationale to continue working for someone has to be seriously
questioned in the light of the obtaining and prevailing realities of
      The opportunity costs of going to work are too high, measured in time,
missed opportunities, tears and sweat.
      Going informal may actually be more profitable. You may make upwards
of forty five thousand dollars a day as compared to the fifteen thousand a
day obtaining in some sections of the commercials sector.
      I hate having to say this, but it is now patently obvious that black
employers, although they make millions a day, are actually the worst when it
comes to rewarding workers.
      The incidences of underpaying are frightening, to put it mildly.
      Something should be done urgently and done now.

      Milton Njuzu Mandaza

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      ...and now to the Notebook

      2/24/2005 7:59:08 AM (GMT +2)

      The end

      The end has come at long last! To every pig comes his Martinmas,
Spaniards always say. Chinobhururuka chinomhara, or is it aive madziva ave
mazambuko? The best news in five years!

      Following recent political developments in the country which saw the
long-outgoing Professor finally going, ZANU PF and ZANU PF alone is now
responsible for the safety of this Professor, whatever "sins" he might have
      If anything happens to the man, ZANU PF alone would be responsible
because right now it is ZANU PF alone that doesn't like him more than anyone
      CZ doesn't like him. He will always remember him as the man who begot
the notorious AIPPA, which in turn created the killjoy Media and Information
Commission which has already made history by closing a record three
newspapers and is threatening three more. (By the way, when is this MIC
going to summon editors from the state media whose reporters are openly
moonlighting for foreign-registered and owned newspapers?)
      We might forget, but we won't forgive him.
      Curiously, as his parting shot, he said he was doing what he was doing
as a matter of principle. Principle, my foot! As far as we know the
Professor, he always does what he does as a matter of convenience, not
      Now he knows the other side of "politics of patronage?" Good.
      At least the man can now know how it is like to be an ordinary
Zimbabwean in Zimbabwe.


      CZ is expecting media hangmen at the all-powerful Media and
Information Commission to make a swoop at one of the state-controlled
dailies and charge it or its reporter with plagiarism after its staffer last
Friday saw nothing unethical with downloading and literally reproducing an
entire column published in a privately-owned weekly a day before.
      This young man, who thinks everyone - including his editors - is a
fool, except himself, downloaded an entire column and reproduced it in its
fullness in the state daily . . . the only notable changes he made being
adding his name, and replacing words like big with large, bell with signal,
etc, etc! Surely this is criminal and, in all fairness, the MIC should act!
      And still on the good daily, since when has public relations
consultant Jill Day become the managing director of Mimosa mines?
      And how can a car robber who died in the course of a robbery be
"expected to appear in court soon"?
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      Mujuru group loses appeal

      Staff Reporter
      2/24/2005 7:40:36 AM (GMT +2)

      A CONSORTIUM led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru has lost a
High Court appeal to have business documents in the possession of ousted
owners of River Ranch Diamond Mine returned to the mine.

      The consortium, comprising Aujan Southern Africa Development, Rani
International and Kupikile Resources, had demanded that the former owners of
River Ranch and Bubye Minerals hand over all mine documents, including share
and asset registers, maps and working papers.
      The new board of directors, chaired by Adel Aujan, filed a High Court
application last year demanding that the deposed directors account for their
dealings and assets of the mine from October to September 2004.
      Justice Uchena, however, referred the case (number 10814/2004) to
      Legal experts said this means that River Ranch's new owners failed to
get the order they were seeking and can only proceed by making an
application in the lower courts.
      "The application by River Ranch was referred to trial," sources said.
      Bubye Minerals, which took control of River Ranch in 1999, accuses the
Mujuru-led consortium of "unlawfully and forcibly" taking over control of
the diamond mine.
      The loss of the appeal to take control of the crucial mine documents
comes at a time when the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is
reported to have now intervened in the ownership wrangle.
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      Central bank probes agro-based state firms

      Staff Reporter
      2/24/2005 7:44:07 AM (GMT +2)

      AN "exhaustive audit" into the use of funds availed by the central
bank to the agricultural sector is likely to zero in on the Agriculture and
Rural Development Authority (ARDA), the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the
Agriculture and Rural Extension Services (AREX) in the coming weeks.

      The Financial Gazette is reliably informed that a team of central bank
investigators would soon probe the three state-controlled agro-based
institutions' use of funds availed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in
its efforts to turn around the flagging fortunes of the sector.
      Of the three institutions, the spotlight is likely to fall on ARDA and
GMB, which are at the centre of efforts to revive the floundering
agricultural sector, sources said.
      Although no official confirmation could be obtained from the monetary
authorities, sources said suspicion was high that some of the funds availed
to the sector, could have been abused.
      "I am not aware of that. I have not met anybody," said Joseph
Matovanyika, the chief executive officer of ARDA.
      The RBZ, which has gone all out to stimulate positive supply side
responses in the economy, doled out $1.5 trillion for the procurement of
agricultural equipment, upgrading of irrigation facilities and the purchase
of chemicals.
      The audit will, among other things, seek to establish whether the
expenditure of the funds, which have already been exhausted, had been
channelled towards the intended purposes.
      When contacted for comment, Samuel Muvuti, the chief executive of GMB
said: "We haven't seen officers who came here to audit us about anything,
maybe they are still on their way."

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      Lack of tourists forces firm to keep luxury camp under wraps

      Staff Reporter
      2/24/2005 7:46:44 AM (GMT +2)

      CONSERVATION Corporation Zimbabwe (Private) Limited, which owns top of
the market Matetsi Safari Lodges, is failing to open its Safari Camp, a
luxury camp shut down four years ago due to lack of business.

      Lovemore Chihota, chief executive of Conservation Corporation
(Conscorp) said the firm was failing to resuscitate the Safari Camp, whose
business operations are complementary to the sprawling upmarket lodges.
      The lodges are situated in the wildlife-infested Hwange National Park
outside the prime tourist resort town of Victoria Falls.
      Matetsi Safari Camp, which has now been reduced to a ghost camping
site, nestles in the heart of the national park, 12 kilometres away from the
      The failure to re-open the Safari Camp mirrors the bleak prospects in
the tourism industry dramatised by a sharp reduction in business volumes
since government embarked on a controversial drive to kick out whites from
critical areas of the economy.
      Re-opening of the Safari Camp, a major source of revenue for Conscorp,
largely depends on the industry regaining its feet.
      Chihota said the company, whose market source has been predominantly
whites from abroad, was now seeking to entice locals into enjoying the
splendour of Zimbabwe's natural resources.
      Chihota said Conscorp was negotiating for concessionary rates for its
clients from the domestic market with national airline Air Zimbabwe.
      "Business is likely to increase when the political temperatures cool
down. Then we think we will be able to re-open the camp," Chihota said.
      "At the moment we are trying to capture the domestic market. We
believe there is immense business potential on the local market," he said.
      The tourism industry, reeling from the effects of poorly crafted
government policies, has been trying to re-assert itself with little
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