Feb 27, 2010, 15:54 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday defended new laws
that force companies to hand control of their businesses to black
Zimbabweans, and warned Western investors to keep their hands off Zimbabwe's
Mugabe was speaking at celebrations to mark his 86th birthday, which fell on
Zimbabwe's leader of 30 years likened the new indigenization regulations to
the lawless seizures of white-owned farms by new black farmers since 2000.
'Our indigenization policy, like the land reform programme, is meant to
correct historical imbalances in the ownership of our resources,' Mugabe
told thousands of guests at the showgrounds in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second
city, where he blew out candles on a big cake.
'They (Western investors) want our gold, platinum, diamonds, uranium, our
land, but we say 'No!' Zimbabwe is ours, you will not take it,' he said.
Zimbabwe would need 'partners from outside,' he said, but these would be
'partners of our choice, not imposed.'
Under the terms of the indigenization regulations, companies with assets of
over 500,000 US dollars have 45 days to explain to the government how they
will transfer 51 per cent of their assets to black Zimbabweans.
The law was passed in 2008 before Mugabe entered a coalition government with
his longtime foe, current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but regulations
to give it effect were only published this month by a minister in Mugabe's
Tsvangirai has dismissed the regulations as 'null and void', arguing that,
as head of policy implementation, he should have been consulted before they
Many investors have expressed fear their businesses will be seized without
compensation in the same way most of the country's white commercial farmers
Investors have shown particular interest in Zimbabwe's rich deposits of
platinum and alluvial diamonds.
Meanwhile, Mugabe, who was endorsed by Zanu-PF to represent the party in the
next presidential elections, although that could see him wield power into
his nineties, has given no indication he plans to retire.
The usually fit former liberation leader, whose populist policies are blamed
for turning what was once one of Africa's richest countries into one of the
poorest, appeared tired as he addressed thousands of children and party
members in his native Shona on Saturday.
Although the economy has picked up a little since Zanu-PF began to share
power with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) a year ago,
Western food aid is still needed to keep some 2.7 million people from going
hungry in the one-time 'breadbasket of Africa.'
By Godfrey Marawanyika (AFP) - 6 hours ago
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Saturday defended
new rules to give locals a majority shareholding in big corporations at a
lavish 86th birthday party, as the country battles to recover from 10 years
of economic crisis.
"Our indigenisation policy, like the land reform programme, is meant to
correct historical imbalances in the ownership of our resources," Mugabe
told thousands at the celebrations in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo,
south west of the capital.
The huge party at an exhibition centre was attended about 7,000 people
including Mugabe's ZANU-PF supporters, party officials, government
ministers, diplomats while no prominent partners in the inclusive government
The organisers said they raised 300,000 dollars for the party, falling short
of the target of 500,000 dollars.
The party was preceded by an all-night music bash with performers including
Jamaican reggae star Sizzla Kalonji who performed a rendition of Bob
Marley's song, Zimbabwe, as well as artistes from South Africa, the
Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia.
Hotels reported brisk business with the majority of them fully-booked as
guests arrived in their hundreds in the usually-serene city.
Jovial party supporters stuck their heads out through windows and sang as
they arrived in buses from the country's 10 provinces, while officials drove
to the venue in luxury cars. Three large cakes were at the centre-stage with
banners saying: "Long live our President."
The feast was held as the country struggled to recover from a crisis which
saw inflation peaking at 321 million percent and supermarkets running out of
The crisis forced Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai to form a
power-sharing government to mend the economy and ease political tensions in
the aftermath of a presidential run-off election in which Mugabe was sole
But economic recovery has not been as fast as anticipated while political
Civil servants are on strike after they rejected the government's offer to
increase their 150-dollar allowance by seven to 21 dollars.
Mugabe said the indigenisation regulations which have been rejected by the
prime minister were not meant to nationalise huge corporations.
"This policy is not meant to straighforward nationalise companies but to
broaden ownership of our resources. We will need partners from outside,
partners of our choice, not imposed on us," he said.
"Yesterday we were downtrodden. There was slavery... Back home the people
were colonised and turned into slaves and semi-slaves to do work for masters
who had colonised us. It was slavery in the colonies and that is what
created the imbalances."
The youth empowerment and indigenisation ministry published regulations
three weeks ago to give local a 51 percent share in large companies. The
passing of the regulations exposed discord in Zimbabwe's unity government as
Tsvangirai said the regulations were crafted behind his back and passed
without his approval.
According to the new regulations, to become effective beginning on Monday,
Zimbabweans should own 51 percent shares in main companies while foreigners
get the remainder.
Mugabe said the indigenisation regulations were like his controversial land
reforms launched land reforms 10 years ago which led to the seizures of
nearly 4,000 white-owned farms in what Mugabe said was a correction of
colonial land ownership imbalances.
The often violent and haphazard land reforms were blamed for a slump in food
production in the former regional breadbasket as the majority of the
beneficiaries lacked the means and skills to farm.
by Caroline Mvundura Saturday 27 February 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe will not access financial support from multilateral
lenders until it clears outstanding debts, a top United States (US) embassy
official said this week, rejecting suggestions that Harare was unable to
access loans because of Western sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his
US embassy economic officer James Garry told reporters Wednesday that even
if Washington was to repeal the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act
(ZDERA) sanctions law the southern African country would still not be able
to get help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other
funders because of unpaid debt.
The ZIDERA forbids US companies from doing business with Mugabe, members of
his inner circle and companies associated with the Zimbabwean leader and his
ZANU PF party.
The law also requires US representatives on the boards of the IMF and other
institutions to oppose assistance to Zimbabwe although this requirement was
apparently waived to allow restoration of Harare's voting IMF rights.
Garry insisted the targeted sanctions were not a factor in Zimbabwe's
relations with the multi-lateral lenders.
He said: "There never has been any connection between US sanctions and
Zimbabwe's relationship with the IMF. There is a widespread misapprehension
that the US has some kind of veto at the IMF. It is not true.
"The IMF, for example, makes most of its decisions by majority vote, and
voting strength is assigned essentially according to the country's financial
interest in the Fund. The US has just 16.77 percent of the voting power at
the IMF, and it is not in a position to veto IMF decisions."
The IMF cut balance-of-payments support to Zimbabwe in 1999 following
differences with Mugabe over fiscal policy and other governance issues.
But relations between the Bretton Woods institution and Harare have had a
lift since a new power-sharing government took over in Harare last February.
The IMF last more than a week ago voted to restore Zimbabwe's voting and
related rights, and its eligibility to use resources from the IMF's General
Resources Account, following a request from Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
However the money lender also said that Zimbabwe would still not qualify for
loans until it fully settles outstanding arrears of about US$140 million.
Garry said the restoration of voting rights opened the door to closer
cooperation with the IMF but said Zimbabwe must act to clear debts with IMF
as well as other lenders such as the African Development Bank and the World
Bank. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Saturday 27 February 2010
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe will impose a punitive levy on foreign firms to compel
them to cede controlling stake to locals, Indigenisation Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere said on Friday.
The controversial indigenisation laws come into force on Monday and
foreign-controlled firms have up to March 2015 to sell at least 51 percent
stake to local Zimbabweans with those that fail to do so to pay the levy,
according to Kasukuwere.
"We are setting up a national levy system so as (for companies) to comply.
The less you want to be indigenised the more you pay the levies," Kasukuwere
told business leaders attending a conference to discuss the indigenisation
laws in the south-western city of Bulawayo.
"Under the regulations those companies that are in mergers or de-mergers
should immediately comply with the 51 percent requirement," he said, adding;
"You have instances when you have some companies importing tissues from as
far as South Africa, the time has come to give locals an opportunity."
The regulations were gazetted on February 5 in line with an Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Bill passed in Parliament by President Robert
Mugabe's then sole ruling Zanu (PF) party in 2007. Mugabe signed the
regulations into law by in March 2008.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who formed a power-sharing government with
Mugabe last February, has opposed the regulations, saying they were invalid
because they were never discussed and adopted by Cabinet.
And business leaders have been lobbying government to shelve implementation
of the law they say will only help reinforce perceptions of Zimbabwe as a
high political risk investment destination.
But Kasukuwere, who has insisted that the controversial rules will be
implemented as gazetted while consultations among stakeholders continue,
said the law was an affirmative action meant to address past imbalances in
"We want to ensure that this process is as broad-based as possible,"
Kasukuwere, who is from Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party, said. "All we seek to
achieve is a determined fight against poverty. It is an affirmative action
meant to address past imbalances. It would be an anomaly to have our country
driven by a few individuals but we are not against any minority."
The empowerment regulations require every foreign-controlled company
operating in Zimbabwe, including banks, mines and factories to sell a
majority stake to locals. But the regulations are silent on where
impoverished locals will get money to pay for stake in firms that is
expected to run into billions of United States dollars.
Many had hoped the law and other controversial laws including repressive
press and security laws to be repealed following formation of the
Revival of the empowerment laws has sparked fears among business leaders of
a repeat in industry of the chaos that befell agriculture after a similar
government programme to empower blacks saw white-owned commercial farms
seized without compensation. - ZimOnline
by Caroline Mvundura Saturday 27 February 2010
HARARE – Zimbabwean police on Friday launched a second surprise raid in four
days on the headquarters of the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers’
Union (GAPWUZ) and took juniors officers for interrogation after failing to
locate secretary general Gertrude Hambira.
The GAPWUZ boss went into hiding earlier this week for the second time in
three months as state security agents swooped onto the union’s offices and
arrested two officials in Harare and interrogated them over a video produced
last year showing brutal torture perpetrated by security forces on white
commercial farmers and their workers.
In the latest attack on pro-democracy groups by the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the security
agents reportedly took the junior officers after finding out the rest of
management had gone into hiding.
One of the unionists who is in hiding said they were seeking legal counsel
from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and will only come out
their hideouts if they are advised to do so.
He said for the past 24 hours before the Friday raid they had received
threatening calls from unknown people demanding to be told Hambira's
“In the absence of the general secretary, they had been picking up other
officers,” said Wellington Chibebe, secretary general of the country’s main
labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
“Today they were picking junior officers,” he added. We have handed over the
case to ZLHR, they will only go there (to the police) with lawyers because
if they go alone that is when they disappear,” Chibebe told ZimOnline.
GAPWUZ assistant secretary general Gift Muti and president Manjemanje
Munyanyi were briefly detained last Thursday before they were released.
The ZCTU condemned the continued harassment and intimidation of trade
unionists, despite pledges by Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
12-month-old power-sharing government to observe the rule of law and uphold
Hambira had to go into hiding in Bulawayo last November after getting wind
that the CIO were after her following a presentation she made in the United
States chronicling the heinous crimes committed by Mugabe’s government on
white commercial farmers and the effects of the actions on farm workers.
In the video, she chronicles how the number of farm workers had plummeted
from 150 000 before the violent farm seizures to less than 10 000 after the
displacement of their employers left them jobless.
She also exposes how the government had defied a regional court to press
ahead with farm invasions last year, and how the fresh invasions in 2009 had
left hundreds of farm workers injured or killed, and the effects it had on
production, especially in the Chegutu area near Harare.
Fresh farm disturbances in Zimbabwe have reportedly rendered over 4 000 farm
workers homeless since the formation last February of the unity government.
Zimbabwe’s decade-long farm invasions, which Mugabe says were necessary to
ensure blacks also had access to arable land that they were denied by
previous white-led governments, have been blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into
Once a net food exporter Zimbabwe has avoided mass starvation over the past
decade only because international relief agencies were quick to chip in with
Mugabe has vowed to continue the land acquisition, despite a November 2008
ruling by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal
outlawing farm seizures because they were discriminatory, racist and illegal
under the SADC Treaty. – ZimOnline
February 27, 2010
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The Zanu PF-dominated Senate has forestalled the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) Amendment Bill through proposed amendments apparently meant
to water it down further
Zanu-PF on Wednesday adjourned debate on the bill - which seeks to curtail
the Reserve Bank governor's wide-sweeping powers - to March to allow
themselves time to further study it.
This is despite last year's adjournment ostensibly to give the legislators
in the Upper House,
again, time to study the same bill.
The latest adjournment on Wednesday was caused by Chimanimani Zanu-PF
Senator, Monica Mutsvangwa, who tabled proposals to amend 10 clauses. The
aim is, apparently, to water the bill down, analyst said.
RBZ governor Gideo Gono has been accused of overstepping his mandate. The
MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wants him removed from the post.
Mutsvangwa alleged the bill sought to settle personal scores. She alleged,
in its present form, the bill was a "law of the jungle."
"If people have axes to grind with a sitting governor, let us leave that to
the executive, GPA negotiators and principals or courts for that matter," Ms
Mutsvangwa said. "Arguments on whether Gono did right or wrong can be
handled through other avenues not the bill," she said.
Senator David Coltart called Senator Mutsvangwa to order, telling her to
stick to the clauses, as the House was not yet taking comments, which could
only be presented during the second reading.
There are apparent efforts by Zanu-PF legislators to scuttle plans to reduce
the powers of the central bank governor. Already Zanu-PF has incorporated a
clause giving immunity to the bank governor and employees "for anything done
in good faith and without negligence."
If the bill is passed in its current form, Gono will be exempt from
prosecution. Gono has also been accused of corruption and taking money from
bank accounts without the authority of the account holders.
The RBZ Amendment Bill was seen as the first major law to be passed by
parliament since the unity government was formed. But progress is being
Senate resumes sitting on March 9 and it is not clear if it will immediately
go on the order paper.
According to the bill, Gono's powers will be reduced by appointing an
independent chairperson and board for the bank. The amendments are aimed at
ensuring the bank reverts to its core function of price and financial sector
stability and stops quasi-fiscal operations that saw inflation reaching
The Bill was originated by Finance minister Tenadia Biti, and Zanu-PF
believes the amendments are meant to contain and weaken the Reserve Bank
governor, who the MDC also accuses vandalising the economy and recklessly
minting cash, a situation that spawned record-beating inflation.
Gono rejects the charges and says he resorted to minting cash to bust
sanctions imposed by Western countries at the instigation of the MDC.
The MDC also rejects the sanctions argument in turn, blaming instead
repression, rights abuses and economic mismanagement for the economic
Sources say Zanu-PF did not want the bill enacted any more. It seems Zanu-PF
is intent on railroading massive amendments to the Bill in the Senate, where
the party enjoys a working majority, elevated by appointed senators and
chiefs, in the hung Parliament.
The amendments are also aimed at addressing corporate governance issues at
the RBZ, which is not financially sound.
The bank's indebtedness to local and international bodies is in excess of
US$2 billion; it is facing crippling litigation from creditors. The central
bank has been stripped bare and currently has no reserves, yet its gold and
foreign assets must be around 40 percent of its liabilities, seriously
compromising its role as the lender of last resort.
The amendments also seek to ensure that the central bank will never again
dabble in fiscal activities.
The amendments will also ensure that a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is
established, which will be chaired by the Governor, but who would be subject
to control by the board.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) unreservedly condemns in the strongest of terms the violence that erupted in Epworth on Sunday 21 February 2010. The violence erupted in Epworth's Wards 4, 6 and 7 at an MDCT organized rally on the constitutional making process. It is alleged that ZANU PF youth militia attacked MDCT supporters who had gathered for the rally. The militia is reported to have used a variety of weaponry during the attack.
Reported incidences point to a new wave of interparty violence resulting largely from the bickering within the GNU. Epworth victims were assaulted, beaten and some had their houses and property destroyed. This was followed by allegations that ZANUPF supporters were also attacked and some seriously injured by suspected MDCT supporters at a firewood project on the same day.
The Forum expresses its disappointment at the continued existence of militia bases and the alleged reopening of such bases in Epworth and other parts of the country.In the past such bases have been used to organize, direct and execute violence against known or perceived opponents of ZANU PF. The Forum therefore calls for the dismantling of these and torture bases. We urge the responsible authorities to quickly put a stop to political violence and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In Article 18 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the parties recognized that "violence dehumanizes and engenders feelings of hatred and polarization." The reported violence undermines the ongoing efforts on nation building and in particular, national healing and reconciliation. The Forum implores the parties to the GPA to promote the values and practices of tolerance, to do everything to stop and prevent all forms of political violence and to take positive measures to ensure compliance with the provisions of the GPA.
Members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum:
- Amnesty International (Zimbabwe)
- Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (Zimbabwe)
- Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe
- Justice for Children Trust
- Legal Resources Foundation
- Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe)
- Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
- Nonviolent Action and Strategies for Social Change
- Research and Advocacy Unit
- Students Solidarity Trust
- Transparency International (Zimbabwe)
- Women of Zimbabwe Arise
- Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of the
- Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
- Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust
- Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
- Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
- Zimbabwe Peace Project
- Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association
Mr. Mugabe told participants at the launch of the so-called Kadoma
Declaration on labor relations that Harare is doing the best it can to
improve wages and conditions for workers, asking civil servants to be
patient while government stabilized the economy
Ntungamili Nkomo | Studio 7 Staff 26 February 2010
Stepping into the ongoing strike by Zimbabwean public service employees,
President Robert Mugabe on Friday said the government cannot afford to
increase salaries but promised a better future for the workers.
Mr. Mugabe told participants at the launch of the so-called Kadoma
Declaration on labor relations that Harare is doing the best it can to
improve wages and conditions for workers. He asked civil servants to be
patient while government stabilized the economy.
Mr. Mugabe again called for Western targeted travel and financial sanctions
against him and his inner circle to be lifted, saying they were hobbling
government efforts to revive the troubled economy.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said this week that the government is bringing
in US$100 million a month of which US$65 million goes to salaries. The
strike by civil servants is now entering its fourth week. Workers have been
sitting in at their workplaces.
Labor Minister Paurina Mpariwa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo
that the government wants to raise wages but is strapped at the moment.
Representatives of the striking workers were quick to dismiss the
president's comments, saying government officials have not even bothered to
meet with them to discuss demands. Tendayi Chikowore, chairwoman of the Apex
council that negotiates for civil servants, said the fact that public
service employee representatives were not invited to the Kadoma Declaration
launch showed the insincerity of the government.
Chikowore dismissed Biti's statement on revenues, telling VOA Studio 7
reporter Patience Rusere that Harare has given the armed forces and
government minister substantial pay increases.
ZANU-PF officials meanwhile, were putting final touches on a party starting
Friday night in Bulawayo to mark President Mugabe's 86th birthday. Critics
said the extravaganza with international musical artists was inappropriate
when so many Zimbabweans are struggling and state workers are on strike.
Political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe told VOA Studio
7 reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye that public outrage is justified.
Elsewhere, Indigenization and Empowerment minister Savior Kasukuwere, a
member of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF, told a business conference in Bulawayo that
government was pressing ahead with plans to transfer control of foreign
firms to local ownership despite objections from Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party.
"The debate around indigenization is dead," Reuters quoted Kasukuwere as
saying. "We are not about to reopen the debate. We are not about to destroy
the economy; far from it."
The Supreme Court had ordered 300,000 carats of diamonds worth millions of
dollars to be held by the Reserve Bank pending resolution of a suit against
the government by London-based African Consolidated Resources
Sandra Nyaira | Washington 26 February 2010
Zimbabwean Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has complied with a Supreme Court
ordering instructing him to return contested diamonds from the Marange field
to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, from which he removed the stones early this
month, sources said.
The court had ordered the 300,000 carats of diamonds worth millions of
dollars to be held by the central bank pending resolution of a suit against
the government by London-based African Consolidated Resources over
revocation of its Marange mining rights.
When Mpofu, backed by police, took the diamonds from the Reserve Bank, he
presented a document purporting to be from an official of the Supreme Court
countermanding the recently issued ruling that the diamonds should be
sequestered at the RBZ.
Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku then issued a new order to Mpofu to return the
diamonds, also instructing Mbada holdings to cease its mining activities in
the Marange field of Manicaland province under a joint venture with the
government until the case is settled.
Deputy Mines Minister Murisi Zwizwai confirmed to VOA reporter Sandra Nyaira
that Mpofu heeded Chidyausiku's ruling and returned the diamonds.
The Supreme Court decision was in response to an appeal by the Ministry of
Mines of a High Court order last September confirming ACR was the legitimate
holder of mining rights on two Marange claims.
That High Court order said that even if the ruling was appealed to the
Supreme Court - as it was - an eviction order against the military and
others developing ACR's disputed claims would remain in force.
ACR Chief Executive Andrew Cranswick told VOA that his company is prepared
to go into a joint venture with the government in Marange.
Bulawayo businessman Sam Ncube said many retailers are importing goods and
passing on their own rising costs
Brenda Moyo | Washington 26 February 2010
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said that prices of basic commodities
surged 20.5 percent from January to February, putting pressure on low-income
Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch told the Independent weekly newspaper
that such price rises are unjustified in the current environment.
But Bulawayo businessman Sam Ncube, director of the Affirmative Action Group
in Matebeleland, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Brenda Moyo that many retailers
are importing goods and passing on rising costs.
Published: February 26, 2010
HARARE - Aid agencies operating in Zimbabwe have been urged to take
antiviral drugs (ARVs) directly to people with HIV/AIDS amid allegations
that some state officials involved in the distribution system were corrupt.
The comments came during a public discussion on access to ARVs held at the
United States embassy here on Tuesday.
The main speaker at the meeting, Theresa Nyamupachitu of the US-based John
Snow Inc. that sources ARVs for poor countries professed ignorance about the
alleged leakages. However, she was informed by participants who included
field workers from other NGOs that the system had broken down at the height
of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis a few years ago and theft of drugs from health
institutions, including ARVs, was a common occurrence.
“A lot of health workers started helping themselves to the drugs to
supplement their meagre incomes,” said one aid official at the meeting.
The official, whose organisation distributes contraceptives and sources ARVs
for impoverished communities throughout the country said they had been
shocked to discover materials that were supposed to be distributed free of
charge in rural areas being sold on the black market in Mbare.
“When we investigated, we discovered that the drugs were being stolen from
rural clinics in the Midlands and Masvingo province,” the official said.
Another participant said rich and powerful members of society were also
helping themselves to the drugs at the expense of the poor. Others said the
aid agencies supplying ARV drugs should insist on providing the medication
directly to beneficiaries, a system that had eliminated theft and abuse in
the distribution of relief food.
However, some said getting the government to accept the changes could prove
difficult. It was revealed that in some communities, politicians such as MPs
and councillors insisted on writing letters certifying that certain people
were too poor to afford the drugs. In return, the politicians demanded the
votes of the sick people and their families.
Some participants at the meeting expressed concern that only the Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare could decide on where ARV treatment (ART) centres
could be located.
Nyamupachitu said the country now had 145 ART centres. Some 245 000 people
were on ARVs, with 208 000 of them being located in rural areas. She said
the government was responsible for providing ARVs to 10 000 people, the US
government 59 000, other Western donors, including SIDA, CIDA and the UK’s
DFID helped another 58 000 while the United Nations Global Fund provided for
Saturday, 27 February 2010, 2:35 pm
Press Release: International Trade Union Confederation
Zimbabwe: Trade Union Leader Arrested
Brussels, 26 February 2010: (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC, together with its
regional organisation the ITUC-Africa, has condemned and strongly protested
against the arrests of Assistant General Secretary Gift Muti and President
Manjemanje Munyanyi of the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers'
Union (GAPWUZ). They were clearly arrested because of their trade union
According to the information received by the ITUC, on 25 February the police
visited GAPWUZ offices and arrested the two trade unionists. The police said
they wanted information on the video and the report, If Something is Wrong,
which is an account of the atrocities committed during the
government-driven, chaotic land reform since 2000. It documents farm workers'
testimonies of murder, torture, and violence perpetrated by the state.
Written by Staff Reporter
Friday, 26 February 2010 09:26
HARARE - The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government is losing more than 30
percent of its annual revenue to rampant tax evasion due to "trade
mispricing", a new study by a US think-tank showed last week.
New research by Washington-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI) shows that
Zimbabwe tops the list of countries that recorded the largest tax revenue
losses as a percentage of total government income between 2002 and 2006.
The report, entitled "The implied tax revenue loss from trade Mispricing",
said Zimbabwe lost US$225.11 million through trade mispricing out of
expected revenue of US$714.5 million over the five-year period, representing
a loss of 31.5 percent.
Trade mispricing is the deliberate over-invoicing of imports or
under-invoicing of exports, usually for the purpose of tax evasion. It
usually occurs when the trade involves transactions between related parties
such as subsidiaries of multi-national companies.
It also occurs between unrelated parties but this is usually a means of
externalising money. The report said Zimbabwe's financial loss could be much
higher than the stated 31.5 percent because the study only covered export
under-invoicing and importing over-invoicing while it ignored "same-invoice
faking" in which two parties collude.
"As a result of this omission, the final estimates for total revenue loss
due to trade mispricing are understated to an undeterminable extent," the
report said. The study findings come at a time Zimbabwe's Finance Minister
Tendai Biti has bemoaned the poor performance of corporate tax in the
country's taxation system.
Corporate taxes accounted for only US$25.6 million out of the US$685 million
revenue collected between January and October last year. This translated to
less than four percent of the total revenue.
by Caroline Mvundura Saturday 27 February 2010
HARARE - Impala Platinum (Implats) chief executive officer David Brown will
next month takeover as chairman of the South African mining giant's Zimbabwe
subsidiary Zimplats Holdings.
Brown, who will be deputised by top lawyer and Harare mayor Muchadeyi
Masunda, is replacing Gregory Sebborn who resigned last month.
"Further to the recent resignation of Gregory Sebborn from the board, the
directors of Zimplats Holdings Limited wish to announce...(that) David Brown
will be appointed chairman of the board," the firm said last week.
Implats, the world's second biggest platinum producer, controls 87 percent
of the Zimplats Holdings stock.
Last year, Brown took a long standing tax dispute with the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe to President Mugabe after a government sanctioned forensic audit in
2008 alleged tax evasions at Zimplats's two operating subsidiaries in
Zimplats has denied impropriety, and the appointment of Brown could see the
firm adopt a more robust approach to assert its innocence on the matter.
Zimplats is looking to ramp up output to 180 000 ounces per annum from the
current 90 000 after making major investments in Zimbabwe even as hundreds
of potential investors withheld their capital fearing harsh empowerment laws
and a hostile economic environment triggered by violent farm seizure
starting 2000. -- ZimOnline
|Written by Richard Dowden|
|Friday, 26 February 2010 10:20|
|ON 4 March 1980, Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of
Zimbabwe. In this article, Richard Dowden explains how this intelligent and
charismatic man's quest to hang onto power has brought down what was once one of
Africa's best economies down to the ground: (Pictured: Nelson Mandela - His
reputation has remained intact while Mugabe's is in ruins)
It is 30 years since Robert Mugabe was elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Last month was 20 years since Nelson Mandela left jail. The two men have much in common. Both are nationalist leaders who fought white rule in southern Africa. Both served long periods in prison, Mandela 27 years, Mugabe 11. Both emerged and won elections and then offered their white oppressors the hand of forgiveness and friendship.
Both created governments of national unity to deal with rival movements: in South Africa Mandela faced the Zulu Inkatha movement; in Zimbabwe Mugabe brought into his Cabinet the largely Ndebele Zimbabwe African Patriotic Union (Zapu). Most observers had predicted a bloodbath in both countries. That had seemed the most logical of all the scenarios. No one had any doubt about which man had the more difficult task.
Apartheid in South Africa was a far more brutal system than white rule in Zimbabwe. Whites were a bigger proportion of South Africa's population than the whites of Rhodesia - as Zimbabwe was called before independence. And Afrikaners in South Africa had lived there far longer and had no links to any other homeland. White Rhodesians were relatively recent arrivals, many with opportunities to go elsewhere.
Initially both men brought peace and eschewed revenge. Overcoming the immediate threats, they returned their countries to economic growth. With the end of apartheid the scene was set for the economic take-off of southern Africa, perhaps the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Mandela and Mugabe could have stood together, turning their countries away from the painful past and launching Africa into an era of peace and prosperity. But while Mandela emerged as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, Mugabe's reputation is in ruins; a power-crazed dictator who destroyed his country and the lives of millions so he could stay in power.
Many writers have tried to prove that Mugabe was always evil, bent on revenge or trying, like Pol Pot, to bring his country to a Year Zero, from which he could create a perfect communist state. These days he is most commonly seen as a crazed old man, sitting on the wreckage of Zimbabwe, protecting violent, corrupt cronies. It was not always like that. In 1980 Mugabe came to power with 57 of the 100 seats in parliament. His nearest rival, Joshua Nkomo, had 20. Ten seats were reserved for the countries' 230 000 whites but an estimated 45 000 emigrated at independence.
Mugabe formed a government of national unity with three white ministers and made Nkomo minister of home affairs. He entered parliament for the first time alongside Ian Smith, the former prime minister, and re-employed his intelligence chief. "Let us put a line through the past," he said.
Future in education
The Zimbabwean economy, boosted by good rains, rocketed by 15.4 percent in 1980 and 12.9 percent in 1981. War had caused average income per capita to fall from $175.5 in 1974 to $134 in 1979 but it bounced back to $170 in 1981. And Zimbabweans realised that the future lay in education. As soon as the war ended, Mugabe's government pumped money into schools and the number of schoolchildren shot up from 893 000 in 1979 to 1.8 million two years later.
Those first years were marked by optimism while a veneer of socialist rhetoric masked pragmatic conservative policies. Where, many asked, was Mugabe's communism? Unlike other African leaders in the region, Mugabe would have no dealings with South Africa, attacking apartheid relentlessly and supporting the liberation movements. In retaliation South African special forces and their agents carried out terrorist attacks, once targeting Mugabe's official residence.
They destroyed much of Zimbabwe's air force. Mugabe may have had paranoid tendencies but the South Africans were out to get him. His new security chiefs blamed senior white officers in the Zimbabwean military. Some were arrested and tortured. This explains why he was prepared to destroy Zimbabwe's economy in the cause of relaunching a political war with Britain, expelling by violence white Zimbabwean farmers. He could have achieved the same end of righting a historic wrong peacefully over 20 years by a steadily applied combination of law and aid-backed compensation. Even those whites who had immigrated after independence were driven off their land.
Handed out money
Ironically that war was sparked not by the farmers but by his own militant supporters, the war veterans. On Heroes Day in 1997 Mugabe was heckled by former fighters who wanted pensions. Attacked by the very people he thought he stood for, Mugabe gave in immediately and handed out money to them. It burst the bank, and by 1999 Zimbabwe was defaulting on its debts.
At the same time a new political party was building, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which drew in the growing urban middle class. It was being funded by white interests. Under attack from "left" and "right", Mugabe diverted the war veterans to take the white farms, solving both. The South Africans also fomented strife between Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) and Zapu. Former guerrillas of the two movements had clashed at demobilisation camps and had to be disarmed by the national army.
In 1982 Zapu arms caches were discovered. The South Africans helped form and support "Super Zapu", a gang of about 400 dissidents. Mugabe turned on Nkomo, accusing him of trying to mount a coup and sacking him from the government.
It is not clear whether he really believed Nkomo was in league with Super Zapu or had simply invented this. He certainly used it as an excuse to destroy his rival, forming a fearsome new military unit, the 5th Brigade, made up entirely of Shona-speaking ex-Zanla fighters and trained by the North Koreans. He turned them loose on Matabeleland where, over the next years, they killed some 20 000 people.
Nkomo and the Ndebele were crushed and Zapu was merged into Zanu (PF). Mugabe gave some Zapu leaders jobs in government while releasing others from jail. Mugabe was shrewd enough not to ban all other parties. Zimbabwe was virtually - but never constitutionally - a one-party state.
Driven by emotions
Despite his undoubted intellectual brilliance (he holds six degrees), Mugabe is driven primarily by emotions, ones that probably spring from his upbringing. Contrast him with Mandela, who grew up in a royal household. Mandela would never inherit a throne, yet he aspired to lead and as a young man watched his uncle, the chief, and learned about leadership and negotiation. Mugabe grew up a poor, lonely child with a fanatically Catholic mother and no father from the age of 10.
He was adopted by a charismatic Irish priest and white nuns who had spotted his seriousness and diligence - white people have exercised a push-pull dynamic on his life ever since. That might explain his childlike affection for Lord Soames, who oversaw the transition, and his almost adulatory attitude towards the British royal family.
In contrast Mandela calls the Queen "Lisbet" and treats her as an equal, a fellow monarch. Non-racialism is at the heart of Mandela's politics. Mugabe launches racist diatribes about whites at every rally. He was particularly stung by Tony Blair and his government for repudiating British responsibility for colonialism. The war was over and he had won but he had become addicted to the fight.
The British assumed he would bend to pressure. He didn't. They made it worse by openly supporting the opposition MDC and calling for regime change. That rejection confirmed Mugabe's deepest political - and psychological - fears.
Right to rule
Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) elite do not consider that they rule Zimbabwe because of electoral support. The 1979 election simply confirmed their right to rule. They could not accept that they lost the 2008 election. Zanu (PF) sees itself as the establishment, their position as secure as the monarchy in Britain. They may have to share government with the MDC but never see themselves losing the reins of real power. Key units of the security forces and all the military chiefs, regional governors, ambassadors and senior civil servants are all Zanu-PF appointees.
At least the Global Political Agreement, brokered by Zimbabwe's neighbours in 2008, is preventing complete breakdown and has allowed the economy to recover a little under MDC guidance. The MDC wants to use this to prove it can rule better and thereby win the next election. When will that be? Zanu (PF) is deeply divided. An election might precipitate a war within the party. The MDC is also divided on whether to push for elections now or wait. The longer they wait the more likely they will become part of the co-opted and corrupt ruling elite. And there is no chance of - and no money for - a free and fair election now. Mugabe remains - for the moment.
Editor's Note: Richard Dowden is director of the Royal African Society and author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles, published by Portobello Books. (His article first appeared in the Spectator magazine)
Saturday, February 27, 2010
IT'S BEEN a year since the launch of Zimbabwe's national unity government,
and President Robert Mugabe is celebrating -- his own birthday, that is.
Once again the strongman who liberated and then ruined what was one of
Africa's richest countries has spent a huge sum -- $500,000 -- celebrating
himself, this time in a 12-hour concert broadcast live on state television
Friday. Mr. Mugabe is now 86; he was recently named by his party as leader
for another five years. He has refused to implement any of the reforms
promised in the unity accord, and he has continued to arrest and harass his
opponents. He has made a mockery of those African nations, led by South
Africa, who promoted the coalition government.
So as ever in Zimbabwe's prolonged agony, the question is, will South Africa
and other neighbors finally be shamed into a different approach. There is at
least some reason to be hopeful.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki promoted the union between Mr.
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a way of arresting
Zimbabwe's descent into chaos while leaving the strongman in power. From Mr.
Mugabe's point of view, this has worked out rather well. Mr. Tsvangirai's
ministers have stopped hyperinflation, reopened hospitals and returned
children to school; the economy even grew a little last year. But none of
the concessions promised to the opposition have been implemented. Opposition
provincial governors have not been able to take up their posts, much less
begun to work. Not a single independent media outlet has been licensed, and
propaganda spews daily from government-controlled outlets. Appropriately,
neither the United States nor the European Union has lifted sanctions.
South Africa's new president, Jacob Zuma, seems less willing to coddle Mr.
Mugabe. He has supported talks on the stalled pieces of the pact, but these
have gone nowhere. So now Mr. Zuma has let it be known that he wants the two
sides to focus on preparing for an early election, provided for under the
political deal. He's right to embrace democracy as a way out of the crisis.
Mr. Mugabe lost the last presidential election in 2008 before reversing its
results by force, and polls show that his party is now supported by less
than 30 percent of the population.
Yet, if Zimbabwe is to have another election, its neighbors must ensure that
it will be free and fair. That means stopping the arrests and attacks by
security forces, allowing opposition access to media and providing for
international monitoring of voting and counting. Under the unity accord,
elections were to follow the drafting and approval of a new constitution,
which would take most of this year. Now there is talk of advancing the vote
to this spring -- but is it possible to ensure a fair vote by then? Mr. Zuma
is said to be eager to ensure that strife in Zimbabwe doesn't spoil South
Africa's hosting of the World Cup soccer tournament this summer. If so, he
needs to begin bringing concerted pressure to bear on Mr. Mugabe.
Dear Family and Friends,
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the commencement of farm
invasions in Zimbabwe. For me it started with a mob of men who came
to the farm gate. Wearing blue overalls and carrying bricks and
sticks they whistled and shouted that this was HONDO (war) and that
they were taking the farm. The events that followed are history and
the seizure of that farm and theft of home, business and assets have
been repeated thousands of times across the country in this last
There are thought to have been a million people directly affected by
Zimbabwe's land seizures, including farm owners and their employees
and extended families. None of these one million people have yet been
compensated for what was taken from them or for injuries and abuses
inflicted upon them in the process of the seizures. It wasn't only
those million that paid the price. It is widely believed that a
further four million Zimbabweans had to leave home in the last 10
years. There is not a family in the country who does not have
relations living in political or financial exile in this massive
place called 'diaspora' which encompasses most corners of the world
where abused, dispossessed, and disenfranchised Zimbabweans now live.
Tragically, 10 years later farm invasions are still going on and the
inclusive government does nothing to stop them - unable or unwilling
to stop the lawless monster unleashed a decade ago. Zimbabwe now
imports almost it's food including the most basic of staple goods
such as wheat, maize, cooking oil and sugar.
Farms, once the show-piece of Zimbabwe and the life blood of the
economy are now no-go areas. Why? What is it that the beneficiaries
of the seized farms have got to hide? What are they ashamed of? What
have they being doing these 10 years that leaves our shelves barren
of Zimbabwean food?
Perhaps one person who knows is Gertrude Hambira, Secretary General
of the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe
(Gapwuz). Mrs Hambira was in hiding again this week days after she'd
been called to a meeting and interrogated about a documentary and
report published by GAPWUZ recently. The report called 'House of
Justice," exposes evidence of human rights violations against farm
workers in the decade of land seizures and details the involvement of
senior government officials.
This week I had the privilege of going for a walk in the bush - a
rare treat these days after everything that has gone on here. Tall,
thick vegetation, lush grass heavy with raindrops and drooping with
seeds. Everywhere you look there is another delight to see and for me
it was like meeting old friends: exquisite mushrooms of every
description from thin stalks with delicate ivory heads to bright
orange spikes erupting from a bare sandy patch; red toadstools, brown
balls, little white beads glimmering in the grass and huge brown and
orange bracket fungus clinging to trees.
There is so much to do out there in the Zimbabwean bush, so much to
preserve, conserve, protect and so much for our children to learn -
if only the politics and greed of a few could be stopped. Until next
time, thanks for reading, love cathy� Copyright cathy buckle 27
February 26, 2010
Zimbabweans 281 (Taibu 107, Masakadza 38, Cariah 2-43) beat UWI Vice
Chancellor's XI 276 for 8 (Brathwaite 80, Parris 73, Chigumbura 2-27) by
Tatenda Taibu made a steadying 38, Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI, Mirpur,
October 29, 2009
Zimbabwe began their tour of West Indies on a positive note, prevailing in a
tense encounter against UWI Vice Chancellor's XI by five runs in St
Augustine. Tatenda Taibu, who the tourists will rely heavily on, starred
with a century, guiding his team to a competitive 281, which it just about
managed to defend. Much of the success owed to a collective bowling effort,
for UWI were cruising at 195 for 3 at one stage. But three wickets then fell
for 22 runs and the lower order, despite useful contributions, struggled
against a determined performance at the death by the Zimbabweans.
Taibu's century followed starts from each of the Zimbabwean top three, but
he ran short of support once the total had passed 200. The last six wickets
fell for 80 runs, undermining a solid platform laid earlier in the innings.
UWI suffered the same fate after the top order - Kraigg Brathwaite and
Nekoli Parris added 136 for the third wicket - had tilted the balance in
their favour. Chris Mpofu, Kyle Jarvis and Elton Chigumbura bagged two
wickets each to ensure the total Taibu had helped post proved just adequate.
Zimbabwe take on West Indies in a Twenty20 international on Sunday in Port