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Ministers named in Time Bank saga

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya
TWO government ministers have been cited in a confidential Reserve Bank
report on the collapse of Time Bank ahead of an expected criminal trial of
the bank's directors on charges of fraud involving $440 billion.

Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema and Water Resources minister
Munacho Mutezo are named in the Reserve Bank document, titled Report on
Failed Banking Institutions, as among prominent beneficiaries of loans which
partly led to the collapse of the bank. The document says the
Attorney-General's Office has indicated that a criminal trial of the bank's
shareholders and directors "will commence in the first term of 2006".

"Indirect and direct loans to the chairman of the board Mr Mutezo (of
Authentic Engineering) and Mr FD Nhema (of Streisand) comprised 60% and 22%
respectively of the bank's capital," the report says. Mutezo is a former
Time Bank chairman.

"These facilities were not performing and represented a potential loss to
the bank. Mr Nhema also sat on the boards of two financial institutions
which gave rise to potential for conflict of interest."

The report - which covers the bank's entire history and problems leading to
its closure - further links Nhema and senior bank officials to what it says
was a "fraudulent" transaction in the saga characterised by a mixture of
creative accounting, manipulation, fraud and externalisation of foreign

"In October 1999, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) received a
report by Hackleton Investments (Pvt) Ltd trading as Crown Securities in
which Time Bank and some senior officers had acted in concert with Streisand
Securities, Francis Dunstan Nhema, Torongo Hieronymor Torongo, and Austin
Chenai Nhema to defraud Crown Securities of an amount of $34 268 586,31
(which was a lot of money then)," it states.

The report says Time Bank shut down in October 27 2004 due to a "chronic
liquidity crisis" and a "well-orchestrated and calculated intricate web of
related company transactions designed to conceal fraudulent activities".

"Time Bank has over the years perfected the art of creative accounting and
fraudulent misrepresentation, characterised by chronic insider manipulation
of fictitious assets, and fraudulent land schemes," it notes.

Time Bank directors and senior employees, it says, operated a chain of
identified companies which over-borrowed from the bank leading to its
closure. They were specified on January 14 2005. The Zimbabwe Independent
will provide more details on the companies in due course.

Time Bank CEO Chris Tande, chairman Humphrey Malumo, executive director Ken
Chikonzo, company secretary Killian Kapaso, directors Anderson Ncube,
Kwaziso Bosha and Onias Gumbo, were arrested on fraud charges on October 27
2004, the same day the bank was placed under curatorship. They all deny the
charges and are out on bail.

The report says "most problems" at Time "centred around Tande and his close
associates". It says Tande was forced to resign from Stanbic Bank "due to
fraudulent activities involving a non-resident company known as Chinese
Complant" and was thus unfit to be CEO. The report says Tande staffed the
bank with relatives who could not question his decisions.

Time Bank's original main shareholders included Time Bank Investment Company
(Pvt) Ltd, owned by Time Bank Holdings, which held a 92,5% stake, Time Bank
staff (6,2%) and Local Authorities Pension Fund 1,3%).

Later the shareholders became Tande with 25%, John Mwarumba 25%, Bosha 25%
and Pamela Matingo 25%.

Against a backdrop of these issues, the report states, monetary authorities
made complaints to the police "for criminal charges to be laid against the
directors/shareholders for their role in the collapse of the institution,
acts of fraud and externalisation of foreign currency".

"The matter is under the consideration of the Attorney-General's Office, who
has indicated that criminal trial will commence in the first term of 2006,"
it says.

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IMF presses for major policy change

Zim Independent

Dumisani Ndlela
A VISITING International Monetary Fund (IMF) team left the country yesterday
after pressing government to undertake major policy reforms to turn around
the economy.

The IMF delegation demanded commitment from government to an immediate halt
to farm invasions, which it said were hampering Zimbabwe's efforts to
normalise relations with the international community, a source indicated.

The IMF team expressed grave concern over fiscal ineptitude, the
deteriorating humanitarian crisis as well as resurgent inflationary
pressures in the economy.

Sources said yesterday the IMF urged government to urgently privatise public
enterprises, which it said were bleeding the fiscus. Rising money supply
growth as a result of increased money printing last year had impacted
negatively on the fight against inflation, leading to a deterioration of the
macroeconomic situation, the team said.

Finance minister Herbert Murerwa said yesterday government had undertaken to
"step up policy reforms, as well as ensuring that Zimbabwe is fully paid up
on the IMF's General Resources Account arrears".

The IMF team is expected to release a statement next week after approval
from the IMF management in Washington.

"There were serious concerns over government's operation driving out
urbanites from slums (Operation Murambatsvina), the looming food shortages
and continued land invasions. The IMF team felt the humanitarian crisis
would have a significant impact on the fiscus," a source said.

The IMF has recommended fundamental structural reforms over the medium term
which it said were essential to ensure a stable and efficient financial

It also recommended an increase in the role of markets in the pricing of
commodities, public enterprises reforms, putting fiscal accounts on a strong
medium-term footing, an improvement in agricultural productivity and a
reduction of arrears.

The team noted that past recommendations had not been met, save for
government's battle to clear outstanding arrears against the backdrop of a
worsening foreign currency crunch.

It said government had not taken any steps to reform the civil service. In
September, Zimbabwe paid a surprise US$120 million - more than a third of
its outstanding debt - to the IMF, a payment that earned it a six-month
reprieve. An additional US$15 million was paid a month later, followed by
another US$15 million payment in January.

Sources indicated yesterday that it was unlikely the team would recommend
Zimbabwe's expulsion from the IMF, but hinted that policy reforms, which
will be crucial to the board's determination of the country's continued
membership, were lagging behind.

"It's unlikely Zimbabwe will be kicked out of the IMF, but there are serious
worries that there have been no signs of stability in the economy," a source
told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday.

Murerwa said government would step up policy reforms, a position indicating
solemn fears by the Harare administration that the issue might constrain its
chances to survive censor by the board, expected to review Zimbabwe's
situation in March. Zimbabwe escaped membership expulsion after being given
a six-month reprieve by the IMF board at its last meeting in September.

Murerwa said concern had been raised by the IMF mission on the issue of
exchange controls, particularly the recent directive by the Reserve Bank
that the exchange rate movement should be volume-based.

"With regards to Zimbabwe's payments to the IMF, the IMF mission welcomes
the country's modest efforts, but underscored the need for policy
consolidation so as to minimise the inadvertent squeeze on the economy
arising from arrear payments," Murerwa noted.

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How Trust Bank met its fate

Zim Independent

THE Reserve Bank has set up an independent panel to conduct an inquiry and
assess the closure and amalgamation of three banks into the Zimbabwe Allied
Banking Group (ZABG). The panel chaired by retired Justice George Smith is
investigating what transpired before the closure of Trust, Royal and
Barbican banks and how they were put under the management of a curator
before being merged into ZABG. This comes in the wake of growing protests by
shareholders of the collapsed banks that central bank authorities were
biased and heavy-handed in the way they handled the situation. Zimbabwe
Independent news editor, Dumisani Muleya, looks into the findings of the
official investigations into the collapse of the three banks. This week he
starts with Trust Bank.

A confidential central bank document, titled Report on the Failed Banking
Institutions, obtained from government says Trust Bank collapsed due to a
critical liquidity crisis, weak auditing and poor accounting systems, high
reputation risk, engagement in non-banking activities in violation of the
Banking Act and structural flaws.

It also cites the role of a high interest regime, fraud, the lack of records
on structured finance deals, insider loans, poor asset and liability
management, and shady deals in foreign currency as reasons behind Trust's
shutting down.

The report says Trust began operations in 1996 as a merchant bank before it
converted its licence to trade as a commercial bank in 2000. The bank was
wholly-owned by Trust Holdings Ltd.

Trust Bank's top 10 shareholders included First Mutual Life Assurance of
Zimbabwe, Trust Employees Share Ownership, NRZ Contributory Pension Fund,
Ludham Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Zesa Pension Fund, Wilta Investments (Pvt)
Ltd, where the bank's former MD William Nyemba has an interest, Old Mutual
Life Assurance Company of Zimbabwe, Mining Pension Fund, Communications and
Allied Industries, and Datvest Nominees (Pvt) Ltd.

The report says investigations into Trust started on September 30 1998. Five
examinations in a row revealed a gradual deterioration in the bank. The
first one showed although the bank was "satisfactory", its 10 largest
borrowers comprised 67% of the total loan book, signaling concentration.

The second examination in 2000 showed the bank was in a "fair condition" and
noted it needed to tackle weaknesses in treasury and risk management as well
as high exposure to Kimberworth, Wildale and GMB Investments.

In 2002, it was found that the bank's liquidity had deteriorated
significantly. The following year the situation had worsened.

The bank was reeling from daily shortages of between $13 billion and $16
billion and survived on central bank overnight accommodation. In December
2003, the shortages deteriorated to about $100 billion on a daily basis,
forcing central bank authorities to demand daily and weekly updates on

Internal audits raised concerns of fraud and primitive accumulation by bank
employees and a myriad of irregularities. External auditors raised a number
of problems like the risk posed to the bank by the high interest rate

As a result another probe was instituted by Camelsa Chartered Accountants
and it established a gap of $110 billion against the bank's own projection
of a $70 billion shortage.

The bank was also found to be involved in non-banking activities through TMB
Nominees. Disbursements to TMB amounted to $23,8 billion as at December 31
2003. It also showed loans given to group companies of $17,6 billion. There
were also non-performing loans to subsidiaries, including funding of the
strategic alliance between First Mutual and Trust Holdings at about $6,8

"Massive withdrawals, restricted rollovers and insignificant deposits were
causing a widening gap," the report says. "To attract deposits the bank was
offering 850% per annum. However, large depositors demanded security which
the bank did not have and increased reputation risk."

The report says from there it got worse. "The liquidity problems worsened in
January 2004 and culminated in a run on the bank," it says. "To avert a
systemic crisis, the bank was granted liquidity support on condition of
restructuring its operations." The bank's directors were then "asked" to

The bank was issued a corrective order on January 13 2004 to overhaul its
operations, discontinue unlawful activities, restrict payment of dividends,
and sort out other problems. A supervisor for the bank was appointed on
January 20 2004.

"Apart from restructuring the board and senior management, the bank remained
in a critical condition. The financial condition worsened due to huge
funding costs and the resultant operating losses," the report says.

"Various merger initiatives, notably with MBCA, failed to sail through
largely as a result of the extent of the capital deficit and RBZ debt."

The report says the bank's position dramatically deteriorated by 42% from
$801 billion to $1,14 trillion as at July 31 2004.

"The bank was factually and technically insolvent," it observes. "This was
attributable to huge losses stemming from poor asset quality coupled with
failure to repay the Troubled Bank Fund."

The bank was also involved in shady foreign currency deals. A report by BCA
Consulting (Pvt) Ltd revealed there was a net debit of 346 556 Euro to a
Commerz account in August 2004. "Significant foreign currency amounts were
debited to Trust Bank's nostro accounts yet there are no corresponding
credits in the bank's ledger," the RBZ report states. "A total of R1 445
921,64, P27 201, 57, Euro 706 059,69 and US$703 476, 50 could not be
accounted for."

It says some of the money was transferred from Trust's First Rand account in
South Africa to the local bank's former directors Nyemba (R107 531,60) and
Chris Goromonzi (R45 277,20).

There was also controversy over a $961 180 261 cheque paid to NDH. The money
was said to have later been distributed to the bank's former directors
apparently on Nyemba's instructions. About $106 293 987 was paid to Luapa
Holdings where Goromonzi is a director.

At least $214 992 809 was paid to Wilta where Nyemba is a director. It says
$84 446 950 and $800 million were paid from Trust to Uzben Enterprises and
Transtobac where former Trust director Nyevero Nhlupo was a director and
shareholder. Another $800 million was also paid to Transtobac in which
another former Trust director, Phillip Dhliwayo was also a director.

Against this background, the report notes, "it was quite apparent that
market solutions had failed to address deep-rooted structural anomalies at
the bank".

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Army takes over Kondozi

Zim Independent

Augustine Mukaro
AN army takeover of Kondozi farm in Odzi to resuscitate the former
horticultural exporting concern has taken the spring out the surrounding
community's stride.

The military takeover followed failure by the Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority (Arda) to breathe life back into the enterprise
expropriated by the state under the controversial land reform programme two
years ago.

A visit to the farm by the Zimbabwe Independent on Tuesday revealed that the
uniformed forces moved onto the farm at the beginning of the wet season and
have turned the former fresh produce and flowers fields into maize plots in
government's new effort to boost production under Operation Maguta.

The army is understood to have also taken over Arda Transau adjacent to

Go into Kondozi farm's catchment area and chances are great you will agonise
over commonplace dereliction and neglect. And the most striking feature is a
Chinese manufactured military Dofeng vehicle carrying soldiers - some in
military fatigues and others in overalls - going to the fields.

But the best way to enter the 224-hectare property is sneaking in to avoid
upsetting soldiers who treat every visitor with suspicion, quite aware that
he might expose government's dog-in-the-manger attitude used to seize the
property from former owners.

A tour of some of the fields that used to be cropped under state-of-the-art
irrigation equipment shows that everything has been ransacked to make way
for maize planting. Small patches of maize have already been planted with
the earliest at the tasselling stage.

The business complex, which once housed world-class packaging equipment, is
now derelict with all the equipment looted. Weeds have overgrown the
building, showing that the empty pack-sheds, storage facilities and dispatch
halls have not been used for some time now.

There is virtually nothing happening at the business complex, the erstwhile
hub of activities at the farm.

Besides planting maize at Kondozi farm, the army is planting sorghum for
former outgrowers along the road from the Harare-Mutare highway to Odzi
business centre.

One of the contract growers said he had entered into an agreement whereby
government would work on the farm and share the produce with the owner.

"The army promised us a third of the crop harvested and they retain the
remainder for using our land," the outgrower said.

He said he accepted the offer because even if the crop failed he was not
going to lose anything.

But shop owners at Odzi business centre are beginning to feel the costs.

Business has slumped due to reduced clientele because most of the workers
rendered jobless no longer have regular incomes.

"Since the takeover of Kondozi, business has diminished and a number of
small operators have been forced to close shop," a businessman at the centre
said. "The only hotel at the shopping centre has closed down because it
relied solely on renting-out rooms to Kondozi workers," he added.

One of the former Kondozi employees likened the farm invasion to cutting off
the Odzi populace's lifeline.

"People have reverted to gold panning and poaching fish from Osborne Dam,"
the former worker said.

Acquired under controversial circumstances in 2003, Kondozi was one of
Zimbabwe's largest horticultural exporting firms with markets in Europe and
South Africa. The property was registered as an Export Processing Zone with
an annual turnover of US$15 million and employing 5 000 people.

Former owners of Kondozi have since established similar fresh produce
exporting ventures in Mozambique and Zambia.

Dozens of white farmers evicted from Zimbabwe farmlands have settled all
over Africa including countries like Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania
and as further afield as Australia and Nigeria.

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Maize shortage hits Byo

Zim Independent

Loughty Dube
AN acute maize meal shortage has hit Bulawayo and surrounding areas as
millers have not been supplied with grain over a long period.

Almost all supermarkets in the region have not been supplied with the
commodity for over three weeks as it is reported that the importation of
grain from South Africa has been slow due to poor weather conditions
prevailing in the region.

An official with the miller's association said about seven wagon loads of
maize worth billions of dollars imported from South Africa was condemned
after it was exposed to rain three weeks ago.

The chairman of the National Millers Association, Thembinkosi Ndlovu said
there were problems caused by the current incessant rains which slowed down
the transportation of maize.

"The weather is quite bad and some maize that was brought into the country
was found to be rotten after it was exposed to rain and seven wagons of
maize were thrown away," he said.

"As a result of this set-back, we now have this crisis," said Ndlovu.

He added that due to the rains, the loading of the commodity in South Africa
was taking long, as it was necessary to use water-proof material to cover
the maize.

"There is need to ensure that there are no openings for water to come
through into the maize and that takes a long time. People need to understand
that this is what is causing the shortages," Ndlovu said.

Efforts to contact GMB chairman, Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti, were
fruitless as his mobile phone was not being answered.

A survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Independent this week indicated that a
lot of shops and supermarkets around the city of Bulawayo have gone for more
than three weeks without being supplied with mealie-meal.

A manager in one supermarket in the city centre said they had not been
supplied with mealie-meal as the millers had indicated that they were also
not getting any maize from the GMB.

Zimbabwe, once Africa's breadbasket, now imports most of its grain from
South Africa after the ill-fated land reform forced commercial farmers off
productive land. Production levels have since then plummeted.

Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, said the government should
move in quickly "to avert a disaster of great magnitude since people have
nothing to eat".

Ncube said people affected by HIV and Aids and orphans were heavily exposed
to the mealie-meal shortages.

"The concerns are great in the city," said Ncube. "Two days ago I visited
Aids orphans in the high-density areas and the families had nothing to eat.
I promised to bring them a bag of mealie-meal but I have not yet found any,"
Ncube said.

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Tekere says comeback issue not yet finalised

Zim Independent

      Itai Mushekwe

      MAVERICK veteran nationalist, Edgar Tekere, has poured cold water on
the ruling Zanu PF party's claim of having readmitted him to its ranks 18
years after he was banished to the political wastelands.

      Tekere on Wednesday told Zimbabwe Independent in a telephone interview
that despite state media hype about his so-called "comeback", the issue was
still to be finalised. Confusion over his rebound rages on with the
Mutare-based controversial politician also appearing to be dazed.

      Tekere said he was not aware of any developments pertaining to his
readmission into the party, which he founded decades ago alongside President
Robert Mugabe and the late Eddison Zvobgo. "What I know is that the
Manicaland province has forwarded recommendations to the party for my

      Tekere, a former secretary-general of Zanu PF, said he was still
waiting for an official confirmation from the party. He said people would
soon find out about his official standing once Zanu PF finalises the issue.

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Mandaza sets terms for exit

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya
ZIMBABWE Mirror Newspapers group CEO and editor-in-chief Ibbo Mandaza has
set conditions for exit talks with the company's board members fighting to
push him out of the publishing house taken over by the state intelligence

This follows a letter written on January 10 by Gula-Ndebele & Partners,
lawyers representing Mirror board chair Jonathan Kadzura and his deputy John
Marangwanda, proposing new exit talks with Mandaza.

The letter to Mandaza's attorneys, Mandizha & Company, proposed fresh talks
to find an "exit avenue" for the Mirror boss who has confirmed that the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has taken over the company he
founded in 1997. Mandaza has described Mirror directors fighting to push him
out as "CIO fronts".

"On a different note and purely on a without prejudice basis, we wish to
inquire whether your client is still inclined to engaging in discussions
with a view to finding an exit avenue from the Mirror group for your
client," the letter from Gula-Ndebele & Partners said.

"Indications from our clients are that there would be no harm in exploring
that line. Please be guided accordingly and we also await your earliest

However, Mandaza's lawyers responded on Tuesday giving preconditions to
dialogue. They said Kadzura and his colleagues must first respect last
month's court order which lifted Mandaza's October suspension from the
Mirror, pay him outstanding salaries and benefits, and retract certain
defamatory statements made against him.

"We advise, without prejudice that our client remains prepared to negotiate
a mutually acceptable exit," Mandaza's attorneys said.

"As our client's offer has been on the table since (and as set out in his
letter of December 21 2005), onus is on your client to respond to it. In
doing so, your client will have to take steps to cleanse our client's name
by fully and unequivocally withdrawing the defamatory statements made
against our client in both the print and electronic media. In that regard we
advise that our client has instructed us to sue yourselves should they fail
to take such steps."

Mandaza's lawyers also said they had "good reason" to doubt Kadzura and his
associates' intentions. "Furthermore, our client has good reason to doubt
your client's sincerity. The practical and simple consequence of the
existing court order is plain enough," the attorney said.

"Yet in spite of its clarity, your clients continue to refuse to pay what is
due to our client as management fees, salary and benefits. Please be so kind
as to ensure that, without any further delay, our client is paid in full."

Mandaza's exit offer proposes a valuation of the company and a resale of the
70% shareholding of the Mirror to Unique World Investments and Zistanbal
Investments which claim to already control 70% of the firm.

"Unique and Zistanbal will pay the requisite purchase price based on the
current valuation to be undertaken immediately by a firm of accountants to
be mutually agreed upon by the three parties of the Mirror group," Mandaza's
proposal says.

It also says this will take into account the $924 million paid by Unique and
Zistanbal "plus the interest thereof, calculated on the basis of the dates
on which the monies were variously disbursed in the period August 2003 to
late January 2004 and the applicable interest rates thereof".

The letter by Kadzura's lawyers was in response to earlier letters written
on January 6 and 9 by Mandaza's lawyers complaining of a memo at the Mirror
which they said amounted to contempt of court. The memo, which gave new
rules on how employees must conduct themselves, came in the wake of the
December 19 court order which directed Kadzura and others not to interfere
with Mandaza's return to the company.

Last month's court order was a confirmation of an earlier court ruling which
lifted Mandaza's suspension from the Mirror. The High Court last week said
Mandaza's court application to have Mirror directors jailed for contempt of
court was not urgent. The Mirror boss' lawyers are, however, filing a new
contempt of court application on an urgent basis.

Mandaza said this week he had not gone back to the Mirror because he did not
want to put workers in a conundrum of having to "choose to be either loyal
to me or the CIO".

He said: "I hope one day I will go back and put the Mirror on track when
there is no longer any need for employees to choose between me and the CIO."

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Invasion could scuttle Time Bank's reopening

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari
THE owners of Watermount, a farm which constitutes Time Bank's biggest asset
and key to its reopening, have appealed to Vice-President Joseph Msika to
help fend off an invasion of the property by senior government officials.

A letter of appeal has been copied to Mashonaland East provincial governor
Ray Kaukonde whom sources say has promised to deal with the issue.

The farm, earmarked for development of a $1,4 trillion housing project
crucial to the reopening of the bank which was closed in 2004, is being
invaded by officials from Didymus Mutasa's Ministry of Lands, Land Reform
and Resettlement.

The group, led by Petronella Kagonye, who is the chief lands officer in the
ministry, has been trying to wrestle the farm from its owners for the past
three weeks.

The group includes a Stanley Kagonye who is father to Petronella and Cephas
Hodzi, who works in Mutasa's office. Others eyeing the farm are Alvin
Musengezi, a senior officer in the police, Constance Chigwamba who is the
secretary to the Public Service Commission and a Charles Machoba.

The six claim that they were given offer letters by Mutasa.

In their letter, Watermount directors pleaded with Msika and Kaukonde to
intervene to save their farm which they said held the key to Time Bank's

Twenty developers who plan to build houses at Watermount are heavily
borrowed to Time Bank and the land is bonded to the bank. Its takeover would
scuttle Time's chances of reopening.

"The 20 people borrowed $320 billion from Time Bank to develop a housing
programme on this land and these loans with interest have grown to more than
$640 billion and the farm is heavily mortgaged to the bank for more than
$320 billion to support the loans for this housing scheme," said Watermount
in the letter dated January 23.

The directors said the land takeover had not been sanctioned by Kaukonde and
had not followed proper channels. "This land grab by the above-named
individuals was not sanctioned by the governor of Mashonaland East,
Honourable R Kaukonde and his provincial land reform and resettlement
committee," said the directors in the letter.

They also accused Kagonye of using her position in the Lands ministry to
expropriate the farm to benefit her relatives and friends.

"Your Excellency, this is not true and these lies (that the farm is not
black-owned) were coming from an officer (Kagonye) who wanted to have
herself, her father (Stanley) and four of her friends resettled there."

The directors also alleged that the six were boasting that they had been
promised funds by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to kick-start their
agricultural projects on the farm.

"Worse still, these six people have been allocated plots elsewhere under the
land reform programme, yet they still want to take some more land from other
black people who actually borrowed money to purchase the farm."

Court documents in possession of the Zimbabwe Independent show that members
of the group invading Watermount were allocated land two years ago in the
same province.

The papers say Petronella Kagonye owns a 125-hectare farm number 8-11 at The
Glebe Farm in Goromonzi, a few kilometres away from Watermount. Stanley
Kagonye owns plot number 4 (66 ha) at Chinyika Farm in Goromonzi. The
documents show that Chigwamba was allocated plot number 5 (121 ha) at
Miegunyah Farm in Mazoe while Hodzi has plot number 1 (485ha) at Lyne Farm
in Goromonzi.

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Zesa coal mine project takes off

Zim Independent

Eric Chiriga
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has started its US$200
million coal mine project, paving way for the refurbishment of the Hwange
Thermal Power Station by Chinese investors.

The power utility, whose core business is electricity generation, has
already invited tenders from China, South Africa and India for exploration
work at its two coal fields, Western and Sinamatela, which it was offered by
government last year to fulfill the financing requirements of a deal with
Chinese investors.

"The coal mining project has just started with the floating of a tender in
China, South Africa and India for a detailed geological survey at our two
coalfields," Obert Nyatanga, Zesa's corporate affairs general manager, told

"We expect the cost of the mining venture to be between US$100 million and
US$200 million," he said.

Nyatanga said the survey was necessary to enable them to produce a mining
development plan based on the quantities and quality of the coal
underground. The survey would also determine the type of mining method to be
employed in the venture.

The survey and design stages are expected to take close to nine months.

Nyatanga said the size of the mine, the number of workers and cost of
running it would only be known after the mining development plan and design
stages were complete.

"It is also at this stage that we will know the total capital investment
required for maximum capacity operation of the mine," he said.

Asked why Zesa was diverting from core business into mining, Nyatanga said
the venture was an integral part of Zesa's power generation business.

Zesa operates five power stations, four of them coal-fired. Therefore,
Nyatanga said, the power stations needed enough coal to operate at maximum
capacity. He said it was important to have direct control of the coal price
and supplies as it affects the cost of electricity.

"The new coalfields are designed to supply enough coal to the expanded
Hwange Power Station and the existing generation stations so that Zesa will
not blame anybody for failure to make enough coal deliveries to their power

Nyatanga said every project Zesa undertook had to be justified and approved
by the shareholder - the government.

"Any investment venture (including operational issues) is vetted by
government as the shareholder," he said.

Zesa and other coal users have been facing problems getting adequate
supplies from Hwange Colliery Company, the country's sole producer.

Asked for comment over the ownership dispute surrounding the two coal
claims, Nyatanga said: "There is no dispute between Zesa and Hwange Colliery
regarding the ownership of the coalfields," he said.

He said all coalfields in Zimbabwe were owned by the government which in
turn gives authority and licence to an applicant to utilise state
coalfields. In this case, government selected Zesa to exploit Western and
Sinamatella coalfields.

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Inflation catches up with NSSA

Zim Independent

Eric Chiriga
AN information technology (IT) system that was expected to cost the National
Social Security Authority (NSSA) a mere $40 billion last year will now cost
a staggering $400 billion, a senior executive told businessdigest.

NSSA acting general manager, Amon Takawira, said the national pension fund
initially contracted an Irish firm to install the IT system last year but
left without completing the job because of non-payment. The Irish firm, IT
Design, wanted to be paid in foreign currency which NSSA failed to raise.

"Last year, the project was supposed to cost us about $40 billion but now,
because of the rise in costs due to inflation, it will cost at least $400
billion," Takawira said.

The IT system will now be installed by Professional Computing Services in
partnership with Integra, a local IT firm, and Vision Global Solutions, a
developer of business management solutions.

"The companies are co-developing the software and hardware with NSSA staff
and we expect the installation of the new system to be completed by August,"
Takawira said.

Takawaira said Professional Computing Services was awarded the contract
after winning a government tender.

NSSA, whose contributions are enforced on all employees through a statutory
instrument, last month increased employee contributions by 567% and is
planning to introduce a compulsory health insurance scheme.

The increase will see employees forking out $150 000 in monthly
contributions from $22 500. The authority has investments worth billions of
dollars in various sectors of the economy.

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Govt designates tourism zones

Zim Independent

Eric Chiriga

THE government has designated Tourism Development Zones (TDZ) to hasten
development of the tourism sector.

Tourism minister, Francis Nhema, said the government had designated the
Great Zimbabwe and its surroundings, Chiredzi, Gonarezhou National Park and
the Beitbridge-Shashe-Limpopo area for development of TDZs.

"To fast-track tourism development in specific areas that will have been
identified to have the potential, government has come up with the concept of
Tourism Development Zones," Nhema said during an EU-Sadc Tourism Investment
Partnership Promotion workshop last month.

Under the TDZ facility, a number of incentives will be provided by the
government. These include tax holidays and duty exemption on goods imported
by an investor for use in the TDZs.

Nhema, who also called for foreign investors to participate in the
development of TDZs, said there were vast investment opportunities in the
national parks, tourist resort areas and communal areas.

"Realising that the world investment climate remains challenging due to the
global events that negatively impact on tourism, the government of Zimbabwe
is encouraging partnerships between Zimbabweans and foreign investors," he

Recently, Nhema announced that the government had set aside $190 billion to
renovate lodges in the Gonarezhou and Hwange national parks.

He said $100 billion and $90 billion had been disbursed as capital for
refurbishments of lodge facilities in Gonarezhou and Hwange respectively.

The money will be used for, among other things, fuel procurement and
infrastructure development to keep up with international hospitality

Zimbabwe is battling to revive its tourism sector, battered by perception
problems emanating from reports of human rights abuses in the country.

According to figures released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the tourism
sector experienced a 27% decline in arrivals in the third quarter of 2005.

Arrivals from China declined by 89% in the third quarter.While 13 100
tourist arrivals were recorded between July and September 2004, only 1 389
Chinese tourists came to Zimbabwe during the same period last year.

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Zimbabwe in throes of soft drinks shortage

Zim Independent

Paul Nyakazeya
A SHORTAGE of carbonated soft drinks is looming in the country amid reports
industrial conglomerate Delta Corporation's beverages manufacturing division
has not secured concentrates since the beginning of the year. Concentrates
are used in the manufacture of soft drinks.

The group has been unable to raise foreign currency for the procurement of
concentrates, traditionally sourced from South Africa and Swaziland.

Delta Corporation's corporate affairs manager, George Mutendadzamera,
confirmed the problem, saying the shortage of foreign currency had affected
the group's capacity to buy the concentrates.

"The negative effects, on business, of the foreign currency challenges
facing the country are well-documented and together with everyone else,
Delta has not been spared," Mutendadzamera told businessdigest.

"As you will no doubt appreciate, importation and production patterns are
determined by market demand for the products and will accordingly vary from
time to time," said Mutendadzamera.

Businessdigest understands that Delta requires foreign currency to meet more
than half of its operations.

Last year, inconsistent supply of concentrates from Swaziland and South
Africa forced Delta management to reassign the majority of its staff at the
affected arm to other divisions.

Delta's other divisions are beverage manufacturing and distribution, lager
beer business and traditional beer business.

"The supply of concentrates to manufacture soft drinks has not been
consistent," a source in the beverages division said.

"This year none have arrived. Business volumes at this division were very
low and becoming a burden to the company. It was against this background
that contract workers were dropped at the beginning of the year. There were
about 100 contract workers," the source indicated.

"This was done to accommodate permanent workers from carbonated soft drinks
in other divisions. Initially they had been sent on forced leave for five
days. Only a few workers were left at the affected arm. Our chief executive
last week left the country to try and sort out the problem," the source

Mutendadzamera said staff redeployment was a routine exercise.

"In the normal course of business, and on an ongoing basis, we review our
manning levels and assign staff to suit the needs of our operations.

"We will continue to face similar challenges which will affect our
businesses and we are ready to face them," Mutendadzamera said.

An insider said the impact of the concentrates shortages would start being
felt after a month as the group was currently relying on carry-over stocks
from last year.

The carbonated soft drinks division bottles carbonated soft drinks and has
two bottling plants in Harare and Bulawayo.

Manufactured soft drinks include Coca-Cola, Diet coke, Coke light, Fanta,
Sparletta, Sprite and Schweppes.

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How big is the budget deficit?

Zim Independent

By Admire Mavolwane
IN a cricket Test match, there can come a time when the batting side decides
that it has accumulated enough runs to be able to win and it prematurely
terminates its own innings. The side is then said to have declared and the
opponents are given the opportunity to start chasing the target.

In January 2005, the industrial index rose by 87,3%, a return only surpassed
by the 121,9% achieved in October. Thus in January 2006 the bulls were
chasing the target set in the previous year, and how successful they have
been. A monthly gain of 145% is surely a record and way ahead of the closest
competitor, the US dollar, which is rumoured to have devalued by
approximately 58% on the parallel market, from 95 000 to 150 000 and 17% on
the Interbank market. The South African Rand is said to have fared "much
better" moving from $14 000 to $30 000, a return of 114%.

The late bloomers APEX, TA, GULLIVER, TSL and NTS stole the show with gains
ranging from 863,0% to 533,3%. With the exception of TA, the rest could be
said to have finally woken from their slumber. But in the case of the odd
ball, the market seems to be applauding the intended disposal of Sable
Chemicals. In the good old days the 51% owned subsidiary - accounted for as
an associate as TA has no management control - used to be the foremost
contributor to earnings, but it has lately turned villain dragging down the
group through losses.

The chairman Shingi Mutasa wrote a detailed analysis of the fertiliser
situation in the country and the state of affairs at Sable Industries in the
2004 annual report which can be used as a standard reference point of how
things can go wrong. Pricing remains a sticky issue and is still under
negotiation. If the government pays the right price for the asset and the
resultant proceeds are profitably redeployed elsewhere it would be for the
better, appears to be the verdict of the market.

It is rather ironic that the government through price controls caused the
losses at Sable and now wants to buy it off the current owners. Judging by
the governor's incisive supplement on parastatals and local authorities,
what are the chances of the government doing a better job.

It is somewhat contradictory that in one breath, the governor supports the
creation of yet another parastatal and in the next details the depth of the
holes that all these creatures have dug in the fiscal pitch. He held out
little hope, however, that any of them would soon be in a position to
declare that they had accumulated more than enough losses. Certainly, there
seems next to no immediate possibility of any parastatal heads voluntarily
announcing their retirement and letting somebody else come to the wicket who
might start making a positive contribution to the side as would be expected
of a private sector player.

Without major changes in the ways that public enterprises currently operate
there seems little or no prospect of most of them meeting the basic
requirements of the Parastatals and Local Authorities Reorientation
Programme and thus playing the part required of them in supporting a supply
response for the economy. A couple of examples from the relevant supplement
amply illustrate this.

It would seem that Zesa sells a unit of power at an average 16% of its cost
of production. Little wonder therefore that the utility has had insufficient
funds even for replacement investment so that it is currently generating
only 49% of total power requirements and is compelled to purchase the
balance from foreigners to meet its commitments.

The "commercialised" National Railways last year moved only about 65% of the
tonnage required and only one third of the traffic it had hauled two years
ago. Only 37% of its locomotives are operational and if those that are
underpowered are excluded, the proportion of working locomotives falls to
below 30% of its fleet. Less than 43% of its wagon fleet is in service and
this is only 40% of the traffic requirements.

Remember, the much publicised, dismissal of the board on allegations of
failing to implement the 'strategic turnaround programme'. The public still
awaits a report of how well the new broom has swept the corners and progress
made on the turnaround since then. Also the impact of the "freedom train" on
profitability has not been made public.

The scenario at the national carrier Air Zimbabwe defies logic to say the

At Ziscosteel, average monthly steel production is less than half the level
required to break even. It is pertinent to note that one after the other
many foreign investors have looked at the company and walked away. One
wonders what they see, that we are not seeing which makes them never look

Such situations would just not be tolerated in the private sector. They
could not continue for long without closure of the business. The profoundly
disturbing feature is not just the unbusinesslike nature of operations, but
that they are allowed to continue indefinitely on the basis of public sector
financial support, much of it emanating from outside the control of the
national budget.

This makes a mockery of the figures presented to Parliament by the Minister
of Finance just two months ago. Again, information from the fourth Monetary
Policy Supplement eerily puts it into perspective.

While the budget estimates appear to provide $3,5 trillion under various
heads for direct support to agriculture, the supplement states that $7
trillion is being made available to the sector under the Agricultural Sector
Productivity Enhancement Facility.

Even allowing for some overlapping, it is clear that public sector spending
on agriculture is very much higher than indicated in the budget and that the
deficit will inevitably be much higher than the $4,5 trillion indicated in
the estimates. If Zesa alone made a loss of $8 trillion, what does the
actual figure of the budget deficit come to if one adds losses from the
other state utilities and those incurred by the central bank on quasi-fiscal

The implications of this for money supply growth and inflation are
profoundly disturbing particularly as the hoped for supply response is
unlikely to materialise to anything like the extent intended.

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Stepping forward

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Vincent Kahiya
I WAS awestruck by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's description of the
state of Zimbabwe when he presented his monetary policy statement last week.

Often caught in the exuberance of his expression and a quest to paint
horror, which he can't avoid doing considering the parlous state of the
economy, Gono gave a thought-provoking metaphor about what we should do to
get the economy ticking again.

He has given a lot of these illustrations in previous statements but
unfortunately, the sound bites are often excluded from the official
blockbuster speech handed to journalists and those who attend the quarterly
pilgrimage at the RBZ building. Last week Gono's litany of corrupt practices
in government was missing from the official statement. But this nugget found
its way into print.

"Naturally, as with every opportunity, equally true is the fact that the
country is standing on the edge of a cliff which threatens to take us
downhill if we do not move boldly forward with speed to address most our

Picture this, you are standing on the edge of a cliff, trembling and
sweating as you contemplate the drop. You struggle to pull back, clutching
at everything conceivable for support but the gale behind you is
unrelenting. It wants to send you down into the abyss. Then a voice behind
you instructs magisterially: "Move boldly forward with speed". As a good
patriot, you obey the order. AAAGH!!

Those who want to run commandist economies have often given such
instructions with very obvious devastating consequences in the end. That is
why the economy is at the bottom of the precipice and those who are on the
brink are being ordered to jump.

Our avid reader Peter Thompson sent me this note on Gono's advice: "I
suppose to a large extent it depends upon which direction one is facing when
standing upon the edge of a cliff. You could be facing the way in which you
have just come or to either side of your direction or, as is implied in
Gono's statement, we are looking out over the edge of the cliff.

"If it is this last direction, moving boldly forward is foolhardy, as we
will undoubtedly fall off the cliff. The only people I know who willingly
jump off a cliff are those intent on suicide or adrenaline junkies with
parachutes or para-gliders. The latter two have some form of safety device
to ensure a soft or safe landing whereas the former is only interested in

"I have no doubt that Gono is right about moving forward, but I am not sure
that we are facing in the right direction, as which way is forward and does
anyone know?"

Aptly captured.

The people are confused. There no clear picture of where forward is. We have
been told forward was the gung-ho tactics of invading farms and factories.
We have been told it is fighting our enemy Tony Blair.

Technocrats have pointed the nation towards price controls and other state
interventions in industrial activity. That has now been dropped.

We were told the economy would turn around because hundreds of billions of
dollars of cheap money had been pumped into the private sector and
parastatals. This has not worked. We were told banks were sabotaging the
economy and fuelling inflation. The bad apples were closed down immediately.
This has not worked because inflation is still among the highest in the
world at 585% in December and is still heading north.

Gono is not a dare-me-game cheerleader or coach, the sort that would proffer
expert advice to youngsters in the art of driving off a cliff edge.

I witnessed adults in Ridgeview sometime last year offering advice to
youths - high on illegal substances - to drive towards each other at high
speed in a game called dare-me. These wacky coaches wanted something
dramatic to happen, like a near miss or worse still, witness a voluntary
head-on collision.

The youths disappointed their coaches and fans. The cars stopped miles
apart - about three metres of each other. Lives and limbs were saved.

With the Zimbabwean economy, lives and limbs have already been lost.

The truck was driven off the cliff six years ago when war veterans and Zanu
PF hoodlums invaded farms, looted farm equipment and turned productive
farmland into barren tracks dominated by rickety huts and a few bony cattle.

Experts entrusted to put right the economy are standing at the edge of the
cliff contemplating what to do. Do they jump in to try and see if there is
anything to salvage from the dark hole or they back off and find other ways
of sustenance? The order is for the salvage team to "move boldly forward
with speed".

Someone should lead by example in this exercise. Let's see the brave
governor and his bosses jumping in first because this is not a game anymore.

No parachutes please!

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Dabbling in the art of self-deception

Zim Independent

By Chido Makunike
IN response to being as oppressed as we are in Zimbabwe, we have developed
various coping mechanisms which include skirting around important issues
instead of taking them on directly.

The number of words and actions that are considered to be threatening to the
ruling regime keeps rising as it becomes more afraid and insecure. So to try
to avoid getting into trouble, we have learned to talk around issues, rather
than hone in on their essence.

One result of this is that we get very easily side-tracked about what the
issue under discussion is exactly. Because of this natural protective
reaction to having one's free space threatened and reduced so dramatically
by a brutal ruling authority, we frequently deceive ourselves into paying
more importance to side issues than to the central ones.

It might seem at first that this malady would only afflict the oppressed,
but in reality it affects the oppressors every bit as much as their victims,
and perhaps even more so.

Statements and declarations are made without much effort being put into
pursuing where they logically lead. This is how we end up with a regime as
deluded as that of President Mugabe's about the true state of the nation,
the genesis of its problems and what to do about them.

Let us take some examples of the recent statements of senior Mugabe regime
members to illustrate what I am talking about.

He may be completely inept at the nuts and bolts of running a modern nation,
but President Mugabe likes to imagine himself as somewhat of a roving world
statesman, taking every opportunity to pontificate about some issue of
international import. Recently, he held forte on the issue of the UN
Security Council seats for Africa.

Africa must demand rather than beg for the two permanent seats it is
"entitled to", President Mugabe is reported to have said to his African
Union colleagues in Sudan.

He then went on to whine about the historical humiliation of Africa, using
that as one of the justifications for the demand of the seats.

Excuse me Mr Mugabe, but in the world of real-politik that we live in,
nations and blocs can only make "demands" from a position of strength. For
your "demand" to have any persuasive effect, you must be in a position to
say "do/give me this or we will do this in retaliation to get our way."

I'm sorry to tell you this Sir, but Africa under rulers such as yourself,
has no such trump-card because you have squandered the last several decades
of Independence, resulting in Africa being ever weaker relative to other
continents. The current world currency of "demanding" anything is economic
or military power, and Africa does not count on either score.

As for moral authority suggested by his reference to the historical
"humiliation" of Africa, people like him have also used up much of Africa's
moral capital by being as vicious on Africans as the colonial powers of

Even if the rest of the world agreed with the logic of President Mugabe's
argument about the Security Council or any other issue, those arguments are
neutralised by his low standing in the world. All his detractors have to do
is to point at the state of the country he rules and say: "who would listen
to the arguments of a man like that, who has managed the amazing feat of
snatching poverty, decline and failure out of a jewel of a country like
Zimbabwe." Case closed, forget your "demands" and go home.

And suppose Africa won its two seats, what would it do with them that would
make any difference to you and me or the world? How do you enforce your veto
power from a point of such weakness?

With no currency to make the world take you seriously, those seats would
mean absolutely nothing except perhaps provide yet another forum for those
who enjoy showing off their speech-reading skills.

Do not delude yourself by putting the cart before the horse. Zimbabwe and
Africa must put their house in order before they will be listened to and
taken seriously. It cannot be the other way around.

Every few months the visit of a few IMF officials gets us all excited.
Officials run around to look for hard currency to pay IMF arrears and
hopefully stave off expulsion from that body. Passionate
pseudo-nationalistic editorials are written about how the "IMF done Zimbabwe
wrong" in one or another way.

More people from all over the world ideological spectrum are questioning the
role of the controversial IMF in developing countries. I will leave that
subject for another day.

But for the purposes of how self-delusional the regime that rules Zimbabwe
is, look at how brilliantly the IMF outsmarts that regime every time. They
string them along as they coax more of the money owed to them out of the
regime. That regime tells itself that if it pays up it may then be able to
borrow more from the IMF and other international lenders. The IMF is quite
happy to have the regime tell itself this and never comes right out to say:
"no way in hell would we advance any more money to such an economically and
politically illiterate regime."

It seems incredible to me that any officials in the Mugabe regime can really
believe that given the prevailing environment in Zimbabwe, any lender would
advance us any meaningful credit. This is self-delusion at its most

The process of trying to limit what Zimbabweans think and say aggressively
began by the notorious Jonathan Moyo continues apace under Tafataona Mahoso,
George Charamba and other regime apparatchiks.

The media and free expression in general continue to suffer at the hands of
these officials.

Central banker Gideon Gono recently joined the chorus of regime members who
blame the country's many woes on the media. But what does this tell us about
the success of clamping down on freedom of thought and expression then? The
regime "controls" the thinking and talking space more today than it has ever
done, and yet its reputation is even more in the dog house than it has ever
been. Would this not suggest that trying to control the thinking space in
this modern age is not only difficult to impossible, but is

Are there any regime members who are smart enough to see this and make
reversing this a central pillar of getting the country back on track?

But once you reach a certain level of self-delusion, nothing is as clear and
obvious as it is when one is in a normal state of being.

"But wait a minute Makunike, in all your reactionary arguments against the
gallant, revolutionary Mugabe you fail to factor in the Western sanctions
imposed on Zimbabwe." Let us take this argument at face value and say that
the sanctions that are in place are the cause, rather than the effect of the
situation in the country. But instead of whining and using them as an excuse
for helplessness, should we not "demand" to know what the "revolutionary"
government is doing to get around them? Of what use to us are these claimed
"revolutionary" credentials if they do not include economic
counter-insurgency for the benefit of the people?

I thought part of the cachet and romanticism of being a "revolutionary" was
in being able to show an ability to thwart more powerful enemies, not merely
constantly whining that they are plotting against you.

Being able to fool oneself about reality is not strength. Quite unwittingly,
the astonishing ineptitude of the regime of President Mugabe shows this
truth to the whole world, ever reducing it in stature and influence, and
giving a historical example of how to ruin a nation.

* Chido Makunike is Zimbabwean writer based in Senegal.

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Blame it all on the Gushungo totem

Zim Independent

By Rejoice Ngwenya
THE single resolution I made this year is to reclaim my individual liberty,
because if one is not free, he or she cannot participate in the liberation
of others. But why do I feel enslaved even after 25 years of Independence,
you might ask?

I will get back to that. First, the myth surrounding the Gushungo totem has
to be clarified.

I have not consulted the so-called gurus of traditional totems at our local
university, but next time you bump into the likes of Vimbai Chivaura, Claude
Mararike and Aeneas Chigwedere, confirm this Gushungo assertion with them.

Just like my father, I grew up with a "Gushungo" label. Ironically, the
Ngwenya, Mukwena or Mokoena are known to have roots either in Swaziland or

My ageing father recalls that the clan came to Zimbabwe together with white
men as scotch-cart drivers (chemutengures) in the 1890s, then settled
somewhere in the Buhera area where perhaps the totem Gushungo was coined.

Through time, they rediscovered their ilk in the Kezi and Bulilimamangwe
areas, before establishing an urban stronghold in Bulawayo.

My grandfather was a soldier in the First World War. He was rewarded with a
farm in the Zowa area not far from Chegutu, where my father was born.

My father went on to attend school and underwent teacher training and
married at Solusi in the mid-forties before being deployed and eventually
settling in Shurugwi.

Apparently, I also understand my grandmother was from the "royal" Nhema
family, although that lineage is yet to be substantiated.

Anyway, being of Ndebele origin, but born in the Midlands, meant that I
spoke siNdebele at home and studied chiShona in school at all levels.

Infact, I was so good at the Shona language that as a mere 15-year-old, I
penned two to three exercise books full of a short story called Ngozi
muMuzinda (trouble in the king's homestead), which, together with my valued
Jimi Hendrix collection, disappeared in the mêlée of the liberation war.

So when people ask: "Are you Ndebele or Shona?" I stumble for an answer,
because although my mother is pure Ndebele from Lupane, my grandmother was
pure Karanga from Nhema.

Ironically, most or all of my mother's relatives settled in Botswana,
eRamagkwebana a few kilometres from the Plumtree Border post, hence my
appreciative knowledge of Tswana, Shona and of course, the little KiSwahili
that I picked up in exile at college in Nairobi.

As it is, half of our family of eight has been sent into economic exile in
the diaspora. That leaves me and three elderly sisters to bite the dust in

However, I am here to stay and fight for my liberty against a dictatorship
perpetrated by. another Gushungo!

I first heard that President Robert Mugabe is a Gushungo by (former deputy
Local Government minister) Tony Gara during the vicious 2000 parliamentary

I met him in Mbare on a routine inspection of polling stations at Stodart
Hall as part of my duties with the then Electoral Supervisory Commission,
tasked with shadowing the late commissioner, Elaine Raftopoulos, who had
asked for an "intelligent" assistant.

Although Gara did not explain the Ngwenya connection in Mugabe, I soon
delved into reading a bit about the man's background, but could not trace
the president's Ndebele lineage, apart from common knowledge that he at one
time or another stayed and worked at Hope Fountain mission.

But if the story that his father went to South Africa in the 1920s is
anything to go by, it explains why he grew up using his mother's family

However, his Ngwenya lineage received a bit of credence when, in the late
1980s or early 1990s, the president visited a relative's grave in Soweto
which some people claimed was engraved with a Ngwenya name.

Therefore if this is true, it explains why Gara said to me: "Saka uri
Gushungo sesuwoka, iwe!" (You are of the Gushungo totem, like us).

I will be difficult to contain this year because like my "uncle" Bob and our
late vicious and heartless king Tshaka Zulu, I am hardening with age.

President Mugabe and his friends fought tooth and nail to liberate us from
colonial bondage in grand style - using guns and stones. They fought for
equal opportunities, universal suffrage, non-discrimination, and access to
health, wealth and education - fringe benefits we enjoyed only up to 1984.

It has been a Mach Three downward spiral ever since. These days, only Zanu
PF supporters meet, demonstrate and vote freely. Only Zanu PF has serious
access to a highly-monopolised broadcast system.

If you express opinions other than those of the ruling party, you are
branded all sorts of derogatory names. Mugabe loves democracy, but resents
fair political competition. If he lets us operate our own broadcast
stations, stops controlling the registration of newspapers, allows us to
meet freely and debate, then we will feel really free.

The man has too much power that he uses to appoint totally incompetent
ministers and countless commissions. Central and local governance has
collapsed, resulting in terrible infrastructure and epidemics.

Only him and a few of his colleagues are wealthy, while the rest of us
struggle under the yoke of poverty and yet he claims we are free. Those
Africans around us who are free don't come for shopping in Zimbabwe - they
come for pleasure. Freedom brings wealth and sophistication while poverty
breeds crime, disease and turns one into a spectacle.

If we were really free, professionals would not be escaping to the diaspora.
If we were free, we would not be lying prostrate on the ground, begging
(South African president) Thabo Mbeki to remove visa requirements for

If we were free, every one of us would afford basic health, leisure and
education. If we were free, "retired" colonels would not be managing
parastatals and commissions.

If we were free, each province would have its own private radio station and
newspaper, aeroplanes would be flying in and out of Zimbabwe full of
tourists and fuel would be flowing in all service stations at affordable

If we were free, there would be clean water in Tafara, decent housing in
Dangamvura and no nightly electricity power outages in Zimre Park.

Had we been free, property rights and access to justice would be respected.
If we were really free, Gushungo - the ruling one, I mean - would have
retired from politics in 1990.

Is President Mugabe therefore, himself not free to retire or he is not sure
of his freedom after retirement? Knowing Gushungos, I think he does not give
anyone around him a morsel of a chance to say anything about his retirement.

My own father who had been sickly since I was 10 years old, was only forced
into retirement because he could not walk. His late brother forcibly took
over our grandfather's Zowa farm from my father despite not appearing
anywhere in the title deeds.

If the Swazis have any Ngwenya blood in them, it explains King Mswati's
taste for power and women. The Sotho have not fared any better either, with
politics having been once resolved by military invasion. What is it with us

Perhaps it is something one can term heartless self-esteem. Unlike the
Dhewas whose idle boasts yield nothing other than rhetoric, the Sokos who
talk of past victories or Godhlwayos whose only claim to fame is colour of
the skin, Gushungos think one way and act the exact opposite.

My best bet is that all the global emissaries sent to pick Mugabe's brain
are convinced the man is a democrat. But it's what he then does after that,
that swings their perception of him. To him, elections every five years are
a test of a healthy democracy, never mind the intimidation, the rigging or
change of rules on election eve. In typical Gushungo fashion, he thinks it
is the others who do not understand.

In any civilisation, society or human gathering, age plays a role in

On February 21, the president will be 82.

Gushungos have sharp, alert minds, but at that age, we waffle a lot. My dad
is 84, but reads and studies his Bible like a young man.

His commentaries are logical and the analyses is rational, but place him in
a position to take a serious decision - you are stretching it too far.

My humble advice to "Uncle" Bob: "Gushungo, zvaitwa, zvakwana chizororai."
(Gushungo, it has been done, it is enough, please go and rest." Otherwise,
we face a ngozi muMuzinda (vengeance in the family)!

* Rejoice Ngwenya is a Harare-based writer.

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Errant leadership at core of crisis

Zim Independent

By Phillip Pasirayi
THERE have been innumerable postulations regarding the origins of the
Zimbabwean crisis, but what is startling is the Zanu PF government's denial
of responsibility and blaming of the British, the Americans, the independent
press, non-governmental organisations, the Movement for Democratic Change,
churches and the human rights activists who, according to Justice minister,
Patrick Chinamasa, gallivant throughout the world to portray a negative
image of the government and the country.

Another school of thought that has been maintained is that the current
crisis has nothing to do with the massive human rights violations in
Zimbabwe, but that the crisis is a result of the vagaries of nature such as
the years of successive droughts and floods that have hit the country in the

Government has maintained that it is a victim of hostile propaganda from the
West and that this crusade is led by the former colonial master - Britain -
who uses her influence in the European Union and the Commonwealth to
ostracise the Zanu PF leadership.

The solution to the current political and economic crisis has been given as
consolidating the gains of Independence under the auspices of the so-called
Third Chimurenga and developing a deliberate policy that has since been
adopted by all "Zanunised" state institutions such as the public media, the
police, the army, national youth service institutions and some tertiary

Some ideologues who are part of the ruling elite, their chief being head of
the Media and Information Commission (MIC), Tafataona Mahoso, have invoked
the rhetoric of empty pan-Africanism and applauded the adoption of the "Look
East" policy by government and the subsequent bilateral and multilateral
ties on trade, tourism, communications, technology and social

and cultural exchange being concluded with countries like China and Iran.

In an article entitled, "Organised, exaggerated pseudo-crisis", (the Sunday
Mail, January 29), Mahoso refuted the existence of a crisis situation in
Zimbabwe and instead apportioned blame on organisations such as the Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition and Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum for dramatising
events in the country with an idea to create the crisis.

Such is the extent of the crisis that has engulfed our country as epitomised
in senior pro-government academics like Mahoso openly declaring their
partisan conduct through lengthy articles.

People like Mahoso easily believe their lies that there is no crisis in the
country because they are part of the crumbling system. Mahoso does not see
the crisis because he is chauffer-driven in a new government-issued SUV
while taxpayers pay for his fuel, security and cellphone allowances.

Contrary to the wayward claims that the issue at stake in Zimbabwe is about
sovereignty (in the sense that sovereignty is narrowly-defined by Zanu PF),
the culture of impunity, coupled with ineptitude, corruption and the abusive
state institutions, are largely the causes of the economic and political

Claims to sovereignty do not make sense for a country such as ours that has
control over its economic and political affairs and is not ruled by an alien
imperial power or force. If the problem is about sovereignty, as Zanu PF
wants us to believe, then it is Zanu PF that is denying Zimbabweans both
their economic and political sovereignty, and not some imagined foreign
power working covertly through the MDC to effect an imagined regime change.

Successful black entrepreneurs like Mutumwa Mawere, Strive Masiyiwa, Nigel
Chanakira, among others, are victims of this denial of economic sovereignty
as much as fired former Harare Executive Mayor, Engineer Elias Mudzuri,
Misheck Shoko, (Chitungwiza) and Misheck Kagurabadza (Mutare) and the
thousands of people who elected them into office.

Contrary to what we are told by the Zanu PF mouthpieces - the Herald and the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings - the ruling party is the chief culprit in
frustrating the people's desire to express and enjoy their economic and
political sovereignty.

According to Alistair McConnachie (2003), sovereignty means authority over
one's own existence and this can apply to the individual, the community and
the nation - state.

It is by no coincidence that Zanu PF emphasises state sovereignty, though
out of context, than individual sovereignty, because the latter means the
people are empowered economically and politically, and can freely go about
their day-to-day business without undue interference from government.

This is obviously a fallacy in Zimbabwe where those that work hard are
punished for doing so and those that loot are rewarded through multiple
farms, appointment to the cabinet and other top posts in the public service.

Through the enactment of draconian pieces of legislation such as the Public
Order and Security Act (Posa), the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa), the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill, Constitutional
Amendment No 17 and creating such monstrous institutions such as the Media
and Information Commission (MIC), Zanu PF has rendered the country a pariah
state that can no longer be part of the international community that
respects the rule of law and recognises citizens' rights.

Despite denials from the ruling class, the human agency factor has
contributed a great deal to the fall of Zimbabwe from the once revered
country whose education was once the best not only in southern Africa but
internationally, whose health system has irretrievably broken down and
social security has collapsed.

Sheer inefficiency, ineptitude, incompetence and the fact that public
servants take comfort in being members of the ruling party and know that
they have political "protection" even if they underperform, is what has led
to the failed state that Zimbabwe has become today.

In article entitled, "Africa's Mess, Mugabe's Mayhem", (Foreign Affairs, Vol
79, No 5, October-September 2000), Robert I Rotberg, an eminent scholar and
director of the Programme on Intra-State Conflict at Harvard's John F
Kennedy School of Government, says this of President Mugabe: "Kleptocratic,
patrimonial leaders like President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, give Africa a
bad name, plunge its peoples into poverty and despair and incite civil wars
and bitter ethnic conflict. They are the ones largely responsible for
declining GDP levels, food scarcities, rising infant-mortality rates,
soaring budget deficits, human rights abuses, breaches of the rule of law."

The reason why Zimbabwe is even being condemned by such pan-African
institutions as the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR),
is because of the realisation of the human rights and development nexus, and
that such behaviour as subjecting defenceless citizens to torture and other
forms of inhumane and degrading treatment is no longer admissible in the
international realm.

In the international community, which is ideally a community of civilised
nations, barbaric acts such as shutting down newspapers, torture of civil
and political rights activists and confiscation of passports belonging to
government critics and expelling elected mayors on flimsy allegations
compels the international community to invoke sanctions as a way of reining
in on errant members.

Zimbabwe today is a strong candidate for a failed state except only for the
absence of a civil war. The collapse of infrastructure, the level of
politicisation of state institutions such as the judiciary, the police and
the army, shortage of basic commodities, the critical shortage of fuel and a
totally ineffectual public transport system have exposed government's lack
of capacity to deliver social and economic services to the citizenry.

When the people elect a government they expect it to provide, or at least
create an enabling environment that makes it easier for them to access
drugs, education, social amenities and other goods and services to enhance
their lives. If a government fails to deliver on these critical issues, then
the electorate is under no obligation to pay allegiance to it.

Two years back, I had an argument with a University of Zimbabwe lecturer in
international politics, who argued that Zimbabwe cannot be considered a
failed state because central government is still intact and can still make

My point of disputation to this was not the existence of central government.

The existence of the Zimbabwean government is enhanced through coercive
tactics and not by the will of the people and even if it does exist, it has
no capacity to deal with the socio-economic challenges that the country is

The number of potholes on our roads can assist us to ascertain whether or
not we can qualify Zimbabwe as a failed state. It has become dangerous to
drive in Zimbabwe, not only because of potholes, but also because of
dysfunctional traffic lights.

Instead of blaming our woes on the British who through the Department of
International Development (DFID) are helping the country mitigate some of
its challenges, and the US that funds the bulk of community-based and
national development projects through USAid, our government must be
conciliatory, rather than resemble the proverbial housefly that is stupid to
follow the corpse into the grave.

In its present form, the government cannot be expected to genuinely deal
with the problems haunting the country and re-engage the international
community not only because of lack of capacity, but because of the world's
scepticism about President Mugabe and his government. Some might want to
ask: Re-engaging which international community when President Mugabe enjoys
support from countries like China?

The "Look East" policy has opened new havens for the most corrupt amongst
the Zanu PF rank and file who have abused the few opportunities such as the
Tractor Purchase Scheme.

On the other hand, Zimbabweans have had to put up with sub-standard and
cheap products, derisively known as zhing-zhongs that have rendered the
local fabric and textile industry redundant.

The human factor is a big factor in explaining the crisis which has reached
fever-pitch levels. It is unlikely that the situation will improve because
of the rains that we have received this year. If corruption, human rights
abuses, ineptitude and arrogance of the political leadership remain the
system through which Zanu PF chooses to govern, then we are poised for
further problems.

* Phillip Pasirayi is a UK-based human rights, international relations and
governance research fellow.

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Time to fight the enemy within

Zim Independent

Candid Comment with Joram Nyathi
"IN our wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders across the board we
have come to realise a common thread of unanimity on the unfortunate fact
that as Zimbabweans we have become our worst enemies through our thoughts,
speeches and deeds," said Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono in his monetary
statement last week.

He noted that as a people we are "fast losing our integrity and sense of
economic justice and fairness".

Gono called on the authorities to come up with a national Code of Conduct
and Ethics that would hopefully jog our conscience in times of lapses. He
did go further, however, calling for an amnesty for "all those who may have
erred and strayed economically in the past so that a new beginning can be
worked out".

"Time has come to give back confidence to our people, to decriminalise them,
give them self-worthy, self-respect and greater economic space and freedom,"
he said.

There is no denying Gono's diagnosis about Zimbabweans posing greater harm
to themselves than any enemy, real or imagined, internal or external.

The problem is that we don't know who is meant by "stakeholders". Does he
mean what he describes elsewhere as "our principals", those given to
speaking with a forked tongue? Does he mean business and labour or does he
mean civic society and the ordinary people?

All these groups have different opinions about what needs to be done and the
cause of our woes.

In his consultations he would have discovered that the biggest "common
thread" was an overwhelming sense of negativity across all sections of
society. What he may not have discovered is the complete rupture between the
corrupt rich and the petty lot of the poor majority.

What has become evident is the social dislocation caused by high-level
corruption that is apparently fuelled by impunity. The spirit of community
is gone: there is no sense of community or shared values except an
indeterminate desire for change - any change.

The so-called stakeholders are an eclectic group of corrupt
influence-peddlers, speculators or beneficiaries of the government's ever
widening system of patronage. These are the people opposed to change because
they want to protect their ill-attained privileges. A majority of them have
benefited from looting state assets or stripping companies for personal
gain. They are venal double-dealers who would have problems accounting to
the people for their overnight fairytale to riches.

Their greed knows no fellow comrades and the party has become a cloak under
which the most heinous economic crimes are committed. They are involved in
the looting of farms, illegal sale of foreign currency, fuel and mealie-meal
and run no recognisable business.

The reason why Gono's appeal to their conscience and a sense of the
commonweal falls on deaf ears is because this lot is solely dependent on the
establishment for its survival - politically and economically. They are a
pathetic caricature of the propertied capitalist bourgeoisie they fancy
themselves to be and hence cannot stand out as a class. In fact, they are
happy to prey on each other.

They have set themselves at loggerheads with the poor who feel cheated not
only of the promises of Independence in terms of wealth but also by an
electoral system that has failed to bring about peaceful change. It is this
disillusionment that has destroyed all sense of community and fuels greed
and unhealthy self-interest that Gono condemns.

Instead of looking at the national interest, everybody now thinks they can
do it alone by stealing from their employer. This theft ranges from fuel and
company tools to white-collar crime in the banking sector. Nobody wants to
be left out even where there is a clear risk of being caught.

This brings me to the governor's appeal for an amnesty for most of the
banking executives who fled the country after they were accused of breaches
of foreign exchange regulations and misuse of company assets.

Most of these were real entrepreneurs who didn't need party cards or a
political godfather to get by. The reason most of them breached the law was
because the environment dictated it and as entrepreneurs they had to
survive. What with inflation running at over 600% and the country without
foreign currency to talk of?

Gono is aware that these people have the skills the country needs for its
economic revival. We have to look beyond petty vindictiveness and consider
the well-being of the nation, is his message. It is time to restore
confidence in our people, to give them "economic space and freedom".

But you can be sure that there won't be any amnesty soon, given that their
financial and economic independence is a moral slap in the face for the
politically-correct who reap where they did not sow. Moreover, a number of
the exiled entrepreneurs have already started something else and are
powering ahead wherever they are.

Gono knows all this and wishes they were doing all that back home. But it
will take some convincing, given the overall disenchantment with a system
that ruined their dreams and cannot guarantee the security of their persons
and property.

Combined with this group of entrepreneurs are people who left the country
for reasons such as political insecurity and the search for better
opportunities anywhere their talents are valued and well-rewarded. Each one
in their individual way thinks they are fighting for political change and a
better Zimbabwe.

Gono knows why his Homelink project wasn't such a huge success. It doesn't
mean people are not sending money back home. It doesn't mean they don't have
money either. They are simply not happy with their motherland being reduced
to a basket case, a laughing stock of the international community when they
know things could be better.

In a nutshell, the government has lost the goodwill of its people at home
and abroad. That can only make the job of economic recovery that much

To win the economic battle, we must first defeat the enemy within - greed,
selfishness, deceitfulness and a shameless leadership.

Sometimes one can't help feeling sorry for Gono given the sincerity of his
intentions and the hopelessness of their attainment. But his cause cannot be
helped by joining the bandwagon of those accusing the media and imaginary
sanctions for the poor state of economy and corruption.

Media didn't launch Operation Murambatsvina. Media don't cause fuel or
fertiliser shortages. Media don't have foreign currency or gold to smuggle
out of the country.

By shifting the blame, Gono runs the risk of creating an alibi for the real
enemies of Zimbabwe.

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Gono skirts round real causes

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

RESERVE Bank governor, Gideon Gono, last week made a spirited attempt to
bolster government's propaganda by blaming the economic spiral on the media
and sanctions.

In a typical Zanu PF refrain, Gono said the media and sanctions were some of
the major causes of the gripping crisis that Zimbabwe now finds itself in.

But analysts say Gono is only playing the blame game by avoiding relevant
causes of the crisis.

In his monetary policy statement, Gono said the country's balance of payment
position had worsened because of the sanctions.

"Adverse publicity, coupled with punitive measures by some foreign
governments, multilateral institutions, as well as some private sector
entities have worked to constrain the policy options available to the
country, which in effect has worked to worsen the socio-economic
environment, with the poor and the vulnerable groups being the hardest hit,"
Gono said.

Although accepting disruptions on the farms, he lashed out at the media for
being a "penal tool" in tarnishing Zimbabwe's image abroad.

"The land reform programme has been misunderstood by the world due to bad
publicity and calculated distortion of facts on the ground," said Gono in
his statement.

Gono said the media had undermined investor confidence, saying that Western
sanctions had seen Zimbabwe's balance of payment worsen since 1998.

He said sanctions had limited government's alternatives to manoeuvre in the
monetary, fiscal, structural and exchange rate policies, Gono said.

But analysts note that the collapse of the economy had nothing to do with
the media and sanctions but policies which government has implemented over
the past 25 years.

They say that sanctions came about as a result of government's reckless
actions and are only targeted at the leadership.

After lambasting the media and the imposition of sanctions Gono made a
change again, concluding with a statement analysts say is at the core of
Zimbabwe's economic woes.

Gono hit the nail on the head when he said: "Policy consistency; respect for
private property rights; investment protection, a zero tolerance to
lawlessness and corruption as well as full implementation of set
socio-economic programmes are also vital steps that all Zimbabweans must
take to heart as a tool against the adverse wave that is increasingly
putting the country under siege."

Ironically, it is the same things that the media have been highlighting for
the past eight years.

Gono seems to believe that if there were no sanctions and media "adversity"
the economy would get itself back on the rails and the Zimbabwe dollar
recoup its lost value.

But the truth remains that with or without sanctions the country was
inevitably going to collapse because of government's destructive policies
which constricted the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

Analysts say it is government's lawlessness, disregard of property rights
and interference in the judiciary that have scared away investors.

It is the state's abuse of its power to harass political opponents, the
propensity to rig elections and muzzle the press that have plunged the
economy to a level that has earned the country the notoriety of having the
highest inflation rate in the world.

Zimbabwe was always going to crash as long as it allowed corruption and
political patronage to run the country, analysts said.

While Gono harps on "economic saboteurs", sanctions and the media, he seems
to forget that it is his principals who have been plundering the country's
wealth over the past 25 years.

While it is true the problems worsened in the past half decade, the economy
started showing signs of decline as early as 1981, a year after Independence
despite the ruling elite inheriting a vibrant economy.

Mugabe's government took over a country with a functioning power system,
roads, health infrastructure and stable currency.

Rhodesia had survived 15 year of real sanctions, not the current nominal
sanctions targeted only at the leadership.

Research shows that even before the targeted sanctions that government is
livid about, the value of the dollar had started nose-diving.

The precipitous fall of the dollar is a function of government policies of
printing more money to fund its expenditure.

Research clearly indicates that government's extravagancy started way back
in 1980 even though it accelerated in the 90s on the back of a costly war in
the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the ill-advised gratuities to
the war veterans in 1997.

In 1978, in the midst of the liberation struggle, the United States dollar
was equal to 0,68 Rhodesian cents and by 1980 it was around 0,68 cents.
Seventeen years down the line the Zimbabwe dollar was still respectable at
$8,26 against the US dollar. The parallel market which is wrecking havoc in
the economy started rearing its ugly head in 1995, about seven years before
the so-called British and American sanctions.

While the dollar was trading at $8,26:US$1 on the official market, the black
market was at $8,85:US1.

Analysts said Gono was misinforming the nation about sanctions. While he
wants to give the impression of a country under siege, it is a fact that the
sanctions are targeted at Mugabe and his cronies. Zimbabwe is allowed to
import or export to the same countries that Gono says have imposed sanctions
on us.

Economist John Robertson said it was not true that the country was under
sanctions. "It's not true that this country is under sanctions. They are
trying to shift the blame but they know what the problem is," Robertson

He said Zimbabwe was still allowed to do business with any country
especially those that the government says are hostile. The West which the
government blames is still our major trading partners.

The investor apathy that Gono blames on the media is a result of government's
policies. "It is government policies and not media reports that scare away
investors," said Robertson.

Exchange rate history

This table shows the historical value of one U.S. Dollar in Zimbabwe

Date Official Rate Free / Parallel Rate

1978 R$0,6788 (Apr) n/a

1980 R$0,68 (Mar) n/a

1982 0,8925 to 0.9140 (Dec)

1983 0,96135 (Jan) up to 3.18 (July)

1994 6,82 (Jan) 8,36 (Oct)

1995 8,26 (Jan) 8,85 (Oct)

1996 9,13 (Jan) 10,52 (Oct)

1997 10,50 (Jan) 12,00 (Jan); 25.00 (Nov)

1998 18,00 (Jan) 16,65 (Jun); 19.00 (Jul); 23,50; rates unified 1998 (Dec)

1999 36,23 (Jan) 38,30 (Sep)

2000 38 (Jan) 56 to 62 (Jul); 65 to 70 (Aug.)

2001 55 70 (Jan); 340 (Dec)

2002 55 380 (Jan); 1400 (Dec)

2003 55 (Jan); 824 (Feb) 1400 (Jan); 6000 (Nov)

2004 824 (Jan 1); 4196 (Jan 12) to 5730 (Dec) 5500 (Jan 1) to 6000 (Dec)

2005 5 730 (Jan); 6 200 (Mar); 9 000 (May); 10 800 (Jul 18); 17 600 (July
25); 6 400 (Jan); 14 000 (Mar); 20 000 (May); 25 000 (Jul 18); 45 000 24 500
(Aug 25); 26 003 (Sept); 26 003 (Oct) (Jul 25); 45 000 (Aug 25); 75 000
(Sept); 80 000 to 100 000 (Oct)

2005 60 000 (Nov); 84 588 (Dec 30) 90 000 (Nov); 96 000 (Dec 30)

2006 85 158 (Jan 3); 99 202 (Jan 24) 100 000 (Jan 6); 106 050 (Jan 19); 125
000 to 150 000 (Jan 25)

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Media paranoia bad for IMF/Zim ties

Zim Independent

By Eric Bloch

UNTIL the late 1990s, the Zimbabwean government proudly asserted its
membership of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It waxed eloquently on
the policies and activities of the IMF and unhesitatingly availed Zimbabwe
of IMF funding, both by way of balance of payments support and by way of the
concessional interest poverty reduction and growth facility.

To a major extent, Zimbabwe's oft-expressed appreciation of the IMF and its
policies was driven by a rapacious hunger for funding, but to some not
insignificant extent, it was also because the IMF did not publicly voice
criticisms of any of Zimbabwe's economic and other policies, of its fiscal
management (or mismanagement), or of its monetary systems and their

But, when the Zimbabwean government set the country upon a path of
self-destruction and pursued that path with increasing vigour, the IMF was
bound to advise the government against its foolhardy, apocalyptic measures.
However, those advices were not well received, and were cavalierly dismissed
as naught but anti-government bias.

Suddenly, after 17 years of pretended admiration for the IMF and cooperation
with that organisation, the government could only speak ill of it. Setting
the example, President Robert Mugabe caustically rejected all the
well-intended advices of the IMF, and increasingly contended that Zimbabwe
could successfully "go it alone", without IMF monies and advices.

Unhesitatingly, the president's myriad of sycophants played the same tune,
and were very soon strongly supported in their vilification of the IMF by
the state-controlled media, which has demonstrated an immense and unending
ability to change its opinions according to the whims of its masters.

Over the last seven years the Zimbabwean economy has plummeted to its lowest
levels, inconceivably worse than even the greatest opponents of the
government could have anticipated. This is almost wholly due to the
endlessly damaging acts of commission and omission by the Zimbabwean

Progressively, government has destroyed agriculture which was the very
foundation of the economy, demolished much of the industrial economy, caused
overwhelming contraction of tourism and stagnation of most of the mining
sector. Concurrently, government has impoverished the state's coffers
through profligate spending of immense magnitude, with very little of the
expenditures being nationally beneficial.

There were endless fiscal outflows for luxurious motor vehicles,
non-required military aircraft and numerous unnecessary ministries, only to
assure "jobs for the boys" and their ongoing support and the like.
Corruption abounded, unimpeded by the state, despite numerous protestations
by government of its intent to quash corruption.

Civil servants were under-remunerated, with consequential demoralisation and
demotivation, resulting in the inevitable decline of efficiency within the
public sector. Parastatals become ever more ineffectual, increasing
millstones to be supported by the insolvent fiscus and the gross domestic
product (GDP) has shrunk dramatically, while the state's deficit surged both
in real terms and as a percentage of GDP.

The IMF would have been in default of its duties and obligations to members,
in terms of the Bretton Woods agreement and the IMF constitution, if it had
not advised Zimbabwe of the devastatingly negative and adverse economic,
fiscal and monetary policies being pursued, of the inevitably catastrophic
consequences, and of alternative and more constructive policies that should
be considered and implemented.

However, to a government with a deep-seated belief in its own omnipotence,
those advices were unpalatable in the extreme, and therefore unhesitatingly
and abusively rejected.

Those rejections were strongly supported by unfounded, mythical contentions
that Zimbabwe was the victim of a British and American-led conspiracy
against Zimbabwe's ruling party, that Britain had a profound desire to
recolonise Zimbabwe, and that Britain, the US and their allies were
deliberately undermining the Zimbabwean economy with diverse strategies,
including non-existent economic sanctions.

As the economy continued on its endless collapse, government became less and
less able to service its international debt in general, and its indebtedness
to the IMF in particular. Being unable to admit to its default, and to its
inability to honour its obligations, the Zimbabwean government intensified
its outpourings of vitriol against the IMF. Remarkably, that body
demonstrated immense maturity, diplomatically disregarding most of the
slights and abuse, and continuing to fulfil its constitutional obligations
to Zimbabwe.

However, as payment default continued, the IMF had no alternative in terms
of its constitution, but to suspend or terminate Zimbabwe's membership. It
considerately took the lesser alternative, but that did not prevent
intensified Zimbabwean embitteredness, evidenced by constant government
outbursts against the IMF and strongly supported by invective from the
state-controlled media.

Then the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) got a new governor. He was very
aware that Zimbabwean international creditworthiness, being a prerequisite
for lines of credit and for foreign direct investment, required that
Zimbabwe resume payment of overdue foreign debt as expeditiously as
possible, and restore harmonious relationships with the international
monetary community, including the IMF.

In his first and subsequent monetary policy statements, he placed great
emphasis upon the need for Zimbabwe to demonstrate its unlimited intent to
honour all its debt obligations. He also worked assiduously to repair the
damaged bridges between Zimbabwe and the IMF, interacting with the IMF
regularly, and facilitating that body's compliance with its constitutional
obligations of annual evaluation of member state's economies. Progressively,
with the exception only of the president of Zimbabwe, the poisonous attacks
by the Zimbabwean government and its media diminished.

Then in mid-2005 an international hype developed ahead of the September 2005
meetings of the IMF board of directors and the IMF annual general meeting
shortly thereafter. Suddenly there was widespread speculation that, because
of its arrears in debt settlement, Zimbabwe would be expelled from the IMF.

The likelihood of expulsion was remote in the extreme, for 85% of all votes
at the annual general meeting would be required for expulsion. Even the
great voting power of the US, the United Kingdom and other major members of
the G8 would not suffice to bring about the termination of Zimbabwe's

Reactive to that hype, Zimbabwe's state-controlled media eulogised and
rejoiced when expulsion did not occur, making great play on the commendable
and considerable reductions of debt that Zimbabwe had achieved shortly prior
to the meetings. Suddenly the insinuations were that not only was all well
between Zimbabwe and the IMF, but that Zimbabwean membership of the IMF was
beneficial, and of importance, to Zimbabwe.

However, that change in attitude was short-lived. Only four months later an
IMF team arrived in Zimbabwe on a scheduled visit, to carry out its
constitutional Article IV evaluation. Only a week prior to the team's
arrival, there was very clear evidence of continuing Zimbabwean economic

Annual inflation had soared to above 585% in December 2005 (and expected to
exceed 800% by March 2006) and had escalated the poverty datum line to over
$17 million for a family of six, more than five times the minimum wage

Shortages of basic commodities were becoming increasingly pronounced and
government contentions of economic turnaround were hyperbole, fable and

Rapidly, the upper echelons of government and its propaganda resources
realised that no matter how commendably Zimbabwe is striving to address its
debt obligations, and in spite of the fact that, albeit belatedly, some
economic deregulation required for an economic transformation had been
embarked upon, the IMF team would inevitably form some very negative
opinions of much of the state of the economy and of the policies responsible
for that state. Even if the IMF evaluation gives appropriate recognition to
the few positive developments of recent months, it must also express concern
on some appallingly continued policies.

Recognising this, with its endemic paranoia of unwanted actions by, and
criticisms from the IMF, the propaganda machine went rapidly into motion.
Within days of the arrival of the IMF team, the state-controlled media cited
an "impeccable" but unnamed source alleging outright, and through
implication and insinuation, that the IMF evaluation was predetermined prior
to the team's arrival, and would be condemnatory.

Realising that Zimbabwe cannot attribute such condemnation to IMF
castigation of the country's debt servicing, the state-media is now striving
to suggest that the IMF, and those it represents, "tend to shift goal posts
when it suits them". This has no credence, because the past IMF criticisms
were founded not only upon Zimbabwe's debt arrears, but also upon its fiscal
and monetary policies.

That does not disturb the media, for it believes that pre-emptive
disinformation, sufficiently reiterated, becomes accepted as fact. So it is
allowing its IMF paranoia to place in jeopardy the relationships of Zimbabwe
with the IMF.

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Civil servants must go says Mavhaire

Zim Independent


WE liked the story in the Sunday Mail on parastatals "draining national
resources". The story said despite receiving $3,1 trillion from the Reserve
Bank, service delivery was still woefully shoddy.

The reporters wondered aloud why parastatals like TelOne, Zesa, Air Zimbabwe
and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe were making losses "when they are
monopolies in their lines of business"? But that is the answer gentlemen.
Business monopoly means lack of competition which in turn breeds complacency
and sloppiness.

In fact, as if the writers were half-asleep, they had earlier given us an
explanation as to why most of the parastatals could not deliver.
"Parastatals have been characterised by massive corruption, and financial
losses, poor financial accountability and management systems, poor corporate
governance, incompetent management and above all a poor pricing structure,"
they wrote.

So what good did they expect to come out of such organisations?

It would help a lot if Gideon Gono knew about these basics in parastatals.
No amount of money will make any difference so long as incompetence and
corruption dominate at the top.

Munyaradzi Huni also needs to appreciate the truth about why Zimbabwe's
economy has deteriorated so badly in the past few years. Despite Gono's
claims that it is because of so-called sanctions, his own assessment reveals
that the collapse started well before the targeted sanctions that were
imposed in 2002.

In his monetary statement last week Gono indicated that the balance of
payment deficit had already deteriorated in 1997 from US$21 million to
US$740 million "due to poor export performance, high import demand and
reduced capital inflows".

As we all know, there was no Tony Blair then and no sanctions.

Gono also explained the cause of the growing deficit in the capital account
as resulting from "perceived country risk by both multilateral and bilateral
creditors. As a result, Zimbabwean companies are finding it extremely
difficult to access offshore lines of credit because of the perceived
country risk," said Gono.

The truth is that a country that can go for more than five years without
resolving a man-made political and economic crisis does not want to be taken
seriously by other nations. Add to that the threat to property rights posed
by abhorrent legislation such as the Constitutional Amendment 17 Act which
usurps the jurisdiction of the courts and the risk ceases to be a matter of
perception. It is has become a stark reality which we only ignore at our own

It is also surprising that in choosing to blame everyone else except
ourselves, we tend to believe that the so-called sanctions have had a more
devastating impact on the economy than the collapse of agriculture which we
claim to be the backbone of the same economy.

Dr Tafataona Mahoso is refusing to face the reality of our situation. Nobody
doubts that the former Harare Polytech media lecturer does read a lot. But
he runs the risk of superimposing far-fetched scenarios on Zimbabwe.

This week was a classic one. After reading some book titled The Media and
the Politics of Crisis, the good doctor plucked out this quotation: "The
tendency is therefore for the (mass) media to seek out a crisis where it
does not exist, and to obscure the actual forces of change that threaten
corporate media privilege along with entrenched social privilege in general.
Paradoxically, this means that the media will tend to pay more attention to
a fabricated crisis than to one which can stake a material claim to

He appeared to have problems finding local examples of this deception. It is
when a whole state media and the political leadership devote acres of space
to attacking Tony Blair and George Bush as the cause of our crisis when
everybody else can clearly see that it's all to do with poor governance.

The litany of problems with the parastatals are a microcosm of the nation. A
crisis doesn't cease to be one merely because we choose to call it a
challenge. Let's adopt a bit of what Gono called "Operation tell the truth"
and everything else will follow.

We hear civil servants this month got their payslips with a strange message.

They were told to shun corruption. The message didn't say whether poorly
paid civil servants were deemed the worst offenders. But Muckraker finds
this a mockery considering the pittance that they get for salaries.

Add to that injury an insult from newly rehabilitated Masvingo's Zanu PF
political commissar Dzikamai Mavhaire who threatened to fire civil servants
who don't support Zanu PF. He allegedly told a meeting in Mucheke suburb
that those who were not happy to work for government should quit.

"It is abominable and demeaning to note that where Zanu PF faces political
resistance, it is because of civil servants in the locality," declared the
new senator.

We wonder how he discovered the civil servants' treachery and under what law
he is going to fire them.

Obviously his political comeback is giving him an immeasurable sense of
grandeur beyond the call of his post. What law compels all civil servants to
be members of the ruling party? Is that the latest qualification we wonder?
When he made his "Mugabe must go" statement, was this not a show of
political resistance to Zanu PF? Which civil servants was he working with?

Also coming from Masvingo are reports that the provincial governor Willard
Chiwewe has ordered an end to the current wave of farm invasions. The Herald
reports Chiwewe as telling top government officials in the town that the
"days of illegal land occupation have since passed".

"The days of jambanja (violence) ended in 2001," Chiwewe said. "Illegal land
occupation in the province should end and law enforcement agents should make
sure that people do not put the law into their own hands."

We found Chiwewe's statement remarkable for two reasons. Firstly, that
government knows the invasions to have been illegal and secondly that this
illegal process should have ended way back in 2001.

Why has government not acted all this time? Is it not because government is
itself wavering that more of its officials continue disrupting production?
Late last year State Security minister Didymus Mutasa even threatened to
seize businesses that were perceived as against government policies.

But even discounting these evident contradictions, Chiwewe has a long way to
go to make "law enforcement agents" do their duty. Reports carried in the
media over the past two months suggest that one of the people spearheading
the jambanja to seize private farming equipment in his province is the head
of the police force, one tigress named Loveness Ndanga.

We wonder how she is going to reconcile her conflicting roles.

If you want to see how some journalists put words into mouths of those they
purport to be "highly placed sources" you need to look no further than
Munyaradzi Huni's opinion piece in the Sunday Mail headlined "IMF shifts

Huni claimed "impeccable sources" had told him the IMF was no longer
concerned about Zimbabwe's arrears but with fiscal and monetary policies.
This, he said, was part of the IMF's shifting goalposts.

"Right now we hear that the IMF is shifting its position saying its strained
relations with Zimbabwe were not caused by the country's failure to pay back
the money it borrowed but the country's fiscal and monetary policies. This
shift in position is worrying," the alleged source told Huni.

Huni's sources went on to allege that the IMF was going to write a negative
report focusing on issues that were not part of their original concerns. We
doubt that Huni's sources know anything about the IMF's operations.

If the sources don't know about the IMF, it leaves Huni as the writer and
source of the story. What that means is that Huni is not only an ignorant
source but also a lazy journalist.

A look at IMF reports since 1995 shows that they have always been concerned
about the fiscal and monetary policies. Had Huni not been lazy he would have
noted that the IMF's Article IV is not a debt-chasing team. They visit
member countries to check the progress on policy issues - both fiscal and

After all they already know what Zimbabwe owes them.

The IMF has told Zimbabwe over the years to remove price controls, stop
printing money, reduce government debt and stop interfering with the foreign

In their reports, the debt issue does not take more than a paragraph. At
most they point out that Zimbabwe is lagging behind.

But Huni made every effort to show the reader that he was the chief source
of the story. Instead of asking questions, Huni was busy feeding the sources
with information and inciting them to support his story. "If, as you say,
the authorities intend to clear the country's arrears before end of next
month . . ," said one of the sources.

So it's Huni leading his sources to make comments about their feelings and
not what they know. And why is it a discovery that the country intends to
clear its arrears before this month when it's a matter of public record
after Gono said it?

Huni said the so-called sources told him the IMF team had already started
writing a report on Zimbabwe. Now, what is extraordinary about that? The IMF
does not rely on hearsay but on facts and figures from government. It is
Gono and Herbert Murerwa who give them that information. That is why they
have been able to forecast the inflation rate far more accurately than Gono.

Lastly, Zimdaily reported President Mugabe sobbing "uncontrollably" at the
graveside of the late Sally Mugabe at the Heroes Acre on Friday. It claimed
he had to be "hushed" by a relative of the late Sally's, Patricia Imbeah
Bekele, who led the Ghanaian delegation.

We may not have witnessed the scene but there is no doubt the publication
makes a valiant effort not to be taken seriously. Unless they know something
we don't about his private life.

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Zesa, show the light

Zim Independent


ELECTRICITY supply monopoly Zesa has long ceased to care about the plight of
its consumers who are getting erratic power supplies. We recall a time when
Zesa would flight adverts in the press to warn consumers of impending power
supply disruptions as part of load-shedding or to carry our routine

All that is history now. There is now no need to warn consumers that
electricity supplies will be interrupted. This is almost to say that
consumers should identify Zesa with power outages. It is now part of its
core business. Warning consumers of impending power cuts is telling them the

But consumers have been calling us to express their disgust at being
switched off for long periods without warning. A caller from Rutenga in
Masvingo Province said Zesa had been switching off power in the area for as
long as six hours daily.

This is the story at most rural service centres. In cities and towns certain
localities like Ashdown Park and Mabvuku in Harare have become notorious for
power cuts. There are many who did not enjoy the Africa Cup of Nations
matches because they did not have electricity. There is a correlation
between deteriorating service delivery and poor customer care.

Zesa's fall to the current levels is all-embarrassing. It is the same sort
of decay that has permeated the whole organisation from its senior managers,
through to its technicians and staff in banking halls. Technicians now
demand fuel for them to come and repair faults.

There are all the signs that the situation will deteriorate further as a
serious regional power shortage looms next year. But government has instead
in the past five years embarked on an expensive rural electrification
programme when there are insufficient generators to send power through
grids. This expensive project, crafted to endear the government with the
rural electorate, has failed to trigger any significant development in rural
areas. It is still the same old grocery shops, bottle stores, butcheries and
grinding mills.

The rural electrification programme is a monumental disaster for a Zesa that
does not have sufficient generation capacity to power all homes it has
connecting onto the national grid.

This week press reports said government's energy plan required US$3 billion
to build new powerplants and ancillary facilities. This is all there is to
the plan, a document which would be discussed for many years without
anything being done as demand for power continues to outstrip supply.
Zimbabwe will soon not be able to import power because exporters are
anticipating increased demand in their respective countries. It is good to
think big but reality should caution ambition. Zimbabwe needs help.

Zimbabwe needs hard currency and it needs to attract foreign investors to
develop power generation plants. The current behaviour of government runs
contrary to a state requiring help. The government has worked to create as
many enemies as possible in the name of sovereignty. And where it has sought
to create friendships, the benefits to the nation are questionable. Reality
should sink in that we are a poor country dying for balance of payment
support and foreign direct investment for infrastructural development. Basic
economics denotes that foreign direct investment and development of
infrastructure are major drivers to reduce employment and ultimately create

Thousands of jobs would be created if there was money to build the
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, dualise all trunk roads, construct
Kunzwi Dam and implement the Batoka Gorge project. The money is not there
because of our bad politics.

Other countries in the region faced with a similar problems are working on
solutions. They are expanding existing generation plants and putting up new
ones. Zimbabwe has plans on the table and no money to develop them. The
result is more darkness in the years to come. Could someone other than Zesa
and the Zanu PF government show us the light?

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Millionaires without the price of a loaf

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Friday February 3, 2006
The Guardian

Zimbabweans, already facing inflation of more than 580%, yesterday began
using a new Z$50,000 note - only to discover that it was not quite enough to
buy a loaf of bread.
The new top denomination note is worth only about 50 US cents (28p) in a
nation where people are used to paying for goods with thick wads of notes,
called bricks, and carrying backpacks and suitcases stuffed with currency to
do simple grocery shopping.

"People are complaining about this new note. They say the cheapest price of
everything will go up to Z$50,000," said Harare factory worker Iddah
Mandaza. "We all know this new note is not the solution to our economic

An average Zimbabwean family now needs Z$16.6m ($166) a month to survive and
even with a $50,000 note, that adds up to a lot of paper. And the problem is
going to get worse as inflation is expected to hit 800% in March, according
to the state central bank.

"We are all millionaires now, but we can't afford to feed our families,"
said Mrs Mandaza.

In six years Zimbabwe's economy has contracted over 40%, as a result largely
of President Robert Mugabe's policies, and economists say the decline in
Zimbabwe's once healthy economy is unprecedented for a country that is not
at war.

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RBZ Sinks Z$6 trillion Into Agriculture

Zim Daily

            Friday, February 03 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent

            THE Agriculture Sector Productive Enhancement Facility (ASPEF)
introduced by the central bank in May last year under the Post-Elections and
Drought Mitigation Monetary Policy Framework has so far disbursed $5,59
trillion. Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last week said a total of 2 647
applicants had benefited from the facility.

            "A cumulative amount of $5,59 trillion had been disbursed to 2
647 applicants through commercial and merchant banks under ASPEF as at 31
December 2005," Gono said. The central bank governor said $1 trillion
allocated for other crops and Livestock Facility under ASPEF had been
exhausted resulting in funds initially allocated for other facilities being
diverted for its use. "The $1 trillion allocated for Other Crops and
Livestock Facility has been exhausted, thus, funds initially allocated for
other facilities where the take up rate has been low have been diverted to
this facilities," said Gono.

            "This is because major crops like tobacco, cotton and maize,
some of require expensive inputs, are financed under the Other Crops and
Livestock Facility," Gono said.

            He said the major uptake of the funds under the ASPEF, Other
Crop and Livestock Facility has been a result of major crops such as
tobacco, cotton and maize being financed under the facility. Under the ASPEF
facility $812,77 billion was allocated for irrigation support, $158,80
billion was allocated for dairy support,$395,43 for beef cattle
support,$335,36 billion for poultry and piggery,$361,34 for the
horticultural sector ,$415,55 for export support while the highest total of
$3,115 trillion was allocated for Other Crops and Live stock.

            The disclosure of funds disbursed by the central bank so far
comes after the facility has been amended on numerous occasions with issues
of the tenure of the loans being increased from the initial 18 months to the
current 36 months. Other amendments included the extension of the expiry
date of the facility from the set date of 30 June 2006 to the revised date
of 30 June 2008.

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Kahiya More Dangerous to The Independent than Chamisa to the MDC

Zim Daily

            Friday, February 03 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
            Contributed by: makushalondon

            By Makusha Mugabe

   has for the last week been running commentary by
MDC spokesman Hon. Nelson Chamisa responding to the Zimbabwe Independent's
attack on President Morgan Tsvangirai's leadership. It is run alongside the
Independent Editor Vincent Kahiya's response to it. It is clear that the
only reason Hon. Chamisa's statement was published in was so that
they could get a chance to publish Kahiya's misinformed defense of his
publisher's seeming tribalistic tendencies.

            I pointed this out in an opinion I submitted to, but,
not surprisingly according to some observers, the opinion was not
published. I followed it up with e-mail to the editor to find out whether
they were still planning to publish it, but I did not receive the courtesy
of a reply. I have therefore reluctantly asked the editor of to
publish the letter that would not publish. Reluctantly because it
is only fair-play in publishing to let all readers who read one side, get to
read the other side too. Anyway here it is.

            Vincent Kahiya Poses More Danger to the Independent Than Chamisa
to MDC

            By Makusha Mugabe

            To the Editor, May I come to the support of
Hon. Nelson Chamisa who seems to be now in's sights, so much so
that newzim has gone to look for stories and editorial published elsewhere,
like the Independent, just to be able to cut him down. None of your own
readers have written to you expressing this opinion about the respectable MP
Chamisa, but you found it worthwhile to go and reprint an attack on him from
the Independent, then softened the blow with a rebuttal from him, also
reprinted from the Independent.

            Cutting to the chase: Hon. Chamisa's sin seems to be that of
pointing out that the Independent seems to have an agenda against the MDC
leadership following their editorial comment: "Tsvangirai a merchant of
confusion". Hon Chamisa correctly pointed out that before publishing that
comment the Publisher of the Independent himself, Trevor Ncube, had tagged
his name to the so called Third Way, which was the intellectual
justification for forming parties other than the MDC and Zanu (PF).

            The Third Way already has two babies the UPP and UPM, - one
planned, the other not - but both still gasping for their first breath of
air in the choking environment created by Zanu (PF). The environment is not
conducive to the birth or growth of any political party, but the MDC had
been defying these odds, until the secretary general decided to stab his
president in the back. MDC no longer wanted to participate in elections,
following all the frustrations and open rigging that took place. Does anyone
still remember when Mudede reported numbers who voted for Zanu (PF) being
more than the total number of people who voted! Nothing has come of the
minimum conditions which were set for democratic elections to take place and
endorsed by other SADC countries in the Mauritius process.

            And finally the MDC had gone to great lengths to argue in
Parliament against the constitutional amendment which created the senate,
but before the wounds from its imposition by Zanu (PF) had healed was being
asked to participate in the election. The president, who is the conscience
of the party, who has the pulse of the party members who elected him,
expressed ambivalence about it and, instead of working this out through
further consultative processes in the party, the secretary general took this
as an opportunity to pull the rug from under his president. Trevor Ncube,
whose independent newspapers we had all come to rely on, weighed in on the
side of the secretary general and proclaimed Tsvangirai unfit to be
president - as if there was a standard. Hon. Chamisa correctly observed that
since then the editorial stance of the Independent has been anything but

            Its refusal to accept even the court's ruling that Tsvangirai is
the legitimate party leader - despite the secretary general being a senior
partner in a law firm and therefore having the upper hand in legal
fire-power - legitimately led Hon. Chamisa to conclude that there was
another force at work - tribalism was clouding the Independent's independent
judgement. Otherwise why would the Publisher risk the popularity of his
newspaper to support Jonathan Moyo whose laws are threatening the
Independent itself today and refuse to even investigate allegations that
have been made about Welshman Ncube benefitting from a grabbed farm and
having his house guarded by Republic Police?

            Hon. Chamisa asks direct questions which the Independent, if it
was edited by an independent editor, would have taken as leads to potential
scoops, e.g. the ownership of farms, the absence on a crucial day for voting
against the constitutional amendment, the secret meetings with the CIO, and
the school fees allegations.

            Surely an editor would have said let me go after these scoops
and increase my readership, but the Independent has chosen to defend its
position and threaten the MDC with no coverage. That is what the Independent
Editor's "Grow Up.." comment was all about; a threat, trying to intimidate
the MDC information department into begging for positive coverage. I advise
Vincent Kahiya and all the other armchair advisers to keep their advice to
Hon Chamisa about his role as party spokesman until they have experienced
discipline of belonging to a political party - which I believe is the
highest form of expression of commitment to ensuring political change
through superior ideas.

            The media can play a positive or negative role in this, but
never a decisive role; in fact it can be ignored completely if it is seen to
be biased and unfaithful - which makes Kahiya more of a danger to the
Independent than Chamisa to the MDC. His extensive quoting of an interview
with Tsvangirai only demonstrates that Tsvangirai tried, even back then, to
shield the party against bad publicity, denying a rift, denying tribalism.
Does Kahiya really expect any political leader to say yes there is tribalism
in our party?

            But now that the tribalists have played their hand and come
unstuck we can talk about it. While I support all the calls by civic leaders
and students for unity in the MDC, will it really be possible when we have
leaders who talk of a separate state of Matebeleland or of federalism - even
while you are still trying to fight one common enemy. Will it be really
possible when you have factionalist who use the kind of language we heard
from Job Sikhala. He may be excused for his ignorance that talking of
someone's mother is tantamount to a declaration of war, but there were very
senior members of the MDC present who were cheering while he was saying
these things. So maybe they should all become irrelevant. President
Tsvangirai never denied that we tried to talk to Zanu PF and seek a solution
while we still believed Mugabe had the interests of the people of Zimbabwe
at heart. That process is now abandoned because, as we can see from
continued hardships, continued looting, continued land-grabs and continued
throwing of poor people out in the cold, the only force operating in Zanu
(PF) is greed.

            So MDC abandoned negotiations, and no-one ever authorised Ncube
to go and negotiate with Zanu (PF) after that. Then likes of Kahiya from
their comfort of their uptown buildings have the nerve to ask, so when is
the insurrection or where is are mass demonstrations? My simple answer on
behalf of Hon. Chamisa that is it takes organising, it takes planning, it
takes sacrifice, it needs everyone to be involved, including Kahiya and all
Zimbabwean journalists - not for them to stand on the sidelines and
commentate like Evans Mambara at a DeMbare match.

            It is up to you Mr Kahiya; you can sit and wait for the
"democratic resistance" until the cows come home or you can be part of the
change - but not through UPP and UPM. That would be taking us backwards
rather than forward. Yes there is need for new strategies and tactics and we
won't take people to the streets so that they are killed by the military.
Maybe a day will come when the military will declare that we won't fire on
our own brothers, mothers and uncles or that we will join you to rescue the

            Your attempt, Mr Kahiya, to play off MDC spokespersons against
each other shows a level of desperation and manipulation of trust that I did
not expect of you. Did you really expect the President's spokesman or the
President to have vetted Hon Chamisa's writing to the Independent Opinion
column? What would be the point of appointing him party spokesman?

            Please focus on the objective. Focus on what is happening on the
ground. Inform people about the preparations for congress and what they can
do to be part of change, so that we can all finally get rid of this
dictatorship which is our common enemy. And finally no matter what your
opinion about Hon. Chamisa or any MP is, do give them their due respected
because they were elected by a constituency. That is why everyone else calls
them Honourable MP...

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Average Zim Family Now Requires $21 million - Consumer Council

Zim Daily

            Friday, February 03 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
             An average Zimbabwean household now requires Z$21 million to
meet basic needs, the country's Consumer Council has said. In its latest
estimates, CCZ said inflation, which topped 585.8 percent last December,
continued to drive the cost of living, with an average household now
requiring no less than $21 million to meet basic commodities and services in
a month.

            The requirements for an average family of six members will now
require $21 million, up from last December's basket of $16million
representing an increase of 31.25%. The CCZ was expected to have announced
the new consumer basket on Monday but is still to do so. The expected
increase in the basket comes against the backdrop of a projected surge in
inflation, which, according to the central bank could reach 800% in March.
Salaries have failed to keep up with the galloping inflation, thus eroding
disposable incomes. The rising breadline is expected to be driven higher up
by increases in the prices of basic commodities such as cooking oil, sugar,
mealie- meal and bread.

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Zim Pays IMF Another US$5 million

Zim Daily

            Friday, February 03 2006 @ 12:02 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
            In a move aimed at mollifying the world lender, Zimbabwe this
week made a further US$5 million payment to the IMF in a effort to reduce
its arrears to the institution under the general resources account. However,
this payment has been made while the IMF is still probing the source of
funds which the country has been paying the institution.

            In the past fortnight, Zimbabwe has made two payments to the
Bretton Woods Institution of US$2,5 million and US$15 million ahead of the
IMF visit. A five member IMF delegation, led by Sharmini Coorey, arrived in
the country last week for routine Article IV consultations and held a series
of meetings various central bank and government officials.

            The IMF team had meetings with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor
(RBZ) Gideon Gono, Minister of Finance Herbert Murerwa, Minister of Economic
Development Rugare Gumbo and other top government and central bank officials
in which they discussed issues of foreign currency flows and internal
reserves among others. Zimbabwe has made payments amounting to US$155
million bu t still owes the lending institution US$125 million under the
poverty reduction and growth facility account.

            Zimbabwe was in September last year, granted a stay of execution
after the IMF postponed for six months its recommendation to have the
country expelled from the fund. In March, the IMF executive will meet to
consider the compulsory withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the IMF. Compulsory
withdrawal is the last step in a series of measures that the IMF applies to
members that fail to meet its obligations under the Articles of Agreement.
The country's authorities have promised to settle all its arrears by
December t his year.

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UN calls for standards in new rights body


      Fri Feb 3, 2006 4:03 AM GMT

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Proposals for a long-awaited UN Human Rights
Council call for 45 members and beefed up standards for any nation wanting a
seat on the new body, according to a draft resolution circulated on

World leaders agreed at a UN summit in September to create a new body to
replace the 53-member Geneva-based Human Rights Commission, known for giving
seats to countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe and blocking criticism of
rights abusers.

The aim of the 191-member General Assembly is to approve the document by
February 15 so that the new council, which will also sit in Geneva, is ready
to take over from the commission that is to have its final session,
beginning in mid-March.

The draft, which is subject to revision, was drawn up by UN Ambassadors
Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama and Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa,
appointed by Assembly President Jan Eliasson to canvass members and produce
a compromise document.

U.S. envoys said they were still studying the proposals. U.S. Ambassador
John Bolton said he had "opinions" but would not disclose them.

Still undecided is whether a candidate would be elected by a two-thirds or a
simple majority. The United States and the Europeans wanted a two-thirds
vote, which would make it easier for them to stop a nation from getting a
seat in the 191-member General Assembly, dominated by developing countries.

New are criteria for membership in the council. They include "candidates
contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights," a ban on
nations with gross rights violations and those countries faulted for rights
abuses by UN bodies.

But it is still unclear who would make this determination.

Geographic representation is clearly spelled out: 12 from Africa, 13 from
Asia, 5 from Eastern Europe, 8 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 7
from Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

But it says nations would not be eligible for immediate re-election after
two consecutive three-year terms, a provision the United States is bound to

All nations elected to the council would be subject to a "universal periodic
review mechanism" on their human rights record during their term of

Peggy Hicks, the global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, called the
resolution and its insistence on standards a "major advance" and a "real
improvement" from previous drafts.

But she told Reuters the New York-based group advocated a two-thirds vote by
the General Assembly.

"We need the two-thirds vote for the real improvement we are looking for.
What it will do is to ensure that the worst abusers don't gain seats," Hicks

The draft also calls for the council to meet regularly throughout the year,
schedule at least three sessions, one of them for no less than 10 weeks. The
current Geneva commission meets only six weeks a year.

It says the first election should be held on May 9 and the first meeting of
the council to be convened on June 16.

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Armyworm outbreak threatens Zimbabwe crop`s harvest

Angola Press

Harare, Zimbabwe, 02/02- Agriculture officials in Zimbabwe Tuesday reported
the country was experiencing a devastating outbreak of armyworms in a key
farming province near the capital Harare, threatening the season`s crop

According to the officials, the insects have destroyed vast swathes of crops
in the country.

A Department of Agriculture and Extension Services official, Nyeverwai Gono,
said the outbreak in Mashonaland East Province was first detected in
December in one district, and the armyworms had since spread to all of the
region`s nine districts.

The pests have destroyed maize, sorghum and Soya beans, and were proving
difficult to control due to lack of pesticides and other chemicals.

"The outbreak was first detected in late December in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe
District in areas around Chikowa Village and Chiunze, where about nine
hectares of maize and sorghum were affected. From there the armyworms spread
to other parts of the province," Gono said.

She said an estimated 329 hectares of crops in the province were under
threat from the armyworms, which devour leaves, leaving the crop to die.

The outbreak in Mashonaland East, one of the country`s prime farming
regions, is the latest in a series of similar armyworm attacks this year,
prompting worries crop yields might be affected negatively.

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