Sunday Independent, SA
February 5, 2006
By Peta Thornycroft
Harare - South Africa has told fuel companies to immediately
cease supplying their customers in Zimbabwe.
The department of minerals and energy has sent a circular to all
fuel companies in South Africa telling them that with "immediate effect"
they must cease supplying fuel to Zimbabwe, citing "refining problems".
Zimbabwean importers of fuel received e-mails this week from
South African fuel companies accompanied by the letter from the department.
Most major fuel companies in Zimbabwe source their own fuel from
South Africa because the government's National Oil Company of Zimbabwe is
bankrupt and has been unable to find sufficient foreign currency for fuel
since March last year.
Fuel is available from selected garages with coupons purchased
in foreign currency, or with Zimbabwe dollars, at wildly fluctuating rates.
John Robertson, an economist, said Zimbabwe no longer had a
strategic fuel stockpile and that there were no bulk importers left to bring
in fuel via the pipeline from Beira, Mozambique, to the eastern Zimbabwe
city of Mutare. "So we depend entirely on fuel from South Africa brought in
by hundreds of small importers.
"I doubt we have more than a couple of weeks of stored fuel. The
implications, of course, are grave and our efficiency levels will fall
I think we can all see that this regime has not got long to go. Inflation at
50 per cent per month, spiraling expenditures that cannot be stopped or they
will trigger the inevitable retribution, food shortages of every sort and a
universally hostile global community. Something is about to break; when it
does it will be fast and unexpected.
Why am I so sure of the above statement? Simply because history shows that
this is what happens to governments that screw up to the extent that the
Mugabe regime has done. Never imagine they get away with their madness -
they do not, eventually it catches up with them and they are consumed by it.
I recently heard an account of life in the Hitler bunker in Berlin in 1945
as the Allies were closing in on that particularly nasty blot on human
history. It was not pleasant and you could almost feel sorry for Hitler and
his closest compatriots.
What would be a tragedy at this juncture is if it happens and we are not
ready and do not have a plan. They say we are a very resourceful people - we
can "always make a plan". Well what is ours?
We in the MDC have just emerged from a nasty split in our leadership. This
is just about over and discussions are taking place as to the possible basis
of a divorce. The people who have effectively left the MDC will now go off
and start a new political party and those of us who have remained in the MDC
will get on with what we have always seen as our task - that of removing
Zanu PF from power and replacing them with a democratically elected, law
abiding government that will respect all our rights as a people. The main
distinguishing features of these two party's will be that the new group will
continue to fight elections and we will not - at least not until we have a
new constitution and can be assured of a level playing field.
People must now decide where they belong and go off and join the new group
or stay with the MDC. For me there has never been any question as to where
the people are - they are still with the MDC. Under the surface of this
storm, the water has been quite calm and undisturbed. I am always amazed and
pleasantly surprised at the wisdom, insight and understanding of the
The MDC is busy deciding (never a short process in any democratic movement)
what to do but the outline of the way forward is emerging - we are not going
to play games with Zanu PF anymore - we will resolve at Congress to withdraw
from the democratic process until we have change. In the light of this
growing consensus we have decided we will not contest two elections coming
up this month in Bulawayo. Both certain MDC seats, we still feel that not
only is this a waste of time, it will in fact do nothing to secure our
Yesterday we held a major consultation with civil society in Manicaland - a
prelude to starting a campaign of democratic resistance to the Mugabe regime
in that region. Once this programme is under way it will spread to other
areas, gradually increasing the domestic pressure on the regime.
Soon we will meet with civil society to debate the way forward and to try
and secure agreement on our goals and strategies. This meeting will include
all the organisations that made up the Working People's Convention that
launched the MDC on its way in the late 90's. At this meeting the MDC, as a
child of this group, will report its progress and failures as a party. We
will be able to point to our victories and admit our mistakes, but most of
all to say that the electoral system here is now so subverted that it no
longer offers us a route for change. Remember the WPC gave us a mandate to
pursue change by democratic, peaceful, legal means.
Does this mean that we are now turning to violence? Not at all and the
regime here knows that - just this past week when the MDC held a short
strategy session in Zambia and Zambia was asked to evict us, when the
Zambian army, police, intelligence and immigration officers came to our
hotel to comply with the request from the Zimbabwe regime, they did not
bother to search us, our rooms or our luggage. They knew full well we were
there purely on political business and that all we wanted was 48 hours free
of CIO surveillance and monitoring. So much for SADC commitments to normal
In fact our road map has not changed at all - all we are demanding is that
we are allowed to hold a national all stakeholders constitutional
conference, agree on implementation procedures and a transitional
administration and then are allowed to hold free and fair elections for our
leadership under international supervision. Simple.
The question is how do we get there and when. Well the economy and the
dollar are doing their bit - both are in steep decline. We have effectively
devalued by more than 50 per cent in the past two weeks. Prices are
spiraling out of control and the shortages are becoming more acute daily.
Power outages are now the norm and we are close to almost complete collapse.
We are going to ask our people to also do their bit. If we all start in a
small way to disobey the State - stop paying our bills to the State, helping
distribute information to each other and to persuade the armed forces to
join the people's campaign for a new constitution. Write funny messages on
walls and stop buying the State controlled newspapers - we can all do
We are going to ask our civil society partners (parents) to adopt the MDC
road map to change. Then to decide what they can each do to help push the
agenda forward. We will ask the Churches to devote Easter this year to
prayers for change and renewal. We will ask the Unions to get workers to
demand a new constitution, we will ask the Chiefs to do the same and will
initiate a campaign in the armed forces. If they join us in our struggle for
a new Zimbabwe, then it is over; they are the only remaining pillars
supporting Zanu PF power.
We will be going to the international community, including the UN to demand
that they come with us on this new agenda. Do they have an alternative? This
is democratic; it could be peaceful and will then enable us to restore the
rule of law and all human and political rights so that a new Zimbabwe can
rise from the ashes of the old. We will demand that the SADC back us in this
initiative and just as they did in 1979, force all local political leaders
to attend the conference and to participate until agreement is reached on a
consensual basis. Zanu PF has no choice but to come to the conference and to
negotiate its survival and future.
And this is where you come in - we need money and people. You cannot survive
for long in politics without both. We have the people - but no money! Ncube
stole what we had, the State denies us what is ours and our business leaders
are scared of their shadows and trying to survive the economic storm that
rages here. We have stopped wasting our time on the recent spat inside the
MDC and are now working flat out on the implementation of the MDC road map.
We will not make progress without funds and we must all stop sitting on our
chequebooks because we are uncertain about which faction the money will go
to or what will be done with it. There is only one MDC, its leader is Morgan
Tsvangirai and it is the only possible vehicle for change - no one else has
the people on their side. For those in South Africa - remember Zimfund, for
those in Zimbabwe - just contact us. In the US and the EU contact your
nearest branch. Remember 10 pounds is now worth Z$2,5 million. It all helps.
Bulawayo, 5th February 2006.
Mon 6 February 2006
HARARE - Divisions have emerged within the government over whether to
enact new legislation enabling it to seize citizens' passports, with
Attorney General (AG) Sobuza Gula-Ndebele said to be strongly opposed to
such a law, ZimOnline has learnt.
Authoritative sources said Gula-Ndebele has so far resisted pressure
mainly from Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, in charge of the passport
office, to sanction the drafting of the proposed new law.
The AG is said to have openly confessed to senior aides at his
department that he feared the proposed passport law would set a bad
precedent besides also helping entrench further the view that Zimbabwe is a
"The AG has said it will be a bad precedent to have such a law but
Mudede has been applying pressure. There has been no meeting this year over
this issue because of the differences in opinion," said senior official at
the AG's department, who did not want to be named because departmental
policy bars officers from disclosing such information to the Press.
The government controversially amended Zimbabwe's constitution last
August, granting itself powers to withdraw passports of citizens who it
deems may harm the "national interest" if allowed to travel abroad.
Critics opposed the constitutional amendment saying President Robert
Mugabe would use the new powers to banish political opponents and human
rights from travelling abroad to alert the international community to
continued human rights violations and tyranny by the Harare government.
The government however did not pass an act of Parliament to enable it
to exercise the new powers to withdraw travel documents. The government was
last year forced by the High Court to return the passports of prominent
newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube, opposition politician Paul Themba Nyathi
and trade unionist Raymond Majongwe after the AG's office conceded that the
state had acted outside the law when it confiscated the three men's
According to the sources, Mudede and other hardliners in the
government have in several meetings, most of them held weeks after the state
lost in the High Court, been pressurising Gula-Ndebele to produce a draft
passport seizure law that the ruling ZANU PF party could use its
overwhelming majority to speedily push through Parliament.
But Gula-Ndebele, who as AG is the government's chief legal officer,
has so far refused to barge, according to the sources.
Gula-Ndebele however professed ignorance of any differences between
his department and Mudede's office over the proposed passport law when
contacted by ZimOnline, only saying: "I'm not aware of that."
Mudede could not be reached for comment on the matter while Home
Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, under whose portfolio the immigration and
passports divisions fall, would not confirm or deny the disagreements over
the proposed passport law, although insisting that the government would
follow due process if it was to enact such a law.
Mohadi said: "We will follow due process for the introduction of such
laws. I am not saying there are no intentions to introduce such laws but we
will go through Parliament."
Although ZANU PF agreed at its annual conference last year to push for
legislation empowering the government to withdrew passports, Gula-Ndebele is
said to have taken his position on the matter with support from a faction of
ZANU PF controlled by powerful former army general Solomon Mujuru.
This faction of the ruling party also includes Mujuru's wife Joyce,
who is ZANU PF and Zimbabwe second vice-president and is among frontrunners
to succeed Mugabe when and if he steps down at the end of his term in 2008.
The Mujuru faction has reportedly been marketing itself as comprising
the more progressive minds in ZANU PF who will work to bring Zimbabwe back
into the international fold if they win the battle for control of the ruling
party in the post-Mugabe era.
The other faction of ZANU PF is led by former parliamentary speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa but appears to have lost the upper hand to Mujuru's group
since Mnangagwa lost the ZANU PF and state vice-presidency job to Joyce at
the eleventh hour in 2004. - ZimOnline
Mon 6 February 2006
MASVINGO - Four British tourists, dressed in their baggy and leafy
shirts, sweep into a roadside crafts centre, some 15km south of Zimbabwe's
oldest town of Masvingo.
Two dreadlocked young men quickly jump onto their feet to greet the
tourists, each one fervently begging the visitors to buy his carvings.
Language is no barrier here, as they all understand the universal
language of business. With the "deal" done, the tourists' four-wheel drive
roars into life as they proceed with their journey.
This was the scenario on most Zimbabwean highways six years ago before
President Robert Mugabe unleashed a reign of terror on political opponents
and critics of his government.
The tourism sector, Zimbabwe's fastest growing sector before 2000,
suffered the worst from political violence as tourists cancelled bookings,
afraid to travel to a country virtually at war with itself.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party says at
least a thousand Zimbabweans died in political violence between 2000 and
2002 when the country held bitterly contested parliamentary and presidential
But the crisis in the tourism sector took a turn for the worst last
May after Mugabe sanctioned a controversial clean-up exercise in cities and
towns that the United Nations says left at least 700 000 people without
shelter or means of income after the government demolished shantytowns and
informal business kiosks.
The roadside sculptor, a familiar feature along Zimbabwe's major
highways, was also hit hard by the clean-up exercise - which was cynically
named "Operation Murambatsvina" (Drive out Rubbish) - as the government also
demolished roadside market stalls.
Adwell Nhongo, a sculptor who used to make a living selling his stone
works along the busy Masvingo-Harare highway, said they can hardly survive
due to the low numbers of tourists visiting the country, especially after
last year's clean-up exercise.
"The clean-up exercise crippled our operations. There is no more
business to talk about. Of course we blame this squarely on the government
because we are now living in poverty," said Nhongo.
Masvingo, which owes its name to the famous Great Zimbabwe monuments
some 25km south of the town, was among the three top tourism destinations
that also include the world-famous Victoria Falls and scenic Nyanga Mountain
According the Masvingo-Great Zimbabwe Publicity Association, which
markets the tourist resort in the town, the number of tourists visiting
Great Zimbabwe has declined by about 90 percent over the past six years,
hitting hard sculptors who depended on tourists for sales.
Daniel Mpande, who is the association's information officer, said: "We
are receiving less than 1 000 foreign tourists a year. The situation is very
Perceptions of political instability and economic chaos in Zimbabwe
have stubbornly refused to go away despite spirited propaganda campaigns by
Harare to mask the crisis.
And the sculpture industry is virtually on its knees as it battles
dwindling tourist numbers due to serious perceptions of lawlessness and
violence - thanks to Mugabe's attempts to violently suppress opposition to
A foreign tourist, Rooney Kite, who was visiting the Great Zimbabwe
monument told ZimOnline that he was cutting short his visit at the monuments
after he was harassed by ruling ZANU PF party militants, who had mistaken
him for a worker of one of the non-governmental organisations operating in
The militants of Mugabe's party routinely harass workers of NGOs who
they accuse of attempting to use aid to bribe Zimbabweans to rise against
"I was supposed to stay for five days here together with my family but
I am leaving as I no longer feel very safe. It is clear why no one wants to
go to a country where lawlessness is the order of the day," said Kite.
Masvingo mayor, Engineer Alois Chaimiti, a member of the MDC party,
concurred with the tourist saying whatever attempts to market the Great
Zimbabwe monuments would be futile as long as political violence and
lawlessness was tolerated.
The mayor said: "As a local authority we had embarked on an extensive
investment drive telling potential tourists that we have excellent tourist
resorts such as Lake Kyle and the Great Zimbabwe but the political situation
in the country makes everything impossible."
With Mugabe firmly in charge and the opposition in disarray after a
damaging split last November over whether the party should have participated
in a controversial senate election, it looks set to be a long while before
the tourism sector and other downstream sub-sectors such as the sculpture
industry will be on the path to recovery. - ZimOnline
Power cuts already blighting Zimbabwe are set to get worse because of
a lack of coal supplies for electricity generators, state-run media reports.
The state electricity provider is also reported to be unable to pay
its debts to suppliers and transport companies.
Coal-fired stations in the capital, Harare, and in the second city,
Bulawayo, have already been shut down.
Zimbabwe's main overseas power provider South Africa says it has
temporarily halted supplies for maintenance work.
"I would like to bring to the attention of all consumers that the
current load shedding due to supply shortfall is set to worsen," head of the
power regulatory commission, Mavis Chidzonga, was quoted in Zimbabwe's
Sunday Mail as saying.
She warned that electricity production at the Hwange facility
servicing north-west Zimbabwe may also have to be reduced due to the
She said the recent coal shortages had been made worse by the state
electricity provider's inability to pay its debts to suppliers and
The government has previously refused to approve inflation-linked
hikes in electricity fees.
But Ms Chidzonga said management reforms and massive tariff increases
were needed to address what she called the country's "precarious" power
She told the newspaper they were trying to obtain additional supplies
from Zambia. But BBC correspondents say this is unlikely as drought is
affecting that country's hydro-electric power service.
Harare is already experiencing daily black-outs. The country's regular
cuts in power and water supplies are blamed on acute shortages in hard
currency, gasoline and imported spare parts.
The country imports around 40% of its power from South Africa, DR
Congo and Mozambique.
February 05, 2006, 19:00
President Thabo Mbeki has reiterated that Zimbabweans must find a solution
to their own problems. Speaking during an interview with the SABC, Mbeki
said he was initially optimistic that the ruling Zanu(PF) and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would work jointly on a new
constitution after they agreed to that.
Mbeki says current infighting within the MDC has further stalled talks. "The
MDC has its own serious problems and at some point they came to us to assist
in mending relations among themselves. It didn't work when we tried to
Mbeki says he will not stand for a third term in office. He says the ANC has
no intention to amend the Constitution to this effect, despite having
secured a two-thirds majority in the last general election.
Sun Feb 5, 2006 11:47 AM GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader was deported from
Zambia after secretly meeting officials from an organisation headed by
former U.S. intelligence agents, an official newspaper said on Sunday.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai was ejected
from Zimbabwe's northern neighbour with eight colleagues from his splintered
party on Thursday for violating Zambia's immigration laws.
The Sunday Mail said the expulsion occurred "after they allegedly held a
secret meeting with officials from a U.S.-funded organisation called Freedom
House headed by former CIA and FBI agents," the Sunday Mail reported.
"It has also emerged that the U.S. embassy in Harare arranged the meeting,
with the American team raising suspicion that the meeting could have been
organised to plot ways of causing an upheaval in Zimbabwe," it added, citing
U.S.-funded Freedom House describes itself as an independent,
non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting democracy.
Government, U.S. embassy and MDC officials were not immediately reachable
for comment on Sunday, but the paper quoted Tsvangirai's spokesman William
Bango as saying: "We don't have anything further to say about that trip to
Zambia other than what is in the public domain already."
The MDC, which has offered the stiffest challenge to President Robert
Mugabe's 26-year rule since its formation in 1999, has split into two rival
factions amid political infighting that analysts say has limited the party's
Mugabe's government has frequently charged both the MDC and Tsvangirai with
being agents for foreign powers opposed to his policy of seizing white-owned
farms to redistribute to landless blacks.
05/02/2006 07:44 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe is to unveil a new law this week that could help
rejuvenate its once burgeoning mining sector by dispelling the uncertainty
The economically-ravaged country's mining sector is currently reeling under
a plethora of woes which have led to the closure of at least 13 mines in the
past six years, according to the Chamber of Mines.
An acute shortage of spare parts fuelled by a foreign exchange crunch,
spiralling inflation, a free-falling currency, erratic power supplies and
higher production costs have not helped the situation.
Junior Mines Minister Tinos Rusere said the new mining bill would be tabled
when parliament returns from the Christmas break next week.
Despite its vast reserves of palladium, chrome, platinum and diamonds,
Zimbabwe has seen its mining sector stagnate after President Robert Mugabe
last year warned that the government would demand a 50% stake in all mines.
"We cannot recognise absolute ownership of our resources. No! That must be
corrected," Mugabe said.
Platinum giant Zimplats has put on hold a $2bn expansion plan until the
passing of the new law.
"The plans remain alive and will kick off once the outstanding regulatory
issues have been promulgated and taken into account," said Zimplats
spokesperson Jack Murehwa.
"Realistically no investor will release significantly large sums of money
for projects in Zimbabwe before knowing the rules and regulations governing
the industry," said Murehwa, who is also president of the Zimbabwe Chamber
South Africa's Implats owns 86.9% of Zimplats, which operates the country's
only platinum mine. It produced 494 tonnes of platinum last year.
Under current laws, locals are entitled to a 15% stake in foreign-owned
mining ventures but there have been few takers.
A group of Zimbabwean businessmen have been battling since 2004 to raise
over $30m to purchase shares in Zimplats.
"Besides the usual problems of foreign currency shortages and spare parts
the major issue which has to be addressed is that of legislation on
investment and the stake for locals," said Godfrey Dzinomwa, managing
director of the Hwange Colliery Company.
"Everyone in the industry is waiting for that new law."
Earnings from mining last year totalled $626m, representing 44% of
Zimbabwe's total foreign currency revenues, according to Reserve Bank
The sector employed more than 50 000 people in 1989, but at the end of last
year the number had dropped to 44 500 workers, according to the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions.
Mining has also been hit hard by smuggling which led to a dip in gold output
from 21 342kg in 2004 to 13 453 last year, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
said last week, with losses estimated at $160m.
Production has also been hampered by a power deficit as the national power
utility battles to meet the demand for electricity.
By Gibbs Dube
BULAWAYO - Two children of a government minister, police officers, a large
number of civil servants and soldiers are the beneficiaries of "Operation
Garikai/ Hlalani Kuhle" in Gwanda.
The revelations come at a time when government has ordered that
beneficiaries immediately move into the houses, although these are without
water and sewer reticulation systems.
Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, has given the green light for the residents to put up Blair
toilets and other "temporary toilets" in their suburbs where they would get
water from communal taps.
"Beneficiaries of completed houses which are not yet habitable because of
lack of sewer and water reticulation are to move in and start using central
water collection points as well as Blair toilets while permanent servicing
arrangements are being made," notes a government directive in possession of
The scheme is designed to benefit homeless and poor people who were
displaced by Zimbabwe's widely-condemned "Operation Murambatsvina".
However, documents leaked to The Standard show that the programme is set to
benefit well connected people and government officials.
In Gwanda, two children of the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare, Abednigo Ncube - Leslie and Colleta Thabiso Ncube - whose
addresses are listed as 82 Senondo were allocated houses last Thursday.
Ncube, who is also the Member of Parliament for Gwanda, used to stay at
number 82 Senondo suburb before he moved to Jacaranda low-density suburb
following his appointment as deputy minister.
Leslie, an employee of the Gwanda Rural District Council and currently
staying at his father's former residence, is listed as number 9323 on the
town's housing waiting list which currently stands at more than 27 000,
while his sister, Colleta, does not appear on the list at all.
Other luminaries appearing on the housing list include Acting Officer
Commanding Matabeleland South Assistant Commissioner Munorwei Shava Matutu;
Etoile Silayigwana; provincial executive members of the ruling party Esau
Moyo and Rabson Mpofu Mafu; and senior civil servants Calvin Nzima and
Several prison officers and their juniors also appear to have been allocated
houses in Gwanda in what seems to have been a free-for-all for government
Nzima and Kamuzhanje are the provincial heads of the Central Mechanical and
Equipment Department (CMED) and Physical Planning Department respectively.
By Lloyd Mutungamiri
AN audit to establish how resources Zimbabweans contributed towards the
Warriors participation at the African Cup of Nations has started in the hope
it will provide more answers than questions to charges of massive
misappropriation of funds, The Standard has learnt.
The probe comes amid reports of what amounts to widespread abuse by members
of the Fund-raising Committee, of funds and donations meant for use by the
Warriors at the Egyptian campaign.
Following a massive fund-raising drive by government, which was spearheaded
by Vice President Joseph Msika, an estimated $50 billion in cash and goods
was realised, but allegations of what amounts to a free-for-all by some of
the committee members are beginning to emerge.
The Standard has confirmed members of the fund-raising committee were on $10
million allowance every time they travelled to co-ordinate out-of-town
activities such as galas and matches, with a breakdown indicating $5million
was meant for fuel and $5million for accommodation.
There were at least four matches, a musical gala in Mutare and dinner in
It has also been learnt CMED is owed millions for the use/hire of its bus,
and there is a bill of almost $1billion due to Crowne Plaza, where the
committee was co-ordinating its activities.
The Standard has also established that a set of kit bags, shirts and
towels - as well as food stuffs such as orange juice and corn flakes - meant
for use by the team in Egypt did not go with the team, and they are still
locked away at the command centre.
A source has revealed that eyebrows were raised over the "paltry" amounts
declared from the whole fund-raising exercise, with allegations of massive
looting due to lack of strict controls and co-ordination.
There are also reports of lavish spending by committee members while in
Egypt, where one of the expenses has been listed as paying for a licence for
Zimbabwe embassy-issue vehicle that was used for shuttling some of the
members that made the trip to the north African country.
There is also an allegation of the committee being made to foot the expenses
of a "member", with suggestions girl friends were included on the official
A letter requesting "issuance of PTA tickets" to two "delegates" was
yesterday discounted by both the purported author and a committee member,
who travelled with the team to France enroute to the Egypt finals.
Patson Moyo, a member of the Fund Raising Committee, yesterday confirmed
they owed a couple of debtors but said: "Zifa owed a lot of money to hotels
and the team was stranded so we had to find them some place to stay, so we
put the team at the Crowne Plaza for a few days. It's true we owe CMED as
well, and the donations to the Warriors are at the hotel as they came after
the team had left, which was ahead of schedule.
"We will hand the goods which include kit bags, trousers, shirts and ties as
well as some food stuffs over to Zifa, after we have reconciled our books. I
deny there were other people apart from the official delegates that had
tickets paid for by the Committee. But if there is anything amiss, it will
come out in the audit report."
Moyo refused to comment on an alleged scandal, which is said to have been
the talk among the travelling band of Zimbabwean supporters.
The Standard was also told that a government official, who travelled to
Egypt for the ACON tournament caused a furore after he allegedly fondled a
female Egyptian hotel worker, and other accompanying officials had to
apologise to the hotel management to avert a scandal.
By Caiphas Chimhete
CORRUPTION in Zimbabwe will not end because it involves senior government
officials who are benefiting from its continuance with impunity, speakers at
a public seminar said last week.
Speaking at a seminar organized by Transparency International Zimbabwe
(TIZ), head of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of
Zimbabwe Dr Godfrey Kanyenze said corruption was persisting because those in
power protected each other when looting the national purse.
He said the findings of several of the commissions set up to investigate
corruption since 1980 were never publicized because they involved senior
government officials or the rich.
"The commissions named people in the Willowgate scandal, the
Pay-for-Your-House scheme and War Victims' Compensation Fund but no one has
been convicted ever since," said Kanyenze, who however conceded that
corruption was also prevalent in the private sector.
The First Lady, Grace Mugabe, was among those who benefited from the
Pay-for-Your-House scheme, while Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Vice
President Joice Mujuru, her husband retired General Solomon Mujuru, among
others, benefited from the War Victims' Compensation Fund.
Commissions and committees were also set up to look into the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) scandal, Airport Tender scandal and the land
redistribution programme, where senior government officials and Zanu PF
supporters grabbed and shared Zimbabwe's most prime agricultural land.
Former TIZ executive director, Andrew Nongogo, said there was a tendency to
protect corrupt officials in Zimbabwe.
"Remember Shava (Fredrick) was pardoned before the judge passed a sentence.
It just shows there is a price for corruption in Zimbabwe," said Nongogo.
President Robert Mugabe pardoned Shava, who was involved in the Willowgate
Scandal where senior government officials bought vehicles at subsidised
rates and resold them at exorbitant prices.
John Chikura, chairman of the training committee of the Institute of
Directors of Zimbabwe, said Zimbabwe was "like a fish which rots from the
He pleaded with government to put an end to corruption, saying it was aiding
the country's economic collapse.
"When you are in a hole, the first thing you have to do is stop digging but
these guys are continuing," noted Chikura.
Statistics indicate that as of 2001 Zimbabwe, reeling from an economic
downturn, was losing more than Z$5 billion annually to corruption.
Parastatals have become ready conduits for shady deals. Several years ago,
there were calls from the public for government to close Noczim when
evidence of massive corruption was unearthed.
But the government argued it could not shut down the parastatal because it
was a strategic institution.
"Noczim will never be closed because it is where senior politicians are
siphoning money," Nongogo said.
Kanyenze said most people, who occupy senior positions in parastatals, were
awarded those posts because of contribution to the liberation struggle
rather than competence.
"This is what is killing most parastatals in the country. Look at Air
Zimbabwe and Noczim," he said.
The Ministry of State Enterprises, Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies,
although presided over by two ministers since creation last year has done
virtually nothing other than gobbling up public funds.
Zimbabwe is ranked 107 on the TI corruption perception index 2005, among
countries such as Belarus, Vietnam and Zambia.
By Bertha Shoko
ONE of the country's largest referral centres, Harare Central Hospital, has
suspended all major operations leaving thousands of patients who relied on
It was not immediately possible to establish how many patients may have died
after failing to get urgent medical assistance at the institution.
The Standard understands that the hospital has not been carrying out major
heart, kidney and head surgery for more than two years because of
malfunctioning essential equipment compounded by an acute drugs shortage.
Other less complicated surgery, such as Caesarean operations, are being
performed based on the availability of relevant drugs and when theatre
equipment is functional.
However, for the past two weeks, these have also not been performed because
of a critical shortage of general anaesthetic drugs and sutures (used by
surgeons to stitch up patients after surgery). Supplies of these two are
said to be erratic.
Sources said only two types of sutures - silk and nylon - that are
recommended for use for "outside stitching" were available.
The source said: "When you have a Caesarean section, for example, we cut
open the abdomen then cut open the uterus. After that we need to stitch up
the uterus and these sutures that are available, are not recommended for
The Standard also understands that sometimes the hospital cannot carry out
Caesarean sections because a drug called Oxytocin, used to stop bleeding in
the uterus after the operation, is not available.
Sources said Oxytocin, which cannot be used on women with high blood
pressure, is the only drug that the hospital receives.
In the maternity theatre, Caesarean surgery is limited by the unavailability
of blood products such as platelets, fresh frozen plasma and blood itself.
Sources said the hospital was operating with one theatre suite, which is on
the first floor in the main hospital after the largest situated on the
second floor, was closed for renovations a year ago. This functional theatre
suite has only two operating rooms meaning only two patients can be
accommodated at a time.
Because of this, said the source, the hospital no longer has the capacity to
deal with accidents.
Also, equipment and machinery in the theatre is reportedly not working,
making it difficult to conduct operations while the hospital's Intensive
Care Unit ICU is "dead."
Essential equipment such as the hospital's Electrocardiograph (ECG), which
is used to monitor the heart beat of a patient under operation, and the
Boyles (used to monitor how much anaesthetic a patient requires) are old,
obsolete and constantly in need of repair, making the apparatus unreliable
Only one type of anaesthetic called Sodium Thiopentone (STP) is available
but this cannot be used for patients with low blood pressure.
However, Health and Child Welfare minister, David Parirenyatwa, said there
was "nothing unusual" as the hospital was undergoing a major renovation.
By Walter Marwizi and Davison Maruziva
ALARMED by a threat to their property rights, Borrowdale Brooke Home Owners'
Association met on Monday last week to consider a unified response to the
government's attempt to take over their properties.
Three weeks ago, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development wrote to owners with properties adjacent to President Robert
Mugabe's luxury retirement home near Borrowdale Brooke informing them the
government wanted their properties.
The notices headed Proposed Acquisition of Property by Governmet (sic)
signed by L Chimba of the Valuations and Estates Management Department of
the Ministry of Local Government, told the owners:
"This serves to advise you that your property falls within a designated
security area in terms of General Notice Number 255 of 2004. As a result
this office has been instructed to enter into negotiations with you, with a
view to the acquisition of the property by Government.
"We will therefore be contacting you soon to arrange for inspection of your
property for valuation purposes."
The notices have sent seismic tremors among property owners in the nearby
exclusive Borrowdale Brooke residential area, who fear the advent of a wave
similar to commercial farm take-overs.
While residents confirmed the meeting on Monday, they were uncertain about
discussing it, citing advice from their lawyers. Although similar advice was
given to the country's former commercial farmers it did not stave off the
take-overs. They subsequently lost all their farms. Out of the estimated 4
500 commercial farmers at the onset of the chaotic land invasions in 2000
less than 600 remain.
Property owners who spoke to The Standard last week said the meeting on
Monday was held in order to help them appreciate the full extent of their
One of the owners told The Standard: "We have written to the Ministry of
Local Government in reply to the notices. We have replied requesting details
of the boundaries of affected areas. To date, we have heard no response."
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has deplored further instances
of arbitrary action taken against residents of the City of Harare by the
Minister of Local Government who continues to act outside the ambit of his
legitimate mandate, and with perceived impunity.
ZLHR said: "It is also unfortunate that the government continues its
attempts to deprive people of Zimbabwe of their property rights, as well as
their right to protection of the law and right to be free from arbitrary
State action. Such rights are protected under the Constitution of Zimbabwe,
as well as key international human rights instruments to which Zimbabwe is a
party. ZLHR urges the government to refrain from such arbitrary action and
reminds public officials to act within the ambit of domestic and
The government intends to compulsorily acquire certain properties which fall
within a designated security area. This area incorporates a property in
Borrowdale Brooke owned by the President of Zimbabwe.
In terms of General Notice 255 of 2004, "A Property in Borrowdale . and the
areas surrounding these premises" were declared protected places in terms of
the Protected Places and Areas Act [Chapter 11:12] ("the Act).
The description of the property is as follows:" An area within the City of
Harare bounded by a line starting at the intersection of eastern edge of
Borrowdale Brooke Road and the northern edge of Green Valley Lane; thence
along Green Valley Lane in a generally southwards direction to the
north-eastern point of Lot GB 16751/57; thence south-westwards along the
south-western boundary of that property to the north-eastern part at
Budleigh Close to its intersection with the northern edge of Carrick Creagh
Road; thence northwards along the eastern edge of Swallow Hill to the
intersection with Borrowdale Brook Road to the starting point."
National Constitutional Assembly Chairman, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, who is
crusading for a new constitution said he did not expect Mugabe would evict
"There are so many security measures in the world Mugabe could have used to
protect himself from his neighbours. He has neighbours in Zvimba, so he
should have expected to have neighbours in Harare. After all how can you
dispossess people of their private property for the sake of one person's
security, who in this case would be a private citizen? What if that person
dies 10 years down the line, what will these security measures be for: Grace
and his children?" Madhuku asked.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - The High Court will tomorrow issue a ruling in a $5 billion
lawsuit brought up by a top Zanu PF official who is battling to acquire a
multi-billion dollar safari lodge, left behind by a commercial farmer at the
height of farm invasions.
Zanu-PF chairman and Speaker of Parliament, John Nkomo, is arguing that the
lodge, Jijima Safari in Lupane, belongs to him on the basis that it is
located in a farm offered to him by government.
The ruling party heavyweight is suing businessman and black economic
activist, Langton Masunda, whom he accuses of unlawfully occupying the
The safari lodge was once owned by James Chattam. The Lugo Ranch in the
Gwayi River Conservancy and the wildlife-rich Matabeleland North Province
adjoins Volunteer Farms 47, 48 and 49 given to Masunda in 2002.
Nkomo filed the lawsuit in September last year and is claiming $5 billion
from Masunda, whom he accuses of illegally occupying the safari lodge on his
ranch. He is also demanding the eviction of Masunda's workers from Lugo Farm
and Jijima Lodge.
In addition, he is seeking the court's assistance in getting an additional
$500 million for losses in rentals suffered from 2003 to date and $50
million a month for damages "with effect from the date of issuing of summons
for eviction to date".
Nkomo says he got an offer letter for Lugo Farm from the Ministry he was
heading at that particular time.
The Speaker's lawyer, Brighton Ndove of T Hara and Partners, said Masunda
did not have an offer letter or documentation to prove that he was the real
owner of the land, adding that the Ministry that gave Nkomo the offer letter
would not have done so had it known that he was the owner of the land.
However, the defendant's lawyer, Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko
Partners, hit back saying Nkomo had no powers to sue Masunda, arguing that
he had entered and acquired the lease from the government with knowledge
that the land was not vacant since Masunda was occupying it.
High Court Judge Justice Francis Bere said he would make his judgement
By Godfrey Mutimba
MASVINGO - Taking senior Zanu PF officials to court has proved costly for
former Masvingo District Co-coordinating Committee (DCC) chairman, Clemence
The Standard can reveal that Zanu PF has tasked Local government, Public
Works and Urban Development minister, Ignatious Chombo, to relieve
Makwarimba of his duties at Masvingo Rural District Council before firing
him from the party.
Makwarimba unsuccessfully sued, party national commissar, Elliot Manyika,
Masvingo provincial chairman, Samuel Mumbengegwi and DCC chairman Walter
Mzembi after his committee was relieved of its duties last year.
Makwarimba, who is the chief executive officer of Masvingo Rural District
Council, has since appeared before a Zanu PF disciplinary committee headed
by Mwenezi MP, Isaiah Shumba, and is awaiting judgment on the matter.
But Chombo has since written a letter to local government officials in
Masvingo to probe Makwarimba on allegations that he has a criminal record.
According to the letter in possession of The Standard, a five- member
investigating team from the ministry's various departments has been tasked
to investigate Makwarimba on four charges including that of a criminal
"In terms of section 154(1) of RDC act chapter 29:13 I appoint the committee
to probe the employment of Masvingo CEO with a criminal record and to look
into the circumstances surrounding the procedure of procurement of vehicles
for council officials,'' reads part of the letter. Chombo has demanded a
quick investigation into the charges.
Efforts to get a comment from Makwarimba were fruitless as he was said to be
out of office the whole week and his mobile phone was not reachable.
By Caiphas Chimhete
THE labour crisis bedeviling Zimbabwe's agriculture sector has fuelled the
employment of children on farms, labour experts say. They said thousands of
children, a large number of them driven out of school by high fees and the
government's so-called clean up exercise, now constitute the bulk of farm
workers in the country.
The children, below the age of 16, are forced to work for long hours a day
in poorly ventilated tobacco barns and are given low wages to supplement
dwindling family incomes.
In Chipinge district, children who cannot pay their school fees are sent to
"Earn and Learn" schools. The schools offer free education but first the
children have to work on the tea or cotton farms.
General Agriculture and Plantation Workers' Union (Gapwuz) secretary
general, Getrude Hambira, said child labour had increased due to the general
shortage of manpower on the farms.
The problem is compounded by the fact that many children who were displaced
by government's so-called clean-up exercise and thrown out of school are now
working on farms.
Hambira said due to the worsening economic crisis the new farmers were
failing to pay stipulated wages and, as a result, opted to employ desperate
children. A farm worker earns about $640 000 a month.
She said of the estimated 200 000 farm workers in the country, 10 % of them
were children below the age of 16.
"Child labour has always been there but this time the problem is going out
of hand. There are more than 20 000 children working on farms," said
Hambira, whose organisation represents the interests of farm workers
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general, Wellington
Chibebe, said new farmers were "enslaving" children.
He said the low wages that the new farmers were offering to their workers
were fuelling the employment of children.
"There is slavery on the farms. It's only that it is not being highlighted.
It's rampant," said Chibebe.
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general, Raymond
Majongwe, said the problem of child labour was rampant in tea estates and
timber plantations in Manicaland.
"It's cruel for these farmers to prey on these children. It's disturbing
because attendance by these children at schools has become sporadic,"
He blamed the government's so-called clean-up operation saying it
contributed highly to increased child labour as most children dropped out of
Some of them, Majongwe said, work in hazardous conditions curing and
administering tobacco chemicals as well as using potentially harmful
chemicals. This was happening in Mashonaland East and Central.
But the president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union (ZCFU), Davison
Mugabe, played down the problem of child labour.
"That's too far-fetched. It has never increased. In fact, new farmers are
employing children to enable to raise their fees for their own betterment,"
said Mugabe, whose organisation represents the interests of the new
Child labour remains rampant in the country, despite the fact that Zimbabwe
ratified the Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1990 and the
International Labour Organisation (ILO) 182, which calls for the immediate
prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour in 2000.
Chibebe said if the government continues to turn a blind eye on child
labour, ZCTU would report Zimbabwe to the ILO.
If found wanting, Zimbabwe would be placed on a "Special Paragraph" meaning
Zimbabwe will be labelled a rogue state and the international community will
boycott farm produce from this country.
"This will force government to act," Chibebe said
By Gibbs Dube
BULAWAYO - Levels of food insecurity continue to worsen for urban and rural
people in Zimbabwe due to reduced availability of staple cereals and the
ever-rising cost of living, The Standard understands.
According to the latest report of the United States-based Famine Early
Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), household food access has remained a
serious concern with large numbers of vulnerable people failing to meet
minimum food requirements.
This has been exacerbated by critical shortages of fuel, hyper-inflation and
lack of state agricultural inputs.
The report indicates that food insecurity in Zimbabwe is likely to worsen
within the next few months as the country grapples to cover the 2005 cereal
deficit of 1.2 million tonnes.
The report says: "Household food stocks are running low and many people are
being forced to look for maize and maize meal on the market. While
tremendous effort is being made by the government to import food into the
country to cover the production gap, distribution problems arising from
serious shortages of fuel are restricting cereal deliveries."
A large number of households, says FEWSNET, are reported having no food
"As the little harvest that was realised in the year 2005 has been
completely drawn down, most households are relying on purchases but
shortages of food supplies on the markets have driven up prices while the
continued erosion of purchasing power means access to adequate food supplies
cannot be assured."
According to the report, government efforts to move 1.2 million metric
tonnes has so far seen over 762 000 tonnes of imports between April and
"However, due to barriers to informal trade, very little staple food has
been imported informally from its neighbours," said the report, adding that
although most parts of the country had received above normal rains for the
2005/06 agricultural season, food insecurity was likely to cripple the
"Shortages of farm inputs (seeds and fertilizers) will continue to constrain
farmers' ability to plant sufficient crops to meet their requirements and
will lower yields where input supply has been problematic."
The government recently signed an agreement with the World Food Programme
(WFP) and its partners to feed about 2.9 million people facing acute food
shortages in the country where inflation is currently pegged at 586 percent.
"There is widespread recognition that food insecure populations have risen
far above 2.9 million which was arrived at based on unrealistic inflation
assumptions. The number of beneficiaries is expected to double between now
and March," says the report.
THE worsening humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is making children more
vulnerable to abuse, according to child rights non-governmental
According to Witness Chikoko, acting director of the African Network for the
Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect, "because of the
hike in schools fees many children are visiting schools (trying to negotiate
payment) - it makes them more vulnerable at the hands of teachers who
Recently, staff at a primary boarding school near Marondera was charged with
abusing 52 girls, while 14 primary school girls were also allegedly abused
by staff members at a school in the capital.
The Girl Child Network (GCN), an NGO working in 32 of Zimbabwe's 58
districts, said it had recorded an average of 700 rape cases of girls aged
up to 16 every month in 2005 - more than 8 000 cases. According to GCN about
93 percent of the children raped in Zimbabwe are girls and seven percent
"The numbers are high because more girls are reporting rape cases," said
Betty Makoni, GCN's founder and director, admitting that the country has a
high incidence of sexual abuse.
"It is a combination of factors: the large number of AIDS orphans and
increasing poverty, which have forced girls to take up risky practices such
as sex work and forced marriages."
About half the girls raped were from child-headed households, she added.
Zimbabwe has one of the highest levels of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa, which
has left one in five children orphaned.
Last week the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) spokesman James Elder said the
organisation was "horrified" at the high incidence of sexual abuse among
children, but noted that the country had more than a million orphaned
children, which made a large vulnerable population.
UNICEF is stepping up its work with communities, educating them to identify
the signs of child abuse and encouraging them to "tenaciously protect their
children by establishing and supporting functional child protection
committees, where children themselves are represented".
Jose Bergua UNICEF's head of child protection in Zimbabwe said: "Community
leaders, teachers, mums and dads - these people are the front line in the
fight against child abuse.
"If perpetrators are going to be stopped, if children are going to have the
confidence to speak out against these evils, then authority figures need to
make it patently clear that child abuse in their communities will not be
tolerated - silence on this issue shelters the perpetrators and is a crime
against children."- PlusNews
ZIMBABWE likes to mislead itself by pretending it is the victim of numerous
envious external forces. The latest is the delusional belief that South
African commercial farmers are behind a conspiracy that is fuelling illegal
migration of workforce from this country.
The trouble with such thinking is that it is the product of the self belief
that Zimbabwe is a perfect State, where its citizens are the happiest.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
What such thinking only serves to do is to demonstrate how far removed the
leadership has become from the everyday realities. It reveals a perception,
among Zimbabwe's political elite, that is contemptuous of the capacity of
ordinary citizens of this country to decide of their own free will, what is
or what is not good for them.
But perhaps there is rationale to understanding this approach: to
acknowledge the problem and the cause might be sailing dangerously close to
the truth and authors of Zimbabwe's current messy condition. It is an
unsettling thought, especially for those ever so overwhelmed by the
uncertainties of their tenuous grip on power.
The reason why Zimbabweans are risking life and limb to cross the
crocodile-infested Limpopo River to South Africa or joining the great trek
to the rest of the world is simply that at home they have seen opportunities
for working and supporting their families being whittled down daily. The
failure by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority to ensure regularity of
power supplies, the inability by the local authorities such as the
commission running the affairs of Harare to provide basic services, the
decimation of the informal sector against the backdrop of soaring
unemployment represent an erosion in the standard of living of the majority
of Zimbabweans. Zesa's and the incompetence of local authorities have seen
villagisation of urban areas. There is therefore little to hope for. Worse
still is the fact that there are no prospects of a return to normalcy in the
It is for these reasons that Zimbabwean workers are taking up employment on
South African farms. There, at least, they will be able to plan what to buy
and afford even with the little they get - something that is increasingly
difficult to do on a Zimbabwean minimum wage.
But by and large South African farmers value the level of expertise
Zimbabwean farm workers bring to South African agricultural operations.
The one factor that has fuelled the great trek to the south is that the new
breed of government-supported A2 farmers needs to learn to appreciate the
importance of farm labour. What in essence this means is appreciating,
recognising, rewarding and paying fair salaries timeously every month-end.
What is driving many farm workers away from taking up employment with the A2
farmers is their rapacious and exploitative nature. It is as if farm workers
owe the A2 farmers a debt of gratitude for allowing them on their farms. Yet
the symbiotic relationship that brings the A2 and the farm worker together
ought to be mutually beneficial in that one cannot do without the other. It
is a mark of short-sightedness that organisations such as the Zimbabwe
Commercial Farmers' Union (ZCFU) have not seen the need to undertake a
research to determine why six years after the advent of take-overs former
farm workers are reluctant to work for the A2 settlers. A study would assist
in planning the future growth of agriculture in this country. It is a
tragedy that the ZCFU believes it can chart expansion of agriculture without
considering, as critical factors, the labour force and its treatment.
Similarly, the recent and present treatment of growers, who bring their
produce to Mbare Musika but now face dispersion and steeper charges from the
commission running the affairs of Harare, will lead them to explore
alternative markets in Zambia, Malawi Mozambique and South Africa because
Harare is punishing them while central government is doing nothing to stop
the commission from frustrating the growers.
The growers, like the farm workers, will look outside the country not
because neighbouring states are luring them, but because Zimbabwe does not
value their contribution. The sooner Zimbabwe wakes up to this reality the
better the chances its turnaround programme will have.
THE Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre says it needs
US$1.5 million to enable it complete research into an antibiotic for
livestock. The project was meant to have been launched last year but the
institute's chief executive officer, Dr Robson Mafoti, said full-scale
production will only begin in six months due to lack of funding.
"We are now at the optimisation stage. We are finalising the experiment and
in six months we should be in full production," Mafoti said.
"We have had tests on cattle and seen that the antibiotic works well on
ticks and worms in the stomach. This ultimately means the farmer will not
have to dip and dose the cow."
Mafoti said US$1.5 million is needed to set up a production plant and hopes
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will be able to supply the funding.
He also disclosed plans for exporting the product to Southern African
countries."We hope to commercialise the antibiotic. First, it will be sold
to local farmers and then we hope to expand our market, " Mafoti said.
FOREIGN currency dealers last week sounded a death knell on the tradable
balances system and called for its urgent review to stop leakages of hard
currency to the parallel market.
The exchange rate has been stagnant at $99 201.58 against the United States
dollar for the past week owing to the failure of banks to raise US$5 million
a day required for the rate to move at least by 1 %
As a result dealers said free funds to the official market had declined,
only to resurface on the parallel market where rates are pegged at $150 000.
"It has been just seven days since the Governor (of RBZ, Dr Gideon Gono)
announced his monetary policy but the effect is being felt. Inflows from
free funds had dwindled," said a dealer with NMB.
"On average the whole market gets US$500 000 a week and getting to US$5
million a day is a tall order. We will never handle that amount especially
when holders of free funds are finding their way back to the black market
where rates are higher."
The NMB dealer said inflows to his bank had decreased to US$30 000 last week
from an average of US$50 000 that they were receiving before the
volume-based adjustments to the interbank rate.
Another dealer with a local bank said inflows had declined to less than
"We have not had significant inflows this week, they have gone virtually
dry," he said.
Kingdom bank economist, Witness Chinyama, said the central bank might be
forced to revise the new regime to stop leakages of hard currency to the
"They might soon revise it. The inflation situation demands that the
exchange rate should be going up. People had stopped going to the parallel
market which was facing strong competition from the interbank market,"
"Much of the funds were coming from free funds and those are going
elsewhere. This is why there is a decline on the official market. Those with
money that cannot be accounted for by government are disposing it at
attractive rates on the parallel market," he said.
He said reviewing the regime would stop exporters from diverting their
foreign currency to the parallel market.
"Exporters could find other ways of diverting foreign currency through
transfer pricing and under invoicing".
Exporters have on several occasions been rebuked by the central bank for not
remitting their foreign currency to the official market.But analysts believe
the errant behaviour could continue because of the cap on the exchange rate.
The central bank said exchange rate movements would be based on volumes
traded with amounts ranging from US$5 to US$10 million attracting an
increase of 1 %.
Monetary authorities also said 80 % of export proceeds would be valued at
the interbank rate with exporters allowed to retain 70 % of their funds in
their Foreign Currency Accounts.
marketmovers with Deborah-Fay Ndlovu
FEARS of a liquidity crunch in local financial institutions mounted last
week as analysts raised alarm that a review of primary dealership
arrangements could affect operations of banks.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced a review of dealership arrangements a
fortnight ago that would lead to monetary authorities compulsorily
allocating Treasury bill quotas to primary dealers.
Analysts, however, feel that the arrangement could create liquidity
constraints especially for big banks that would have to "carry large parcels
of the TBs".
Washington Mehlomakhulu of Highveld Investments said: "Big banks will have
to carry the load for the market. What the RBZ wants is to ensure that they
have full support for the tenders they float and will be compulsorily
allocating quotas to ensure that dealers subscribe.
"The move could have liquidity constraints on banks more so in a short
market. Say a bank opens the day $50 billion short and they are given a
quota for $10 billion. It means they have to cover for the deficit and look
for the $10 billion for the TB, which is an extra burden. It creates
mismatch between assets a bank holds and deposits."
The new regulations that would also require primary dealers to register with
the RBZ before they are allowed to operate will come into effect on 1 April.
Last week also saw a firming of interest rates driven by deficits on the
Dealers attributed the cash shortage to withdrawals prompted by the
introduction of the $50 000 note and that there were no TB maturities on the
They also predicted a $383 billion deficit for Wednesday, prompting an
increase in short-term rates to an average of 80% from 40% for 7 to 14 days.
Rates also shot up to an average of 120% from 75% for 30 days.
Analysts said rates would continue on an upward trend until 14 February when
there are TB maturities.
The increase in interest rates caused the downfall of the local bourse with
the industrial and mining indices retreating marginally last week.
The industrial index was down 2.18% points on Wednesday to close at 44 287
The mining index did not escape the heat losing 1.92% to close at 11 838
998.95 points due to a $3 000 fall in BINDURA to $42 000 and a $1000 retreat
in FALGOLD to $10 000.
Profit taking also took its toll on the equities flattening local stocks.
Interfin analyst, Farai Dyirakumunda, said the losses would not be sustained
because of the anticipated increase in the inflation rate.
"The decline will not be sustained. This week pension funds should be
receiving their contributions and some of that money will find itself in the
stock market," Dyirakumunda said.
"Inflation figures will be coming out this week and the central bank has
already conceded that it still is on an upward trend. That should help
stocks to recover."
Losses were in Hippo and Seedco, which shed $4 000 each on Wednesday to $56
000 and $36 000 respectively.
Econet had a bad week, losing $5 000 to $285 000 last Wednesday.
Old Mutual however bucked the trend, adding $10 000 to $610 000, while
Colcom recovered from Monday's losses to close Wednesday $5 000 higher to
By our staff
NATIONAL airline, Air Zimbabwe (Airzim) is currently in the middle of a
rationalisation exercise, which will see five strategic business units being
fully operational by the middle of the year.
The exercise is part of the broader plan in turning around the fortunes of
the ailing parastatal in a bid to stem the financial haemorrhaging and
return to profitability.
Mike Bimha, Airzim board chairman, told Standardbusiness the airline was in
the middle of the rationalisation exercise and had briefed the shareholder
on what needed to be done.
Bimha said: "We hope to reach a consensus by the middle of this month and by
June the SBUs should be in place and fully functional."
The SBUs will be namely Air Zimbabwe Passenger Services; Cargo Business;
National Handling Services; Galileo Ticketing; and Technical Services.
Presenting his monetary policy review statement last week, Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Dr Gideon Gono, said the airline was plying
unprofitable and loss-making routes such as Dubai and China which were
making a combined loss of US$980 000 a month.
Bimha, ushered into office four months ago, said the board was in the
process of analysing each and every route to determine profitability.
"We are looking at the issue of routes in a holistic manner. They (Dubai and
China) are not the only ones which are making losses. There are many others
but the reasons are varied," he added.
He said after the implementation of the turn-around strategy some new routes
could be phased out and new ones introduced.
Gono implored the airline to engage a substantive managing and financial
director as the two posts were vacant after the suspension last year of
Tendai Mahachi and Tendai Mujuru who occupied the positions respectively.
Bimha refused to shed light on the fate of the two senior managers saying
they were in the middle of finalising the issue.
Airzim has been crippled by a huge debt, which Bimha has blamed on legacy
The RBZ is exposed to the airline to the tune of $1.4 trillion and the
Airzim also owes local creditors $125 billion and foreign creditors US$19.6
According to Bimha, Airzim is looking at ways of stopping the airline from
incurring further losses and getting into debt while the shareholder
(Government) was looking at the old debt and might assume it.
He said that they were looking at all their offices in foreign countries to
see if they were really necessary and, if not, to close them in order to cut
Bimha, also the president of the Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe, said
the mismatch between its costs and revenue was unsustainable and there was
need to break even.
Sundayopinion by Webster M Zambara
IF there are two things that Zimbabweans will be tired of very soon, its
elections and galas. Just as we had the Senate elections at the end of
November (with a record low turnout perhaps to show fatigue), we had yet
another gala to commemorate the coming of the Unity Day holiday. It is the
latter that torched debate, especially with the rhetoric that is associated
with the Unity Accord of 22 December 1987, that it brought peace to
We celebrate the Unity Day only three days before Christmas, the day we
celebrate the coming to earth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. I do not
want to delve into the religious arguments on peace, but as a peace worker I
should hasten to say that except for Satanism, all religions in this world
preach peace and non-violence.
The word "peace" is used both by the naïve who confuse absence of direct
violence with peace and do not understand that the work to make and build
peace is now just about to start, and by the less naïve who know this and do
not want that work to get started. Thus, the word "peace" becomes a very
effective peace-blocker in itself. And in our situation, it is my purpose to
contribute to the national effort to unblock the myth that unity is equal to
The term peace itself is almost impossible to define categorically - even to
the satisfaction of those who call themselves peace-makers, peace builders,
peace educators etc. There are two functional definitions from the peace
discipline by Professors Johan Galtung (1996) and Geoff Harris (2004) that
are very similar. For the former, peace is what we have when creative
conflict transformation takes place non-violently. The latter goes on to say
peace is a way of life committed to the non-violent resolution of conflict
and to personal and social justice. There is no doubt that the majority of
people understand the general attributes of peace. I mean, just by
mentioning the word "peace", some peace images appear in one's mind. There
is actually an almost universal threesome - peace, love and harmony.
Peace is a value, and at this point an important distinction should be made.
It is entirely possible to know a value without holding that value. By the
same token, it is possible to know peace without one being a "peaceful"
person, without believing in peace or without even wanting peace in the
sense of having internalised the value. It is like the difference between
consciousness and conscience. The point being driven home is; peace cannot
be imposed or decreed from above. The impacts of direct and indirect
violence upon the marginalised, the poor, women, children, rural
communities, the elderly - which include social, political, economic,
psychological, health and other repercussions are frequently overlooked and
neglected as political leaders and elites come together with fine sounding
words for peace. Peace, if it is to be sustainable, must itself be a process
of transforming our conflicts with creativity, empathy and non-violence,
empowering people and communities to deal with the issues and challenges
facing them in a constructive way to meet the real needs of their
communities, and to overcome and heal from the violence and traumas of the
past, while at the same time transforming deep structures and deep cultures
Peace - just, durable and sustainable, cannot be the monopoly of any single
group or actor, nor can it be imposed or dependent upon actions from above.
It requires solidarity, commitment, co-operation, and in some cases, courage
from many people. The challenges of working to transform conflict
constructively, to build lives and communities torn apart by war and
violence, and to heal in areas which have been affected are so great that
they require the committed and sustained efforts of people, groups and
organizations at every level.
It should be laid bare that establishing fault lines and pointing fingers of
blame is almost useless as a way of correcting things. In Zimbabwe,
polarisation has become almost as automatic as breathing, and it does
nothing but creates rivalries and worsens the situation. Our media and
information industries are quick examples.
This unfortunate phenomenon has permeated through our societal fabrics that
whether you are at a boozers' team, burial society, women's club,
co-operative or boardroom, the level of intolerance is fearsome. Having a
different idea to the same goal is viewed as unpatriotic and divisive,
therefore a cause of disunity. Unity means no debate, and no debate simply
results in lack of fresh ideas. This is how paranoid leadership becomes. The
result of which is obvious. This brings us directly to the two tiers of
peace accepted in peace discourse, which are, negative peace and positive
peace. At the base of the tiers is negative peace acknowledged by the state
and the general public - peace born of law and order in the realm; peace as
the absence of war between states and violence within the state or against
it. Peace, however, is not the uppermost of political actors' priorities. To
them, more important are their own integrity, security and well-being that
enable them to acquire and retain political power, and in many cases in
Africa, consequently clearing the avenues to amass wealth.
Positive peace goes beyond that. It acknowledges to the whole population the
fruit of justice, respect for human rights and human dignity, and the quest
for development that is humane and ecologically sustainable, a development
that is qualitative rather than quantitative. There is no peace in poverty,
there is no peace in unemployment, and there is no peace when there is no
freedom, just as there is no reconciliation without truth.
Let me conclude by challenging all peace workers, in particular in the
non-governmental organisations, that there is great need to mobilize a
public peace process to change the paradigm inside people's heads that
maintains that peace and security comes through power over others. It never
did and it will never will! This paradigm that is shaping so much of our
thinking could be challenged village by village, community by community,
state by state around the world by an intense dialogue about what peace
really entails. True peace is the way to walk, and it is the way to walk
now. And as Galtung would say; tell me how you manage conflict, and I tell
you how peaceful you are.
I DON'T know how to translate this Shona word into English or any other
language; however it has a very strong field - force of meaning, which only
those who have experienced or observed it can attempt to describe.
It denotes the most cruel, incomprehensible, unmitigated bullying,
especially in a man over his defenceless spouse.
The man builds his house in a built up area, full of other people's homes
and then orders them to sell their homes to him, to create a security zone.
He did the same thing in Kutama, we are told.
Putting the money issue aside, which we know is from State coffers, does
President Robert Mugabe ever think that it is possible that these people may
have an emotional attachment to their homes after living in them for 25
Gono rinoshusha comes home from a beer drink at 2AM, wakes up his spouse to
cook fresh sadza because, he says, he cannot eat cold sadza. He then falls
asleep while the wife is preparing the meal for him and when the wife wakes
him up so that he can eat the fresh sadza he beats her up for disturbing his
Many people have suggested that Mugabe is paranoid about security. I don't
agree. I think this is kushusha - the incomprehensible desire to make others
suffer so that they know that he is around. His is the paramount need, and
no one else has any need.
I AM one of the civil servants who were recruited for the Senate elections.
With the meagre salaries I am getting I thought it would be a noble idea to
be involved in this "project". What I did not know was that we were on a
Imagine; I travelled all the way from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls but it took
me longer to be paid little for using so much of my own resources.
Sometimes I blame all civil servants. Next time we should boycott these
"projects" which have nothing to do with development. For example, according
to my calculations based on the recently presented Budget, civil servants
are likely to be awarded 180% only. So much for how they value our service
I AM touched by the plight of government pensioners because they earn very
My father is a retired teacher and the $1.5million that he is earning a
month is a mockery of the good service that he whole heartedly provided for
the twenty-two years that he served in government service.
I urge the government and relevant authorities to immediately look into all
the plight of pensioners so that they can be able to sustain themselves in
these tough economic times.
READING through The Standard of 29 January (which is by the way my birthday)
I learnt something I think all Zimbabweans should take into cognisance -
President Robert Mugabe is never to be taken for granted, that man is old
but is as fit as a fiddle, a despot who successfully manipulates people
without them noticing.
Just like a kapenta fish, which dies with eyes wide open, some of us are
subconsciously collaborating with Mugabe to destroy our beloved MDC. The
Senate elections have come and passed. They caused havoc in the opposition
party, eventually splitting the into two.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party took this as an opportunity to crush their
rivals by denouncing them at rallies saying it is a party made up of
Mugabe knows that denouncing Tsvangirai and calling him a dictator will
eventually destroy the MDC since the people invested their trust in him, but
who is calling who a dictator?
Tsvangirai probably blew it by claiming that he is the MDC, that some people
decided to call him a dictator. If people classify him as a dictator or a
despot them I beg to differ. Unlike Mugabe, Tsvangirai is a benevolent
"despot", a Napoleon I of France who was dictatorial in order to usher in
What I mean is, at this point in time Zimbabwe needs a "despot/dictator" who
will rule with an iron feast so as to end all this mess. Zanu PF would not
have survived this long if Mugabe was not so dictatorial and ruthless. It is
his character that keeps him going. He is never seen on the defensive but
always on the offensive. He never admits that there are food shortages in
our country but says Zimbabweans are reluctant to take other foods except
maize. He is never seen at summits apologising to the West but adds pain to
injury by his megaphone diplomacy.
What I'm trying to drive at is that MDC factions need each other to bring us
a better Zimbabwe. They need to put aside their personal differences and
concentrate on doing away with our enemies - Mugabe and Zanu PF.
At the same time, people need not use all their power writing letters like
"Tsvangirai" must prove his assassination claim" as Max Mkandla did on 29
January or "Why Tsvangirai must go," by E Ndlovu on 24 December 2005. I
thank Vegas L Majies and Tamuka Chirimambowa who wrote in your last issue
for strengthening my hope that the struggle continues.
Let's make a better you, a better me and a better Zimbabwe.
G C Machete