Mavis Makuni Own Correspondent
First, shoot the messenger, and then arrest one or two sacrificial lambs
FIGHTING corruption African style. First, shoot the messenger or messengers,
and then arrest one or two sacrificial lambs to detract attention from the
real culprits. Finally, bury your head in the sand and pretend either that
the problem will go away or that the people will have been duped.
A cynical view to be sure, but one that is borne out by events that have
taken place in a number of countries that have been rocked by corruption
scandals in recent years. The first act in shooting the messenger is usually
to go all out to muzzle the media through a slew of draconian laws or
outright persecution of journalists through intimidation, harassment and
arrests. In most cases these attempts to victimise journalists are futile
and counter-productive as corruption becomes more rampant and ruinous in the
Take the case of Zimbabwe, which now seems so inextricably engulfed in a web
of official corruption that it will take a real war to root out the cancer.
The government has promulgated restrictive laws such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) in a bid to forestall the scrutiny and questioning of
the actions of government officials but this has not rendered corruption
benign and consquenceless. In fact, it is now such a rampant and malignant
cancer that even the government now openly acknowledges its existence and is
belatedly trying to do something about it.
And yet when the first alarm bells were rung about this scourge in the
1980s, officialdom reacted in a hostile manner. Geoff Nyarota, who was then
editor of The Chronicle, was unceremoniously removed from his newspaper job
and "promoted" to a public relations position after he had authored and
published an expose on a vehicle acquisition and profiteering scandal
involving government ministers and ruling party officials. Subsequent events
have shown that Nyarota has never been forgiven for his crusading
journalism. Today, he lives in exile in the United States and is blacklisted
as an enemy of the state. And yet corruption would not have got out of hand
to reach current levels if Nyarota's brave investigative journalism had been
appreciated and the government had taken corrective measures to ensure
transparency and accountability in the public sector.
Journalists are not the only people that have found themselves in trouble
for trying to expose untoward activities by people in positions of power as
South Africa's former director of public prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, can
testify. He was subjected to a vicious form of character assassination and
was forced to resign for initiating a probe into financial scandals and
influence peddling involving former deputy president, Jacob Zuma. Thabo
Mbeki's former number two was eventually indicted for the irregularities
that Ngcuka first drew attention to but Ngcuka, who was hounded out of
office for doing so, paid a high personal price.
The same fate befell the man who headed Kenya's anti-corruption commission,
John Githongo, who was forced to flee his homeland after he had exposed high
level corruption in both former president Daniel Arap Moi's administration
and current leader, Mwai Kibaki's government.
Githongo resigned about a year ago after receiving death threats for
exposing graft and avarice while serving as permanent secretary for
government and ethics. His attempts to investigate the Anglo Leasing
scandal, which caused ripples in Kenya were blocked by four cabinet
ministers implicated in the racket.
From time to time, some unfortunate minister has been made to carry the cane
for the sins of a whole government in a bid to give the false impression
that corruption was being fought from within and that there were no sacred
Zimbabwe's former finance minister, Chris Kuruneri, who languished in remand
prison for 18 months before being placed under house arrest is the only high
ranking government official to have been caught in the anti-corruption
dragnet since the campaign began. He was indicted for foreign currency
violations involving his own funds and for holding a foreign passport.
What makes his treatment seem vindictive and sacrificial is that those
plundering national resources and stealing from national coffers remain
unscathed and free to continue their corrupt activities.
Whether by coincidence or concrete evidence, Malawi's former finance
minister, Friday Jumbe was arrested a year ago in connection with the sale
of maize from the country's grain reserves. At the beginning of this month,
Kenya's finance Minister, David Mwiraira resigned after being implicated in
a multi-billion scandal.
What is at issue is not that these ministers should not be exposed or
arrested if there is enough evidence to suggest their involvement in illegal
and unethical activities. What is jarringly hypocritical and unfair is to
focus attention on them so as to cover up the misdeeds of the rest.
Rangarirai Mberi Senior Business Reporter
They came, they saw and they . . . went back
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) calls them "useful discussions", but
last week's talks with Zimbabwe appear really nothing of the sort - once you
scrape off that diplomatic sheen.
The IMF mission's statement last Friday may as well be a cut-and-paste job
from its own previous statements - evidence that Zimbabwe has not moved an
inch - while an attempt by both sides to quickly tuck away the sticky issue
of the source of Zimbabwe's repayments proved stickier than anticipated.
In its latest statement, the IMF simply duplicates its previous
pronouncements, again pressing for a "comprehensive policy package"
comprising: "strong fiscal adjustment; full liberalisation of the exchange
rate regime for current account transactions; adoption of a strong monetary
anchor; elimination of quasi-fiscal activity of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) and transparent absorption of these losses by the budget; and
fundamental structural reform, including price deregulation, public
enterprise reform, strengthening of property rights, and improvements in
This new statement shows that a gulf still exists between the IMF and
Zimbabwe on what both sides think the country needs to do to end the rot.
And by carrying the same content - parts of it in similar wording - from its
three previous reports, the statement shows there has been little progress,
if any, since last September.
The old argument over a free exchange rate returned, especially after new
measures that have trapped the exchange rate at $99 201 for 12 straight
trading days. The IMF wants the rate to track month-on-month inflation,
while the government - according to minutes of one meeting - says the new
system is "a necessary transitory step".
In September last year, Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of southern Africa,
avoided the boot from the global financing body after making an unexpected
payment to the IMF to relieve some of its outstanding debt. Since then, the
country has substantially curtailed arrears to the fund.
Zimbabwe, which was cut off from balance of payments support in the late
1990s, had risked becoming the second country to be kicked out of the IMF
since the former Czechoslovakia in 1954.
Ahead of the arrival of Sharmini Coorey's team, IMF executive director Peter
Ngumbullu had written to the finance ministry and the RBZ looking to allay
fears that the matter of the source of funds would bog down the discussions.
"I expressed concern on press reports that seem to indicate that the source
of payments to the fund will remain a major issue during the staff visit. I
emphasised the importance of bringing this issue to closure and focus on
more important policy issues," Ngumbullu wrote.
"Clarifying this to the staff mission will help shift discussion towards
more substantive issues of economic policy."
But the issue remains thorny. A January 30 dossier shows that the IMF
mission had made a string of demands: proof of whether the US$120 million
paid last year is reflected in the RBZ's books, signed facility contracts,
telegraphic transfer printouts showing date, account and amounts of funds
credited to the central bank, a copy of the Exchange Control Act, a copy of
amendments to Statutory Instrument 109 of 1996, and bank details of the RBZ's
A document dated July 22 2005 and titled "Save Zimbabwe Project" showing how
the government was convinced to agree to the repayments was also brought
The little matter about the source of funds appears to confirm Ngumbullu's
concern, in his letter, that "sharing of information with authorities needs
to be improved".
RBZ governor Gideon Gono and Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa have over
recent months sought to narrow the gap in opinion between Zimbabwe and the
fund, but the IMF remains steadfast on the need for wholesale market and
political reforms. But Zimbabwe apparently still sees itself as a nation in
transition that should avoid taking any shock therapy.
Ngumbullu says the main worry in Zimbabwe is inflation, and calls for the
immediate overhaul of the civil service, which he says is overrun by "ghost
"It is estimated that the recent trend in monthly inflation, when
annualised, places Zimbabwe as the only country in the world experiencing
hyperinflation," he says.
On the civil service, he says Zimbabwe's wage bill is more than double the
But there is hope yet. Apparently, if Zimbabwe is prepared to talk to the
right people, the foreign assistance it so craves might yet be a simple
phone call away.
"The staff believe that Zimbabwe can benefit from some form of technical
assistance even with the current ban on the country's access to TA. This can
be done through enhanced dialogue with the staff, discussions with experts
at IMF headquarters on various issues through telephone, email and direct
contact during the Spring and annual meetings. The World Bank are of a
similar view and are prepared to assist on the issue of ghost workers, civil
service reform and other areas where they have expertise."
Charles Rukuni Bulawayo Bureau Chief
I CAN see it all from my office. The fights. The weeping. The celebrations.
The flashy cars. Even the cops. I can see it all because my office window
faces the top end of the "World Bank" - the hub of illegal foreign currency
dealers in Bulawayo.
I see the fights when someone tries to con the illegal foreign currency
dealers. The weeping when someone intending to buy foreign currency is
conned by the dealers. The celebrations when one of the dealers comes by to
show off a new car to her colleagues. The flashy cars, some with foreign
number plates that stop by for the occupants to change money. The cops who
routinely round-up the illegal foreign currency dealers but at times also
come to change money.
Business is booming. One can hardly imagine there was ever Operation
Murambatsvina. The display of wealth that I see everyday from my office
window makes me wonder how many people are still earning an honest living.
Where does all the money that is changing hands come from?
The abundant wealth seems to be everywhere. People in the high-density
suburbs are extending their houses, drive imported Japanese vehicles and
watch satellite TV paid for in foreign currency.
Those in the low-density suburbs are building mansions. They drive the
latest 4x4s. Their children drive to school in posh cars. They go to schools
where, each term, they pay fees that are more than the average worker's
One 18-year-old even boasted that he had so much money to play around with
that his perfume alone cost $5 million per bottle.
The wealth displayed on the country's roads and suburbs gives one the
impression that Zimbabweans are filthy rich. One can be excused for thinking
so. Why not, when one reads stories that seem to support this.
In Harare a domestic worker went on a spending spree that ended in Bulawayo
after stealing more than $420 million that was kept in the house by his
Another man was reported by the police to have been robbed of $6 billion
that was stashed in the boot of his car but he denied the report claiming he
lost less than $500 million.
Two villagers in Mberengwa were robbed of $8.4 billion which they were
carrying in a donkey-drawn cart.
Zimbabwe is behaving like a typical shadow or underground economy. One study
even said 63 percent of the country's economy was not in central bank
governor Gideon Gono's books.
Friedrich Schneider, an economics professor at the University of Linz in
Austria, who has done extensive studies on the shadow economy, says the
shadow economy is also known as the underground, informal, or parallel
economy. It includes not only illegal activities but also unreported income
from the production of legal goods and services, either from monetary or
Most of the transactions in a shadow economy are in cash so as to leave no
observable traces for tax authorities. A bigger shadow economy therefore,
means a greater demand for banknotes.
While Zimbabwe, at one time, had a booming informal sector that was
threatening to overtake the formal one, Bulawayo business consultant Eric
Bloch says the ongoing display of wealth is an illusion. It gives a
distorted picture that Zimbabweans have money.
"The majority of the people in Zimbabwe don't have money. Seventy to 80
percent of the people don't have money. Perhaps 20 to 25 percent can make
ends meet. But it is only the top two percent that has real money and they
flash it around. That is why they are quite visible and easily become
targets," Bloch said.
"This is only a small fraction of the population, mostly people who are
dealing in illegal foreign currency, people selling fuel on the black
market, and those engaged in crime. They make a quick buck and also spend
the money recklessly. The majority of the people are poor."
Labour economist Godfrey Kanyenze concurred.
"This is all arbitrage. People are making money out of nothing, cashing in
on speculation, just like the banks were doing in 2003," Kanyenze said.
Arbitrage is the buying and selling of products, financial securities or
foreign currency between two or more markets in order to take profitable
advantage of any differences in prices quoted by these markets.
This is what has been happening in Zimbabwe. Those with cash have been
cleaning the supermarket shelves of products in short supply and then
reselling them at exorbitant prices.
The government admits in its Millennium Development Goals (MDG) report that
80 percent of the population was classified as poor way back in 2002. The
number of poor might actually have increased by now because the economy has
Under the MDG, the government intended to reduce extreme poverty and hunger
by at least half by the year 2015.
But it is already way off target. It gave five scenarios on how this could
be achieved. The first was that the country would have to record annual
growth of 6.6 percent for the next 13 years to 2015. But it wrote this off
as unrealistic because it could never achieve that growth rate as the
country had recorded negative growth since 2000.
The second scenario entailed growth of four to five percent a year. This
would achieve a poverty reduction of 27 percent by 2015. While it said this
was more realistic, the country is still realising negative growth.
The MDG said a more realistic goal to halve poverty levels was to aim for
five percent growth up to 2020. Once again the government has already missed
The fourth scenario was to aim for a four percent growth over 24 years. This
would reduce poverty by half by 2026. The government said while this was a
realistic goal in terms of growth, it was unacceptable because of the long
It wrote off the fifth scenario which would see poverty reduced by half by
2038. This would require the economy to grow by three percent annually.
Having already gone the first three years in negative territory, Zimbabwe
will need a radical policy shift to reduce poverty.
Right now, things are getting worse. Inflation is still on the increase. The
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) basket is now pegged at $21.8 million a
month. The labour movement says the average wage is only $5 million.
The situation is so bad that a majority of the 20 percent of the population
that is gainfully employed is now classified as poor. The CCZ even advises
those in employment to supplement their incomes through legal activities or
Reducing poverty therefore, remains a pipe-dream for the time being. One
young man, doing his window shopping in Bulawayo at the weekend, summed it
up all in a song by award winner Hosiah Chipanga.
"Mai mwana ngativakire imba yedu pamusoro pegomo," he sang. "Kana vokwidza
mitengo, inobata vari pasi". ( My wife let's build our house at the top of
the mountain. When they raise prices, only those at the bottom will be
This is exactly what is happening in Zimbabwe. While the majority are
struggling to make ends meet - having to work for four months to afford one
month's basic requirements - life couldn't be better for a few. And they
wouldn't dream of any change.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
MUTARE - President Robert Mugabe's cash-strapped government, under mounting
pressure to revive the comatose economy, has slashed the size of the
Zimbabwean army by a significant 25 percent to 30 000, a senior Defence
Ministry official has revealed.
Prior to the cutback, the army numbered 40 000.
Economic analysts have repeatedly criticised the government for maintaining
a bloated defence force, which they blame for draining the country of
crucial financial resources that could have been profitably channelled to
the deprived sectors of the economy.
Brigadier-General Trust Mugoba, the director-general of policy, public
relations and international affairs in the Ministry of Defence, told a
conference on peace and development convened by the Centre for Peace
Initiatives in Africa here that the government, facing no external threat,
had found it prudent to trim its army.
Mugoba cited the relative peace and stability in the southern African region
and prohibitive costs as some of the reasons for the sharp downsizing.
"In response to the peace dividend that followed the demise of apartheid
rule, the government was able to pursue prudent policies for the reduction
of defence expenditure while redirecting the resources to the social
sector," said Mugoba.
"Of particular significance was the shift from the large, defensive and
robust forces of old to smaller forces of a minimum self-defence capability.
As a result, since the mid-1990s, Zimbabwe reduced the size of its military
establishment, first from 52 000 to 40 000 and then to around 30 000
presently," he added.
Mugoba said the trimming of the defence force had also been necessitated by
prescriptions from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which
recommended cutting down military expenditure and allocating resources to
the social and economic sectors.
He, however, said Zimbabwe would ensure that it had enough capacity to
"The government remains fully cognisant of the need to compensate the
reduced strength in numbers with modern equipment," Mugoba said. "This will
leave the smaller force still effective, mobile and hard-hitting in the
event of aggression."
The downsizing of the defence force comes in the wake of media reports
alleging that the army was sending soldiers on mandatory paid leave because
of food shortages in camps.
Zimbabwe is grappling with one of its worst food shortages since
independence amid reports of starvation in some areas.
Other reports say some members of the security forces are quitting their
jobs because of poor remuneration while some are said to have deserted.
Despite getting a 231 percent increment in January, the soldiers say the
salaries are still less than half the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe's monthly
consumer basket of $22 million in January.
Nelson Banya News Editor
MAVERICK businessman Philip Chiyangwa has sold off Midiron Enterprises,
which warehoused his leather and footwear industry assets, to Attorney
General (AG) Sobusa Gula-Ndebele's family in a move that has raised
Chiyangwa, who was implicated in a high-profile espionage case in which his
co-accused were sentenced to jail terms ranging from four to five years, was
removed from remand last year, although the AG insisted the state still had
a case against him.
Speculation on the size of the transaction has been rife, with the cost
being put at $90 billion for the foreign currency generating businesses.
Although Chiyangwa strenuously denied selling G & D Shoes and Belmont
Leather last week, Cyril Ndebele - the Attorney General's brother -
confirmed the deal. Ndebele, a former Speaker of Parliament, told The
Financial Gazette that the Ndebele family now owns the Bulawayo-based G & D
"Yes, that is correct," Ndebele said in response to inquiries from this
Asked to confirm if the attorney general was involved in the transaction,
Ndebele said; "This is a family concern, of which he is a member. The
transaction was done through Sonkanke Holdings, of which I am chairman. We
will be making a public statement on the matter very soon," Ndebele said.
Investigations conducted by this paper also established that Chiyangwa was
bought out of the company in November last year. Company registry documents
show that Barrick Price, Cyril Ndebele and Irene Ndebele have been entered
as the new directors of Midiron Enterprises following the resignation of
Chiyangwa, Harold Madzivo and Benaya Muchove on November 15, 2005.
Price, who was the company chief executive officer, left Midiron on Monday
and was replaced by Trevor Ndebele, who was previously the company
However, in a bizarre turn of events, Chiyangwa last week maintained he
still owned the company, while the attorney general flatly denied any
knowledge of the transaction when contacted a fortnight ago.
"I do not know anything about that," Gula-Ndebele said in a terse response
The AG has previously sat on the board of Zimbabwe Express Airlines, a now
defunct private carrier founded by the Ndebele family.
Chiyangwa, on the other hand, said the board changes did not mean he had
divested from the business, saying the move was meant to streamline and
restructure the operation. The businessman has recently shown a predilection
for property development.
G & D supplies shoes to the South African market, while Belmont Leather
exports its products to France.
THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) intends approaching the courts to
force President Robert Mugabe to accept its draft constitution as the
assembly continues with its push for a people-driven constitution.
Slated for August, the court action would be one of a series of events lined
up by the NCA to push the government into enacting a new constitution. The
NCA has since 2000, been unyielding in its quest for a new constitution.
After emerging with egg on its face following the rejection of the draft
constitution in 2000, the government has flatly rejected fresh attempts to
put the issue back on the agenda.
Instead, it has opted for piecemeal changes that saw the passing of the 17th
constitutional amendment last year that gave the government powers to
expropriate land without giving farmers the option to go to the courts.
"We want the government to appreciate our proposals for a new constitution
and, as such, we want to go to court to force President Mugabe to accept our
proposals for a new constitution," said Jessie Majome, the NCA spokesperson.
She said Zimbabwe should hold elections under a democratic constitution by
the end of the year, adding that a new people-driven constitution was the
only panacea to the political and economic crises facing the country.
"What we are saying as the NCA is that let's have a new constitution sooner
than President Mugabe's retirement . . . We don't want the next President of
this country to be an appointee," said Lovemore Madhuku, NCA chairman.
Stanley Kwenda Own Correspondent
THE Attorney General (AG)'s office came to Strive Masiyiwa's rescue last
week after the authorities had initially declined to issue the self-exiled
trillionaire with a new passport, saying they needed to check whether he was
not on the police wanted list.
The Econet Wireless founder, who was awarded a licence to operate the
country's third mobile cellular network after a fierce legal battle that
almost split the presidium, had applied for the renewal of his passport when
he came face to face with government red-tape.
Sources said the Registrar General's office, which prepared a list of people
whose passports had been invalidated and should therefore be seized, put
Masiyiwa's application on ice insisting they could only issue a new passport
if he was not one of the fugitives who skipped the country in recent years.
"It was a big fight. It took intervention from a higher office, the AG's
office and some senior officials to have the passport issued," said a
source. "Only yesterday (Tuesday), the RG's office sent a message advising
Masiyiwa to "come and collect" his passport after he had paid $1.5 million
for the emergency passport."
Masiyiwa left Zimbabwe about six years ago under unclear circumstances. A
few months after his departure for his South African base, police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted as saying they were keen to interview Masiyiwa
in connection with the floatation of shares in his company.
His office is however, on record saying Masiyiwa, whose media project, the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe is also in the courts seeking to reverse
the closure of The Daily News and its sister weekly, The Daily News on
Sunday, left the country to focus his attention on developing the
technological stock into a global telecommunications player.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Masiyiwa's lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa refused
to comment on personal issues involving her clients and referred all
questions to Masiyiwa, who refused to comment over the phone.
Econet spokesperson Sure Kamhunga claimed yesterday that his boss got his
passport using the normal channels, adding that there was no fight
"He applied for the passport through the normal procedure and he got it just
like everyone else. He got his new passport, valid until 2016, recently and
there was no struggle in any way," he said.
Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, the attorney general, said yesterday he was not aware
of the issue but admitted it was possible that an official from his office
could have attended to it.
"Such things can happen, but I am not sure who exactly might have dealt with
it in one of our departments as it is a matter of routine that doesn't
require my intervention," he said.
Masiyiwa, who is known for his strong beliefs in justice, fought a bruising
legal battle with the government in the late nineties over the Econet's
licensing. He has also fought and won many court battles in countries such
as Botswana, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
Lawyers representing the South African-based businessman are believed to
have been preparing a case against the government, arguing that it was
within Masiyiwa's right as a citizen of Zimbabwe to be issued with a
The latest development comes as the government has just passed a law under
Constitutional Amendment Number 17, which granted it powers to withdraw
passports from anyone suspected to be an enemy of the state.
Already, Movement for Democratic Change pro-senate faction spokesperson Paul
Themba-Nyathi, Progressive Teachers Association of Zimbabwe president and
political activist, Raymond Majongwe and Zimbabwe Independent publisher
Trevor Ncube have had their passports seized. The passports were later
The RG's office last year drew up a list of 17 people including journalists
and prominent human rights lawyer, Mtetwa whom it perceived as government
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
THE government, grappling with an acute food shortage, has launched a
crackdown on the country's millers who it accuses of stockpiling grain, amid
indications the blitz could suck in political heavyweights.
Milling industry sources said crack teams from the powerful Joint Operations
Command, which comprises operatives from the country's uniformed forces and
the spy agency, were dispatched this week to search for grain at milling
plants across the country and plug possible leakages feeding into the
illegal black market.
They said the probe team, which also included members of the Police Internal
Security Intelligence (PISI) had descended on milling plants demanding to be
furnished with details of stocks on hand and the last time they took
delivery of grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the only body
allowed to trade in maize and wheat, which are now controlled 'strategic'
"They came to one of our plants asking for any unmilled grain," a source
said. "They thought that we are holding onto grain."
Repeated efforts to get comment from Didymus Mutasa, the State Security
Minister, who is also responsible for maize distribution, were unsuccessful
Sources reported that some millers had already lost their trading licences
for allegedly selling maize-meal on the black market where the product is
fetching a higher price than that fixed by government, which millers say is
But yesterday millers hit out at the blitz, saying the government was just
masking its ineptitude to source enough grain supplies to feed starving
"The unfortunate thing is that they are asking millers about the
availability of grain instead of the source, which is the GMB."
Sources at Blue Ribbon Foods, one of the country's biggest milling
companies, said they had switched off their milling plants as they had last
received grain supplies in early January and there were no indications of
further deliveries from the state-run GMB.
"Right now we don't have anything," the sources said.
Reports of the grain raids came as the Millers Association reported that its
members were filing for bankruptcy owing to a cocktail of tribulations.
As Zimbabwe lurches from one crisis to another, the association said the
people's misery was likely to intensify as bread supplies could dry up in
the next few days.
Zimbabwe is facing one of its worst food crises attributed to the southern
try's failure to maximise agricultural production and a hard currency
squeeze to import grain.
Aid agencies say close to five million people are in urgent need of food aid
in a country where inflation has reached 585.8 percent, one of the highest
figures in the world.
Beginning last month, the millers said capacity utilisation had collapsed to
less than 16 percent after the GMB slashed wheat allocations by over 60
percent. By the last quarter of 2005, the representative body said, major
millers were operating at an average 30 percent capacity.
Consequently, the association said the current levels of throughput could no
longer sustain the existing employment levels.
"Therefore downsizing is inevitable," the association warned in a statement
made available to The Financial Gazette ahead of its publication in
The millers' association said it had taken it upon itself to increase the
prices of its products after price review negotiations with the Ministry of
Industry and International Trade collapsed.
"Numerous discussions have been held with the ministry relating to the need
for the milling industry's viability and economic selling prices for our
processed products," read part of the association's statement. To date, no
authorisation has been granted, hence forcing millers to review prices to
INVESTIGATIONS into corruption allegations in the Higher Education Ministry
involving about $3.3 billion have been narrowed down and are now focused on
the permanent secretary and the finance director.
The Financial Gazette can reveal that a dossier implicating Livingstone
Mbizvo, the secretary and Innocent Mataruse, the ministry's finance chief,
has been referred to the Attorney General's office for prosecution.
This was after a lengthy probe into allegations involving the abuse of
taxpayer monies and the paying of ghost workers, thereby fleecing the fiscus
of billions of dollars.
A Mr Jaganda, the acting deputy director of prosecution in the AG's office,
confirmed that a docket implicating the two officials forwarded to his
office by the fraud squad has been sent back to the investigating officers
to tie up some loose ends.
"The matter has been referred back to the police," said Jaganda. "I think
there are things in the matter, which the police need to clarify. In some
cases there are some instructions on what the police should clarify."
In a series of reports last year, The Financial Gazette exposed shocking
levels of corruption in the ministry in which billions of dollars of
taxpayers' funds were misappropriated through rampant abuse of vehicles and
Zhean Gwaze Staff Reporter
THE trial of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chairman and businessman Emmanuel
Fundira, who is facing charges of externalising over US$100 000 has been
postponed to March 27.
Harare regional magistrate Sandra Nhau postponed the trial by consent to
enable the central bank to make certain clarifications that would enable the
state to complete Fundira's other docket that is currently under
This is the second time the businessman's trial has failed to kick off due
to myriad technical hitches arising between the defence and prosecution.
Prosecutor Obi Mubahwana said the Reserve Bank had requested time to look
into Customs Declaration 1 Forms submitted to the state by the defence
counsel. The forms contain information on exports.
Fundira, who is the chief executive of Makuti Safaris, Game and Lodges
allegedly entered into an agreement with a United States-based safari
company, Out of Africa Adventures, in 2002 to source clients on behalf of
The clients would then make advance payments in foreign currency to the
US-based firm, the State further alleges. It is alleged that Fundira later
failed to repatriate US$101 388 in proceeds from the hunting and safari
services provided by his company.
Fundira is among several other high profile figures that have been arraigned
for foreign currency externalisation.
Rangarirai Mberi Senior Business Reporter
FRESH amendments to the country's mining laws to determine how much
ownership of the lucrative industry should be reserved for black empowerment
groups will be tabled in parliament soon, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
There are however, conflicting reports on how much of the industry the state
wants for black empowerment groups, with Chamber of Mines president Jack
Murehwa saying the perception in the industry is that the government wants
50 percent, either for itself or for black empowerment groups.
Experts conservatively value Zimbabwe's booming mining industry at US$20
billion. Neither the government nor local groups have the capacity to buy
half of the existing mining companies given that valuation, Murehwa said.
This has raised fears that government could go for farm-style acquisitions
of mines, he said.
Mines Minister Amos Midzi yesterday declined to say when he would table the
much-awaited amendments, only saying that he would do so soon.
"We are working flat out to make sure it is out as soon as possible. I
cannot give you a specific timetable just yet," Midzi said.
A senior government source, however, told The Financial Gazette this week
that the amendments were "in effect ready to be tabled". A Parliament
official also confirmed yesterday that the amendments would "definitely be
tabled during this sitting (of Parliament).
Uncertainty over the new mining laws has seen the country's largest platinum
producer, Zimplats, deferring a US$2 billion expansion plan. The platinum
producer is ready to sink US$100 million into the Great Dyke each year over
the next 20 years.
"With this perception, both foreign and local investors have stopped
committing both borrowed and equity funds towards exploration, expansion or
Greenfield projects for fear of losing both control of the business and a
big portion of their investment," Murehwa says in a recent report he sent to
"If, for example, part of the 50 percent of the company is ceded to
government, and government is then required to pay its share for an
expansion project, how will the Zimbabwean mining company raise the required
funding when government fails to contribute its share of the investment?"
Mining remains the only industry seeing real growth amid the collapse of
most key sectors of Zimbabwe's economy. But perceived risk arising from the
amendments was stalling expansion, Murehwa said.
"Companies perceive a risky future where they would rather lose what they
have today than risk investing more funds and lose the investment."
Zimplats, 87 percent owned by world number two producer Implats, is also
awaiting the signing of a bilateral accord between South Africa and Zimbabwe
to ensure that property rights are respected. The accord was ready to be
signed a year ago, but no progress has yet been made.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE'S leading hospitality group, Zimsun Leisure, is mulling an
ambitious plan to operate its own aircraft in the wake of erratic service by
the government-run national airline, Air Zimbabwe (AirZim).
Insiders at Zimsun said the hospitality group is currently exploring the
feasibility of operating its own aircraft to service its tourist routes.
They said the hotelier is locked in negotiations with an unnamed partner to
run its own aircraft owing to unpredictable service being provided by the
Zimsun chief executive officer Shingi Munyeza said although the issue of
purchasing an aircraft had been raised at board meetings the group had since
shelved it as a priority, as the national airline now appears to be on a
He said: "That was the talk after AirZim was grounded last year but they
seem to be sorting themselves out."
Although Zimsun board chairman Eben Makonese could not be drawn into
revealing the name of the partner the hotelier had approached, he validated
"This has been a subject at our board meetings," Makonese, said.
AirZim hit its lowest ebb in November last year when the financially
crippled airline failed to service some of its domestic, regional and
international routes owing to an acute shortage of Jet A1 fuel,
inconveniencing hundreds of passengers.
The slump in Zimbabwe's tourism industry has had such catastrophic effects
on the airline industry that most airlines which took to the skies in
Zimbabwe disappeared in their infancy.
Zimbabwe Express Airlines (ZEA), which made history by breaking the monopoly
enjoyed by Air Zimbabwe, left investors who had pumped millions of dollars
into the venture with burnt fingers after faltering a few years later.
Expedition Airlines also tried its luck after the ZEA debacle but crashed at
the hands of the tottering economy. Severe financial constraints also
crippled, another new kid on the block, Mid Airlines.
Cargo airline Affretair was liquidated in 2000 after it sagged under a
massive debt burden that grounded its only aircraft for close to two years.
Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter
Controversial town clerk moves to stave off fresh challenge to his job
NOMUTSA Chideya, the embattled Harare City Council (HCC) town clerk whose
stint at Town House has been punctuated with controversy since landing the
top post eight years ago, started flexing his muscles yesterday.
The former banker had his authority challenged by Chester Mhende-the city's
chief strategist appointed by the government last year to superintend the
council's turnaround. Mhende is refusing to take orders from the town clerk.
He has also refused to submit his curriculum vitae to the city's human
But yesterday Chideya, who was appointed town clerk in May 1998, during the
late Solomon Tawengwa's reign, moved with speed to exert his bruised
authority as the chief executive officer of the municipality.
He hastily called a series of meetings where he informed council employees
that he was the man-in-charge of the council. He later held another marathon
meeting with heads of departments and unit managers where sources said he
repeatedly told them that "the buck stops here." Mhende and HCC commission
chairperson Sekesayi Makwavarara were conspicuous by their absence from the
Chideya confirmed holding the meetings to this newspaper and said the
indabas were "routine."
"We want everyone to do his or her job. It would be good if everyone worked
for the general good of the municipality," he said, adding that everything
in the municipality was under control.
Insiders said Chideya had emerged rejuvenated after Local Government
Minister, Ignatius Chombo, confirmed he was fully in charge of the
day-to-day operations of the beleaguered municipality whose long-lost
sunshine status might take some time to revive because of ruinous power
Chideya has had a volatile time at town house. Upon his appointment, the
then deputy clerk, Swinfern Mutongwizo, who believed he was the
best-qualified candidate for the job, contested the appointment.
He also had a brush with Tawengwa and in October 2002 he was suspended by
former executive mayor Elias Mudzuri for alleged incompetence before
bouncing back following the dismissal of Mudzuri.
Rangarirai Mberi Senior Business Reporter
Figures were price mismeasurement, not the real thing argues economist
THE sharp decline in inflation seen in 2004 might have been the result of
"mismeasurement" of prices, a new report prepared for the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests.
The report, titled "Suppressed Inflation and Money Demand in Zimbabwe" was
authored by Sonia Munoz and authorized for distribution by Sharmini Coorey,
chief of the IMF mission that ended its routine visit to Zimbabwe last week.
The IMF however, says the research does not necessarily reflect its own
The paper investigates the divergence between inflation and monetary
expansion in Zimbabwe since late 2003, and concludes that the sharp slowdown
in inflation could have been a result of "suppressed" inflation and
erroneous calculations of Consumer Price Index (CPI).
"Possible explanations for the divergence include an unstable demand for
money, a sudden shift in the underlying demand for real balances due to a
sharp change in an explanatory variable, and a structural break or
aberration in a normally stable money demand relation reflecting some
unexplained factor such as repressed inflation or measurement errors in the
consumer price index. The results of the study point to the last possibility
as the most likely explanation."
Munoz describes suppressed inflation as a situation in which, at existing
wages and prices, the aggregate demand for current output and labor services
exceed the corresponding aggregate supply. Suppression results from the
inability of wages and prices to immediately respond to shifts in aggregate
demand or supply.
The research finds that the paths of money supply growth and inflation
started to diverge from late 2003, when inflation began its race from about
20 percent in December 1997 to its 623 percent high in January 2004. But
prices then braked sharply from March that year to 130 percent at end-2004.
Broad money growth, however, had started to decelerate only in July 2004
from over 400 percent at end-2003 to 130 percent by end-December 2004.
"This is contrary to the experience under recent stabilisation efforts in
most countries, where inflation inertia has been evident. That is, inflation
lags-rather than leads-the decline in money growth because price and wage
expectations are likely to be based, at least partly, on the past behavior
of inflation and because expectations of the future stance of monetary
policy are likely to react slowly to shifts in the observed rates of money
growth," the paper says.
Accordingly, changes in the rate of monetary expansion would be slow to
translate into changes in the rate of inflation.
Zimbabwe's real money balances started increasing in 2004, while inflation
was still very high. "This is at odds with the 'conventional wisdom' that
the evolution of real balances typically exhibits a U-shaped pattern over
the course of a stabilization program, with a decline during the initial
phases of a program."
Underestimation of official inflation could explain the unconventional
behavior of velocity, the paper says. Goods traded on the parallel market
had not been included in the CPI index, while, more recently, energy prices
were allowed to remain low in the face of increases in prices of imports.
In addition, the parallel market premium widened sharply from 13 percent in
January 2004 to about 53 percent in December 2004 and, although the pass
through to actual market prices may have been relatively rapid, the increase
may not have been fully captured by the measured CPI.
Therefore, these factors put together could have understated inflation
during the sharp recorded disinflation in 2004 and explain the dramatic fall
"It is therefore difficult to identify the factors that could explain the
unconventional behavior of velocity in 2004, although repressed inflation
and the mismeasurement of inflation are the most likely possibilities."
THE Zimbabwe government, which has set its sights on creating a national
fertiliser monopoly through the amalgamation of three fertiliser firms, has
recently stepped up imports of the critical input to avert another disaster
on the farms.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which is leading efforts to import fertiliser
following an acute shortage on the local market, has organised lines of
credit worth US$45 million to bring in more than 80 000 tonnes of
fertiliser. The first tranche of US$25 million has been partly used to
import 30 000 tonnes of urea and AN fertiliser, which are being distributed
free of charge to communal farmers through the Grain Marketing Board. The 30
000 tonnes costs US$12.7 million.
The central bank has also organised another tranche of US$20 million, which
it will use to further bring in 50 000 tonnes of fertiliser.
Last week, the central bank was putting together funds to pay for maize
imports delivered in January this year. It remained unclear, however, how
much maize has been imported.
Zimbabwe has had serious grain deficits since 2000 when the government
embarked on a controversial fast track land programme, with the situation
exacerbated by a series of droughts.
An acute mealie meal shortage has been reported in Bulawayo in recent days.
The country is in the middle of an above average rainfall season, but a
shortage of critical inputs such as fertiliser, seed, equipment and fuel
could result in sub-optimal yields.
Audrey Chitsika Staff Reporter
SOYA bean production might suffer another blow this season because of the
rising costs of agro-chemicals that might compromise on crop quality,
agricultural experts warned this week.
Agronomists said the escalating costs of fungicides and pesticides, which
are feeding into imported inflation, meant that not many farmers would be
able to apply chemicals on their soya bean crop and prevent the risk of soya
According to Sheunesu Mupepereki, the national soya production coordinator,
soya bean rust can destroy 90 percent of the crop.
"I urge all soya farmers to take preventive measures against rust. Rust is a
serious disease that can reduce yields by defoliating 90 percent of the crop
in four days," said Mupepereki.
Early application of chemicals is far more effective than late spraying,
which may lead to further problems.
"With this current wet spell, it is well worth spraying as soon as there is
a break in the weather. Delay may lead to further problems. The chemicals
generally need two-to-three hours drying on the plants before further
rainfall to remain effective," plant pathologist Clive Levy said.
Folicur250EC tebuconazole, Funginex triforine, Punch Xtra
carbendazim+flusilazole, Score 250EC difenconazole, Shavit 25EC triadimenol
or Tilt 250EC propiconazole are the fully registered chemicals for the
control of soya bean rust.
Currently the poultry industry is facing critical shortages of soya bean
meal, which is essential for feeding poultry with the supply of maize only
Zimbabwe produced 40 000 metric tonnes of soya-beans last season, against a
national requirement of between 175 000 and 200 000 metric tonnes per year,
and the industry targets production of 150 000 metric tonnes this season.
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised concern over the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s thin capitalisation of just Z$2 million, thrusting
the burden of shoring up the central bank's capital base on the public
Sources told The Financial Gazette this week that an IMF delegation that was
in the country last week on routine consultations deplored the fact that the
central bank had not been recapitalised since 1964.
The current legislation is also silent on how the RBZ could be
recapitalised. Ironically, the financial sector superintended by the central
bank has had to recapitalise several times to preserve the industry's
stability, which came under strenuous test in 2004 when a systemic liquidity
crunch claimed the scalps of several banks.
For example, commercial banks will be required to have minimum capital of
$100 billion by September, with that for building societies set at $75
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa made an undertaking during his 2006 budget
presentation last December to recapitalise the RBZ this fiscal year.
Capital is the ultimate determinant of a bank's lending capacity. The more
capital a bank has, the greater its ability to underwrite more business.
Contacted for comment, RBZ senior official Munyaradzi Kereke said: "I am not
privy to the high-level discussion between the IMF and the RBZ as they were
done at the ministerial and governors levels. However, I can confirm the
recapitalisation issue is a sore point that as a bank we have put forward to
our principals in government who have concurred that the bank be
recapitalised to levels commensurate with its developmental mandate."
Kereke said the RBZ, as a supervisor of the financial sector, had to lead by
example in terms of capitalisation.
The RBZ has been central to government efforts to revive agriculture,
parastastals and municipalities through heavy disbursements running into
trillions of dollars.
The IMF delegation last week urged the government to take over the losses
emanating from these operations.
Despite the heavy capital injections, most of the parastatals have reported
The quasi-fiscal operations which have been carried out by the central bank
have had the effect of concealing the actual government budget deficit,
while undermining the central bank's own liquidity management through
massive credit expansion.
Broad money supply, which opened last year at 178 percent, had risen to 412
percent by year-end, driving up inflation.
Audrey Chitsika Staff Reporter
A NUMBER of unregistered money lending and micro-finance institutions have
mushroomed across the country as the struggling populace strives to survive
the harsh economic conditions that have reduced the country from being a
breadbasket to a basket case.
Godfrey Chitambo, the executive chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of
Micro-Finance Institutions, confirmed this week that illegal players had
entered the sector but said a national taskforce had been put in place to
conduct a survey that would also identify illegal industry players.
"At the moment I cannot give much detail on the issue until the survey,
which started in December, is complete by this month," he said.
With bank lending becoming too prohibitive for the majority of Zimbabweans,
there has been a proliferation of alternative markets for borrowers that are
in contravention of existing banking laws.
A snap survey by The Financial Gazette revealed that the bulk of the
borrowing is meant to cater for medical costs, which recently went up by 200
percent, as well as educational requirements.
The central bank, which has also set up a taskforce to spearhead the
development of a national policy framework for the sector, has 36 registered
micro finance institutions and 177 moneylenders in its books.
Most of these institutions have been accused of departing from their core
business of providing loans for capital projects to concentrate on
Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni
SOME of the most interesting comments on Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor Gideon Gono's no-holds-barred denunciation of rampant corruption
among chefs two weeks ago were made by Security and Lands Minister Didymus
Mutasa and brand new senator Aguy Georgias.
Both men hailed Gono's candour during the presentation of his quarterly
monetary policy review, with Georgias saying the RBZ governor's "powerful
statement" showed he was in touch with reality. Georgias said Gono needed
the support of all politicians and government to fight corruption,
particularly that relating to multiple farm grabbers and disruptive
activities on farms.
Mutasa was equally complimentary when he was approached by ZTV for his
reaction. He said he was particularly concerned about the multiple farm
ownership scandal and wanted the culprits to be brought to book. He called
on the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Ministry to leave no stone
unturned in ensuring that all those guilty of involvement in corrupt and
fraudulent activities were arrested and prosecuted.
Georgias said land grabbers were not making things easy for President Robert
Mugabe and his government to normalise relations with the rest of the world
as they needed to defend "some among us who are greedy and unscrupulous." He
urged Gono to target corruption in the private sector as vigorously as he
had dealt with public officials who were illegally selling minerals and
abusing government facilities.
Are these comrades not selling us a dummy and constructing yet another
smokescreen to lull the impoverished masses into thinking that something is
finally to be done about greed and avarice in official circles? Take Mutasa
for example. He became the first minister of Anti-Corruption and
Anti-Monopolies when he was appointed to the portfolio at the beginning of
2004. This was at the height of government hype about its determination to
root out graft and avarice wherever they were to be found.
But as is well known, Mutasa's stewardship of that ministry did not yield a
single arrest and prosecution. I recall that in April 2004, Mutasa appeared
on the television programme, Face the Nation to discuss how his new ministry
would go about fighting corruption. It was his appearance on this programme
that in fact first raised serious doubts in my mind as to whether the whole
anti-corruption drive was not a charade.
I recall how incredulous I was when the minister, looking straight into the
TV cameras without a hint of irony, appealed to all those who knew they were
involved in corrupt activities to voluntarily come forward and "confess
their sins" to his ministry. If such wrongdoers gave themselves up before
the Anti-Corruption Ministry went after them, Mutasa said with a straight
face, their sins would be forgiven. Naturally, Mutasa left the ministry
without announcing any successes but it is clear he could not have been
serious about pursuing any public sector culprits.
How, then can his call on his successor, Paul Mangwana, to go where he did
not dare to tread himself be taken seriously? Obviously the same constraints
that paralysed Mutasa from moving against any corrupt and greedy government
chefs apply to the current minister.
Moreover, Mutasa has been involved in a case of political violence in his
Makoni North constituency in which prosecuting him has proved problematic
because of the employment of extra-legal tactics to thwart the process. It
was reported recently how agents from some arms of government had tried to
disrupt court proceedings with the sole purpose of getting Mutasa off the
If he can get away with such tactics, what makes Mutasa think his colleagues
in government cannot come up with more theatrics to save their own skins?
And more importantly, what moral authority does he have to tell others to be
prepared to face the music when he is doing everything possible to avoid
doing so himself?
As for Senator Georgias, he seems to have cottoned on to the government
trick of talking in circles really fast. In the process of complimenting
Gono profusely for speaking out bravely against corruption and pointing out
that it needs to be tackled, he actually indulged in the convenient cop-out
of passing the buck. The RBZ governor can give policy guidelines and draw
attention to problems but the implementation of interventions to reverse the
rot cannot be assigned to him.
This is the job of the relevant law enforcement arms of government. As long
as the hands of officials in these departments are either tied so as to
protect political heavyweights, or they are hamstrung by their own
culpability in the plunder of national resources, we are not going anywhere.
FOR over a decade now, Zimbabwe's resilient lot have watched helplessly as
their quality of life has taken a bungee-jump from the good old days when
their living standards were the envy of many on the African continent to the
current depths of utmost despair touched off by the near total collapse of
local government structures.
Save for a few municipalities, structures that were meant to provide
seamless service to ratepayers in most local authorities have been rendered
irrelevant and dysfunctional and all the requisite tenets of good corporate
governance were jettisoned into the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.
And the reason? It is because the country's tottering municipalities have
been shaken by years of fierce infighting, intermittent interference, greed
and unnecessary gamesmanship regardless of the clear signs of economic ruin
that will be a millstone around the necks of future generations to come.
Sadly, this has been left to go on and on for no other reason but cheap
And when harsh words and memos start flying between the offices of the
capital city's chief strategist and its town clerk as is happening between
Chester Mhende and Nomutsa Chideya, then God save Harare from what might
prove to be the kiss of death for the embattled ratepayer who has had to put
up with a second-string service for far too long.
With administrative anarchy rampant within the country's councils, this time
pitting officials feeding from the same political system in the wake of
explosive feuds within the main opposition MDC, it means the intermittent
water cuts, uncollected refuse, potholes littering the streets, the raw
sewage spilling into residents' houses and the lack of treated running water
can only get worse. At no time in a free Zimbabwe has Harare, Mutare and
Chitungwiza been so badly run and with no regard for residents. It's a fact.
But in the midst of this chaos, a time bomb is slowly ticking. The resultant
shock waves will take ages to put right, not to mention the waste of
trillions of dollars of the ratepayers' hard-earned income.
Granted, Ignatius Chombo, the grey-Afro-haired local government minister
with a penchant for interfering willy-nilly in the affairs of councils and
whose dislike of opposition party city fathers is legendary, is the most
visible culprit whom fierce critics of his sometimes self-contradictory
policies would wish history to judge harshly. In our humble opinion,
however, the former University of Zimbabwe lecturer is just but one of the
numerous political figures and senior civil servants taking advantage of the
fragmentation, gullibility and the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil syndrome
emblematic of everything wrong with the country's ratepayers and voters.
Chombo is clearly not the first to press this destructive button that has
caused chaos in the country's municipalities and may not necessarily be the
last for as long as ratepayers are unmoved by the mediocrity that, at worst,
is autographed by the likes of Sekesai Makwavarara and her bunch of
officials at Harare's Town House. Chombo, who seems unfazed by the rapid and
costly collapse in service delivery in Harare, Chitungwiza and Mutare,
caught up with the cancerous disease when the infection had already reached
an advanced stage in destroying structures in the entire central government
For far too long, commissions and task forces have presided over critical
institutions. Some, like the Grain Marketing Board, have been militarised.
There are even disturbing concerns that the Joint Operations Command (JOC)
wields the largest influence in key national decision making and yet there
are properly constituted structures being circumvented for yet unexplained
The culture of running central government institutions through ad hoc
measures has a history stretching back to the early 1990s when the economic
wheels came off the rails. Civic society and well meaning political leaders
should come out of their shells for it takes good men to do nothing for evil
Once such acts are not censured, accountability and efficiency are
sacrificed for political expediency and personal aggrandisement. Yes,
individuals may line their pockets and build empires but, to paraphrase the
Bible, what would it profit a man if he is to win the whole world and lose
his own soul?
Letter From America with Ken Mufuka
THIS is the third article in the series on Zimbabwe's crisis. I have stirred
a hornet's nest. My e-mail is buzzing all day with suggestions.
Blessed Zim says : "I am a Zimbabwean who does not usually agree with what
you write. As much as you are against what is happening in Zimbabwe, you are
also against the help of the IMF and the World Bank. We need help from these
organisations or else we will be in a worse situation than we are in now."
The argument in favour of these self serving imperialist organisations is
that "they will help us" as the brother has naively said. The second
argument is that we are in a bad situation because we lack resources and
that we have run out of money.
Africans are truly blessed in their naivety as Archbishop Desmond Tutu has
illustrated many times. They cannot accept the fact that the World Bank is
an American bank and that its purpose is to harness resources towards the
United States, by fair means or foul.
Paul Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraqi war, is its president and a Bush
strongman. He has already said that he will teach Zimbabwe a lesson. Now, my
brother, think of the lesson. There is nothing more that I can say on that
The second argument is that Zimbabwe is short of resources to harness
foreign currency. That is not a fact. Zimbabwe has all the resources a small
population like ours needs to live well above the standard of Switzerland,
which has nothing but snow caps and prudent canton aldermen.
Zimbabwe has hired an Englishman at the central bank, a Mr Jackson, to be
their chief investigator. First, one wonders whether that Englishman works
for us or for the British MI5. Can you bet your Zim dollar that the
Englishman is paid in Zim kwachas? Zimbabwe has also hired an Israeli
company to investigate mineral fraud. The question is the same as above.
Zimbabwe's President frequently travels abroad; just three weeks ago he was
in China with a planeload of staff and hangers-on. Do you think, my beloved
brother, that he spends Zim kwachas over there? In the story-lines we
receive here, Zimbabwe has already paid U$150 million to the World Bank
Even the treacherous Professor Jonathan Moyo went to Johannesburg to do his
shopping and feasting. It is not the resources or the money; it is the type
of leadership, stupid!
The World Bank recommends a return to a lawful society and respect for human
rights. Because of a serious African inferiority complex, unless a
29-year-old Harvard graduate tells us these truths, Mukuru will not believe
us. Dr Gono needs to say: Look, the World Bank said so and so.
Dr Gono had a good idea about harnessing foreign inflows of money through
the Central Bank but was unable to cure the root cause of these missing
millions going through the underground. It is called a "Brazilian economy"
in universities, where the black market economy is bigger than the formal
revenue creating economy.
The government is impoverished in a sea of obvious affluence. Look at Harare
and the buildings going up Samora Machel and the types of Mercedes Benz
machines that cruise around the potholes of Kenneth Kaunda Avenue.
Zimbabwe is blessed with resources and an industrious people, but is cursed
by a treacherous, crooked and thieving leadership. Anything that is not
chained and locked in concrete they will steal. Wole Soyinka said that there
was nothing wrong with Africa except the lack of moral leadership. There
comes a time when the leadership and the problems become inseparable.
The second issue I wanted to deal with is the complete emptiness and
impoverishment of the leadership itself. Please pray for them, they deserve
God's mercy. They are not as rich as our readership assumes.
Without revealing my sources, here is an example. The chef held at least six
different portfolios in 25 years and owned a mine somewhere in Mashonaland.
A man is only rich if money keeps its value, paradigm one. Also, a man is
only rich if his expenses continually stay below his income. This brother
wanted me to express his bitterness when he was kicked out of "chefdom." He
lost his cell phone as well as his house and bodyguards. He could no longer
use CMED trucks to ferry some of his precious stones.
As I was absorbing this information a military truck passed by loaded with
timber. "Oh, it belongs to a police chef, so and so. He is building his home
and when the truck returns from the village, it will carry maize bags from
the villagers." Of course the chef charged the villagers for transport. Then
the value of money fell into a hole in 2001 and all the millions the chef
had in the bank were worthless.
Very few Zimbabwean chefs had the sense of stashing away some money abroad.
The chef was bitter. These chefs literally, using Margaret Dongo's
ill-placed idiom, have been feminised. They have been addicted to living for
free and absorbing personal expenses into government expenses.
Please my brothers, these miserable sinners need as much prayer as the
victims of Murambatsvina. They are addicted to a sycophantic life.
Unless they sing the song of sycophancy, they cannot eat.
lThis is part of ongoing research on the Economic Decline of Zimbabwe. The
author can be contacted at
EDITOR - The following is a statement made by the executive and members of
the Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe (CFU) to the government and people
In the course of a nation's historic development, especially when there is a
high disparity between the 'haves and have nots', it is understandable that
the government of the day, in pursuit of narrowing that gap, would legislate
Unquestionably, a period of euphoria would follow, as would government's
expectation that its actions would impact positively on the majority,
hopefully resulting in greater yields and profitability, thus enhancing
benefits to the less privileged.
Regrettably, correcting what was seen as a nation's right to reverse
prevailing inequality, has created many challenges.
In such situations, the quality of Zimbabweans, black and white, is fully
tested. We at the CFU believe that the greatest asset of a nation is the
quality of its people.
While current conditions are indeed tough and testing, it is not the time
for recrimination or going back - it is the time to draw the line and go
forward, learning from the past.
The CFU is cognisant and sensitive to the fact that there is sufficient
evidence that both government and those foreign agencies currently
represented in the country want nothing more than to see Zimbabwe prosper.
Regionally, Zimbabwe is charged with food security and is a key player. Our
commitment in coming forward today is to help restore this country to its
rightful position on the sub-continent of Africa as a leader in agriculture.
We seek an all-inclusive and vibrant agricultural industry that is
sustainable. To this end, we urge the authorities to declare a moratorium on
land and current agriculture policies and, with the full protection of the
law, bring together all stakeholders and rebuild the entire industry to
return it to its former status as the principal employer of labour and
generator of food and foreign currency.
We have the energy and capacity to help bring Zimbabwe back, once again, to
being the 'bread basket' of the sub-continent. Let's do it! A return to
productive agriculture, which will benefit our nation, will attract, in
every way, both at home and overseas, the support we need to regenerate our
economy and the status of Zimbabwe.
Douglas S Taylor-Freeme
Commercial Farmers' Union
EDITOR - I refer to a story in a local daily paper this week where it was
reported that the government had launched investigations into the
countrywide shortage of maize meal while that maize meal is freely available
on the black market.
My letter has been sent to the newspaper in question and l hope that they
will publish it as the issue of food shortages is critical, affecting the
Anybody, and l mean anybody, knows that the shortage of any commodity that
is used extensively creates opportunities for many people to make money. The
lack of patriotism is being amply demonstrated by and through corruption and
plundering by the ruling elite, who are now dripping in wealth. Why should a
struggling housewife not follow the lead of the leaders? Zvanakira Peter,
Last year, l wrote a paper where l challenged government to investigate the
illegal export of sugar by the ruling elite. The government kept mum. You
only need to join the sugar and mealie meal queues at supermarkets to know
what is going on. You will see police officers etc carrying packets of 20 x
1 kg sugar when the ordinary poor people are allowed to buy 1kg each.
It is germane to repeat what l said in the past that ZANU PF knows it cannot
win a free and fair election. It is therefore not in their political
interest to solve the food crisis. We all know numerous experts who advised
well in time last year that food will run out. The government also knew food
would run out but why bother since this is part of the plan.
President Mugabe has vowed that no one would starve. Are people not starving
now? Even food aid was refused until December, when it was the right time,
politically that is, to accept it. Potatoes are too expensive for the
We have had good rains but there will a shortage of food again in the midst
of such good rains. What excuses will the government have this time? Blame
the armyworm although only small sitings were reported in parts of Shamva
Millers and consumers should stop blaming the GMB for the shortage. The GMB
is only a tool. Do you blame a gun for killing your friend or the person who
wields the gun? The anger must be directed where it belongs - the
Renson M Gasela
Spokesperson for Agriculture