Moyo is free to leave Zanu PF, says Nkomo By Foster
Dongozi and Savious Kwinika
ZANU PF national chairman, John Nkomo,
yesterday lashed out at Professor Jonathan Moyo saying he was attempting to
undermine and belittle the Unity Accord of 1987, while his home province,
Matabeleland North, said it would not miss him.Nkomo also told
Jonathan Moyo he was free to leave the ruling party. Nkomo's irritation
follows Jonathan Moyo's assertion that Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa were
mafikizolos in Zanu PF.
"Those of us who have served the party and
contributed to the liberation struggle all our lives are poignantly aware of
these divisionist machinantions of counter revolutionaries. They are meant
to undermine the unity of our people by denying the historical significance
of the 1987 Unity Accord," he said.
Nkomo and Dabengwa belonged to PF
Zapu, which merged with Zanu PF in 1987, while Moyo belonged to the old
Zanu, then led by the late Rev Ndabaningi Sithole.
Matabeleland North Provincial Chairman, Headman Moyo, yesterday told The
Standard that the people of Tsholotsho and the entire Matabeleland North
province would not miss Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Headman Moyo said:
"Our blood circulation is not affected at all, and if the MDC wants Jonathan
Moyo, let them take him. We are not worried at all. After all, the people of
Tsholotsho never liked Jonathan Moyo before except for his money and
donations, which kept coming to Tsholotsho.
"One thing for sure is that
the ruling party will bury differences, support the woman who would have won
the primaries before facing the common enemy, which is MDC."
statements, which appeared in The Herald on Friday, Jonathan Moyo said he
had a longer association with Zanu PF than Nkomo and Dabengwa.
made the statements after Nkomo and Dabengwa visited Tsholotsho, where they
repeated President Robert Mugabe's statements, that the professor convened a
meeting to plot leadership changes in the ruling party.
Nkomo said the
door was open for Moyo to resign from the party, after he said there were
many tickets to heaven, a statement interpreted by many to mean that Moyo
was considering standing in Tsholotsho either as an independent candidate or
joining other exisiting parties.
"Zanu PF is a voluntary association and
as such cannot stand in the way of any member who may wish to quit because
he or she no longer shares its values or is no longer able or willing to
abide by its constitution."
"It is not enough to be a card carrying party
member. One also has to uphold the values of Zanu PF. In this context, the
choice is yours professor, to be or not to be Zanu PF. But rest assured, we
will not let you, or others, who are similarly inclined, destroy the party
on our watch.
"The professor has to be reminded that had it not been for
the consistent and unwavering contributions of cadres of the liberation
movement like ourselves and many others, he would not have been able to
return to independent Zimbabwe more than five years after liberation
He said Moyo was trying to give the impression that he wanted to
strengthen Zanu PF ahead of the elections when the ultimate aim was to
destroy it from within.
"These counter revolutionary activities are
sheathed in the false agenda of furthering intra-party democracy and yet, if
unchecked, would lead to the party's self destruction. Over time, I have
observed the systematic misuse and outright manipulation of public media for
Nkomo said he had been forced to make a public response
after Moyo took his grievances to The Herald where he made the "unfortunate
and irresponsible utterances".
Nkomo said the meeting he held in
Tsholotsho was part of a mandate he received at the December 2004 Zanu PF
congress, to investigate the unsanctioned Tsholotsho meeting.
The Standard telephoned Jonathan Moyo, yesterday to seek his comment he
retorted: "And you think that is important?" before switching off his
Staunch Zanu PF supporter and Tsholotsho resident,
Thubelihle Moyo, said it was good to hear Jonathan Moyo complaining about
violation of human rights by his party. "Before him there was no chaos in
Matabeleland,everything the man touches will never be the same again," said
But the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it
will accommodate the embattled Zanu PF propagandist and junior minister of
information in their ranks if he condemns human rights abuses, tyranny,
lawlessness and infringement of democratic values perpetrated by Zanu PF,
The Standard has learnt.
In an interview on Friday, MDC spokesperson,
Paul Themba-Nyathi, said there was nothing wrong in accepting "sinners" in
their party as long as they repented and quickly joined the nation in the
fight against human rights abuses, tyranny and championed
Zanu PF primary elections to select candidates to contest in the general
elections slated for March started yesterday and were marred by chaos,
confusion, violence and allegations of vote rigging, The Standard can
reveal.Most people did not vote by the end of yesterday as
polling started late in most provinces. In Bulawayo, the elections did not
take place as the Zanu PF secretary for the commissariat, Elliot Manyika,
and national chairman, John Nkomo are expected in the city today to dissolve
the provincial executive, which reportedly owes its allegiance to suspended
war veterans chairman, Jabulani Sibanda.
The delay in holding the
elections was necessitated by an alleged witch-hunt of aspiring candidates
who are reportedly aligned to Sibanda."We agreed as province that since
Bulawayo has no leader, we cannot hold primary elections until there is
order," said a Politburo member yesterday.
Bulawayo Zanu PF provincial
chairman,Themba Ncube, was suspended after he attended the Tsholotsho
meeting last year.
In Harare's Mufakose constituency, youths alleged that
people were bused from Mbare to vote for Sabina Zvenhamo Thembani.
Dzivarasekwa constituency, riot police were called after violent clashes
erupted as supporters rejected most of the contestants in favour of Omega
Hungwe, who was disqualified.
In Midlands province, Speaker of
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa won. In some constituencies in Midlands,
voting was not completed as it started well after mid-day.
constituencies, contestants "withdrew". In Mutasa North, Manatsawani Mutasa
withdrew leaving Mike Nyambuya unchallenged, while in Mashonaland West's
Manyame constituency, Bybit Tsomondo "withdrew" from the race to pave the
way for President Robert Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwao.
Sabina Mugabe, is unopposed in Zvimba South while the president's other
nephew, Leo Mugabe, is fighting it out in Chinhoyi.
In Matabeleland North
province, Dunana Gumbo also withdrew leaving, Obadiah Thembani Moyo,
Victoria Chitepo, the wife of the late nationalist Herbert
Chitepo, was confirmed the winner of the Glen Norah constituency after
Claveria Chizema pulled out at the last minute.
March poll could be moved to June, says Tsvangirai By our
LUSAKA, Zambia - Opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai told Zambian President Levy Mwanwasa
that President Robert Mugabe was rushing this year's parliamentary elections
Tsvangirai told his Zambian host that the polls slotted for March this
year could have been moved to June. "We do not have sufficient time for
free and fair elections. As of now the electoral process is not fair enough
to hold free and fair elections," Tsvangirai said.
The MDC leader
said this when he met President Mwanawansa at State House in Lusaka on
Tuesday in the company of MDC treasurer general, Fletcher Dulini Ncube and
coordinator Isaac Maposa.
MDC is challenging the ruling Zanu PF, under
the leadership of President Mugabe who has led Zimbabwe since independence
Tsvangirai was on a three-day diplomatic offensive in Zambia.
The MDC leader has already been the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) member countries of Mauritius, South Africa and Botswana to consult
on how peaceful, free and fair polls could be conducted in
"Zambia is a big asset to the region's growing democracy. I am
very grateful to engage in talks with the Zambian political leaders," the
MDC leader said when he met Mwanawasa and Zambia's ruling Movement for
Multiparty Democracy (MMD) party leadership.
During a public forum in
Lusaka, the MDC leader noted that Zambia's political dispensation had been
characterized by tolerance since the country's independence in 1964, a
political virtue he said was worth emulating.
He said the MDC had at
one point contemplated a boycott of the elections because the electoral
process did not guarantee a platform for free and fair
Tsvangirai said: "We do not want to go into an election
whose outcome is predetermined. There is a common understanding that
elections have to be conducted in the spirit of the SADC protocols on
guidelines and principles on democratic elections. The crisis in Zimbabwe
can not be allowed to continue, it has to be stopped before it turns into
However, President Mwanawasa advised the MDC leader not to
boycott the elections. Participation, Mwanawasa said, would strengthen
democratic tenets in Zimbabwe.
But Mwanawasa said foreigners would
not solve the political differences in Zimbabwe, adding that they could only
help to some extent. "It will take dialogue among Zimbabweans themselves to
iron out their political differences. Dialogue is a political
Mwanawasa hoped that the United Nations (UN) Secretary
General, Kofi Annan, would assist democratize Zimbabwe's electoral process
by sending election monitors and observers.
Tsvangirai said that
Mugabe should not put restrictions on election observers because the outside
world would think there was something the government was anxious to
Masanga, sacked as Ziscosteel managing director in November, was back in
office Wednesday after a shock government directive to the ailing firm's
board to reinstate him.
A team of human resources consultants
commissioned by the board to restructure Zisco's top-heavy staff structure
immediately withdrew after Masanga turned up for work. Two teams
investigating a raft of mismanagement allegations at Zisco - a Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe unit and the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI) -
also looked set to pull out late last week after failing to get any official
explanation from the government on the matter.
Masanga, a native of
Zvimba, was sacked late November on charges of mismanagement. The board had
appointed Alois Gowo to act as general manager, but a "senior Government
official" early last week ordered Zisco chairman David Murangari to reverse
that decision, a source familiar with the matter said.
surprised that at this advanced point in our investigations, he has been
allowed to return without our knowledge. The same people who supported this
(investigation) are the same people who have taken this strange decision,"
an investigator told StandardBusiness.
According to staff at Zisco,
Masanga chose to be dramatic about his return. He allegedly ordered Gowo to
remove his vehicle from the MD's parking spot to make way for his
(Masanga's) own car. Masanga then asked senior management to take him on a
tour of the aging plant.
"He said he wanted to find out what had been
going on while he was away. There has not been any official announcement, so
nobody knows in what capacity he has been reinstated," a source
Government in November announced a new board for Zisco, saying the
former board had failed to return the country's sole steel maker to
stability. Murangari was retained as chairman, but the rest of the board was
Masanga's return is in clear disregard of the new board's
turnaround plan for Zisco, which has recommended a substantive replacement
for Masanga and further top-level job cuts. The plan was handed to Samuel
Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Industry and International Trade, in December,
and would have been put to work this month.
Mumbengegwi, who in
November said he backed Masanga's sacking, would not comment when contacted
Friday. Murangari said: "I can't make any comment on that." Zisco
spokesperson, Augustine Timbe, could not be reached for comment. Masanga was
also unavailable for comment.
Masanga has been at Zisco for more than a
decade, during which time he has presided over a steady decline in the
company's fortunes. Zisco is currently operating on 25% capacity and is
unable to meet local demand, let alone make capital of a booming global
steel market. Zisco has over the years hired 11 different consultant teams
to find a way out of the rut, but all these failed to save the
Zisco currently requires $300 million in capital to lift
production, but RBZ has on three separate occasions over the past year
turned down applications for Productive Sector funding to Zisco, saying the
company's books were not in order.
Uncertainty shrouds ZABG launch By Kumbirai
NEW executives charged with leading the much-vaunted Zimbabwe
Allied Banking Group (ZABG) have discovered that the configuration and
launch of the banking phoenix is not a stroll in the park as the central
bank had earlier projected.
Touting the Troubled Bank Resolution
Policy as the magic antidote to the tempest that rocked the financial
sector, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono proclaimed in his third quarter
monetary policy review that all administrative hiccups would be dealt with
by December 2004. But in the few weeks they have been in their new roles
executives are facing a different picture. The new institution has already
missed the self-imposed opening deadline of January 1, 2005, and indications
are that the opening could be further delayed because of a number of
operational, legal and administrative bottlenecks that need to be ironed
out. Critics who warned that the timetable to the launch of the mamoth bank
was short could argue they have been vindicated. For a start, banking
sources say the banks being amalgamated into ZABG namely Trust, Barbican,
Time, Royal and Intermarket all have different conditions of service for
staff, service cultures, branding and a plethora of other different
operational manuals that need to be harmonised.
Another issue which
seemed to have been overlooked is that the legal instrument enabling the
central bank to launch ZABG needed to be passed by parliament first, before
being signed by President Robert Mugabe into law for the new institution to
become a reality.
Although the central bank's deputy Governor Charity
Dhliwayo moved on New Year's day to soothe market discomfort with a
statement maintaining the bank would open to members of the public as
scheduled, the banking fraternity is on edge.
"They have got a lot of
things to sort out," said one executive who is a member of the Bankers'
Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ).
Banking executives who spoke anonymously
said ZABG executives are battling with such critical issues as how to select
those who would be recruited into the new institution, while those who would
not be absorbed would be compensated, taking into account their years of
service, conditions of service and terms and conditions of their
The heads of departments have been conducting interviews with
selected staff from each bank under a curator, but workers inside these
institutions have queried the basis upon which these interviews are being
conducted. Staff is also questioning the criteria used to appoint some
members of staff who have already been given appointment letters by ZABG.
The enlistment drive is expected to be through by January
Already, the Zimbabwe Banking and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) has
voiced concern about the treatment of its members who are employed by banks
under curatorship and who are going to form ZABG. The union is believed to
be preparing for a major labour tussle over the retrenchment packages to be
paid to those who will not make it into the new institution. Even workers at
some of the affected banks have vowed to fight to the bitter end until they
are properly compensated.
By Friday the union was still finalising a
document detailing its concerns and the uncertainties faced by its members,
which will be sent to Gono, said Collin Gwiyo, the secretary-general of
ZIBAWU. Apart from integrating the different bank cultures, branding is
another major challenge that could not have been easily overcome in the
short space of time that ZABG was supposed to be launched. All the interior
and exterior signage has to be changed and this is not an overnight job. In
addition, there has been no communication on the new corporate colours of
ZABG or its logo, neither has there been word on whether there would be new
cheque books, ATM cards and other corporate stationery in time for the
launch of the bank.
Banking sources indicated that Trust Bank's
infrastructure, including the bank's IT system and branch network, would
form the core of the ZABG branch network. The new executives are visiting
each branch to assess its suitability and how they can be rebranded. During
the trips, the executives would also decide what to do with the branches of
other banks being absorbed into ZABG.
"All these processes take time
and not the few weeks that had been given by the Governor when he released
his statement," said one banker.
But the greatest challenge to the tardy
birth of ZABG is the decision by Time Bank shareholders to sue the central
bank over its decision to place the bank under curatorship. Analysts said
the unprecedented legal challenge could open a financial can of worms, as
there are indications shareholders of other banks under the management of a
curator are either contemplating suing or are finalising their
"The fundamental argument is that shareholder interests have been
subordinated to those of the central bank and government," said a
shareholder with one of the affected banks. "Up to now, no-one has consulted
shareholders on how the central bank intends to compensate us for taking
over our investment, neither has there been clarity on how the valuation of
our investments will be done."
StandardBusiness understands the
situation is even more difficult for shareholders of listed companies like
Trust Holdings Ltd, as they need to be consulted and compensated for the
takeover of the bank by ZABG.
While the central bank is believed to be
contemplating conversion of liquidity support owed by Trust and other
beneficiaries of the Troubled Banks Fund (TBF) into equity-which would in
some cases wipe out the value of existing shareholders, analysts point out
that the same shareholders will argue that the interest calculations made on
the liquidity support were arbitrary and contravened the in-duplum rule.
Gono, bank workers' union, head for clash By Rangarirai
CENTRAL Bank Governor Gideon Gono is headed for a clash with bank
employees after their union demanded on Friday that RBZ employ all workers
of closed banks in his Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group.
Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) has written to Gono demanding that
he assure employees of banks under curatorship that they would all be
employed by ZABG. This is the latest hurdle to face the ZABG, an ambitious
plan by Gono to merge troubled banks into one. RBZ missed its own January 1
deadline for the opening of the new bank, hurt by a combination of legal
challenges by the affected banks, difficulties over staff selection, delays
in securing the desired $2 trillion capital and a string of other logistical
RBZ is also yet to secure the requisite legislative support to
fully implement the ZABG project.
ZIBAWU secretary general, Colin
Gwiyo, confirmed to The Standard that his union had sent the letter to Gono
on Friday, and was waiting for a response. Banks under curatorship
collectively employ between 1 500 and 2 000 workers.
Some 500 jobs have
already been lost in Gono's tough bank reforms, while hundreds of other
workers are on half salaries, the union said last week. The banking sector
employs around 9 000, Gwiyo said.
There was no official reaction from RBZ
to ZIBAWU's demands at the time of going to Press. However, The Standard
understands that Gono, in fact, only intends to absorb less than a third of
the total work force of the six banks that he has placed under curatorship -
Time Bank, CFX, Trust Bank, Intermarket Bank, Royal Bank and
An RBZ source said the central bank was currently holding
interviews to fill posts at ZABG. The interviews should be completed by
January 24 - next Monday - the source said.
Gwiyo, in his letter to
Gono, said the length of the period during which the banks have remained
closed "is in our view unnecessarily too long". ZIBAWU also criticised the
Reserve Bank Governor for not consulting workers in his continuing financial
sector purge, saying "workers have had to hear of their fate from the media
and via rumours".
The RBZ has created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV),
called Allied Financial Services, which will facilitate conversion of debt
into equity. AFS will hold shares that the Government will acquire in
troubled banking institutions.
Government will acquire the shares
through conversion to equity of liquidity support loans granted to troubled
banks under the Troubled Bank Fund or temporary liquidity aid and other
ALMOST six months after the government launched its national
anti-retroviral programme, some centres selected to implement the project
have not distributed any anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs, The Standard has
At Parirenyatwa Hospital, one of the largest referral health
centres in the country, the drugs are awaiting clearance from the relevant
authorities, while Harare Hospital has stopped putting new people on the
programme because "it is fully booked" until May. "The first set of ARVs
arrived sometime in December but as we speak they are still stuck in the
dispensary awaiting clearance from the relevant authorities but as for now,
the clinic will go on operating as it has in the past," sources
They said even though all the requirements of an ARV clinic were
available, including nurses and doctors who trained in HIV/Aids issues, the
hospital was still to distribute the drugs.
In a country where 25
percent of the population is said to be infected with HIV/Aids and an
estimated 3 000 people dying of the disease a week, the revelations raise
serious questions about the willingness of the government to lessen the
impact of the pandemic.
Parirenyatwa Hospital and other health
institutions such as Harare Hospital, Mpilo Central and United Bulawayo
Hospitals in Bulawayo, opened up the first opportunistic infections and ARV
clinics in the country under the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare
(MOHCW) programme in July last year.
Under the ARV programme, the
ministry is expected to administer free Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) to
People Living With Aids (PLWAs) as part of the ministry's efforts to provide
Aids treatment to more than 1,8 million PLWAs.
At Parirenyatwa, an
opportunistic infections clinic has been running since the ARV programme was
launched in July but has only been offering treatment to HIV/Aids patients
for opportunistic infections such as Tuberculosis and oral
"The clinic is operational and has been since last year. The
clinic also offers free check up facilities to PLWAs and where necessary,
has recommended some patients for ART, but because the ARVs are not
available at Parirenyatwa, prescriptions are written for them to buy the
drugs at private pharmacies," sources said.
These revelations cast a
shadow of doubt on other ARV programmes on the ground.
Hospital medical superintendent, Thomas Zigora confirmed to The Standard
that the hospital had only recently received its first batch of ARVs and
said the hospital expected to start rolling-out the programme in "two weeks
Kariba mayor says Zanu PF is after him By Foster
KARIBA'S executive mayor, David Houghton, says people claiming to
represent Zanu PF are trying to persuade him to defect to the ruling party,
The Standard can reveal.
Houghton was elected on a Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) ticket in September 2003 alongside the majority of
councilors in the town. The Kariba Mayor told The Standard that he ws offered
a farm and money if he abandoned the opposition party as did Harare acting
executive mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara.
"I keep telling Zanu PF
representatives who want me to defect that they should go and re-organize
their party so that they don't have to entice anybody to join them. If they
are organized, people will just join them without being invited," Houghton
"Surprisingly, until recently, my take home salary was $350 000 but
it has now been upped to $3.5 million. Although I used to get a lot of
resistance from local politicians, they are all very friendly to me of
late," Houghton said.
The first vice president of the Urban Councils
Association of Zimbabwe, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, who is also the executive
mayor of Bulawayo, said as far as they were concerned, no mayor had received
a salary increment.
"We are still negotiating with Minister (Ignatious)
Chombo as a group and I don't know of any mayor who has received a raise,"
Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson, described
moves to bribe Houghton into joining Zanu PF as "disgusting".
is the cheap politics that we have come to expect from Zanu PF, which
believes that everybody is a political prostitute whose soul can be bought.
But genuine democrats will not accept their 30 pieces of silver," Nyathi
The ruling party's national chairman, John Nkomo, said he was
not aware that Zanu PF was trying to lure Houghton to
Harare's Sekesai Makwavarara was rewarded with Tindo Farm in the
prime farming area of Raffingora in Mashonaland West province. She occupied
the farm in September last year.
Chegutu mayor, Francis Dhlakama, who
was elected on an MDC ticket, told the media last year that he was
approached by Makwavarara in a bid to lure him join Zanu PF.
Meanwhile, Kariba town council has resolved to open a bank account in
Chinhoyi, more than 250 km away, following the closure of the only
commercial bank in the resort town, CFX Bank on December 17 last
Executive mayor, John Houghton, told The Standard that the closure
of the bank had dealt a severe blow to the operations of the
"CFX Bank was the only commercial bank in Kariba while the
Barclays Bank branch closed several years ago. We need to operate several
bank accounts but our situation right now is a very difficult because we
don't even have a single account with a commercial bank," Houghton
The closure of the bank had placed the local authority in a
precarious financial position as "several millions of dollars" belonging to
the local authority had been locked up in the financial institution.
Hundreds force-marched to Mujuru bash By our own
MARONDERA - Zanu PF youth militia last Sunday force-marched
thousands of people to attend a rally in Marondera to celebrate the election
of Joyce Mujuru as the country's second Vice-President, disrupting their
activities, The Standard has learnt.
As a result, the proceedings
were held outside Rudhaka Stadium because it could not accommodate all the
people. Marondera residents, mostly from the high-density suburbs of
Dombotombo, Ruware, Yellow City, Cherima, Nyameni and Cherutombo told The
Standard that they were forced by Zanu PF supporters and youth militia to
abandon their programmes so they could attend the celebrations.
happened on Sunday is a clear testimony of the military environment we have
been subjected to for a long time. Are we not supposed to do our chores
because she (Joyce Mujuru) is in town?
"What will happen if the
President (Robert Mugabe) himself comes here? I missed my church service
because of this political nonsense," complained Patience Murovi of Ruware
Amai Adelaide of Cherutombo said the youth militia
started harassing people early in the morning.
"This is actually an
infringement of our rights. We were forced to go to Rudhaka as early as 6AM.
I really wanted to go yes, but I thought it was fine to go after my morning
routine because this was a big day for women," she said.
harassment also affected commuter bus operators, who were forced to divert
from their normal routes to Rudhaka Stadium. Robert Tandi, who plies the
Harare-Marondera route, said he had to use connecting roads to avoid the
"I escaped the net but some of my colleagues were
forced to drive people to the stadium. ," he said.
To further boost
the number of people at the event, Zanu PF also rounded up farm-workers from
nearby farms and 'loaded' them onto council lorries to the venue.
Chipinge folks cry foul over ID cards By our own
MUTARE - Chipinge North legislator Mathius Matewu Mlambo says
several people from his constituency were last week denied national identity
cards on the instigation of district administrator (DA), Morris
Sakabuya was last Friday appointed, unopposed, to represent the
ruling Zanu PF party in the same constituency during the forthcoming March
parliamentary elections. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
legislator said Sakabuya, the Chipinge DA, instructed registration officials
in Mutare not to assist people Mlambo had ferried to the city in order to
apply for identity cards.
"People from Ward 17 in Chikore-Pfidza failed
to get IDs during a mobile registration issuing programme.
arranged transport for them to come to Mutare. About 50 managed to get them,
but the other 50 failed after Sakabuya told the officer that they were MDC
activists," Mlambo said.
Sakabuya could not be reached for a comment last
But Provincial Registrar, Joyce Munamati, last week said she had
heard of the alleged MDC supporters, who were denied identity
"I was briefed of the incident, but am yet to get the details from
those that were present as it happened while I was away," Munamati
She, however, would not say what action would be taken against the
officer who acted on Sakabuya's directive.
Mlambo said the actions
were aimed at denying the people of Chipinge North their legitimate right to
inspect the Voters' Roll and ultimately voting in the elections.
is clear the intention is to deny the people a chance to exercise their
democratic right. This is primitive," Mlambo said.
Registrar General, last week said the inspection of the voter's role would
begin this week, while those without national identity cards would have a
chance to apply and get them.
Govt orders Mutare council to involve youth
militia By our own Staff
MUTARE - The government has
directed Mutare City Council to involve the youth militia trained at the
"Border Gezi" centres in identifying beneficiaries of both rural and urban
public works programmes. In a circular, the Ministry of
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing last week demanded that
the local authority involve the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and
Employment Creation, under which the youth militia falls.
Previously, councillors were responsible for selecting
The circular states in part ..."the selection and
identification of beneficiaries shall utilize its ward structures that
include the ward co-ordinators from the Ministry of Youth Development,
Gender and Employment Creation to identify and select beneficiaries and to
Almost all ward co-ordinators are from the
Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, and ruling
The directive has angered the MDC-run council in
Mutare and other party officials in the city.
Mutseyami, the opposition MDC provincial vice chairperson said the circular
was meant to render Mutare councillors powerless.
the directive meant that only Zanu PF supporters were likely to benefit from
the public works programme.
A councillor for Dangamvura, Boniface
Gweru agreed with Mutseyami saying the new directive empowered unelected
Zanu PF functionaries instead of the councillors.
for the public works programme has usurped our powers and belittled our
authority. They want to get political mileage out of it as we draw closer to
the parliamentary elections," he said.
Reward Magamu of the
Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation in Mutare
could not be reached for a comment last week.
The programme caters
for the less privileged, who work for money and food. Beneficiaries receive
monthly assistance of $60 000, half of which is provided as cash and the
remainder as maize grain purchased from the state-run Grain Marketing Board
Previously, the programme used to cover rural areas only but
has since been extended to urban centres as the economic crisis continues to
Poverty drives many onto the streets By Caiphas
WITH tattered clothes draped around his skinny and greasy body,
he begs for food and money from passers-by at the footbridge across Julius
Nyerere Way in Harare.
Despite his loud pleas for help, most
passers-by do not seem to notice him as they go about their business. Some
see him as a social outcast, others think he is mentally unstable while
others still are convinced he is possessed by evil spirits. He says his
name is Ras.
"I am Ras, what do you want? Go and ask your mother," he
shot back in Shona when a Standard journalist tried to strike a conversation
When he is not at the footbridge, Ras is foraging in rubbish
bins in Harare's dirty sanitary lanes in search of food. Because of
prevailing economic hardships people are no longer that generous with food
donations and there are hardly any leftovers from restaurants. However,
around mid-day everyday, the bearded Ras heads for the Anglican Church at
the corner of Kwame Nkrumah and Sam Nujoma Avenue, where he gets free lunch,
courtsey of the church.
Ras is one of hundreds of destitute people
who live on Harare's streets, parks and alleys, where they beg for money and
scavenge for food in the fly-infested garbage bins, oblivious to the health
hazards they expose themselves to.
Some of them are blind or mentally
ill while others are homeless children.
Other destitute people are normal
- and may even have families - but are driven onto the streets by acute
poverty and stress-related problems.
While in the early years of
independence, most destitute Zimbabweans returned to their rural homes where
relatives could look after them, the majority of people living on the
streets were of foreign origin - mostly Malawians, Mozambicans and Zambians.
However, presently Zimbabweans now constitute the majority as the economic
downturn takes its toll.
Most of them live in shacks at the Railway
station, along Mukuvisi River and under bridges.
To most residents of
Harare, the destitutes have become a menace and a nuisance. Apart from
pestering shoppers in the city centre - begging for money and food - they
also defecate and urinate in sanitary lanes, posing a health
"I have stopped using this footbridge because the area stinks to
high heaven. There is human waste everywhere," said Chris Dube in
University of Zimbabwe sociology lecturer Claude Mararike
conceded that the number of destitute people had generally increased and he
attributed the upsurge to social, political and economic problems bedeviling
"Urbanisation and socio-political and economic problems are
driving a lot people to destitution. Some of them can lead a normal life if
they get proper counseling. They are so many these days," said Mararike, who
however, could not estimate the number of destitutes in Harare.
unemployment at over 70 percent and rising, the cost of basic commodities
escalating on a daily basis and inflation skyrocketing, most people are
failing to cope with the demands of life forcing them onto the streets, he
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe a family of six now
requires $1,7 million up from $1,6 million in November last year. That
amount is beyond the reach of most families in the country, where 75 percent
of people live below the poverty datum line.
The director of Social
Welfare Department in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare, Sydney Mhishi, had not responded to questions submitted to him by
the time of going to print.
But an official with the department said they
had no money to take care of destitutes and other disadvantaged people. The
department has since stopped paying school fees for disadvantage children
because it lacks financial resources for the purpose.
"We have an
obligation to support destitute people, including the elderly but because we
don't have any money we can not do anything," said the official.
year, the government rounded up destitutes and street children in Harare and
dumped them at farms outside the city. But this has not helped as they were
soon back on the streets.
The burden of taking care of destitutes has
since been taken up by charitable and church organisations that offer them
food, clothing as well as shelter. One such organisation is the Anglican
Church in Harare.
Reverend Josephat Muzambi of the Anglican Church said
they feed between 30 and 40 elderly people a day in Harare. Some of them are
ex-soldiers who served in the Rhodesian army during Ian Smith's
"The privileged social net for whites and coloureds that was
there before independence is no more. That is why we have white destitutes
on the streets these days and we also help them," said Muzambi.
months ago, he said, hordes of people including able-bodied youths would
throng the church premises for free lunch but that had since stopped after
the institution introduced thorough vetting procedures to determine the
"Even security guards in uniforms and unemployed youths
used to come here for free food but they are not any longer ," Muzambi
Other church organisations assisting destitutes in Harare include
the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches.
Alice Chikomo, the
director of the Presbyterian Church's Children's Club, said the institution
was assisting 40 elderly people, half of them blind. They are being taught
courses such as sewing, knitting and jam-making.
Apart from that, the
church also provides uniforms and pays school fees for about 90
disadvantaged children, some are born of destitute parents.
overwhelming. There are so many destitute people in the city and the number
is increasing by the day. We need to find a lasting solution," Chikomo
Independent commentators said the influx of destitutes into the
streets of Harare was a result of the chaotic land reform programme, which
drove hundreds of people from their sources of livelihood at the
"Others are victims of the land reform while some ran away from
their homes due to political violence during the past elections," said one
Harare City Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, could not
be reached by the time of going to print.
Zim StandardZanu PF sacrifices economy for votes By Kumbirai
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF government has paved its
way for the crucial March election with sugared pills calculated to induce
support for the ruling party.
Cementing the pathway is a massive hike
in the salaries of civil servants who for long have been poorly paid.
Beginning January, civil servants' salaries will be increased by between
250% and 600% with the new entry salary for the least paying grade now
pegged at $830 680 a month. Employees in the top bracket will now earn at
least $12 million a month. However, critics who reason that the government
has already set in motion its political machinery aimed at winning the March
parliamentary elections have received the government's promise with guarded
optimism. The ruling party squares up with the opposition MDC and other
juvenile political parties in the election.
A swollen civil service
backed by a substantial pay hike would have grave ramifications for the
government's bloated payroll, analysts have noted. Already, Acting Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa expressed concern over the huge public service wage
bill. He says the allocation of $11,49 trillion in this years' national
budget to wages would raise the wage bill to 42% of total expenditure and
"Mr Speaker Sir, this is way above the cabinet benchmark
target of under 15% of Gross Domestic Product," Murerwa disclosed in his
2005 budget statement. Reducing the wage bill to this threshold would
require rationalisation of the public service."
Although critics are
unanimous that a salary review was long overdue for nurses, teachers and
other civil servants who have lost their prestigious status in the family
and the community due to pitiable remuneration, they question the timing of
the payments. Many are convinced the forthcoming elections were the major
motivation for the timing.
"They always do that before any election. But
the increases are inadequate considering that hyperinflation has really gone
hyper," says Tendai Biti, the opposition MDC secretary for economic affairs
whose party is mounting the biggest challenge to President Mugabe's Zanu PF
Economists say the only way of absorbing the increment would be to
accelerate the retrenchment of civil servants, referred to by Murerwa in the
2005 national budget. Another option would be to resort to the domestic
market to borrow money to fund the payroll, which would destabilise interest
This route, economists warn, could fuel money supply and
consequently inflation, which according to official estimates is
decelerating. At 149,3% Zimbabwe's annualised inflation is still one of the
highest in the world and analysts fear that recent increases in electricity
tariffs and foodstuffs could scupper attempts to arrest it.
increments in civil servants' salaries illustrate extravagance on the part
of the government that can not be tolerated by this economy indefinitely,"
says John Robertson an independent economic consultant.
flattering civil servants, President Mugabe had set the ball rolling by
painting an optimistic economic outlook for 2005 premised on the fantasy
that inflation has been tamed and the exchange rate has evened
Mugabe claimed the six-year economic recession had reached its
finality as foreign currency inflows, which had virtually dried up, were
improving and allocation to various sectors of the economy had
"From a paltry US$301 million in 2003, the inflows have risen
to US$1,6 billion as of two days ago (7 December 2004), with encouraging
signs of greater inflows arising from growing export capacity," Mugabe
thundered during the delivery of his 17th state of the nation address
towards the end of December.
Mugabe's optimistic statement was
presented against a background of strong global economic growth forecast at
5%, the strongest since 1973. Sub-saharan Africa's growth rose from 3,5% in
2003 to 4,2% in 2004 while Asia is the largest at a projected 7,2%. However,
the upbeat global economic performances contrast sharply with the
contraction that has characterised Zimbabwe's economy since
"These gains on inflation should translate into lower interest
rates thus making investment finance more affordable...the coming year
should be one of investment, during which we should consolidate and grow our
economy," Mugabe said in parliament.
However, Zimbabweans in general
do not seem to be reading from the same script with the octogenarian leader.
They dispute claims that the economy, which has been in a tailspin since
1997, has turned the corner pointing to mounting poverty, skyrocketing
prices, shortages of medical drugs, scarce disposable incomes and energy
"The economic prospects remain fragile and the
sustainability of current efforts is dependent on the extent to which the
political environment improves.," said Godfrey Kanyenze, the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) chief economist.
say while tax measures that raised disposable incomes are commendable, the
2005 national budget on which Mugabe is basing his projections falls short
on measures to resuscitate the economy on a sustainable basis.
opposition MDC disputes the Mugabe's prognosis saying it is meant to sway
the electorate ahead of the crucial parliamentary elections slotted for
March. The five year-old party, which unveiled its Restart economic
blueprint early last year points to the cumulative decline of the economy
and says vulnerable households are on the increase.
GDP growth rates projected for 2005 are unrealistic, as is therefore the
resulting forecast of 3.5%-5% growth in GDP for 2005," observes Biti.
Taking a stand against political
violenceTHE next three months will be stressful, dangerous but also
decisive in whether or not the country will have a better agricultural
season and earn more foreign exchange than during previous
Zimbabwe's economic turnaround strategy is based on the assumption
that a better agricultural season will drive the economic revival, while
export earnings based on such crops as tobacco will swell the inflows of
foreign currency. But this year's parliamentary elections fall within the
critical and final peak phase of the agricultural season. Election campaigns
and polling are the bane of the farming sector in this country; workers are
absent from work between the campaign period and the day of the
Agricultural operations will be disrupted as campaign rallies,
especially by the ruling party tend to demand a shutdown of all operations,
with no regard to the immediate consequences.
There is a case for
locating elections just after the harvest period but before the start of the
agricultural season. The contesting parties need to agree on what is in the
best interests of the country and decide where elections should
For the education sector, the parliamentary elections will
represent one of the most destabilising factors. During the 2000
parliamentary and 2002 presidential polls many teachers were killed while
scores of others were beaten up and arrested. As a consequence, many fled
not only the countryside but the country also.
School lessons will be
disrupted as politicians, particularly those from the ruling party, demand
that teachers and their charges attend their rallies, with no consideration
of the effect this will have on the children's education.
recent assurances by President Mugabe during visits to rural areas during
which he belatedly tried to acknowledge and recognise the role of teachers
in the country's development, teachers are not likely to forget so easily
what happened in the past. They will not forget that it was the ruling
party's members and supporters, who terrorised and branded them traitors
often on mere suspicion that they were members of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), as if supporting the opposition was a
There is therefore likely to be an exodus of teachers, for
their own safety, from the rural areas during the campaign, polling and the
post-campaign period depending on the outcome of the results. No amount of
rhetoric is going to reassure the teachers because many will recall that
when they sought protection from the law enforcement agencies, they found
themselves in more serious trouble or they were simply ignored and told
theirs was a political matter and the agencies had no power to
The ruthless manner in which the ruling party is dealing with
its own members who deviated form the party line will be instructive to
Zimbabweans who do not support the ruling party.
These concerns about
violence are informed by the politically motivated disturbances during what
should have been a peaceful period -2004. Last year between January and
September 12 people were killed in politically motivated violence, while 202
were arrested unlawfully, 7 491 were tortured and 329 assaulted.
opposition says 53 of its members were either intimidated, arrested, beaten
up or tortured during 2004.
Violence will escalate as the elections draw
closer because the ruling party has a record of consistently using violence
to intimidate people.
Zimbabweans do not have to look far for supporting
evidence. There are at least three very recent cases of members of the
ruling party or their supporters being engaged in violence.
veterans have already declared parts of the country off limits to the
opposition and an example is in Mudzi/Mutoko, Mashonaland East, while in
Masvingo 13 supporters of the ruling party clashed among themselves on
In Mashonaland West, supporters of a ruling party
legislator, Kindness Paradza, were engaged in running battles on Christmas
and Boxing Days with supporters of Leo Mugabe, who was seeking to unseat
Paradza and represent the ruling party in Makonde constituency.
Madiro, another ruling party legislator for Hurungwe West, is on $500 000
bail on charges of inciting violence in his constituency.
instructive to remember that all this has taken place after President Mugabe
declared the government's "determination to stamp out incidents of violence
from whatever quarter".
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has also
declared "zero tolerance" to violence, saying their mandate is to ensure a
peaceful and stable environment prevailed all the time. This was long before
the opposition signalled its intention to contest the polls. Now that it
has, the stakes will be raised and the level of violence can only
Yet if there was political will to stamp out violence, the
government would deal as ruthlessly as it has demonstrated in its reaction
to members of the ruling party who are accused of plotting changes to the
If indeed there is desire by the two main political
parties to kick out violence from elections they could simply agree on
disqualification of candidates accused of fanning violence. But they are
unable to do that because even they are not really sure of the extent of the
support they enjoy.
In urban areas, the government has aready created
a different no-go area by preventing elected representatives from meeting
regularly with the electorate or to hold consultative meetings. The impact
and effect of such actions demand that the electorate interrogate whose
interests the directives are designed to serve.
It is time the
electorate decided on kicking out parties and politicians that employ
violence on their way to parliament.
IT has been a good week in the troubled central African
basket case. If the country appeared divided last week, this week it appears
even more so.
And not only divided, but in every danger of
offending it's big, powerful southern neighbour. And that southern neighbour
must be more confused than ever after learning that its visiting citizens
stood every chance of being "thrown away" by the troubled central African
regime's angry unemployment minister. Meanwhile, closer to home,
the surely soon to be unemployed misinformation minister called his own Zany
Party leaders primitive liars. If that's not an invitation to have an early
appointment with a black dog, it is certainly an invitation to be placed on
the unemployment line. Still, he won't be lonely. With almost 80 percent of
the troubled central African nation's impoverished people without meaningful
work, he'll find plenty of people with whom to debate his own contribution
to the calamity.
But there was more. It appeared to emerge that the
so-called spy ring "busted" by the troubled central African police state's
notorious men in dark glasses was working for. the confused southern
If true, the appalling imperialists, neo-liberal
colonialists (or is that the other way around) and western gay gangsters
have been undermined as the troubled central African country's public enemy
It's one thing when your enemies behave as enemies are
expected to behave, but quite another when you friends behave like
Still, Over The Top hears that the confused southern
African nation was growing increasingly despondent because bi-lateral
relations, which include the sharing of important information, were serving
only to confuse it still further.
Even basic and largely
harmless information like the sharing of food estimates were not reaching
the confused southern African country without first being "spun" to suit the
Zany Party's deluded misinformation machine.
So, growing weary, the
confused southern Africans decided to purchase the information from more
reliable sources, so OTT hears what is said in various shebeens where the
story is considered a large joke.
And not just buy it, but buy it
at a huge cost - which is the really funny part. As an informed source who
cannot be named told OTT, given the economic crisis facing the troubled
central African banana republic, millions of people who do not own over 500
suits would have been prepared to supply the information for a tenth of the
It seems the confused southern African spymasters broke a
cardinal rule and sought out the most flamboyant and garrulous and least
likely of spies, instead of going to someone better known for
Still, in order to save our continental brothers a
great deal of time and money, Over The Top can tell them exactly what the
state of play is in the troubled central African basket case.
visit to any supermarket will prove that there is no food.
at even the state-controlled press will prove that the Zany Party is in a
state of unprecedented disarray and that the members are at each other's
throats and baying for blood - or at least legal action.
into any shop will prove that inflation has retained its iron grasp on the
economy and that claims of massive drops are clearly imaginary. One look at
OTT's electricity bill gives the lie to central bank claims.
sneak into the opposition More Drink Coming Party's headquarters will reveal
that they're as bewildered as everyone else in the troubled central African
regime, but that they're also enjoying the Zany floor show.
if any confused southern African wants to send Over The Top US$10,000 for
this valuable information, please don't convert it into local currency.
Zimbabwe sinking deeper into the
mireEVERYTHING with a beginning has got an end; so goes the old
adage. The current squabbles and bickering in Zanu PF are all vivid signs of
a desperate party that is no longer confident of its
Democracy in Zimbabwe is now a far fetched commodity under the
present regime. President Mugabe, probably the last remaining, longest
serving and most ruthless ruler in the southern African region has shown his
heartless nature to the people he has always referred to as 'my people'.
Such is the person he is; at whatever cost; no matter how many lives he
takes, as long as it ensures he remains in power.
Trying to uphold
democratic principles in Zimbabwe of late has become almost impossible as
beleaguered Mugabe and his cronies are preoccoupied with creating repressive
bills and turning them into laws overnight for personal aggrandisement and
to ultimately consolidate their stay in power at the expense of the people
they lead or mislead.
Anybody who voices his concern faces the wrath of
the law. Almost all dissenting voices have been brutally suppressed, private
media silenced and the lives of journalists made difficult.
even entertainers have not been spared either as some of them have suffered
personal threats and torture. Others whose works are perceived to be
critical of the government have been subjected to a virtual ban from the
It pains to think that Mugabe, a former teacher, expects
the people to rally behind him when he continues to recklessly drive the
country into the doldrums. Is he so blind not to see that the country's
economy has taken a nose-dive resulting in gross unemployment and
debilitating poverty among the people. The old man's stubbornness will
actually worsen our plight.
What I find amazing is that Zimbabweans are
so docile despite their impressive academic and professional education.
Surely, we do not deserve such an illogical, insincere and insensitive
government as the ruling Zanu PF regime .
To everybody who is Zanu
PF, I say zvakwana/sokwanele; you have failed us or we have failed you. So
give others a chance. But bear in mind that 'kangoma karirise ndiko kapanike
or ingungu ekhala kakhulu ikhalela ukudabuka' watch out the tide is
beginning to turn.Jay-the wave rider
March elections likely to be a
farceI write this letter with a heavy heart. As Zimbabweans, we are
a forsaken lot continuously fed on Zanu PF lies by the likes of Jonathan
Moyo. But let us not celebrate yet - motor mouth is, unfortunately, not
going anywhere yet. He is too evil to be discarded by "the party" yet. His
services are still in demand lest he spill the beans!
SADC guidelines on elections will not make any difference in Zimbabwe. From
what has transpired so far, it's obvious those guidelines will be trampled
upon with impunity. However, if Zanu PF is serious about a level electoral
playing field, let it adopt the following: firstly, people who defect to
another party should be made to surrender cards, T-shirts and any other
paraphernalia and to the party they got them from. They should not be
surrendered to a party one is joining.
Secondly, withdrawal from the
March elections is not about fear of losing but genuine fear of losing lives
and property and these concerns should be addressed if anyone including,
SADC leaders, is serious about addressing these issues.
My heart is
heavy because we are heading for a monumental electoral farce come March
2005. Zanu PF is gleeful about counting votes at polling stations simply
because of the likely intimidation and the inducement of knowing who voted
for what party and the burning of huts if not hearts that will be made a lot
I pray to the Almighty God not to forsake us and expose people to
be killed by Zanu PF's barbarians for T-shirts or for merely being suspected
of being opposition party supporters. A simple statement like "Uyu hatimuone
zvakanaka," (We are not sure of his political leanings) can be a death
The true people's party, Movement For Democratic Change
(MDC), should seriously consider avoiding to fall into known traps. We are
dealing with the devil himself so let us postpone participation in
forthcoming pseudo elections.Mapfumo Mutapati
WB official sees hope for Zimbabwe economy By our own
IF the Reserve Bank was looking for a belated Christmas present,
the World Bank appears to have found one to fulfill such an expectation. The
World Bank believes that there is an emerging commitment in Zimbabwe to
tackle problems affecting the economy.
Dr Callisto Madavo, until
recently the World Bank vice president for Africa, said during an interview
with The Standard: "The Reserve Bank has been working the last 12 to 18
months to really stabilize the economy and to stimulate investment and
growth. Yes, I think there is an emerging commitment. This is something that
people should build on." A Zimbabwean, Madavo is, until June this year when
he retires, a special adviser to James Wolfensohn, the World Bank
His assessment of the Zimbabwean situation is based not only
on a reading of what is taking place, but also on two recent meetings with
Zimbabwean delegations in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in September and
recently during the IMF/World Bank annual board meetings in
Madavo said the World Bank stands ready to engage Zimbabwe
and discussions to this end were underway, although there were a number of
issues that required ironing out.
However, he said, the World Bank
had a lot of experience in re-engaging countries where support had been
The challenge for Zimbabwe he said, was to address issues of
macroeconomic stability; to rebuild and restore critical institutions, such
as the financial sector and the judiciary; to deal with questions of
governance from a political perspective; and no less important, from an
Madavo said: "Behind all this, there's need to
revive economic growth, bringing back crucial sectors such as agriculture
and tourism Zimbabweans are a resilient people, and up until the recent
exodus of trained people, there was an emerging middle class there. Finally,
it is critical for Zimbabwe to be in the frontlines on the HIV/Aids crisis,
while learning from neighbours such as Botswana, and Uganda."
he seemed to give the thumbs up to efforts by the central bank, Madavo said
it was important for the government to ensure that its expenditures were
within the parameters of what was consistent with macroeconomic
On the proposed payout to former political prisoners,
ex-detainees and restrictees, Madavo said: "We must learn from the
experiences in 1997, when the initial veterans payments were, but in a way
that couldn't be smoothly accommodated. The macroeconomic situation
deteriorated significantly and Zimbabwe has never recovered from
Asked whether the lack of sufficient investment on the African
continent was not given impetus by leaders from the continent who preferred
to squirrel their funds abroad, Madavo said:
capital is an issue, and to the extent African leaders don't have confidence
to invest in their own countries, it's a little wonder that foreigners are
"But to create the kind of business climate that encourages
people to invest goes to the challenge of building stability, strong
governance, and a space for private sector activity.
"One other point
on certain overseas accounts: it's a good thing that the international
community is helping in tracing looted wealth held abroad."
continent's leadership, Madavo said broadly, since the late 1990s, there had
emerged African leaders who were taking on considerable responsibility for
solving the continent's problems.
"President Yoweri Museveni's response
to the HIV/Aids crisis has been a model for many heads of State worldwide.
President Olusegun Obasanjo has been active in the Darfur crisis. President
Thabo Mbeki has worked hard to find a resolution in Cote d'
"Meanwhile, Nepad's (the New Partnership for Africa's
Development) mechanism - though it's early days - constitutes a bold step in
the right direction.
For Madavo, the way ahead for African leaders is
first and foremost to create conditions conducive to peace and stability. He
also believes the continent's leaders have to be serious about generating
economic growth, which requires investment in infrastructure, building a
space for private sector activity, accelerating regional integration, and
encouraging agricultural productivity.
For Mbeki - no end to Zimbabwe crisis sundayopinion By
WHILE the stature of President Thabo Mbeki as conflict
mediator continues to grow elsewhere on the African continent, success has
remained elusive in troubled Zimbabwe.
Thousands of residents greeted
Mbeki as a possible saviour when he arrived in a rebel stronghold in
northern Ivory Coast recently to negotiate with rebel leaders. In 2003
Mbeki was among influential African leaders who presided over the departure
of guerilla leader-turned-politician Charles Taylor, when the brutal
Liberian dictator headed off to asylum in Nigeria.
While Mbeki skillfully
negotiated recently with the warring factions in the Ivory Coast in West
Africa, nearer home, worried Zimbabweans looked on helplessly as President
Robert Mugabe consolidated his hold on power. Over the past four years the
country has reeled from the effects of political violence, corruption,
shortages, economic stagnation, an unemployment rate now pegged at more than
70 percent and a general breakdown in law and order.
Mbeki's policy of
"quiet diplomacy" in seeking to broker negotiations between President Robert
Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF)
party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai has so far failed to achieve significant results or to
reign in the Zimbabwean leader, as widely expected. Undeterred, the Mugabe
regime has just enacted new legislation that effectively outlaws
foreign-funded Non-Governmental Organizations.
Far from signaling any
imminent retirement after 24 years in office, the geriatric Zimbabwean
leader emerged from his party's recent congress with a firmer grip on power
and, of more concern, no visible sign of willingness to negotiate with the
opposition, as expected by Mbeki.
Mugabe was ebullient after the
congress. He dispensed with the niceties of intra-party democracy to
outmaneuver the powerful House Speaker, Emmerson Mnangagwa, for long known
to be his own chosen successor. Mugabe decreed just before the congress that
one of Zanu-PF's two vice presidents must be a woman. He ruthlessly
suppressed an internal challenge to his leadership when he suspended six
young and upcoming politicians who had rallied to support Mnangagwa's
campaign against Mrs. Joyce Mujuru, the president's favourite. In a swift
move, the controversial information minister, Jonathan Moyo, alleged leader
of the rebellion, was dumped from the party's policy-making central
committee and powerful Soviet-type politburo.
While reaction outside the
party was mixed, Mugabe endeared himself to his party's increasingly
powerful and vocal women's league when he swore Mrs Mujuru in as Zimbabwe's
Ominously, this internal jockeying for power and
the concurrent enactment of more stringent measures to suppress the media do
not augur well for the accommodation of the opposition into any
power-sharing scheme or negotiation, as envisaged by Mbeki. Any reference to
the MDC during the Zanu PF congress was only in very depreciatory terms.
Tsvangirai, who was acquitted recently on treason charges of plotting to
assassinate the president, was briefly detained at Harare International
airport on return from a recent trip abroad.
"To the new Zanu PF
leadership," Tsvangirai said in a statement afterwards, "I welcome you with
the same old message: I am still holding out that olive branch."
MDC has previously threatened to boycott general elections scheduled for
For his part, Mbeki hosted Tsvangirai in Pretoria once
the Zimbabwean opposition leader was able to travel again after his marathon
court case. Sources close to Mbeki's ruling African National Congress, say
the South African President is, however, wary of the close links forged
between the MDC, a trade union-based party and the powerful Congress of
South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the ANC's most conspicuous political
rival. A high-powered COSATU delegation on a recent visit to Zimbabwe, was
bundled onto a bus by state agents in Harare, driven to the border under
cover of darkness and deported. The South African government's response to
this diplomatic spat was lukewarm.
Separately, Mbeki is said to be
peeved by the MDC's perceived alliance with another major ANC political
rival, the opposition Democratic Alliance, essentially a white-interests
party. In Zimbabwe Mugabe's propaganda machinery accuses the MDC of
embarking on a campaign to reverse the expropriation of white-owned farms by
the state which, while accompanied by widespread violence was, according to
them, entirely legitimate. Tsvangirai denies this and another charge that he
is a "front for western imperialist interests". The state-controlled media
ignore his protests.
Mugabe was the only foreign dignitary to receive a
standing ovation when he attended celebrations held in Pretoria in May to
mark the tenth anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa. Mbeki
will overlook, only at his own peril, the fact that Mugabe's controversial
land reform programme in Zimbabwe has earned him hero cult status among ANC
supporters in South Africa.
The arrest in Cape Town of Mark Thatcher,
son of former Conservative British Prime Minister, Lady Thatcher, must have
been a cause of great discomfort to Mbeki. Thatcher recently appeared in
court charged with conspiring to sponsor suspected 70 mercenaries who were
arrested by Mugabe's security men in Harare en route to oil-rich Equatorial
Guinea, where they plotted to stage a coup to topple the
The highly respected Richard Goldstone, a retired South
African Constitutional Court Justice and UN special prosecutor for Rwanda
and the former Yugoslavia, has said that, unfortunately, Western criticism
of state-sponsored violence and torture is seen as an anti-African
Mbeki's cautious approach and his failure to display more
decisiveness and exert more force in putting pressure to bear on Mugabe, a
failure which has had the effect of casting a shadow on his presidency, has
in all probability, been influenced by a fear of being perceived to be
prescribing a Western-sponsored solution to an African
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans could very well discover that they may
have placed too much faith in Mr Mbeki's ability to resolve their country's
political crisis.o Geoff Nyarota is the founding editor-in-chief
of The Daily News in Zimbabwe, now banned. Currently he is a fellow with the
Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Shorenstein Center for Press,
Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.
Mugabe gives nod harsh media law
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has signed into law a measure that sets prison terms
of up to two years for any journalist found working without accreditation
from the government-controlled Media and Information Commission. The new
media law is termed "repressive" by press freedom
The newly enacted measure stiffens the 2002 the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which has
already been used to shut down Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper,
the 'Daily News'. The measure, titled the AIPPA Amendment Act, took effect
on 7 January. Parliament passed the AIPPA Amendment Bill in November as
one in a series of draconian measures adopted in advance of general
elections scheduled for March. Critics say the measures are intended to
intimidate the last vestiges of the independent press.
independent weekly newspapers still operate in Zimbabwe, and some local
correspondents work for foreign news agencies. The three remaining
independent Zimbabwean weeklies are The Financial Gazette, The Standard and
The Zimbabwe Independent.
There are other laws that severely limit
the freedom of speech and of the press in Zimbabwe, and more are in the
process of being made. Other new legislation includes the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act, which could be used to jail journalists for
up to 20 years for publishing or communicating to any other person "false"
information deemed prejudicial to the state. The Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act now only awaits President Mugabe's signature.
Meanwhile, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged
Zimbabwe's President and his government to "turn away from such measures,
including another piece of repressive legislation still pending."
CPJ sources said the law could be used to intimidate journalists and the
sources upon which they rely. They also fear its broad language could be
used against Zimbabweans who communicate with news outlets and other
organizations based abroad.
"CPJ is deeply troubled by these
measures, which will have a further chilling effect on independent
journalism in Zimbabwe," CPJ executive director Ann Cooper said.
Zimbabwe's Mugabe approves election laws-govt
mediaHARARE (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has
signed into law electoral reforms which the opposition says do not go far
enough to guarantee a fair vote in March's parliamentary polls, official
media said on Saturday.
The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted a
government gazette saying Mugabe had signed the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission Bill and Electoral Bill, which were passed by Parliament last
The laws seek to set up an independent election commission, bring
in a single day of voting instead of two, ensure counting of ballots at
polling centers and the establishment of an electoral court to deal with
All these conditions have been demanded by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is expected to
participate in the March polls despite threatening a boycott.
also wants guidelines on the conduct of political parties and laws to curb
and punish perpetrators of violence and intimidation it says has helped sway
past elections in the ruling ZANU-PF's favor.
And it has called for the
electoral court to prosecute cases of political violence instead of only
The date Mugabe signed the bills was not immediately
clear, but they come into effect as soon as they are signed. The government
gazette was not immediately available to Reuters on Saturday.
has been under pressure from the opposition and Southern Africa Development
Community peers to institute reforms ensuring free and fair elections in
Mugabe has already said Zimbabwe will only allow invited observers
to the March elections.
The MDC wants the parliamentary elections
delayed to allow more time for implementation of the reforms but the
government says this is unlawful. A date is yet to be set for the
Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, accuses Zimbabwe's
former colonial ruler Britain of leading a Western campaign to oust him over
his government's seizure of white owned farms for redistribution to landless
The 80-year-old leader rejects charges he has manipulated
previous elections and says the land seizures are not responsible for food
shortages which have plagued the country since 2001.
Sunday, January 16th 2005 ATTORNEY GENERAL
John Jeremie says the passing of Justice Telford Georges is "a tremendous
loss, not only to the regional jurisprudence but to the
Justice Georges, 82, of Dominica, died while
undergoing surgery in Barbados last Thursday.
He was a member
of the Judicial Council of the London-based Privy Council, this country's
highest Court of Appeal. He also served as Chief Justice of the Bahamas and
In a statement issued yesterday, Jeremie said Georges,
despite having "a highly distinguished career as advocate, jurist and legal
scholar ... always maintained a humility and integrity, which endeared him
to all with whom he came into contact".
Jeremie added, "Given
his indelible contribution to West Indian and Commonwealth jurisprudence,
Justice Georges' death will be mourned by the entire legal community in
Trinidad and Tobago."
McCall Smith gives book royalties to
Aids Karin Goodwin THE Scottish writer
Alexander McCall Smith, whose lady detective novels have become a publishing
sensation, is to donate the royalties of his latest book to a hospital in
Africa that treats Aids victims.
The Edinburgh-based author,
whose No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series has sold more than 6m copies
worldwide, will give all proceeds of the book to the Murambinda Hospital
Trust in Zimbabwe. Bookshops have already ordered
60,000 copies of The Girl Who Married a Lion, a collection of 40 African
folk tales that McCall Smith has been gathering since his childhood in
Zimbabwe, which was published by Canongate last month.
The book's preface is "written" by his famous heroine Mma Ramotswe, and many
of the tales, originating from the Ndebele people of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe,
parallel classic western fables.
It is anticipated that up to
£100,000 could be raised from the royalties, which will be spent on
medicines and resources, salaries for doctors and nurses as well as outreach
programmes for HIV patients and orphaned children.
heard about the trust towards the end of the year and thought the royalties
could really help," said McCall Smith. "They don't have enough money for
basics or for drugs and this could make a difference. The best thing about
how my life has changed since the books began to sell so well is that I can
lift a finger and it makes a great difference."
newfound wealth, McCall Smith said that his lifestyle had not changed. His
only extravagance is business-class air travel. He still drives a
The professor of medical ethics at Edinburgh
University is taking a three-year sabbatical to concentrate on writing. He
is working on two new novels and 14 of his children's books written up to 20
years ago will be republished this year.
A BBC adaptation
of the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series directed by Anthony Minghella,
the director of The English Patient and Cold Mountain, is also
In recent months McCall Smith has resigned from
high-profile public positions, including membership of the medical ethics
committee, and is instead concentrating on charity work. Last week he became
patron of the Scottish Book Trust and will raise funds for the
organisation's new scheme to encourage young people in children's homes to
The first chapter of a second book in the Isabel
Dalhousie detective series, based in Edinburgh, will be included in a
collection published by Bloomsbury on World Book Day to raise money for
victims of the Asian tsunami.
Last year he also became
patron of Waverly Care, a charity helping African Aids victims in Scotland,
and he donates to other Aids charities.
epidemic is devastating. It is a dreadful burden for people and so sad that
just as Africa might have been able to make economic progress that such a
disease comes along and knocks everything back," McCall Smith said. "It is a
great pity that the West's response in terms of assistance and providing
drugs has been slower than one may have wished.
delighted, though, to see debt relief pushed further up the agenda. That is
absolutely vital to the development of Africa."
Murambinda hospital is based in Buhera, one of the poorest areas of Zimbabwe
where malnutrition, malaria and Aids are common. Infant mortality rates are
high. The only government district hospital in the area, it has three
doctors and 36 nurses - last year it had nearly 7,000 admissions and saw
more than 16,000 outpatients.
Mary Miller, a trustee of the
Friends of Murambinda Hospital Trust, said: "It's an extremely generous
offer and will certainly help a lot. Obviously Africa is very close to his
heart. Economic problems are central and, as the situation stands, funding
of the services is less than adequate. This money will help to supply the
pharmacy, pay extra staff and pay for treatment and drop-in centres for HIV
and Aids patients."
A spokeswoman for Canongate said: "Sales
of The Girl Who Married a Lion have already hugely exceeded what was
"As a collection of African folk tales I think
it is really feeding into the interest raised by the Botswanan setting of
the No 1 Ladies' Detective series.
"This is fabulous news
in terms of the royalties raised."
Date: 16-Jan, 2005 MANICALAND chiefs have
reportedly refused to let Zanu PF field women as the only party candidates
in some of their constituencies in the March elections. Not
one chief is quoted as confirming this stance, which is understandable.
After all, they owe Zanu PF a lot: 4x4 vehicles, roads to their homesteads
and other perks. But if it's confirmed that they are standing firm, it could
mean the Zanu PF bribes did not work as effectively as the party hoped they
would. It is unlikely that Zanu PF showered the chiefs and
their immediate subordinates with this largess without looking forward to a
quid pro quo. This would be so unlike Zanu PF, to act so generously towards
a group of people without expecting any reward from them.
For instance, they would be expected to campaign vigorously for the party.
They would be expected to virtually threaten their subjects with some
unspecified action if they did not vote for Zanu PF. They
would be expected to follow party orders without question. At one election,
voters were reportedly forced to stand behind their chiefs at polling
stations. The chiefs were to ensure their subjects voted
"correctly". There were reports those who refused to comply
with this order were threatened with expulsion from the village or district.
It would be exemplary for the chiefs to refuse to be dictated to by the
party over the women candidates, except that they are doing this for the
wrong reason. Most traditional leaders are, unfortunately,
raised to be male chauvinists. They probably have three or four wives who
are not more than their serfs in status. The women will do the chief's
bidding without question - or risk the direst consequences.
If their resistance included threatening to let their subjects vote with
their consciences, the chiefs would deserve a lot of praise and admiration.
But on the question of women standing as candidates, they will find very few
allies. Zanu PF may be entering a new era of enlightenment,
albeit belatedly. If the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as the party's second
vice-president is a genuine attempt to give the women a fairer political
deal than in the past, then even the chiefs ought to play a role to support
the programme. Of course, with Zanu PF, a party so steeped in
the dinosaur policies of Marxism-Leninism, all this liberalism could be a
front for a sinister plot: to use the women to win an election and then dump
them when they have served the party's purpose. This is not
as far-fetched as it sounds. The Zimbabwean political landscape is littered
with the corpses of others who placed too much faith in this party. -
Zanu(PF) primary elections marred by logistical
January 16, 2005, 18:45
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party
primary elections to choose candidates for the next parliamentary elections
had isolated incidences of violence and marred by logistical, manpower
support and allegations of vote buying and busing of
Voter apathy was high in urban constituencies. Lessons
shall be drawn from this towards the March polls. Only 59 constituencies
conducted primaries where 177 candidates battled it out to represent the
ruling party. Voters casting their votes in cardboard boxes showed a lack of
resources for the party. A handful voters turning out in urban centers,
while rural areas registered a huge turn out.
Every election has its
own problems, candidates are often left feeling bitter. What came out
significantly lacking was voter education. With a number of NGOs left out,
the task could be very high for the government, which often has to rely on
donors for funding. The opposition has been holding primaries for the last
eight months. Only four constituencies are left. It says, until President
Robert Mugabe announces the dates of the elections, its executive will meet
to make a formal position on whether it should participate.
By Laurie Goering Tribune foreign correspondent Published
January 16, 2005DAKAR, Senegal -- Africa's failure to speed its
economic development is largely the fault of the continent's leaders, who
have been slow to stem corruption, are reluctant to criticize each other and
have wasted time putting donor funds to work, according to Senegalese
President Abdoulaye Wade.
Wade, one of the founders of a
continentwide initiative to boost foreign investment and reduce poverty,
said criticism of Western donors and investors for not adequately helping
Africa is largely misdirected.
African leaders "accuse our partners but
we are the ones wrong this time," Wade, 78, said in an interview at the
presidential palace. "We are not moving."
Wade, a longtime opposition
leader, human-rights campaigner and economic reformer, has made a name for
himself as a straight-talking critic of the continent's failings since
taking office in 2000.
In 2001, he helped launch the New Partnership for
Africa's Development, or NEPAD, an effort to lure Western investment, spur
economic growth and combat poverty in Africa in exchange for the continent
doing a better job of policing its problems, from human-rights violations to
Breaking with other African leaders, he criticized rigged
elections that returned President Robert Mugabe to office in Zimbabwe in
2002, and was the first African president to recognize Marc Ravolomanana, a
popular favorite, as Madagascar's president after the previous
administration refused to recognize defeat. The African Union, the
continent's leading political body, eventually followed Wade's
At home in Senegal, he has simplified tax codes, cut bureaucratic
logjams, negotiated a billion dollars in international debt relief and used
the new income to substantially boost public spending on education and
health, economic analysts say.
Too little action
But at a
recent NEPAD meeting in Johannesburg, he complained that the
organization--and the continent as a whole--was spending too much time and
money discussing its problems and too little taking action.
disappointed," he said, in remarks in stark contrast to those of other
leaders. "I have great difficulty explaining what we have achieved when
people at home and elsewhere ask me that question."
Three years after
its launch, NEPAD, he said, had become "confused and a little
"We're spending a lot of money and, above all, losing time
with repetition and conferences that end and you're not quite sure what
they've achieved," he said.
NEPAD officials, including Wiseman
Nkuhlu, the South African head of the organization's steering committee,
insisted that the group's responsibility is only to create a structure and
environment for change, and that development projects are the responsibility
of nations and regional groups. Implementing dramatic reform in a continent
beset with problems from wars to widespread poverty will take 20 years or
more, he emphasized.
But even South African President Thabo Mbeki,
another founder of NEPAD and one of its main boosters, warned that delays in
bringing real change to Africa could lead to a loss of faith in the
"If we lose this moment it will take many, many years to
regenerate the enthusiasm needed to take the continent forward," he told
delegates at the Johannesburg meeting.
Wade said he is most
frustrated by West Africa's inability to put donor funds to use. The region
has won a large share of $580 million in African Development Bank funds and
$570 million in World Bank contributions for energy and infrastructure
projects, he said, and has been offered additional funding from
But while the Economic Community of West African States now has
much of the money in hand, it has so far failed to produce the studies and
implementation plans needed to get the projects started, he said.
region's problem, Wade said, is that it has too many highly educated experts
in high-level jobs, but few engineers and capable bureaucrats with the
experience to effectively manage projects.
"It's tragic," he said. "We
need some people who know how to administer projects. We don't need PhDs. We
He said he and other leaders hoped to lure highly trained
West African expatriates back from jobs with the World Bank and other
organizations in an effort to get development
The other serious problems threatening NEPAD's
success, he said, are widespread corruption and a reluctance by African
leaders to criticize their neighbors for governance and human-rights
Even in Senegal, as in many African countries, "corruption is
very generalized and not just at the government level but through the public
administration and all levels," he said. "It's a true, real problem.
Everyone wants to gain in an unclean way."
In Senegalese society--and
across much of West Africa--anyone with access to a top job is expected to
steal, said Elhadji Alioune Diouf, a trade and economic analyst in Senegal
and an economic adviser to the country's former president.
the head of a financial service and you don't steal, people will say you're
foolish," he said. And if an honest man tries to turn in colleagues, "he's
out," Diouf said.
In Dakar, graffiti on public walls accuses even the
nation's reformer president of graft, calling him a "criminal." But Wade
insists he's doing everything he can to stop corruption, by prosecuting
offenders--even the prime minister is under investigation--and reducing
bureaucratic logjams, where bribes are routinely sought for
Crossing poverty line
"If we could eliminate 70 or 80
percent of corruption, we wouldn't need many resources from outside Senegal"
to develop the country, which remains among the poorest in the world, Wade
said. More than half of Senegalese households live below the poverty line,
and unemployment is nearly 50 percent.
The other key to improving
international faith in Africa, solving problems and winning new investment,
Wade said, is getting African leaders to criticize their wayward neighbors.
NEPAD's first "peer review" reports are due out in March, on Rwanda, Ghana,
Kenya and Mauritius, the first African nations to consent to have their
governance and human-rights policies reviewed.
But the continent's
worst offenders--nations like Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe, run by
dictators and strongmen--have not joined the process, and their neighbors
remain reluctant to strongly criticize them or take political or economic
Even if nations that join the peer review process are found
wanting, "there's no capacity of enforcement, no action at the end," Wade
One way for Africa to jump-start its development, Diouf
suggested, is for the continent's nations--particularly its richest--to
combine their own funds to launch projects and show overseas nations they
are serious about change.
"If we want the world to be serious about
Africa, we have to show we are serious ourselves about solving the terrible
problems. Africa needs to unite, put up its own money and only then go to
the West or institutions," the analyst said. "If we give the West a good
example, the West will be willing to help us."
Wade said he agrees
that Africa must take action toward solving its own problems before it can
expect dramatic new help. But he believes NEPAD, despite its shortcomings,
will eventually work.
"If we can make people aware the time has come to
work, there is no problem," he said. "Then the problems will not
The squalid politics of squandered aid The
Business January 16, 2005 6:00 PM (GMT) Peter Bauer, the late British
expert on the economics of dev-eloping countrie,s famously quipped that
foreign aid is a system by which the poor in rich countries are taxed to
subsidise the rich in poor countries. How right he was: since 1951, Western
countries have given developing countries more than $1 trillion (£530bn,
E750bn) in economic and humanitarian aid; instead of stimulating economic
growth and helping the needy, foreign aid has perpetuated poverty, bred
corruption and financed kleptocracy.
Gordon Brown, Britains Chancellor,
appears to know nothing of this: he is in South Africa this weekend,
completing a tour of the continent to extol the virtues of his plan to
double foreign aid to $100bn a year over the next decade, grandly (albeit
incorrectly) dubbed a new Marshall Plan. Under his proposed International
Finance Facility, which has failed to garner US and other support and will
therefore likely never materialise, bonds would be issued using rich
countries long-term funding commitments as collateral. This is likely to do
more for Mr Browns ambitions to replace Tony Blair as Prime Minister than it
is to eradicate poverty in Africa.
When it comes to the scandal that is
global poverty, Mr Brown undoubtedly has his heart in the right place: but
he refuses to see that his old-fashioned approach to helping Africa has
already been tried and found disastrously wanting. That around a billion
human beings must still survive on under a dollar a day in 2005 is nothing
short of an obscenity; it is a terrible blot on all our consciences and must
be tackled urgently. But before they waste yet more time and money in
feel-good schemes while doing little that actually helps the poor, Mr Brown
and those who agree with him that more aid is the solution (including, for
reasons which escapes u,s Michael Howards Conservative Party) should take a
look at the facts.
Zambia, a recipient of foreign aid for over four
decade,s is a typical horror story: it has received well over $1bn in
bilateral economic aid from the US alone and was the beneficiary of 12
adjustment loans from the World Bank and the IMF during the 1980s and 1990s.
Yet Zambias real gross domestic product (GDP) per person collapsed by almost
50% in its first 35 years after independence. Today, its citizens are
substantially poorer than they were four decades ago and threequarters of
the population still lives in abject poverty.
The situation is little
different in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa: since 1980, gross domestic
product (GDP) per person has collapsed from $660 to $577 in 2002 in constant
term,s a 12% fall. As a result of reduced income and the explosion of
disease,s life expectancy in the region has fallen. The regions combined
annual economic output is a mere $296bn, about 15% of Britains. Many
countries are poorer today than when they first become independent, despite
$100bn in World Bank assistance; sub-Saharan Africa routinely receives 8% of
its GDP in aid. Excluding Nigeria and South Africa, aid reaches 13% of GDP,
more than four times greater than the Marshall plan at its peak. There is
overwhelming evidence that foreign aid has no real effect on a countrys
growth rates. Brett Schaefer, a development economist at the Heritage
Foundation in Washington, has analysed the 45 sub-Saharan African countries
for which detailed numbers are available between 1980 and 2002. He finds
that 23 suffered negative annual growth in real per capita GDP; seven
experienced growth between 0% and 1%; and 15 growth of more than 1%. Of the
latter category, only three achieved more than 4%.
Aids abysmal record is
not unique to Africa. Of the 77 countries that received aid of at least 1%
of their GDP between 1980 and 2001, 33 suffered a decline in real per capita
GDP; 15 saw growth of less than 1% a year; and 29 enjoyed growth of more
than 1% a year. Even more depressingly, out of these 29 countrie,s only
eight grew by more than 3% a year.
One reason why aid has had so little
effect is that much of it has ended up in the Swiss (and London) bank
accounts of corrupt politicians. According to the World Bank Institute, more
than $1 trillion is paid in bribes each year globally, roughly 3% of global
GDP and equivalent to the total value of aid ever paid to the third world.
According to the institute, countries that reduce corruption and strengthen
their rule of law can boost incomes by as much as four times in the long
term, while cutting child mortality by up to 75%, a phenomenon it calls the
400% governance dividend.
Transparency International estimates that
General Suharto, the former Indonesian leader, stole between $15bn and $35bn
from his country, while Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippine,s Mobutu Sese
Seko in Zaire and Sani Abacha in Nigeria embezzled up to $5bn each. Robert
Mugabe, Zimbabwes dictator, is another monstrous tyrant who is still being
propped up with Western taxpayers money. Even though sanctions were slapped
on Zimbabwe four years ago, the European Union (EU) has since provided at
least E30m in aid to Zimbabwe and Britain a further £62m, while other
European countries have also contributed, taking the total channeled to
Zimbabwe via Brussels to at least £115m. But while the money was meant to be
spent on Aids and helping the poor, an EU audit last year found that 89% of
the total had ended up in the pockets of allies of Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF
The key drivers of economic and social development are domestic
policies and institution,s not foreign aid: as the cases of North and South
Korea and East and West Germany proved conclusively, capitalist economie,s
with strong attachments to property right,s the rule of law, limited
government intervention in the economy and low inflation generate massive
growth; socialist economies are a disaster and embed poverty and
deprivation, regardless of how much foreign aid they receive.
fact that national income per person in South East Asia was lower than in
sub-Saharan Africa in 1960, but has since surged following the most
remarkable and fastest economic turnaround in history, is a natural
experiment which demonstrates the superiority of the free-market development
model. We are not talking only of runaway success stories such as Singapore,
Hong Kong or Taiwan: even relatively unsuccessful Asian countries such as
Indonesia have done far better than their African counterparts. In 1960,
Indonesias national income per person was a mere $249, almost the same as
Nigerias $224. Since then, and despite its enormous oil reserves and huge
injections of foreign aid, Nigeria GDP has increased by only $24 per heard
after adjusting for inflation, while Indonesias GDP per person has soared
four-fold to over $1,000.
The two countries are on different
continents but they share many characteristics: they both enjoy oil
reserve,s have multi-ethnic populations that are large and growing, suffer
form extensive religious tension,s are large geographically and plagued with
corrupt and unstable governments. The only difference is that Indonesia,
despite many problem,s has embraced a freer market
Successful countrie,s such as Hong Kong, never relied on outside
help in the first place; aid to China and India averaged only 0.4% and 0.7%
of GDP during the 1980s and 1990s. Their economies only started to surge
when they began dumping the failed collectivist nostrums of the past; todays
poor countries must do the same. Africa and the West have a lot to learn
from the two African economies that have bucked the trend and enjoyed some
success in recent years: Botswana and Mauritiu,s which have both enjoyed
average growth of 4.4% since 1980 and which boast the freest, most
market-friendly economies outside South Africa.
For the West, the
first priority must be to push for free trade and the abolition of its
scandalous trade barriers and agricultural subsidies. To his credit, Mr
Brown supports freer trade; but alone he can do nothing, because the UKs
trade and agricultural policies are determined in Brussel,s an increasingly
intolerable situation. But trade liberalisation alone wont be enough. The
West must help African countries to reform their institutions and especially
to revolutionise their attitude to property rights and the rule of law, the
single most important prerequisites for economic growth. Any aid or debt
forgiveness must be subordinated to this goal. Not glamorous enough for Mr
Brown and other politicians who like to grandstand with taxpayers money,
perhaps; but unlike chucking billions at the problem such a policy would
actually work and allow millions of Africans to start enjoying the fruits of
prosperity for the first time.
From The Sunday Mirror, 16 January Spy ring mystery
deepens Staff Writers As the mystery surrounding the
espionage saga that has seen five prominent personalities appearing before
the courts deepens, it has emerged that the South African apartheid era
intelligence network might have been involved in the trafficking of
information from Zimbabwe to an as yet unknown destination. Furthermore, it
was also revealed by sources that the South African-based handler who
allegedly acted as the information conduit was arrested at the same time
Godfrey Dzvairo, Zimbabwe's ambassador designate to Mozambique, was picked
up by State security agents. The source added that the spy ring probably
might have gone beyond Dzvairo, the flashy but embattled Phillip Chiyangwa,
Zanu PF security director Kennedy Karidza, Metropolitan Bank's Tendai
Matambanadzo and ruling party director of external affairs Itai Marchi. The
source said, "People will be surprised when the whole truth finally comes
out. It's not just about diplomats, ruling party officials and Zanu
PF-affiliated businesspersons. It goes further than that." However, the
source would not reveal the identity of the South African-based handler,
saying the case was being held in camera. He came from Zambia and was
supposed to meet Dzvairo at a Victoria Falls hotel for a briefing. However,
the State was aware of the rendezvous and they were both arrested at the
hotel," the source said.The apartheid connection fuelled speculation
that Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
may have been part of a larger jigsaw puzzle involving "regime change" and
when the truth is finally reviewed might be linked to an intricate web of
intrigue, conspiracy and sinister plots connected to the selling of State
secrets scandal. Apartheid security and intelligence institutions have a
history of trying to destabilise the region, in particular Zimbabwe, and
were largely involved in the assassination of Mozambique's founding leader
Samora Machel. The younger Thatcher was dragged before the South African
courts for helping finance a group of mercenaries, the majority of whom were
arrested at Harare International Airport in March last year, who were on
their way to overthrow the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of
Equatorial Guinea. Mark Thatcher entered a plea bargain with the South
African judiciary in which he pleaded guilty to violating sections of South
Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act. The African National Congress
Youth League, shocked by the decision, issued a statement saying: "Our
efforts to build a continent free of coups and at peace with itself will
never succeed if the likes of Mark Thatcher are allowed to walk free and not
face the full might of the law."An observer within government
questioned why the USA was not averse to accommodating Mark Thatcher even
though it was clear that he was no different from Osama bin Laden - "a rich
terrorist". A government source said, "Get it right. It is the apartheid
element and this has nothing to do with the South African government. It is
the rich capitalists at work to destabilise Africa and this has nothing to
do with propaganda." State prosecutors this past week told the High Court in
Harare that Chiyangwa, who faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted,
was initially given a 'retainer' of US$4 000 for his alleged treachery but
this was increased to US$10 000 at the end of 2004. A number of White
capitalists have been linked with Zimbabwean affairs in a negative way in
the recent past including Billy Rautenbach, John Bredenkamp and Tony
Buckingham who has been referred to as the new Tiny Rowland.
Reuters, 15 JanuaryMugabe approves election lawsHarare -
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has signed into law electoral reforms
which the opposition says do not go far enough to guarantee a fair vote in
March's parliamentary polls, official media say. The state-owned Herald
newspaper quoted a government gazette saying Mugabe had signed the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission Bill and Electoral Bill, which were passed by
parliament last month. The laws seek to set up an independent election
commission, bring in a single day of voting instead of two, ensure counting
of ballots at polling centres and the establishment of an electoral court to
deal with election disputes. All these conditions have been demanded by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is expected to
participate in the March polls despite threatening a boycott. But it also
wants guidelines on the conduct of political parties and laws to curb and
punish perpetrators of violence and intimidation it says has helped sway
past elections in the ruling Zanu PF's favour. And it has called for the
electoral court to prosecute cases of political violence instead of only
hearing disputes. The date Mugabe signed the bills was not immediately
clear, but they come into effect as soon as they are signed. The government
gazette was not immediately available to Reuters on
Saturday.Mugabe has been under pressure from the opposition and
Southern Africa Development Community peers to institute reforms ensuring
free and fair elections in March. The MDC and critics from Western
governments and African churches say Mugabe's Zanu PF party rigged the last
parliamentary poll in 2000 and the presidential election in 2002 and accuse
the government of widespread human rights abuses. Mugabe has already said
Zimbabwe will only allow invited observers to the March elections. The MDC
wants the parliamentary elections delayed to allow more time for
implementation of the reforms but the government says this is unlawful. A
date is yet to be set for the polls. Mugabe, in power since independence in
1980, accuses Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler Britain of leading a Western
campaign to oust him over his government's seizure of white owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks. The 80-year-old leader rejects charges he
has manipulated previous elections and says the land seizures are not
responsible for food shortages which have plagued the country since