The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Venue: American Embassy

24 Grovenor Square



(Nearest tube Bond Street or Marble Arch)

Date: Saturday 19 January 2002

Time: 12.00hrs - 14.00hrs

**** Group 1  ****


Venue: Home Office

50 Queen Anne's Gate



(Nearest tube St James Park Station - Broadway exit) 

Date: Saturday 19 January 2002

Time: 12.00hrs - 14.00hrs

**** Group 2  ****


Venue: Zimbabwe High Commission

429 Strand Street


(Nearest tube Charring Cross).

Date: Saturday 19 January 2002

Time: 12.00hrs - 14.00hrs Protest

Vigil: 24 hours Starting 12.00hrs Sat 19th to 12.00hrs Sun 20th

**** Group 3  ****


This will be followed by a 24 hour vigil outside Zimbabwe House, ending at
12:00 with the singing of the National Anthem. Red ribbons will be placed
on the trees outside Zimbabwe House representing those known to have been
killed for trying to bring about political change in Zimbabwe.


With months to go before the critical 2002 presidential elections in Zimbabwe it is essential that the international community uses all its resources to ensure that the election not only takes place but will also be free and fair. The presidential election in March is not just about choosing a new government, it is also about choosing a new society for the people of Zimbabwe, a society based on core democratic principles. 

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From Business Day (SA), 17 January

UK rejects allegations of funding broadcasts

Harare - The British high commission in Harare has dismissed as "wrong" allegations that it was funding "illegal broadcasts to Zimbabwe" and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). In a statement released yesterday, the High Commission said the allegations published in the government-controlled Herald and Sunday Mail newspapers were unfounded. "With the exception of the BBC World Service, the British government is not funding any radio stations broadcasting to Zimbabwe. The BBC World Service is funded by the British government. It provides worldwide broadcasts, including to Zimbabwe." There were Zimbabweans operating a radio station in the UK, but without British government assistance. Capital Radio was shut down last year soon after starting operations in Harare following the freeing of airwaves by the Supreme Court in 2000.

The high commission said claims that Britain was funding the MDC were false. "The British government is not funding the MDC and is not violating the Political Parties (Finance) Act. We have not received any formal representations to support the allegations that we are." The high commission said Britain was funding humanitarian projects in Zimbabwe: HIV/AIDS alleviation, supporting victims of human rights abuses, and feeding programmes for malnourished children and pregnant mothers. In addition, the mission denied reports that Britain had threatened Malawi with an aid freeze if it did not condemn President Robert Mugabe's violent repression and state-sponsored lawlessness. "Britain has not threatened Malawi over Zimbabwe, another statement said. "Britain is providing £70m to Malawi this year for development, of which £25m is budgetary support."

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From the Financial Gazette, 17 January

10 000 soldiers deployed to campaign for Mugabe

The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has sent 10 000 soldiers on leave and deployed them throughout the country to campaign for President Robert Mugabe’s re-election in the presidential plebiscite due on March 9 and 10, it was established this week. The Financial Gazette also established that the soldiers would be paid an extra $10 000 a month each for their work in the presidential election campaign, in addition to their normal salaries. The soldiers went on leave from the beginning of January this year and will remain in the field until the presidential election is concluded. The soldiers are drawn from various battalions around the country, although authoritative sources said the Presidential Guard battalion had contributed the biggest single chunk to the 10 000 troops deployed for the campaign. The soldiers were deployed to campaign for Mugabe in their own home areas.

The troop deployments were followed by a tough statement from the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), Vitalis Zvinavashe, last week who warned Zimbabweans that the army would not accept a president who did not participate in Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war. "We wish to make it very clear to all Zimbabwean citizens that the security organisations will only stand in support of those political leaders that will pursue Zimbabwean values, traditions and beliefs for which thousands of lives were lost, in pursuit of Zimbabwe’s hard-won independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests," he said. "To this end, let it be known that the highest office in the land is a straitjacket whose occupant is expected to observe the objectives of the liberation struggle. We will therefore not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our sovereignty, our country and our people."

Zvinavashe’s statement has been roundly condemned by the international community and by Zimbabweans who say if that is the position of the ZDF, then there would be no need to have an election in the first place. ZNA spokesman Colonel Mbonisi Gatsheni this week said he was not aware of the army deployments for purposes of campaigning for Mugabe. "I am not aware of that situation so I cannot comment further," he said. He also declined a request by this newspaper for him to seek comment on the matter from his superiors. The top commanders had earlier referred all questions to Gatsheni. The army spokesman also refused to comment on whether Zvinavashe’s statement did not contradict an earlier statement by the army’s public relations directorate that the ZNA would serve any leader elected by Zimbabweans. "I issue statements on behalf of Commander Zvinavashe and you can’t ask me to comment on what my boss has already said," Gatsheni said. The directorate had, prior to Zvinavashe’s statement, repeatedly rejected charges that the army was partisan and vowed it would serve any government elected by the people. The Financial Gazette managed to trace and speak to some of the soldiers deployed on the ground in the Chikomba area. The newspaper also strenuously sought to speak to Zvinavashe himself on his mobile phone but could not go beyond his aide de camp who answered the phone.
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Zimbabwe violence rises despite mounting pressure
Reuters: 17 January, 2002 13:08 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Political violence is rising in Zimbabwe despite growing international pressure on President Robert Mugabe to rein in militant supporters spearheading his re-election campaign, human rights groups have said.
They said on Thursday die-hard militants from the ruling ZANU-PF party had stepped up violence against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the past week ahead of the country's March 9-10 presidential election.
The drive defied calls by Western governments led by the United States for Mugabe to restore respect for the rule of law and ensure the build-up to the polls is fair.
"We are receiving more and more reports of violence from across the whole country...the reports we are getting suggest it is ZANU-PF and not the MDC which is behind this violence," said a spokesman for Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights).
Zimbabwe is embroiled in its biggest political crisis since independence from Britain in 1980, symbolised by the violent seizure of white-owned farms and state-sponsored campaigns against the independence of the judiciary and the media.
Washington has warned Mugabe that he and his lieutenants face personal sanctions if the polls are not free and fair.
European Union foreign ministers will discuss Zimbabwe on January 28 in Brussels and decide whether Mugabe has fulfilled commitments to accept international observers and independent media to cover the election.
United Nations human rights chief Mary Robinson expressed alarm on Wednesday about the "deteriorating situation". She highlighted rights abuses against opposition supporters, the independent media and human rights groups.
ZANU-PF has pushed legislation through parliament this month that grants the security forces sweeping powers to curb the opposition and disenfranchises millions of Zimbabweans abroad.
Legislation which critics argue aims to muzzle the media will be debated in parliament next week.
State-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has reported an increase in political violence across the country, but critics accuse it of biased reporting in which MDC supporters are always the perpetrators of violence and not the victims.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Non-Governmental Organisations Forum said a total of seven politically motivated murders were reported in December, the highest number for any month in 2001.
"It is urgent that the Zimbabwean government takes steps to ensure a climate of peaceful political competition," the forum statement said.
The MDC says nearly 100 of its supporters have been killed in political violence since February 2000 when the programme of land reform began.
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai poses the greatest threat to Mugabe's nearly 22-year-old hold on power at the polls to be held against the background of a political and economic crisis.
ZANU-PF denies opposition charges that graduates of its recently-launched national youth training programme have been carrying out a campaign of violence against opposition supporters in the rural areas and black urban townships.
Roadblocks have been mounted to demand ruling party membership cards from unsuspecting travellers.
Mugabe blames the crisis on sabotage by his opponents, led by former colonial ruler Britain, who he says are working with the opposition to oust him in retaliation for his drive to redistribute white-owned farms among landless blacks.
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Zim's Gold Output Falls By Massive 4 000 Kg

Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S gold production has fallen by a massive 4 000 kg as a deepening economic and political crisis, coupled with depressed world metal prices, took a toll on the country's once vibrant industry.
Figures given to the Financial Gazette this week by the Chamber of Mines show production of the precious yellow metal slumping from 22 069.9 kg in 2000 to 18 044 kg last year.
Earnings from gold sales totalled $10.57 billion last year, up from $8.6 billion from the previous year.
Industry executives said the nominally higher earnings posted last year reflected Zimbabwe's high inflationary environment of the past two years and that, in real terms, the industry had earned much less than in 2000.
Zimbabwe's gold output has been declining since 1999 because of a variety of factors, among them the low price of the mineral on international markets.
But the plight of Zimbabwe's gold industry worsened further last year, just as was the case with the rest of the economy's other productive sectors because of Zimbabwe's worsening crisis over land ownership, the rule of law, human rights and democracy.
According to the chamber, gold miners are experiencing viability problems and many players in the industry will have to cut down on their labourforce and on production targets in order to remain afloat.
The industry employs an estimated 20 000 workers.
"Many gold producers are running on huge losses and will be forced to close down again unless a speedy solution is implemented. A number of jobs are also on the line if nothing is done to rescue the sector, " one senior chamber official said.
An overvalued Zimbabwe dollar has only compounded the sector's problems.
In November last year gold producers had to send a distress call to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the central bank, asking it to increase the price at which it was buying gold from them in order to save gold companies from collapse.
The government has so far not responded to the producers' latest request.
In April last year, the RBZ introduced a floor support scheme under which it bought gold from producers at above international market prices.
The bank offered to purchase gold at US$343 an ounce, which was reviewed upwards to US$430 an ounce in August ¾ far higher than the US$287 an ounce the metal was trading on global markets this week.
But gold producers maintain that this is still insufficient and that they still lose out on benefits they would have accrued from the RBZ's support scheme because of a distorted and fixed exchange rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars to one greenback.
The local dollar trades at anything between $300 to $400 to one US dollar on the black market, where most companies including some of the gold miners are forced to seek scarce foreign exchange to buy inputs.
Industry sources this week said the cash-strapped government had forked out more than $1.5 billion in subsidies to the gold sector last year.
By the end of last year gold producers had retained over US$40 million of their hard cash earnings under the RBZ scheme, which seeks to inject life into the sector. But analysts say the cocktail of measures to lift output had been too little too late.
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Chefs Loot Zim, US Says
Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
Staff Reporter with Reuter

Ed Royce, chairman of the Africa Committee of the US House of Representatives, said his government would pile pressure on Mugabe to ensure presidential elections on March 9 and 10 are free and fair.
Washington has threatened targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his key officials if the ballot is unfair. With the European Union, it has decried as anti-opposition the legislation that Mugabe is pushing through Parliament about public order, election rules, the media and the rights of trade unions.
"Assets are being transferred out of Zimbabwe by close allies, military officers close to President Mugabe and, as a consequence of that, clearly we need to take steps to ensure that we are not a part of basically looting a national treasury," Royce told reporters in Cape Town.
There was no immediate comment from the Zimbabwe government.
Royce said the US was aware of significant deposits in American banks by Mugabe's allies and business partners. He urged President George W Bush's administration to quickly locate the accounts ahead of a possible decision to freeze them.
He said European governments were reporting similar flows of funds out of Zimbabwe and out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where officers in the Zimbabwean army's 11 000-strong contingent there have business concessions.
"We have a serious concern with the fact that, while people are struggling in Zimbabwe, we see this type of free spending and transfer of assets out of Zimbabwe and to accounts in the United States," Royce said.
"You certainly can expect the US to continue to ratchet up the pressure for free and fair elections between now and March 9."
Under a law signed last month, Washington will oppose debt relief and vote against loan credit or guarantees to the Zimbabwe government if it does not change its ways.
"We do not want an economic partnership with Zimbabwe at this time because it is not following the rule of law, it is not respecting the rights of its citizens and it is not following its own constitution," he said.
Most foreign donors have suspended financial aid to the country, which was once an economic showpiece in Africa, and are limiting support to direct food shipments for people affected by economic collapse.
Royce spoke only a day after London's Financial Times reported that US and British governments had begun identifying "millions of dollars" thought to have been deposited abroad by Mugabe and his officials.
Mugabe has always denied having any money abroad, saying all his wealth is in Zimbabwe.
The Times said the moves by the two governments were in preparation for a possible decision by Washington and the European Union to impose personal sanctions on Mugabe and leading members of his government.
Britain later said it was premature to talk of such a step because diplomatic efforts to try to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis were still in progress.
The Times said the envisaged sanctions would involve freezing bank accounts and refusing visas for Mugabe and his officials so they would not travel to Western countries.
Reuters, an international news agency, quoted the newspaper as saying: "Some estimates put the sums allegedly salted away in foreign bank accounts at hundreds of millions of dollars but the British Foreign Office and the US State Department did not yet have an accurate figure."
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Would-Be Farmers Yet to See New Plots

Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
Staff Reporter

CONFUSION surrounded the government's fast-track land reforms this week as would-be beneficiaries said they were still landless because of bureaucratic delays which some analysts said were an attempt by the government to buy time ahead of the crunch March presidential election.
A snap survey by the Financial Gazette this week revealed that most of the properties on which new settlers are being allotted plots are being contested or are already occupied by self-styled independence war veterans and other ruling ZANU PF party supporters, which means that the beneficiaries cannot move onto the land.
As a result, most of the people whose names have appeared in the state media in the past few weeks as having been given land are still in the dark about the specific location of the plots other than general information such as the province and district.
Most of the beneficiaries said they had been told that the farms on which their plots are located are not yet ready for occupation because war veterans had already planted maize on the properties and would only leave after harvesting.
"That is the tragedy of the whole issue because you will find that some of those people who invaded farms when the land crisis started were not allocated land under the scheme and are still living illegally on the occupied farms," said one beneficiary who was allocated land in the Murewa district of Mashonaland East.
More than 27 000 individuals had by Tuesday this week been listed in the state media as having been successful applicants under President Robert Mugabe's fast-track land reform programme.
Efforts to get comment from Lands and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made or Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, whose ministry is in charge of the actual placement of the resettled farmers, were fruitless this week.
"By rushing to announce the names of people before the farms are ready for occupation, the government could create conflict between the people who have been allocated land and those who have planted on the farms because some of us are keen to start working on our farms immediately," said another would-be farmer.
All the interviewees preferred not to be named for fear they could lose their farms or plots or face retribution from marauding ZANU PF militia.
This newspaper also found that another impediment had been an apparent breakdown in communication between Made's ministry and its district offices, which had resulted in several successful applicants being turned away after inquiring about the exact location of their plots.
"When I went to check at the local district office, I was told they were waiting for information from head office before they could write to me stating where I had been allocated land," said another successful applicant who was given a small-scale farm in Makonde district of Mashonaland West province.
The analysts accused the government of trying to hoodwink the electorate ahead of the crucial March 9-10 ballot in which Mugabe faces a stern challenge from opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The move is also seen as an attempt by Mugabe to mislead the international community that an orderly land redistribution programme is taking place in Zimbabwe.
A rural and urban planning lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said an orderly programme should have involved a coordinated approach between the various government departments involved in the exercise.
"The procedure should be fairly standard. Once new settlers get letters from the district office, the district administrator's office should be able to take them to the respective piece of land allocated to them," the lecturer said.
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Reserve Bank Urged to Close Troubled Banks

Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
Staff Reporter

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has told the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to close troubled institutions to avoid systemic risk to the rest of the Zimbabwean financial sector.
The Bretton Woods institution, which sent a team to Harare last September for the annual Article IV consultations with Zimbabwean authorities, said in a report released after the consultations that the RBZ needs to exert strict vigilance on the financial system, particularly with regard to provisioning and capital adequacy.
"Non-viable institutions will need to be closed without delay," the Washington-based body said.
According to the RBZ, several Zimbabwean financial institutions are exposed to adversely classified loans and the central bank is currently reviewing capital adequacy requirements.
A number of Zimbabwean financial institutions are said to be in the lurch due to lax lending to top-ranking politicians as well as the exposure to commercial agriculture whose viability has been hit by the government's chaotic land reforms.
One of these institutions, the Universal Merchant Bank (UniBank), has been under the management of a curator appointed by the RBZ in September 2000 to protect depositors and creditors amid allegations the bank was severely undercapitalised and exposed to non-performing loans.
Under Zimbabwean law, a troubled bank is supposed to be under curatorship for 12 months after which its status is reviewed.
The fate of UniBank has therefore remained hazy despite interest shown in it by a consortium of Zimbabwean and international investors who were last year keen to inject fresh capital into the bank.
No comment was available from the RBZ this week on the fate of UniBank and other non-viable institutions.
The decision to place UniBank under the management of a curator meant that all deposits and assets held by the bank had been frozen for the past 16 months and the curator was given powers to determine the extent of the bank's financial crisis.
The accepting house's problems were largely due to its exposure to non-performing government loans. At the time of the central bank's action, UniBank was owed over $600 million by government and quasi-government institutions.
Among its shareholders were Transnational Holdings Limited, Southampton Assurance Company of Zimbabwe, Zimnat Investment Corporation, the Local Authorities Pension Fund, the Catering Industry Pension Fund and the National Railways of Zimbabwe Pension Fund.
Despite posting generally impressive financial results in the past two years, most of the players in Zimbabwe's banking sector have had to contend with the rising risk of non-performing loans due to the country's economic crisis.
Most of the institutions have been forced to increase provisions against bad and doubtful debts due to the adverse economic conditions.
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S.Africa braces for possible Zimbabwe refugee flow  
CAPE TOWN, Jan. 17 — South Africa has designated a disused military base near its northern border as a potential reception centre for refugees fleeing neighbouring Zimbabwe in the event of what one official called a ''meltdown'' there.  
       Home Affairs Department spokesman Leslie Mashokwe said on Thursday a committee including government, intelligence, police and defence officials had been set up to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe, scene of growing political and economic turmoil.
       ''They have identified Artonvilla, an old South African National Defence Force complex near Messina, to provide accommodation for refugees should the situation in Zimbabwe reach meltdown,'' he said.
       Health workers, immigration officials, police and soldiers could be called up at any moment to help handle a sudden influx of refugees, he added.
       Fidellis Swai, regional spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, said the organisation was in touch with the governments of all Zimbabwe's neighbours and would assist where necessary.
       ''At this stage there is no concrete indication from our people on the ground that anyone is on the move. But we are prepared for the worst and we can be on the scene within 24 hours if necessary,'' he told Reuters.
       Swai said the UNHCR had not prepositioned emergency supplies in anticipation of a significant refugee crisis.
       Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is seeking to extend his 22-year rule in elections called for March 9 and 10, campaigning mainly on the strength of his drive to take farms from whites and redistribute them to landless blacks and military veterans.
       But intimidation and violence surrounding the drive and the election campaign have pushed the economy into deep recession, with unemployment and inflation rising, food shortages looming and a foreign exchange crisis causing fuel and other shortages.
       The European Union, the United States and Zimbabwe's African neighbours have all urged Mugabe to drop plans to ban foreign observers and reporters and to ensure a free and fair poll.
       South African President Thabo Mbeki has refused to break ties with Mugabe, saying his country would bear the brunt of a total economic or social collapse there and that his primary duty is to protect his limited influence over Mugabe.
       Defence spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said the monitoring committee would respond to requests for assistance from other departments but not take the lead in managing a refugee crisis.
       Provincial immigration officials said there had been no surge in the steady flow of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe over the past few months.
       Britain has said it will stop deporting refugees to Zimbabwe until after the March election, but South Africa is still sending illegal immigrants back across the border every day.
       One official said the Northern Province administration had repatriated 5,058 Zimbabweans in November, adding: ''This is around normal for this time of year.''
       An earlier plan to stockpile tents to be used in an open-air exhibition area had been dropped in favour of the plan to use empty barracks in old military bases close to the border.
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Zanu Pf to Seize Firms

Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
Sydney Masamvu, Political Editor

ZIMBABWE'S ruling ZANU PF party intends to seize foreign and white-owned companies in major towns across the country if its candidate in the March presidential ballot, Robert Mugabe, wins the election, it was established this week.
Insiders in the party said ZANU PF, hard pressed for time, had temporarily put these plans on hold until after the presidential ballot.
The plan is crafted along the lines of ZANU PF's often violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms, launched in 2000 and has been chiefly responsible for the current food shortages of the staple maize and bread.
The sources said ZANU PF had drawn up a list of foreign-owned companies countrywide which it intends to take over should Mugabe win the poll.
The ruling party sees the owners of foreign-owned firms, especially those with British interests, as being symphathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai is seen winning the March ballot.
According to the sources, business tycoons in ZANU PF - some of whom have interests in several local companies - have been at the forefront of compiling the hit list of companies to be taken over.
ZANU PF had wanted to seize foreign companies and white-owned commercial farms before the presidential election but this had failed because of the inordinately long time that had to be devoted to the party's controversial land reforms.
"We had planned to take over these companies as soon as we were through with the land resettlement programme before the presidential elections but this did not happen because of the long time we took on the land," a senior ZANU PF member told the Financial Gazette.
"The plan has not been abandoned. We will pursue it vigorously," the official, a member of the party's supreme Politburo, said.
"Depending on the outcome of the election, we will take over foreign and other local companies, including those which are sponsoring and bankrolling the MDC and are and championing the cause of our former colonial master, the British."
The official preferred not to be named.
Herbert Murerwa, the minister of industry and international trade, and ZANU PF's external affairs head Didymus Mutasa could not be reached for immediate comment.
The government accuses Britain of masterminding a plan to topple Mugabe, a charge London dismisses as nonsense.
A sizeable number of firms in Zimbabwe's industrial sector are partly owned by the British. Companies in the manufacturing sector and responsible for the production of basic commodities are also on the targeted list, the sources said.
Mugabe has repeatedly warned that his government will seize firms which he accuses of sabotaging the economy by creating shortages, charging exorbitant prices for their commodities and closing down without any reason.
Last year ZANU PF supporters raided scores of Zimbabwean companies and physically attacked several managers ostensibly to settle labour disputes in violence that saw millions of dollars being extorted from these firms.
Some of these firms were closed because of the massive extortions, which only stopped after South Africa threatened to shut down all its companies in Zimbabwe.
The police have yet to prosecute the culprits behind those invasions.
In the past month, ZANU PF has been approaching companies demanding "donations" for its presidential election campaign, seen by most as another extortion.
Corporate banks, prominent businessmen and some firms listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange have been targeted to cough up these donations.
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Tobacco Earnings Slump Below Target

Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S tobacco industry failed to meet its earnings target for last year when its revenue tumbled below the US$400 million earned the previous year as violent and disruptive farm seizures took their toll on the country's single biggest hard cash earner.
A study by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), whose results were seen by the Financial Gazette this week, shows that from a projected total earnings of US$643.95 million for the 2001 crop, tobacco sales at the auction floors last year netted only US$354.4 million.
The figure is US$43.6 million less than what was earned from the 2000 crop.
State-sponsored and often violent invasions of farms and the government's own chaotic land reforms have brought Zimbabwe's commercial agriculture to a virtual standstill.
With more than half of the country's commercial farms, including some of its largest tobacco farms, now gazetted for acquisition by the government under its land reforms, tobacco industry experts say Zimbabwe could soon lose its status as the world's third largest tobacco exporter.
The disruptions of the land reforms to farming have already resulted in serious food shortages because farmers have been unable to plant enough of the staple maize and wheat.
As well as the reduced output caused by the farm disturbances, earnings for tobacco farmers on the Zimbabwe auction floors were also hit hard by the distorted exchange.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had last year arranged a US$380 million offshore credit facility to enable buyers to buy tobacco at an exchange rate of about $300 to one US dollar, which is far higher than the fixed official rate of $55 to one greenback.
But, according to the TIMB study, buyers had on average paid an exchange of $100 to one American dollar for tobacco. No explanation is given as to why this was so.
As a result, the tobacco producers had earned an average US$1.75 per kg of tobacco instead of US$3.18 per kg that had been expected following the RBZ's intervention.
A TIMB's report says: "A study carried out by TIMB on foreign currency drawdown by buyers has revealed that the average exchange rate used for the purchase of tobacco on the auction floors was $100 to US$1.
"This places the official average price for 2001 at US$1.75 per kg versus US$3.18 per kg 'ticket' price. Actual US dollar earnings now amount to US$354.4 million versus US$643.95 million."
According to the report, earnings from the shipment of processed tobacco to mostly European markets between January and December last year amounted to US$594 million, reflecting a 13 percent rise from the previous year's earnings of US$526 million.
The higher earnings from the exports of processed tobacco reflect the firmer export prices in 2001 which averaged US$3 compared to US$2.91 per kg in 2000.
Two hundred million kgs of tobacco were sold at the country's auction floors last year compared to 237 million kgs in 2000.
Last year mobs of government supporters burnt down significant numbers of tobacco seedbeds and disrupted cropping operations, forcing farmers to grow 53 666 hectares of tobacco, down from the 75 000 hectares put under the crop in 2000.
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Council Ordered to Rush Projects

Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 17, 2001
Staff Reporter

ZANU PF has ordered the Harare City Council to fast-track unbudgeted new development projects worth more than $5 billion in several townships around the capital in an attempt to win votes ahead of mayoral and presidential elections on March 9 and 10, it was established this week.
The Financial Gazette this week toured a massive industrial shells infrastructural project being developed by the municipality in Mbare and workers on site said they had been ordered to complete the project in a record 15 days.
Hundreds of factory shells being built on the site would be distributed to residents before the election.
"We were ordered to work round the clock and on weekends. We laid this complex network of sewer pipes within a record 10 days and now we will put the shells in a few days' time. It is difficult to get things right under this kind of pressure," a council engineer said.
The workers said as soon as they finished the Mbare project, they would develop similar factory shells in Highfield, Budiriro and Mufakose, three densely-populated townships which are also strongholds of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
"We suggested realistic deadlines for these projects but we were turned down by the commission running Harare. We were told everything has to be fast-tracked," another council engineer said.
The engineers, both of whom did not want to be named, said they had also been told funds would be made available for the construction of new pump stations and sewer treatment works in Mabvuku, Tafara, Chisipite and other suburbs of Harare.
Although some of the projects had not been budgeted for in the Harare municipality's $22.9 billion budget unveiled in May, the engineers said they had been informed the cash-strapped government would help in the funding, even if it meant that it had to print more money.
Recent reports say the Harare municipality is working on awarding an $8 billion contract to business tycoon Enock Kamushinda to refurbish the eyesore Matapi hostels in Mbare, allegedly without going to tender.
The engineers said the refurbishment of the flats would go a long way towards alleviating the plight of thousands of people who are living in abject squalor.
"The only good thing about these developments is that ZANU PF has realised that unlike in the rural areas where it beats the rural folk into submission, it can only buy support in the urban areas through delivering services," one of the engineers said.
Apart from these projects, the ruling party had also directed the council to go on a massive campaign to repair pot-holed roads and to clean up the city with the help of militias trained at the Border Gezi Centre near Bindura.
Elijah Chanakira, head of the government-appointed commission running Harare in the absence of an elected council, had not returned calls left at his office by this newspaper up to the time of going to print.
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Mugabe visits Congo to mark Kabila assassination  
 HARARE, Jan. 17 — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe left his troubled country on Thursday night for Kinshasa to mark the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Congolese leader Laurent Kabila, Zimbabwe state television reported. 
Mugabe, 77, who is battling a political crisis at home, is one of the Democratic Republic of Congo government's key allies in a war against rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda.
       Mugabe deployed more than 11,000 troops in the former Zaire in 1998 to back Kabila, who was shot dead by one of his bodyguards last January and replaced by his son Joseph.
       Wednesday was the first of three days of mourning in Congo to mark the anniversaries of the deaths of Kabila and Patrice Lumumba, the country's first democratically elected leader.
       Critics of the Zimbabwean intervention in Congo say some army officers are exploiting the mineral wealth of the central African country locked in a three-year war that has killed some two million people and sucked in six foreign armies.
       Mugabe has come under increasing international criticism over a government moves to restrict opposition ahead of presidential elections on March 9-10.
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