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Zim Independent

Goche speaks on spies
Dumisani Muleya
STATE Security minister Nicholas Goche has broken his silence on the ongoing
espionage saga, saying the truth will soon come out on the alleged
undercover work by foreign-hired locals.

Goche said the court proceedings and further investigations of accused Zanu
PF members and a veteran diplomat facing charges of selling classified state
secrets to foreign agents would reveal the truth.

"People will definitely get to know what has been happening," Goche said.

"We are still investigating and the matter is going on in the courts. The
truth will soon come out.

"Investigations are going on and the matter is sub judice," he said.

Goche dismissed reports that he was involved in the spy case.

"I don't want to give lies any respect. Those are just lies," he said.

"I have seen website stories saying I knew about this and did nothing about
it. Those are lies. Who is investigating the matter now?

"You are a seasoned journalist and I don't think you want us to discuss such
stupid things. I have no personal views on lies."

Zanu PF provincial chairman and MP Phillip Chiyangwa, ruling party deputy
security chief Kenny Karidza, external affairs director Itai Marchi,
Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo and

ex-Metropolitan Bank company secretary Tendai Matambanadzo have been accused
of spying for foreign agents in South Africa.

As first reported in the Zimbabwe Independent on December 23, the five were
arrested - some abducted - and detained by the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO). They have been appearing in court facing charges under
the Official Secrets Act and face up to 25 years in jail if convicted.

Although Dzvairo, Matambanadzo and Marchi initially pleaded guilty, they
have been trying to change their pleas. However, magistrate Peter Kumbawa
last week dismissed their application for change of plea.

Chiyangwa and Karidza, who have pleaded not guilty, appeared in court last
Friday for a remand hearing. They were further remanded in custody.

Karidza will appear in court again on January 24 while Chiyangwa will appear
on January 28.

Chiyangwa had judgement reserved last Thursday in his application to the
High Court appealing against refusal of bail. His lawyer, Advocate Chris
Andersen, told the High Court's Justice Charles Hungwe that the state was
accusing his client of selling state secrets to a South African agent for
US$10 000 a month without an iota of evidence.

The case has drawn South Africa into its murky vortex after it was alleged
that an intelligence officer working for the South African Secret Service
(SASS) - the country's foreign intelligence arm - had been arrested in
connection with the issue.

British and South African media have reported the arrest of a senior South
African "spymaster" who was allegedly lured from Livingstone to Victoria
Falls by one of his Zimbabwean contacts last month only to realise too late
that it was a trap. He has been providing details of his network, press
reports say.

While South Africa's Ministry of Intelligence Services last weekend denied
the country's involvement, saying only that it had seen media reports
linking South Africa to the case, sources close to the government this week
confirmed the arrest of a high-ranking officer in the SASS.

The sources said they were confident the arrested agent from Pretoria would
be released soon. They described his work as maintaining routine contacts
and said the case was unlikely to affect relations with Zimbabwe.
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Zim Independent

Moyo set to lose Patterson Farm
Gift Phiri
BELEAGURED Information minister Jonathan Moyo was this week dealt another
body blow after the land task force took steps to repossess his Patterson
Farm in Mazowe in a move seen as retribution for his ongoing challenge to
the party and its leadership.

Having failed to secure election to the ruling party's 252-member central
committee and subsequently barred from contesting the forthcoming
legislative poll in his home constituency of Tsholotsho on a ruling party
ticket, Moyo has now reportedly lost his Mazowe Farm, which he
controversially purchased for $6 million in 2002.

The Zimbabwe Independent was yesterday told that officials from the
taskforce, accompanied by Zimbabwe Republic Police deputy commissioner
Godwin Matanga, visited the farm in Mazowe on Tuesday and advised the farm
manager on plans to repossess it, stating that the owner was in breach of
government's one-man, one-farm policy.

Reports that war veterans then occupied the farm could not be confirmed. Nor
could reports that the farm manager was forced to flee leaving farm
equipment and agricultural produce at the mercy of the war veterans.

Matanga yesterday referred all questions to Lands minister John Nkomo. Nkomo
also declined to comment on the seizure of the farm saying "those are
matters referred to the governors".

Mashonaland Central governor Ephraim Masawi asked the Independent to call
him later saying he wanted to get details from his provincial administrator
but had not done so at the time of going to print yesterday.

While Moyo's acquisition of Patterson farm has been dogged by controversy,
he has maintained that it is a family farm that he bought transparently. The
source of discord is that the Lands ministry has said state land could not
be sold or bought.

Official records show that Moyo bought Patterson Farm, described in
Agriculture minister Joseph Made's offer letter dated November 30 2001 as
state land, for $6 million. Moyo used a Jewel Bank cheque drawn on the
Westgate branch on July 22, 2002 as payment for the farm. The payment
followed a letter written by Agriculture permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka on
April 29 2002 to Moyo informing him of the cost of the land and the

The Independent heard that officials from the task force told the Patterson
farm manager that Moyo had no lease agreement and the Administrative Court
had not confirmed the property's acquisition. As a result, the title deeds
for the farm - which Moyo initially wanted to buy for a mere $1,8 million -
are still with the farm's legal owner, a company run by a trust.

The move by Nkomo's ministry to repossess the farm follows unprecedented
public tussles between Moyo and Nkomo over a controversial Tsholotsho
meeting convened by the Information tsar on November 18, which President
Mugabe described as "illegal", to discuss leadership change. Moyo has,
through the Chronicle and Herald newspapers, fired a barrage of criticism
tat Nkomo accusing him of stifling development in Matabeleland and lying
over his visit to Tsholotsho in the company of Dumiso Dabengwa last week.
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Zim Independent

MDC MP rebukes magistrate in court
Loughty Dube
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change MP for Nkayi, Abednico Bhebhe, was yesterday
involved in a slanging match in court with a Bulawayo magistrate after it
was announced a docket on war veterans accused of attempting to murder him
in 2001 had gone missing.

The docket could not be located when the case came for a hearing yesterday

There was drama in court when Bhebhe rose from the public gallery and
exchanged harsh words with provincial magistrate Cephas Sibanda after the
public prosecutor announced that the docket on the assault case was missing.

Bhebhe, who had come to court as the complainant, was furious after the
public prosecutor, Andrew Marimo, announced that the docket for the case
could not be found in Bulawayo.

Sibanda at that juncture announced that the case would proceed by way of
summons so as to allow the police time to look for the docket in Nkayi.

A livid Bhebhe rose from the benches in the public gallery and reprimanded
the magistrate whom he accused of trying to cover up the case.

The two exchanged harsh words with Bhebhe accusing Sibanda of defending a
corrupt government.

The two accused persons in the case, Melusi Ncube and a war veteran only
named as Mhoti, were not present in court. Ncube and Mhoti were arrested
after they allegedly assaulted and left Bhebhe for dead on May 26 2001.

The heated verbal exchange that lasted for several minutes was stopped after
the intervention of other court officials and when the magistrate said he
would recuse himself from the matter.

Speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent after the incident Bhebhe said it was
unacceptable for the courts to take sides on a matter that has failed to go
for trial for four years.

"As they are saying, the docket is missing," said Bhebhe. "Before that the
police had told the court that my statements were missing from the docket
and later it was announced that medical reports that were collected by
police from me in hospital could not be located. This points to sloppiness
on either the part of the courts or the police," Bhebhe said.

Bhebhe said the magistrate was trying to defend a corrupt government by
making it appear that the accused war veterans had no case to answer.

"Until this case is finalised I am not going to rest and even if the police
and the courts make documents disappear this case has to be finalised," said
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Zim Independent

SA firm blows whistle on Mawere/Chiyangwa
Gift Phiri
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono is sitting on explosive
information implicating self-exiled mogul Mutumwa Mawere in illegal foreign
currency dealings that include late acquittal of export earnings, collusion
to over-invoice imports and false forex loan repayments.

Information from a dossier, which is in the possession of the Zimbabwe
Independent, reveals that contrary to speculation that Zanu PF legal affairs
secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa was Mawere's business partner in Africa
Resources Ltd (ARL), Zanu PF MP Phillip Chiyangwa, currently held on
espionage-related charges, is Mawere's business partner in ARL, a company
registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Although Mawere denied any partnership with Chiyangwa in a telephone
interview with the Independent, documents show that Chiyangwa has a
significant shareholding in Mawere's two investment vehicles,
Ukubambana/Kubatana Investments and Endurite Properties. ARL operates three
bank accounts, one in London, and the other two in South Africa: India Bank
and Investec Bank in Rivonia.

"I am the sole shareholder of Africa Resources Ltd," Mawere said. "Chiyangwa
has never been my partner. How did he get the authority to invest outside
the country?"

The Independent understands that attorneys from a South African law firm,
Herman van Eeden, passed on confidential information about ARL's alleged
illegal foreign currency dealings to a top RBZ official during a private
meeting in Johannesburg last year.

Gono's spokesman Fortune Chasi declined to give details of the meeting
saying only: "We deal with all type of sources."

The meeting was attended by RBZ informer John Rushton, together with
Zimbabwe Republic Police assistant commissioner Mike Gora, an officer in the
economic crimes unit of the ZRP. Raymon Scheepers, an official from Summit
Corporate Finance, a private South African investigations company that
infiltrated ARL's South African operations, also attended the meeting.

A South African businessman, Buks van Rensburg, who had a number of dealings
with Mawere's ARL, also attended the meeting. It is understood that Van
Rensburg sold his transport company Coma Transport to Mawere in 2003 before
applying for provisional liquidation after the deal went sour.

The RBZ official was told that Mawere had not repatriated US$50 million from
the sale of asbestos fibre from Zimbabwe and the money was used to purchase
two companies in Zimbabwe, Schweppes Zimbabwe and Victoria Foods.

According to minutes of the meeting, Scheepers told the RBZ official that
Turnall South Africa, ARL's asbestos and cement subsidiary, had failed to
repatriate R22 million. It was also stated that in the previous year, R30
million was supposed to have been repatriated but only R1,5 million was. The
information was apparently gleaned from Turnall South Africa's First
National Bank account at Wierda Valley branch in Sandton.

The account holder is FSI Trading, with the branch code being 26-09-50 and
the account number 62047104089. In the same bank are accounts for Petter
Trading, Petter Commodities, Petter Transport and Logistics, Southern
Asbestos Sales, Southern Cotton Sales and Fortress Travel, all of them ARL
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Zim Independent

Sibanda castigates Zanu PF leadership
Loughty Dube
SUSPENDED war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda has castigated the Zanu PF
presidium for lacking a Nelson Mandela-style of leadership. Sibanda said
Zanu PF as a party had clear policies but it was being spoiled by leaders
who are bent on clinging to power at the expense of development.

"There is nothing wrong with the party policies but something is wrong with
some leaders in the party," Sibanda said in remarks likely to infuriate the
leadership and deepen the rift in the ruling party

"We have party leaders who think they should die in power and should never
be challenged but that is causing discontent in the party."

The fiery ex-freedom fighter said the type of leadership being practised by

the Zanu PF presidium encouraged corruption in the party.

"We do not have leaders who have the Mandela-style of leadership, a type of
leadership where you lead someone today and then make and groom someone to
lead you tomorrow and then you look back and feel proud of your achievements
and the continuation of party ideals," Sibanda said.

"There is no respect of the party constitution by Zanu PF leaders and those
people have no future in the country's democracy. They will have to account
to the people for what they have done for democracy in the country and that
day is near," he said.

Sibanda's statements come at a time when discontent is boiling over in the
ruling party ahead of the crucial parliamentary election in March. The
divisions follow purges of Young Turks and party officials who attended the
ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting last month.

Six provincial chairpersons who attended the meeting have since been
suspended from party activities for five years while the alleged convener,
Information minister Jonathan Moyo, was reprimanded. He has since been
barred from contesting in the Tsholotsho constituency on a Zanu PF ticket.
Instead the seat was reserved for a woman candidate.

Sibanda has clashed several times with Vice-President Joseph Msika, party
chairman John Nkomo and politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa who all accuse him
of indiscipline.

Sibanda was suspended from Zanu PF for four years, barred from contesting
the party primaries in Bubi-Umguza and is currently fighting to retain
leadership of the war veterans association after President Mugabe appointed
a Dabengwa-led taskforce to re-organise the association.

Sibanda dismissed recent media reports that he had fled the country as
mischievous and misdirected.

"Before joining Zanu PF I was a Zapu cadre and when gukurahundi came and
massacred thousands of people in Matabeleland, including seven members from
my family, I did not run away. Why should I run away now?" Sibanda said.

"If there are battles to be fought, I will fight them here and if it means
dying I will also be here, I will never run away from depraved people.

"There is no need to run away from people who are going to die, everyone is
mortal and those people who are oppressing Zimbabweans are going to die and
we will get our chance then," said Sibanda.
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Zim Independent

Govt move set to curtail voting rights
Gift Phiri
GOVERNMENT this week announced stringent requirements that are set to
curtail the voting rights of many Zimbabweans in the forthcoming legislative
poll as the registrar-general's office opened the voters' roll for

This came as opposition parties and civic groups stepped up efforts to have
a review of the voters' register, which they said was a "shambles".

Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede announced that urban dwellers, the
opposition party's main supporters, would be required, among other things,
to produce proof of residence. This could take the form of title deeds,
rates receipts, utility receipts or written statements from landlords or

But many city dwellers do not own properties as they live in makeshift

structures dotted around the city.

In rural areas, voters would be required to bring sworn oral or written
statements from their chiefs or headmen, who are now part and parcel of Zanu
PF's campaign machinery. Meanwhile, the RG's office on Monday published 26
pages in the state-owned Herald newspaper of "persons who supplied
incomplete/incorrect residential addresses when they registered as voters".

Those deemed to have supplied the incomplete or incorrect information are
from Mutasa (484 voters), Harare East (268), Harare North (136), Hatfield
(208), Mbare (1 143), Mufakose (219), Goromonzi (270), Murehwa North (499),
Murehwa South (1 609), Mutoko South (590), Ngezi (235) and Zvimba South

The notice added: "Please be advised that failure to report as requested and
directed within 14 days from this date will result in the constituency
registrars removing the voter's name from the voters' roll in accordance
with Section 25 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:01)."

Political analyst Emmanuel Magade said the RG's office was trying to
disenfranchise many eligible voters.

"That notice was only published once in the Herald and obviously this is not
the most effective way of notifying the people who provided the so-called
incorrect details as alleged by the RG," Magade said.

"A close analysis of the details will reveal that the largest number of
people who allegedly provided incorrect details live in known MDC
strongholds such as Mbare and the greater part of Harare. And the RG wants
to strike their names from the voters' roll. It is wrong."

Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a
broad-based coalition of civic groups, said the voters' roll would be no
different to the one used in the 2002 presidential election, which was
condemned as "flawed" by most observers.

"The roll is a shambles," Madhuku said. "Over the years the RG's office has
added more names but not totally reformed the roll. We have had cases of
deceased people appearing on the roll, people being registered in the wrong
constituencies, or others simply failing to find their names."

Mudede announced that his department would prepare the roll according to the
new constituency boundaries drawn up by the Delimitation Commission. He said
presently, Zimbabwe had 5 658 637 eligible voters.

However, Madhuku alleged that it was impossible for the authorities to
compile an accurate roll in time for the March election due to lack of
resources. He said in the absence of an independent electoral body, the
authorities could manipulate the voting process.

"We could have hoped for a credible roll if the proposed Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) had been appointed. Even if the ZEC were to be appointed
today, I don't think there would be any changes, since its head will be a
presidential appointee, and therefore partial," Madhuku said.

Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network,
said this was a "worrying development".

Mudede, however, said: "Those questioning the accuracy of the roll are free
to go and inspect it, with the rest of the country, during the inspection
period. The (RG's) office has a mandate to conduct elections, and will do so
until such a time that the new electoral commission is appointed. I cannot
comment on statements alleging irregularities because we have not gone
through the inspection process as yet."
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Zim Independent

Woza women assaulted after demo
Staff Writer
ELEVEN Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) members, who were part of a group of
400 activists who took part in a demonstration against Education and Sport
minister Aeneas Chigwedere, were seriously injured and are seeking medical
attention after they were assaulted by police in Harare this week.

The eleven women were part of a group of 21 who were arrested and allegedly
assaulted by police on Tuesday two hours after the Woza demonstration had

Woza co-ordinator Jenni Williams yesterday confirmed that 11 of their
members were injured and are seeking medical attention after they were
assaulted by police.

"The women were assaulted with baton sticks and kicked by the police and
most of them sustained injuries during the assaults. The women were taken
into an interrogation room that had a table in the middle and underneath the
table was a pool of blood and the police details interrogating them
threatened that if the women continued with Woza their blood would be added
to the blood under the table," Williams said.

She said most of the women were yesterday taken to a private clinic where
they were treated but were still awaiting medical affidavits to determine
the gravity of their injuries.

"Most of the women suffered bruises all over their bodies but the injuries
are more severe in areas around the buttocks and arms," Williams said.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not aware that the women were
injured and promised to investigate the matter.
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Zim Independent

Primaries expose Zanu PF rigging
Augustine Mukaro
ZANU PF'S just ended primaries have exposed the ruling party's inability to
conduct elections without rigging them.

The elections, originally set to be completed in a single day on Saturday,
spilled into the week with some results being announced on Tuesday. In at
least 17 constituencies, the poll was conducted yesterday after complaints
of rigging and other irregularities forced reruns.

Reports from over 50 constituencies which held elections last weekend
indicate that sub-standard materials such as ballot boxes and ballot papers
were used leaving the election prone to serious abuse.

In Murehwa North constituency, where Heath minister David Parirenyatwa won
the right to represent Zanu PF in the March parliamentary election ahead of
the sitting MP Victor Chitongo, the ballot boxes were ordinary cardboard
boxes. The ballot papers were pieces of unevenly cut newsprint while the
voter verification process involved merely looking at the party card. There
was no equipment to prevent multiple voting.

Chitongo appealed to the national elections directorate citing
irregularities, which included issuance of extra party cards on the eve of
voting and vote buying.

"The sale of old Zanu PF cards was suspended in October 2004, while new ones
got to the district executives only... The only persons who were entitled to
vote were card carrying members as at October 2004 and those that had access
to new ones," Chitongo wrote to the directorate.

Chitongo said prior to the primary elections and the night before, hordes of
free cards were distributed, resulting in unqualified voters taking part in
the elections. Some of the people distributing new party cards were
discovered at Matututu Centre and were reported to the police.

"In light of the above irregularities, it cannot therefore be said that the
outcome of the primary elections in Murehwa North reflect the true will of
the people," wrote Chitongo.

The disputed Murehwa North primary was witnessed by more than eight Zanu PF
central committee and politburo members.Ministers Sydney Sekeramayi, Didymus
Mutasa, former ministers Simba Makoni and Kumbirai Kangai and governor David
Karimanzira were among the political heavyweights who were in the
constituency over the weekend.

A number of the losing candidates complained of abuse of party cards by
aspiring candidates. The cards were either withdrawn from voters or sold
overnight to rented groups aligned to candidates in the central committee
and politburo.

In Makoni West, sitting MP Gibson Munyoro has disputed Agriculture minister
Joseph Made's victory in the primaries. Munyoro accused Made of
intimidation, bussing in supporters from outside the constituency and
abusing Grain Marketing Board facilities to sway voters in his favour.

The most bizarre report came from Kadoma East where sitting MP and Labour
minister Paul Mangwana allegedly torched ballot papers on realising that he
was on the verge of losing the election.

In Masvingo Central there were reports that winning candidate Shylet Uyoyo
was holding on to party cards and denying their release to opposing
candidates. Uyoyo battled it out with Dzikamai Mavhaire in an election that
was hotly contested. Initially, Mavhaire was backing the candidacy of lawyer
Eddison Zvobgo (Jnr). But Zvobgo did not meet the party's minimum
requirements and was therefore elbowed out of the race despite being the
most popular candidate.

In Harare's Mufakose constituency, there are allegations that people were
bussed from Mbare to vote for Sabina Thembani.
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Zim Independent

National Parks hikes leases
Augustine Mukaro
THE Department of National Parks has hiked wildlife and safari operation
leases by between 350% and 850%, a move which could force a number of
operators to close shop considering the decline in the tourism industry.

Operators who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said the department was now
demanding an annual rental of between $36 million and $85 million. They said
the fee would be determined by the nature of the camp's business. Some camps
operate on a commercial basis while others operate as recreational
facilities. The recreational facilities charge nominal fees and do not
operate on profit lines.

The operators said the new development was communicated to them during a
series of meetings that were held throughout the country in December.

"Department of National Parks officials held several meetings with safari
operators where the new fees were announced," one operator from the
Umfurudzi Safari Area said.

Operators from the Zambezi Valley and Chirundu areas also confirmed the
development saying it was communicated at a meeting held at Marongora Lodge
in December.

"In the past we used to pay $10 million per annum in the first year of the
lease term," an operator from Chirundu said. "The fee would attract a 15%
increment each year until the lease term lapses."

The operators said if the department enforces the new fees, they would be
forced out because of the lull in tourism activities.

The number of visitors coming into the country has been on the decrease over
the past five years, negatively impacting on safari operators.

A Zimbabwe Tourism Authority report for January to September 2004 says
tourist arrivals slumped by about 29%.

"During the period January-September 2004, a total of 1 271 904 visitors
visited Zimbabwe, representing a 29% decrease when compared to 1 793 128
visitors during the same period in 2003," the report said.

"The visitors during the first nine months of 2004 included 254 842 from the
overseas market, a 1% decline from 258 150 from mainland Africa, and a 33%
decline from 2003 figures."
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Zim Independent

Will Zanu PF women deliver?
By Ray Matikinye
THE March general election featuring an increased number of women
contestants as the ruling Zanu PF party bids to fulfil a 30% quota to
assuage a restive female constituency, is set for an exciting race.

Even so, public scepticism is beginning to mount whether most of the women
nominees are not out of kilter with the rigours of election campaigning,
unprepared as most were before the male-dominated Zanu PF presidium
delivered the political benevolence that awarded them 36 constituencies on a
silver platter.

Women themselves have begun to doubt the sincerity of their male colleagues
in Zanu PF and have welcomed the decision with apprehension. Zanu PF
Bulawayo Metropolitan provincial Women's League

vice-chairperson, Sihle Thebe, said the quota system was ill-timed though
the decision is most appreciated.

"We have serious internal fighting in Zanu PF," said Thebe. "That alone is a
major setback but there is nothing women can do because the situation is
untenable in the ruling party."

Only a few of the women nominees had campaigned for the coming election and
the onus to win was thrust on them. "Women could not refuse because men
would turn back and say: 'Look, they don't know what they want,' and wash
their hands," Thebe said.

But others have displayed confidence.

"I can stand on my own and have done it before and won," says Stars Mathe,
the only female councillor in the Bulawayo city council. Mathe says women
nominated should show their mettle and acumen as serious politicians and not
as mere protégés content with fulfilling the role of cheerleaders.

Mathe disapproves of handpicking unprepared women saying such women would
fail to acquit themselves in tasks expected by the electorate.

Former Zanu PF Matabeleland North provincial secretary for information and
publicity, Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni, says most of the women were unprepared for
this year's general election and will face a daunting task trying to
convince the electorate to accept them. "Men started campaigning almost two
years ago thereby increasing their visibility among the electorate unlike
the female candidates, who only have less than two months to mount serious
campaigns before the election," he says.

It also takes a lot of resources to launch an effective election campaign.

Ndiweni says Zanu PF could have implemented the quota system in the past
when its candidates faced nominal challenges from fragmented opposition
parties and won without breaking sweat.

"The coming into mainstream politics of a stronger opposition Movement for
Democratic Change does not guarantee Zanu PF victory even in what was
considered safe constituencies," he adds.

A more passionate concern among the electorate is the calibre of those women
who will make it to parliament. Some observers argue that the simple gesture
of reserving seats for women in itself is poignant admission that women
cannot make it on their own without male patronage.

Former minister Chen Chimutengwende disagrees. "There are male candidates
who are bad representatives just as there are some who are good. There are
also female candidates who are excellent and others who are hopeless. So
people cannot judge capability on the basis of gender."

This week's Zanu PF primary election served to illustrate women's
apprehension. Some women candidates stepped down to clear the deck for male
contestants to sail through unopposed in the primaries. For instance, in
Manyame constituency, Bybit Tsomondo stood down in favour of Patrick

Beside, if women form the bulwark of Zanu PF's support as is always touted,
how come that save for Enita Maziriri who beat Industry and International
Trade minister Samuel Mumbengegwi and three other male contestants by a wide
margin, other women candidates fared dismally against male contestants?

In primaries held over the past weekend Edna Madzongwe and Mavis Chidzonga
lost to male contestants in Mhondoro and Chegutu while Irene Dube and Rita
Makwambeni lost to Enock Porusingazi and Freddy Kazama in Mutare and
Chipinge South respectively.

Since Independence, two women have left an indelible mark on the Zimbabwean
political scene with their contributions in parliament symbolising women's

The late heroine, Ruth China-mano, a veteran, gutsy nationalist and Margaret
Dongo, a combative, non-conformist former guerilla fighter proved
outstanding in being able to throw challenges in the faces of the
male-dominatedchamber with incisive contributions.

Even when men schemed to oust her through unorthodox means by pitting her
against Vivian Mwashita, Dongo fought back tenaciously and recovered a
constituency she had been robbed of by a female candidate who had "won" it
through male connivance. She went on to lead the Zimbabwe Union of
Democrats, breaking new ground by becoming the first ever woman in
post-Independent Zimbabwe to lead a political party.

Both Chinamano and Dongo were firebrand orators, fearless and confident in
articulating their concerns as well and expressing their ideas. Both too
were rewarded by being ostracised, stigmatised and forsaken by their male
compatriots for their candour.

The two stand in stark contrast to Murehwa North former MP Rudo Mungwashu, a
former police constable and provincial Zanu PF chairperson for the Women's
League who spent her entire five-year term in parliament without a single
meaningful contribution.

Makokoba member of parliament Thokozile Khupe says it does not bother her
much whether one is dull or uneducated as long as that person is a woman
standing in the forthcoming March election.

"I advocate for more women coming to parliament. Over the years, women have
been used as campaigning tools by their male counterparts in every election.
Now is the time for women to be in parliament as well. I totally support the
30% quota for women in parliament because women work very hard," said Khupe.
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Zim Independent

ZABG: Waiting for Gono
Shakeman Mugari

JUSTIN Tapera is fast sinking into debt. During the festive season he had to
borrow $1 million to buy farming inputs for his small plot in his rural
Zvimba home. Last week he had to implore his equally pressed relatives to
lend him $5 million to pay fees for his two sons attending a mission school
in Sanyati. The reasons for his near destitution: "My money is locked up in
Trust Bank. And the so-called ZABG has not opened as promised for me to get
money for school fees."

Elsewhere in Gazaland, Highfield, Kizito Maguta is contemplating closing
down his furniture making business, his only means of survival. "If I don't
get my $7 million locked up in Royal Bank to buy glue and timber then I am
done," Maguta says. He too has been living off friends and relatives. He has
kept his fragile business running on borrowed income. His creditors could
soon be haunting him.
Tapera and Maguta are only two of thousands of depositors who have been
reduced to destitution by the sudden closure of their banks by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe last year. Their plight is similar to that of thousands of
others who have been waiting in vain for the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group
(ZABG), an amalgam of troubled banks, to open so they access their money.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono promised last year that ZABG would open to
the public early this month. Three weeks into January and the depositors are
still waiting. Expectations have given way to frustration. "When is the
so-called ZABG going to open? Rakamboita seyi iro zibank racho
risingavhurwe?" quips an angry Maguta.

Confusion and uncertainty continue to dog the operations at ZABG with
experts saying there is chaos on the ground. They say the project could hit
a brick wall because of administrative and logistical issues, which
management and the central bank are failing to overcome.
This week Gono made an attempt to "clear the air" with a statement which
analysts described as vague and unhelpful. The statement, the first on ZABG
since the idea was mooted, said the project was delayed because of the the
legal and technical process which has taken longer than envisaged to
conclude "Regrettably, arising from insufficient updates to the market and
poor communication on our part regarding this pioneering initiative ZABG),
the market and, indeed, the press has been left with the impression of doubt
or lack of confidence on our part, to see the take-off of the new baby,"
Gono said.

"We apologise for any anxiety or inconvenience that this temporary
communication shortcoming could have caused to all our stakeholders
including those who were expecting, in line with my earlier market promises,
to get their $5 million or less drawdowns from locked-up monies in
distressed financial institutions under curatorship." Analysts said the
statement lacked substance in that it did not give the depositors a precise
date and progress made so far.

On Monday state media reported that ZABG was going to open before the end of
the month. It said the RBZ would decide which banks would be brought under
the ZABG. However, an expert said it was impossible for the bank to open
this month.
Sternford Moyo, a senior partner with Scanlen & Holdness, said there were
still a lot of outstanding issues that could not be sorted out before the
end of the month.

"The signing of the Troubled Financial Institutions (Resolutions) Act into
law does not mean that the bank will open immediately," said Moyo.
"The banks will have to be declared 'troubled' first and then the central
bank has seek confirmation with the court. After that the shareholders,
creditors, depositors and former directors are given 10 working days to
respond." Moyo said before the judge could confirm the RBZ application, he
needs proof that the shareholders, creditors, depositors and former
directors have been informed of intentions to take over their bank.

"The stakeholders have a right to challenge attempts to take over their
bank. They have to present their case to the court. If that happens then the
process might take even longer," he said. Jacob Mafume of Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the project was shrouded in secrecy, an issue
that did not help the public. He said people did not have confidence in the
project because they were never consulted in the first place.

"The Reserve Bank did not consult with depositors, shareholders and
creditors before they formed the ZABG," said Mafume. "People have confidence
in issues they participate in from the start." The bank, Mafume said, now
faced the risk of being hit by a serious deposit fight as soon as it opens.

Analysts also questioned the constitutionality of the Troubled Financial
Institutions (Resolutions) Act, which seeks to legalise ZABG. The Act was
recently signed into law by President Robert Mugabe. They say the Act
contravenes Section 16 of the constitution, which deals with property

Tendai Biti, a lawyer with Honey & Blanckenberg, said there was need to look
at ZABG in line with the basic rights in the constitution. "The whole thing
is a dog's breakfast. They are trampling on the people's property rights in
an attempt to disguise their failure," said Biti.

"This is the problem with making statements under political pressure without
enough thought and planning. Gono has been doing that since he was
appointed," he said.

"There was very little planning prior to the announcement of ZABG. In their
bid to gain mileage they raised people's expectations, which they know they
cannot meet. And when they fail they find scapegoats," said Biti.

Trust, Royal, and Barbican were this week declared candidates for ZABG, but
sources say the legal processes have not yet been completed. The governor
added to the confusion when he said other banks would be allowed to seek
alternatives to recapitalise.

Brian Kagoro, chairman of Crisis in Zimbabwe, said the problem was that ZABG
had been politicised.
"Intentions are not actions. Action is not progress. Strategies are not
actions either. Those who planned the ZABG did not think about the legal
implications and the impact of their actions on the poor man," Kagoro said.

"In their grand declarations of national interest some innocent investors
have been turned into paupers. It's sad."
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Zim Independent


Primaries an insight into poll

AT the time of going to press yesterday Zanu PF was still bogged down in
primary elections which began last weekend. The polls seek to select
candidates to represent the party in the March parliamentary election.

There would be nothing to worry about in all this were it not for the fact
that the current delays could be a foretaste of what to expect in March.
Zanu PF officials have given many reasons for failing to hold their primary
elections in a single day - worrying and interesting at the same time.
Because of the new cards launched late last year polling officers were not
sure who was entitled to vote. The new cards were issued only to district
executives and not ordinary members until the eve of voting, especially in
Murehwa. It was also claimed the party did not have sufficient manpower to
carry out the exercise in one day as originally planned. As of yesterday,
there were 17 constituencies still to hold primaries.

The chairman of the Zanu PF national elections directorate, Elliot Manyika,
claimed there were also transport and other logistical problems in accessing
remote parts of Gokwe Central where results were still not known by
yesterday morning.
Incredibly, Manyika said they might need helicopters to ferry voters to
polling centres because some roads were impassable due to flooding.

Equally puzzling were the delays in the opening of polling centres in urban
areas. State media on Sunday and Monday reported that some centres opened as
late as 2pm in Harare because there were no polling officers!
Then of course there are unbridgeable fissures within the party which have
caused the suspension of voting in Bulawayo and claims of irregularities and
"rigging" in Mutare Central, Murehwa North and Makoni West. The party
ordered a rerun yesterday in Insiza and Gwanda where sitting MPs Andrew
Langa and Abedinico Ncube had been barred as part of the fallout from the
Tsholotsho imbroglio.

There is much to be learnt from this catalogue of problems. Zanu PF has
failed to hold its own elections in a single day. What capacity does it have
to conduct a national election in one day? Voter turnout was very low in
most constituencies in an exercise that was supposed to be a dress rehearsal
for the big show in March.
How long will it take polling agents to deal with Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe,
for instance, where over 45 000 people reportedly turned out to vote in the
2002 presidential election?

Even if we put the issue of numbers aside, there is still the bigger moral
dilemma that has dogged all Zanu PF elections - corruption, variously
described as "irregularities" or "rigging" by the opposition.

While this has often been dismissed in the past because op-position parties
are "bad losers" influenced by their imperialist sponsors, the same
allegations are now coming from senior members in Zanu PF itself. And we
dare say they must know something about their party's strategies for winning

Victor Chitongo, who lost Murehwa North, alleged there were hundreds of
people who voted when they shouldn't have.
In Makoni West Gibson Munyoro accused his rival Joseph Made of intimidation
and bringing in voters from outside the constituency and of abusing GMB

"This is the worst case of vote-buying by a government minister," declared a
disgusted Munyoro in his appeal to President Mugabe. There were also bitter
complaints of vote-rigging by Rugare Gumbo in Mberengwa East and Kenneth
Manyonda in Buhera, which reflects a widespread pattern of electoral fraud.
But the response from both the elections directorate and the presidium was
less than encouraging for those wishing to contest in March. Manyika said on
Wednesday "a careful and thorough consideration of all the complaints"
showed they did not warrant a rerun.
Why should the electorate expect their wishes to get a sympathetic hearing
where the contest is against an opposition party?

There are a few salutary lessons to emerge from the Zanu PF primary
elections. The party does not have the capacity to hold a national election
in a single day. The culture of violence and fraudulent electoral conduct is
too deeply entrenched to be rooted out by a mere reference to Sadc
guidelines on free and fair elections.
Those wishing to challenge Zanu PF should be prepared to deal with its dirty
tactics like vote-buying - called "donations" - and use of food to lure
voters. Tony Blair and the women's quota are a "winning formula" to mask a
leopard that has failed to change its spots. Far from the acrimony around
the primaries proving that there is democracy in Zanu PF, it reveals that
the party is unforgiving of those who cross its path, whether from within or
from the opposition.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Land policies need transformation

IT is said, "Cabbages should not be cooked twice" and, as this column has
previously addressed some facets of Zimbabwe's ill-conceived, and
disastrously implemented land reform programme, commenting thereon yet again
is tantamount to a second cooking of cabbages. However, a statement by
President Robert Mugabe last week provokes such commentary.

The president stated with some considerable emphasis that Zimbabwe would
never succumb to international pressures that it should reverse the land
reform programme. That statement is incontrovertible evidence that yet again
the president has been misinformed (in this instance, presumably by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development, or by both those ministries).
It cannot be denied that much of the international community in general, and
of the countries constituting the Commonwealth, those that comprise the
European Union, and the US in particular, have frequently voiced very great
concerns at Zimbabwe's land reform programme. However, based upon
innumerable public statements by many of those countries, upon reports on
deliberations in the legislatures of some of those countries and upon
debates in international fora, it is very clear that most, if not all, of
the international community are not seeking reversal of the land programme.
To the contrary, they support the principle of Zimbabwean land reform.

However, their stance is that land reform in Zimbabwe should be carried out
constructively, should restore agriculture to its former circumstance as the
foundation and mainstay of the economy, and that it should be pursued with
absolute justice and equity. That it does not wish for reversal of the
programme, but supports it (subject to modification) is irrefutably
evidenced by willingness to provide funding, if the modifications required
are effected. Essentially, the international community's stance on land
reform in Zimbabwe is that it should be progressed in accord with the 1998
Harare Donor Conference, and as was agreed at Abuja, Nigeria in 2001.

The substance of those accords was that anyone, whether black or white, was
entitled to own land in the country, but that transferral of land should be
governed primarily on a "willing buyer, willing seller" basis, subject to
criteria that no-one should possess more than one farm, and that such farm
should not exceed areas specified according to the hectarage required for
viable, commercial operations.

Key to the accords was that the then registered owners of the farms should
receive market-related compensation for land disposed of by them for
redistribution, and also compensation for all improvements on the land, and
for all equipment, infrastructure and crops taken over from the established
farmers. Also of essence to the agreements was that redistribution would be
effected, on the basis of merit, to those possessed of all requisite skills
and resources necessary for the continuance of the farming operations. And,
equally of essence was that the international community promised very
considerable financial support to enable payment of agreed compensation, and
to assist in providing new farmers the funding and skills development.
Very regrettably, the Zimbabwean government failed to carry out the
negotiated agreements. It justified its disregard for that which it had
agreed to by contending that the international community (and especially
Britain) had reneged on the agreements by not providing promised funding.
But the reality is that it was Zimbabwe that reneged on those agreements.

So anxious was government to achieve political mileage from promising land
to the populace that it blatantly dismissed all that it had agreed to.
Having caused some considerable disarray to the economy, and especially so
when it surrendered to war veteran demands which were far beyond Zimbabwe's
means, it needed to demonstrate to a debilitated population that it was
deeply concerned for the well-being of all Zimbabweans (provided that they
were Zanu PF supporters!), and chose to do so by way of a catastrophic land

Admittedly, the international community did not come forth with the
financial support promised in Harare and Abuja, but that was because of
Zimbabwe's failure to honour the agreements, and not because the
international community reneged on the undertakings given by it. So as the
government progressively veered away more and more from the agreements, the
willingness of the donor states to provide the funding became less.
Any remaining will to give fiscal support steadily diminished as government
simultaneously berated the international community for its criticisms of the
land programme, and because of the strongly confrontational stance of
Zimbabwe to that community and to the country's white farmers. Government
compounded its alienation of the many countries that had been prepared to
assist by intensified, vilifying rhetoric, founded upon the spurious
contention that whites had "stolen" the land in the colonial era, and that
government was merely returning the land to the victims of such theft.

That specious allegation steadfastly ignored that, in fact, only a minuscule
portion of the country had been occupied prior to the arrival of the
colonialists. As if those actions did not suffice, government deliberately
ignored all fundamentals of Zimbabwean and international law by legislating
laws which would deprive established farmers of almost all rights, whilst
rendering government omnipotent on land issues.

Moreover, despite a pronounced propaganda campaign designed to enthuse the
population that all were now on a threshold of great wealth (centred upon a
campaign slogan that "The land is the economy, the economy is the land"),
government prevented those expectations becoming realities. Its actions
resulted in the displacement of over 300 000 farm workers and their
families, whilst achieving resettlement for about 115 000 families only.

Much of its land allocations were nepotistic, being to those with necessary
influential connections, instead of considering the recipient's
suitability to receive and work the land.
In expropriating the farms, government not only ignored the prejudice to the
then owners of those farms, but it also failed to enable those that then
settled on the farms to continue farming operations to an extent equal to,
or greater than, the outputs achieved by the former owners.
The new farmers were not given secure tenure and title to the lands,
precluding their usage of the lands to procure borrowings with which to
finance operations. They were promised operational inputs, but very few of
those inputs were forthcoming. The result was a cataclysmic contraction of
the agricultural sector, which sector was the stimulant of the entire
Not only had agriculture been the field of greatest provision of employment,
but it was a very major generator of foreign exchange, and had immense
spending into the downstream economy.

So abysmally was the land programme implemented that within a few years the
production of tobacco shrank from 237 million kg to 65 million kg, being a
reduction in output and in tobacco export earnings of approximately 72%.
Whilst Zimbabwe had been "the granary of central Africa", producing not only
all of Zimbabwe's needs, but also grains for export, Zimbabwe was reduced to
importing food for several years, and still has to do so, although
government dogmatically claims Zimbabwe has food self-sufficiency. The
national herd has shrunk to about 35% of previous levels.

Although other factors have contributed to Zimbabwe's intense economic
decline over the last seven years, the near total destruction of agriculture
is the most significant cause, albeit aided and abetted by years of fiscal
profligacy, alienation of the international community, forfeiture of access
to support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and
pronounced corruption.

Government does not have to give in to international demands for the
reversal of the programme of land acquisition, redistribution and
resettlement, for no such demands have been made. What it does need to do is
to modify the programme, with retrospective effect. It needs to enable those
farmers as were displaced and as wish to return to the land to do so, and it
needs to pay realistic, market-related compensation for land acquired.

That compensation should be equal to the value of the acquired farms in
1997, adjusted for subsequent inflation. It needs to carry out an effective
resettlement programme to those who can, and will, use the land
successfully. To enable them to do so, it must give them assured and
transferable title to the land. Government must, upon implementing the
restructuring of the land programme, interact positively with the
international community in order to restore goodwill and to regain support.

And it must cease its vilification of the white farming community, including
abuses of parliamentary privilege by extreme confrontation with allegations
against members of parliament, such as characterised the deplorable Roy
Bennett affair, with allegations that they were "thieves and murderers", and
the offending minister was not even reprimanded for so doing. In contrast,
it is tragic that government did not respond positively to offers, a decade
ago, of the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), to procure availability of at
least 5 million hectares of land for resettlement, over and above more than
6 million hectares then already owned by the state. The CFU also offered
skills' development and other assistance, all of which offers were
cavalierly dismissed.

It is not yet too late to bring about an agricultural metamorphosis,
provided that the government discards racism, assures equity, ceases to
misconstrue statements of the international community, and abandons its
intractable obduracy.

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Zim Independent


History's longest suicide note

IT must have been one of the longest suicide notes in history. Jonathan Moyo's
lengthy denunciation of John Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa will have sealed his
fate in Zanu PF whatever steps he now takes to recover his position.

The impression of a ruling party at war with itself - disclosed by the
Minister of State for Information and Publicity whose job it is to provide
an upbeat image of the party and government singing with one voice - can
hardly have impressed its leaders, already in an unforgiving mood.

The petulant attack on two of his seniors, whom he amazingly claimed could
not match him in terms of length of service to the party and were therefore
the real mafikizolos, demonstrates an extraordinary lack of judgement for
one desperate to claw his way back into official favour.
Of all the leaders of Zanu PF, Nkomo and Dabengwa are among the most
respected - even by their political adversaries. Their restrained and
dignified replies contrasted with the venomous vitriol and threats of
retribution that are a hallmark of the Information minister's public

It was gratifying to witness such a maladroit statement targeted at Zanu PF's
most senior luminaries. Now they might appreciate the unconstrained ambition
of the man into whose hands they gullibly placed the fortunes of this
country and its media. The private press and civil society have hitherto
been the chief targets of Moyo's unhinged rantings. Now his colleagues
understand the danger of a suborned public media.

For paragraph after paragraph, admitting no editorial restraint, Moyo was
permitted to use the public press as a platform to attack his critics within
his own party. And he had the cheek to accuse his detractors of "abuse of
office" - a field in which he has considerable expertise.
We were also treated to the now customary claims of "false and defamatory
allegations". Only this time the bankrupt rhetoric was aimed at his own
leadership whom he accused of going "too far", a parameter Moyo has never
recognised hitherto.

In the interests of "justice, fairness and the rule of law, Cdes Nkomo and
Dabengwa must now be held legally accountable for their defamatory political
lies in the courts", he warned.
Their reply should be unambiguous: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of
the kitchen."
Is this not the same minister who has used the most abusive language to
denounce his detractors? Why should he now, when the going gets tough, run
for the protection of his overworked lawyers? What a political coward!
Nkomo and Dabengwa have been "card-carrying" members of Zanu PF since the
early 1960s. How old is Moyo? Did he join up as a toddler?
Enough of this nonsense. It is time the public media was reminded of its
central mandate: to serve the people of Zimbabwe as a whole, not one party
and certainly not one man.
By fighting the private battles of Jonathan Moyo and affording him limitless
space to attack his critics, the state press has demonstrated the dangers of
abuse of power and unprofessional conduct. But now, at least, the victims
are at every level of our society.

Yet by a curious twist of irony, Moyo on Tuesday claimed he was being
"persecuted" for working for the people of Tsholotsho. Shouldn't it be the
private media crying foul against this latter day Saul? He shouldn't be
allowed to get away with this dissembling as a martyr. He is simply a
charlatan and political opportunist who wants to cry louder than the
folkloric Hare when it is his
turn to be cooked. He should be
happy that at least he has access to the media, whereas he has always
ensured that his opponents don't have any other "ticket to heaven".

When Nkomo denied that he went to Tsholotsho specifically to bar him from
contesting, Moyo was filled with a holy rage. "That's a naked lie," he cried
bitterly. "It assumes members of the public are stupid and will believe
anything that he says when the truth speaks for itself."
Hear the hypocrite coming out of his shell! So he in fact knows we don't
believe his puerile propaganda and still makes it his daily toil to serve us
more of the same? It's heartening that he can be so thoroughly hurt he wants
to shed tears in public. At least Nkomo has never been so stupid to pretend
he was bigger than the party.
Finally, we must thank Moyo, not just for a very public self-decapitation,
but for inviting as many people as possible to the funeral.

A suitably airbrushed account of the role of musicians in the liberation
struggle appeared under the silver jubilee rubric in the Sunday Mail. It
featured the role of Cde Chinx, Simon Chimbetu, and Clive Malunga. But
curiously it omitted Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi.
We had this pearl of wisdom from Cde Chinx: "He said some of the hits on his
Hondo Yeminda album were composed in 1979 and (he) was compelled to release
them after the 2000 referendum when the Western powers through the private
media influenced Zimbabweans to vote against land reforms."

So Zimbabweans could not think for themselves? And who "compelled" him to
release his repetitious album, we wonder?
Obviously not the same people who compelled Zimbabweans to vote "No"!
We liked the little piece on Air Zimbabwe in the Sunday Mail's Brands &
Branding supplement. "The national airliner (sic) has flown high and proud
across all the five continents of the world over the past 25 years and has
carved itself a reputation as one of the leading airlines in the world," we
were told.
It had become "synonymous with safety and reliability".

A Mr Lawrence Nyagumbo, interviewed at Harare Airport on arrival from the
UK, was suitably effusive. "As Zimbabweans in the Diaspora we feel proud to
see our national airliner (sic) being popular with tourist and business
executives and just seeing the country's colours on Air Zimbabwe aircraft
makes one feel proud to be from the motherland," he gushed.
We suspect he would be less proud if he had been subject to one of Air Zim's
frequent delays. The airline has four planes now compared to 15 at
Independence when it made a profit - something to think about for the

Another Sunday Mail puff piece last weekend said: "While some forces of
darkness expected an economic meltdown soon after Independence, the new
Zimbabwean government managed to silence its critics."

Yes, it silenced them all right by using the Emergency Powers, borrowed from
Ian Smith, to detain people without trial or regardless of judicial
outcomes. Dumiso Dabengwa was a notable victim. So was Lookout Masuku.
And the economic meltdown certainly came - 24 years later!

Who is producing these facile propaganda pieces and making state journalists
put them under their bylines? They look as if they are all churned out by
the same Orwellian factory. Come back Nathan and Chen, all is forgiven!

Muckraker simply can't believe the depth to which people will grovel in
return for political favours. Here is a letter sent recently to CFU Midlands
members by their chairman. "We have received a request to donate cattle,
chickens and mealie-meal to a welcoming reception next week for the new
Vice-President, Joyce Mujuru.
"This request has come to us through the Midlands leadership whom I'm sure
you know.
"I suggest that each member pay in 1 million in cash to Bob at the CFU
office by the end of business hours on Monday the 10th January 2005, as we
need to secure these donations from our sector by Wednesday the 12th. "Each
individual's name will be on the list of donors when we present the
donations so think hard before you do nothing. It is a strategy that I
believe will ultimately lead to benefits of sorts in the future. But it is
like gambling." Have these guys learnt nothing in five years?

Still on the subject of economic fantasising, we wonder what country Lowani
Ndlovu is living in. He claimed in his Sunday Mail column this week that
Zimbabwe's economy was showing "definite signs of recovery". And what are
those "definite signs"? "Goods are now readily available in the shops and
the black market has disappeared," declared Lowani.

He should stop fooling himself because the foreign currency black market is
thriving despite attempts to foist the Homelink project on Zimbabweans in
the diaspora at unrealistic exchange rates. There is no mealie-meal in the
shops and one is luck to find a packet of Chimombe milk in a supermarket

Lowani might be excited about his Zanu PF party as we move towards the
election, but ordinary Zimbabweans are definitely not amused. This
disenchantment was evident in the weekend Zanu PF primary elections where
voter turnout was pathetic. For instance in Kuwadzana there were just over a
1 000 participants in a constituency with over 20 000 registered voters. So
the MDC might yet reap another "protest vote" in March despite Lowani's
claims of economic recovery.

Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri has warned politicians against
inciting violence during elections. He said those who wanted to get to
parliament through "bloodshed" would face the full wrath of the law. We wish
him well in his endeavours. Unfortunately much of the violence is being
perpetrated by his own party against its members. Immediate examples that
come to mind are Kindness Paradza and Phone Madiro who missed the primaries
at the weekend because they have pending cases of violence. The party was
not similarly harsh with its secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa who
was accused of fanning violence in his Makoni constituency.
Chihuri told the Sunday News President Robert Mugabe was the country's
"number one policeman and his word is our action when he says there should
be no political violence. No other policeman should do anything to
compromise that position." warned Chihuri.

We wish we could have faith in this number one policeman. Provided he has
renounced all his degrees in violence of course. Meanwhile, we thought the
police executed their duties according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and
the Police Act, not the whims of politicians. What's going on here Cde

Talking of which, we hope Chihuri will seriously investigate Labour minister
Paul Mangwana who allegedly went "berserk" and burnt ballot papers in Kadoma
East where he was facing a stiff challenge from Bright Matonga. According to
the Daily Mirror of Monday, Mangwana could not face the prospect of defeat,
which would almost certainly mean a loss of his cabinet post after the March
election. If the claims are true, Mangwana deserves more than party
disciplinary action. For a lawyer, his actions set a very bad precedent for
the less sophisticated members of his party. And how much more thuggery
should we expect when the contest is against an opposition candidate? Let's
see Chihuri's claimed impartiality in action, not just words.

Professor Jonathan Moyo appears to be still fully in charge of Zanu PF's
media empire, if not in person than at least by remote control.
While Moyo's attacks against Zanu PF leaders get pride of place on the front
pages or are prominently laid out on inside pages, the party chairman's
responses are heavily censored and exiled to the papers' Siberian pages.
This week the Sunday News placed John Nkomo's response to his attack by Moyo
over the Tsholotsho debacle after the classifieds on page 13. That was after
running police commissioner Chihuri's interview twice on pages 1 and 9. The
space on page 2 was reserved for a more important story of baboons wreaking
havoc on timber plantations in Manicaland. And what mole gave Moyo details
of Nkomo's trip to Tsholotsho? Just who is in charge at Zimpapers who
appears to be bigger than the

For those who need evidence that state newspapers are assisting Moyo's
candidacy for Tsholotsho despite the allocation of the constituency to a
woman, the Chronicle on Monday reported approvingly on his presentation of
$69 million to pay school fees for gifted pupils from the area.

It reported Moyo as saying "the persecution he has gone through had
strengthened his resolve to work for the people".

He had been barred from contesting the seat, the paper said, "despite the
fact that (he) had been unanimously chosen by the party's district
coordinating committee in consultation with traditional leaders and the

"He was unanimously chosen largely because he initiated a lot of development
projects in the district," the Chronicle said. "Prof Moyo is credited with
facilitating the construction of the Grain Marketing Board depot, expansion
of the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road and sourcing computers, books and
construction material for schools in the district. He has also sourced
hospital equipment, rehabilitated irrigation equipment and facilitated the
electrification of schools and clinics." No doubt there as to whose side the
Chronicle is on!

Commenting on the decision to select a woman candidate, Moyo said: "This
just shows that there is something fundamentally wrong and it is
self-evident and it must be challenged by everyone who loves our region and
our country."
So much for party discipline!

Let's give CAPS United three cheers for responding positively to President
Mugabe's "Look East" policy. Unlike local musicians and business people who
still think West is best, CAPS United have recruited Cheng Lee from China to
their club. The Herald says Cheng's parents have moved to stay in Zimbabwe.
Who said sport and politics don't mix?

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Zim Independent

Radical fuel measures looming
Chris Goko
ZIMBABWE'S two fuel procurement agencies, the Indigenous Petroleum Marketers
Group (IPMG) and Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (PMAZ), have
been merged as part of government measures to stabilise the sector, which
has been problematic for six years, businessdigest can reveal.

Rueben Marumahoko, the deputy Energy minister, on Wednesday confirmed the
amalgamation, saying it was necessary to build uniformity in fuel
procurement and retailing as well as goodwill in the sector.

"The groups (IPMG and PMAZ) were merged a few weeks ago and this was done to
level the field in procurement between larger and small companies,"
Marumahoko said. He expressed optimism that the centralisation of operations
would eliminate problems dogging fuel imports in the country.

He said Zimbabwe had been able to build on consistent supplies and
distribution of fuel lately because the consortiums were cooperating in many
areas, among them resource mobilisation and tapping from almost similar oil
sources, as opposed to the "fragmented system" prior to the merger.

IPMG and PMAZ, meanwhile, will retain their names, although they have
started holding joint meetings.

Masimba Kambarami, a PMAZ member, confirmed the merger, while board chairman
of the combined group Gordon Musarira could not be reached for comment on
how exactly the entity would function.

However, people with knowledge of changes in the sector said further reforms
were in the offing, with the government planning to reclassify fuel
import-licence holders.

The companies, it has been learnt, would be categorised into those with
requisite infrastructure such as service stations, and those with little or
no assets at all.

Of the country's 107 registered dealers, 95% could lose their operating
licences, sources said.

"A number of fuel importers have emerged and especially over the last two
years to capitalise on the country's perennial fuel shortages.

"Closely analysed, a majority of them (import licence beneficiaries) have no
meaningful investment in the sector so much so that they have been fingered
in speculative trade. It is in that vein that a probe has been called on
whether the country needs more licences," the sources said.

While confirming possible reorganisation of the licencing aspect in the
sector, Marumahoko would not substantiate claims that there would be licence
cancellations altogether. Energy minister July Moyo could not be reached for
comment as he is on leave.

It has since been suggested only 10 import licences would be issued, with a
significant number of losing licence holders being compressed into four fuel
procurement consortiums while the other six licences would be held by the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), the IPMG/PMAZ group and a
selected few.

Other than narrowing the band of oil sector players, aggressive affirmative
action polices have also been suggested where established multinational oil
companies would cede a significant portion of their assets to emerging
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Zim Independent

Zimdollar tumbles
Eric Chiriga
THE Zimbabwe dollar depreciated by 18% and 11% against the South African
rand and Botswana pula respectively last month, Finhold's Monthly Economic
Update has revealed.

"The Zimbabwe dollar fell sharply by 18% against the South African rand and
11% against Botswana pula on the foreign currency auction market," Finhold
said in the update.

This is contrary to the government's claim that the country's currency is
firming and the economy is recovering. Finhold said the rejection rate of
bids averaged 88% during the same period.

"The total amount of bids fell from about US$62 million to US$31 million
while the total number of bids fell from 2 813 on December 2 2004 to 1 342
on December 24 2004," the finance company said.

In the update, Finhold said there was more activity on the international
currency markets where the euro set record high levels against the US dollar
and Japanese yen, while the US dollar traded at near record low levels for
the better part of the month under review.

In the same period the Zimbabwe dollar depreciated by 1% against the US

The Zimbabwe dollar is currently trading at US$1:$7 500, R1:$1 500 and
BWP1:$1 900 on the parallel market while on the foreign currency auction the
Zimbabwe dollar is trading at US$1:$5 797, R1:$963 and BWP1:$1 301.

Finhold added that in the same period of December 2004, the money market
recorded a monthly average shortage of $660 billion.

"The money market recorded a monthly average shortage of $660 billion
compared to a monthly average shortage of $93 billion and $266 billion
recorded in October and November 2004."

The shortage was an improvement from a deficit of $943 billion on December

Despite the persistent money market shortages, interest rates fell

Finhold said interest rates were expected to fall further as liquidity
conditions improve in response to the just-ended corporate tax payment
period and a significant portion of treasury bill maturities.
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Zim Independent


Aren't our disasters 'sexy' enough to attract attention?

EVERYONE is horrified and saddened by the suffering, loss of life and
destruction caused by the recent tsunami in parts of Asia and Africa.

As is often the case in most disasters, it is the poor and vulnerable social
groups like women and children that suffer most.

We should all be grateful that the international community, including some
African countries, have mobilised resources quickly to avoid further
suffering and the spread of diseases in the affected regions.

The British public donated millions of pounds and put pressure on their
government to give more.

The United Nations and multilateral financial institutions chipped in with
some assistance.

Racing champion Michael Schumacher, footballer David Beckham, the cricketing
community and non-governmental organisations came in handy while television
stations - CNN, BBC and Sky News - still keep the disaster in public focus.
That is how it should be!

One cannot help but wonder why such generosity and compassion for fellow
human beings is not reflected in Darfur and was not evident in Rwanda.

In southern Africa, more than 160 000 people are infected with the deadly
HIV every day. More are dying daily. Isn't that disastrous enough for the
same scale of resource mobilisation, compassion and media focus as we are
seeing with the tsunami disaster? Aren't our disasters "sexy" enough to
attract attention?

Perhaps I am being too optimistic. Look, when disaster struck in that
region, there were rich tourists from all over the world enjoying some fun
in the sun. Besides, it is a natural disaster that happened at Christmas, a
time of giving.

Ever wondered why animals were not affected by the disaster? Who told the
animals to rush to higher ground?

Frank Chokwadi,

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Zim Independent


Corruption rife at Zimra

LET me through your paper highlight the corruption going on in the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (Zimra), which is being perpetrated by our management.

We came into existence as Zimra on August 1 2001. Two years down the line,
our management decided to sell themselves vehicles at book value, and bought
new vehicles for themselves.

We were to get housing loans from Intermarket Building Society but
management used all the money to buy houses for themselves in leafy suburbs,
leaving us with no chance of owning a house even in the ghettos.

Zimra advanced personal loans to all staff but once again our greedy
managers took all of it leading to closure of the facility.

Zimra management has never awarded a salary increment without us going for
arbitration. They do not want to see their employees live a reasonably good

Position filling in Zimra is so scandalous. If you do not know a manager who
can stand up for you then you might as well forget about promotion. Ask any
employee of Zimra who is not in management and they will confirm this. No
wonder most employees are leaving for greener pastures, especially for the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

In conclusion, these people preach the slogan of integrity, transparency and
fairness. They are not doing what they preach. One day chickens will come
home to roost.


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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

A bad law

CONGRATULATIONS to the Law Society of Zimbabwe for exposing an attempt by
the government to rope in lawyers to do the job of law enforcers.

This may sound strange but there is already legislation to that effect in
the form of the expansively named Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of
Money Laundering Act which President Mugabe recently signed into law.

Last week we carried a story on the Law Society's constitutional challenge
to the new law which compels lawyers to record, disclose and report to
government confidential information gathered from their clients. This, the
government believes, would be a useful front in fighting money laundering
and related criminal activities.

A cursory layman's understanding of this law is that lawyers are being
conscripted to act as state agents, contrary to their client's interests.
They are being positioned as whistleblowers on clients seeking advice.

Your legal practitioner is being asked to send incriminating information
about you to the police, which information you would have given the lawyer
in confidence. That same lawyer can still stand up for you in court because
you will never know that he was the whistleblower. He is not allowed by law
to tell you that he is passing on confidential information to the law

So if it is information regarding a commercial crime, the lawyer can send a
claim to central bank governor Gideon Gono's Whistle Blower Fund and at the
same time secure huge fees from his/her client for legal representation! Can
the lawyer then stand up in court as a witness against his/her client? This
is not practicable but it is not very far from what the law is seeking to

This is a shocking attempt by the government to bolster the ranks of the
police, which have generally been ineffectual in dealing with cases of
commercial felony. We often hear stories of policemen who arrest suspects on
fraud charges the law enforcers have very little clue about. I remember
vividly how in 1999 a politician who is currently behind bars used to drive
around detectives from the Police Fraud Squad ordering them to arrest
certain executives at First Mutual Life. What became of those cases? Is it
that the senior managers at FML were as innocent as newborn babies or police
were led down a garden path by the businessman-cum-politician?

The easy way out of this ineffectualness of the law enforcers, it seems, is
for the state to compel lawyers to pass on information to the police about
their clients. This is a disingenuous admission of failure by our government
to adequately equip police to deal with commercial crime. We have of late
seen the police arresting and detaining suspects in order to investigate a
case instead of arresting after investigating. Laws have been crafted to
abet this fundamentally unconstitutional practice.

The Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act is yet
another attempt to subvert the legal process by undermining the role of
lawyers whose job is being shifted from defending clients to incriminating
them. Lawyers will not be party to this flawed process and have decided to
challenge the law.

"It is essential that defence lawyers remain defence lawyers. Setting them
up against their client and conscripting them into law enforcement will make
them dis-legal, essentially dishonest and generally untrustworthy to the
detriment of the legal profession," the Law Society's court application

The lawyers made another salient point in their application.

"It is not necessary to turn lawyers into whistleblowers in order to prevent
them from engaging in or assisting in money laundering. If a lawyer believes
that he or she is engaging in money laundering and persists in consummating
the transaction, that lawyer will already be liable to discipline and
criminal prosecution.

"That lawyer will not comply with the reporting and recording requirements.
Only lawyers who would not engage in money laundering are likely to record,
disclose and report. The reports are more likely to pertain to innocent
clients than guilty ones."

They added: "Money laundering is not a notorious evil in Zimbabwe. There is
no prevalence of money laundering. There have been no reports of monies to
support terrorism or proceeds from drug trafficking being transited through
Zimbabwe. There have been no prosecutions relating to transmission of money
or the housing of dirty money in Zimbabwe. It is not necessary to interfere
with fundamental rights in order to deal with a problem which is
non-existent in Zimbabwe."

Well said. A bad law can never be used to fight crime. The most effective
law is one where stakeholders have a sense of ownership and can participate
openly in the implementation of the legislation.

The Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act does not fall
into that category because stakeholders have already started to resist its

The most effective force in fighting all forms of corruption is the general
public and an incorruptible government, not retrogressive laws.
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