Friday 26 January 2007
HARARE - Zimbabwe's striking doctors on Thursday threatened to quit and
leave the country en masse if the government did not urgently move to end a
six-week strike that has paralysed state hospitals.
Hospital Doctors Association (HDA) president Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa told
ZimOnline that locally trained doctors were in demand in neighbouring
countries and beyond and they could leave if the strike dragged on or if the
government attempted to use strong-arm tactics against the striking medical
"One of the options open to us if the government fires us or refuses to give
in to our demands and if this strike continues dragging on would be to leave
the country altogether," said Nyamutukwa.
"We have got our certificates from the University of Zimbabwe and any
country can take us on the basis of those certificates. It would not be
advisable for the government to delay or complicate this matter any
further," he added.
State doctors went on strike to pressure the government to improve working
conditions and that it hikes salaries by 8 000 percent. Doctors were earning
around Z$56 000 per month but the government this week increased salaries to
$239 000, an amount the doctors say is still too way below their minimum
demand of $5 million a month.
Contacted for comment on the threat by doctors to leave the country if the
government did not accede to their salary demands, acting Health Minister
Sydney Sekeramayi would only say that the government was still in
negotiations with the doctors and hoped to reach an agreement soon.
"It would be premature to talk about anything. We are trying to persuade
them to return to work. Our hope is to reach an agreement soon," he said.
At least 350 doctors are on strike and the government would struggle to find
replacements if it were to fire or let them resign and leave the country.
Zimbabwe is already facing a shortage of doctors and nurses many of who left
to seek better paying jobs abroad.
Patients have suffered the most because of the doctors' strike with reports
many were dying of diseases that could otherwise be treated if doctors were
Nurses at various hospitals have since joined the strike leaving patients in
the care of young student nurses.
The latest doctors' strike - coming hardly two months after another
paralysing work boycott at the government-owned Mpilo hospital in Bulawayo
last November - only highlights the rot in Zimbabwe's public health delivery
system, once among the best in Africa but has virtually crumbled due to
under-funding and mismanagement. - ZimOnline
Friday 26 January 2007
MASVINGO - A deal by the state-owned Cold Storage Company (CSC) to export
beef to Hong Kong has collapsed after a delegation from the Asian state
failed to turn up for the signing ceremony.
The four-member delegation from Hong Kong were expected in Zimbabwe last
week where they were scheduled to inspect abattoirs countrywide ahead of the
CSC chief executive officer Ngoni Chinogaramombe on Thursday confirmed that
the deal was off adding that the struggling parastatal will continue to push
for the resuscitation of the lucrative deal.
"We were expecting the delegation last week but it did not turn up. But we
will continue to negotiate with them so that one day things can work out
well," said Chigaramombe.
Sources within the agriculture ministry told ZimOnline yesterday that
officials from the Asian country had developed cold feet over the deal
following reports of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth and anthrax diseases last
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said he was disturbed by the latest
development adding that the government will continue to seek ways to
penetrate the Asian beef market.
"We expected the deal to have been signed by now but due to bad publicity
concerning the outbreak of cattle diseases in the country things have
"We will continue to look for other partners where our beef could be
marketed," said Made.
The CSC has struggled to remain afloat after the European Union (EU)
suspended beef imports from Zimbabwe in 2001 following an outbreak of
Before the suspension, Zimbabwe used to export 9 100 tonnes of beef to the
If the Hong Kong deal had gone through, it would have generated much needed
foreign currency for the troubled southern African country which has
increasingly looked towards the East over the past seven years for economic
survival. - ZimOnline
Friday 26 January 2007
HARARE - China has again left out Zimbabwe from the itinerary of an
eight-nation African tour by Chinese President Hu Jintao next week.
According to an itinerary released by the Chinese foreign ministry on 23
January, Hu will visit Cameroon, Liberia, Sudan, Zambia, Namibia, South
Africa, Mozambique and the Seychelles starting from 30 January.
This is the second time China's top leadership has skirted Zimbabwe in as
many years. In June 2006, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao avoided Harare
during a tour of seven African countries aimed at boosting economic links
and securing raw material supplies.
This is a slap in the face for the isolated Zimbabwean leadership, which has
during the past seven years boasted about the expanding relations between
Harare and Beijing as well as the unflinching support of the country's
stuttering economic reforms by China.
President Robert Mugabe, ostracised by the West for his failure to uphold
the rule of law, human rights and democracy, has turned to China and other
Asian countries since 2000 as part of a "Look East" policy aimed at propping
up Zimbabwe's sinking economy.
Presiding over the world's fastest-shrinking economy, the 82-year-old
Zimbabwean leader has offered the Chinese open access to all economic
sectors at a time when other investors have been leaving in droves.
The visit to Africa by the Chinese president is the culmination of last
November's China-Africa Summit during which the leaders agreed to strengthen
economic and political ties.
During his visit, Hu will tour the China-Zambia economic co-operation
projects and a pilot programme for agricultural technology in Mozambique. -
Friday 26 January 2007
MASVINGO - Zimbabwe war veterans have ordered a government minister to
return cattle he grabbed from a white farmer at the height of farm
seizures - an odd step by the ex-combatants who themselves grabbed billions
of dollars worth of property from white farmers.
In a strongly worded letter to President Robert Mugabe, a copy of
which was shown to ZimOnline, the war veterans from the southern Masvingo
town said Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi should
immediately return the cattle to former white farmer, John Fraser.
Mumbengegwi took over the Frasers' farm near Mupandawana rural service
centre in 2001 together with some cattle that belonged to the former owner
arguing that the white farmer had failed to pay him "grazing fees".
"Mr President, we demand that the minister returns all the cattle
failure of which we will take over his property.
"We embarked on the land reform programme in 2000 and never did we
agree that people should take over other people's cattle," read part of the
The veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war spearheaded the
government's chaotic and often violent farm seizure programme and were
notorious for looting farm houses, grabbing household furniture, food,
Hi-fis, television sets and whatever else they could lay their hands on.
In the letter to Mugabe the former fighters said they were against the
seizure of Fraser's cattle as it went against the policy of reconciliation
that was declared by the government at independence in 1980.
"One cannot just grab someone's property because he is a minister,"
said a representative of the war veterans, Isaiah Muzenda.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mumbengegwi refused to discuss the
matter only saying: "I have seen their demands but what I will do has
nothing to do with the Press. It's an internal ZANU PF issue."
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba was not available for comment on
About 600 out of the 4 500 white farmers who were there before the
land reforms began in 2000 are still on their properties with the rest
having been forced to migrate to neighbouring countries such as Zambia,
Mozambique and as far afield as Nigeria and Australia. - ZimOnline
Friday 26 January 2007
JOHANNESBURG - Commonwealth secretary general Don McKinnon on Thursday
said his organisation is seriously concerned with the deteriorating
political crisis in Zimbabwe.
"We are very sad about the situation in Zimbabwe, we hope they will
uphold standards of human rights and they will come back and join the
Commonwealth," said McKinnon.
The Commonwealth boss, who is on his way to the African Union summit
in Ethiopia next week, made the remarks in Nairobi, Kenya.
President Robert Mugabe angrily withdrew Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth in 2004 after the organisation decided to extend Harare's
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2003 following a
controversial presidential election in 2002 that was won by Mugabe.
The Commonwealth was among several international organisations that
refused to endorse Mugabe's re-election in 2002.
"I regret to say that Zimbabwe did not wish to come back. I believe
they will come back some day," said McKinnon.
Zimbabwe is in its eighth year of a political crisis most human rights
groups and major Western governments blame on Mugabe.
But Mugabe denies the charge accusing the West of seeking to oust him
from power as punishment after he seized white farms for redistribution to
landless blacks seven years ago. - ZimOnline
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
25 January 2007
Zimbabwean police broke up a protest march in Harare on Thursday organized
by the National Constitutional Assembly, a leading civic group, which was
demanding that the government hold the next presidential election on
schedule in 2008.
Clashes between police and demonstrators were reported as some activists
resisted being bundled into vans by security forces. The protest came one
day after a more peaceful demonstration organized in the capital by the Save
Zimbabwe Campaign against the "harmonization" of presidential and general
elections in 2010.
Opponents of the government of President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF
ruling party say "harmonization" is just a pretext to extend Mr. Mugabe's
Harare reporter Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe provided
Washington-based Studio 7 host Ndimyake Mwakalyele with an eyewitness
NCA National Director Ernest Mudzengi told Mwakalyele that Thursday's
protest was not intended to compete with the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, of
which it is part, but to reinforce the campaign's message and pressure
Harare to adopt a new constitution instead of amending the old one to
postpone the 2008 presidential election.
By Carole Gombakomba and Jonga Kandemiiri
25 January 2007
Several wards were closed Thursday at Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital as a
strike by doctors and nurses continued despite a fresh government
negotiating initiative, representatives of the striking doctors and other
Those wards still in operation were being staffed by student nurses, while a
few non-Zimbabwean doctors and senior consulting physicians attended to
A representative of the striking nurses at Parirenyatwa Hospital said they
met today and agreed not to go back to work until the government responds to
The nurses now earn about Z$150,000 $(US$35) a month and are demanding a Z$3
million to Z$4.5 million (US$715-US$1,070) monthly salary. The doctors want
to see an increase in their salaries to at least Z$5 million US$1,190) a
month, despite the general increase of 300% in public sector salaries just
put into effect.
Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti said in an interview that the official
position with regard to the striking doctors has not changed, despite the
entry into the situation of Defense Minister Sydney Sekeremai as acting
minister of health following the abrupt departure on leave of Health
Minister David Parirenyatwa earlier this week.
Muguti said the doctors received a "handsome package" so their refusal to
return to work could signal that they they have "a political agenda, which
is outside the realms of the profession." Muguti has taken a hard line in
the strike, telling the doctors last week that they had to return to work or
should consider themselves dismissed.
Dr Henry Madzorere, health secretary for the Movement for Democratic Change
faction of Morgan Tsvangirai, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that such remarks explain why Harare has failed to
resolve the strike.
Meanwhile, the MDC faction headed by Arthur Mutambara issued a statement
that expressed concern with the crisis and called on Parirenyatwa to return
to his post within 24 hours or "admit that he has failed and honorably
Meanwhile, as the strike continues, members of the National Pastors
Conference are visiting patients to give them encouragement and pray with
Pastors in the capital paid visits to Parirenyatwa Hospital and Harare
central hospital while their colleagues other cities and towns around
Zimbabwe did the same. The pastors urged the government to respond to the
demands of the health care professionals and restore services before more
lives were damaged.
Pastor Ancelom Magaya told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the pastors will step up their visits to Zimbabwe hospitals
even if the five-week strike is resolved.
By Blessing Zulu
25 January 2007
The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed
by Morgan Tsvangirai will engage the the United Nations and the Commonwealth
chiefs at the African Union summit under way in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
aiming to bring international pressure on Harare not to delay the next
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has proposed to amend the constitution to
push off the presidential election due next year until 2010, saying its
"harmonization" with the parliamentary ballot due then would save money and
improve balloting. Opponents accuse the ruling party of scheming to extend
President Robert Mugabe's term.
The UN said Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will arrive in Ethiopia Monday to
confer with AU leaders on conflicts in Sudan, Chad, Somalia and Cote d'Ivoire.
The UN chief will also meet unnamed African leaders on the summit sidelines,
but a UN spokesman said it was not clear if such sidebars would include a
session with Mr. Mugabe.
McKinnon, visiting Kenya and Tanzania en route to Addis Ababa, has expressed
his concern with the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe. But he has also voiced
optimism that Harare could eventually be welcomed back into the
Commonwealth. Suspended from the organization in 2002, Zimbabwe resigned its
membership in 2003.
The Kenyan media quoted McKinnon as saying he was saddened by the situation
in Zimbabwe and hoped that Harare would "uphold standards of human rights."
MDC Tsvangirai faction deputy secretary for international relations Grace
Kwinjeh and the grouping's secretary for policy and research, Sekai Holland,
will deliver a message from Tsvangirai calling for a 2008 presidential vote
under a rewritten constitution.
Zimbabwean nongovernmental organizations are also lobbying in Addis Ababa.
Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Blessing Zulu of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC founding president's message is
intended to focus international attention on the gravity of the crisis in
Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 17:22 GMT
Zimbabwe's High Court has ordered the government to restore the
passport to prominent government critic and newspaper publisher Trevor
His passport was seized last year under new laws tightening rules on
those with foreign parents gaining citizenship.
Mr Ncube was born in Zimbabwe but his father was Zambian. He owns two
weekly papers in Zimbabwe and South Africa's weekly Mail and Guardian.
"My faith in the Zimbabwean judiciary has been vindicated," Mr Ncube
Judge Chinembiri Bhunu said there was no legal reason to strip Mr
Ncube of his nationality.
"It is accordingly ordered that [Ncube] is a citizen of Zimbabwe by
birth... the withdrawal or cancellation of his citizenship is unlawful,
null, void and of no force or effect," the judge ruled.
He ordered Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to give Mr Ncube a
passport within seven days.
"The attempt to use citizenship as a tool to fight perceived political
enemies and to settle personal scores must be condemned in the strongest
terms," Mr Ncube said.
He added that the ruling should help some 1.5m Zimbabweans with
Mr Ncube's passport was first seized in 2005 before it was returned
following a successful legal challenge.
Last year, the government said Mr Ncube's citizenship had been revoked
because he had not renounced his Zambian nationality as stipulated under new
Mr Ncube's lawyer said his client had never had Zambian nationality.
His mother was Zimbabwean.
Zimbabwean law bans dual nationality.
Mr Ncube's papers, The Zimbabwe Independent and Zimbabwe Standard,
often publish articles criticising the government of President Robert
The Raw Story
dpa German Press Agency
Published: Thursday January 25, 2007
Harare/Johannesburg- Top Zimbabwe newspaper publisher
Trevor Ncube said he was "delighted and relieved" after Harare High
Court on Thursday ruled to uphold his citizenship following attempts
by the authorities to block the renewal of his passport.
"I'm delighted and relieved that the court has issued this
verdict, not just for me but for the 1.5 million Zimbabweans whose
parents were born in Mozambique and Malawi (and whose citizenship is
being called into question by the state)," Ncube told Deutsche
Presse-Agentur dpa in Johannesburg, where he received the news.
"This judgement will make them sleep soundly today" without fear
of "denationalization," the publisher of Zimbabwe's last two fully
independent newspapers said.
Ncube's lawyer Sternfold Moyo said he would be serving papers
Friday on the registrar general in a bid to force him to issue a new
passport to the South Africa-based businessman.
Government lawyers had dropped their case against Ncube at the
High Court, Moyo told dpa.
Ncube was challenging the refusal late last year of Registrar-
General Tobaiwa Mudede to renew his passport, claiming that Ncube was
a Zambian citizen because his father was born in Zambia.
"We were successful. The court ordered that he (Ncube) is a
Zimbabwean citizen," Moyo said.
The court also ruled that the registrar-general's attempt to
cancel Ncube's citizenship was null and void, Moyo said.
"Judge Chinembiri Bhunu awarded costs to Ncube at a higher scale
because it was the second time they (the authorities) were doing the
same thing," said the lawyer.
Ncube's passport was first seized in 2005, but was ordered
returned by the same judge.
Zimbabwe's laws prohibit the holding of dual citizenship. Ncube,
who publishes the weekly Standard and Independent newspapers and is
also chief executive of South Africa's Mail & Guardian weekly, had
denied ever holding a Zambian passport. He said both his parents were
Zimbabwean at the time of his birth.
Ncube said he would be travelling to Zimbabwe, where his parents
and siblings live, as soon as next week.
Over the past three months he had feared travelling to the country
for fear his passport, in which he had only one page left, would be
There had been fears that Ncube was being deliberately stripped
of his citizenship so that the authorities could close down his
papers, although the state-run Media and Information Commission
(MIC), which licenses all papers in Zimbabwe, denied that was the
Ncube said earlier this week he thought the state was trying to
intimidate the newspapers' journalists by sending the message that
"if we can do this to your boss, we can do it to you."
Once the court order has been served on Mudede, he has to renew
the passport within seven days, Moyo said.
© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency
Monsters and Critics
Jan 25, 2007, 15:20 GMT
Harare - Watching television in Zimbabwe will soon be unaffordable for many
after the authorities upped radio and TV licences by 2,500 times, according
to reports Thursday.
Radio listeners will now have to pay 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars (200 US
dollars) per year up from 20 dollars (8 US cents), the state- controlled
Herald newspaper reported.
That is equivalent to nearly a month's salary for teachers, nurses and
junior doctors, who are struggling to make ends meet in Zimbabwe's
A car-radio licence now costs 200,000 Zimbabwe dollars, up from 500, and a
television licence 150,000 Zimbabwe dollars, up from 650, according to new
fees announced by the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH).
Most Zimbabweans depend on tightly-controlled state television and radio for
their information. The authorities operate one TV station and four radio
The internet an alternative source of news reaches less than 7 per cent of
the population, while only the richest with access to scarce foreign
currency can afford satellite television.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
The New Times (Kigali)
January 24, 2007
Posted to the web January 25, 2007
Francis Rugema & Dean Karemera
Enemies of freedom who argue that democracy is not suited to all societies
and that US President George W. Bush was wrong in principle as well as in
practice in fighting to allow Iraqis to choose their rulers should read the
recent report on Zimbabwe.
The report shows what happens where fair elections and open government, as
well as the other pillars of a just society, free enterprise and equal
access to justice, do not exist. The report is on how a once prosperous
African nation is reduced to a wreck, where starvation and brutality are the
norm and the state treats ordinary people as its enemy.
Millions have fled Zimbabwe or died from hunger, disease and violence. The
life expectancy is barely half what it was 15 years ago and the economy has
shrunk by 40 per cent this century. And it is all the work of dictator
Robert Mugabe and his partners in crime who have entrenched their political
power and economic authority by torturing, starving and killing their own
As with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Mugabe's Zimbabwe is a warning to the world
of what happens when a state is run as a family or personal fiefdom. As in
Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union, in Zimbabwe the state and the
dictator's political party are all but combined. Such regimes are not only
immoral; they are incompetent of good governance, because the needs of the
vast mass of ordinary citizens are always ignored.
As in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, Mugabe has tried to drive the urban
poor into the country by putting away their shanty towns. Every dictator
understands the dangers of large concentrations of desperate people in
cities. Like the old Soviet Union under Stalin, Mugabe has taken farmland
from ostensible enemies of the regime, in this case white farmers, and
handed it over to party loyalists.
In the process, as was the Soviet experience, he has all but destroyed the
country's rural economy. Not long ago, Zimbabwe was the bread basket of
southern Africa. Now its citizens stay and starve or seek bread in South
Africa. Similar to Mao's China, Mugabe is big on state control of
everything, with plans that destroy the economy.
Moreover, as with all states where democracy is ruined and official
corruption flourishes, Mugabe ensures he will not be called to account for
his evil incompetence. He allows his henchmen to loot the state. And his
regime rigs elections and intimidates opponents. There is yet another
dictatorship Mugabe's Zimbabwe is coming to resemble -- Kim Jong-Il's
starving police state in North Korea.
That Mugabe's dictatorship would be ended by fair elections seems not to be
assured. But there is no way he will readily submit to such. Nor is it
likely that the UN would ever act in the interests of the Zimbabwean people
and remove him. Mugabe enjoys the diplomatic protection of South African
President Thabo Mbeki, presumably on the principal that African leaders
should stick together.
China is happy to fill the aid and investment vacuum left by Western
nations. And the prospect of the West removing Mugabe by military action is
unlikely given and the US disaster in Iraq following the removal of Saddam.
Zimbabwe's best hope is that the 82-year-old Mugabe's regime will die with
him, or collapse earlier under the weight of its own incompetence. Neither
are morally acceptable solutions -- but Zimbabwe's tragedy is being played
out at a time when appeasing or ignoring evil is politically popular in many
of the countries that have the economic and military power to do something
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
BULAWAYO, 25 Jan 2007 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - A rise of more than 100 percent in
the price of antiretroviral drugs is likely to put the life-prolonging
medication beyond the reach of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans living
Pharmacists in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo increased the price of a
monthly course of ARVs from an average of Z$30,000 (US$120 at the official
exchange rate) to between Z$80,000 (US$320) and Z$100,000 (US$400), telling
IRIN the price hike was an inevitable response to the country's economic
woes, which has seen inflation surge to 1,281 percent, and foreign currency
become a scarce item.
"People think the price increase is severe and unnecessary, but all we are
doing is passing on the costs of procurement to keep the supply chain
running. We are aware of the public outcry but there is nothing we can do.
We import these products, so we need to keep the prices at a level where we
can supply the country and remain viable at the same time," said a Bulawayo
pharmacist, who declined to be identified.
She said the sharp hike in the price of the life-prolonging medication was a
consequence of the high cost of procuring the raw materials, as all the
ingredients for manufacturing the medications were imported. Because foreign
currency was unavailable on the formal market, manufacturers had turned to
the parallel market, where there was an abundance of foreign currency, but
the exchange rate was astronomical.
On the parallel market one US dollar fetches as much as Z$6,000, as opposed
to the official exchange rate, which is pegged at Z$250 to one US dollar.
"We understand the importance of ARVs to the country, but we cannot sell
them at prices that may lead us to close shop. The government needs to do
something to ensure that ARV manufacturers are given priority in sharing the
little foreign currency that comes in. We can only reduce prices if our
suppliers reduce theirs. At the moment that is highly unlikely, so we either
increase the prices in line with them or just close shop," said Edmos Moyo,
a pharmacy manager in the city.
More than 300,000 Zimbabweans require antiretroviral therapy, but the
government ARV rollout programme has only reached 50,000 people - the
remainder either have to buy the medication from private pharmacies or rely
on handouts from nongovernmental organisations distributing ARVs in private
and public hospitals.
The government intends to make ARVs available to 160,000 people, but a
government minister conceded this month that the programme was lagging far
behind schedule. UNAIDS estimates that about 20.1 percent of adults in
Zimbabwe are infected with HIV/AIDS.
"Many of our people cannot afford the treatment at such cost. I foresee a
situation where many people will just drop out of treatment and wait to die
in silence," Emmanuel Masuke, of the Zimbabwe National Network of People
Living with HIV/AIDS (ZNNP+) in Bulawayo, told IRIN.
"The pharmacists are the only reliable source of the drugs, since government
has failed to provide ARVs to those who need them. The few NGOs that are
helping out will not be able to meet the growing demand, as they are also
struggling to keep up steady supplies to patients who are already on their
Deputy minister Edwin Muguti told IRIN that the planned rollout was still on
the cards, but the programme had been hamstrung by shortages. "The
government still intends to go ahead with the rollout of ARVs, but we are
short of money to buy the drugs. In some cases we have a shortage of
personnel because of the ongoing problem of brain drain. We have prepared
the facilities, but we are still losing staff to other countries."
Muguti condemned the ARV price increase, which coincides with government's
increase of hospital fees by up to 100 percent, and said pharmacists should
realise the importance of antiretroviral drugs to the nation's health.
However, pharmacists said the government should stop accusing them of
putting "the health of the nation" at risk and address the lack of foreign
currency and hyperinflation, which were the main drivers of the price
Pharmacists predicted that the imminent gazetting of the statutory
instrument 263/2006, which will introduce fixed fees for the registration of
medicines, licences and permits under the Medicines and Allied Substances
Control Act, would further increase the price of ARVs and other drugs.
Zimbabwe's mining industry has contracted by about 6% in the last ten years,
and is set to decline further if government goes ahead with its
controversial indigenisation of the sector.
In March last year, President Robert Mugabe's government announced plans to
amend mining legislation and "indigenise" 51% of the shareholding of all
foreign-owned mining companies, with 25% going to the State free. Harare is
said to be at an advanced stage of finalising the controversial law,
designed to give locals shares in foreign-owned mines. The new proposals are
expected to be announced before the end of the first quarter.
Commentators say the industry, especially the gold-mining sector, has been
labouring under a myriad of problems which have seen it lose its lustre.
Among the problems are an unrealistic foreign-exchange rate, which is not in
tandem with existing fundamentals; shortages of foreign currency to import
required plant and equipment; and a government-controlled gold price.
The mining sector remains one of few in Zimbabwe with a significant level of
foreign involvement, after Mugabe's controversial seizure of white-owned
commercial farms for redistribution to blacks sent many international
Impala Platinum, Anglo Plati-num and Rio Tinto have interests in Zimbabwe.
Impala Platinum owns 87% of Zimplats and 50% of Mimosa, a partnership with
Anglo Platinum is developing the Unki project, which will produce 58 000
oz/y of platinum. Falcon Gold finance director Garry Perroti says: "We have
heard rumours that a new mining policy is coming, but have not had sight of
"However, assuming the rumours are true, the success or failure of the
policy will depend on how it is structured, how government intends to pay
for the stake and how it is implemented.
"It depends on what government intends to do - do they want to control the
mining operations, coming in and replacing the existing skilled labour, or
do they want a percentage of the profits? If the former is true, this will
be detrimental for the industry," he tells Mining Weekly.
President of the Chamber of Mines Jack Murehwa says the organisation has
made proposals to government, and is awaiting a response.
"We have proposed that government adopts scorecards instead of outright
equity in mining houses," Murehwa says. The scorecards would be based on
mining houses' corporate social responsibilities to the communities in which
"Construction of roads, schools, clinics, dams and any other form of social
infrastructure would contribute towards empowerment credits," he adds. He
says he does not believe that the mining sector will go the same way as
Zimbabwe's agriculture, adding that "mining is more complex".
The chamber's CEO, David Murangari, states that plans to indi- genise the
mining sector are "not good and are not going to help the industry".
Leading independent economist John Robertson says the proposed amendments
will keep new investors at bay, worsening an economic crisis showing itself
in chronic food, fuel and foreign-currency shortages, soaring unemployment
and the highest inflation rate in the world, currently hovering above 1
Impala's CEO, David Brown, recently said he was optimistic that talks
between his company and the government would result in the State taking
30%in his company, and not 51%.
Mugabe recently said his government would not allow land-grab-style seizures
of mines by top officials, but analysts have said he was merely posturing,
as he had made similar statements in the past about agriculture, but did not
act when evidence of massive enrichment by his officials was made public.
Zimbabwe's gold-mining industry is at the mercy of government and survives
from one monetary policy to another, an official of leading gold producer
Falcon Gold has said.
Monetary policies are presented twice a year by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) governor Gideon Gono. It is during such presentations that the
governor may, besides other things, make concessions for gold producers,
increasing their foreign currency retention from gold sales, adjusting the
floor price of gold, and announcing a new exchange rate.
The gold-mining industry opera-tes under a controlled exchange rate, whereby
government pays Z$830 for every greenback, a significantly more favourable
rate than the Z$250 paid on the interbank market. "But this is still way
below the true value of the currency," says Garry Perotti, financial
director at the Luxembourg-listed Falcon Gold. The black market rate for the
greenback stood at Z$3 600:US$1 last week. Perotti says that, for the first
two to three months after a monetary policy announcement, gold-mining firms
operate at a profit. The next month sees them breaking even, and the last
two months are "loss periods".
"This is because of galloping inflation, which, at above 1 200%, erodes
profits. Gold-mining firms are actually surviving from one monetary policy
to another," he says.
Gold producers say the RBZ's stringent foreign currency retention
regulations and its insistence on the Z$250:US$1 exchange rate have
contributed to declining gold output, constricting earnings and dashing what
little hope gold-miners had of funding exploration for future expansion.
This has seen gold output slide to an all-time low of 12 t last year - from
a peak of 29 t/y in the mid-1990s. "If this was not the case, gold-mining
companies would have grown at a phenomenal rate, taking into account the
prevailing gold price on the world market," Perotti say.
Analysts say gold producers have been subjected to a worse monetary regime
than any other export sector.
Indeed, the anomaly whereby gold producers retain only 40% of their earnings
in US dollars, despite requiring significant amounts of foreign exchange to
sustain and grow operations, has contributed to the fall in production and
in new investment in the industry. "The issue of the exchange rate at which
exporters surrender their forex to the RBZ has also contribu-ted to the
slump in gold production," says independent economist Mguni Maenzanise.
"Since August 2006, the exchange rate has been fixed at $250:US$1.
"Inflation has been going up by 20% to 30% a month since then. Wages and
salaries in the industry have gone up dramatically and all costs have been
going up and yet the exchange rate has been kept at an unrealistic level." A
gold-miner who requested anonymity said more shocking in the gold industry
were developments since September 2006. "The RBZ is supposed to pay for 50%
of gold deliveries within four days, with the balance being paid within 21
days. "The RBZ has not been living up to this promise and, in most cases, is
taking up to 60 days to pay. This has serious cash-flow implications for
gold producers. Most inputs have to be imported for cash, as few foreign
suppliers will give credit to Zimbabwean companies," he said.
"At the moment, we are waiting with bated breath for the next monetary
policy, which, we understand, will be presented during the last week of
January," says Perotti.
Chamber of Mines of Zim-babwe CEO David Murangari says gold-miners are
expecting fresh measures to enhance viability, including a review of the
By Violet Gonda
25 January 2007
Prominent human rights lawyer Arnold Tsunga said he was briefly detained by
state agents at Harare International Airport Thursday. This was after they
saw his name on a government 'hit list.'Tsunga, who is the Director of the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and acting secretary of the Law Society of
Zimbabwe, had just arrived in Zimbabwe with six other lawyers and had been
cleared by customs when he was surrounded by the four men dressed in suits.
Tsunga told SW Radio Africa: "Yes, it is true that I was briefly detained by
central intelligence operatives working together with customs excise
The human rights lawyer said he was confronted as he left the arrivals
terminal. He said they demanded to see his passport and when he asked for
their identities they refused and literally dragged him through a corridor
into an office at the airport. There they demanded to also see his two bags.
Tsunga said this was not a routine customs process because of the way he was
confronted. He said one of the men is a well know CIO who is involved in the
vetting of people as they enter and exit the country.
The human rights lawyer joins a list of other prominent Zimbabweans
activists who have had their passports scrutinised or seized. Last year
Newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube had his passport seized, as did Raymond
Majongwe the Secretary General of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
and opposition official Paul Themba Nyathi.
Tsunga confirmed seeing a list, when one of the state agents grabbed his
passport. "He had two A4 pages which had a list of individuals. So he
compared the name on my passport and one of the names that was on the list.
And when it matched that is when he said step inside."
He believes the persecution of human rights activists in Zimbabwe is a
systematic exercise, which is carried out very deliberately. Tsunga said it
would be foolish not to expect most human rights defenders to be on that
government "hit list."
We were not able to get a comment from the State Security Minister Didymus
Mutasa or airport officials.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The Herald (Harare)
January 25, 2007
Posted to the web January 25, 2007
SUGAR started trickling back into the formal market yesterday following the
Government's approval of a 117 percent price increase.
Sugar producers confirmed that they had resumed deliveries.
An official with Zimbabwe Sugar Sales said the company had started
distributing sugar to the market.
"We have started our deliveries today (Wednesday) following Government's
approval of the new price.
"As I speak now, some of our trucks are offloading sugar at a retail shop in
Budiriro," he said.
But the official was quick to add that it would take up to the end of the
week for supplies to return to normal.
An official at TM in Budiriro 1 confirmed receiving sugar yesterday but
would not be drawn into disclosing the quantities.
Goldstar Sugars also started deliveries yesterday, an official said.
There was, however, no sign of deliveries in the city centre, until late
afternoon. For most of the day, consumers moved from one supermarket to
another inquiring about the commodity.
Following the latest round of price increases, the wholesale price of white
sugar is now pegged at $1 133 and $5 609 for 2kg and 10kg respectively,
while the new retail price of a 2kg packet of white sugar is now $1 247.
A 10kg bag of white sugar will now cost $6 170.
The wholesale price of 2kg and 10kg brown sugar is now pegged at $ 1 050 and
$5 197 respectively, with the retail price pegged at $1 155 and $5 717.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing a critical shortage of sugar since November
last year, prompting the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign
Affairs, Industry and International Trade to call for an urgent meeting on
Wednesday with ministry's senior officials to chart the way forward.
Secretary for Industry and International Trade Retired Colonel Christian
Katsande assured the lawmakers that the new prices would improve the
availability of sugar.
By: Frank Jomo
Posted: '25-JAN-07 15:16' GMT © Mineweb 1997-2006
BLANTYRE (Mineweb.com) --Zimbabwe's leading coal miner, Hwange Colliery
Company Limited (formerly Wankie Colliery) has confirmed that it has
dispatched a high-level delegation to China to scout for financial
assistance to boost operations at its mine which recently has come under
attack for failing to provide the country with enough coal especially for
its tobacco industry.
The Company's Marketing and Public Relations Manager Clifford Nkomo told
state-run Herald Newspaper that the company was seeking partners in the East
to inject both financial and technological assistance.
"We have had a number of groups going out to China for quite a while now as
part of efforts to recapitalize the mine and find partners to help us in our
operations," Herald quotes Nkomo as saying. "Last week, a delegation
comprising the acting managing director, the processing manager and section
engineer for coke works left for China."
The company which is quoted on the Harare, London and Johannesburg Stock
Exchange aims at producing five million tonnes of coal every year in order
to satisfy its domestic as well as export customers. However it does not
have enough wherewithal to meet this demand.
Apart from looking for financial assistance, officials from Hwange which
also produces coke are in the far-eastern country to get first-hand
knowledge on the expansion of the lifespan of coke batteries. Coke oven
batteries have a lifespan of over 50 years.
"The senior managers went there to also gather information about the
handling of coke oven batteries, which, in turn, would assist in improving
the quality of the coke that we produce," he said.
Hwange which produces 16,000 tonnes of coke monthly but would want to double
the output, is said to be losing $6,000 per tonne of coal it produces as a
result of under-pricing, according to a recent study carried out by the
But Nkomo told the Herald that submissions for a review of the price had
already been made to the relevant authorities, but the response was taking
Apart from financial problems, Hwange attributes its failure to meet demand
to breakdowns of its machinery. In addition it is also owed huge amounts of
money by Zimbabwe's power utility company - Zesa Holdings to the tune of
Zim$2 billion ($US 8 million) and steel making company Ziscosteel amounting
to Zim$800 million ($3.2 million).
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe under fire from the western world has
turned to China for economic liberation. Many mines in the country reeling
from financial problems have turned to Chinese miners for financial
assistance in form of mergers, in other circumstances.
The Herald (Harare)
January 25, 2007
Posted to the web January 25, 2007
FIFTEEN Chinese youths arrived in Harare yesterday to undertake voluntary
work in various sectors for a year.
The youths will teach the Chinese language, sports education, computer
technology, Chinese medical diagnosis and technology of pasture husbandry in
various schools and institutions.
"The Chinese youth volunteers will be attached to various institutions in
the country for one year on a youth exchange programme that is meant to
cement ties between China and Africa," said the Minister of Youth
Development and Employment Creation Cde Ambrose Mutinhiri.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Yuan Nansheng said Zimbabwe was the first
African country to receive the volunteers under an exchange programme for
the whole of Africa.
He said this showed the importance China bestows on Zimbabwe.
Four of the volunteers, who are Chinese language tutors, will be attached to
the University of Zimbabwe to teach the Chinese language to ease the
language barrier that exists between China and Zimbabwe.
The other volunteers are experts in information communication technologies,
animal husbandry, sport and medicine and these will be seconded to the
Harare Institute of Technology, Mazowe Agricultural Institute, Mutare and
Kwekwe Polytechnics and Guinea Fowl High School.
One volunteer, who is an expert in Chinese medicine (acupuncture), will be
attached to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to train Zimbabwean
professionals in Chinese medicine.
The head of the Chinese youth volunteers, Mr Gou Ping, said the youths were
the major social construction agents and were responsible for national
building. He said he hoped the programme would help in exchanging
experiences in those areas.
By Moyo, Derek
25 January 2007
South African musician Johnny Clegg, who's popularly known as the 'White
Zulu,' has released a new solo album, featuring a song about Zimbabwe. The
CD, called "One Love", features a track critical of President Robert
Mugabe's administration. It's entitled "The Revolution will eat its
In the song, Clegg specifically denounces the political and economic crisis
in Zimbabwe. In an interview with South Africa's Mail and Guardian
Newspaper, Clegg states that the song is open criticism of Mugabe's
government. In the interview, Clegg adds that while culture should never be
used as a weapon because that would reduce cultural value, musicians and
other performers have a duty to draw attention to injustice.
In addition, Clegg says "The Revolution Will Eat its Children" is about the
"inability of certain African leaders to relinquish power, despite its being
time to do so."
Also, the new CD reveals that Clegg is distancing himself from South
Africa's "quiet diplomacy" -- a method identified with Zimbabwe in it's
political dealings with the country.
Another track with a sobering message is one called "Boy Soldier" which is a
song about the plight of child soldiers.
Clegg was born in England in 1953 and raised in Zimbabwe before immigrating
to South Africa at age nine. He originally made a name for himself as a
member of the group "Juluka", alongside Sipho Mchunu.
The duo sang songs denouncing the Apartheid regime and, as a result, ended
up being banned by the country's state broadcaster. But they managed to
achieve popularity and international acclaim as members of the group
"Savuka." Past hits include "Woza Friday", "Asimbonanga" and 'The
Scatterlings of Africa."
At 53, Clegg's latest 17-track CD still features his signature blend of pop
and the traditional maskandi beat. One of the new compositions on the album
is the upbeat, inspirational track "Jongosi."
"One love" is Johnny Clegg's first new studio-produced album in 4 years. It
also features him singing in Afrikaans in the song "Thamela: Die Son Trek
The grammy-nominated artist's latest album, among other selections, also
features the tracks "Utshani Obulele", "Day In The Life" and "Locked and
EDITOR- Along the Mazowe Road Extension, approximately 20km out of Harare
are some of the most beautiful Cypress trees. They stretch about 1km along
the road giving it one of the most beautiful views just before the Christon
Bank turn off.
I have travelled on this road for nearly 15 years to and from town.
Most of us know this area because it is often referred to as "the trees".
They stand tall and majestic, hundreds of them for nearly 2 miles. Tall and
green all year round.
You know that when you reach them, you are nearly home. When people go to
the Mazowe Dam, Bindura, Concession, Guruve or just for a visit to the
north, they pass the trees.
And the big Evergreen trees always welcome them.
Late last year, I notice that the trees are being cut down at an alarming
After a few enquires, I heard that they are all destined to be cut down. My
Goodness! How sad.
How many years did it take for them to grow to such beautiful thickness and
height? My girls and I will miss their warmth when we pass.
Many have already been cut and it is sickening, as the space is slowly
If there is a group or an organisation to save the trees, these ones need
your help urgently.