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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

No appeasement
Iden Wetherell
I WAS sorry to receive the news this week of Geoff Nyarota's removal as
editor of the Daily News. I have known Geoff since our student days 30 years
ago and he was both a reliable colleague as chair of the Zimbabwe National
Editors Forum (Zinef) and a good companion in other circumstances such as
our visit to Germany in June.

I think you will all agree with me that under Geoff's stewardship the Daily
News has proved a courageous fighter in the battle for a democratic society.
While not by any means alone in that struggle, it is by its nature - as a
daily - assigned a pivotal role.

It is hardly surprising then that the Daily News should have borne the brunt
of government's vicious assault on the independent media that followed
President Mugabe's electoral setbacks in 2000. While I made a number of
visits myself to Harare Central, they do not compare to the sense of tenancy
which Nyarota established over that particular police station.

Admittedly, his paper on occasion gave hostages to fortune. The Magunje case
and the recent Stellenbosch story come to mind. But I do not for one minute
accept Information minister Jonathan Moyo's claim that there was no
difference in seriousness between the two stories. His remarks were clearly
opportunist in nature following the setting up of the Media Commission as
the instrument of his tyranny.

He accused the Daily News of lying when in fact it used extracts from a
South African news agency report claiming President Mugabe had arrived in a
motorcade for the ANC's Stellenbosch conference. This relatively harmless
story, which was quickly retracted, can in no way be compared to the Magunje

But Moyo, who can be likened to a fox eyeing a careless chicken, quickly

"Is there anyone out there who will raise a finger if action is taken
against the Daily News?" he asked while in the same breath inviting the
Media Commission to "act on such recklessness".

As the press is entirely within its rights in speculating about President
Mugabe's whereabouts given the entirely unnecessary secrecy surrounding his
movements, any such investigation by the Mahoso Commission would be a good
opportunity for a newspaper to repudiate the investigative pretensions of
this unqualified body.

If Mugabe insists on hiding from his people behind the glazed windows of his
air-conditioned limousine, it is little wonder that the presence in a
neighbouring country of a motorcade similar to his trademark display of
power and importance should give rise to unconfirmed media reports.

Meanwhile, I would hope some editor at News24 in South Africa is giving his
correspondent in the Cape a roasting for feeding newspapers inaccurate news.
On the other hand I certainly hope that the threats made against the Daily
News over its most recent "transgression" have not unnerved the management
there into taking steps which the public may mistake for appeasement. Any
move by an independent paper to soften its tone or duck the big issues in
the current crisis will be regarded by readers as unforgivable. As it is,
the public have already been disadvantaged by the strike at the Daily News.

To echo remarks I made this week as deputy chair of the editors' forum,
Zinef, I hope the Daily News quickly resolves its internal problems so it
can continue to provide Zimbabwean readers with the unadorned news and
robust views for which there is a clear public demand. This is not the time
for media managers and workers to show timidity or division that can be
exploited by enemies of a free press.

Meanwhile, readers will join me in wishing Geoff and his principled deputy
Davison Maruziva all the very best. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of
them yet!

On November 29 in an Editor's memo headed "It's not cricket", I argued that
it was inappropriate for the International Cricket Council to hold matches
in Zimbabwe in the present circumstances. The presence of the teams would be
seen by Mugabe's media machine as a recognition of their leader's
legitimacy, I wrote.

Indeed, that is already happening. But I am pleased to note that despite an
extraordinarily naïve report by the ICC on the security situation here, the
tide of public opinion is now turning against the tour.

As just about everyone is pointing out, this is not about the security of
the players but about principle. As in South Africa in the 1970s, the
international sporting community must make a decision not to play with
tyranny and racism.

The Sowetan declared on Tuesday that Zimbabwe should be excluded from
co-hosting the World Cricket Cup.

"Allowing part of this international tournament to be staged in that
troubled country would amount to nothing less than an endorsement of
Mugabe's refusal to defend basic human rights and guarantee such essential
liberties as the freedom of speech and association," it said.

Quite so! Just as Hitler used the Berlin Olympics in 1936 to showcase his
regime, so the Cricket World Cup will be milked for every propaganda
advantage by Zimbabwe's increasingly fascist rulers.

That must not happen.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


Of dubious scoops, falsehoods and Moi's exit
IN a front-page story on December 22, "Scribes spy for BBC", the Sunday Mail
purported to have a major scoop. Which journalists were sleeping with the
enemy we wondered? Who was handing secrets to the BBC?

BBC correspondent Lewis Machipisa, it turned out. He was guilty of, well,
working for his employers.

"Documents in the possession of the Sunday Mail show that a local reporter,
Lewis Machipisa, is now working for the BBC," the Sunday Mail breathlessly
told its readers.

A better way of finding out would have been to tune into the BBC. Machipisa
is the BBC's correspondent here. He can be heard reporting from Harare by
regular listeners to the Africa Service.

The producer of the Africa Service is Robin White who can also be heard on
programmes such as Focus on Africa which Machipisa has contributed to as
their correspondent. White's name was cited by the Sunday Mail to bolster
its dubious plot. So was possession of a digital camera by Machipisa. It is
thought some of his pix could have ended up on the BBC's website.

But what was of interest to us in the Sunday Mail story is where they quoted
Machipisa's communications with the BBC. These looked suspiciously like
e-mail intercepts. If so, we may have the first evidence that the Office of
the President is enforcing those sections of the Broadcasting Services Act
which require Internet service providers to hand over their e-mail records
to government when told to do so. It is an offence for the ISPs to reveal
such a request.

The government has been irked by a number of challenges to its iron-fisted
communications regime of late. When correspondents arrived from Johannesburg
to cover the dreadful Miss Malaika "pageant" recently, they were met by a
Moyo van and carted off to the Sheraton with instructions not to stray too
far from the main event. But CNN not only did a "to camera" transmission
from the hotel's rooftop, it had Jonathan Mann in Atlanta interviewing
Morgan Tsvangirai, Wellington Chibhebhe, and Lovemore Madhuku about the real
story in Zimbabwe - starvation, repression and misrule. Not exactly what the
Ministry of Information had in mind!

Chinondidyachii Mararike ap-pears to have been stung by Muckraker's
criticism of his semi-literate outpourings in the Herald. Using the
redundant language of the Ho Chi Minh School of Journalism, he recently
attacked the Independent and its editor for moving the paper into
"imperialist hands".

"The paper's antipathy to government amounts to an undeclared war against a
people's government with the editor presenting to his readers a deliberately
negative view of the president because he doesn't like him," Mararike
childishly declared.

Mararike, who evidently doesn't love his country enough to live in it,
preferring the safety of the imperial metropole, says it is "not only unfair
but also completely unwise" to "crucify" President Mugabe.

"The questions the opposition press should answer are: Since when have we
publicly attacked our parents for making decisions that we may not
necessarily agree with? And do we have to dress our elders in muddy suits
simply to settle political scores?"

"Are there no limits," he asked, "limits circumscribed by culture and
decency, beyond which we must not go when voicing disagreements with those
who to us are our elders, our leaders and our parents?"

So there you have it. We cannot criticise our leaders when they fool around
with their secretaries while pontificating on morality; we cannot criticise
them when they selfishly allocate billions of dollars to their own upkeep
and that of fellow tyrants while the country's infrastructure collapses; and
we must remain silent when they pronounce policies calculated to promote
failure and destitution.

Isn't that exactly the central message of nationalist demagoguery: Don't
criticise our thieving self-indulgent leaders. That is un-African, not to
mention politically inconvenient!

The same warped thinking - of enforcing respect where none exists - lies
behind Patrick Chinamasa's attempts to make MPs sit and listen to President
Mugabe's disingenuous pronouncements when he gives his sorry
state-of-the-nation speech. The cabinet is trying to devise ways to make
attendance compulsory so everybody will have to hear Mugabe's lame excuses
for failure, not to mention his silly conspiracy theories which only the
most intellectually challenged among his followers still believe.

MPs have every right to absent themselves from Mugabe's attempts to justify
his misrule. There is nothing "national" about the president's partisan
posturing. And Chinamasa should know better than try to force the nation to
respect a leader who thrives on division and disunity. There's no dignity
left in that office and everybody knows it including the cabinet.

Anyway, we look forward to seeing the Leader of the House blocking the exits
as Mugabe starts droning on about Zimbabwe's problems all being the fault of
the "Breetish".

Zanu PF appears to have set up yet another front organisation to join the
ZFTU, Heritage-Zimbabwe, Inyika Trust, and the NDA. The hitherto unheard of
Revolutionary Zimbabwe Youths for Patriotism presented a petition at the
Daily News last Friday complaining about "falsehoods" and telling the staff
to go and work for the "Breetish".

The youths, led by somebody called Dr Samuel Mvurume, said they would also
be presenting a petition to the Ministry of Information.

This should come as no surprise as that is where they probably came from in
the first place! The ministry has been quick to accuse the Daily News of
publishing "falsehoods" over a news agency report claiming President Mugabe
had arrived in Stellenbosch for the ANC conference. It described his
motorcade as it made its way to the conference centre.

In fact the motorcade contained another visiting dignitary and News24, the
agency which filed the report - also widely published in South Africa -
clearly erred. But no harm was done and nobody's reputation suffered.
"Observers" complained about the report's description of Zimbabwe's "ageing
dictator" but that, it can be argued, was fair comment. How else can we
describe him?

The government's central criticism of the Daily News story was that it hadn'
t been verified first. And, it was pointed out, President Mugabe's presence
in Harare could have been easily ascertained by the sirens accompanying his
motorcade as it made its way to the Harare International Conference Centre
where he addressed the African Airlines Association.

One Herald reporter actually had the motorcade driving "through" the Daily
News offices.

Does the Department of Information seriously expect newspaper editors to
check on the authenticity of every news agency report they get? Can you
imagine phoning Reuters seven or eight times a day to ask if their latest
report is true? And is it seriously expected that news reporters should hang
out of their office windows to establish the whereabouts of the president by
listening out for his motorcade? Is he the only person to have a motorcade?
Have the vice-presidents and visiting foreign dignitaries never been
afforded the privilege?

Instead of threatening newspapers that occasionally get it wrong, why doesn'
t the Department of Information do what it is paid to do by the public and
inform the media of Mugabe's movements instead of treating his itinerary as
a state secret? That includes answering phone calls from the independent
press. Hasn't the department learnt the lesson of Andrew Meldrum's trial
where the refusal of the police to answer questions from the press
undermined the state's case?

Meanwhile, the bogus Revolutionary Zimbabwean Youths for Patriotism should
focus on the daily lies we are told about how petrol supplies are about to
start coming in or vast commodity deals with Far Eastern countries are about
to materialise. Then there is the biggest lie of them all - how the
president's speech at the Sustainable Summit in Johannesburg won friends and
influenced people.

Who can name a single country or organisation that changed its policy
towards Zimbabwe as a result of that speech? Which head of state visited
Zimbabwe to express solidarity or even shook hands with Mugabe after the
speech? Which government announced its support for Mugabe? What new trade or
aid agreements were signed?

One of the placards the youths carried last Friday said: "The President
never went to South Africa but was having tea at State House."

That should have read: "While half the country was starving and people
queued for fuel the president was having tea at State House".

You can imagine the scene:

GM: Robert, what's that commotion outside?

RGM: Don't you worry your pretty little head about it dear. It's just those
awful MDC cats and dogs scrapping over petrol and bread.

GM: What, no bread? Let them eat cake!

The Kenyan election result must have come as an unwelcome intrusion to State
House incumbents. Here was a regime similarly identified with corruption,
repression and national division. Here was a president in office for 24
years who only went when he had to, leaving his handpicked successor to face
the wrath of the electorate.

All those presidential cronies here in the ruling party, the media, the
police and the armed forces who thought their protector would rule forever -
or that he could procure the succession of a nominated lackey - need to
ponder this outcome. Nothing is forever!

But we were glad to have on record the Sunday Mail's assessment of Kenya's
new president.

"Mr Kibaki, aged 71, is hardly a new broom but an old Moi crony who was once
vice-president," the paper's correspondent Newton Kanhema wrote from
Nairobi. "Kenyans must pray they don't get fooled again."

As the Sunday Mail never publishes anything that hasn't been cleared - or
often written - by the Department of Information, we can assume this abuse
of the new Kenyan president represents official policy. We should bear that
point in mind when President Mugabe submits his hollow message of
congratulation with its customary hopes for improved cooperation.

Kanhema, who as a South Africa-based correspondent incurred the wrath of the
Zimbabwean authorities for his scathing criticism of President Mugabe's
rule, appears to have changed his mind now he is reporting for the official
media - in between fulfilling his other responsibilities in Nairobi. It
would be "simplistic" to compare the opposition in Kenya with that in
Zimbabwe, he pontificated on behalf of his new masters.

The opposition in Kenya was manned by veteran nationalists, he pointed out.
They condemned Moi for failing to deliver what the liberators promised and
were persecuted for championing the aspirations of the people. So no
similarities there, Newton?

Kanhema is evidently not familiar with the record of Paul Themba Nyathi,
Edgar Tekere and the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform. Perhaps he has been
abroad too long. Exactly what is he doing in Kenya that allows him to
perform as a part-time propagandist for the state media?

Meanwhile, let's hope President Mugabe is quicker to congratulate Kibaki
than he was Frederick Chiluba when he was elected in 1991. It was days
before he could bring himself to say anything. Let's hope things go more
smoothly this time around and that Kibaki will take up the invitation to
visit Harare that Moi mysteriously turned down. However rotten his regime,
Moi was apparently reluctant to endorse this one!

TV viewers were shocked by the scenes of chaos at Uhuru Park as visiting
heads of state had to scramble for seats because the staff of two different
presidents - one incoming, the other outgoing - had divergent ideas about
the seating arrangements. The presidents of Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia
were present. So was the Rwandan prime minister, and Zanele Mbeki standing
in for her husband.

Moi, now cutting a rather pathetic figure, tried to make himself heard above
the abuse of a raucous crowd. Then it was off to his farm by helicopter as
the new incumbent occupied State House.

Scenes like this will, we fear, make our own incumbent all the more
intransigent as his likely fate is played out in Nairobi before the world's

While the Herald has been advi-sing Kenya's new leaders, as Pan-Africanists,
to avoid "the language of appeasement about democracy and human rights",
Malawi's Bakili Muluzi told his supporters that his UDF would like to stay
in power as long as Kanu. He said "changing governments was not like
changing petticoats", an insight perhaps into some curious presidential
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Bleak year for business, thousands face job losses
Blessing Zulu
A BLEAK year looms for Zimbabwe's industries as thousands of workers face
retrenchment owing to damaging economic policies which are causing
businesses to downsize operations, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The business community was late last year meeting various key economic
ministries in a bid to salvage some consensus ahead of the annual shutdown
amid the grim reality that the economic woes of 2002 were set to intensify
when industry reopened. But there appears to be no light at the end of the
government tunnel.

Manufacturers have decided not to close shop and opted instead to downsize
operations and this is set to affect many workers.

An official from Lever Brothers confirmed that they had no option but to cut
back on production.

"Out of 24 products that we were manufacturing, we are now producing only
nine," said the official.

Soft drinks manufacturer United Bottlers also confirmed they were downsizing
due to "a continuing shortage of key production inputs".

Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries said they were no longer taking any new orders
because they did not have the product. Bakers Inn managing director Murombo
Mudhumo said the outlook was bleak unless the government intervened.

"We are currently operating at 30% of our capacity," he said. "We are
incurring huge losses because we are buying money on the black market and if
we were to make a profit, it means we would have to sell bread at $600 a

Mudhumo said they had engaged government to revise the price of bread to
sustainable levels.

For the past four weeks, Zimbabwe has been facing an acute shortage of fuel
that has seen the country's economy nearly grinding to a halt. The cost of
fuel in Zimbabwe is relatively cheap because of the artificial exchange rate
and government's subsidy of the product.

Business also cited the inefficiency of service providers as undermining
business operations.

"Service providers such as Zesa, Noczim and Wankie Colliery are operating
below capacity," said the source.

"These key strategic services are in a state of crisis and this has
undermined the capacity of industry to operate viably."

Hopes of any business viability and operations were dashed during Finance
minister Herbert Murerwa's budget presentation in November in which he
directed that all bureaux de change be closed by the end of November. The
closure of bureaux de change rang alarm bells in the business continuity as
most companies were sourcing their money from the parallel market.

Viability operations of business have been hampered by, among other things,
fuel shortages, high electricity costs and ever-rising inflation thus adding
to mounting pressure on an already serious situation. Inflation hit a new
high of 175,5% late last year, up from 144,2%, which effectively means that
on average it was gaining at least one percentage point a day in a space of
30 days.

Sources within the industrial representative bodies confirmed that they were
trying to meet President Mugabe "urgently" so as to inform him of the
collapse industry is facing. Authoritative sources told the Independent that
the meetings with government which started on December 18 and were attended
by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), officials from the
ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Industry and Trade, and Mines, were
intended to arrive at a common position on how to address the crisis the
country was facing. But there has been little feedback.

CZI president Anthony Mandiwanza confirmed the meetings took place but
refused to shed light on what was discussed.

Among other issues of major concern to the business community was the
pricing of fuel and its non-availability.

"We have to inform the government of our concerns if we are to avert a major
disaster," said one source who attended the meetings.

"We have already informed them (ministries) of our concerns which include a
whole host of issues that include the exchange rate, price controls,
inflation and non-availability of fuel. We have also told them that fuel is
being resold in other countries once it arrives here because it's so cheap."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Predictions of Repression Prove Prophetic

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

January 3, 2003
Posted to the web January 3, 2003

Lance Guma

ON January 10, 1997 Iden Wetherell, now editor of the Zimbabwe Independent,
in his Cutting Edge column wrote a prophetic piece titled "What will Mugabe
do to the independent press?"

As we approach the sixth anniversary of that article, I could not resist the
urge to examine how government has responded to Wetherell's question.

Wetherell began by quoting Archbishop Desmond Tutu's address at a Cape Town
editors' forum where he observed: "We need a sycophantic kowtowing,
lickspittle media as much as we need a hole in the head."

More recently Tutu has defied the quiet diplomacy being employed by the
South African government of Thabo Mbeki and told President Mugabe what he
does not want to hear. Another archbishop, Pius Ncube from Zimbabwe, has
echoed the same rebuke.

Could two archbishops be wrong and Mugabe right?

Mugabe had at the time accused the independent media of "working in cahoots
with the international press to malign Zanu PF" and attempting to break the
unity of the ruling party by "throwing us into acrimony and self-doubt".

Wetherell had a fitting response to this: "This paranoid dementia is a
familiar characteristic of dictatorships everywhere. Any criticism of the
regime is portrayed as an attempt to subvert national unity over which the
ruling party invariably claims a monopoly."

Wetherell drew a clear line on what was attracting negative publicity for
Mugabe's regime: endless globe-trotting and extravagance in the face of
poverty - ie purchase of luxury cars, helicopters, construction of mansions
like Gracelands, hosting of endless summits and paying awards of 134% for
top office holders.

"None of this was the invention of the independent press," Wetherell noted
in 1997. "But we can understand why Mugabe would not want it reported: it
exposes the mendacity of a ruling class committed to political preservation
and self-enrichment while endlessly posturing about the needs of the

The extravagance of the Mugabe regime came against a backdrop of doctors and
nurses going on strike for better pay and the health sector was in steady
decline. Six years on, government's thirst for extravagance amidst poverty
has not been quenched.

It has splashed billions of dollars on anti-riot equipment, a presidential
limousine, jet fighters, beauty pageants and a war in the DRC.

In responding to the tag of "Opposition Press" attached by then Information
minister Chenhamo Chimutengwende, Wetherell's riposte was spot on:

"In a sense he is right. The independent press is the opposition press. It
is opposed to dictatorship, corruption, hypocrisy and damaging demagoguery.
It is opposed to party leaders who, having steadily impoverished this
country, now have the cheek to prescribe what we may or may not write about

Replying to Wetherell's question: "What will Mugabe do to the independent
press?" the then Director of Information, Bornwell Chakaodza, assured
readers in the following week's Cutting Edge column that the government
respected a free press.

Nowhere in his central committee report had Mugabe spoken of the need to
"deal with" the so-called independent press, Chakoadza insisted in a
dignified response.

Chakaodza later extricated himself from Mugabe's journalism zoo and is now
building a solid reputation as editor of the Standard, a sister paper to the
Independent. His historic departure from the ship of madness is further
vindication of Wetherell's question because Mugabe has in fact dealt with
the independent press and, through Jonathan Moyo, continues to deal with it.

The Daily News has twice been bombed, journalists are arrested willy nilly
and, in Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto's case, tortured. Journalists must
register with a commission run by a ruling party zealot.

Youth militia products are now taking up most of the places at the
Polytech's Mass Communication division, pseudo-independent papersare being
subsidised to try anddilute the market, and ruling party loyalists in the
business and banking sector are buying controlling stakes in the independent

At one time Dr Tafataona Mahoso, head of the Mass Communication Division at
the Harare Polytechnic and chair of the Media Commission, deceived us as
students that people like Wetherell belonged to the racist right-wing media
that was waging the Rhodesian war through their publications.

"The right-wing agenda includes a cheap, local and adulterated form of
Western deconstructionism, which is the belief that in the post-socialist or
post-communist world there is neither left nor right, there is no
progressive or reactionary ideas and there are neither racist nor
progressive journalists.

"There are only those who 'tell it like it is' by reporting facts and those
who merely sing praises to the inflationary state," he said (Sunday Mail,
January 26, 1997).

Away from the racist spittle he delivered in the class room I have sobered
up and realised the only racist in this world is the one who runs away from
the issues and focuses on the colour of the skin of his critic. To be
pan-Africanist does not mean to hate anything that is not black, neither
does it mean blind loyalty to a black dictator simply because he is black
and has provided a platform for historical revenge.

Tutu was right. We need a sycophantic press like we need a hole in the head.
What we do need is a free press to lead us out of the racist cul-de-sac Zanu
PF and its media apologists have locked us in. More than ever before, we
need a press that will "tell it like it is".

l Lance Guma is a former secretary-general of the Harare Polytechnic
Students Union.

Business Day

      Mugabe accused of importing too little maize to aid crisis

      HARARE The main opposition party in Zimbabwe yesterday blamed
President Robert Mugabe's government for aggravating food shortages by
importing too little maize.
      The government has said it was importing maize at the rate of 22000
tons a week into the country where as many as 8-million of a total
population of 11,6-million people were threatened by famine.

      In his state of the nation address last month, Mugabe said that the
government was stepping up grain purchases, and that more than 600000 tons
had been delivered to "all our people".

      The Zanu (PF) government has consistently denied it is involved in
partisan food distribution.

      However, Renson Gasela, shadow agriculture minister in the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), said at a media conference that the maize
shortages would continue as "the regime had admitted" that it wanted to
punish people and was supplying maize in small quantities to force people to
buy Zanu (PF) cards to qualify for the staple food.

      Gasela claimed that distribution of maize meal was "so militarised" it
was distributed by the army from the millers' floors. The army was not
available for comment.

      Gasela predicted that food shortages gripping the country would last
well into 2004 due to poor harvests.

      "The current food crisis will be with us until (at least) May 2004,"
he said.

      He said that only 136000 tons of wheat had been harvested, less than
half the country's average harvest of 320000 tons. He also predicted a
shortfall of 800000 tons of maize between now and 2004.

      Poor rains have devastated crops and grazing in Zimbabwe, once hailed
as the breadbasket of southern Africa. The MDC, aid agencies and western
nations also blame the government's land reform programme.

      Meanwhile, police have arrested 12 park rangers who opened fire on a
crowd in a village that was suspected of harbouring poachers, injuring 17
people, state radio reported yesterday. The 12 rangers would be charged with
attempted murder, the radio said.

      After the shooting spree in remote southeastern Zimbabwe, the rangers
escaped in an off-road vehicle. They were caught later by police in the
Chipinge district, 450km southeast of Harare.

      All but one of the injured villagers were released from district
medical facilities yesterday radio said.

      Police investigating the shooting called on people to be cautious when
being questioned by armed personnel, radio said.

      Earlier reports said that the rangers had tried to arrest the wife of
a suspected poacher after searching a house and finding meat. The angry
villagers had then threatened to attack them. Sapa-AFP-AP
      Jan 03 2003 07:15:01:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition

      03 January 2003
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Daily News, 2 January

Commuters stranded as fuel crisis worsens

From Sandra Mujokoro

The fuel situation in Bulawayo deteriorated yesterday forcing many residents to walk long distances to and from their places of work. Hundreds of commuters were stranded yesterday morning on the city’s roads. Areas such as Cowdray Park, severely under-serviced by commuter bus operators, were on the brink of rioting. Some Cowdray Park residents walked to Luveve, where the situation was equally bad, while others decided to walk the 15km to the city. In a scene reminiscent of people on a peaceful demonstration, scores of people flooded and flanked the roads, walking without fear of being run over by vehicles, which were, thankfully, very few on the roads. The long and winding fuel queues that could be seen around the city during the weekend disappeared as motorists gave up queuing for the unavailable fuel. Vehicles were left in queues while the owners conducted business in the city centre. They would occasionally check if there were any supplies. By the end of the day yesterday, however, no service station had received any fuel. A resident of Montrose suburb said he had walked to and from work yesterday. "Is this the liberation war they are always talking about?" he asked. "People have to walk, not because they have no money, but because the country has run out of fuel." The few motorists who had fuel cashed in on the situation and charged as much as $150 per trip from the high-density suburbs to the city centre. Ndabezinhle Moyo of Magwegwe North said the government should deal with the fuel situation urgently. "For how long are we going to go on like this, scrambling for transport every day? Not all of us are strong enough to walk to and from work," said Moyo. Others said they now lingered until late at work to avoid the endless queues and have to be prepared to pay double the normal fares in the late hours.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zim could learn from Kenya's experience
Dumisani Muleya

THE Kenyan election outcome this week provides important lessons on new
dynamics in African politics, analysts have said.

Reflecting on the seismic results of Kenya's watershed poll, analysts said
the election demonstrated the winds of change that were now blowing through
those countries that had for years constructed authoritarian barriers to
resist democratic currents.

The analysts said the Kenyan experience was also a serious warning to
African rulers - including those in Zimbabwe - that the age of political
anachronism and repression associated with hidebound former liberation
movements could be under growing threat from a variety of emerging
democratic forces.

University of Zimbabwe's Institute of Development Studies analyst, Brian
Raftopoulos, said the Kenyan election showed the bubbles of some liberation
aristocracies in Africa, which survived on revolutionary posturing without
delivering on their mandates, were now bursting.

"What is interesting about the Kenya situation is that the opposition
exploited the former ruling Kanu's implosion and managed to make political
capital out of the country's economic woes," he said.

"There was a combination of factors including the Kanu leadership's lack of
credibility, imposition of candidates, defections, economic decline, ethnic
reconciliation, and unity of purpose among the opposition. This is how the
opposition victory in Kenya was achieved."

Observers say tribalism has always been used as a political tool in Kenya as
elsewhere in Africa including Zimbabwe, where gullible voters have been
brainwashed to accept that only people from certain regions and ethnic
groups are expected to rule.

It is not uncommon in Zimbabwe today to hear people saying, at times
unwittingly, that a particular political leader is enlightened and competent
but could not rule because of his or her ethnic origin. This seems to have
become internalised and ossified through repetition.

As a result, some analysts now believe that Zimbabwe cannot move forward so
long as people remain locked in tribal mindsets and act as prisoners of
antiquated ethnic politics.

The failure by Zimbabweans to unite and act against the current dictatorship
has in some quarters been partly attributed to such political mindsets in
addition to an assortment of other factors.

Former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi, a minority Kalenjin who ruled for
24 uninterrupted years, was a master in tribal manipulation.

But the Kenyan opposition - divided in 1992 and 1997 - this time around
managed to transcend tribal boundaries and as a result won resoundingly.

Compared to Zimbabwe, Kenya's tribal composition is complex. It has more
than 40 ethnic groups belonging to three linguistic families: Bantu,
Cushitic and Nilotic.

The Kikuyu, who make up 21% of the population, are Kenya's largest ethnic
group. The next largest are the Luhya (14%), the Luo (12%), the Kamba (11%),
and the Kalenjin (11%). This ethnic distribution pattern has always made
tribalism a trump card in elections.

Raftopoulos said although the Kenyan situation was different historically
and politically from that of Zimbabwe, parallels and lessons could be drawn
in certain aspects.

"In Kenya Kanu had been weakened by its own implosion before the election.
But here Zanu PF remained still relatively strong in terms of its ability to
use the state machinery and manipulate elections to remain in power,"
Raftopoulos said.

"What is needed for an effective challenge for power in any given situation
is sufficient coordination within the opposition and civil society as well
as a clear strategy of action."

Raftopoulos said no matter how entrenched a dictatorship was, it could be
dislodged through concerted efforts by forces struggling for democratic

After years of failing to win elections due to fragmentation and splitting
of votes, Kenyan opposition groups formed the National Rainbow Coalition led
by newly-elected President Mwai Kibaki and scored a landslide victory
against former dictator Daniel arap Moi's Kanu.

Kanu, which had been in power since 1963, fielded Uhuru Kenyatta, son of
founding president Jomo, as its candidate in a move widely seen as a
desperate bid by Moi to evoke the late veteran nationalist's memory to
remain in power through a proxy successor.

Moi was constitutionally barred from standing again after serving his terms
under the democratic dispensation, which started with the advent of
multiparty politics in 1991. Before that Kenya had been a de facto and de
jure one-party state.

Analysts said the opposition alliance - which comprised former Kanu
heavyweights and prominent opposition leaders like Raila Odinga - understood
the need to join forces and create a common front with critical mass needed
to usher in a sea change.

The group campaigned around Moi's gross corruption and incompetence, which
are similar to that of the Zimbabwean leadership, economic failure, poverty,
democracy, governance, accountability and human rights. It made the quest
for change the centrepiece of its campaign message.

As it has now transpired, the Rainbow Coalition managed to win the hearts
and minds of the majority of voters by emphasising these issues. It
convinced voters to reject what Kenyans called "Moi's petty project" or the
"Uhuru project" in favour of its broad national agenda.

Uganda's University of Makerere lecturer Andrew Mwenda, who has been
following Kenyan politics closely, said the outcome of the Kenyan election
was not surprising although it underscored an important point.

"Since 1992 Moi had not won elections with a popular majority," Mwenda said.

"He always took advantage of a disorganised opposition camp to scrape

Mwenda said the Kenyan election was crucial insofar as it provided lessons -
but not solutions - for different African countries to pick up from.

"African politicians, especially those in the opposition, should not look at
the Kenyan experience for solutions but they should draw lessons from that
situation," he said.

"Kenya's experience was shaped by specific historical and political
processes which cannot be replicated in other countries but provides a case
study for other countries to learn from."

Mwenda, who is also a writer with the independent daily Monitor, said
countries like Zimbabwe and Uganda should learn to accept that people had
the capacity to choose their own leaders without being coerced through
military and political violence.

"In Kenya the military was kept largely out of politics and that is very
important when it comes to the ability of countries to hold free and fair
democratic elections. Violence this time was very low," he said.

"But in countries like Zimbabwe and Uganda, leaders rely heavily on the army
and violence to influence voters. While Moi was willing to accept the
outcome of the election, the likes of President Robert Mugabe and President
Yoweri Museveni (of Uganda) always threaten to reject results if defeated."

Mwenda said the March presidential election in Zimbabwe was fraudulent
compared to the Kenyan poll.

"Zimbabwe can learn something from Kenya even though ugly things have
happened there in the past. Leaders should not treat politics as enmity but
competition for office on the basis of policy agendas."

Whereas Moi and Kanu treated the opposition as competitors, Mugabe and Zanu
PF - which often postures as the sole embodiment and articulation of
national interest and sovereignty - treated them as enemies, Mwenda noted.

"Mugabe projected the opposition as enemies of the state which were
sponsored and driven by foreign interests. In so doing, he refused to
recognise that there are legitimate issues and grievances around which
different groups could mobilise against his government," he said.

"But Moi, for all his dictatorial tendencies, did not do that. He disagreed
with the opposition on the basis of their capacity to lead and policy

Mwenda said Moi claimed the opposition was confused and incompetent and
therefore should not be voted for, while Mugabe adopted a warlike brand of
politics and belligerent rhetoric.

In the end, it appears there is still a long way for Zimbabwe to go before
it reaches the levels of Kenya in terms of development of political
processes and practices. In particular, Kenya's civil society proved more
robust in the face of intimidation.

But at the end of the day, the thirst for democratic change in Kenya proved
an unstoppable force against an old regime with nothing left but its claims
to a liberation legacy long since forgotten by the majority of voters.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

MDC forges ties with Kenya's new leaders
Mthulisi Mathuthu
IN what could drive a diplomatic wedge between Kenya and Zimbabwe, it has
emerged that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is forging close ties
with the newly-elected National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) of Kenya with a
view to future cooperation to nurture democracy in Africa.

This follows an invitation from the newly-elected Mwai Kibaki-led party for
the MDC to attend Narc victory celebrations in London and Kenya. The MDC
could not attend Kibaki's inauguration on December 30 as the invitation
arrived too late.

It has also emerged that there was no formal invitation to the government of
Zimbabwe or Zanu PF to attend the swearing in of Kibaki or to celebrate his

A spokesperson at the Kenyan High Commission said they "were not aware of
any formal invitation extended to the Zimbabwean government".

MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi, told the Zimbabwe Independent
yesterday that his party would in two weeks' time despatch a high-powered
delegation led by vice-president Gibson Sibanda and spokesperson for
external affairs, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, to Kenya to congratulate Narc and
forge ties.

"As MDC we applaud what transpired in that country and we will therefore be
sending our delegation to congratulate Narc," Nyathi said.

"The invitation came late but we will still go to show respect for our
fellow Kenyan friends."

This comes at a time when President Mugabe's government has been scolding
the MDC as a British front and consoling themselves that Narc was a
"nationalist" offshoot of Kanu.

The cooperation between Narc and the MDC is part of the MDC's plan,
announced mid-last year, to brief other African parties on its policies and
rebut Mugabe's claims.

In an interview from Nairobi before the election, Narc secretary-general and
now Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga confirmed to the Independent that
his party was aware of Mugabe's exclusivist politics which he likened to
former president Daniel arap Moi's ethnic machinations.

"Yes, we are following what is happening in (Zimbabwe) and we are aware of
Mugabe's tactics," he said. "He is just like his friend here (Moi)."

Led by veteran politician Kibaki, Narc is mindful of the similarities in
Mugabe and Moi's totalitarian tactics and of how the opposition and
democratic initiatives have suffered the same fate at their hands. Both the
MDC and Narc are "broad churches" formed to confront pressing and similar
issues of acute maladministration and repression.

The MDC hopes to gain insight into how the opposition has endured Kanu's
authoritarian rule since 1963.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Over $50b needed to compensate farmers
Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT should forkout over $50 billion to compe-nsate farmers for
improvements on properties acquired under the land reform programme and for
looted and vandalised equipment, it emerged this week.

Last month displaced commercial farmers formed a valuation consortium with
assistance from estate agents to come up with a figure to present to
government for compensation.

The consortium's preliminary findings made available to the Zimbabwe
Independent show compensation for on-farm improvements and looted and
vandalised equipment would not be less than $50 billion since the start of
farm invasions in February 2000.

"Though we haven't consolidated the find-ings of the teams carrying out the
valuations throughout the country, indications are that the figure may
surpass $50 billion," one of the estate agents involved in the valuation
exercise said.

"Mashonaland West under Governor Peter Chanetsa alone, which used to
undertake highly-mechanised irrigation farming, has so far been valued at
over $15 billion, while Mashonaland Central's valuation is getting to around
$10 billion.

"Those figures alone are a clear testimony that $50 billion could be an
underestimation of the damage caused by the land reform programme," the
estate agent said.

Justice for Agriculture (Jag) chairman Dave Conolly said he could not give a
definite figure that would be presented to government at the moment since
the valuation findings were still being compiled.

As at August last year, Jag had estimated the value of vandalised equipment
at $14,5 billion.

The figure however only covered movable assets that were illegally impounded
or looted since the beginning of invasions. Jag had threatened to sue the
ruling Zanu PF party and the government to recover the money.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

ACP states in bid to break Zim/EU stand-off
Mthulisi Mathuthu
THE African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states, who have been feeling the
pinch in the fall-out between Zimbabwe and the European Union, are working
at pressing President Mugabe to relax his offensive against Brussels.

Anxious to restore normal ties, the ACP states are reportedly hoping to see
Mugabe ahead of the EU/Africa summit scheduled for Lisbon in April and the
next plenary session of the EU/ACP joint parliamentary assembly to be held
in Congo-Brazzaville later the same month.

The Zimbabwe Independent heard this week that ACP secretary-general
Jean-Robert Goulongana of Benin and other officials were due in the country
later this month for talks with Mugabe as part of an effort to break the
stalemate between Zimbabwe and the EU.

"Goulongana is a reformist and so is willing to see this resolved," a source
said. "He will try to convince Mugabe not to send people barred from
visiting Europe for these meetings in future."

The source said Goulongana had realised that the EU was firm in its decision
not to further entertain any of Mugabe's banned emissaries.

While it was not clear who would accompany Goulongana, sources told the
Independent that ACP countries like Botswana, Senegal and Mozambique were
worried that the continued stand-off between Harare and the EU would
sabotage prospects of further aid.

Sources said details of Goulongana's visit would be finalised "anytime after
January 6".

The Independent heard that Portugal and France have been mobilising ACP
countries to support their idea of talks between Harare and the EU.

Portugal is labouring to restore relations between Zimbabwe and the EU to
save the summit to be held in Lisbon.

France is also sensitive about the Francophone summit to be held in
February. France is seen as having a soft spot for the Harare administration
and may campaign among French-speaking African countries who are also
members of the ACP to support Zimbabwe's attendance at the Lisbon summit.

Portugal, which has interests in its former African colonies, is reportedly
anxious to save the summit which African countries have threatened to
boycott if Zimbabwe is barred for its failure to end political repression
and human rights violations.

In November the ACP member states boycotted the EU/ACP joint parliamentary
assembly in Brussels after the EU insisted on barring Mugabe's two
ministers, Chris Kuruneri and Paul Mangwana, leading to the meeting being

The ACP is reportedly favouring dispatching Goulongana as opposed to a
fact-finding mission proposed by the European Socialists in the EU.

Both the ACP states and Portugal are worried that Mugabe could refuse to
allow a fact-finding mission into the country on the EU's terms, further
spoiling relations and ultimately sabotaging the Lisbon summit.

The European Socialists have already set terms demanding that Mugabe should
relax his sanctions regime and allow banned British MEPs like Glenys Kinnock
into the country as part of the mission to investigate the abuse of human
rights in Zimbabwe.

The EU slapped Mugabe and his associates with smart sanctions last year
following failure to combat lawlessness in the run-up to the March
presidential election.

Since then, relations have continued to deteriorate with the EU accusing
Mugabe of fomenting famine and steering terror campaigns in the hinterland
to emasculate the opposition's support base.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zim/Libya fuel deal on rocks
Vincent Kahiya
THE troubled trade agreement between Zimbabwe and Libya has been rocked by a
fresh crisis amid revelations this week that Noczim wants to defer
implementation of a proposed joint-venture arrangement with Tamoil of Libya.

The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal that officials from Noczim, the Ministry
of Energy and Power Development and the Jewel Bank held a meeting yesterday
afternoon to see how Zimbabwe could extricate itself from the deal which
would have seen the Libyans taking control of key petro-chemical
installations in the country.

Yesterday's meeting resolved that there should be a proper evaluation of the
business before any transactions took place.

Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, yesterday
confirmed there was a meeting but said it was a routine one.

Zimbabwe is keen to defer committing itself to the deal, which will tie the
country to procuring fuel from the North African country. Currently,
Zimbabwe is importing the bulk of its fuel from Kuwait.

The Independent heard yesterday that Noczim's orders for this month through
the pipeline were all from Kuwait. This apparently had the blessing of the
Office of the President and Cabinet.

Tamoil is keen to recoup monies owed by Noczim through the acquisition of
oil industry assets.

Government sources yesterday said Noczim would soon advise Tamoil that the
issue of valuatio should be dealt with by the companies' banks, which would
prolong the process of setting up the joint-venture company while giving
Zimbabwe the opportunity to explore other fuel procurement options.

The Jewel Bank representing Noczim and the Libyan Arab Bank for Tamoil would
now renegotiate the deal, sources said.

On November 27, Minister Midzi told parliament that Noczim had gone into a
50/50 partnership with Tamoil to form a company called Tamoil Zimbabwe (Pvt)
Ltd. Government sources said Midzi's announcement was premature as the
company has not been registered and there is no shareholder agreement.

A technical team comprising Libyan and Italian engineers visited Zimbabwe a
fortnight ago to assess storage and pumping facilities. The team failed to
agree with government on a price and left empty-handed.

Government sources this week said the negotiations around the assets owned
by Petrozim, which owns the Feruka pipeline and is 50% owned by Noczim, was
the final push by the Libyans to expand their influence in Zimbabwe where it
has interests in banking, tourism and agriculture.

The collapse of talks on the acquisition of the pumping and storage
facilities should sound the death knell for any future dealings with the
Libyan suppliers which have been eclipsed by the Independent Petroleum Group
of Kuwait in supplying fuel.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Army officers in charge of elections
Dumisani Muleya
NINE months after the disputed presidential poll, military and intelligence
officers, who as election agents helped President Robert Mugabe to retain
power, remain in their positions managing other polls, it has emerged.

Official sources yesterday said army and intelligence officers seconded by
Mugabe to the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) ahead of the
presidential poll in March last year were still supervising the electoral
process on behalf of Zanu PF.

The officers are currently directing the ruling party's Kuwadzana
by-election campaign and other bids to increase its parliamentary majority.

Chief elections officer, Brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba, who was a key
electoral officer during the presidential poll, is co-ordinating the
operation, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Although government initially claimed Brig Nyikayaramba had retired, army
insiders say he is still in service. He recently featured in uniform in a
Sunday Mail supplement on the armed forces.

ESC chair Sobusa Gula-Ndebele - a former military intelligence officer -
remains in charge of the official election monitoring body that civil
society has criticised as a tool of the president.

Sources said the seconded military polling officers are presently
preoccupied with the forthcoming Kuwadzana by-election.

"They are busy working on the Kuwadzana by-election from Hardwicke House
(CIO offices along Samora Machel Avenue)," a source close to the operation
said. "They have already finished scrutinising the voters' roll and are now
doing intelligence appreciation of the situation before the election."

Inspection of the Kuwadzana voters' roll by the public ended on Tuesday.
Although the date of the poll has not yet been set, the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change has already selected former student leader Nelson
Chamisa as its candidate. Zanu PF is yet to choose its candidate.

Officers involved in supervising the electoral process and in particular the
Kuwadzana by-election were identified this week as Major Sibindi from KG VI
army headquarters and Major Kampira from the Presidential Guard

"These guys have been working on elections since before the presidential
poll in March. They were part of a large military network assigned to the
presidential election," a source said.

ESC spokesman Thomas Bvuma yesterday said some of the "public servants"
deployed to electoral agencies before the presidential poll remained in
place while others had returned to their work places.

The militarisation of the electoral process is seen as consolidating
Mugabe's grip on power as his popularity wanes.

On March 5 last year, Mugabe used his powers under the Electoral Act to
legitimise the deployment of army, intelligence and police officers to
electoral agencies, something previously unlawful. But Mugabe was condemned
for abusing his powers to make or break laws which had a bearing on his

State security election officers are working in collaboration with Zanu PF's
National Command Centre.

The command centre, an ad hoc body which functions as and when needed,
includes Zanu PF functionaries such as Elliot Manyika and Emmerson
Mnangagwa. It was initially based at the Harare International Conference
Centre before the presidential election but later relocated to Manyame
Airbase. Its task is to ensure Mugabe's retention of power.

The Herald

Census results released

Herald Reporter
PRELIMINARY 2002 census results published yesterday confirm an earlier
estimate that Zimbabwe now has a population of 11,6 million compared with
10,4 million in 1992.

The reduction in the growth rate to a little over 1,5 percent in the past
decade is still being studied. But analysts have suggested three main
reasons: a lower birth rate, a much higher death rate, especially among
people in their twenties and thirties, from Aids, and several hundred
thousand Zimbabweans working outside the country.

Only when the full census results are available, with the age distribution,
and are compared to the results of the 1992 census, can the weight that can
be given to each factor be estimated.

Presenting the 2002 official preliminary census results, Central Statistical
Office director Mr Lazurus Machirovi said Zimbabwe now has a population of
11 634 663 compared with 7,6 million in 1982 and 10,4 million in 1992.

Out of the 11,6 million, 6 million are females and 5,6 million are male.

In 1992, there were 5,1 million males and 5,3 million females. By then males
represented 49 percent of the total population while females represented 51

Harare has the highest figure of 1,9 million people followed by Manicaland
with 1,56 million people and Midlands with 1,46 million people.

Harare's population shot up by 74 percent to 1,4 million in 1992 because of
the rural to urban migrations.

"The census is a gigantic exercise which required patience and
co-operation," Mr Machirovi said. "These are provisional results based on
manual calculations. A detailed analysis will be done. This is just to help
planners to have something to work on."

He said an operations report will be released in 2004, a population atlas in
2005 and a comprehensive national report is expected out by the end of 2004.

Provincial profiles will be released this year and in the coming year.

The preliminary census results also indicate that the annual average
intercensal growth rate for the period 1992-2002 is 1,1 percent, average
size of households 4,4 and the population density is now 29,77 per square

The 1982-1992 annual average intercensal growth rate was 3,1 percent,
average size of households 4,76 and the population density was pegged at
26,5 persons per square km.

A detailed analysis of the birth rate, death rate, breakdown of population
according to age, race, living standards and other social indicators would
be released to the public by the end of 2004.

A total of 25 000 enumerators and other experts were involved in the 2002
census which was conducted between August 17 and 27.

The Government funded the whole exercise, which began in 1999 and is
expected to end in 2005, to the tune of $1,6 billion.

"There is no estimate in this figure (11,6 million)," said Mr Machirovi. "It
is based on the total number of people who were actually counted - be it
street people, people in resettled areas and so on."

He said Zimbabwe was far ahead of other countries, which would release
preliminary figures after five or more years.

In Zimbabwe, preliminary results are released six months after a census is
held and a final report usually takes up to two years before it is out.

"It's quite fast given the technological stage we are at," said Mr
Washington Mupeta, the census manager.

Zimbabwe's first census was held in 1982 and the second in 1992.

There was a rapid population growth in 1969 and 1982 up to 1992, when the
population shot up from 4,6 million to 10,4 million.

Population growth showed signs of slowing down between 1992 and 2002 as the
Aids pandemic and other socio-economic factors began to affect the country's
demographic patterns.

Deaths are prevalent among men in the 25-39 age group and the 15-19 age
group among the females account for 85 percent of all cases recorded,
according to a 1997 official health report.

Aids is claiming the lives of more than 2 000 people every week as the
pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the population.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Irrigation-Based Agric System Vital

The Herald (Harare)

January 3, 2003
Posted to the web January 3, 2003


IN November last year we were warned by weather experts that Zimbabwe may be
facing an El-Nino-type drought, especially in the south of the country.

And yesterday the Department of Meteorological Services warned again that
Zimbabwe will receive below normal rainfall between January and March.

The latest forecast agrees with the one issued in September last year.

We are aware that the Government is doing its best and that it has set aside
a total of $3 billion to fund irrigation systems. But we are worried with
the actual situation on the ground.

Time is fast running out on our side. It is almost four months since the
country was warned of the impending drought.

We have said before that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement should identify all land that can be irrigated, the equipment
and water resources for the production of maize as soon as it sees the signs
of a drought looming.

There should be no excuses why we cannot be prepared when a drought is
looming. Massive planning is required.

We will keep on repeating what we have said before that as a country we need
to plan, and plan now, in order to cope.

The Agriculture ministry needs to plan a cropping and irrigation programme
that will produce as much food as possible with decent harvests of export

An agricultural system with emphasis on irrigation, should be devised. This
should be able to withstand the various challenges posed by the weather.

For the irrigation schemes to succeed, technical and financial as well as
other forms of assistance should be provided to the new farmers.

However, our new farmers should not only look to the Government to provide
them with everything. They should organise themselves and get finance from
financial institutions.

This they can do by first forming some farming co-operatives for irrigation,
especially for those who are near some dams or rivers. The ministry
responsible for co-operatives can help them on how to go about it.

The money sourced can be used to buy equipment from the old farmers such as
irrigation pipes, tractors and ploughs.

In most cases as a co-operative they would only require a pair of tractors.

Those near the dams would be encouraged to join the irrigation schemes and
contribute some money towards general maintenance of the dams and equipment
since they would be the owners. Those not interested could be kicked out of
the scheme.

Our new farmers need supplementary irrigation.

Since some rain falls, even in a bad season like the one we are already
experiencing, supplementary irrigation can do wonders to a significantly
larger area than would be possible if all crops had to be irrigated fully.

Zimbabwe's economy is agro-based and irrigation has been identified as an
element of the success of the agriculture sector and ensures food security
for the country.

But leaving things to the last minute when we have been warned does not do
anyone any good. What is needed is action on the ground.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


First Kanu, then Zanu: Lessons from Kenya
THE government appears to be having difficulty deciding how it should
respond to the spectacular defeat of the ruling party in Kenya.

Zanu, let us not forget, was designed from the same hegemonic template as

The two parties shared identical pretensions as custodians of a liberation
struggle and claimed to be the only authentic nationalist voices in their
respective domains.

Opposition was heresy in Kenya for nearly 30 years.

Daniel arap Moi, who succeeded Jomo Kenyatta in 1978 and maintained a
one-party state until 1991, used a mix of patronage, ethnic divisions and
repression to weaken the opposition.

Now his party has been decisively rejected, Zanu PF is pretending the
victorious National Rainbow Coalition is just another manifestation of Kanu.

There is some justification to that argument given the number of Moi allies
who defected to the opposition including two former vice-presidents led by
Mwai Kibaki himself.

But Kibaki's coalition is more than just Kanu in disguise. It fought the
election on a platform of cleaning up the Augean stable of corruption that
the Moi regime presided over.

The Zimbabwe govern-ment's response, as expressed in the official media,
that the Kenyan election was about "cementing national unity" and not about
corruption or governance looks suspiciously like a Zanu PF spin.

The official press has suggested that concerns about corruption and
democracy were alien in nature and that Pan-Africanists in Kenya should not
be misled by the "language of appeasement about democracy and human rights".

Yet these were the very issues on which the Kenyan election was fought.

Moi's attempt to reinvent his party by the appointment of Uhuru Kenyatta -
whose name personifies Kenya's freedom - failed dismally.

It may have been possible in 1992 or even 1997 to deceive the electorate and
divide the opposition. Ten years on from the '92 election the regime was
terminally discredited.

The lessons for Zimbabwe are clear. While, as analysts have pointed out,
Zanu PF has achieved some success in repackaging its authoritarian regime as
a champion of Third World rights, this strategy and that of empowering its
clientelist clique has a limited shelf-life.

President Mugabe has been unable to translate land seizures and
anti-globalist rhetoric into a sustainable strategy for national survival.
He has been unable to solve the problems of a shrinking economy,
hyper-inflation, and shortages of fuel and basic commodities. And his land
redistribution programme is in obvious disarray.

Kenyans allowed Moi to divide and rule them for 10 years after 1992. But in
the end no amount of self-serving nationalist claims could blind them to the
failure of his rule.

In 1971 Kenya's GDP was the same as Singapore's. Now Singaporeans are 14
times wealthier. The pattern of misrule and impoverishment in Kenya under an
autocratic venal leadership will be immediately recognisable to Zimbabweans.

It is interesting to notethat the opposition coal-ition placed
constitutional reform - including a reduction of presidential powers - at
the top of their agenda.

A neutral army and pro-fessional electoral commission helped even the
playing field.

In Zimbabwe, as our story reveals today, the electoral system continues to
be militarised. Our civil society is also relatively weak compared to Kenya'
s. These are problems we will have to address.

But at the end of the day the message from Nairobi is crystal clear: ruling
parties that become bandit regimes don't survive indefinitely - whatever
their claims to legitimacy.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Economic environment depresses corporate values
I WAS recently asked whether the prevailing economic environment was having
a positive or a negative impact upon the value of Zimbabwean corporates. It
being unarguable that the economy is in a most distressed situation, the
inevitable response was that the impact was undoubtedly negative. However,
the question also prompted consideration as to what may be the key
environmental factors currently existing as provoke a diminution in value of
Zimbabwean corporates.

Reluctantly, I concluded that there were numerous factors to the economic
morass in which Zimbabwe finds itself that contribute to the value decline.
First and foremost is the immensity of the deterioration of law and order.
Nothing occasions a greater collapse in business confidence than an absence
of law and order, and business confidence is a prerequisite to motivate
investment. Thus, when there is little business confidence, there is little
investment demand, and low demand depresses value.

Although government repeatedly disputes this, the extent to which law and
order has disappeared is immense. Hundreds of instances of assault, several
culminating in murder, against farmers are disregarded by the authorities,
as are an almost uncountable number of incidents of property vandalisation,
looting and extortion, and innumerable occupations of farms without even a
cloak of legality conveyed by conveniently modified laws in contempt for the
fundamental principles of international law.

Laws are peremptorily and unjustly changed to deprive tens of thousands of
their citizenship. When political opponents win local authority elections,
the ruling party conjures up the concept of city governors (appointed by the
president, in contrast to democratic selection by the electorate). The
examples of disdain for law are endless, and they are major catalysts for
economic decline, including isolation by the international community and,
therefore, a virtual absence of foreign direct investment, balance of
payments support, loan funding, lines of credit and aid. In turn, that
economic decline diminishes the value of businesses.

Allied to that first factor is government's contemptuous dismissal, when
politically convenient, of property rights. To date that has evidenced
itself primarily in the agricultural sector, but that evidence, coupled with
periodic threatening statements from those in high office, provoke
understandable fears of future expropriation of mining, industrial and
commercial enterprises. That does little to preserve business values, let
alone enhance them.

That government possibly has designs on commerce and industry is perceived
by many to be demonstrated by recent endeavours to pressurise bidders for
companies under judicial management to withdraw their bids so as to
facilitate acquisition of the companies by a parastatal, notwithstanding the
considerably greater amounts of some of the other bids, the alleged intent
of government to withdraw from commercial and industrial operations by
privatisation, and notwithstanding the wishes of affected workers or the
provisions of the Companies Act.

The next key contributor to the lowering of values of enterprises is the
hyperinflation which has now existed in Zimbabwe for four years.
Year-on-year inflation was 18,3% in 1997, but passed the 50% barrier in
1999, surged to 116,7% in January 2002, and reached a devastating level of
175,5% in November. Although many companies have enjoyed substantial
earnings growth in historical terms, in real terms they have not. An
investment yielding less than the inflation rate is sustaining capital
erosion, and therefore the value ascribed to most corporates is declining.

Zimbabwe's disastrous foreign exchange circumstance is yet another factor
which depresses the value of many enterprises. The inadequacy of available
foreign currency results in great vulnerability for all businesses heavily
dependent upon imports, with profits being impaired by erratic availability
of essential operating inputs. In attempts to contain the vulnerability,
businesses have been forced to resort to the parallel and black currency
markets, but even that lifeline is fast being removed by government exchange
control policies being enforced by the Reserve Bank, despite those controls
bringing many to the edge of the precipice of liquidation.

The scarcity of foreign exchange is directly and indirectly impacting upon
productivity for the inconsistent inflows of imported inputs jeopardise
operational efficiencies, as do the hundreds of man-hours that most
enterprises lose by having personnel queuing endlessly for fuel and in
desperate searches for spares and components to keep plant and machinery
operational. Investors realise that the prospect of improvement in foreign
exchange inflows in the foreseeable future is most remote. Until two years
ago, agricultural exports were the most significant source of forex but
government has so effectively demolished the agricultural sector that that
is no longer so.

Mining was the next greatest contributor to export earnings. However,
government has dogmatically resisted currency devaluation for more than two
years despite the magnitude of inflation, and this has destroyed viability
for many mines. Those engaged in gold production have had some temporary but
insufficient relief as a result of a Reserve Bank support price, but more
and more other mines are being forced into closure.

A like impact afflicts manufacturers and tourism operators, for they too
have faced radical escalations in operating costs whilst they receive no
compensation for those higher costs from their earnings because of
government's obdurate determination not to devalue. For nearly two years
most exporters were able to survive, thanks to the premiums which could be
realised in the parallel market, but the rug has now been pulled from under
their feet and their survival is in jeopardy. Little wonder, therefore, that
the value of many such businesses has fallen sharply.

Yet another value deflator wholly attributable to government is its
continued, foolhardy, politically-motivated, counterproductive legislation
of price controls and price freezes. They represent confirmation of
government's inability to learn from past mistakes. Throughout the
pre-Independence era of price controls, those controls stimulated black
market trading and shortages. The same applied during the pre-Esap era, and
yet again after the reimposition of price controls in late 2001. For
businesses to survive, they had to discontinue manufacturing and trading in
price-controlled goods, or had to rebrand them, change packaging, or trade
into the black market.

Worldwide, it has been proven over many decades that the most effective ways
of lowering prices are enhancing productivity and facilitating competition.
But the Zimbabwean government knows better! Where Karl Marx, Lenin, Josef
Stalin, Mao-Tse-Tung, Fidel Castro, Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel and
numerous others failed, the Zimbabwean government expects to succeed! And,
of course, the value of corporates affected by the controls necessarily

A byproduct of Zimbabwe's dismal economic conditions and of the untenable
policies of its Ministry of Education, is that Zimbabwe has been
experiencing an intense brain drain. Tens of thousands possessed of
economically vitally skills have departed the country to take up employment
in pastures seen as much greener than Zimbabwe.

This has been especially so of those concerned with furthering their
children's education in view of the determination of the state to eliminate
internationally recognised, foreign examinations, and to control excessively
the independent schools, both by requiring that principals of such schools
be members of the Public Service, and by unrealistic constraints upon fees.

Others are concerned as to future ability to fund their children's tertiary
education. Still others are influenced by the breakdown in law and order,
and others by fear of total economic collapse. Whatever the reasons, many
almost irreplaceable skills have been and are being lost, placing the
continuing effective operation of many enterprises at great risk, and
therefore seriously impacting negatively upon their value.

As if all these abysmal factors did not suffice, government has now
bulldozed through the legislature some far-reaching amendments to the Labour
Relations Act. Although it is essential that labour be fully protected from
exploitation and oppression, employers are also entitled to protection from
unrealistic demands and from self-appointed representatives of workers who
unhesitatingly use Mafia-style techniques to extort benefits for the workers
irrespective of justice and economic realities. The new legislation is
totally one-sided, imposing obligations upon employers which can destroy
their businesses. Thus, the value of any enterprises which are heavily
labour-dependent has been sharply reduced.

The "bottom line" is clear - the economic environment is markedly depressing
the value of many corporates (although it must be acknowledged that there
are a few exceptions to the rule, being the scant number fortunate enough to
have some viable compensation for the many economic ills).
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

At The Market - Zimbabwe: A litany of disgraces
By Tony Fisher
BY the time anybody bothers to read this article, New Year's Eve will have
passed and gone, hopefully forever. Let's be honest, it was not really a fun

As we commence the new year with all basic commodities not in stock in
formal outlets such as supermarkets and fuel stations, I think it's
appropriate to quote part of the business ethos of a blue chip company,
whose strategic intent is "to transform the group into an integrated total
beverage business dominating all the sectors of the cold beverage market in

Having successfully eliminated RC Cola from the market place, this company
states "a desire to serve consumers and customers with passion".

It is not hard to see why this company is so successful, being a total
monopoly with unfettered price manoeuvrability. For its latest year ended
March 31 2002, attributable profits grew by over 300% and a further 350%
growth for the six-month period ended September 30 2002 was achieved.

Given that the prices of its bottled products are being consistently
increased, often over a two-monthly period, to levels way above the formal
and informal inflation rates, and the fact that in many instances bottle
stores and supermarkets have to pay upfront for their supplies whilst the
company pays its own creditors on 30-day terms or longer, well what more can
one say? And what about the ever-rising deposit cost to consumers although
the cost of bottles to the company is priced in the product.

But why starve the nation over the supposed festive season of carbonated
cold drinks? Whilst I acknowledge that the sugar content in the latter is
far greater than in beer, there is sugar around, albeit on the black market.
If the company's desire to serve consumers and customers with passion was
really true, the company would have been able to effect "a bias towards
action" another part of its business ethos.

One thing for sure, the company's management who receive their free monthly
entitlements to beers and cold drinks depending upon which subsidiary
company they work for, have not come short. What a disgrace! Any guess as to
the company's identity!

Another company in the blue chip status gang, BAT, has also failed to supply
its products to the market place. No public statement has been forthcoming
to shareholders and consumers alike. But no doubt, its monopoly pricing
power will ensure the continuation of its above-inflation profit growth.

Another total disgrace is the fuel situation. It is does not matter who
blames who, whether it be Noczim or the banks. The fact of the matter is
that the country has no forex and furthermore can only access fuel offshore
at a premium, given its desperate situation. If the government lays the
blame squarely on Noczim's shoulders, then why isn't the latter being

The savings to the nation would be enormous given the sale of its head
office, depots, its fleet of Kompressors or the like and other assets. South
Africa does not have a Noczim and the fuel price goes up or down depending
on the global market price. But whisper, whisper, you can buy as much fuel
as you want at $1 000 per litre.

The next ignominy is the agricultural sector. Crop production in 2002/2003
is already a national tragedy as commercial farmers, seed supplies and
fertiliser are now an event of the past. Not unexpectedly and may be for the
wrong reasons, the A1 and A2 schemes are not workable and massive starvation
is now imminently on the cards. As for milk and bread supplies, is any
comment necessary?

Possibly the biggest disgraces of all are the inflation and the 26-month
static official exchange rate of $55:US$1. The official average inflation
rate will surely double to nearly 140% in 2002 and assuming no about-turn in
fiscal, economic and agricultural policy, it will no doubt double again in

As for the exporting community, excluding gold miners who have been in a
desperate situation for several years, whilst the parallel market did propel
them to dizzy heights over the last 18 months or so, the now total
"unofficial" retention of 100% of export proceeds means that many exporting
companies will be unable to meet their expenses and their operations will be
unviable. Witness the cautionary statements to shareholders from Bindura and
Rio Tinto. There is lots of red ink around in the stockmarket. For example,
Bindura closed the year at $50 per share compared to its peak of $140 on
November 11, only 50 days ago.

The fiscal policy that has been implemented over the last two years cannot
escape mention as the uncontrollable growth in money supply and the
overheated printing press have been a major ingredient of the
hyper-inflationary climate that besets us all. And to think that following
the 2003 budget that some learned scholars thought that interest rates were
going to rise.

I recall reading a daily paper in which there was an article from one of the
newer asset managers, on the very day of the budget, which stated "just sit
back, close your eyes and buy". They must have some really happy clients.

The fact that exporters are being encouraged to borrow at 5% whilst selling
their export income at $55:US$1, well below cost really confounds me. Why
borrow to lose money?

And what about price controls? Having alluded to the fact that this policy
is unworkable as per the budget speech, what happens next? With immediate
effect there is a blanket control on prices, excluding of course beer,
spirits and cigarettes. Back to our favourite companies with their
far-reaching management skills!

In case I am considered an alarmist, consider the following. GDP at 1990
prices has fallen in six consecutive years with 2003, being the seventh,
promising to have the greatest decline yet. The gross national savings rate
has halved to under 9% of GDP in the same period, whilst the export index
has more than halved to 45% and a further huge drop to under 35% is clearly
on the cards.

Maybe I have a simple mind but to me when the country's infrastructure
begins to creak and groan, total collapse is on its way or is already there.

Witness our health system, the bankrupt parastatals, mountains of garbage,
erratic water supplies, unemployment, potholes - the list is endless.

I will now end my career as a pretentious scribe by sharing with you a quote
I heard a while back: "Aid is a transfer of money from poor people in rich
countries to rich people in poor countries."

God bless Zimbabwe or what's left of it.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Friday, 3 January, 2003, 12:57 GMT
Zimbabwe cricket boycott calls grow
England's Alec Stewart (l) congratulates Australian Steve Waugh on his century
England and Australia are leading the boycott demands
Politicians in Australia and New Zealand have called on international cricket chiefs to move World Cup matches away from Zimbabwe.

The new demands by the governments to the International Cricket Council add to pressure for a boycott to protest against the regime of President Robert Mugabe.

Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that Australian Prime Minister John Howard is heading a lobbying effort for national cricket boards to ask World Cup organisers to reschedule games.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe supporters accuse Australia and Britain of wanting to keep cricket "white"
But individual country organisations, including the England and Wales Cricket Board, could face fines and point penalties if they fail to fulfil fixtures in the competition next month.

Australia and Britain have asked their teams to consider not playing in Zimbabwe - where Mr Mugabe's government is accused of human rights abuses against political opponents.

Zimbabwe hit back, saying the two countries were guilty of colonialist policies and wanted to keep cricket "white".

Neither Australia nor Britain has banned its teams from the matches in the country, which is also suffering huge economic and humanitarian problems and where half the population needs food aid.


The same approach has now been taken by New Zealand, where cricket officials have passed on a request from the government asking the ICC to move matches.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff said: "We believe that this is the chance for the international community to say that the sort of things that are happening [in Zimbabwe], the abuses of human rights, the undermining of democracy... these are things that are unacceptable."

But Martin Snedden, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket, said: "Sports bodies are not in a position to make political judgements about which countries sport should be played in, based on those countries' internal political environments.

"These decisions are best left to governments which can, where appropriate, impose appropriate sporting and trade sanctions."

Venue switch

New Zealand is not scheduled to play in the six matches to be hosted by Zimbabwe.

Cricket officials representing India, which is set for a match there, have said they will ignore any calls for a boycott.

We cannot have a situation where cricket authorities are now being pressured to reverse a decision that could jeopardise the staging of this global event in Africa

Ncgonde Balfour
South African Sports Minister
Correspondents say South Africa - co-hosts of the World Cup with Kenya and Zimbabwe - would be the logical place for games if a boycott was implemented.

But South African officials say they have had no warning to prepare for a venue switch.

South Africa has also backed the right of Zimbabwe to host matches.

Sports Minister Ncgonde Balfour said: "We cannot have a situation where cricket authorities are now being pressured to reverse a decision that could jeopardise the staging of this global event in Africa."

England's nationalised game

Cricket used to be about fair play; the Zimbabwe dispute shows it has become
little more than TV fodder

Hywel Williams
Friday January 3, 2003
The Guardian

The English Cricket Board may be playing a game - but it clearly isn't
cricket. In both planning and stubbornly adhering to the proposed English
cricket matches in Zimbabwe, it goes against the distinctive English idea of
fair play. Hit for six by public opinion, the ECB responds by hitting below
the belt and demanding to be compensated.
Since it is part of the English air, it's easy for us to ignore the
originality of the idea of fair play. Like a lot of etiquette it is learnt
by example and practice - rather than by reading a guidebook. Fair play
means respecting the other side and making sure that the adversary doesn't
turn into an enemy. It's the social version of the constitutional doctrine
of checks and balances. But, rather like the British constitution which has
no single authorised version, fair play needs interpretation as times and
circumstances change. And this political gift is what is lacking in the
ECB's managerial blindness.

National sport both reflects and moulds national character. To appreciate
baseball is to understand American drive, where the winner takes all.
Calvinistic Scotland, unsurprisingly, embraced the solitary and
introspective game of golf. And, of all the English games, cricket is the
one which has produced the deepest English social consequences - including
boredom. The readiness to be bored for quite long periods of time - as both
spectator and player - is surely part of cricket's English importance. The
original three-day game which encased the tedium evolved from a
pre-industrial society. Watching the weather, waiting for it to change,
being prepared for adversity: these are the disciplines for survival in an
agricultural world where times of plenty alternate with ones of dearth.
Times of boredom mean an opportunity to plan ahead.

The English Cricket Board shows not a trace of such forethought as it
considers the question of its Zimbabwe games. The ECB runs a service
industry for a wider sporting culture which is spectatorial and nerdy.
English sport is fodder for sporting channels, game shows and presenters who
talk a good game without ever having played one. Government likes sport
because sports personalities are popular - and to be against sport is to be
against virtue. It is now 20 years since the start of Thatcher's
privatisation programme in which coal, gas and electricity left the
ministerial portfolios. But, strangely, ministers still claim responsibility
for sport. They bemoan failures, applaud success, and devise Panglossian
strategies for "sporting excellence". This perverse nationalisation explains
why the ECB thinks it can demand compensation for lack of ticket sales
should the matches be cancelled.

Cricket's administrators - and sometimes its players - protest their
political innocence. Just as Oscar Wilde and the aesthetic movement of the
1890s believed in art for art's sake, the ECB believes in an art of sport
which is privileged, out of time and out of context. But this is the
aesthetics of fantasy. Organised entertainment games are always social
events with political consequences. On visiting the Verona amphitheatre,
Goethe wrote that "the object of such architecture is to make people feel at
one with each other". What was true of the classical architecture was also
true of the gladiatorial contests and games which went on in such arenas.
They were a part of Roman government policy because ordered mass emotion is
a dissolver of individual and awkward criticism. But sport's relationship to
politics is not always that obvious.

Sporting success is often related to national failure. The Romanian gymnasts
and Russian weightlifters of the old Warsaw Pact era, like the Welsh rugby
players of the 1960s, came from societies in distress. And their successes
bolstered fragile nations. Sport as surrogate nationalism works best in
countries which have low self-esteem. Improve the political conditions and
some of the silliness of sport disappears. Katerina and Boris on both
steroids and a government scholarship have disappeared from track and field.
And Gareth beating the English scrum has no heirs on the pitch. But their
societies are all the better for the loss.

Recovering dignity and self-respect in other areas of life, they don't need
that stuff any more. In contrast, much of the new English sport-obsession,
especially in soccer, has exploded into life at a time when English national
identity has suddenly become uncertain. It's a sign of feebleness, not of
vitality. Rather like - in fact - the ECB itself.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Two residents of Bulawayo were arrested at 10.00 p.m. on Thursday 2nd
January 2003. They were expressing their democratic right to protest against
the devastation of the economy by placing a banner on trees along the
Plumtree Road. The banner read "HOOT ! Enough is enough" A call to allow the
expression of frustration levels by the hooting of the slogan.
They have been denied access to lawyers and bail, and remain incarcerated.
Please gather with us to pray for their safety and urgent release.
Time: Saturday 4th January 2003 at 2.30 pm.
Venue: St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church, Kinmont Avenue, Barham Green,
Please come, one and all, and show your solidarity with the men who had the
courage to urge us to express our frustration with current circumstances.
Also please pass on this message urgently to others who will support us
p.s. If you haven't already done so make a note of the Prayer Vigil for the
Nation organized by "Christians Together for Justice and Peace" and due to
take place at St Mary's Cathedral, Bulawayo, at 8.30 a.m. on Saturday 18th
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Age (Aust), 3 January

Mugabe's newspaper nemesis gets his marching orders

Harare - Zimbabwe's most celebrated and persecuted journalist, Geoffrey
Nyarota, says his "heart is broken" after being sacked as editor of the
country's only independent daily newspaper, The Daily News. His removal,
coinciding with the implementation of President Robert Mugabe's new
draconian media laws, prompted accusations that the management had buckled
under pressure from the authorities, fearing that it would not be allowed to
continue publishing this year if Mr Nyarota remained editor. Iden Wetherell,
deputy chairman of the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, said: "It is hoped
that Nyarota's removal is not part of an attempt by management to stifle the
newspaper's outspoken voice. We hope in due course the full details of
Nyarota's exit come to light and that The Daily News quickly resolves its
internal problems so it can continue to provide Zimbabwe readers with
unadorned news and robust views for which there is a clear public demand."
Sources in the newspaper suggested, however, that the sacking might also
have been connected to Mr Nyarota's championing of the paper's workers in a
strike in December.

In its last edition before the new year, The Daily News led its front page
with a report that Mr Nyarota, 52, its founding editor, had been sacked. "My
heart is broken. But my brother said to me this evening it's the first time
I have been at home with my family for a long time," Mr Nyarota said on
Wednesday after he was fired. "What has happened played straight into (the
government's) hands. Why do we always do this?" Mr Nyarota was referring to
the Zimbabwe Government, which detests The Daily News. It overtook
circulation of the state-controlled daily The Herald within a year of its
first edition in March, 1999. Day after day Mr Nyarota and his cash-strapped
team turned out the only alternative source of information in a society
dominated by the state's electronic and print media. New press laws
introduced shortly before Mr Mugabe's disputed election victory last March
were widely believed to have been aimed mainly at The Daily News.

In the past three years Mr Nyarota has been arrested at midnight at home,
detained at his city office, charged and defamed so often he says he has
lost count. A bomb was hurled into the lobby of The Daily News two years ago
and in January, 2001, a series of explosions destroyed its printing press.
No one has been apprehended over either attack. The announcement of Mr
Nyarota's dismissal came in the first edition published for 10 days after
staff went on strike when the management refused not only to provide an
annual pay rise but withheld their December salaries until further notice.
Mr Nyarota stepped in and provided advances for most of the about 200
striking workers. And that, according to Sam Nkomo, executive chairman of
the holding company, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, was the last straw,
said a source within The Daily News. The last threat against The Daily News
was made by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo last month when the paper
carried a report claiming Mr Mugabe was attending the African National
Congress conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Mr Mugabe was not there.
The paper apologised for publishing the news agency report. The state's
media has relished Mr Nyarota's dismissal. "He was a propaganda tool for the
British and protection of white interests," the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Eight million now need food aid in Zimbabwe

      January 03 2003 at 07:03AM

      By Basildon Peta

Zimbabweans have started the new year with long food queues as the supply of
basic commodities from South Africa dries up.

From the fuel, maize meal, sugar, salt, cooking oil, bread and milk queues
they endured for most of 2002, Zimbabweans go into the new year to new
shortages of beef, chicken, eggs and cooldrinks.

But at least some wealthy Zimbabweans interviewed on Thursday said they
could at times resort to making the long journey from Harare to Musina in
Limpopo province to buy basic commodities during weekends.

"Again, the problem is to get the foreign currency and fuel. I am a bank
manager, but I too can't favour myself with foreign money. We have nothing.

"I have to resort to the expensive parallel market," said a bank executive
who did not want to be named. He said he did not know for how long he would
rely on travelling to buy things in Musina as a drum of petrol he had
stocked up on was running out.

Cosmas Ndoro, a security guard, said that when his last bag of maize meal
runs out in four days' time, he will ask for food aid.

"(Aid agencies) can't say they only feed in the rural areas when there is
more starvation in the cities. At least those in the rural areas have
options like wild fruit and roots," he said.

The government blames everything on the drought. It has said the drought has
killed more than 15 000 head of cattle in the past three months. But critics
blame government supporters who have occupied commercial farms and killed
breeding cows for food.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change on Thursday accused
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party of exacerbating the food
shortages. The MDC has raised money to import maize to feed its supporters,
but the government has refused it an import licence. The MDC has tried to
bring in food without the licence, but all of it has been confiscated at the

The opposition party wants to bring in its own food because it claims its
supporters have deliberately been left out of the government's relief

Mugabe insists he will go it alone and will not work with multilateral
lending institutions, like the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank, because of their opposition to his land policies. Aid agencies say the
number of Zimbabweans requiring food aid has soared to eight million out of
the country's 11,6 million people.

Meanwhile, Mugabe's government now controls the price of newspapers, a move
seen as an attempt to stifle the independent press, which has been regularly
increasing prices to meet rising production costs. And the
government-appointed media commission will this week start distributing
licences to journalists to operate in Zimbabwe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      03 Jan 2003 18:25
      Hungry Zimbabweans lose hope as more drought looms


      By Stella Mapenzauswa

      BUHERA, Zimbabwe, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean teenager James Mamuka
not only worries constantly about keeping his siblings in school, but also
watches them slowly starve like half the country's population as another
drought looms.

      Mamuka, 18, joined some 5,100 villagers in Zimbabwe's eastern district
of Buhera on Friday to receive meagre food handouts from the United Nations'
World Food Programme (WFP).

      "Whatever I can get today is all I will have to feed my family. With
this drought there is nothing else," said Mamuka, with the same sense of
hopelessness as many of his neighbours.

      Since his parents died within a year of each other, Mamuka has been
the main breadwinner for his six younger brothers and sisters and the task
is not getting any easier as drought grips the once bountiful nation.

      Once the bread basket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe is one of the
countries hardest hit by food shortages which the U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organisation says threaten 40 million Africans.

      Critics blame President Robert Mugabe's controversial seizure of land
from minority whites for redistribution to landless blacks which they say
has disrupted agriculture and slashed production, exacerbating food

      And on Friday, the official Herald paper, citing the Meteorological
Office, projected below normal rainfall for most parts of Zimbabwe between
January and March.

      "There are greater chances of below normal rainfall for the eastern
and southern half of the country while northern areas are expected to
receive normal rainfall," the paper said.

      Mugabe's government denies contributing to the food shortages, which
it says are due solely to the drought that has hit the small-scale black
farmers who account for 70 percent of Zimbabwe's annual maize output.

      Aid agency Christian Care, the WFP's implementing partner in Buhera,
distributed about 60,000 tonnes of food on Friday among 5,100 villagers in
the Vhiriri area, many of whom have written-off their summer crop of their
staple maize.


      Tracts of dry land lie unplanted along the highway to Buhera, 220 km
(135 miles) southeast of the capital Harare.

      Villagers have planted maize and other commodities in places, but
crops are wilting under the relentless heat or not developing properly,
meaning they will not give a normal crop.

      Bedraggled villagers sighed with relief as they loaded their food
allocations into donkey-drawn carts and wheelbarrows, but many said it was
still not enough.

      Jestina Nherera, suckling her 14-month baby from shrivelled breasts,
said her portion of 10 kg (22 lb) of maize meal, one kg of beans and one of
corn and soybean porridge blend would last her family three weeks at most,
even with strict rationing.

      "In the past, our men would go to the towns, get jobs and bring food
to their families back here, but now our men have no jobs, and even if they
did, we hear there is no food even in the towns," Nherera said.

      Farai Mutsetse, Christian Care project officer for Buhera, said food
from donors falls far short of catering for the swelling number of people
seeking aid.

      "Even those from the towns are starting to flock here to benefit
because they know in the rural areas there is some food...If the rains are
not going to improve, we are going to have starvation," she told Reuters.

      "We are well into the rainy season and by this time people should have
started harvesting and eating something from the early crop but
unfortunately the weather is not promoting that," Mutsetse added.
Back to the Top
Back to Index