Augustine Mukaro/Ray Matikinye
PROMINENT Zanu PF financier in Mashonaland West province, Tom
Beattie, is on the verge of losing his citrus-exporting Chigwell Estate near
Chegutu as government has resolved to subdivide his land to resettle A2
Documents in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent show
that Zanu PF has turned its back on Beattie for his "intransigence" and
subdivided Chigwell into 16 plots for A2 farmers as punishment for "failing
to recognise the authenticity of offer letters".
Six of the beneficiaries are listed as being employees in the
Beattie is also set to lose proceeds from his crop, worth more
than $50 billion, to deputy Information minister Bright Matonga.
In a letter to the director of the Civil Division of the AG's
office, dated March 26, the secretary for Lands directed that Chigwell
Estate be subdivided into small plots with Matonga as the main beneficiary.
The decision to completely dispossess Beattie was arrived at
after a follow-up visit to Mashonaland West by a high-powered Lands ministry
The letter says: "The Ministry (of Lands) would like to advise
that following a follow-up visit to the province that was undertaken on
February 13 by the honourable ministers (Didymus) Mutasa and (Flora) Buka,
the secretary, principal director, director resettlement, national taskforce
and land inspectorate, the provincial lands committee and the district lands
committee directed that:
l "Mr Beattie only recovers input costs incurred on the current
l "all profits realised from the crop be allotted to Mr Matonga;
l "that there be peaceful co-existence whilst Mr Beattie's
future was being decided."
Beattie has been embroiled in a long legal battle with Matonga
over the occupation of the farmhouse and workshop. Beattie has taken Matonga
to court for harvesting and selling 200 tonnes of soyabeans Beattie had
Matonga pocketed the proceeds estimated at $50 billion as the
Lands ministry directed that Beattie only recover input costs incurred on
the current crop and all profits realised from the crop be allotted to
The letter says the decision was taken after it was established
that Beattie had been resisting the presence of Matonga and other A2 farmers
allocated land on the farm.
Beattie however dismissed the documents as fake and claimed they
were the work of corrupt officials in the Lands ministry.
He said Lands minister Mutasa had given him assurances of
continued tenure on his side of Chigwell Estate.
"Mutasa told me to respect Matonga's offer letter because it was
a government document and that the soya and seed maize crop was mine and
that I could give a portion of the proceeds to the deputy minister," Beattie
"He (Mutasa) also said the workshop was mine but I could share
it with Matonga or repair his equipment when he asks me to."
But Matonga denied any wrongdoing and scoffed at Beattie's
assertions saying the farmer had no reason to remain at Chigwell.
He produced several official letters from the Civil Division of
the AG's office and Lands ministry relating to the legal wrangle over
ownership of the estate, the disputed boundary, and ownership of other
assets including the workshops dating back to October 2005.
On the issue of the crop he is said to have sold to the GMB,
Matonga said he had written to Beattie to invoice him for the cost of inputs
that he had incurred as directed by the lands committee and was yet to get a
"I have followed every official and legal route possible to
resolve the issue," Matonga said. "But Beattie seems unprepared to let go
despite overwhelming evidence against him."
Matonga denied that feuding Zanu PF factions in Mashonaland West
were using him as a pawn in the succession battle.
"People have said I am being used by Minister (Ignatious)
Chombo," Matonga said. "I have heard those claims before but why would I be
used by someone when I am a deputy minister?"
Beattie, who has been on the property since 1983, donates
generously to community projects and financed campaign programmes for Zanu
PF candidates. He has a framed letter from President Robert Mugabe
prominently displayed in his office.
"On behalf of my wife and family, and indeed my own behalf, I
wish to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to you for a handsome
gift of three beasts and two sheep given to us during our wedding ceremony.
The gift would certainly constitute part of the founding herd of our family's
future livestock," the letter reads. It is signed: "Yours Sincerely RG
Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe".
Mugabe wed First Lady Grace in 1996.
Beattie also said he had donated 13 000 hectares to the
government for resettlement since 1983, well before
the fast-track land reform started in 2000.
TWO former NMB Bank directors have resolved to return to
Zimbabwe to face trial over allegations of externalising foreign currency.
James Mushore and Francis Zimuto, who fled the country to the
United Kingdom in 2004 at the height of the banking crisis, have agreed to
return home once a trial date is set.
Their lawyer, Martin Makonese of Makonese & Partners, said the
two would return once the Attorney-General's Office sets a trial date.
They are wanted in Zimbabwe on allegations of externalising
foreign currency and money-laundering that almost sank the NMB Bank in 2003.
"My clients have said they will come back once the trial
starts," Makonese said.
"Once we agree on the trial date, Mushore and Zimuto will come
Their pledge to return follows government's decision to lift its
specification of former NMB managing director Julius Makoni who also fled
the country after the police launched a manhunt for him.
Government appears to have failed to sustain its allegations
against Makoni who is currently in the United Kingdom.
Makonese, who also represents Makoni, told the Zimbabwe
Independent yesterday that his client would soon come back to Zimbabwe.
"I spoke to Makoni and he said he was anxious to come back,"
Makonese said. "I can confirm that it (Makoni's return) will be sooner
rather than later."
Sources said Otto Chekeche, who was among the four former NMB
Bank directors, would also return as the state has not preferred charges
Three years after the banking crisis, government is yet to
prefer charges against some of the bankers who fled the country after they
were accused of engineering the collapse of their banks.
This has triggered fears that government's allegations against
the runaway bankers, now in self-exile in the United Kingdom and South
Africa, were trumped up to justify the crackdown on individuals.
Observers say the state's failure to come up with charges shows
that the 2003-4 crackdown on the banking sector could have been another of
government's attempts to shift the blame for the country's economic crisis.
Another source said the state had also failed to garner
sufficient incriminating evidence to charge former Trust Bank directors -
Nyevero Hlupo, Christopher Goromonzi and William Nyemba - who were specified
two years ago. The three, now based in South Africa, have since written to
the Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa to lift their specifications.
They have also written to the Attorney-General's office to clear
them of any wrongdoing. They want government to confirm that they are not on
the police's "wanted list".
The source said letters had been flying back and forth between
the bankers' lawyers and the Attorney-General's office over the
specifications. The Attorney-General's office is understood to have informed
Nyemba, Hlupo and Goromonzi that it was still analysing their cases before
it could clear them and lift their specifications.
One of the bankers confirmed that they had applied to government
to lift their specifications but said the case was "moving slowly". The
government has also failed to get evidence to charge former Barbican Bank
owner Mthuli Ncube who the Reserve Bank blames for the collapse of the bank.
There have also been no charges against former chairman of
Intermarket Holdings, Nicholas Vingirayi, accused of leaving a $90 billion
hole in the institution in 2004.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said yesterday his government was "very
worried" about the economy, but predicted Zimbabwe would ride out an
escalating crisis he blamed on former colonial ruler Britain.
In an interview with a group of journalists, Mugabe rejected
charges Zimbabwe was in trouble due to state mismanagement, bad governance
and human rights abuses - blaming instead what he called illegal sanctions
championed by London.
Asked whether he was worried about constantly rising consumer
prices which have left many Zimbabweans struggling and increasingly angry,
Mugabe said: "Sure, very worried."
"But this is because of the circumstances in which we are ...
circumstances of an economy under siege, an economy which should have had a
political environment to protect it from the action of our enemies led by
Britain, imposing sanctions on us," he added.
Mugabe said his government could have imposed a state of
emergency to protect its economy from what he calls sabotage from both
domestic and Western opponents, but had not done so because this would have
sent a "wrong political signal".
"We decided to soldier on ... seeking assistance from our
friends," he said.
Although Britain had the highest number of foreign companies
operating in Zimbabwe, Tony Blair's government had isolated the country's
economy over Harare's seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to
black Zimbabweans, he charged.
Mugabe said although Zimbabwe's key agriculture output had been
lower than expected over the last few years due to drought and economic
factors, he expected production to rise on the back of better preparations
by both farmers and the government.
"We expect therefore 2007 to be a good year," he said, adding,
"inflation is now going down, starting a new turn". -- Reuter.
PRESIDENT Mugabe will seek the support of regional heads of
state to fund mediation efforts led by former Tanzanian President Benjamin
Mkapa between Zimbabwe and Britain.
Diplomatic sources this week said Zimbabwe was lobbying the
region to endorse the initiative when it is tabled at the Sadc Maseru Summit
in Lesotho, scheduled for next month.
The sources said regional heads were keen to have Mkapa's terms
of reference spelt out as the mediation initiative currently appears to be
Mugabe's private project.
"There is already a buy-in from South Africa and Namibia that
this should be a Sadc-funded project but money will only be released after
Mkapa's job description and a structure he will be working with have been
clearly enunciated," a diplomat said.
President Mugabe has said Mkapa will mediate in the dispute
between Harare and London stemming from differences over Zimbabwe's
controversial land reforms launched in 2000 and electoral abuses.
He has said Mkapa will also address the issue of targeted
sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe's political leadership.
United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, at the recent
African Union Summit in the Gambia, announced that he was no longer coming
to Zimbabwe in light of the Mkapa initiative.
Sources yesterday said Zimbabwe had been lobbying the Sadc Organ
on Politics, Defence and Security for the regional bloc to bankroll the
initiative as the UN has indicated that Mkapa was not their mediator. The
Sadc organ is led by Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba. Wire reports on
Tuesday quoted UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe in New York as saying the UN would
eventually have contact with Mkapa, but she stressed that he was not a UN
The sources said the non-involvement of the UN suited Mugabe as
he fears the involvement of the world body would see Zimbabwe's problems
placed before the Security Council. The West has pushed for a Security
Council resolution in its quest to get the international community to be
more active in addressing the Zimbabwe crisis.
A source said Zimbabwe had already made representations for
Mkapa's budget to be drawn up before the Maseru Summit where the regional
leaders are expected to ratify it. The source said Sadc heads however want
Mkapa's terms of reference to be tabled prior to the ratification of his
operational budget. Mkapa's terms of reference have been unclear since the
announcement of his mediation efforts. President Mugabe though has been keen
to portray Mkapa as his ally.
However, prospects for the success of his mediation efforts in
the dispute with Britain are already dim as Britain has said Zimbabwe's
problems are of its own making. It is also unlikely that the European Union
and the United States will lift sanctions so long as Mugabe pursues his
Contrary to government press reports, Annan has given no pledge
to have sanctions lifted as the UN was not instrumental in imposing them. -
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai says his party's proposed Ukraine-style protest against President
Mugabe is on course and he has urged party leaders to ensure a "resounding
public expression of discontent".
He said the party was preparing to launch the much-awaited "cold
season of discontent", dispelling his critics' doubts that the MDC would go
ahead with protests as promised in March.
Tsvangirai told party chairmen at an evaluation meeting on the
party's preparedness to roll out anti-regime protests that he was ready to
lead people into the streets.
"We are on our own," Tsvangirai told delegates on Tuesday. "All
indications show that we have to slog it out alone before we can expect any
assistance from elsewhere. I am ready to lead the people into that decisive
Tsvangirai said public expression of discontent would help force
Mugabe and Zanu PF to the negotiating table for a constitutional conference
that would lead to a transitional government.
He challenged provincial chairmen to "ensure that the minimum
numbers we expect to come out are ready".
"Strengthen the structures right to the last hamlet and growth
point. Knit-up the weak ends and plug up possible fissures. Assure the local
leaders that the nation is fully behind them in this endeavour. The MDC
leadership is ready for a comprehensive roll-out effort," Tsvangirai
The leader of the splintered MDC has been criticised recently
for failing to set a date for the protests but has always defended the
delays saying the party could not afford to fail.
Sources say the MDC is auditing its corps of marshals for crowd
control, educating them on the need for a non-violent protest to ensure the
nationwide parades are not infiltrated by ruling party- sponsored thugs to
"Beware of the Zanu PF militias in your communities as you
select and train your marshals for our main programme. Their brief, as I
said earlier, is to destabilise the MDC. They are keen to sabotage the
people's project and to infiltrate the party, taking advantage of the
October 12 split in the leadership," he warned.
An earlier threat to march on State House in 2003, dubbed the
"Final Push", fizzled out, although sources in Zanu PF say the mere threat
of protests had seriously unsettled the ruling party leadership.
Government has been edgy since March's MDC congress when
Tsvangirai threatened to roll out mass protests to press home demands for
solutions to the deteriorating economic and social situation in Zimbabwe
over the last decade
BONNEZIM (Pvt) Ltd, an agro-processing arm of the
government-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), is set to take
over the controversial Kondozi Estate in a move designed to bolster Zanu PF's
grip on the former horticultural concern.
Bonnezim, a former subsidiary of diversified industrial group
Murray & Roberts, was taken over by IDC last year and is expected to lead a
consortium of indigenous businessmen in reviving Kondozi.
Bonnezim, based in Chegutu, is currently exporting fresh produce
to a number of international markets.
Bonnezim managing director, a Mr A Mangena, was not available
for comment. His mobile phone went unanswered the whole of yesterday.
Sources at Kondozi said in mid-June Bonnezim management was at
the estate to assess what would be needed to revive the project and called
in former Kondozi employees to ascertain the skills base that still remained
in the Odzi community.
"Bonnezim announced that they were inviting potential employees
as the new developers of Kondozi," the source said.
"Former Kondozi employees thronged the estate management
complex, seeking re-engagement," the source said.
Government has made the revival of Kondozi estate one of its
priority areas under its National Economic Development Priority Programme.
The IDC has been granted the authority to revive Kondozi and
will be monitored by the Foreign Exchange Mobilisation and Utilisation
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono chairs the task force.
Highly-placed sources said government opted to cede Kondozi to
the IDC after the former owners spurned overtures to return.
Kondozi, a major horticultural exporting enterprise in the Odzi
district of Manicaland, was taken over by government on Christmas Eve in
2004. Since then, much of the equipment has been looted allegedly by senior
government officials. Much of the infrastructure has collapsed.
Previous efforts to revive Kondozi through the Agricultural and
Rural Development Authority and the army have failed.
Government deployed the army under the command agriculture
programme - Operation Maguta - to till the land. Out of the 224 hectares of
prime land, the army planted a mere 40 hectares this season.
THE controversy surrounding the acquisition of Gletwyn Estate in
Harare has taken a new twist with government expressing interest in
acquiring the farm, after serving it with a Section 8 notice.
Gletwyn owner, Alexander Stuart Ross, who forced government to
reverse plans to acquire the farm through the courts, received a Section 8
notice on July 4. Nineteen other farms around Harare have also been listed
Among the listed farms are Saturday Retreat owned by Crest
Breeders and initially occupied by Border Gezi Housing Cooperative, Eyecourt
owned by Mashonaland Holdings, Lochnivar registered in the name of Rothmans
International and Carrick Creagh, owned by the Newmarch family and initially
occupied by the Sally Mugabe Heights Housing Cooperative.
Previous settlements on the listed properties, some of them
dating back to the year 2000, were demolished under Operation Murambatsvina
in May last year.
Government's retreat on Gletwyn Estate in May had exposed policy
inconsistencies and the shortcomings of laws hastily promulgated to
facilitate land seizures.
Analysts said the fresh acquisition initiative was to correct
the irregularities caused by the fast-track land reform programme. Under the
fast-track land reform programme, government encouraged people to invade
white-owned commercial farms purportedly to correct colonial land ownership
imbalances. Most of the dispossessed farmers have challenged the
expropriation in courts.
Last August's constitutional amendment Number 17 bars citizens
from contesting the seizure of their land in the courts. But it also makes
it clear that government cannot take urban land for purposes of
"If the state were to start seizing urban land by 'selective
nationalisation', it is possible the property market, upon which the state
depends for many revenues and many people depend for their livelihoods,
would collapse," Ross said in a court application.
GOVERNMENT has splashed nearly $400 billion on luxury vehicles
for members of the Anti-Corruption Commission chaired by former Comptroller
and Auditor-General Eric Harid.
Sources said the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government bought nine
Mercedes Benz vehicles for the commissioners at a cost of $44 billion each.
The purchase follows reports that the government is spending
more than $500 billion providing loans for senators to purchase all-terrain
vehicles. The Anti-Corruption Commission is currently without a secretariat.
Nor does it have a departmental head.
In an interview this week, Harid referred all questions to the
Minister of State Enterprises, Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies, Paul
Mangwana defended the move to acquire vehicles for the
commissioners who include lawyers Johannes Tomana and Kuziwa Nyamwanza,
retired brigadier Elasto Madzingira, Alice Nkomo and Rungano Wutaunashe.
"Do you want them to walk on foot? Are you sure they should be
pedestrians?" Mangwana asked.
"They must drive. Their position is equivalent to judges. They
are a constitutional commission," Mangwana said.
He said the commission was doing a great job, recently
initiating a public education programme and performing a system audit at the
Grain Marketing Board.
"They came up with certain findings at the grain utility and
government is studying them," Mangwana said.
He said the commissioners had interviewed people for various
posts who should have started last week.
"They even recruited heads of department. Government had been
seconding a secretariat from other ministries."
In 2004 and 2005 government launched a crusade against
corruption in high places, viewed by many people as an election gimmick that
has since lost steam.
Senior politicians and high-ranking business executives who
include former Finance minister Chris Kuruneri and one-time Zanu PF Harare
aspiring mayoral candidate and Telecel boss, James Makamba, were arrested on
charges of externalising foreign currency.
Both Makamba and Kuruneri's cases still remain unconcluded.
Kuruneri is currently under house arrest while Makamba has fled
ZANU PF's central committee is set to make a decision on Harare
commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara's future today.
The ruling party's secretary for Information Nathan Shamuyarira
yesterday told the Zimbabwe Independent that Makwavarara was one of the top
issues at the central committee's meeting today considering the concerns
raised by the party's Harare province and ratepayers.
"It's one of the issues we are going to discuss in the central
committee tomorrow (today)," Shamuyarira said yesterday. "Phone me on
Saturday, I will be in a position to comment on the matter."
Divisions amongst Zanu PF loyalists over the mayoral issue have
widened over the past month, with party cadres questioning Makwavarara's
qualifications and party credentials, particularly for someone who abandoned
it to join the opposition MDC nearly six years ago. Highly-placed sources in
the ruling party said the Zanu PF Harare provincial executive's vote of no
confidence in Makwavarara had forced the politburo to intervene by setting
up a committee to probe her on the allegations brought up by Harare.
"The central committee will consider the findings of the
committee and make a decision on Makwavarara's future," a source said.
THE loneliness of security guards protecting factory premises
used to be confined to weekends when most firms closed.
Now there appears to be little or no difference what day of the
week it is.
Cynics say nothing is as boring as protecting an empty factory
except guarding an old grave.
A guard along Craig Allen Road in the Ardbennie industrial sites
who was twiddling his thumbs to avoid dozing off summed up the serious
presence that Zimbabwe industry used to exude and the pervasive economic
decay that has replaced it over the past half decade.
Economic analysts have attributed the resilience of Zimbabwe's
economy to a legacy of a robust industrial base bequeathed to President
Robert Mugabe's government by Ian Smith's Rhodesian regime.
They blame President Mugabe for failing to keep the family
Five years ago economic analysts predicted the Zimbabwean
government faced a deepening economic crisis and expressed apprehension that
it was a matter of time before the economy slid down the tubes.
And the International Monetary Fund predicted a further hurtle
towards collapse unless harsher fiscal measures were urgently adopted.
Overly optimistic politicians dismissed the predictions as
But if any one doubted the predictions, the current derelict
state of industrial premises and factories in Zimbabwe's capital provides
Industrial premises that have been left to fray at the seams now
show signs that the rot has finally settled in.
The country's economic performance is summed up in commonplace
factory closures due to a hostile economic climate in which firms have been
forced to operate.
Walk along some of the railway networks that branched into
factories delivering raw materials or finished goods and see normal glint of
metal grinding on metal replaced by accumulating freckles of rust for lack
of anything to roll in or out.
A grinding shortage of foreign currency has assumed such
desperate proportions that foreign firms are very reluctant to trade with
"We used to export tractors and agricultural implements to
Zimbabwe and bought tobacco in return," said Australian ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Jon Sheppard, in response to government accusations that the
country's economic problems emanated from sanctions imposed by Western
"Zimbabwe no longer has the foreign currency to buy equipment
nor sufficient tobacco to export to generate hard currency," he said.
Many businesses have been compelled to trade on the parallel
market at almost double the official exchange rate in order to obtain the
foreign currency they need to replenish raw materials and continue operating
at full strength.
Some have been forced to reduce working hours either due to lack
of raw materials or thrown in the towel and shut shop altogether.
Contrast this with desperate retrenchees who clutter the
counters at the Registrar of Companies offices daily in a heroic bid to
register companies but invariably turn subsistence traders and one begins to
appreciate the economic rut that Zimbabwe's skewed economic policies have
firmly stuck the country in.
More significant is the impact the economy has made on the lives
of ordinary Zimbabweans given the dependence ratio of each worker.
"We still expect employers to contribute to the social security
fund as long as the workers have a contract with the employer," says
Philemon Shereni, spokesman for the National Social Security Authority
Shereni admits retrenchments affect NSSA's revenue base but
added that this would be counterbalanced by revenue from new farmers.
However, the new farmers play hard ball when it comes to meeting
Studies have concluded that for every worker formally employed,
he or she supports seven to eight people on average.
Wellington Chibhebhe, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU), agreed that retrenchments adversely affected the
labour body's operations due to a shrinking membership base.
He says at its peak the ZCTU membership stood at 500 000 but has
shrunk to 143 000 due to factory and farm invasions.
Production of gold - one of the main foreign currency earners -
dropped drastically, forcing mining companies to suspend mining explorations
because of the harsh economic conditions. Several of the country's gold
mines are facing closure.
The tourism sector, which produces 6% of gross domestic product
and used to generate an estimated US$400 million a year is gradually falling
Analysts say 100 tour operators have shut shop, disgorging at
least 5 000 workers onto the streets.
Thousands of Zimbabwean nationals have fled from economic
hardships to live abroad.
Still the Zimbabwean economy limps on.
Leader of the splintered MDC faction, Morgan Tsvangirai, says
Mugabe's intransigent defiance of local and international opinion has become
the primary cause of Zimbabwe's economic collapse. Other critics point to
disregard for the rule of law, ministerial outbursts directed at the
business sector and macroeconomic distortions which show no sign of
One way or another it spells ruin.
SOUTH African platinum producer Impala Platinum says output at
its concerns in Zimbabwe rose in the first half of this year and that plans
for further expansion at the mines are on track.
In an investor presentation posted on its website and seen by
Reuter yesterday, Implats said production at Zimplats, in which it has a
majority shareholding, was at 45 000 ounces of refined platinum in the first
half of 2006, up 15% over the same period last year.
Its Mimosa mine, Zimbabwe's second largest platinum producer
after Zimplats, accounted for 35 000 ounces of the metal in the first six
months this year, compared to 28 000 ounces during the same period in 2005.
Implats jointly owns Mimosa with Aquarius Platinum.
The presentation said a transition to underground mining
operations was underway at Zimplats with a feasibility study on expanding
platinum output to 145 000 ounces per year to be submitted to the board.
The planned expansion of production at Mimosa to 80 000 ounces
of platinum, compared to 61 000 ounces in 2005, was on track, and the mine
had potential for a further increase to 130 000 ounces, it said.
In May, Mimosa's managing director Alex Mhembere said the firm
would start exploration for a new mine next year to complement its existing
one, which has a lifespan of 20 years.
Zimbabwe has the world's second-richest resources of platinum
after South Africa, the biggest producer of the metal.
But the country's mining sector was shaken after President
Robert Mugabe's government said earlier this year it planned to acquire a
51% stake in foreign-owned mines to advance its black empowerment programme.
However, Implats said last month Zimbabwe would give it credit
for building roads and houses to count towards the local ownership rules,
which analysts say could chase away much-needed foreign investment.
Implats also sealed a deal to get credits towards the
requirements which have not yet come into law by giving up some unused
mining claims in Zimbabwe.
This means only a modest equity stake would have to be
transferred to the government or local investors. -- Reuter.
By Admire Mavolwane
THE upcoming monetary policy review statement is definitely the
talk of the town. The big question is; what is the governor going to say?
Almost every section of the economy has drawn up a wish list of measures and
initiatives they expect from the governor. In more normal economies, such an
event would only arouse speculation on whether interest rates would be
raised or reduced and by how many points. In this instance interest rates
will be used as a tool to address inflation/deflation pressures; exchange
rate movements; and a mechanism to poke, or put brakes on the economy. Our
scenario is unique because the governor is expected to address a whole
plethora of issues, some of them of a quasi-fiscal nature.
Gold miners through the Chamber of Mines are reported to have
written a letter to the governor seeking, or appealing for an immediate
review, possibly in the statement, of the gold price from its current level
of $2,5 billion/kg to $6,8 billion/kg. The request came against the
background of a 24,7% decrease in gold production during the period January
to April, with a variety of factors being cited as major causes of the fall
Chief amongst these were intermittent power outages with Zesa
being accused of not sticking to load-shedding schedules thus affecting
production planning, as well as the unfavourable gold pricing structure.
Exporters are obviously calling for a review of the exchange
rate which since January 24 has been more or less stagnant at roughly $100
000 to the US dollar. Had the local unit followed the inflation trends, it
would be trading at approximately $277 000 to the US dollar on the official
market. This calculation is based on the compounded month-on-month inflation
rates from February to June of 178%.
At the beginning of the year, the premium of the parallel market
rate over the interbank exchange rate had reduced to less than 25%, but has
since widened to over 300%. The difference between the official exchange
rate and the parallel market rate, the latter being the rate used by
suppliers for pricing goods, is deemed to be an unofficial export tax.
Industry and the generality of the real economy are also hoping for a return
to one economy for all through the removal of all multiple exchange rates,
interest rates, fuel prices and other distortions which give rise to
The agricultural sector will as usual be lobbying for cheap
funding and inputs. Already the tobacco farming sector is on record as
demanding roughly between $15 and $18 trillion for inputs for the coming
season. The justification being that the cost of producing a hectare of
tobacco has increased from $200 million last year to $1,4 billion, a figure
arrived at using official fuel prices.
Using non-subsidised fuel the cost would be in excess of $2
billion per hectare, they say. In the meantime the CEO of Agribank was
quoted in a daily newspaper on June 29 as saying that the agriculture
lending bank had disbursed $4,5 trillion under the Agriculture Sector
Productivity Enhancement Facility since the beginning of the year. So in
adding to the $5,62 trillion, a total of over $10 trillion has been
disbursed under the facility whose limit was initially set at $7 trillion.
For all intents and purposes though, subsidised agriculture lending and
fuel, under whatever name, looks set to be with us for a long time to come.
The common man will be hoping that the 8,9 percentage points
decline in the year-on-year inflation rate for June to 1 184,6% from the
previous month's rate of 1 193,5% signals the beginning of a sustainable
downward trend in inflation. A further dip in the inflation rate for July is
anticipated, mainly for mathematical reasons rather than anything else. July
last year with a then unprecedented 47% month-on-month jump heralded the
commencement of the inflation spiral that we are in the midst of right now.
We do not expect a similar leap, hence the decline expected in
July. What the populace is also appealing for is a concrete and
comprehensive package of measures to "tackl"' inflation. When the enemy is
down, even when it is not out of our own making, we may as well make the
most of it.
Although the three-month target for the mobilisation of US$2,5
billion is not yet up, various interest groups will be eagerly waiting for
an update on the successes and failures of the National Economic Development
Priority Programme. As of June 11 US$350 million is reported to have been
raised. On its launch, the programme was described as "action orientated and
results based". The nation thus eagerly awaits an update on the progress
towards the targets and the fate of those taskforces who appear to be facing
challenges in meeting their deadlines, as would be expected in any
results-based scheme of assessment.
Investors will be hoping that the arbitrary and frequent policy
changes, especially regarding interest rates, will soon be a thing of the
past. They would be praying for a well thoughtout and enunciated interest
rate policy, which hopefully will be in force for the remainder of the year.
Interest rate policies have in recent times exhibited a high degree of
perishability, with huge losses and/or profits being incurred or realised as
a result. Those caught wrong-footed always cry foul, a situation which does
not augur well for the smooth operation of the markets.
However, since the beginning of the month, stock market
speculators seem to have reached a conclusion that there will be no
surprises in the monetary policy review statement. They have already started
taking positions in the blue chip stocks Old Mutual, Delta, PPC, Innscor,
Econet and Meikles, thus in a way revealing their anxieties on the future of
the economy and the exchange rate.
The big pull factor of these counters has seen the industrial
index gaining 13,1 percentage points in the past eight trading days to close
this Wednesday at an all-time high of 62 038 655,76 points. It is now only a
matter of time before we know whether the speculators have, this time
around, accurately second-guessed the governor. In the meantime the bulls
are on a rampage, but no doubt some will be caught out like what happened at
the end of January this year.
THE industrial index breached the 60 million point mark on
Tuesday as bulls raged on the equities market after discounting reports
inflation had eased from an all-time high touched in May.
The key index surged to 60 110 638,05 points on Tuesday after
having surpassed a 50 million-point all-time high the previous week.
The index gained a further 1 928 017,71 points to reach 62 038
655,76 points on Wednesday, and analysts said sentiment was likely to remain
bullish on the equities market after the central bank began rejecting
treasury bill bids asking for high interest rates.
The mining index also breached the 20 million-point
psychological barrier, pushed by gains in Rio Tinto and Bindura.
Rio Tinto gained $135 000 (27,0%) to $635 000, while Bindura
added $5 000 (25,0%) to close at $25 000.
The mining index gained 2,99% or 26 189,02 points on Wednesday
to reach 21 587 530,40 points on Wednesday.
Analysts said the money market had been awash with cash,
prompting short-term rates to fall and forcing investors to move funds into
other investments like property and equities.
The money market was in surplus to the tune of $875 billion on
"Interest rates are currently low on the market due to TB
maturities which left the money market awash with money," said Farai
Dyirakumunda, an analyst with Interfin Research.
Consequently, he said, this triggered aggressive buying on the
bourse, pushing the equities market to higher levels.
Investments on 30-day paper declined to around 100% from around
The index reached the 60 million-point mark a day after the
announcement of inflation figures by the Central Statistical Office.
The June year-on-year inflation rate decelerated by 9,5
percentage points from 1 193,5% to 1 184%.
Dyirakumunda said the stock market's stellar performance over
the past two weeks had also been caused by the sharp depreciation of the
local currency on the parallel market.
"Movements of the Zimbabwe dollar exchange rate is also a
factor," he said.
Whilst the greenback is currently trading at around $450 000 on
the parallel market, it is pegged at $101 195 on the official market.
Dyirakumunda said dually-listed counters had gained
significantly from the local currency's loss of value on the parallel
"Dually-listed counters have benefited because the ZSE share
price reflects the exchange rate difference," he said.
The ZSE, one of the few remaining secure investment options in
the country, is gaining momentum after a recent dispute between stockbrokers
and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority over payment of Value Added Tax.
The ZSE is planning to establish a secondary market for small
and medium-scale enterprises , a move that will enhance activity and create
cheap cash-raising avenues for small enterprises.
The bourse provides a platform for raising capital for both
Zimbabwean and international companies through the issuance of equity,
debentures and depository receipts.
A number of listed companies have embarked on rights issues to
raise cash for re-capitalisation or expansion.
ZIMBABWE'S domestic business climate remains the most
unfavourable both in the region and beyond, an Institute of Development
Studies (IDS) report has revealed.
The report, prepared to investigate business and other
stakeholders' perceptions on the country's regional integration, was
prepared by Benson Zwizwai, deputy director of the IDS at the University of
"The Zimbabwean business climate was rated second to last.. Not
a single response rated the domestic business climate as very favourable,"
the report said.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis
since Independence from Britain in 1980.
Hundreds of companies have closed shop due to acute foreign
currency and fuel shortages, leaving thousands of people jobless.
Unemployment is estimated at over 80% by independent economists,
but the government is adamant the independent forecasts are exaggerated and
puts unemployment figures at 9%.
A host of problems, including inflation currently at over 1 000%
and dwindling agricultural production, have added to the woes afflicting the
economy, forcing some companies to relocate to stable economies like South
Africa, Botswana and Zambia.
The report said southern neighbour South Africa had the most
favourable business climate.
Asia, with which President Robert Mugabe's government has
decided to develop economic ties to spite the West which has imposed
targeted sanctions against him and members of his regime, was noted as the
second major competitor after South Africa.
GOVERNMENT'S decision to borrow funds from the domestic market
is crowding out the private sector, resulting in falling productivity
levels, property consultants, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), have said.
In a report on the central business district's property market
for the first quarter of 2006, CBRE said reduced production had affected
exports earnings, worsening the foreign currency shortages in the country.
Government, which borrows for non-productive purposes to finance
recurrent expenditure, has increased its recourse to the domestic market,
swelling domestic debt to over $48 trillion in June.
"Without any technical assistance from the Bretton Woods
institutions.government has resorted to financing its budget through
borrowing from the banking system thereby crowding out the private sector
from accessing finance for production resulting in less goods being
produced," said CBRE in the report.
The report said the immediate implication of reduced production
was the country's inability to generate adequate foreign currency required
to meet its import requirements.
"Production of most goods for export entails the importation of
raw materials and liquid fuels using foreign currency," said the report.
It said foreign currency was required to acquire spare parts for
refurbishing existing infrastructure.
The report further said the situation had been further worsened
by the withdrawal of credit lines by foreign banks and the suspension of
donor aid to the country.
"With an ever-increasing budget deficit in the face of reduced
foreign currency reserves, the balance-of-payments support remains critical
if the country is to attain macroeconomic stability," the report said.
The report said as a result of these developments, the country's
gross domestic product (GDP) had experienced negative growth, while interest
rates on bank lending had soared.
Since the year 2000, following the introduction the land reform
programme, Zimbabwe's GDP has been deteriorating.
GDP last year contracted by about 4,1% from 2,1% in the previous
year. The report said these negative developments in the economy had led to
the unprecedented depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar against major
SERIOUS disagreements have emerged among white farmers after
government this week refuted earlier claims by the Commercial Farmers Union
(CFU) that the organisation was collaborating with the state to bring back
some of the farmers who lost their properties since the start of the land
reform programme six years ago.
The CFU had claimed that it had changed its stance towards
government's land reform initiative and submitted up to 200 applications on
behalf of its members for consideration as A2 farmers.
The claim by CFU president Doug Taylor-Freeme and his deputy
Trevor Gifford has attracted serious criticism from some of the affected
farmers, who have said it was a "great betrayal to all the people who have
suffered, died and been murdered in the past six years".
Ministers of Lands and Agriculture Joseph Made, State Security,
Lands and Land Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa and Special Affairs Responsible
for Land, Flora Bhuka, have been widely quoted in recent media reports as
confirming that farmers would be invited back.
But Mutasa this week denied ever issuing such a statement on the
"Vanondinyepera (They are lying) I have never spoken to any
foreign journalist and all their claims are wrong." Mutasa said.
"No white farmer is being invited back. And why should we offer
them such long leases?"
Mutasa said all government was doing was rationalising the sizes
of properties still occupied by the remaining white farmers.
If the state considers that the farm is too big then it is going
to be reduced, Mutasa said.
"For instance farmers in Region 1 such as those in Nyanga will
have slightly smaller farms than those in Region 2 and farmers in Region 3
will also have slightly smaller farms than those in Region 4. The biggest
farms are expected to be in Region 5."
Mutasa said the remaining white commercial farmers were expected
to stay on the property long enough to satisfy government of their
commitment and may, after getting offer letters, be invited to apply for
"That is what is happening. All the other claims that you heard
Bhuka was quoted by the state media as saying: "So far about 500
of the remaining 927 white farmers have applied and their applications are
Similarly, Mutasa reportedly said: "We hope that these white
farmers will refrain from doing agriculture in a political way, they must
just be farmers and desist from politics on the farms."
Mutasa's denial throws the CFU into a quandary as other farmer
representative organisations have distanced themselves from the initiative.
Last week, Mac Crawford, president of the Southern Africa
Commercial Farmers Alliance lashed out at the CFU labelling the organisation
a "Zanu PF puppet" for failing to protect the interests of the remaining
HWANGE Colliery Company's Chaba open cast mine has significantly
improved its coal production over the past three months, the company
announced last week.
Coal output from Chaba went up to 117 000 tonnes in June from 22
000 tonnes in April.
The beleaguered coal miner said in an update to its customers
that Chaba and the 3 Main underground mine were "fully operational".
"Both should see improved production as two shuttle cars are
delivered to the underground mine and 10 haulage trucks delivered to Chaba
open cast mines during the months of July and August," said Hwange in the
update signed by Clifford Nkomo, the marketing and public relations manager.
"Thereafter production is expected to increase (to) levels which
exceed national demand," the company said.
Zimbabwe has been battling acute coal shortages that have forced
many companies - the bulk of which are involved in industrial and
agricultural processes - to resort to imports from Botswana and South
Inadequate coal supplies have affected the country's winter
wheat crop, and power utility, Zesa, has complained that power generation
had been heavily affected by inadequate coal supplies from Hwange.Steel
maker Zisco also recently said it was working at 50% capacity because of
poor coal supplies. - Staff Writer.
ECONOMIC analysts this week said delegates to the forthcoming
two-day Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) congress should press
government to adopt market-driven reforms and seek the resolution to the
country's six-year economic crisis.
The analysts said the captains of industry had to tackle issues
affecting the country's economy and constrain productivity.
Industrial operations have been heavily constrained by an
economic crisis precipitated by record inflation levels and acute shortages
of fuel, foreign currency and basic food items.
Economic commentator Eric Bloch said the industrialists should
come up with policies that address issues affecting industry.
"The congress must provide solutions that help bring down
ever-escalating inflation, improve labour relations and push for a
market-driven economy," Bloch said.
John Robertson agreed, saying: "Issues such as the scarcity of
foreign currency, limited supply of electricity, clean water, telephone
services and new investment opportunities should be clearly articulated
during the congress."
The CZI congress will run from July 26 to 28 July at the
Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel.
ALTHOUGH the property market remains the best hedge against
inflation, escalating construction costs spurred by galloping inflation
continue to dampen home-seekers' dreams and threaten the success of
government's housing projects.
Since January construction costs have increased three-fold.
According to a report on the performance of the Harare property
market in the first quarter of 2006, produced by a leading property firm,
the high building costs have become an obstacle to property development,
"The fact that there are only a few residential developments is
largely due to the costs of construction," said the report.
While houses in high-density suburbs cost between $10 billion
and $15 billion, the report said the cost of building the same house now
stood at between $50 million and $65 million per square metre.
The report said the cost of building a house in the
medium-density residential areas ranged from $90 million to $110 million per
square metre and constructing a house in the low-density now costs between
$125 million and $130 million per square metre.
Property analysts said this development would negatively impact
on government's housing projects, particularly Operation Garikai/Hlalani
Kuhle, hastily put up by the state in a vain effort to undo untold damage it
had inflicted on the urban poor.
Under Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle, government projected
constructing 20 000 housing units nationwide by December last year.
But so far it is struggling to complete the first 2 000 units
due to lack of funds. It has been compelled to hand over the houses without
floors or windowpanes.
"The increase in construction costs simply means that government
should budget more," said Boysen Mutembwa, a director at Bard Real Estate.
He said government might not be able to complete the projects
because of rising costs.
Mutembwa said there were now serious distortions in the property
market. He said unlike in the past, costs of building a property were now
equal to its value and are threatening to surpass it.
"People chose to build on their own and this was cheaper than
buying a standing property. Now the values are at par," he explained.
Mutembwa added that the Homelink housing scheme had failed to
perform to expectations.
Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, had launched
Homelink to persuade !Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to invest their
foreign currency earnings in property development back home.
However, due to the poor official exchange rate, the initiative
failed to bear fruit.
"Homelink will not work because of the poor exchange rate,"
economic analyst John Robertson said.
He said Zimbabweans working abroad chose to send their money
through other channels because of the huge disparity between the interbank
and parallel market exchange rates.
Major currencies like the US dollar and British pound are
trading at US$1:$450 000 £1:$700 000 respectively on the parallel market
compared to US$1:$101 195 and £1:$186 000 on the official interbank market.
"Yes, Zimbabweans in the diaspora are building houses, but not
through Homelink," said Robertson.
While home-seekers have traditionally purchased or built houses
through accessing mortgage loans, the gap between mortgage loans currently
on offer and the prevailing property prices make it unwise to borrow.
"Sorry sir, but you only qualify for a mortgage of $2,3
billion," an executive earning a $500 million monthly salary is told by a
mortgage officer at a local building society.
At another mortgage lending institution individuals, mostly
executives, earning a monthly salary of $1 billion, qualify for a $4,6
billion mortgage at an annual interest of 68%.
The loan is repayable over a 25-year period.
In the low-density suburbs house prices range from $75 billion
to $100 billion and between $15 billion and $75 billion in the
When asked how the mortgage lending business was performing, a
mortgage officer said they had experienced a major decline in business and
were now lending only to corporates.
"Corporates are now borrowing from us. They are running away
from commercial banks' exorbitant interest rates," the officer said. Another
mortgage lender gives a mortgage of $1,4 billion to an individual earning a
salary of $1 billion per month with monthly repayments of $118 million.
However, a majority of ordinary workers earn far less than $50
million per month.
Robertson said it was difficult to fund property purchases
According to a property expert report, mortgage loan
qualifications have deteriorated.
"Mortgage loan qualification has significantly diminished,
especially for individual borrowers due to high prices of houses, high
building costs, high interest rates and the high cost of living," said the
It said that according to information from the Association of
Building Societies, default on mortgage repayments averaged 5,5% of total
residential mortgage accounts on a month-on-month basis in 2005.
The report said the three major building societies advanced
approximately $476 billion to 1 275 residential property applicants.
It added that the high costs had become a disincentive to
investment in the office market.
"Investment in the office market had been stagnant throughout
the year 2005 due to the high costs."
Building costs for properties in the office market continued to
escalate rapidly, rising from $17,5 million per square metre in January 2005
to between $70 million and $100 million per square metre as by December
Apart from the threat posed by the high building costs, the
property market remains sluggish due to lack of investment in new projects.
Investors are reluctant to venture into the property market, as
there are no meaningful returns. This has led to serious shortage of
accommodation. "It has become too risky for institutions to undertake new
building projects," property market experts say.
"In the short- to medium-term there is likely to be very few, if
any, new developments in the industry due to the harsh macroeconomic
environment," the report said.
Apart from the high input costs, another major obstacle to
investment in this sector has been the government controls that impose
limits on rentals.
While properties like the Joina Centre have remained unfinished
for more than five years, there has not been any significant investment in
residential property over the same time.
Although most leases are based on the net leasing concept, where
the tenant pays for all the operational costs, property owners have not been
able to increase rentals at the same pace as that of inflation.
By Bridget Sibanda
IT is a show that would make the devil smile.
Beautiful young ladies who would enter without any debate if
looks and dressing were a passport to heaven prowl Tropicana Club in the
capital city of Zimbabwe.
Their mission is only complete when they have cash in their
Clad in skimpy outfits, one would be forgiven for believing this
to be a fashion show. The majority wear bouncy body tops and flesh-hugging
hipster jeans, while others put on transparent blouses.
It's a tight contest.
Scratch the surface of this façade and you discover that below
is a female student trying to fight above her weight to attract customers in
the smoke-filled nightclub.
It's hard to pick one as the best but it's easy to tell that
these are business-minded people.
Shimmy-shammying their lower backsides in suggestive movements
or intermittently freshening their make-up, they chatter as if
absent-mindedly about nothing in particular.
Discuss the price of sex and faces suddenly light up.
This is the dilemma of college students who engage in the oldest
profession of hawking sex to meet or augment inadequate financial grants at
It takes more than just a hard look to convince one that these
are hard-pressed students the way they dress.
Chipo Machenjedza, a second year human resources student at the
University of Zimbabwe, whose parents perished in a car accident in 2000,
explained how she got entrapped in commercial sex.
"I came to Harare three years ago without any intention of
Chipo says her uncle adopted her and two of her siblings,
sending them all to school.
"I passed 'A' level and secured a place at UZ," she explains.
But tragedy struck again for Chipo.
"Last year my uncle died after a short illness and my aunt could
not afford the fees for the three of us as well as for her own children
because she is unemployed," Chipo says.
"Naturally I risked dropping out of college until a friend at
college introduced me to this profession."
Chipo says she finds it worth the risk since she is able to pay
her fees and those of her two brothers.
But she admits her conscience is permanently in turmoil.
"Prostitution is a disreputable profession. But what else could
I do when I was on the verge of starvation and dropping out of college?"
Chipo asked. "And business is not bad at all," she adds.
Chipo reveals that most of her clients are businessmen.
"Businessmen are good clients because they pay handsomely for
services. At times they give me more than I would have charged. Besides they
take us to expensive hotels for the night."
She stops and takes a long sip from a bottle of beer.
"Life is difficult for us and the loans that government gives us
at college are meaningless. The money is not enough to sustain one for a
month. So we have to find alternative sources," Chipo said.
Other female students in similar predicaments interviewed at the
UZ said men pay "huge amounts of money for unprotected sex".
Both male and female students at tertiary institutions are
reportedly involved in transactional sex for luxury goods.
"It is common knowledge that students live on shoestring budgets
and are likely to be tempted by any monetary inducements from older lovers,"
said Tatenda Muloyi, a student at Harare Polytechnic.
A new phenomenon, known in the students' language as the "slave
trade syndrome" has also arisen.
Male students are used as "procurers" of female partners for
older men in return for money, tickets to live shows or nightclubs, as well
And because most universities and colleges cannot provide
accommodation for all students, many have to rent accommodation in nearby
A room costs between $2 million and $3 million a month and often
four students are forced to share a room at $2 million each.
Female students have resorted to cohabitation with older men who
rent them a flat or a house in return for sex.
Karen Takaro (22), a business studies student from Midlands
State University, says she needs about $2,5 million for rent a month, money
for food and transport from town to college every day.
She says her parents cannot afford to pay all this plus tuition
"Last semester we paid $28 million and next semester I'm told we
will be paying about $120 million."
Karen openly admits: "To help myself I engaged in prostitution
so that I supplement the grants we are given at school. For a two-hour
session I charge $2 million and for the whole night I need about $6
Despite the great risk of contracting the HIV virus, the
students are prepared to engage in unprotected sex when clients insist.
The number of girls who are engaged in prostitution is
increasing, reflecting the deepening economic and social crisis gripping
Zimbabwe since 2000.
Recently concerned parents met at Stodart Hall in Harare for
public discussion on the rising cost of education in Zimbabwe and its
implications on national development. Speakers agreed that government had
lost its moral legitimacy by increasing tuition fees to levels that prohibit
a majority of students from attaining professional academic education, a
reversal of a fundamental tool for development.
In a report presented to parliament recently, the portfolio
committee on Education, Sport and Culture chaired by MDC legislator for
Seke, Fidelis Mhashu, noted that a number of both female and male students
had quit their studies over the past few months because they could no longer
afford to pay their fees.
The committee said 34 students had dropped out of their studies
at Midlands State University as they could no longer afford the fees.
Economic hardships brought about by the recent increase in
tuition fees at state universities and colleges have driven female students
into prostitution to make ends meet, the committee heard.
"Some female students have been forced to resort to cohabiting
and prostitution to raise money. Education is now a preserve for the rich,"
says the parliamentary report.
By Phillip Pasirayi
THE appointment of former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa to
mediate in the Zimbabwean crisis has produced mixed reactions regarding his
terms of reference, the definition of the crisis and the sincerity of
President Robert Mugabe in resolving the political impasse.
For the past five years, Zimbabwe's international relations have
been in a sorry state resulting in some players within the international
community - notably the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth -
ostracising the country for human rights abuses and the absence of the rule
In an interview with a government mouthpiece last week, Rtd Wing
Commander Cletus Mafongoya, who teaches international relations at the
University of Zimbabwe, argued that the origins of the Zimbabwean crisis lie
in differences between Britain and Zimbabwe over the land reform programme.
Mafongoya told the Sunday Mail: "We are not surprised by the
stance taken by Britain. They don't want to accept that the land issue is at
the core of our problems and they want to shift the debate to issues of
governance and the rule of law."
Mafongoya was referring to a statement that had been issued
earlier in the week by the first secretary at the British Embassy in Harare,
Gillian Dare, who said that the problems facing Zimbabwe were about "bad
policy" and not bilateral problems between Britain and Zimbabwe.
Another lecturer, Simon Badza, who was quoted in the same Sunday
Mail story, contends that there is no consensus regarding the origins of the
"There is no common perception of the problem between the two
countries, so it's difficult to agree on the mediation process. Zimbabwe
says it's a bilateral issue but the British will find ways of evading the
issue," Badza argued.
Although the Zimbabwean crisis is widely reported, it is perhaps
the most mistold. Part of the problem has been a deliberate process that the
government embarked upon to formulate its foreign relations around the land
question in the past few years. The land issue since the colonial days has
been used as a rallying point to whip up people's emotions in Zimbabwe.
In the post-colonial era, the land debate has been hijacked by
the selfish and corrupt ruling elite that monopolises land and the debate
about the nature of land problems that the country is facing in a bid to
gain political mileage over the opposition and the so-called agents of
There is always a problem of failing to articulate that the
problems of governance and the rule of law that Zimbabwe is being ostracised
for by the EU and the Commonwealth are indivisibly linked to the land issue.
Even with the fast-track land reform programme that the
government embarked on in 2001, there is evidence of what I want to term the
boomerang effect, whereby the chaotic land reform exercise triggered or
exacerbated the human rights and governance problems that the country is
A more sober reflection on the ever-deteriorating situation in
Zimbabwe will then lead one to conclude that as much as the ill-conceived
land reform exercise is responsible for the crisis, issues of governance and
the rule of law are key and interwoven with the land issue.
The Zimbabwean crisis is multi-layered and cannot be
sufficiently articulated through the land issue alone. That the land issue
is central to the problems facing Zimbabwe is no point of disputation but it
is the Zanu PF government that must be blamed for implementing an
ill-conceived and unsustainable land reform programme that was largely
motivated by the need to appease the electorate as opposed to achieving
The problems enveloping our country are of our own making and
have everything to do with abuse of power and public office by the ruling
The chaotic manner in which the land reform programme was
implemented and the human rights abuses, including the murder of commercial
farmers and the failure by government to provide technical support and
resources to the newly resettled farmers, only made the situation worse.
This, contrary to the arguments of some academics, makes the Zimbabwean
crisis man-made and domestic rather than bilateral.
Britain adopted a hands-off approach when it realised that the
manner in which the government of Zimbabwe proposed to implement the land
reform programme was not in any way meant to achieve economic prosperity.
This is the sort of background that must inform any process of
mediation aimed at averting further collapse in Zimbabwe.
Since the crisis has everything to do with the land reform
programme, governance, human rights abuses and the rule of law, it is
imperative for the ruling Zanu PF party to abandon the rhetoric of empty
pan-Africanism and resuscitate dialogue with the opposition, the church and
civil society in order to put in place a transitional mechanism that will
steer the country on an interim basis until such time there are put in place
respectable institutions to replace the current abusive ones.
The government must not spurn this golden opportunity as it has
done before by refusing to work with former Mozambican president Joachim
Chissano who had been appointed by the African Union to mediate in the
The mediation terms of reference for Mkapa must be premised on
the basis that while the international community has a role to play in
Zimbabwe's national question, the onus is on Zimbabweans to show maturity
and define a framework within which such mediation must take place.
There is need to urgently put in place a transitional government
whose mandate must be to collate evidence from the people and draft a new
constitution, restore investor confidence and forge new bilateral and
multilateral relations with Western countries, while cementing the existing
relations with China, Iran and Malaysia, countries that are helping us in
our time of quarantine and moments of madness.
The starting point would be for President Mugabe to agree that
there is a problem that needs to be solved and that the problem is domestic
rather than one to do with Britain. The problem that Zimbabwe is facing is
one of governance and the absence of the rule of law, precipitated largely
by the land reform exercise and the launching in 1999 of a strong
opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, which threatens to wrest
power from Zanu PF.
Academics like Mafongoya must not selectively analyse the
problems that emanate from the land reform programme. It is because of the
violent farm seizures and murder of farmers and their workers that have led
to Zimbabwe losing support from the West.
There is urgent need to overhaul Zimbabwe's foreign policy that
is barren and sterile and its domestic policy that is characterised by
sordidness, rapaciousness and smugness. There is need to inject life in the
public sector so that people can have access to social goods and services
such as food, health, education and social security.
One of Mkapa's terms of reference must be to work out a
framework within which a transitional government can be established. This
must be followed by a reform of the current abusive state institutions such
as the police, the Registrar-General's Office, bodies that run elections and
the judiciary so that elections are held in a freer environment in which the
electorate is not subjected to intimidation.
There is need to dismantle the infrastructure of violence that
was put in place by Zanu PF to maintain its grip on the disillusioned
masses, as well as a need to free the airwaves, repeal all colonial-type
legislation and the opening of all newspapers that were shut down on
* Philip Pasirayi is a Zimbabwean political activist based in
THE following is a continuation from last week of a letter
written by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo (in the picture) to
President Robert Mugabe on June 7 1983 condemning the way the then prime
minister had treated him after "discovering" arms that saw the government
unleashing the Korean-trained Fifth Brigade on the Matabeleland and Midlands
provinces that left 20 000 people dead:
A meeting between us was accordingly held at State House,
Bulawayo, early in January 1983. The meeting did not go as well as I had
expected because it appeared to me that you were averse to what I discussed
with President Banana and Enos Nkala. However, despite that, we agreed
between ourselves to form a committee of six, comprising three Zanu and
three Zapu representatives.
Although nothing much was achieved at the meeting between us, I
believed nonetheless that moves towards an understanding between Zapu and
Zanu were making progress.
Yet on Tuesday, the 25th of January (1983), I received
information from people who were fleeing from Mbembesi that mass beatings
and killings were being perpetrated by young men in camouflage uniforms who
were calling themselves the "Fifth Brigade".
By the 26th of January, the numbers had grown and the
information given us was that more people were being brutally beaten and
killed by these young men.
On the 27th of January, I decided to take 12 of the people, who
had themselves experienced violence at the hands of members of the Fifth
Brigade, to Harare so that they may themselves explain to government what in
fact was talking place.
When I arrived in Harare, I presented the matter to Comrade
Muzenda who, in the absence of the prime minister, was acting prime
minister. After I informed him of the situation in Mbembesi, which by that
time had spread to Bubi and Tsholotsho, the acting prime minister delegated
his Minister of Home Affairs, Herbert Ushewokunze, who had expressed
ignorance of these happenings, to go and meet the afflicted people in
When Ushewokunze failed to turn up until Friday afternoon, I
decided to call a press conference and informed the conference of the mass
killings by the Fifth Brigade; by that time the numbers reported killed by
the Fifth Brigade had risen to 95.
The following week a government spokesman made much play of the
fact that Josiah Gumede; who I had told the conference that I understood by
reports from Mbembesi was among those who were killed; but because he had
survived his ordeal, the spokesman completely ignored the fact that many
more other people were killed, a fact Gumede himself had made known to you
and President Banana.
During the first week of February a censure motion was presented
to parliament by the chief whip of Zanu PF against Zapu and its leadership
because of exposure of the carnage by the Fifth Brigade. Almost every Zanu
member who spoke abused and scorned Zapu, and more particularly myself, for
having exposed the killings, which now had spread to Nkayi and Lupane.
It was quite evident that Zanu PF had full knowledge of what was
happening but was not prepared to intervene or call a halt to those most
barbarous actions which the Fifth Brigade, in the name of security,
perpetrated against fellow citizens of Zimbabwe in the so-called "curfew"
On Saturday February the 19th, I was prevented from travelling
to Prague to attend an executive meeting of the World Peace Council (which
your press called Soviet-sponsored) and which was to take place on the 21st
and 22nd of that month.
My ticket and passport and those of my three colleagues who were
travelling with me were seized by the police when we were arrested. When I
was released seven hours later, my three colleagues remained in custody and
were later issued with detention orders which remain in force to this day.
On the 19th of February, I was taken to the Bulawayo Charge
Office where the police demanded that I make two "warned and cautioned"
statements to the effect that they were investigating the possibility that I
had committed certain crimes: under the Law and Order Maintenance Act,
because they had found on me, two sets of notes containing: (a) a statement
I made in parliament in connection with the serious situation in
Matabeleland province created by killings and other atrocities, and (b)
notes prepared for a meeting I was to have had held with you about the same
situation but did not come off.
That they were investigating a possible contravention of the
Currency Exchange Control Act because they found on me $300; meant for my
wife, but in the packing rush was forgotten in my briefcase.
Later that day, I was called back to the charge office and told
that they (the police) had received a telegram from the Harare police to the
effect that I should make another "warned and cautioned" statement in reply
to a possible charge that the police in Harare were investigating a possible
contravention of the Precious Minerals Act in that the police had found
emeralds in my Highfield residence when they were searching for arms in that
house on the 5th of October 1982.
About three weeks earlier, I had been made to make a "warned and
cautioned" statement by the Harare police to the effect that they were
investigating a possible breach of the Law and Order Maintenance Act when I
addressed a press conference in Harare, in which I had revealed the killings
of people in Mbembesi, Bubi and Tsholotsho.
I made those "warned and cautioned" statements denying those
possible charges. It was clear to me, as it could be to any responsible
person, that these were trumped-up possible charges designed by your
government to harass and embarrass me.
Is it reasonable for anybody to believe that possession of a
copy of a speech made in parliament and unpublished notes to be used in a
meeting with the prime minister could be a breach of the Law and Order
Is it reasonable for anyone to believe that I would export from
the country $300? To what purpose? Is it reasonable to believe that the
so-called possession of emeralds in early October 1982 could still be for
investigation by the police in mid-February, 1983? What investigation after
four months of physical so-called "possession of emeralds"?
On Sunday the 27th of February 1983, I received a letter from
the police informing me that before leaving my house for any place, I should
report to the police station. I refused doing this because I had no charge
preferred against me, and could not understand why the police should have
been so interested in my movements.
About the 1st or the 2nd of March 1983, security forces,
including the Fifth Brigade, were deployed in Bulawayo western suburbs and
on the 5th of March 1983 my house was raided by the Fifth Brigade. Three
people were killed and property, including three cars, were vandalised by
the raiders. It was after this act that I realised why the police were
interested in my movements.
I then decided to leave the country for the time being as it was
clear to me that my life was threatened.
During the weeks that followed the deployment of the Fifth
Brigade in the western province of Matebeleland, right up to the day I
departed from Zimbabwe, hundreds of brutally assaulted people from the
so-called "curfew" areas of Mbembesi, Nyathi, Nkayi, Lupane and Tsholotsho
had come to my home and related horrible accounts of brutal beatings, mass
rapings, mass killings, maiming of hundreds of innocent unarmed, unresisting
men, women and children as well as looting and burning of villages and
Before leaving my house and finally Bulawayo on the 8th of
March, 1983, reports had come to me of untold brutalities and inhuman and
degrading treatment of people within Bulawayo itself and of people being
marched in their hundreds to the adjacent bush areas on the outskirts of
Bulawayo, to be shot and their bodies left rotting and some taken away to
unknown destinations and never to return.
Now that I have attempted to give an account of some of your
publicly expressed opinions and beliefs about me and Zapu, and have also
tried to summarise the more important events that took place as well as
actions or non-actions during the course of the three years since our
Independence, and have some bearing on your attempt to impose a one-Zanu
party state on the people of Zimbabwe, I give hereunder my reactions.
In retrospect, I now believe that I and Zapu were deceived and
cheated by you and your party when you talked of unity, reconciliation,
peace and security. I now honestly and sincerely believe that when you
invited us to take part in your government you believed that we would reject
your offer and set ourselves up in strong opposition to you and thereby
label us disgruntled rejected plotters.
I can now see that your insistence on establishing assembly
camps in Bulawayo and Harare, and of your ministers Nkala and others coming
to Bulawayo to make inflammatory statements which sparked off the first
Ntumbane incident was all part of a plan and strategy to destabilise the
country, especially the western province of Matabeleland, so that you could
use incidents there as an excuse for using military action to crush me and
It is now obvious to me that when you demoted me from the
Ministry of Home Affairs which you knew was negotiated for a purpose at the
time you invited us to take part in your government; that while you knew
that we felt it was necessary for us to take part in one of the security
ministries (Defence or Home Affairs) so that the former Zipra men drafted
into the ZNA and ZRP may feel confident, thereby solidify both the army and
the police, you deliberately took that action.
It is clear you wanted us to pull out of your government at that
time so as to destabilise the army and the police, create dissidents out of
the deserting Zipra men and then call us plotters against your government.
It is clear you thought you had struck a political bonanza by
the arms caches fiasco and you handled it the way you did, to achieve the
following: to make the country believe that I and Zapu wanted to overthrow
your government; that the world at large should view us as a group of people
who had lost the elections and now wanted to wrest power from you and your
government; to polarise the population into bad guys and good guys and so
destabilise the country; to polarise the former Zipra and Zanla combatants
both inside and outside the army and police, so as to create a former Zipra
grouping to be labelled dissidents; to create within Zapu a group that would
believe there was a group within the party that, in fact, was plotting to
overthrow the government; and, as a pretext, to use discredited and archaic
settler imperialist legislation, the Unlawful Organisations Act, to
confiscate Zapu supporters' property.
When you announced the confiscation of Zapu and Nitram
properties, property belonging to companies of individual Zapu members and
to me and my family, you said it was because all these properties were
acquired for hiding arms. Now that it is known no arms were found on any
property other than the two farms belonging to Nitram, Ascot and Hampton
Farms, how do you justify the blatant and arbitrary forced acquisition of
all these properties?
Even the confiscation of the two farms on which arms were
discovered is questionable. Nitram as a co-operative company, whose
membership was more than 4 000 former Zipra combatants, who had contributed
towards the purchase of these farms, and therefore, could not be held
responsible for action or actions of a few people, who have not been
identified even at the High Court trial that ended in the acquittal of six
of the seven people accused of treason and caching arms.
With regards to properties owned by Zapu-formed companies as
well as those formed by us individuals, I can only say your action against
them was even much more obscure. I do hope, Mr Prime Minister, you realise
the harm inflicted by your ill-considered action on these properties
including those owned by Nitram.
Thousands of people were thrown out of resident-employment; this
includes former combatants as well as former employees of those farms, who
had become members of co-operatives established there.
The Herald of 17th February 1982 says about projects at Mguza:
"The co-operative venture and secretarial training centres for women
ex-combatants have been hailed by several people, including the Minister of
Finance, Enos Nkala, as a model of its kind."
All this is gone; with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of
movable property of all types including overhead irrigation equipment worth
$700 000 (Zimbabwe dollars) is ruined and some of it missing.
Other movable property which was looted from Mguza Complex is
what Dr Sekeramai referred to as: "The other equipment, such as a very
modern operating theatre lamp with its own generator, and a sophisticated
dental unit, in excellent condition and not used at all, was found."
This equipment was meant for the college and co-operative farm
inmates and people who attended a co-operative clinic there.
Among the most important properties of Zapu that were taken away
by the army and the CIO from the Nitram farms, ie Nest Egg, were Zapu
archives which were stored there for safe-keeping. They contained all Zapu
records covering the whole period of our struggle outside and inside the
country, including the list of all Zapu and Zipra war casualties. As a
result of this, no names of Zipra dead were available for inclusion at the
Heroes' Acre Roll of Honour list on the 10th and 11th August, 1982.
This, you will agree, is a very serious matter.
What disturbs me most is that when you banned the companies that
ran various properties and projects you said: "Zapu had bought more than 25
farms and more than 30 business enterprises throughout the country. We had
now established they were not genuine business enterprises, but places to
hide military weapons to start another war at an appropriate time." (The
Sunday Mail, 7th of February 1982.) This was a deliberate distortion.
At the time you made the above statement Zapu had only two
farms, one near Harare and the other near Gweru; and had only five business
enterprises, two in Harare, two in Gweru and one in Masvingo.
If by Zapu you meant farms and businesses run by companies such
as Nitram and those owned by individual members of Zapu, the position is as
Nitram had only four farms and four business enterprises.
Companies owned by individual members of Zapu had three farms near Harare,
two near Bulawayo and two business enterprises in Bulawayo and one in
Mbalabala. All these ventures, Mr Prime Minister, cannot be said to be
"throughout the country", nor "more than 25 farms and more than 30 business
enterprises" as you said in your statement.
You deliberately gave the impression to the country that
projects on those properties were run clandestinely; and yet you knew I had,
without success, several times invited you to visit Nijo Products, a $1,2
million Zapu composite agricultural project, just outside Harare. I said
your visit to that particular project was important and necessary because I
felt it could be used as a model for resettlement purposes.
You were aware further that the Mguza Secretarial Training
College was officially opened by Minister Shaba and that that college and
the Mguza Co-operative Farming Project were visited by President Banana and
Enos Nkala a few weeks before your banning order was issued. I am certain
you must have been aware that the Lido Motel in Queens Park, Bulawayo, was
being used as a hostel for over 300 former Zipra war disabled, as government
had failed to house them anywhere.
You will remember when I met you in your office in August 1982,
you made known to me that the involvement of my family property Walmer
Ranch, where we built our Makwe home, would be revealed in evidence during
the (Lookout) Masuku/(Dumiso) Dabengwa trial at the High Court. The trial
has come and gone, Masuku and Dabengwa acquitted.
However, I was told by a defence lawyer of a bizarre story about
some military training supposed to have been conducted at Makwe Farm which
was presented by the prosecution and was later unconditionally withdrawn by
them without argument. You will know that our home at Makwe has been
surrounded by the army and police ever since you made your announcement on
the 16th of February 1982. All meaningful activity came to a complete halt
and incalculable damage was done to all we were trying to do there.
I am certain you should recall what I told you when we met in
your office in August, that what I had at Makwe outside the working of the
farm was a big gathering where I met members of the Gwanda Community
Co-operative to discuss a grand settlement scheme in which the Makwe
Irrigation Scheme and our Makwe Farm would be the core of the project.
White farmers had been approached to either donate or sell at
very reduced prices their farms within the area, and the response was
promising. This scheme had been forwarded to the Ministry of Lands and
Resettlement by the Gwanda Co-op through the local district council
machinery. It was hoped that the scheme would be presented to government
through appropriate channels for funding through Zimcord.
You must have known through your respective government
departments, local authorities and your various devices of information
collection, that Kennellworth-Carisbrook Farm near Harare, Lingfield near
Gweru and Mbalabala Village near Esigodini were all being processed to be
handled in the same way as above, and as the Mguza complex had shown, be it
in a small way, that it was feasible to implement such schemes, it was
believed that the Makwe project would succeed.
All these schemes were in the spirit of what I had discussed
with you in December 1981. I had made it plain to you, Prime Minister, when
I met you in your official residence that your resettlement policy was a
national disaster, and you agreed with me. These schemes were meant to
present practical approach models, to both rural and peri-urban
resettlement, that would embrace everybody and not just a few who are said
But, with full knowledge of all this, you chose to tell a crowd
of more than 18 000 people at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera on the 13th of
February 1982: "We desire a new richer life for all . . . and we wish to see
changes in people's way of living standards and economic status. But in the
midst of all our endeavours our colleagues in government were stockpiling
and building enough weapons of war to arm 20 000 men."
What baffles me even more is that you said all the above when
you knew that less than two months prior to your Marondera meeting, I had
offered myself to take over your Ministry of Lands and Resettlement in an
effort to assist you and, through you, the country to make a success of its
most vital development programme. You turned down my offer, saying I was too
old to handle that ministry. However, you said you would invite me to be one
of the members of a resettlement ministerial committee you were about to
institute. To you all this meant plotting.
You also had knowledge that on December 29 1982, while I was on
holiday, I was requested by Brigadier Chinenge to assist him to demobilise
more than 5 000 former Zipra combatants at Gwaai River Mine Assembly Point
and willingly drove over 150 miles to help.
How could I have done all these things if I was bent on
overthrowing you? Who do you think I would have called on to use all those
arms after assisting to integrate some Zipra combatants in the ZNA and ZRP
and assisted in dispersing others to their respective homes?
It is now very clear to me that you were very unhappy with the
extent of my cooperation and that of Zapu because you did not want peace and
tranquillity. You did not want stability, progress and development, because
such conditions would not give you the turmoil and instability you required
for your political-military action to liquidate those you chose to, and
thereby impose your one-Zanu-party state.
It is obvious to me why you decided to form the Fifth Brigade
outside the structure and command of the national army, so that you may use
it as a party and tribal brigade for eliminating and liquidating, as you
have many times said, those you chose to destroy.
As a matter of fact, when I questioned the formation of the
Fifth Brigade outside the Zimbabwe National Army without consultation, you
angrily replied and said: "Who are you to be consulted? This brigade," you
said, "has been formed to crush those who try to subvert my government, and
if you attempt that, they will crush you too."
You took action against what you called Zapu-sponsored
dissidents. But because you wanted to maintain this show of subversion, you
have not, for almost one year and four months, arrested and put on trial a
single dissident. Yet you have continuously, for all this period,
persistently accused the Zapu structure and those who support that structure
of organising, maintaining, feeding and directing the dissidents so as to
justify an armed attack on the masses.
* To be continued next week.
By Victor Z Mtau
I READ these excerpts: "The Zimbabwe government itself is
conceding liability for the perpetration of gross human rights violations";
"State agents fingered in human rights abuse", (Zimbabwe Independent, June
The Human Rights Forum said it would send its report to the
United Nations to press for further action against the government. Police
were cited as the most common perpetrators.
"People in detention are generally at a much greater risk of
abuse unless there are extremely strong safeguards in place governing the
process of detaining people," reads the report.
"People in custody are likely to be beaten irrespective of their
alleged crime, political or criminal, and are commonly subjected to
falanga - the excruciatingly painful practice of beating the soles of the
feet, which leaves little obvious bruising."
Police had "adopted torture as a means to eliciting confessions
on a widespread basis", the report says.
Harare Central police station was cited as the worst station
where people have suffered severe torture.
At first I thought this was an exaggeration by a
non-governmental organisation until I saw a police officer at Mzilikazi
Police Station, Bulawayo, beat up two young ladies in full view of his
colleagues and the public on June 29 at precisely 13:50hrs in the charge
I had gone there with my daughter to have copies of her school
certificates stamped. Funnily enough, my daughter wants to join the ZRP and
what she saw that day shocked her.
I heard another plain-clothes officer refer to an alleged thug
as Marabishi (trash) as the terrified girls were led up the stairs to a
first floor office. In the office, whose windows face 6th Avenue Extension,
and in full view of officers in the courtyard, Marabishi slapped and kicked
the two hapless girls, branding them prostitutes.
The fact that Marabishi had started assaulting the girls in the
charge office showed that it is normal procedure at the station. And to
think that not even one police officer, including the female officers
present, lifted a finger in defence of the two poor girls, is appalling. Not
suprisingly, my daughter no longer wants to join the force.
* Victor Z Mtau writes from Mzilikazi, Bulawayo.
THE struggle for democracy and political discourse does not
belong to an individual or group of individuals but to the people of
Leaders will come and go as they should, but the spirit of
democracy will remain anchored in our minds.
It is therefore disconcerting to hear some people ascribing the
success of the struggle against Mugabe's regime to certain individuals. Some
people have come up with theories that give rise to the perception that
without these perceived "gods" the struggle is doomed.
We must shun the personality cult syndrome which has brought us
to where we are today.
In the 80s, people took Mugabe to be incapable of sinning. He
never erred, if he did, it was because "he had been misled by his
When he behaved angrily, it was because he had been angered by
unpatriotic citizens who had no appreciation of his liberation war
credentials. He was a "saint".
Today the country is in a mess because we did not take the
leadership to task when it became evident that the country was being run
We witness the importation of the same thinking in the
opposition that Morgan Tsvangirai can never go wrong - he is founder of the
struggle against the government and should not be subjected to democratic
scrutiny, he is irreplaceable and in fact, owns the struggle. The national
project cannot survive without him.
Those who try to oppose him must be taken to some "concentration
camps" for some lashing and political orientation because they are wrong and
should not be allowed to challenge the dear leader.
We hear people making careless remarks such as: "What did they
want in Tsvangirai's stronghold; they deserve it!" referring to the
unfortunate incident in which MP Trudy Stevenson and some members of her MDC
faction were attacked.
My fear now is that we might be cultivating the same intolerance
that has been sown by Zanu PF and allowed to pervade the nation during the
past 26 years. Some people may be tempted to ask why it is taboo to venture
into Tsvangirai's political domain when all along we have been crying foul
over Zanu PF's strategy to litter all the rural constituencies with hordes
of militia with orders to terrorise, intimidate, attack and shut out the
If indeed the rural constituencies belong to Zanu PF, why do
they become nervous each time the opposition tries to penetrate in search of
In the same vein, why does Tsvangirai feel threatened by a group
of people that have no support?
The opposition is exposing itself to manipulation by Zanu PF and
if it does not wake up now, it will pay for its political blunders.
* Zivai Vusimbe writes from Harare.
By Vincent Kahiya
LAST week, our attempt to get a comment from Grain Marketing
Board acting chief executive officer Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti on grain
deliveries to the parastatal provoked this response: "Handitauri
nemareporters ekuIndependent, takarimirana kudhara (I don't talk to
reporters from the Independent; we are enemies)".
It is obvious that the colonel has not heard anything called
public accountability. Muvuti's response is symptomatic of a serious cancer
of arrogance in government stemming from a clear failure to appreciate the
role of the media.
The colonel, a recipient of the Award for Excellence in Products
and Services from Spanish-based Trade Leaders Club - whatever that was for -
regards us as enemies and as such not entitled to receive government
information from his office.
He is wrong. Like a number of his colleagues in government, he
needs to be educated on his role as a public servant and why newspapers ask
questions. Progressive governments today articulate basic priorities as
three core businesses - people, prosperity and preservation.
People need information and not bureaucrats, worse still an
insincere one. Therefore, when newspapers ask questions, they do so on
behalf of the people which a government is set up to serve. In the case of
Muvuti, we intended to ask why millers were not getting maize and why
farmers delivering maize to the GMB were not getting paid on time. The
farmers want to know when the $500 billion recently allocated to the GMB
will percolate down to their pockets. The money is simply not getting to
them on time.
But one way to avoid accountability is super arrogance and
declaring hostilities with the media.
Muvuti finds it easier to talk to "friendly" media who do not
challenge him to account for his actions, thereby glossing over issues,
rather than responding to enquiries from inquisitive media. Farmers sleeping
at GMB depots waiting for their monies cannot live on promises that their
problems will be solved because government has released $500 billion.
By the way, at $31 million a tonne, $500 billion will only
purchase 16 130 tonnes of maize. Muvuti has an obligation to explain to the
nation where government will get the $27,9 trillion to purchase 900 000
tonnes of maize expected to be delivered to the GMB.
A public official does not give information to the media on the
basis of his affection for them. He is duty-bound to provide information
because he is paid by the taxpayer to whom he must be accountable. Public
officials are not accountable to their inflated egos or to their partisan
Muvuti's diatribe last week also brings to the fore what we have
always highlighted - that the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act is a bad law and it is made worse by unprofessional public
officials. There is all the evidence that they are not aware of their
obligation under Aippa to provide information to the public. This is ample
proof that access to information was never the real inspiration behind the
enactment of Aippa. It was manifestly designed to abridge freedoms and to
shield public officials from scrutiny. Can we trust the Information ministry
to organise seminars to coach public officials on the value of public
information management? This is an arduous task, especially changing the
culture of hostility to information dissemination through the media.
This explains why despite promises that Zanu PF was moving into
the Information Age, its website was last updated last year while the
official government website is a silly caricature of cyber media.
James Madison, the fourth president of the United States,
captured the importance of this information dissemination in governance in
his often quoted warning: "A popular government without popular information
or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or
perhaps both." That is where we are.
IT has been fascinating to watch the government and its media
celebrating Kofi Annan's decision not to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis and
instead hand the poisoned chalice to Benjamin Mkapa.
What exactly is it that they are celebrating?
That there will be no UNDP support for reconstruction following
the depredations of Operation Murambatsvina? That there will be no
balance-of-payments support because economic policy remains profoundly
flawed? That despite this week's figures, inflation will continue to
skyrocket and jobs will be lost?
It is of course misdirected nationalist zeal that celebrates not
being hauled before the Security Council. We can understand that. But does
that mean things are going to get better now Mkapa is mediating? Do things
look as if they are getting better?
The fact is Zimbabwe has lost the opportunity to have a
settlement of its myriad problems and instead its leaders are happy to
wallow in the mire for at least another two more years. Then they can rant
and rave at the West and spout endlessly about "sovereignty" as the country
sinks further, businesses fold and political divisions become unbridgeable.
What sort of victory is that?
The British embassy spelt out the situation which even the most
die-hard columnists know to be true: this is a self-made crisis that will
not be repaired without a comprehensive solution. Why should the British
government, which has problems of its own, help pull President Mugabe out of
the hole he has dug for himself? Lesson number one: if you want to get out
of a hole, stop digging!
Can you imagine a government desperate for normalisation
insulting the country it wants to deal with on a daily basis sounding like a
child of five; a leader who has sabotaged nearly every facet of national
production waving his fists at a leader whose country has increased its GDP
to overtake France, according to the OECD?
What sort of logic is that?
The truth is there is no longer any logic at work. The British
will give Mkapa a polite reception and then gently explain the facts of life
There will be no help for Zimbabwe so long as the author of its
decline continues to make life intolerable for his people. Everybody appears
to understand that except Zanu PF and its captive press. Zimbabwe's headlong
decline is not a defeat for the British!
What a field day the state media has had with the Trudy
Stevenson affair. This was truly an own goal for the MDC.
They have enabled every apologist to ignore Zanu PF's
well-established record of political violence to claim the MDC is the
And to some extent they are right. There are elements in the MDC
who are profoundly intolerant of dissenting views and who see it as their
mission to impose one-party rule in the townships. Trudy was the victim of
the MDC's own Murambatsvina.
But then Nathaniel Manheru came to the rescue by setting the
record straight. Zanu PF was the true party of violence and proud of it, he
suggested last Saturday.
"Here is a princess of the Aryan race, one Dame Trudy Stevenson,
pounded by the evil hand of a native, much the same way a few Aryan princes
were justly sjamboked at the height of the land reforms for refusing with
Will all those claiming that human rights abuses in Zimbabwe are
opposition "lies" please take note of this.
Women's groups have reacted enthusiastically to the Domestic
Violence Bill gazetted last week, which they believe is "comprehensive"
enough to deal with any form of violence in the home.
"The effectiveness of the law will depend on its
implementation," was all the caution there was from Musasa Project
director, Ednah Bhala. Her plea was for the "police and judiciary officers"
to be well informed about issues of domestic violence to ensure a happy
Women's Action Group director Edinah Musiyiwa told the Herald on
Wednesday that women in the past found it difficult to "get recourse on
domestic violence" as it was treated "as a private affair".
Muckraker is less sanguine about the effectiveness of the
proposed legislation. The issues at stake are much bigger than the
legislation no matter how good and comprehensive. It is an issue of
intolerance for dissent in both the home and the political spheres that is
the biggest problem, not the absence of a law.
Surely the attempted murder of Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson
by political rivals has nothing to do with domestic violence or the absence
of law or male chauvinism. It is not as if there was no law to protect her.
It will be the same with the proposed law - so long as we don't want to
tolerate opposing views and treat our rivals as "enemies" we are doomed as a
nation. Unfortunately this scourge knows no tribe nor race.
In case we are not making ourselves clear, law on its own is
simply not enough unless we learn to debate issues openly and agree to
differ with sufficient levels of tolerance. Armed robberies, murder and rape
are on the increase despite very clear laws. Child abuse cases have not
abated for being severely punished.
A law against domestic violence is of no use to a woman or man
who has been killed by a spouse during a family dispute. Look at how many
local films beamed on national television during prime time in front of
children appear to glorify physical violence as a natural response to
provocation to understand what we mean.
Our leaders need to set the right tone by condemning violence in
all its facets and in every sphere of life. The law can only be there to
reinforce what society is doing right. It cannot change our culture on its
own. If my political opponent is an "enemy" to be beaten why should my
opponent in the home be not my enemy to be beaten also? Where do we draw the
Incidentally, how come there was almost funereal silence from
both Musasa Project and Women's Action Group following the brutal attack on
Stevenson? Could this have something to do with trying not to put the wrong
spotlight on the infallible Morgan Tsvangirai or is she excluded from
protection on the basis of "racial barriers" that Manheru has erected?
Gentlemen, let's get real. This hypocrisy and double-standards
won't get us anywhere as a nation. We are already a bad enough example for
Africa without making it worse.
Does David Chapfika feel a compelling need to advertise his VIP
credentials? Every afternoon at the Harare Sports Club's Red Lion bar a
worker comes along with a broom to sweep up the cigarette butts and other
detritus of the day's proceedings between the customers and the bar. Most
people step aside to let her get on with her job. But not our Deputy
Minister of Finance.
"No one tells me what to do," he declared last weekend as the
hapless sweeper was made to sweep around his feet while he propped up the
We thought you would like to know this as an indicator of the
sort of people we have leading this great nation of ours!
Then we had Mugabe's clown prince, Didymus Mutasa, declaring
that nobody from Makoni North would be participating in mass action. It
would not be tolerated, he said.
What he meant was not so long as they are under his heel. Then
he had a brilliant thought.
"In fact you should counter it and our action should be bigger
So mass action is OK so long as it comes from Zanu PF!
Does this person think before engaging the mouth?
We should ask the same question of GMB's long-acting CEO, Rt Col
Asked last week why the parastatal was unable to supply
sufficient maize to millers and paid farmers less than private buyers, he
said he does not talk to the Zimbabwe Independent.
"Handitauri nemareporters ekuIndependent takarimirana kudhara (I
don't talk to reporters from the Independent. We are enemies)," he declared
before hanging up.
The GMB, he needs reminding, is a public corporation, not a
partisan utility. That means he is accountable to all Zimbabweans. Childish
and hostile statements made for political purposes constitute a serious
dereliction of duty.
Muvuti should be told that in no uncertain terms.
One can't fail to feel a deep sense of shame reading Nathaniel
Manheru's "Other Side". It's a pity. The fellow sounds like he went to
school and did some serious reading. What does he do with that education?
Much of the time he wastes tonnes of space in the Saturday
Herald trying to show off his learning instead of giving readers clear,
straightforward opinions and not playing some latter-day obscurantist of the
They say it's better to keep it simple. Words are meant to
illuminate ideas, not to draw attention to the affectations of the author.
But it is evident that what he doesn't have are positive ideas
to propagate. There he was last week lapsing into the favourite pastime of
those with nothing positive to contribute to national discourse - tribalism
This time the target was his new nemesis, Professor Jonathan
Moyo explained in an article in the Independent last week that
the land reform was chaotic, which is what every sane person will tell you -
from the peasant on the farm to President Mugabe who has launched several
land audits to get things back on track.
The squabbles over ownership and the continuing looting of both
crops and equipment are further evidence of the same. Low productivity is
another as the nation fails to feed itself and tobacco output has collapsed
from a record high of 236 million kg in 2000 to 50 million kg this year.
Hence all the lies about sanctions because we can't earn enough foreign
Instead of Manheru proving Moyo wrong, he went for the person.
Moyo should be forever grateful to Mugabe for getting a farm in
Mazowe in the "heartland of Mashonaland", fulminated Manheru, his tribal
spleen overflowing with venom. Moyo was made to "jump racial, tribal and
geographical barriers to have land in the choicest part of Zimbabwe", raved
Manheru enviously, without telling us where in the context of the Unity
Accord Moyo was supposed to get a farm.
What is the less sophisticated, easily manipulated reader to
make of these clearly xenophobic sentiments from those who should espouse
government policies and act as role models for the youth, we wonder? Isn't
this the hypocrisy of state bureaucrats that has been the bane of African
governance since the end of colonial rule?
For you cannot be honest and be a tribalist at the same time. It
is a unique quality of Manheru alone. How
depraved, how petty, how low can one so high get?
'The poor dump city life," announced the Herald of Saturday.
Without reading the story, one could easily tell something was terribly
wrong from the verb "dump". You dump something you don't like, something
without value. You don't dump a diamond ring in a jewellery shop simply
because you can't afford it.
Which is what the Herald wanted to say but found politically
incorrect. The sub-head exposed the fraud: "High rentals, low wages force
people out." How does one reconcile such incongruities?
By Tuesday the whole truth, nothing but the truth, was there for
all to see: it was the city that was chasing away the wretched of the earth.
The same paper reported that a family of five now needs $68
million to see it through the month, which very few Zimbabweans can afford.
So who is dumping who here?
Isn't this part of the fallout from the diabolical Operation
Murambatsvina that destroyed the informal sector that had proved such a
useful safety net for retrenchees, small entrepreneurs and school-leavers?
At times the truth forces itself out from the under the sludge
of sunshine journalism.
By Eric Bloch
AFTER six continuous years of economic decline, the Zimbabwean
economy embarked upon a tentative recovery and upturn in the course of 2004,
mainly attributable to the monetary policies introduced by the then newly
incumbent governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono.
Admittedly the turnabout was, inevitably, a very slow one, the
economy continuing to be extremely distressed, but nevertheless there were
the first positive changes since 1997.
Inflation began to fall, exchange rates commenced to stabilise
as exports grew and greater, albeit still insufficient, foreign exchange
became available in a slightly more orderly foreign exchange management
system, there were indications of investment being forthcoming, interest
rates were falling and much else.
A sliver of hope and optimism began to develop among the
populace in general, and the business community in particular, although
guardedly so in the light of the preceding six appalling years, and
continuing signs of vacillating governmental policy.
Then, as Zimbabwe progressed into 2005, and particularly in the
second half of that year, the economic gains were speedily reversed, and the
economy fell into greater depths than ever before. Nothing effective has
been done to halt the free-fall of the economy, despite fairly vigorous
efforts by RBZ, for the government obdurately refused to recognise the
causes of repeated economic regression.
Instead, the economy has plummeted to its lowest ever depths,
with year-on-year inflation to May 2006 amounting to almost 1 200%. Despite
frequent forecasts to the contrary, much of agricultural production has
continued to fall - as evidenced by a 2006 tobacco harvest of less than 50
million kgs, against 237 million kgs in 2001. The 2006 crop is an all-time
low in the last 60 or more years!
Zimbabwe continues to be without self-sufficiency of food, sugar
remains in short supply, and much other agricultural production is well
below 20th century levels.
Mining production is also shrinking. Utilisation of industrial
production capacity is believed to be at less than 25%. In four years the
poverty datum line for a family of five has risen from less than $4 million
to over $61 million. Unemployment has soared upwards.
The list of characteristics of a collapsing economy is endless
and undeniable, and the need for dynamic economic reform measures is
Over and above the fact that the government has launched yet
another programme for economic reform and recovery (the seventh in 26
years) - the National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP) - the
government is due shortly to undergo and present its 2006 mid-term fiscal
policy review and the RBZ will be presenting its 2006 first half-year
monetary policy review.
Those reviews, if realistically aligned to NEDPP, could become
the launch pads for the economy to begin to upturn once again, and if NEDPP
is pursued in a genuine consultative mode with the private sector, instead
of the façade of consultation that has prevailed for much of the years since
Zimbabwe's Independence, and if the reviews enact courageous measures for
change, notwithstanding that implicitly some of those measures may be
irrefutable confirmation of causes of the pronounced economic ills that
afflict Zimbabwe, that upturn will materialise.
In 2005, Gono included in a quarterly monetary policy review a
frank assessment of what had gone wrong in the years up to and including
2003 and what had been done right in 2004. He identified 19 challenges that
faced the economy in 2003, being:
* shortage of foreign currency and diminished export
* price and exchange rate distortions;
* under-capacity utilisation and reduced corporate sector
* contraction in economic activity;
* low savings and investment;
l declining levels of both foreign and local investment;
* high and recurring budget deficits;
* domestic debt overhang;
* unstable energy supplies;
* supply side bottlenecks;
* growing incidence of private and public sector corruption;
* financial sector indiscipline;
* strained international relations;
* high perceived country risk and reduced international credit
* deteriorating and over burdened infrastructure;
* weak economic empowerment and worsening poverty;
* accumulation of external payment arrears; and
* high incidence of brain drain.
Each and every one of those characteristics that prevailed up to
2003 have resurfaced in 2005/2006, save and except that there has
undoubtedly been a significant reduction in financial sector indiscipline,
as a result of the determined controls introduced by the RBZ over the last
two-and-a-half years. And yet, almost all of those characteristics had been
meaningfully addressed in 2004 and early 2005, setting the economy on the
road to recovery, only to be deviated therefrom.
Therefore, in formulating the mid-term policy reviews, the
government and the RBZ need to reflect upon history, identifying
realistically what had been the causes of the barrage of economic ills and
what had been the measures which had begun to reverse them, only to be
negated by policy reversals or lack of commitment.
Politically, although there is much that is needed, the three
overriding priorities are that, first and foremost, the land reform
programme must be reformed to restore agricultural wellbeing, including an
absolute halt to farm invasions, belated respect for Bilateral Investment
Protection and Promotion Agreements, equitable and just redistribution, fair
compensation, assured tenure, and timeously available inputs, with realistic
Secondly, the government must determinedly contain its spending.
The days of fiscal profligacy must be assertively ended.
Thirdly, the government must resolutely pursue reconciliation
with the international community, abandoning its convictions of omnipotence
and inability to err, and discarding its misplaced persecution complex.
The monetary policy review will also need to cover much ground,
but foremost must be a focus upon the exchange rate system and foreign
exchange generation. Viability for exporters must be restored rapidly,
thereby not only enhancing the inflows of critically necessary foreign
exchange, but also being a major tool in containing inflation, for increased
industrial productivity flowing from export growth would substantially and
favourably impact upon inflation.
However, the most critical need is for the fiscal policies to be
synergistic with, and supportive of, the monetary policies and vice versa.
One of the greatest reasons for the reversal of the economic upturn,
commenced in 2004, was the magnitude of the conflict in 2005 and 2006
between fiscal and monetary policies.
The state cannot expect economic redemption if its policies
recurrently conflict with the monetary policies, if it continues to isolate
Zimbabwe from most of the world, if it only listens to the private sector
when it says what the government wants to hear and if it does not learn from
its errors. History is there to be learnt from!
THE decline in the rate of inflation from 1 193,5% to 1 184,6%
has been greeted with ecstatic relief by the government which immediately
attributed the slowdown to the efficacy of the National Economic Development
For a government with very little success to demonstrate to a
largely despondent populace, the new inflation figure will be feted as a
masterstroke and an act of genius. We wait for the spin from central bank
governor Gideon Gono when he presents his Mid-Term Monetary Policy Review
statement later this month.
But amid the din of celebration, our rulers continue to miss the
bigger picture that our inflation is still the highest in the world. Those
entrusted with leading the war on inflation have seen all their targets
missed by the rampant scourge. The rate of inflation has in the past
advanced by margins of over 30 percentage points. A small retreat of nine
percentage points therefore is no cause for celebration. It could merely be
a mathematical aberration as there is no respite for consumers of basic
commodities and pensioners who today do not have anything to show for
decades of gainful employment before retirement.
While the economic situation continues to deteriorate,
government spin doctors are quick to tell us this is a passing phase. We are
told that Zimbabwe still has some of the best infrastructure on the
continent, that the country is endowed with immense natural resources and a
well-educated and skilled labour force. But this is a lullaby to a dying
As we focus on our troubles and tribulations at home, another
sad scenario has been the unravelling on Zimbabwe's status in the region.
Economist John Robertson in a presentation at the Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce congress in Victoria Falls earlier this month
illustrated the declining influence of Zimbabwe in the Sadc region where it
was until 2002 the second largest economy after South Africa.
It is now ranked 10th, only larger than the economies of Malawi,
Lesotho and Swaziland.
Zimbabwe's share of the regional GDP has slumped from 3,6% in
1996 to 1,4% today. Robertson says our economy is headed in the wrong
direction when compared to the trend in the region.
He said between 1995 and 2000 - before the Zimbabwe crisis - the
Sadc region (excluding South Africa) grew at less than 4% a year.
Since 2000 the regional economy has grown by over 11%. In
comparative terms, our economic indicators have been heading south fast with
40% of GDP lost in eight years as a direct result of a massive decline in
agriculture. Zimbabwe is also losing its market share in all industrial
sectors - mostly, of course, to South Africa. It has lost ground in tobacco
production and horticulture to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
The manufacturing sector has lost its share mostly to South
Africa and Botswana. Tourists are now opting to go to Zambia to see the
Victoria Falls while those looking for big game are choosing Botswana.
KM Financial Solutions, in a manufacturing sector survey
commissioned by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries last year, said the
country's manufactured products were losing competitiveness in the much
bigger world out there as exports were now confined to the region.
These are grim statistics which will not be addressed by
piecemeal measures like the NEDPP or appeals to regional fraternal bonds.
Zimbabwe is fast losing its hold on the pedestal of relevance
and influence in the region. As Robertson pointed out, regional economies
are not floundering in the mess that has been created by the Zanu PF
government. They are actually cashing in on our misery.
They have seen an "opportunity for vultures to pick the bones",
he said. More than half of our skilled workers have left the country and are
driving economic growth in the region. Our road network is transporting
goods from South Africa to Malawi, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of
Congo. South African companies are cherry-picking bargains among local
companies writhing in intensive care and we call it investment. It's not.
It is the mad rush of vultures to carrion. Even politically, we
are headed the same way. South Africa and Namibia in their efforts to woo
investors only need to reassure them they will not behave like Zimbabwe when
implementing land policies in their respective countries. Hence recent
strong statements from Pretoria and Windhoek saying they will not be
following Zimbabwe's example.
Yet our leaders still attend international conferences and
engage in old-style demagoguery when given a platform.
Watch this space: the Sadc Summit in Maseru beckons.
By Joram Nyathi
I AM enjoying the debate about UN secretary-general Kofi Annan
and his chosen mediator between Zimbabwe and Britain, or more specifically,
between President Mugabe and prime minister Tony Blair, Benjamin Mkapa.
Comments are flowing fast and thick for and against Annan's
decision not to visit Zimbabwe as a follow-up to Anna Tibaijuka's damning
report on Operation Murambatsvina last year.
The more delusional opinion-makers go so far as to suggest that
Annan is a coward - he should have told Mugabe to go. It is not said from
what platform he would have been able to say that. Whether Annan should have
visited Zimbabwe is immaterial now.
I have a problem with the whole proposition about mediation. The
way it has been so easily spun smacks of another bid at "quiet diplomacy" -
an attempt not to provoke a violent reaction by Mugabe and keep lines of
communication open but without achieving anything.
Secondly, people are buying into government's propaganda about a
"bilateral" dispute with Britain and not misrule and damaging economic
policies as being at the core of the current crisis. But we all know that
Zimbabwe's problems were already getting out of hand well before the land
invasions started in 1999 - a point at which everybody now wants to locate
the source of our national crisis. You would expect the opposition to see
through this threadbare ruse.
The reckless financial splurge to war veterans in 1997 and the
foolish adventure in the DRC the following year were signs of a desperate
government trying to put the nation off the spoor. But at least then the
country could still feed itself.
The violent nature of the land invasions was meant to spite
Britain for refusing to do what it is our responsibility to do as a
sovereign state - fund it. If the purpose were to empower landless blacks, a
planned, equitable reform programme was possible and a legitimate and
transparent taxation mechanism on commercial farmers could easily have been
crafted to fund a more orderely "transfer" of commercial farms to
interested, skilled and competent black farmers. That only outsiders could
fund such a process is outright duplicity by politicians and bureaucrats who
can't think creatively.
It is easier for them to dream up Posa, Aippa and Constitutional
Amendment No 17 than plan a sustainable land reform despite all the goodwill
in the world. After all there were a lot of white commercial farmers already
sharing skills and equipment with their poor black neighbours.
Instead, Mugabe turned the whole programme into a racial contest
of egos between himself and Blair as eloquently dramatised in his famous
"Blair keep your Britain and I will keep my Zimbabwe" protest.
Mugabe had by this time embarked on dangerous unilateralism that
would brook no impediment by consensual issues of legality. For in the final
analysis, it is to insult our intelligence to expect us to believe the myth
that it was necessary to destroy our entire commercial agriculture and
trillions of dollars' worth of infrastructure to drive out a motley 4 500
unarmed white farmers. It's like using a sledge hammer to swat a fly on your
My other problem is not whether Mkapa will be impartial or not,
but what he will be taking to London. Is Mugabe demanding to be recognised
as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe? Is the issue about Britain's
support for the opposition? Is it about Britain's alleged interference in
Zimbabwe's internal affairs? Does Mugabe want to go back to the terms of the
1998 land donors' conference or Abuja 2002? Does he need compensation for
dispossessed white commercial farmers? Just what is this "bilateral dispute"
that Mkapa is expected to resolve? In short, what will be Mkapa's terms of
Unfortunately, Britain may not have the power to resolve any of
the issues raised if our Independence is no more than juridical. There is
politics at play here. Mugabe is trying to buy himself a few more months in
power on the pretext of resolving the cause of Zimbabwe's economic ruin. The
effort now is to locate that cause externally in the name of so-called
"illegal" sanctions without dealing with why they were deemed necessary in
the first place.
It would be naïve in the extreme for anybody to even hope that
the British government might fall for this infantile subterfuge, and Mugabe
knows they won't. Which is what he wants, for it gives him a perfect alibi
to blame Britain for intransigence, negotiating in bad faith or making
unreasonable demands while the nation implodes. But at the rate things are
deteriorating all round, he might not enjoy playing his lyre for long.
Conditions in the country might soon force him to face the reality of the
crisis he created which he now seeks to leave unresolved. Which is what the
British will tell Mkapa.
Mugabe says he won't have dialogue with opposition parties and
civic society groups in Zimbabwe because they represent British interests.
Instead, he wants to talk to their master directly. But once he gets to
Lancaster House for the second time he will find that he is in Ian Smith's
awkward position of 1979.
He will be told that people want a new constitution, free and
fair elections, a restoration of the rule of law and respect for property
rights. Above all he will be told people want a reversal of the economic
decline that he precipitated. They want food, jobs and reliable health
services. That is what Zimbabweans are demanding without having to go via
Lancaster House. It is hard to see how even a partial, pan-African Mkapa can
avoid this incontrovertible reality. The rest are simply deceptive
diplomatic niceties to avoid wounding egos and to appear to have hit a
win-win situation without causing too much royal embarrassment.
Barbaric attacks are uncalled for
I READ with great sadness reports of the attack on Harare North
MP Trudy Stevenson, Linos Mushonga, Simangele Manyere and others by youths
suspected to be loyal to the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Such a barbaric attack is really uncalled for.
I would however like to commend the Tsvangirai faction
leadership for the commitment they have demonstrated by appointing a
commission of inquiry made up of people outside the party structures.
This is the first time in Zimbabwean politics I have heard a
commission composed of lawyers who are not senior officials in a political
party being appointed to investigate an incident involving violence.
While officials from Stevenson's faction have been quick to
accuse the Tsvangirai faction, it is sad to recall that when activists from
Tsvangirai's faction were assaualted in Bulawayo by youths suspected to
belong to Professor Arthur Mutambara's faction, we didn't hear that party's
leadership condemn violence in the same manner MPs Tendai Biti and Nelson
Chamisa have done.
Not only have they condemned the act, but a commission of
inquiry comprising a lawyer from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has been
put in place to investigate the incident.
I am also happy that Zimcet has also pledged to investigate the
incident. Any claims by anybody that the Tsvangirai faction condones
violence is therefore very unfortunate, especially juxtaposed to the
deafening silence by officials from the Mutambara faction when Tsvangirai
narrowly escaped an attack.
I may not have first-hand knowledge of the situation prevailing
in the country today following the attack on Stevenson and others, but media
reports remind me of the atmosphere that pervaded Zimbabwe in December 2001
following the murder of Cain Nkala.
The Mugabe regime was very quick to accuse the MDC, whose youths
and officials were arrested, only to be acquitted by a court of law.
The best officials from Stevenson's party can do is to
co-operate with the police, the commission that has been put in place,
Zimcet and other organisations interested in the probe. It is sad that they
seem intent on seizing such an unfortunate incident as an opportunity to get
Whoever the culprits are, and whichever party they belong to,
they should be brought to book and punished.
Political parties should condemn and discourage their youths
from violent activities, even by their own activists.
I wish Stevenson and her injured colleagues a speedy recovery.
Act the same on real murderers
I WOULD like to congratulate the ZRP for a quick reaction
in arresting the perpetrators of violence.
It is inhuman and very much unAfrican to attack and injure
someone for his/her belief.
Trudy Stevenson's attackers should, as happened, be
arrested and punished. Well done to Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri
and his spokesperson Andrew Phiri for the timely reaction in bringing to
book such undesirable elements in our society.
However, I would like to urge the police to act with the
same speed in accounting for other well-known culprits who did not only
attack, but killed some innocent souls expressing their feelings.
In case Chihuri has forgotten, some crimes were committed
way back in 2000, yet the culprits still roam around free.
I am referring to hooligans who forced a Zvishavane man to
sit on an electric stove and the well-known Kitsiyatota and his CIO
colleague who murdered Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika in Buhera, just
to mention a few.
I implore Chihuri to show the efficiency he has done on
the Stevenson case. Crime remains crime regardless of who commits it.
If the attackers of Stevenson warranted armed police to
man the Mabvuku road, what of mhondi chaidzo nhai vaChihuri (real murderers)
who are still walking around free?
Should we cohabit with murderers? What would we say when
the so-called enemies of the state start claiming there is selective
application of the law in Zimbabwe?
Worry not about the cameras, be wary of the guards
CONTRARY to what Tony Namate thinks is right, "A warning
to ATM users," (Zimbabwe Independent, July 7), cameras are part of the
security system at ATMs.
Don't trust those guards, not even a bit. Neither should
the public trust the next person in line trying to help out when one's card
We have witnessed on a number of occasions (there is video
footage to show that) connivance between the guards and conmen who put
papers or card jammers into ATM slots (beware of those).
About 99% of the time an ATM has been tampered with, the
guard would have left his post for a few minutes. The whole process of
jamming ATMs can take as little as one minute.
After the conmen have manipulated the ATM the guard
returns and pretends that all is well. You come and insert you card and it
is stuck, the next thing you have the guard and a "good Samaritan" trying to
One of the things they will tell you is punch in your Pin
and press cancel then your card will be ejected. In the meantime they will
be cramming your Pin.
After you surrender the conmen come to pull out your card
and then withdraw cash from a different machine altogether. Several people
have lost money this way. Beware of card jams and tampered with ATMs, not
the cameras, which are part of security and have helped us see what our dear
"security guards" are up to after hours.
Great shame that greed, deception have permeated church
YOUR coverage of developments between the church and the
state reminds me of a conversation I had with a local cleric aboard a
domestic plane flight a few months ago.
I felt particularly proud to be sitting next to a man of
the cloth and looked forward to a thoughtful and blessed discussion.
The conversation started off with the usual introductions
and then veered towards the inevitable these days: the economic and
political problems afflicting our country.
"Until we sort out Tony Blair and the West in general,
things will not get better in Zimbabwe. Those people hate our guts. What
they want is many more 9/11s (referring to the attack on the New York Twin
Towers)," the cleric said, adding that suicide bombers had their places set
up in heaven because they were attacking the evils of the West.
Phew, what an aberration!
I thought I had not heard him well and pretended just as
much, thinking this could silence the cleric but no, he kept on harping on
the virtues of land and enquired whether I was the owner of any business or
an employee of the white man.
This encounter lingered in my mind for many months but had
almost disappeared until a few weeks ago when, to my utter surprise, I saw
the cleric lunching and smooching with Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe.
As your correspondent Ben Freeth said, collusion between
the church and the state has been recorded many times in the history of
mankind. The most damning aspect of this collusive relationship in Zimbabwe
is that church leaders are supporting a political leadership that is using
violence and threats to cow other sections of the church in Zimbabwe.
But then again when you combine the wanton greed and
deception that has permeated the church together with the increasing levels
of poverty, one can't be surprised at seeing these men of the cloth
competing and jostling to be fed from the top table. It is a great shame!
Let's engage Mugabe locally to break impasse
ZIMBABWE should never look outside for solutions to its
problems which are easy to solve if people understand the background to how
we have come to this point.
Blaming the leadership will not break the impasse and we
should try to make leaders accountable to contribute to the betterment and
development of the country.
President Mugabe and his lieutenants should also be
applauded for their role in bringing freedom to Zimbabwe and Africa as a
Their contributions are beyond question but they should
remember to pass on the baton.
The harassment of former leaders in other African
countries should not be repeated here.
When blacks assume power they are told to forgive and move
forward to build a democratic nation using reconciliation as a tool to
But President Mugabe has shown the world that blacks are
human too. We cannot continue to cry for foreign currency as if we cannot
survive without it.
If the West does not respect our money and undermines our
economies using blackmail, we should unite as a people and continue with our
own programmes, with or without their aid.
The country that needs development is ours and the
products the West needs are ours. Why then should we beg for what is
The aid that they purport to give us was stolen from our
forefathers. Zimbabweans should negotiate with Mugabe to break the stalemate
for the sake of the economy.
Questions that linger however are, who is going to move
first? What is going to be done to the agricultural sector?
The land issue has to be solved once and for all because
if people are not certain about the security and stability of the country,
no new investment will flow in.
The Chinese are out to benefit from the situation but
their interests lie in looking after their own people. Zimbabweans should
therefore plan for the development of their own country.