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

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Mugabe's Appointment as AU's Ambassador Open to Debate
William Eagle
17 Jul 2003, 01:37 UTC

Zimbabwe's opposition says President Robert Mugabe's success at last week's
African Union summit came as a surprise. He was named to a one-year term as
the organization's ambassador to Southern Africa. The opposition, Movement
for Democratic Change says President Mugabe is the wrong man for the job
because he violates the principles of the pan-African organization.
Nevertheless, some analysts disagree.

Critics say President Mugabe violates the AU charter, which calls for
democracy and human rights. His government is under sanctions by Great
Britain, the United States and the Commonwealth for, among other things,
last year's disputed presidential elections.

Western observers say the voting results were marred by violence and
electoral fraud. Also in dispute is President Mugabe's land redistribution
program. It confiscated the land of over a thousand white commercial farmers
without compensation. The land was handed over to landless blacks and scores
of political allies, many without prior farming experience.

But President Mugabe's poor track record has not slowed his rise within
African organizations.

Before being named as the AU's ambassador for Southern Africa, he was also
the head of the defense committee of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC). This, despite the fact that Zimbabwe's security forces
have been accused of human rights abuses.

President Mugabe said his election to the AU post shows that Africans have
greater admiration for Zimbabwe than ever before. A spokesman for South
African president Thabo Mbeki said there was nothing wrong with naming
President Mugabe to the job, noting that the European Union also rotates its
leaders among various posts.

Still, the move by the AU came as a surprise to Sekai Holland, the secretary
for International Affairs for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). Ms. Holland, who attended the AU summit in Maputo, says the AU may
have rewarded President Mugabe with the post in exchange for his retirement
next year from national politics.

"We hear he is stepping down [as head of his ruling ZANU-PF party] in
December and then calling elections 12 weeks after that," she said. "But I
do not think that will happen the Africans have given him this as a
settlement, and they will get a shock when he does not step down and have
elections in March. Mugabe has made these promises before and he has not
stepped down, and he is not going to."

Others are not so harsh. Che Ajulu, a researcher at the African Institute of
South Africa in Pretoria, says, "In every regional organization you always
have a couple of leaders who go in the opposite direction. It would be
easier to deal with Mugabe if he is still part of the system, once you let
him loose as a loose canon causing trouble and no way to get him to the
table, it will be harder to deal with him."

Mr. Ajulu favors the continuation of the so-called "quiet diplomacy" of
President Mbeki. He says keeping President Mugabe engaged in African
diplomacy has facilitated talks between Zimbabwe's ruling party and
opposition MDC. Opposition officials deny any talks are taking place.

For some, AU support for the Zimbabwean leader is a show of resistance by
African leaders to what they perceive as Western interference in African

"The African leaders are determined to put the message across that they are
not going to be pushed around by the Bush administration or the West in
general," said Gamal Nkrumah, foreign affairs editor for Egypt's Al-Ahram
weekly, and also the son of Ghanaian independence leader Kwami Nkrumah.
"They feel that in the case of Mugabe that other African leaders have
equally bad records of human rights and good governance but the reason
Robert Mugabe is singled out is because of the race question and the land
question in Zimbabwe, because of European settlers of British stock. And
[they believe] Western leaders turn a blind eye toward similar human rights
violations in other African countries."

For Sekai Holland, the only reason the West is paying attention to Zimbabwe
is because the Movement for Democratic Change does a good job of making
itself heard.

"If you see a woman screaming with a husband beating you up who asks for
help and then you see another woman hiding that she is being beaten, which
one would you come to help first? Zimbabweans are people who are organized,"
she said. "This is why we are getting support."

Ms. Holland says the situation in Zimbabwe was, in her words, a hot topic at
the Maputo summit, even though it was not officially on the agenda. She says
a delegation from her party met with government officials, civil society and
other political parties at the summit including representatives of
Mozambique's ruling party, FRELIMO. She says she helped update them on the
situation in Zimbabwe and on straightening out misconceptions about the
country's opposition.

For example, she notes that the MDC and even white commercial farmers favor
a conference to decide how to turn land over to black farmers in a fair and
equitable way. She adds that she also explained to African nationalists that
President Mugabe is not acting on their behalf.

"Mugabe has broken every rule of Pan Africanism," she said. "Pan Africanism
is rejection of the use of violence because it is about having every one
contributing toward a solution. But [instead], Mugabe is beating us up. The
nationalist struggle is [also] about one-person one-vote. We got
independence, but Mugabe has betrayed nationalists by depriving people who
do not like him of the vote. He uses the militia from letting us go cast our

Ms. Holland also points out that the Citizenship Act used by the government
to disenfranchise whites from voting has also harmed African migrant workers
who have lived in Zimbabwe for generations. The act forced anyone wishing to
remain a citizen to repudiate dual citizenship from any other country. But
many complain that other nations in southern Africa, as well as Great
Britain, do not have a mechanism for repudiating citizenship.

"The Citizenship Act [disenfranchised] 2,000 whites and one-and-a-half
million Zimbabwean [farm workers] with partial parentage from Mozambique,
Malawi or Zambia. [They are] the strongest base of MDC," said Ms. Holland.
"Followers of Pan Africanism talk about Africa without boundaries but we are
kicking out one and a half million Africans from Zimbabwe to places their
grandfathers left 75 years ago, who were [parented] by Zimbabweans."

Ms. Holland is confident the AU, under the chairmanship of Mozambican
president Joachim Chissano, will help Zimbabwe's opposition find a fair and
democratic solution to Zimbabwe's crisis. She says that she's impressed with
Mozambique under his leadership adding that Maputo is growing middle and
working classes. She says with the deterioration of the country under
President Mugabe, it will likely take Zimbabwe decades to catch.

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Sunday Times (SA)

'MDC treason trial must continue'

Thursday July 17, 2003 06:52 - (SA)

HARARE - Zimbabwean prosecutors urged a Harare court on Wednesday not to
dismiss a treason case against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for
allegedly ordering an assasination on the country's president.

The appeal was made after Tsvangirai's lawyers this week asked the court to
halt the trial against him and two senior party officials because the state
had not proved its case against them.

"For now, there is enough evidence to warrant that the accused persons be
placed on their defence," prosecutor Morgen Nemadire told Judge Paddington

So far the marathon trial has only heard evidence from around a dozen state

The charges against Tsvangirai and his co-accused hinge on a secretly
recorded videotape of a meeting the opposition leader held with Ari Ben
Menashe, a Canada-based political consultant, in Montreal in late 2001.

It is alleged that during the meeting Tsvangirai requested that Ben Menashe
assassinate President Robert Mugabe and arrange a coup for him to take over

The MDC trio deny the charges, which carry the death penalty.

Defence lawyers have told the court it was highly improbable that Tsvangirai
would have approached a complete stranger like Ben Menashe with a request to
assassinate Mugabe.

However, prosecutors claimed Wednesday that the MDC thought the political
consultant could be bought off, and that the party wanted to exploit his
contacts in the Zimbabwe government to carry out the coup.

"He (Tsvangirai) trusted Menashe," Nemadire said. "There's no improbability

The defence claim that Ben Menashe was paid by the Zimbabwe government to
discredit the opposition party ahead of a crunch presidential poll last
year, which Tsvangirai lost to Mugabe.

But Nemadire said money paid by the government to Ben Menashe prior to the
Montreal meeting was for "expenses" incurred in obtaining the videotaped
evidence of the alleged plot.

The videotape has proved to be hazy and only 70-80 percent audible. Defence
lawyers there is no evidence on it to support the treason charge.

The application for discharge was set to continue on Thursday.
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      Michael Ancram: Fractured institutions – Saddam's other victims

      It is given to few in history to live through seismic changes in the
geometry of international relations, massive geo-political shifts which mark
the transformation of one so-called ‘international order' into another. Such
events are marked by great political tremors, sometimes by a single violent
surge or quake after which things will never be the same again, to be
followed by further tremors and aftershocks as the world changes and adapts.

      The End of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall were such. The
horror of 9/11, and the subsequent actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq were
the tremors of readjustment on the geo-political landscape that flowed from

      Original perspectives and fresh thinking are urgently needed. That
which worked in the past will not necessarily work today.

      During the Cold War an uneasy equilibrium existed as nations coalesced
in two countervailing blocs around NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

      The possession of nuclear weapons by both sides led to the ultimate
deterrent doctrine of mutually assured destruction.

      That doctrine worked because both sides reacted rationally in their
assessment of the threats they faced. NATO and the UN evolved in this
atmosphere. As did the EU.

      It was then that the doctrine of containment and deterrence was
developed, worked. The Cold War ended with passive victory for the West.

      Hopes of peace however were misplaced. We live now in a far more
uncertain world. As 9/11 demonstrated many of today's threats are
irrational, unpredictable and able to strike with little or no warning.
Terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed or rogue
states, suppression, starvation, poverty and disease – these are today's

      The key institutions – the UN, NATO and the EU - were rattled by 9/11
but by and large they recovered their poise. The events leading up to the
Iraq conflict and its aftermath changed that. The stresses tested these
institutions to their limits causing them to crack and in some cases to

      The swift war in Iraq was a highly successful military operation.
Subsequent wrangles about "the peace", however, have not resolved the
problems with the UN, in NATO and in the EU. If anything the damage has been
compounded. It is crucial that we urgently address the fundamental
challenges now facing them.

      These are the vicarious victims of the war against Saddam Hussein. In
some cases the wounds were caused by the war and its run-up; in others they
already existed but the harsh light of the crisis exposed them.

      We need to start by examining the injuries suffered by these
institutions and then look at the ways in which they can best be addressed.

      In a world of pre-emption the need for a means of legitimation of the
actions of nations is pressing. Should the body that confers such legitimacy
be the UN, or another body or process? For many the United Nations is still
widely perceived as the ultimate organisation of international co-operation,
conferring necessary legitimacy on the actions of states in the
international arena, but we must ask whether it remains the best way of
doing so. The stark truth is that in the run up to the Iraq conflict the UN
Security Council was rendered impotent, and in February when France made it
explicitly clear that it would veto any 'second' resolution on Iraq whether
reasonable or supported by the majority of the Security Council, it was
effectively gridlocked.

      The drive for a second Security Council Resolution gave
disproportionate influence to small countries on the Security Council. Their
fears of being left to hang out to dry by France effectively stymied the
second resolution – they feared declaring their hand only to find that
France vetoed the resolution anyway.

      Far from being part of the vaunted strength of the UNSC they turned
out to be contributors to its weakness. Government proposals for Security
Council expansion will exacerbate this even further.

      The result was stasis. At a moment when the UNSC was most needed, it
was sidelined.

      This raised a number of serious questions about the United Nations. Is
the Security Council really supposed to follow through and enforce all its
previous resolutions? Does this only apply to Chapter 7 resolutions? In any
event what sanctions would be available to the UNSC to achieve such
enforcement? Should permanent members have the unfettered right to veto
draft resolutions at whichever stage and whatever their relationship to
previously endorsed resolutions?

      Is the 'big power' veto still a legitimate way of proceeding? That
veto which in the past had been regarded as decisive was fundamentally
challenged when Tony Blair announced that he would not be bound by 'an
unreasonable veto'. What is an unreasonable veto and how, by what criteria
and by who is it so defined?

      As the UN now faces its greatest crisis of credibility we must look to
the future. Aside from its vital role in rebuilding Iraq, it faces a number
of severe challenges; the international threat of weapons of mass
destruction in North Korea, the bloody genocide that has already claimed so
many lives in the Congo, and the impending threat of a politically created
humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe and beyond.

      It is a sign of real and fundamental weakness that the UN has failed
to get to grips with these crises. Its record in censoring countries for
human rights abuses leaves much to be desired. A credible UN must show that
it is capable of tackling such challenges, if it is not to risk becoming
just an expensive accessory.

      Then there is NATO which throughout the entire Iraq conflict sat
uninvolved and unused. In what was arguably a defensive exercise to remove a
potential threat to members of NATO it had no role and made no contribution.
Indeed it only made the news when some members, as a gesture of political
protest sought to prevent another member from receiving a missile defence
system it required for its self-defence.

      The cornerstone of the international security policy of Western Europe
for over fifty years. The key player within it was and remains the USA.
Western Europe needs NATO. Eastern Europe - demonstrated by their keenness
to sign up – both wants and needs NATO to ensure their stability. Even
Russia wants to be associated with NATO. The big question is whether and for
how long the United States sees value in remaining actively involved in
NATO. NATO needs the US. If it is to remain at the centre of our security
strategy then the US must be persuaded it needs NATO.

      These US doubts were by no means new. Even before Iraq they had begun
to set in. After 9/11 there was a ‘moment' when for the first time NATO
invoked Article 5. A traumatised US gratefully accepted this as a
demonstration of NATO's robust response to the threat to any of its members.
But that was where it ended. The Afghanistan war, despite post-conflict
involvement, was not a NATO engagement. The US and the UK bore the brunt of
that campaign. US doubts about the value of its unreciprocated commitment to
Europe through NATO increased. They developed in spades both in the run up
to and during the Iraq War when any sense of NATO solidarity was not only
absent, but replaced by positive attempts to thwart it. From the beginning
of the conflict the spirit of NATO was undermined by France, Germany and
Belgium. Not only America had apparently begun to question NATO and its
future role.

      Some even argued that NATO has passed its sell-by date. I disagree.
The old role may have gone, but there are new threats to be met. Prague last
autumn touched on the edges of this - but that was pre-Iraq. The Iraq
challenge can now be summarised as both a regional and international threat
that the UN balked at, and which had to be met by a coalition of the willing
without the cover of either of these institutions. Could NATO have had a
role, should it have had a role, and what should that role have been?

      Iraq was out of area, but then so is Afghanistan. It was not classic
self-defence, but then the doctrine of pre-emption rarely is. Could in this
instance NATO have embraced the doctrine of pre-emption with all the
potential military obligations that would flow from that? Could this have
encompassed authorising out-of-area conflicts, with what justification, and
on what legal principle? These are questions that need answering.

      The European Union was also severely damaged by the diplomatic
wrangles leading up to and through the Iraq war. France and Germany along
with eight other members ranged against the UK, Spain, Portugal, Holland and
Italy along with most of the new accession countries as well. The schism was
deep, crossing old friendships and oblivious to the usual squabbles between
arguments of integration versus flexibility.

      The fault line now lies between the traditionalist Europeans on the
one side and what might loosely be termed the 'Atlanticists' on the other.
This definition can be further refined by the pre-Iraq divide that grew
between the countervailing arguments of Europe and America or Europe or
America? Those, more Lilliputian than David, who dream of a Europe to rival
and compete with America have tended to be 'old Europe'. They appear
genuinely to believe that Europe can become an emerging superpower to rival
the USA. By contrast many of those who are "new Europe" in their thinking,
particularly the Central and Eastern Europeans, while they genuinely and
wholeheartedly embrace Europe, see the US not as a rival but as a liberator
and friend.

      Post-Iraq Europe has lost direction.

      The certainties that bound it together are fractured. Integrationist
friend has been set against integrationist friend. The concept of a unified
foreign policy is an unsalvageable victim. There is no unified euro-view
either on the foreign affairs front or in terms of defence and security, nor
is there ever likely to be.

      But the changed circumstances go further. The comfortable progress to
integration has been publicly undermined to the point of dis-integration –
as witnessed earlier this week by President Chirac backing away from the
growth and stability pact, a key symbol of integration..

      All of a sudden the work on the future of Europe, far from appearing
forward and modern seems inward-looking and out of date. The real choice
lies between an improved and dynamic partnership of sovereign nations and an
increasingly top heavy, out-of-touch supranational entity that will soon to
all intents and purposes become a sovereign political union. In any event
these choices are so fundamental that any move towards the latter could only
logically and legitimately proceed with the consent of the British people,
freely and democratically given in a referendum before any treaty
incorporating such changes is ratified.

      The lessons of Iraq must be learned. In the EU that means not only
recognition that ever-closer integration simply will not work but also that
there is now a real risk of a transatlantic split.

      These are all institution-centric problems. They became clear in the
run-up to and the conduct of the conflict in Iraq. There is however also a
wider context that must be understood before we can suggest ways to proceed
with modernising and changing these institutions.

      We need for a start to ask the fundamental question about the three
institutions as to what their purpose is. It is only when purpose has been
established that we can begin to look more closely at the options for reform
and change.
      For the moment we need to tread warily in seeking to provide complete
or final answers. The complexities of the solutions and their
inter-relationships are great.

      We must start by understanding what we are trying to achieve. A world
without threatening or expansionist totalitarian hegemonies, whether
religious or secular. A world in which the Rule of Law, personal and
religious freedom, and human rights are recognised and underwritten. A world
in which terrorism as the enemy of civilization is pursued, rooted out and
eliminated with the cooperative efforts of the whole international

      As Iain Duncan Smith said in Prague last week there is a clear link
between global insecurity and injustice. In tackling both of these our
self-interest has rightly coincided with our conscience in preventing
failing states becoming rogue and potential breeding grounds for terrorists.

      In that context I will look at the institutions in the reverse order
to that in which I introduced them.

      Europe is perhaps the easiest of the injured institutions within which
to identify the options. They have been around for some time. There are
essentially two; a supranationalist European superpower, or a more outward
looking intergovernmental Union.

      Even before Iraq many of us had believed that some in Europe were
aiming for the bridge too far, for the politically united Europe in a form
that could in the realms of fantasy eventually rival the US as a superpower.
This so-called 'projet' has been on the agenda for some time. For many in
Europe it is the fulfilment of the grand dream that began some fifty years
ago. Its never was a realistic or workable dream and nor is it now. Rather
pathetically it is the pursuit of a fifty-year-old dream that is no longer
relevant to the challenges of today. Iraq reawakened inherent weaknesses
that were already there under the surface. Iraq brought them to the surface.

      The newest draft constitution, which is designed to be the guiding
text of the ‘project', crystallises many of these weaknesses and fears. For
all the denials of our government, what is on offer is a constitution for a
discrete political entity, a politically united Europe, or – in the Prime
Minister's preferred words – a ‘superpower'. The constitution embraces a
separate legal personality for the EU. A declaration of the supremacy of EU
law, explicit for the first time in this Treaty. A five-year president. A
Foreign Secretary with his own diplomatic service. A charter of legally
enforceable fundamental rights. And many areas of policy from economic
coordination, through asylum and immigration to a common foreign and defence
policy where increasingly the centralized institutions of the EU will
exercise control. It is the near fulfillment of the European
supranationalist dream.

      Iain Duncan Smith began the process of setting out a well-worked
alternative to this in Prague last week. Our preferred option is a Europe
that is a genuine partnership of sovereign nations, with carefully agreed
rules of partnership. It is not merged nor diluted. As Iain Duncan Smith
said in Prague last week: "Our vision of the New Europe is about more than a
just reaction to the faults of the EU's existing arrangements". He went on
to set out our positive steps to make the EU work and in that speech he made
very clear that "The European nations and the US cannot tackle global
insecurity if we become rivals rather than partners". In that sentence he
put his finger on one of the biggest problems facing the EU and its
adaptation to the post-Cold War world – too often it tries to be built up in
to a rival bloc, not a partner, of the US. I will touch on this a little

      Ideally in what is an increasingly fluid world what we are seeking is
a partnership that is agile and flexible and can match changing
circumstances. To achieve this it would certainly be necessary to place less
stress on the Treaties and the acquis - towards a simpler statement of
competences, to pursue framework rather than specific directives, and to
return power back to national parliaments.

      There is still a good deal of merit in the Gaullist concept of the
'Europe de Patries'. It has been heavily eroded by recent treaties, to an
extent by Maastricht but particularly and more recently by Amsterdam and
Nice, which absorbed to the centre many national state interests for almost
nothing in return. It would therefore require proactive retrieval of power
by the nation states. That will require determination and strong political
will. The extent should now become a matter of urgent consultation with
likeminded allies in Europe.

      We could make swift progress by genuinely accepting different
interests which in turn predicate different levels of involvement and at
different speeds. The best example of this is currently in relation to the
Euro, but it could extend to other areas as well. In many ways this element
is more consistent with enlargement than anything emanating from the
Convention. While the 'applicant' countries may publicly purport to be
'communitaire', privately there is a good deal of unease about how to
identify and protect particular national differences and difficulties. An
enlarged Europe will only work if members, old and new, do not feel 'put
upon' by established regional powers. The ability to be different, inherent
in any theory of variable geometry, is not a luxury but an essential if
Europe is not to split from within.

      There is then the Europe working in partnership with rather than in
rivalry to America. The US, at the height of its strength, is inevitably
tempted towards the concept of 'unipolarity', to look to do things on its
own, to resent and distance if not marginalize those erstwhile friends who
when the fair weather ended were noticeable at best by their absence and at
worst by downright hostility. What is required is the development of a
flexible Europe within which such groupings can occur without undermining
the whole. It will need to be a relaxed Europe, which is capable of
presiding benignly over such groupings. It will need to be a
non-centralised, non-conforming, non-coercive Europe.

      Above all it must be a Europe based on the democracies of its national
parliaments. They should be initiators of legislation. They should be the
forums of accountability. They should have the right to prevent further
integration and centralisation, applying principles of ‘subsidiarity and
proportionality' as it would be term in Europe, where it does not meet the
agreed objectives of the more outward looking EU. They should be the fount
of power and authority, through their governments, to the EU. That would
create an EU that does meet the needs of the new century, able to move with
the increasingly agile partnerships that are modern international relations.

      Then there is NATO. If the underlying principle for us is the need to
keep the US bound into European Security, then it is not possible simply to
set NATO to one side. Nor would it be right to do so. NATO is now
irreversibly enlarged. We need to define the new strategic role for the new

      Territorial defence is clearly no longer its sole purpose. There is no
longer a single static enemy. The new foes are multiple, diffuse, transient
and global. NATO has to be able to respond in much wider, more pro-active
defensive role. The deterrent effect of its combined might needs to be more
mobile and more diffuse. Article 5, which I believe must remain a central
element, must more clearly indicate real intent and the force to back it up,
if it is to deter and if necessary pre-empt both state and non-state

      It would be futile to seek a NATO where every member nation is
required proportionately to replicate the same military capability as each
other. This would not only lead to increasing duplication and
disorganization. It would also place undue burdens on the smaller members.
What we need to seek is a NATO where each member contributes within its
means relevant and deployable capabilities, thereby creating a NATO of
skills and breadth, a NATO that can credibly be seen as an efficient
military organisation with the flexibility to respond effectively to threats
and aggressions from whatever quarter. While the larger nations must
contribute across a wider range of capabilities, smaller nations will
specialise so they can play a real part. In this way NATO could continue and
strengthen its role.

      The key question is as to whether NATO in its role and functions can
continue to be based, however loosely on the principles and legal
definitions of self-defence. Already over these last years it has operated
out of area. In Afghanistan two of its members, namely the US and the UK,
invoked Article 51 of the UN Charter to pray self-defence as the
justification of war in Afghanistan. The growing and inevitable doctrine of
pre-emption, upon which I have spoken on other occasions, if it is to become
part of the role of NATO, will require ‘out-of-area' capabilities that will
extend beyond the conventional containment and deterrence capabilities of
the past. Search and destroy, direct military intervention to restore human
rights and the rule of law, peace-making and peace-keeping are all becoming
central parts of the role which NATO increasingly has to play if it is to
retain its relevance.

      The consequences of this are already becoming clear. There needs to be
clearer understanding of the legal authority under international law for
military intervention. Nato's relationships with the United Nations - about
which more later – and with the UN Charter need to be clarified. The UN has
only ever approved two conflicts in its entire history, Korea and the First
Gulf War. How often can we expect Nato to act without explicit UN authority,
as we did in Kosovo?

      In a world of global threats, what is the meaning of the term
‘out-of-area'? NATO already accepts invitations to intervene in a
peace-making role by the UN ‘out of area'. Are there limits? For instance,
NATO could be asked by the UN to intervene, say, in Africa.

      For Nato to act as one in an international crisis, there also needs to
be a shared assessment of threats. That was clearly lacking before the
recent war in Iraq. Alternatively, suggestions have been made that a renewed
and strengthened NATO should divide into two tiers. It is not clear whether
these should be a division of function or of area. The idea of one set of
functions, those of direct intervention, for the US and another, those of
nation building and peacekeeping, for the rest, tends to destroy the
essential cohesion of NATO where combined action creates the dynamic.
Division of area might be considered, although it would be unrealistic for
the European end of NATO to consider major military intervention and action
out of area without the assistance and involvement of the US except on the
most limited scale. The UK would probably be most able to undertake such
action, but unless the circumstances were exceptional we would prefer US
involvement. Or maybe Nato will become a military alliance, based upon
common values, from which coalitions of the willing can be drawn.

      The Government talks about the importance of sustaining NATO as the
"superior alliance". There are fears that the direction being pursued by the
EU, in particular through the new draft constitution, fails to guarantee the
supremacy of NATO. This will undermine and eventually fatally debilitate and
destroy NATO. The developing autonomy of the ESDP has already destabilised
NATO. The UK Government attacked the recent Brussels mini-summit for
undermining NATO, but these countries in turn cited the ESDP as the
authority and agenda for that meeting. Under the Constitution this will be
exacerbated. This must be reversed.

      Due to the rise in anti-Americanism in a number of European states,
some in the US government have begun to re-examine the role of the
trans-Atlantic partnership. It is hard to blame them. If we believe, as I
do, in preserving and strengthening NATO, then we have an urgent task to
persuade our American colleagues that primacy of NATO in Europe is vital for
their national security too. We need to show them that their substantial
investment in European defence is a prerequisite of global stability and
peace, and that on the newer front of proactive preemption their position
both physically and psychologically will be stronger with NATO than without
it. NATO however will have to be seen to be changing if we are to succeed.
And it will need to have changed if it is to have the relevance I seek for
it in the future.

      Lastly there is the United Nations. Of the injured institutions this
is probably the most difficult to find clearly pictured in the crystal ball.
Do we need the UN? Can an institution developed in a bi-polar world be made
relevant to a uni-polar or multi-polar world? My answer to the first
question is yes from which it follows that my answer to the second question
is that a way to recreate its relevance must be found. The US and we need to
consider how such relevance can sit easily alongside the US aim of
international primacy as per their National Security Strategy Document.

      What is certain is that it cannot continue as the powerless
international organisation it has now in practice become. If it is to play
an important role in international affairs in the 21st century, it must
redefine its role. It must work with the grain of events and developments
rather than against them. At a humanitarian level the UN has effective
agencies such as the World Food Programme, the UNHCR, and UNRWA and so on.
In terms of Health and Education it contributes valuably and constructively
to a better world. While we still need to challenge the detailed
effectiveness of some these, they fulfil a vital role. Nor does it help
presiding over a system that can put Colonel Gadaffi of Libya in the chair
of the UN Human Right Commission, or Iraq in the lead on disarmament! These
idiocies undermine credibility, and measures need to be taken to avoid them
happening in the future.

      The question of the UN's future role remains. Should it simply become
a glorified humanitarian agency and how would that help it further its goal
of establishing ‘international peace and security'? I believe it has reached
a crossroads. It has, and we as part of it have, to decide whether just to
strengthen its limited peacekeeping functions, or deliberately make a step
change and to develop a peacemaking role with all that that would entail.
The UN is based on its sovereign nation states. If it were to go down this
road, it would have to work out how it would deliver its humanitarian,
peacekeeping and peacemaking roles effectively in a world increasingly
shaped by non-state actors.

      Then there is the matter of the Security Council. Have the events of
the last few months fatally undermined the concept of the Security Council
or simply its reputation in Washington DC? What we know is that when the
question was asked of it in relation to action with Iraq it split and was
unable to produce an answer.

      A Security Council that under pressure becomes gridlocked is an answer
to nothing. If the UN is to have a relevant and influential role then it
needs a Security Council that has clout, that does not become hidebound, and
that reflects actual power within the world.

      I believe that we need urgently to reform the criteria for membership
of the Security Council. The Government's pathetic response of simply
increasing the membership by ten, five permanent without veto and five new
rotational solves nothing and confuses everything.

      We need to re-examine the criteria for membership. Should there not
then be criteria for membership based on some formula of population, GDP,
military capability and political stability? Should there be a firm rule
that the SC should proceed by consensus rather than majority vote, and that
any minority or individual member dissenting from the consensus must show
just reason for suspending unanimity.

      Selfish commercial reasons should not be enough. Failure to agree
should not make internationally illegal any unilateral or bilateral action
without some further process of declarator as to illegality and the reason
for it. The loose concept of the 'unreasonable' veto must be nailed.

      If the principle of pre-emption - whether military, economic or
political - is adopted, there would then need to be some means to support
decisions and resolutions duly taken. This would entail a step change in the
rather supine and ineffective way in which the UN currently backs up its own

      If this route is taken, there would need to be urgent action to
establish the authority vested in such forces and the basis upon which they
could be recruited and from where? The UN would have to graduate to a real
force to be reckoned with, not just keeping the peace but helping to make it
as well.

      I firmly believe that of all the three fractured institutions, the UN
is the most vulnerable. If it is to be rescued, it must change and change
radically. We should lead that change.

      I suppose as a most radical option I should ask whether any of the
injured institutions is necessary. If this was truly a unilateralist's world
then the answer might be no. Whatever the position it must be not in their
current form. For all the apparent unipolar power of the US, I doubt whether
this it truly is a unilateralist world. Primacy rests not simply upon power,
but also on acceptance. In the end the US has to work with her allies if
dangerous isolation is not to ensue. The Anglo-US relationship remains very
special. In the run up to the Iraq conflict, and indeed since, UK influence
was undoubtedly central to persuading America of the diplomatic and
political value of the ‘UN route'.

      What is indisputable is that these three institutions cannot post-Iraq
simply be reformed in their old images or aspirations. The world has changed
and so must they. They must adapt to perform different roles with different
structures. They must still be able to provide international legitimacy for
actions taken.

      They must also be capable of evolving relations with the currently
relatively quiescent giants of Russia and China. These will not remain quiet
forever, and the institutions we rebuild now must be shaped to encompass
them rather than alienate them.

      I personally am allergic to ‘new world orders' the broken axles of
which litter the trails of history. Nevertheless the three institutions
injured by the Iraq experience, can form the basis for new international
partnerships and cooperation. They need to be restyled so that they can work
together, each secure within its own role, none pulling rank on another, and
all distinct. They can form a platform of stability that can be enlarged and
matched by other institutions and partnerships in other parts of the world.
But only if they are reshaped to meet the challenges of the future, not the
threats of fifty years ago.

      None of them are worth preserving for their history, only for their
potential future contributions. No one, least of all me, is advocating a
Hobbesian world where might alone is right, but we live in a world where
might must at least be recognised and harnessed.

      Iraq awoke the world to the weaknesses and imperfections of the
institutions upon which with complacency the international community had for
too long put store. Their credibility was exposed by Iraq for the sham it
had increasingly become.

      Tonight I have offered one set of options for a way forward. There may
well be others. What is certain is that they cannot go on as they are. They
must change, and we can and must lead the drive for that change.

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The article in The Independent of 11th July, 2003 states that Mr. Mbeki and
Mr. Bush are now:

"absolutely of one mind about the urgent need to address the political and
economic changes of Zimbabwe."

Another interesting perception is:

"Bush has agreed to follow Mbeki's lead on Zimbabwe, in return promised the
generous reconstruction package for Zimbabwe's recovery in the post-Mugabe

This raises a few issues for Mr. Mbeki to be held accountable for:
1. Urgent - According to the article, the President will stand down in
December, and then an election is to held in March.
*This amounts to another eight months at least that the people of Zimbabwe
will have to suffer.
2. Reconstruction - this word is the opposite of destruction.
*This sounds like a final admission that Mr. Mbeki is now endorsing another
eight months of destruction, and oppression. At the same time he knows full
well that the United States of America, whose financial muscle has been
built on Secure Title is going to pick up the tab on this humanitarian
experiment - is he telling the world and the Zimbabwean people, that he
personally has set the timetable for this experiment which is not entirely
dissimilar to one that was tried in Germany on the Jewish Community? Are
the results not quite what the scientist has set is heart to prove just
yet, requiring a little more time? When will he start the same experiment
in his own country rather than look at the results of the ones carried out
in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and even Malawi over the last forty

Be sure your sins will find you out.

The Team.
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Truth, Law and Justice

There has been debate amongst civic society of a "Truth and Justice
Commission" in Zimbabwe once a responsible and legitimate Government comes
into being.  South Africa went on a different road with its "truth and
reconciliation commission" and I believe there will be a price to be paid
for not incorporating the law and justice into that commission.

Zimbabwe has run along the road of impunity for far too long.  Its various
leaders have said, "let's forget about the law and what the truth of the
matter is and meting out justice - we will rather look to the future! 
What benefit to the future is there in opening old wounds?"  And so in 1975
the indemnity law, excusing all past and future atrocities committed by
Government officials, was passed.  In the transitional government Lord
Soames passed another indemnity statute pardoning all atrocities from all
sides that took place in the "liberation" war.  In 1990 clemency order 1
pardoned all offences that took place in the genocide of the Gukuruhundi
and in 2000 another clemency order pardoned perpetrators of political
violence in the parliamentary election.  We await a further clemency order
to pardon the political violence that took place in the presidential
election of 2002.

Only when all Zimbabweans realise that they have to deal with the past (and
the present!) will the future be secured to our children and ourselves. The
time for papering over the gaping cracks in our very foundations and
building up on top are surely now over.  Such building is foolish and
doomed to failure.  If those old festering wounds are not dealt with, they
will corrupt the body of Zimbabwe again in the future and we will go
through the shattering experiences that have torn the country apart so
often once again.  So how do we deal with the past?

THE TRUTH: The first part is to establish the objective truth of what has
taken place in the past.  This is a big exercise but much work has already
been done and continues to be done in this regard.  It is imperative that
all incidents of violence, corruption, torture, state sponsored theft and
the like get properly documented.  Everybody needs to play his or her part
in this.  A detailed personal diary is a start.  Police RRB numbers,
doctors' certificates, death certificates, reports to human rights
organisations and others are critical.  The truth has to be verifiable to
tackle the next part of dealing with the past.  Ultimately we cannot do
anything without "The Truth."

THE LAW: The rights and the wrongs of what is established must be dealt
with through the law.  The law in essence is about what is right and wrong.
The law was laid down and has changed little since 1444 B.C. (or
thereabouts) when it was given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.  This
"Mosaic Law" is the foundation or constitution on which roman Dutch law and
most of the world's legal systems and indeed societies are based.  Without
the law that sets out what is right and wrong humanity founders on the
rocks of immorality and evil.  When we call for the law to take its course
in Zimbabwe therefore, we call for what God has set out for us to be upheld
and policed.  We have seen various perversions of the law being put into
our statutes in Zimbabwe.  These need to be changed and the rule of law
needs to be re-established before a future can be built.

JUSTICE: It is imperative that once the truth is established and the law is
allowed to take its course justice is meted out through a justice system
that has integrity and independence.  For over three centuries after the
law was given to Moses and Israel entered the Promised Land Israel ruled by
"the judges" not "the kings".  The book of Judges provides many examples of
the principle that obedience to the law brings peace, whereas disobedience
means oppression and death.  The law in itself was not enough.  It required
leaders with integrity who were willing to stand up for the law and make
sure that justice took its course.  Indemnity and clemency laws run contra
to justice and in actual fact promote further lawlessness and injustice in
the future.  What Zimbabwe needs more than anything at this time is leaders
with integrity and moral fortitude who are willing to stand up for justice
and for God.  Zimbabwean leaders (and each one of us is a leader in
something) need to grasp this nettle however difficult, or dangerous it
might appear and ensure that they hang on to it, pursue it and don't let
go.  Until that happens Zimbabwe remains doomed.  Skirting the issue and
not dealing with it would be a horrendous mistake.  I for one am hugely
encouraged that civic society is looking at a truth and justice commission.
However unsavoury it might appear, Zimbabweans have to confront with
determination their past if they are to have a future brighter than today.

Ben Freeth

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

Dear John

Once again I read your Jag Forum letter with trepidation. Open Letter Forum
no 113 may as well be open war on CFU no 113. Aside from Simon's very old
letter which he wrote late 2002 but which still has great relevance, the
two other writers were just beating CFU.

Willie Robertson does not have the right to write a letter on behalf of
Martin Olds. The man I knew was a man of principle who would have taken his
disagreement to the person concerned and would have sorted it out away from
the public eye. Martin Olds would, in my opinion, not have behaved in the
manner that Willie has done. In fact, I suspect that Martin would have got
hold of Willie by now and suggested he found some sort of constructive
employment...perhaps even to try and lead by example.

I wonder if it isn't time for Ben Freeth to grow up and become a
constructive member of our society. We need to start rebuilding our lives.
If he believes that CFU is past its sell by date, well then get another
organisation going to meet the needs of our people but for heavens sake,
don't waste his energy on fighting an organisation that he does not believe
in. Or perhaps, if he is honest with himself, he is piqued by the fact that
they asked him to resign after he made such a spectacle of himself by going
to press on a employer/employee issue instead of going to his employer to
sort it out.

We all need to move on.....whether that is to rebuild our farming industry,
go elsewhere, go into another form of employment...or whatever. But to stay
in the same old groove, constantly complaining about a single issue, begins
eventually to irritate.

Willie and Ben, please look to the rising sun, see the good in people,
great courage and integrity...and be proud to be Zimbabwean Please use your
boundless energy to help us move forward so that we can meet the challenges
to come ....and succeed.

Yours sincerely

Jean Simon


Letter 2: Willy Robinson

My dear Jean,

Thank you for your contribution. As you well know Justice for Agriculture
has always valued your contribution and continues to. The very idea of
having an Open Letters Forum emanated from yourself, and it is most
comforting for many to see "The Return of the Oracle" after what seems to
have been a bit of a lull.

In this instance I feel that I must defer to Voltaire:
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to
say it."

This should continue to be the ethos of this forum, and naturally we look
forward to some contributions from of the leadership of the CFU, but I
really do admire the way in which you have defended them, and I look
forward to you defending them further - until such time as they are big
enough to defend themselves properly.

Yours faithfully,



Letter 3: Ben Freeth

I enjoyed Mrs Simon's letter regarding the Open Letter Forum No. 113 and
feel it is important to respond.

Openness is a founding principle of JAG in order to go some way in creating
an open society.  The momentum behind "people power" is created by people
putting fear aside and openly stating on the one hand what they believe in
and on the other what they do not believe in.  The first part is the
constructive side and the second part is the dissenting side.  No open
democratic society can function without the balance of constructive and
dissenting voices.  The collapse of communist Russia and the rest of the
Eastern Bloc came about through students initially and then eventually the
rest of society saying, "We will live out our lives as though we lived in
the open society that we believe in."  Eventually that open society came
into being because enough people lived it out and "glasnost openness"
passed into the English language (and I hope eventually the Zimbabwean one

My dissenting voice as a result of a UN report quoting a CFU economist as
saying, "The agricultural sector is operating at only 30% of capacity
because the ZESA authority is unable to meet power demands" was, I believe,
valid.  Mrs Simon's dissenting voice about me pointing out that the lack of
production was in fact due to evictions by the State I do not believe was
valid (unless of course she concurs with the CFU economist).

If we do not openly challenge what is wrong and openly stand up for what is
right (even at the risk of becoming unpopular) we will never in Jean Simon'
s words "become a constructive member of our society."  It is just this
syndrome of letting things go by that has left Liberia, 156 years after
independence, with no schools, no electricity, no roads, no functioning
farms, no law and order and no future for the vast majority of Liberian


Letter 4: Willy Robinson

J.T. Taylor Esq.,
CPA Chairman,

My dear Timothy,

Funnily enough John Worswick often uses the word Piggyback when he suggests
a LEGAL method of a displaced farmer using a Test Case as means of seeking

Could you perhaps use this forum to faithfully enunciate your commitment to
using the LEGAL ROUTE which I understand to be the Case brought by
Matabeleland CFU, and the Quinnell Case to engender confidence in your
cattle producers and ex-cattle producers alike?

Yours faithfully,
J.L. Robinson.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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      Zim adopts new tourism markets

      Staff Reporter
      7/17/03 8:48:43 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE’S stand-off with the United States of America (USA) and
Britain surfaced in another form after Harare reassigned tourism attaches
that were to represent the country in these markets.

      Stung by Britain and America’s attacks on its human rights record and
the alleged lack of democracy, the government overturned the assignments and
opted for more friendly destinations.
      The three tourism attaches, who were engaged by the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority (ZTA) in the third quarter of last year, will now represent
Zimbabwe in China, France and South Africa after almost a year of waiting.
      Givemore Chidzidzi, ZTA’s marketing and communications director,
confirmed the new destinations.
      Chidzidzi said: “We (ZTA) have managed to go through most of the
factors which were delaying us. The way is now clear and we expect them
(attaches) to have left the country by the end of this month.”
      Sources told The Financial Gazette this week that the ZTA overturned
the previous assignments after being told that the project faced certain
failure had they insisted on the original destinations.
      “There was no way the ZTA could have succeeded given the opposition
that was coming from top politicians,” said the source.
      Godfrey Pasipanodya, formerly the marketing director for the Rainbow
Tourism Group, will represent Zimbabwe in France.
      Taka Munyenyiwa, a former Zimsun Leisure employee, has been seconded
to China while Ndaipanei Mukwena, who was a lecturer at Midlands State
University, has been seconded to South Africa.
      Chidzidzi said the ZTA has not completely abandoned traditional
      “ZTA is diversifying a bit wider. We still have offices in the UK and
Germany and operations are still going on,” he said.
      The attaches who were supposed to leave the country in September last
year were delayed by red tape and bureaucratic bungling between ZTA and the
Public Service Commission.
      China, which played a crucial role in the war that brought Zimbabwe’s
independence in 1980, has over the past two years become the target of
Zimbabwe’s investment drive.
      Several companies including Fok Hing International, a clothing company
and Sino, which is into cement manufacturing, have already invested millions
of dollars in Zimbabwe.
      A number of delegations from China have been visiting Zimbabwe to
pursue investment opportunities.
      Chidzidzi said China was a big market for Zimbabwe with lots of
potential. The World Tourist Organisation predicted that most of the tourism
traffic in the next decade would be coming from China.
      France has also maintained a soft approach on Zimbabwe despite
pressure from the US and other European countries.
      South Africa has remained Zimbabwe’s major trading partner and a key
broker in talks to end the political impasse between the ruling ZANU PF and
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
      Chidzidzi said: “While the rest of the world has been going down in
tourism arrivals, South Africa has been doing quite well. France is a new
emerging market, which is looking for new and exciting destinations.”
      Of late, the government has been placing more emphasis on new markets
after failing to spruce up its image in traditional ones.
      Tourism arrivals from traditional markets such as the US, Britain and
Germany have dropped drastically because of the negative publicity the
country is receiving from the international community.

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      Zim puts too much faith in African leaders

      Cyril Zenda Staff Reporter
      7/17/03 8:50:30 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEANS could have been asking for too much if they expected
African leaders to deal with President Robert Mugabe’s government at last
week’s African Union (AU) summit, analysts said this week.

      Hopes were high in the run-up to last week’s second AU summit in
Maputo that African leaders were going to try and find solutions to the
growing crises in Zimbabwe.
      The hopes were dashed when it emerged that the leaders not only
decided to keep the country off the summit agenda, but expressed confidence
in Mugabe’s leadership by electing him the AU vice chairman responsible for
southern Africa.
      “There was no reason to expect African leaders to scrutinise each
other because most of them know that they have some skeletons in their
closets,” one delegate at the summit said.
      “You can only expect these leaders to support each other instead of
criticising each other,” added the delegate as the leaders moved on with the
AU business as if it was a continuation of the 39-year old Organisation of
African Unity (OAU) which it replaced last July.
      Although the AU was founded on high sounding promises of good
governance, human rights, rule of law and such other terms, nothing seemed
to really have changed as the union is still dominated by the same old
leaders who made sure the OAU left no legacy worth mentioning today.
      “Nothing has changed regarding African leaders. They are the same old
people,” said University of Zimbabwe lecturer Lovemore Madhuku.
      “You need to look at the readiness with which they re-admitted
Madagascar to see if they mean what they say, so for Zimbabweans to expect
these same leaders to help them was expecting too much,” Madhuku said.
      “African leaders simply do not have the capacity to solve problems in
member countries, and it is up to Zimbabweans to find their own solution.”
      Heneri Dzinotyiwei, chairman of Zimbabwe Integrated Programme and
political commentator, said there are much more serious problems bedevelling
the continent such that it is not surprising that Zimbabwe was not even
      “One should understand that at continental level, there are many more
serious problems that the leaders need to solve, and if they had started off
by discussing the Zimbabwean issue, they would not get anywhere,”
Dzinotyiwei said.
      He said from a partisan point of view, some people can express
disappointment in the way African leaders are treating the Zimbabwean
crisis, but the truth is that the situation on other parts of the continent
need much more urgent attention.
      “It is difficult to see how African leaders … with the same interests
of staying in power, will raise yellow or red cards to one another on behalf
of the citizenries of others,” said Joseph Diescho in a paper entitled
Understanding The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
      “In other words, is the (AU) Implementation Committee, or the Peer
Review Committee, the body to receive bounced cheques and act at the same
time as the credit bureau with the power to blacklist their peers? Who will
submit a bounced cheque and on whose behalf?” Diescho asked.
      NEPAD, which is now being integrated into the formal structure of the
AU, puts emphasis on good governance, rule of law and human rights and
Mugabe, along with other African leaders whose democratic credentials are
suspect, are closely involved in the process.
      The leaders, however, are keen only to implement those sections of
NEPAD that they are comfortable with, leaving out such components as the
Peer Review Mechanism (PRM), which would put AU member states’ governance
styles under scrutiny. Most leaders argue that NEPAD had no business dealing
with political, security and conflict resolution issues on the continent.
      “I shall, with due respect, consign the Peer Review Mechanism to the
dustbin of history as a sham. I see it as a misleading new name for the old,
discredited structural adjustment fiasco,” Namibian Prime Minister Theo-Ben
Gurirab recently said, speaking for a number of hardline African leaders who
have dismissed NEPAD as a foreign idea.
      “Neo-colonialism—which is what the PRM is —is a killer disease: we
must run away from it.”
      Diescho, however, said it was understandable that NEPAD emphasised
good governance and the rule of law and democracy in a way that the AU
itself would be too vague about.
      “This is so because the malaise in Africa today has been brought about
by African leaders who have, like their colonial masters, plundered and
pillaged Africa for their own personal enrichment and aggrandisement,” he
said. “They are part of the problem and therefore their role in finding the
solution must be limited.”
      In the speech he delivered at the Maputo summit, United Nations
secretary-general Kofi Annan pleaded with the African leaders to put
democratic transformation high on their agenda.
      “Democracy means more than holding elections. It requires respect for
the rule of law, even by the government and the party in power. It requires
viable institutions to promote respect for all human rights of our people,
including minorities,” Annan said.
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      Mbeki a dishonest broker: analysts

      Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter
      7/17/03 8:51:20 AM (GMT +2)

      SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki this week came in for flak as a
dishonest broker, with political commentators accusing him of having a
guarded motive in his handling of the country’s worsening economic and
political crisis.

      They decried the fact that American President George W Bush whose high
profile visit to Africa last week “signified nothing” had been swayed by
Mbeki’s arguments and subsequently bought into the South African leader’s
      Eliphas Mukonowe-shuro, a political analyst and adviser to opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai, said Mbeki
was very much aware of the gravity of Zimbabwe’s problems.
      Mukonoweshuro said Mbeki may be deliberately downplaying the crisis in
Zimbabwe in order to hasten the country’s economic collapse and give South
Africa an unrivalled economic edge in the region.
      Besides, Mbeki was intent to capture Zimbabwe’s skilled labour force,
likely to take flight from the country because of poor economic
      “His stance is not based on principles,” said Mukonoweshuro. “Mbeki
should realise that if it were not for regional and international pressure,
South Africa would not have done away with the apartheid regime. He would
still be in exile if that pressure was not applied to bring democracy to
South Africa.”
      Mukonoweshuro added bluntly: “If our economy collapses, we, as
evidenced by what is currently happening, will see our skilled labour
migrate to South Africa and serve their interests at no cost to them.
Zimbabwe’s losses are South Africa’s gains.”
      Mukonoweshuro said a strong Zimbabwean economy would be an impediment
to a drive by South African business to penetrate into regional markets.
      Zimbabwe, which intervened in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC) and Mozambique to ostensibly rescue the two countries from civil
rebellion, was overtaken by South Africa in the penetration of DRC and
Mozambican markets once war stopped in the two countries.
      Mukonoweshuro asked: “What is South Africa doing in the DRC and
Burundi and why does Mbeki want to send troops to Liberia if he believes in
the theory of quiet diplomacy? It just shows diplomatic naiveté on his
      Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional law expert and University of
Zimbabwe lecturer, agreed.
      “How is Mbeki going to explain that contradiction?” Madhuku asked.
      Critics said Mbeki’s tactics amounted to trashing the opposition MDC.
      “Mbeki’s stance has exposed the MDC in that they had created an
impression that they were placing a lot of faith in the Bush visit,” Madhuku
said. “If Zimbabweans are going to resolve their own problems then one can
not determine the pace at which this would be done. Bush and Mbeki’s stance
reflects the interests of their two countries at the expense of Zimbabwe.
The Americans don’t want to antagonise the South Africans because of their
trade interests in that country.”
      Brian Kagoro, the coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said
Mbeki must do everything in his power to pressure for reform in the country,
moreso a return to dialogue.
      But critics also said that Tsvangirai had blundered by underestimating
Mbeki’s friendship to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
      He banked too much on Mbeki to woo the American president to oust
Mugabe or force a re-run of the disputed presidential election.
      But this did not happen. Instead, Bush backed Mbeki’s strategy.
      Mukonoweshuro added: “Like anywhere in the world where there is
conflict, the affected nation is expected to turn to regional and
international leaders for assistance. I don’t believe that anyone expected
Bush to come and wave a magic wand and bring things back to normal.”
      He said there was nothing new in Mbeki’s statement as he has always
maintained that a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis lies with the Zimbabwean
      Castigating South Africa for taking sides, Kagoro said: “The South
Africans have always doubted the MDC’s capacity and credibility to run the
country and they are persuaded that the MDC is too linked to Western powers.
As long as the balance of power is in favour of ZANU PF, they will always
say ‘let them solve their own problems’, but if there is a slight shift, for
instance during the last stayaway, they rushed here and called for a
resumption of dialogue.
      “Their foreign minister is on record saying that there will be no
condemnation of Mugabe’s government as long as the ANC is in power. South
Africa’s leaders have repeatedly said there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. Up to
now, South Africa has not condemned human rights abuses here,” Kagoro said.
      “Both leaders maintained their positions for the call to the return of
democracy in Zimbabwe. There are fruits to bear if there is a speedy
solution to this. Mbeki has a mutual responsibility to talk through the
Zimbabwean problem. Although no ultimatum was issued, there is evidence that
the two leaders gave themselves a time frame in which Zimbabweans should
resolve the crisis.”
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      ZANU PF politicians besiege Mash farm

      Staff Reporter
      7/17/03 8:51:55 AM (GMT +2)

      A STORM is brewing between top government officials and settlers at a
farm in Mashonaland East after ZANU PF stalwarts besieged the farm to
facilitate occupation by provincial party heavyweights.

      The settlers, who moved onto the farm in 2000, accused Goromonzi Rural
District Council chairman Oliver Juru and a ZANU PF activist only identified
as Nkatazo of conniving with the district land distribution committee and
senior provincial officials to take over Oribi Farm near Juru Growth Point.
      Lawrence Meda, the district administrator for Goromonzi, was adamant
that the new farmers would be moved from the farm, classified under the A2
model scheme.
      “I am removing them (settlers), but the only problem I have at the
moment is that my trucks do not have fuel, otherwise the evictions should
have started same time ago.
      “They will be relocated to other areas that fall under the A1 Model,
where they are supposed to continue with their farming activities,” he said.
      ZANU PF heavyweights in Mashonaland East, who attended a meeting to
solve the issue two ago, were at pains to put a human face to the eviction,
but met with stiff resistance from the settlers.
      David Karimanzira, the governor for Mashonaland East, Finance Minister
Herbert Murerwa, Member of Parliament for Murewa South Joel Biggie Matiza
and Mashonaland East provincial chairman Ray Kaukonde attended the meeting.
      Other high ranking officials present at the meeting included the
chairman for Goromonzi Rural District Council and Chris Chingosho, the
provincial administrator for Mashonaland East.
      “There was problem on that farm, but we have resolved it. We should be
seeing the settlers relocated within days,” said Karimanzira.
      The settlers however, maintained that their displacement was being
done corruptly to safeguard the interest of a few powerful politicians.
      “This is corruption at its worst. We have been here since 2000 and
have invested a lot here. Now they want to evict us saying we were
wrongfully allocated this land.
      “What do they expect us to do? I wonder whether President Mugabe is
aware of what is going on. They want to give the land to senior ZANU PF
officials at our expense, but they will meet with more than what they
bargained for,” said a settler who declined to be named said.
      Meda, who refused to disclose the names of the prospective new owners,
said the government was reconciling resettlements throughout the country by
ensuring that farmers are properly settled.
      “The land district committee allocated Oribi Farm which falls under
the A2 Model to settlers under the A1 Model. How this was done baffles me.
      “But we have made great strides in resolving the issue and people
should be moving out soon,” said a senior ZANU PF official who declined to
be named.
      Oribi is part of the land measuring about 960 hectares compulsorily
acquired from Owen Patrick Conner, 69, who was evicted in August last year
under the controversial land reform.
      The land is divided into two sections, namely Stockholm measuring 364
hectares and Oribi, 596 hectares.
      Conner, 69, the former owner of the farm, said before leaving the
property he used to produce 1 400 tonnes of wheat, 540t of wheat seed, 1
000t of maize, 200t of potatoes, 540t of seed maize and boasted of 130 head
of cattle for export.
      The Commercial Farmers’ Union said about 98 percent of commercial
farms have been seized by the government under the land grab exercise, while
only 220 440 hectares of the 11.02 million hectares under commercial farming
prior to the fast track system remains unlisted for compulsory acquisition.
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      Escape options for CSC mooted

      Staff Reporter
      7/17/03 8:52:35 AM (GMT +2)

      THE perennially troubled Cold Storage Company Limited (CSC) could
crawl back to viability if managed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) put
together by banks owed in excess of $7 billion, The Financial Gazette can

      An accounting firm tasked to look into problems at the meat processing
concern has advised government to hand-over CSC’s operations to creditors in
the absence of the take-over of its entire debt.
      Camelsa Chartered Accountants headed by Reggie Saruchera noted that
the accumulation of the parastatal’s debt from just above $700 million a few
years back to over $7 billion showed that the government had run out of
ideas on the issue.
      Government, which is the sole shareholder in the meat processing
concern, could have inherited CSC’s debt at the time it was commercialised.
      It appears the only way out would be to enable banks set up the SPV
that would run the CSC board and management until such a time the
institution can stand on its own.
      Loans advanced by the banks would also cease to earn interest.
      CSC, which requires at least $33 billion inside 24 months to finance
farmers in rebuilding the depleted national herd, would repay the debt from
fees generated from leasing its ranches, among other things.
      Without that, there is clear and present danger that financial
institutions could proceed to place the company under liquidation and have
its assets auctioned.
      A number of banks already have judgements on CSC debts in their favour
and such rulings constitute a major threat to the parastatal’s survival.
      CSC acting chief executive officer, Ngoni Chinogaramombe confirmed
that Camelsa had completed its mandate, but refused to disclose its findings
and recommendations.
      Chinogaramombe insisted that the questions should be put in writing.
      He, however, could not respond to questions e-mailed to his office at
the time of going to press.
      Five banks, namely Genesis Investment Bank, the Jewel Bank, Kingdom
Bank, Time Bank and Trust Bank have already made an offer to the CSC board
chaired by Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited chief executive officer, Anthony
Mandiwanza whose details are being kept under wraps.
      The chartered accounting firm noted that CSC had a lot of potential to
return to profitability, but could go under if nothing is done to rescue the
      About $9 billion is required to make CSC viable. CSC requires 5 830
cattle for slaughter that would cost about $2.3 billion.
      It also needs feedstock at its ranches to feed 7 500 beasts at a cost
of about $5.2 billion. Another $400 million would be required in cattle
stock-feed, while $850 million should be spent in payments to outstanding
      CSC would also need to hunt for a substantive chief executive officer
soon and to dispose of idle assets with the proceeds going towards debt
payment and meeting its working capital requirements.
      Sources said the recommendation had been submitted to the Ministry of
Lands and Agriculture for consideration.
      “A meeting would be convened soon between the ministry and the CSC
board to discuss Camelsa’s report,” a source said.
      Meanwhile, the report also noted that CSC has repossessed 15 of the 30
franchises operating the Meat Pride Brand for failing to meet their
contractual obligations.
      Six franchises in Gweru, Harare, Mutare and Masvingo are also under
dispute concerning ownership of assets supplied by CSC. The disputes are
currently going through arbitration.
      The Meat Pride outlets, which were financed by Trust Bank, were
governed by an arrangement where holders of the agreements would receive
supplies from the parastatal.
      It was also agreed that the meat processing concern would collect 80
percent of the franchises’ sales.
      It then turned out that the 20 percent collected by the franchise
owners was not enough, a situation that was worsened by CSC’s failure to
supply adequate meat to the franchises.
      CSC has agreed to pay $21 million to franchise holders after netting
counter claims between itself and other parties involved.
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      Avenues Clinic on brink of closure

      Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter
      7/17/03 8:53:15 AM (GMT +2)

      THE country’s premier private health institution, Avenues Clinic, is
reportedly on the brink of closing shop after failing to contain
sky-rocketing overheads and secure essential drugs at a time when the
country’s health delivery system is threatened with collapse.

      “Let’s face facts,” Avenues Clinic’s managing director Benny Deda
said. “We are failing to meet the cost structure of medical provisions and
the pressure of costs continues to rise making it very difficult for us to
operate as most of our products are imported.
      “To be honest with you, I am losing senior staff members. Even the
principal matron has left for greener pastures.
      “In the past we have had a massive exodus of nurses because of the
current economic hardships,” a dejected Deda said.
      “What is happening is that nurses are being interviewed over the phone
and offered jobs for better pay.
      “Our skilled manpower is being absorbed abroad — in the United
Kingdom, Australia and other countries. We are in dire straits.”
      Analyst Eric Bloch yesterday said the closure of the clinic would
motivate medial staff in other health institutions to leave the country.
      “The brain drain would be severe,” Bloch said. “The biggest indication
is that it is going to motivate more people to leave the country to seek
medical attention elsewhere or persuade nurses and doctors to work outside
the country.
      “It will also create further unemployment which is already at 70
      The sad news comes on the backdrop of a strike by the clinics’ staff
which kicked off on Tuesday. The workers at the the $10 billion institution,
whose strike has put the lives of many patients in danger, are demanding a
salary increment of about 120 percent.
      But management at the clinic which has a holding capacity of 180
patients and a staff complement of 500 workers was adamant that the demand
was not feasible.
      Some patients were transferred to a sister clinic, West-End Clinic-
for urgent medical attention as the skeleton staff — mostly senior staff —
failed to cope. So bad was the situation that one nurse was attending to an
average of 10 patients thereby reducing the quality of care needed by the
      Those on strike could be seen milling around the clinic’s premises,
when the Financial Gazette crew arrived.
      An angry member of the workers committee who spoke on condition of
anonymity said: “We have resolved not to go back to work until Deda and his
team go.
      “They are mis-managing things here. We told him we need a salary
increment of 120 percent on a sliding scale because of the continuous
escalation of prices of basic commodities, but he said he would give us only
40 percent across the board.
      “He says there is no money, but he recently bought about three luxury
cars for senior staff.”
      Deda replied: “We offered the workers a 40 percent increment taking
into consideration our costs against revenue, but they refused. They
insisted on 120 percent, but I can’t afford that.
      “Most of our revenue is derived from donors and medical aid societies,
but we have been experiencing problems simply because the money is not
coming in. Because of the strike we have been forced to transfer some
patients to West-End Clinic, but I am happy to say those in the intensive
care unit are still in good hands and their lives not in danger. No one has
been compromised.”
      Deda said he had since referred the matter to the Ministry of Public
Service Labour and Social Welfare for arbitration.
      Meanwhile, nurses at Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals have resolved
to go on strike next week if the government fails to address their salary
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      What is going on?

      7/17/03 8:48:41 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki’s insistence that stalled talks between ZANU PF
and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were now back on track could
have seen a little sunshine breaking through the dark clouds hovering over
Zimbabwe and provoked the rarest of emotions — hope, in a country
precariously hanging on to an eggshell-thin veneer of stability.

      But to cap a series of startling events, the country’s intransigent
feuding political parties moved quickly to pour cold water on Mbeki’s
      This sparked off an orgy of speculation about the country’s political
future as people tried to figure out what’s going on.
      Could President Mbeki have lied? Was the South African president just
trying to appease President George Bush who is increasingly showing a flush
of impatience with President Mugabe who seems to have decided on a distant
departure date? Highly unlikely.
      Mbeki is an extraordinary and cautious politician who is unlikely to
stir up such controversy without knowing where it would all end. No doubt,
we have said it before and we will say it again, the Zimbabwean situation is
one that demands delicate arbitrage but because of his position, President
Mbeki has both the diplomatic and economic clout to assume the
responsibility and ensure a deeper rapprochement between the MDC and ZANU
      It is true that views on the way forward might be understandably
starkly divided but there is no doubt that there is a national, regional and
international consensus on the need to expedite negotiations to break the
political impasse which is spooking Zimbabwe today. This is why we do not
understand the current confusion over a negotiated settlement.
      Much as we acknowledge that politicians the world over have the
mistaken belief that the less people know the better, Zimbabweans have a
right to know exactly what is going on.
      By choosing to be politicians these people should know that they have
chosen to get their feet wet and their hands dirty for the sake of this once
great nation, now reduced to an economic basket case — they are supposed to
be accountable to the citizens of this country. The issue concerning talks
should not be decided in some dark room at Harvest House or the ZANU PF
headquarters. Zimbabweans have to be kept in the loop insofar as this issue
is concerned.
      President Mbeki’s pronouncements and the subsequent denials from both
ZANU PF and the MDC underline why it is said sometimes we learn more from
watching politicians than listening to them.
      We would like to point out however that whatever the case, the country
is right at the deep end and the two parties should seriously consider going
back to the negotiating table to rid the country of its ills. Even now, it
is still possible to strike an eleventh hour understanding. But they have to
be sincere.
      ZANU PF, under whose stewardship the economy is teetering on the verge
of collapse, should realise that it is perfectly right to be proud of the
past, especially the one it has, but it is wrong and detrimental to progress
to live in the past. The MDC, whose approach to the country’s political
crisis lacks leadership depth and overall vision to guide the nation, should
exhibit maturity and stop behaving like spoilt brats.
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      Is the ‘freedom train’ coming?

      7/17/03 8:59:59 AM (GMT +2)

      Weeks after the hype and fever that gripped the nation during the
week-long “final push” mass stayaways and proposed marches to State House,
an uneasy truce seems to have settled over the whole country.

      The state responded by throwing Morgan Tsvangirai in jail for exactly
two weeks, “in filthy prison conditions in an overcrowded cell at Harare
Remand Prison.” The MDC believes that the two week incarceration only served
to strengthen the people’s resolve to tackle the crisis of legitimacy in
      Indeed everyone had expectations that reflected their particular
feelings and opinions regarding the MDC led mass action.
      Most workers identified with the anti-government protests as their
only way to hit back at a regime that has depleted their basic earnings. At
the same time our inflation trots to the record 500 percent mark by the end
of this year, just as our economic analysts have been predicting for a long
time, meaning that our poor worker will have to bear the brunt of all price
      Our youths are painfully beginning to realise and understand that the
ruling party is a conspiracy of old men and party stalwarts that have no
plans of releasing their deathgrip on this country.
      They are realising that it is a party of die-hard liberation war
heroes that see all young people, particularly those born after the war of
liberation, as a bastardised generation: ungrateful, euro-centric and
unpatriotic, worse still if they are educated and live in the urban areas.
      Students also identified with the mass action because the government,
through the unrepentant ruling party has alienated them as is exemplified by
the infamous and dubious national youth policy.
      A national youth policy that is known to be partisan and whose aim is
to put all students and youths into a straitjacket of unquestioning, party
worshipping ‘yes men’ and bootlickers of the state. A policy that is meant
to churn out, in factory style, thousands of brainwashed zombies fed on a
diet of lies and distorted history.
      Our women have been raped, abused, dehumanised. They are faced with
the unenviable task of becoming defacto breadwinners, in the place of their
jobless husbands, as they sell vegetables and do cross border trading under
an increasingly harsh economic environment. The “final push” for them
presented a golden opportunity to reclaim their respectability as mothers in
a country that has gone to the dogs.
      In our teeming high density suburbs, overwhelmed by uncollected
garbage and refuse, characterised by constant electricity and water cuts,
emotions were running high that at last Mugabe’s regime would be tested for
the last time with a resounding flourish.
      It is true that contact and dialogue is one way of solving the
stalemate in our country, but is it the only way ?
      In the broader fold of international politics those who have the
necessary power to convince Mugabe that his time is up have been strangely
vague about their discussions with the embattled President.
      Both Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo have allowed
speculation to prevail. People anxious for a resolution of the current
crisis in Zimbabwe, particularly the media, spin their own versions of
proposed exit plans, succession plans, or even talks of a transitional
government to no avail.
      In the same vein the church has tried without success to reach a
consensus between the two parties.
      The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town only got promises while our own
local church leaders have been weakened by factions, one supporting ZANU PF’
s chaotic land reform and the other demonising it.
      Amid all this, AIDS is devouring the bulk of our young generation
faster than they are being born, unemployment is exploding. Our health,
education and social infrastructure has collapsed. Bulawayo, the nation’s
second largest city, is reported to have only one full time doctor. Both
doctors and lawyers are fleeing this country as fast as our inflation rate
is rising.
      The people who bear the brunt of all these economic ills are often
referred to as an amorphous, invisible mass of individuals somewhere out
there, faraway from us.
      Bread, in recent months has become a scarce basic commodity which now
has the unbelievable reputation of being sold at odd hours of the day, at
odd places, at odd times, and at very odd prices, just like fuel.
      Bread, cooking oil, soup, fuel and other commodities are thriving on
the black market in a fashion reminiscent of the liquor inhibition era in
The United States. The inhibition years in America saw the birth of
bootlegging — the illegal procurement and selling of liquor- alongside the
growth of crime.
      It was such a thriving black market that led to the birth of notorious
criminals such as Al Capone, the so-called god father of crime in America.
      As if to quench the rising disillusionment against the ruling party,
government introduced commuter trains to ferry thousands of people from
their homes, as if that would take care of their miseries. The trains,
dubbed the “freedom trains” are well-known features of everyday travelling
in Harare and Bulawayo.
      The fares are cheap, the travelling unbearable and in some cases
dangerous to the point of death.
      A few weeks ago one young man on the Dzivarsekwa-Harare route died
after he sustained serious injuries on the train, in another case a woman
and two men fell off the speeding train. There are other unreported cases of
people who fall off these trains, sometimes losing their lives, or a limb,
others just faint in the overcrowded trains.
      Members of the uniformed forces, who travel for free, are known to
wantonly assault commuters for merely reading an opposition paper and other
various silly reasons.
      But against all odds, the camaraderie and daring on the trains is
almost unmatched and presents a perfect microcosm of life in Zimbabwe. The
commuters are so frustrated and stretched to the limits that they have
nothing to lose and so they talk.
      They discuss almost every topic under the sun: gossips, prostitution,
rape, Aids, love and one of the most exciting topics, soccer.
      Fierce debates on politics rage in the trains, people talk, shout
trade insults, share joke, curse beneath their breaths as they push and
shove and struggle to breath.
      Now the “freedom train” has set route on free derailing as evidenced
by the recent accident.
      Surely, which way is the “freedom train” coming our way?
      This is life in Zimbabwe.
      lGivemore Nyanhi is the former chairman of the Press Club at Harare
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      Corruption now the order of the day

      7/17/03 9:00:50 AM (GMT +2)

      “Something for something nothing for nothing,” so sang Chimurenga
music guru Thomas Mapfumo.

      This was in the early 90s, after having detected the virus and little
did he know corruption was going to spread like a wildfire. Then, Zimbabwe
was still a good country to live in with few such cases.
      Poor government policies, coupled with political uncertainty have
plunged this country into chaos, reducing Zimbabweans to paupers living well
below the poverty datum line.
      This has created two classes — the rich and the poor. There is no
middle class anymore.
      The once promising nation is now full of thugs and crooks. Corruption
is the order of the day.
      It’s sad that Africa, with all its natural resources, cannot realise
its potential. It has had its fair share of civil wars, diseases, and bad
governance, making it a fertile place for corruption.
      People in government have specialised in dipping their fingers in
national coffers. This has mainly benefited their immediate families and
      Some African dictators have become so rich as to lend their
governments some money.
      Money from the International Monetory Fund and the World Bank meant
for development purposes has been channelled towards personal projects.
      In the case of Zimbabwe, Bretton Woods institutions have severed ties
with us.
      They do not hate us. We are just irresponsible. We are corrupt.
      It depends on who you know to get government tenders. It depends on
who you ‘grease’ to get even a hearse to take your beloved one on their
final journey. We are so corrupt we cannot even respect the dead.
      Withdrawing money from the bank can be a nightmare. After oiling a
bank official’s palms to get cash, you have a supermaket chap to give a
 “cut” for the scarce basic commodities and you also have the petrol
attendant to give a few Zimkwachas to get fuel. The list is endless.
      Recently, the government came up with a brilliant idea. We have fuel
problems. We have to share the little that trickles in.
      It was laudable to introduce coupons so commuter omnibus operators
could get the scarce commodity and improve on public transport.
      But the same commuter omnibus operators, as reported in newspapers,
are selling the coupons.
      In a situation like ours, there will always be those who use short
cuts and whatever means possible to make money.
      Some cannot stomach the idea of standing for a long time in queues for
commuter omnibuses. So, the solution is to gag the rank marshalls with cash.
      Getting a national identity document, a birth certificate, let alone a
passport, which is every citizen’s constitutional right, is a hassle too.
      In 1980, it would take less than three weeks to get a national
identity document, less than three days to get a birth certificate and less
than seven days to get a passport.
      Now, you have to bribe everybody starting the very moment you join the
      Government institutions are so corrupt that even people who are
supposed to be enforcing the law have joined the race.
      We have a fuel crisis that was triggered by corruption at the National
Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) and we have a looming power crisis blamed
on corruption of the top brass at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
      Are the responsible people facing the the music? No, they are getting
promoted instead, or “retired” with golden handshakes.
      Roadblocks are now called automated teller machines (ATMs) in the
police force. Policemen demand bribes from motorists with impunity.
      This has resulted in accidents which could have been avoided had road
unworthy vehicles been taken off the road.
      We have become a corrupt nation such that we need a complete change of
attitude in us all, starting with those at the top to the ordinary man in
the street.
      That, with a bit of divine intervention will see us regain our
respectable place on the continent.

        .. Steve Mathambo Ngoma is a journalism student
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      RBZ on collision course with govt

      Dumisani Ndlela News Editor
      7/17/03 8:49:49 AM (GMT +2)

      THE recent Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) decision to increase the
benchmark repurchase (repo) rate could clash with the government’s desire to
depress money market rates further down to curtail a sharp rise in the
interest cost on its massive domestic debt, analysts said this week.

      They warned that central bank officials had to prepare for serious
combat amid threats that a government decree to lower money market rates was
on the cards.
      An economist close to Treasury said the government was eager to reduce
the financing cost of its expenditure and would want to dip into cheap funds
when it announces a supplementary budget anytime soon.
      "The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe still accepts to keep rates low for
targeted sectors, but it wants to punish speculators, it wants to punish
those borrowing for consumption. The clash comes on classifying the
government - is it a speculator or what? I think it needs to be accepted
that most of its borrowing is consumptive," the economist said.
      Gibson Maunganidze, an economist and chief executive officer of
Sunshine Asset Management, said the conflict between the RBZ and the
government was that of balancing political interests with economic
development matters.
      Maunganidze said he believes the government should not be treated as a
consumptive borrower, even though it did not qualify as a productive sector.
      "Punishing the government with high interest rates would have a direct
impact on the budget deficit," said Maunganidze.
      "The government is not in the productive sector, but it's a key player
in industry - it is the major consumer of industrial products and therefore
promotes the productive sector in a big way," said Maunganidze.
      He said various ministries - health, defence and education, among
others - were big spenders on locally manufactured products.
      But John Robertson, an economic consultant, disputes this, saying the
government deserves low interest rates only by reducing the rate of
      "What we need are producers and not consumers. The government wants to
re-arrange the landscape so that only them benefit. That should not be
acceptable," said Robertson.
      "The government has become our principal competitor and the fact that
it is the biggest consumer does not elevate its position - it's actually
prejudicing the rest of the consumers who are tax-payers," Robertson
      The RBZ said although the low interest rates were desirable for
stimulating investment, the current high inflation levels - 300.10 percent
year-on-year for May - clearly destroy the real worth of savings, with
negative consequences on investment and economic growth.
      The RBZ last week hiked the repo rate, a money market instrument which
allows domestic banks to cover unexpected shortfalls in their daily cash
requirements, to an all-time high of 64.50 percent before allowing it to
slip marginally to 64.38 during the week.
      The repo rate determines the direction of commercial lending rates and
other money market rates. A rise in the repo rate usually indicates the
central bank's desire to hike interest rates across the board.
      Robertson said the RBZ all along knew that low interest rates would be
unsustainable in a highly inflationary environment but had chosen to be an
accomplice to political expediency when it accommodated the government's
plans for massive rate cuts.
      But now, he said, it was too late to re-orient the market to save the
government, which is in a quandary because its major source of funding, the
domestic market, has been wiped out of savings because of poor returns on
money market investments.
      "All along, the central bank knew the low interest rates would destroy
savings. They now want to increase interest rates to encourage people to
deposit their money," Robertson told The Financial Gazette .
      He said interest rates, which should have been used to curb rising
inflation, had instead become the major push to inflation because low rates
encouraged speculative rather than productive borrowing.
      In its arguments for high interest rates, the RBZ said that entrenched
inflationary pressures in the economy could be overcome by raising rates for
non-productive borrowers.
      Interest rates were first drastically brought down under a monetary
policy tailored to compliment the year 2001 budget, falling by over 50
percentage points from levels around 70 percent to around 10 percent.
      Having first increased the statutory reserve ratio on demand deposits
held by commercial and merchant banks from 30 percent to 50 percent, the RBZ
made arrangements to release these funds to the productive sector at a
concessionary rate of 30 percent.
      Productive sector companies engaged in exporting were made to borrow
through a concessionary export finance facility at a rate of 15 percent.
      At the same time, the RBZ reduced the statutory ratio on time and
savings deposits from 30 percent to 20 percent, depressing money market
rates to all-time lows.
      But after realising that the low interest rates had culminated into a
frenzy of speculative borrowing, the government made a volte face at the
start of the year, ordering the RBZ to force rates up to curtail
      But at the same time, it instructed the RBZ to allow productive sector
companies to borrow through the concessionary facility at subsidised rates,
prompting the emergence of a dual interest rate policy.
      Under this policy, the RBZ has been instructed to tighten the
borrowing process to make sure funding under the concessionary scheme is
used specifically for production and export, rather than for speculation.
      The policy, designed to compliment the 2003 national budget, gave the
RBZ the task of ensuring that the interest rates policy embraced the
      lUpward review of deposit rates in order to benefit savers and
encourage savings;
      lUpward review of interest rates on consumptive and speculative
activities to dampen inflation through curtailment of inflationary demand
for credit; and
      lNarrowing of the current high spreads between deposit and lending
      In line with that policy thrust, now being shot down by the
government, the RBZ has allowed interest rates on non-productive borrowing
to gradually firm up.
      Analysts say there has been no evidence to show that the interest rate
concessions that were granted to export and productive sector companies had
indeed resulted in a boost in production.
      While some companies threatened with collapse due to high gearing
ratios two years ago had indeed raised their heads above the water, money
borrowed under the concessionary arrangement may have been used in
non-productive deals.
      But critics say that the two-tier interest rate policy may have stung
the government, which is beginning to bear the brunt of high interest rates
because of its huge domestic debt.
      Treasury Bills (TBs), through which the government borrows from the
domestic money market, has risen sharply since January when the dual
interest rate policy began operating.
      For instance, the two-year TB rate, which started the year with a
yield of 31.72 percent, breached the 100 percent level to reach an all-time
high of 103.26 percent in May, although it marginally eased to a current
yield level of 95.95 percent.
      The one-year TB yield reached a peak of 104.49 after being freed from
the dip, while the one-year TB yield fell to 89.25 percent.
      But analysts expect that with the recent hike in the repo rate, the TB
rate is likely to rise into fresh territory, exposing the government's
domestic debt to unprecedented interest costs.
      A rate of 100 percent on the government's borrowing charge would
double the debt, analysts say.
      But the government would not be the only casualty of the high cost of
      Under the repo arrangement, Treasury Bills (TBs) form the underlying
security for borrowing.
      Banks with TB security pay an interest charge 20 percentage points
above the repo rate, while those without TB security pay 40 percentage
points above the repo rate.
      Commercial lending rates are likely to reflect the punitive nature of
the repo arrangement, dealers said yesterday
      Analysts said they expected the banking institutions, which raised
their minimum lending rates to over 80 percent since January from rates
hovering around 40 percent before the dual interest rate policy, to begin
raising their lending rates once more in line with developments on the repo
      This, they warned, would have significantly dangerous effects on
industrial operations that were not benefiting from a concessionary interest
rate policy.
      "There is a dilemma regarding the appropriate interest rate regime. On
the one hand, government and the productive sectors require low interest
rates, for reduced costs on the budget and production costs respectively. On
the other hand, low interest rates, particularly on deposits, are clearly
not consistent with the thrust of savings mobilisation," the RBZ said in its
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      Zim hardest hit in region: WFP report

      Dumisani Ndlela News Editor
      7/17/03 9:00:50 AM (GMT +2)

      A CRITICAL food shortage has hit Zimbabwe harder than its regional
neighbours, with a World Food Programme (WFP) report indicating that four
million out of 6.5 million southern Africa’s starving souls are in the

      “The new southern Africa Regional Emergency Operation (EMOP) will
attempt to distribute 540 000 metric tonnes of food aid to 6.5 million
people in six countries from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004. Zimbabwe is the
hardest hit country in the region,” said the WFP report on the country’s
humanitarian situation.
      “WFP will do its best to meet the needs of four million Zimbabweans …
successful achievement of this target will depend on further generous
support from donors,” the report said.
      Sadly, it noted that the country was yet to follow its request for
food aid with a formal appeal to the international community, with the WFP
reporting that it will run out of food stocks next month.
      The WFP said in its report, the latest in a series of humanitarian
updates on the country’s food security situation, that it had prepared
Zimbabwe’s component of the wider EMOP based on a written request for
humanitarian assistance from the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and
Social Welfare in late May.
      It was still awaiting a formal appeal for specific amounts of food aid
from the country’s authorities.
      “Several major donors have made it clear they require such an appeal
before committing resources to fund food aid to Zimbabwe. It takes at least
three months after a donor pledge is made for food aid to arrive in a
country,” the WFP said.
      Zimbabwe, going through its worst ever economic crisis since
independence in 1980, is facing a serious food shortage this year due to
poor harvests caused by drought and the expropriation of white-owned farms
for peasant black farmers.
      Most of the reallocated land is idle because the new farmers have no
resources to till the land, let alone funding to buy critical inputs.
      The WFP, whose humanitarian assistance curtailed a famine last year,
said its remaining stocks will last only the next month.
      “WFP remains extremely concerned about the lack of food security and
the anticipated very limited supply of food in Zimbabwe…the agency continues
to advocate for lifting of the monopoly on the import of staple foods and of
the application of retail price controls on staple foods. This is
particularly important given the serious shortage of foreign currency, which
it is feared will limit the government of Zimbabwe’s food import capacity,”
the report said.
      The WFP Zimbabwe operations started as a procurement office with five
employees to become a massive relief operation with more than 200 employees
in less than a year.

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      Winter wheat crop area drops 66.6%

      Zhean Gwaze
      7/17/03 9:01:37 AM (GMT +2)

      THE lack of finance among newly resettled farmers has led to a drastic
reduction in the area under the winter wheat crop by 66.6 percent, an
agricultural expert has said.

      The agricultural expert, who spoke on condition that he was not named,
said recent surveys have revealed that only 3 000 hectares have been put
under wheat by commercial farmers whilst the resettled farmers, agricultural
institutions, communal farmers and indigenous commercial farmers have
planted no less than 17 000 hectares.
      The normal winter wheat hectarage is 60 000.
      “The decrease in the hectarage under wheat has mainly been due to the
incapacity by the resettled farmers to make use of the land acquired from
the former commercial farmers because of lack of capital to finance the
crop,” the expert said.
      White-owned commercial farmers used to produce 90 percent of the
country’s wheat requirements of at least 300 000 tonnes while the other 60
000 tonnes were imported.
      However, the agricultural expert said at most the farmers would
produce 100 000 tonnes, a figure amounting to only a third of the national
      The shortages of fuel and the vandalism of irrigation equipment on
commercial farms have also affected the winter crop.
      The price of fertiliser has also gone up in less than three months by
over 300 percent and this has plunged the farming sector into uncertainty as
most farmers lack capital.
      Zimbabwean fertiliser firms have been facing shortages of foreign
currency to purchase raw materials for the production of the major commodity
in the farming industry.
      “The continued problems in the agricultural sector are a nightmare to
farmers. We cannot sustain the increases in prices because farmers do not
have a fertiliser company, so government, farmers and the fertiliser
companies should find a lasting solution to the industry,” said Davidson
Mugabe, president of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers’ Union.
      Mugabe said if conditions had been normal resettled farmers would
plant between 50 000 and 60 000 hectares and produce almost 200 000 tonnes.
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      Zim’s still waters run deep

      Taungana Ndoro
      7/17/03 9:03:40 AM (GMT +2)

      I remember arriving home for a boarding school-break only to discover
that my favourite swimming stream had been declared out of bounds for the
entire village.

      I found it a joke that was not funny to be told that that shallow pond
had all of a sudden deepened very much after a mermaid (njuzu) relocated to
that part of the river.
      One day, when the elders were too engrossed in other things to take
notice of us, a couple of friends and I sneaked down to the forbidden pond
to discover for ourselves what had all of a sudden made our favourite
swimming spot sacred.
      When we got there it was all quiet. The water was calm, serene but
dark and yet, previously we could make out the sandy bottom of the river.
      There was nothing to be afraid of at first, but when we dipped a very
long branch into the stream and failed to feel the bottom, we immediately
knew something was amiss.
      No one spoke, our blood raced and our hearts skipped beats as we ran
away without looking back. We never returned to that part of the river
      Even today I never cease to wonder just how deep that pond had really
      Indeed, I can’t stop speculating just how deep Zimbabwe’s pool of
problems really is.
      But just how deep? I am as curious to know as I was about that
forbidden pond.
      Apparently on the surface everything is fine in Zimbabwe because there
is no election, no mass action, no civil war, no stayaway — the water is
stagnant, its still.
      Nevertheless, stagnant water breeds disease and still waters run deep.
      When the tide eventually turns, the turbulence of the waters will
engulf the political and economic disease that has been breeding in this
ocean of once very beautiful waters.
      President Robert Mugabe is navigating on still waters whose depth he
has no concept of. The danger really lies in both the depth and the
calmness. Things might appear tranquil but what is going on under indicates
that soon the sea will be boiling. How then will the old man row hither and
      Zimbabweans need to steadfastly refuse to be the wretched of the
learned elite in Africa and indeed the world.
      Now and again it is difficult to understand the timidity and docility
let alone the unbearable tolerance we have come to be associated with when
confronting ZANU PF.
      It’s a marvel how we always adjust or tighten screws when the price of
anything goes up. In fact, the way we systematically adapt is outrageous.
      We are frequently noisome about the availability of a commodity
instead of crying foul over the scandalous prices.
      But the moment we protest about the pricing of an item, it vanishes
into thin air.
      This is the vicious whirlpool that goes on beneath the still waters of
the land between the great rivers.
      Zimbabweans are just surviving, making the waters appear composed and
revealing poignant ignorance about the magnitude of the economic decline.
      We have sort of hardened towards hardships and I’d say we are the most
dignified resilient lot that history will tirelessly refer to.
      Due to our civilisation we have put up a façade that the water is
still. It’s easy for the international community to notice still water than
to gauge the depth of the pool.
      We have lied to ourselves and to the world that inflation is 364.5
percent deep, that the foreign currency exchange rate is US$1:Z$824 and yet
it runs deeper, perhaps much deeper than the sacred stream of the good old
days of my infancy.
      We have had to seek divine intervention to sort our political and
economic impasse. Every Sunday the churches have interceded to the Almighty
for a solution to evict the mermaid (njuzu) that has taken away our swimming
and fishing privilege.
      Men of the cloth have taken it upon themselves to resuscitate the
beleaguered ZANU PF/MDC talks.
      This epic appeal to the heavens goes to show that Zimbabwe’s crisis is
beyond the natural hence the prayers to the supernatural.
      We cannot even tell how many refugees are in the Diaspora,
particularly in the UK. A hundred thousand? Five hundred thousand? A
million? We just can’t tell how deep.
      There is also decay in the rule of law. Apart from the usual
lawlessness of police brutality, political violence and human rights abuses,
at a deeper level, the stench of the rotting MDC poll petitions cannot be
endured anymore.
      A suffocating lawyer brought this to my attention. His very passionate
argument is that: the greatest assault to the rule of law is the deliberate
delay in dealing with the poll petitions.
      Clearly, at the rate at which the cases are being handled we will be
electing other parliamentarians and another president before the hearings
are through.
      I was moved to phone Advocate Adrian de Bourbon who is handling the
MDC poll petition cases and he too, did not sound too amused about what was
holding the hearings.
      “The problem is that they can’t find a date for the hearings. The next
case will only be heard on November 3 2003,” he said.
      Asked why the hearings were taking so long, he said the legal answer
lay with the Judge President Paddington Garwe who, apparently, is not
mandated to comment to the Press.
      November 3 2003! That’s about 20 months before the next general
      Suppose the cases take between three to six months to be concluded and
suppose some MDC members win. They will only be in office for about a year
perhaps, before they contest in the 2005 general election again, only to
lose and appeal to the courts once more, whereupon the hearing will take yet
another three years!
      Someone in the legal, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry must
have got a salary increase to obscure the course of justice.
      We need to hear these cases pronto. We need to hear that our vote is
not a secret because the ballot paper is transparent enough to be seen by
the polling officer to whom the voter must display before dropping it in the
ballot box.
      We need to hear of the rural elite, especially teachers being forced
to claim illiteracy and then being assisted to vote by polling officers who
are known warlords.
      We need to hear of those who voted in order to obtain a maize
      We need to know of the retributions, the violent campaign strategies,
ghost voters and so on.
      At least these cases could be quite a long branch that could be
invaluable in measuring the depth of Zimbabwe’s pool of problems.
      There is no way we can continue daydreaming about a re-run of the
elections unless the court proceedings document and expose that the
elections were indeed flawed and of course stolen.
      Because we do not know how deep our pool of problems is we are no
better than someone on the death row is, for we shall drown in these waters.
      It seems that what someone told us in church over the weekend has
depth: “Zimbabwe’s economy is a dead man walking.”
      I can only imagine that right at the bottom of Zimbabwe’s still waters
there can only be a frightening graveyard where no one rests in peace.
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