State threatens to prosecute millers over price
THE government has threatened to prosecute grain
millers over a 500
percent increase in the price of mealie-meal, Zimbabwe’s
the Daily News has established.
Mealie-meal prices went up without government approval after
state-controlled Grain Marketing Board hiked the selling price of maize
millers early this month by 1 600 percent from $9 600 a tonne to $211
A snap survey of supermarkets in Harare showed that the
of a 10 kilogramme bag of mealie-meal was now $6 800, up from
government-controlled price of $1 500.
price for the 10 kg bag has risen to $5 740 from $945.
have also increased the price of flour by up to 100 percent.
The Ministry of Industry and International Trade has told millers that
maize-meal and flour price increases are illegal and those caught
products at the new prices would be prosecuted.
The price of
mealie-meal is controlled by the government and millers
have to apply for
permission from the Industry Ministry before raising
In response to a request by the millers last week for the government
sanction the new prices, Industry and International Trade permanent
Ronald Madamombe said the increases were unlawful and the
not hesitate to prosecute anyone effecting them.
millers in a letter last Thursday: "The decision by the
to adjust the prices without authority is unlawful and
offenders may be
prosecuted as is the case with any breach of the laws of
"The best that the association can do is to submit
consideration by the minister (Samuel Mumbengegwi) for
to the Cabinet."
Neither Mumbengegwi nor
Madamombe could be reached for comment
yesterday. It was not clear whether
the government had begun proceedings
against millers since the new prices
came into effect.
Businesses caught flouting gazetted basic
commodity prices under the
Price Freeze Order (SI 302/2002) have been fined
Millers’ Association chairman Mike Manga refused to
comment on the
However, sources within the milling
industry said millers were
increasing the price of maize-meal because of
hikes in the cost of maize,
salaries, fuel and electricity.
"The milling industry is not performing well due to the shortage of
currency, electricity, fuel and raw materials.
negative growth, the sector has had to increase the
wages of workers from a
minimum of $47 000 to $93 000 a month," one industry
He said for the industry to remain viable, it had to
raise prices for
Although maize-meal was still
in short supply at most shops visited
yesterday, the recent price increase is
expected to improve supplies.
Green Bombers on rampage in Dete
At least 12 people were injured this week when a group of
under the government’s national service programme assaulted
from Kamativi mine complex when it was turned into a training
camp for the
youths early this year.
The former Kamativi mine complex
residents are now living as squatters
at Cross Dete, where the youths
allegedly assaulted them on Monday.
The youths are said to have
broken into a shop and a filling station
belonging to Jealous Sansole, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Hwange East Member of Parliament, and
looted property and cash amounting to
thousands of dollars.
The whereabouts of Sansole, who had housed some of the squatters at
Dete home, about 20 kilometres from Kamativi, remained unknown
he was said to be in hiding.
"Sansole fled his home to seek
refuge elsewhere. At the time of
preparing this statement, the whereabouts of
Sansole are still unknown," the
opposition MDC said in a statement. When the
Daily News visited Cross Dete
on Wednesday, Ndangababi Primary School, which
is near the scene of the
clashes, was deserted after teachers and pupils fled
the violence. A teacher
at the school, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said: "We fled because
some of the fighting had spilled into the
The youths were reportedly led by a commander known as
Dete police confirmed the incident but played down
the magnitude of
the clashes. "It was not as bad as people are saying. In
fact, only two
people were slightly injured," said a police officer who
questions to the provincial general headquarters in
Wayne Bvudzijena, the national police spokesman, said
he could not
comment because he was in a meeting. There was no immediate
comment from the
Youth Ministry, under which the national service programme
However, about 12 people are reported to have been
injured in the
clashes and were taken to Hwange hospital from where they were
Cross Dete residents said soon after Youth
Minister Elliot Manyika
officially opened the Kamativi Youth Training Centre
on Sunday, a group of
youths were ferried to Cross Dete where they camped
A resident at the growth point said the youths
camped until Monday
night, then they started attacking families they had
displaced from the
former mining compound. Dozens of residents who were
renting houses at the
mining compound, including Sansole and Joel Gabbuza,
the MDC MP for Binga,
were also evicted.
during Monday’s clashes, the people of Cross Dete
came to the rescue of the
evicted mine complex residents and eventually
The youths are said to have regrouped on Tuesday
window panes and destroyed property worth millions of
"Several people were injured during the Monday night
morning skirmishes. Some of the residents have fled their homes,"
Dete resident said.
When the Daily News visited the
area on Wednesday, there was tension
and fear, with residents saying there
were reports that the national service
youths, derisively referred to as
"green bombers", would return to cause
more havoc in Dete.
Residents said there were reports that the youths could be ferried
the area this weekend.
"We are now living in perpetual fear because
we don’t know where and
when these ruthless young boys and girls will strike
next," one resident
There are five training centres
around the country, which have
enrolled thousands of youths for the
government’s controversial national
service programme. The government has
indicated that it wants to open more
than ten camps nationwide. A sixth camp
is to be opened next week in Mutare.
Although the government
says the national service programme is
supposed to empower unemployed youths
with marketable skills, critics say
the scheme is being used to train a
ruling ZANU PF militia that is being
used to intimidate government
Some of the political violence affecting Zimbabwe is
partly blamed on
the "green bombers".
From Chris Gande Own
Police descend on UZ to quell pay-out
STUDENTS at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) yesterday fought
battles with armed riot police and campus security guards after they
to the vice chancellor’s office to demand an explanation for the
disbursement of $20 000 pay-outs the government promised them a
According to Tatenda Mungure, the outgoing
treasurer of the Students’
Executive Council, students gathered at the UZ
clinic to discuss the delayed
payment of a "relief allowance" that was
reportedly promised to them by
Washington Mbizvo, the permanent secretary in
the Higher and Tertiary
"We held a
meeting with the ministry’s officials as student leaders
and Mbizvo told us
that we would get the relief pay-out at the beginning of
"The explanation given to us by Ezra Chitando, the acting
students, was that the delay was mainly due to the dormancy of
bank accounts, which had insufficient funds. But the truth is that
just delaying tactics."
The students yesterday
marched to the office of Levi Nyagura, the UZ
vice chancellor, demanding an
explanation for the delayed pay-outs.
Witnesses said Nyagura
was not in his office and the students,
marching and singing, turned on
campus food outlets, smashed windows and
police were called in and they immediately cordoned off the campus
started throwing teargas, leading to running battles between students
armed riot police, which are said to have lasted about five
Six students were reportedly detained by the UZ’s
while two others were picked up by the police for
Riot police could last night still be seen driving
around the campus
in police vehicles and an armoured car.
This reporter was barred from entering the campus because of
A security guard at the main gate said: "All
vehicles are prohibited
from proceeding into the college’s yard. The police
are dispersing the
student demonstrators with teargas
"I am afraid the situation is bad, go back to
wherever you came from."
Students were milling along the road
surrounding the university last
night as riot police threw teargas canisters
even into the halls of
The students said they
were unsure where they would sleep last night
because there was no indication
when the police would leave the campus.
"We can’t go back there
because they have thrown canisters into our
rooms," a student said last
night. "The police are just beating up all
students seen gathered at one
place. Hunger has severely affected us and the
police don’t know
Chitando last night refused to comment when asked about
disturbances at the university and the heavy presence of armed riot
He said: "My problem is that everything is done through
situation is really difficult for me to comment on. I am in the
things. I will call you tomorrow (today) and tell you what is
I can’t right now."
Dabengwa fires Zambezi Trust workforce
BULAWAYO – Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust chairman Dumiso Dabengwa
fired all staff at the organisation’s offices here without giving
reasons, it was learnt this week.
Some of the affected
workers told the Daily News that the dismissals
were communicated to them on
The Trust, which was established to spearhead the
the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), employed
four people at the
Sources said the sacked
workers were not given letters of dismissal on
Monday but were instructed to
collect them yesterday. However, by late
yesterday afternoon the letters had
still not been issued.
"We were just ordered to surrender the
office keys on Monday and told
that we had been fired without any reason
being given to us," said one of
the workers, who declined to be
"We have come for our letters and we are just waiting
for them to say
something, but since morning, they have been ignoring us as
if we are not
there," the worker added.
comment, Dabengwa referred all questions to the MZWT
Masuku said she would only comment after the
workers had received
their letters of dismissal.
pressed for further information on when the letters would be
served she would
only say: "They will be served."
A board member who spoke on
condition of anonymity said members of the
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust
board were not aware of the dismissal of
The board member said the board was not consulted
about the decision,
alleging that it had also not been consulted before other
concerning the Trust were made.
"All the decisions
are made by one person and we don’t know where he
gets his authority from. If
it is true that workers have been fired, we don’
t know whether the board
will be informed about this," said the board
member added that over the past two years, the board had only met
there were mportant issues that needed its attention.
dismissal of the MZWT workers comes barely a week after the High
granted an order to Arnold Payne, a prominent campaigner for the
compelling the Trust to hold an investigative audit of its accounts
In his affidavit, Payne cited Kotsho Dube,
the chairman of the MZWT
general assembly, and Dabengwa as the first and
He said the investigative
audit had been agreed to at a Trust meeting
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project is supposed to alleviate the
severe water shortages and has been on the cards for several years
The project is said to have been affected by
Although the government has several
times announced that it had
secured funding from some quarters, there have
been no results on the ground
and the project has remained at the initial
Earlier this year, the Bulawayo City Council indicated
that it was now
looking at alternative water sources because of serious water
were affecting households and industry.
From Sandra Mujokoro Own Correspondent
Council seeks to stop Chombo from
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
resolved to make an urgent High Court application to stop
Minister Ignatius Chombo from interfering with the
administration of the
capital city’s affairs through his
The councillors, who alleged the minister’s moves
were in violation of
the Urban Councils’ Act, agreed that no council employee
instructions from Chombo without reference to the
It was "resolved that the council makes an urgent
application in the
High Court challenging the minister’s directive to
withdraw the mayor’s
salary and benefits while the mayor is on suspension",
the minutes of a
council meeting held on Wednesday read.
minutes added: "During discussion, councillors expressed concern
council employees were implementing ministerial directives without
authority. Council warned that in future it would deal strongly with
The resolutions come after Chombo issued a
directive to the acting
mayor of Harare, Sekesayi Makwavarara, withdraw the
benefits of Executive
Mayor Elias Mudzuri, whom he suspended in May over
The mayor denies the charges.
The government had also directed
Makwavarara to evict Mudzuri from the
mayoral mansion within 48 hours last
week, without a council resolution to
back the decision.
Makwavarara was criticised by her colleagues
and MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai for agreeing to implement the directive
without a council
According to the council’s
minutes, the council unanimously agreed to
disregard any directives calling
for the withdrawal of the mayor’s benefits
while he was on
During discussion at the special council meeting on
councillor Last Maengahama noted that Section 54 of the Urban
which Chombo used to suspend Mudzuri, did not empower the
withhold the mayor’s salary and benefits during the period of
There was no comment on the council’s resolution
from Chombo, who was
said to be in Nyanga.
Government Minister Fortune Charumbira yesterday said he
was out of the
office and could not comment on the matter.
attended the meeting said they would make objections
against some members of
the committee appointed by Chombo to investigate
Mudzuri because of their
alleged association with the ruling ZANU PF party.
"It was made
very clear that as a council, we should not allow people
who already have a
verdict against Mudzuri to investigate him. Any proven
supporters of ZANU PF
should recuse themselves," said the councillor.
who contested the Mbare West constituency in the June
election and lost to Dunmore Makuvaza of the MDC, is a
member of the
Savanhu was also a member of the Elijah
Chanakira Commission that was
replaced by the MDC dominated council last
Mayors’ perks obscene
reported that the Gweru and Kwekwe city councils had
approved hefty exit
packages totalling more than $86 million for their
executive mayors, who
leave office at the end of next month.
Gweru Executive Mayor
James Bwerazuva and his Kwekwe counterpart
Johnson Mawere will each get their
official Mercedes Benz car and a brand
new Nissan Hardbody
The two mayors will also each receive a piece of land
amounts of money from their cash-strapped
The two gentlemen will probably argue that they
cannot be held
responsible because they did not award themselves these
extravagant exit packages and that it is at the discretion of
respective councils to thank them for their services in whatever way
But if Bwerazuva and Mawere had a shred of
feeling for the people they
have served for all these years, they would have
turned down these packages.
As respectable aldermen, they
should dissociate themselves from what
ratepayers would be forgiven for
cynically viewing as looting of their
should Mawere or Bwerazuva get two cars each from ratepayers if
this is not
just an attempt to rip off the residents of Gweru and Kwekwe in
the name of
golden handshakes for the two men?
As Kwekwe Residents and
Ratepayers’ Association representative Esoph
Esat queried: where will the
money come from to buy new cars for the
outgoing mayors and still be able to
buy vehicles for new officials to be
elected next month?
the two councils have so much money, could it not be put to better
instance, would it not better serve the interests of the two cities
if it was
used to refurbish collapsing sewer and water reticulation
Only last week, Gweru’s finance committee chairman
proposed a supplementary budget of $1.7 billion to keep services
municipal facilities running.
The supplementary budget,
which councillors have for now turned down,
would have seen sewerage charges
going up 200 percent while refuse removal
and water charges would have been
increased by 210 and 195 percent
City Council has also announced plans to introduce a
because council coffers are running dry.
It is not only
heartless but criminal for the city councillors to turn
around in the midst
of all these hardships and come up with excuses for
milking more money from
already embattled ratepayers.
Even worse, this acute and
shameless greed is not confined to the
councillors of Gweru and Kwekwe
It pervades the entire top echelons of local and central
Indeed, it would seem that these obscene mayoral
packages are in fact
emanating from central government
Some councillors in Gweru who attempted to block these
packages had to
backtrack when shown a circular from the Ministry of Local
indicating that executive mayors were entitled not only to
vehicles but also
a one-off payment equivalent to their annual remuneration
and a cellphone.
Admittedly, the government-stipulated package is
not as outrageous as
the packages to be given to Bwerazuva and Mawere, but it
is still a luxury
none of the local authorities can afford. Surely buying
vehicles or anti-retroviral drugs for city hospitals and
clinics would be a
much better use of ratepayers’ funds.
if the government’s decision earlier this year to import $3.5
of luxury vehicles for its top bureaucrats while the country
survives on food
handouts from well-wishers is anything to go by, then the
Gweru and Kwekwe
councillors are merely taking a leaf from the government’s
Could it be that there is a rush to grab as much as
people can in this
uncertain environment before the unknown happens?
Basics back on shelves but demand
MANY basic commodities that had disappeared off shop
of price controls are now readily available, but consumer
demand has dropped
because of rising prices that economists say will slash
the revenue of many
A snap survey by
the Business Daily in major supermarkets in Harare
showed that basic
commodities such as bread, cooking oil, milk, salt and
soap are now readily
available, but retailers said
demand for these products was
The price of bread, which has been in short supply
because of severe
shortages of wheat, almost doubled from $550 to $1 000 this
month, a price
that will further reduce consumption of the
foodstuff by low-income earners.
Supermarket owners said the rise in the price of bread and other
commodities had led to a decline in sales volumes.
"Our sales are declining every month and if prices continue to go up,
see a situation where our revenue is going to be very low," said
Harare-based supermarket owner, who spoke on condition of
University of Zimbabwe economics lecturer Innocent
Matshe warned: "As
prices of most commodities continue to go up, most
consumers will be priced
out of the market, reducing the size of the market
that can be exploited by
the business community."
retailers this week said they had no choice but to continuously
their prices to factor in escalating operating costs.
Inflation, which rose 64.4 percentage points to 364.5 percent in the
June, is expected to top 500 percent before the end of the year,
upward pressure on production and operating costs.
because of Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary environment,
would increase because of soaring prices, but in real
terms, revenue would
decline because of a fall in sales volumes.
Economists said the
basic economic concept of price elasticity was
already at play in Zimbabwe’s
retail sector, leading to the fall in demand
for certain products in the
"Certain products will only create more revenue for a
firm when their
price goes up and some need a decrease in price to increase
said an economist at the UZ.
He warned that
the misconception that increasing prices would
automatically result in
increase in revenue would affect the earnings of
most companies in the long
Analysts said most consumers around Zimbabwe were now
themselves to buying only essential commodities and discarding
they considered to be luxury items.
said even those essential commodities for which consumers
substitutes would be affected by escalating prices. Among these
whose price has shot up in the last few months.
prices of products with many substitutes will
automatically reduce the demand
for such products," independent economic
consultant John Robertson told the
He said the increase in demand for some
commodities was not being
driven by domestic demand but by cross-border
traders, who are exporting
products to southern African
Robertson said: "Cross-border traders are sucking
commodities from the
local market to regional countries. So, most of the
recorded increase in
demand of certain commodities is emanating from such
traders rather than
from domestic consumers."
say the decline in domestic demand for commodities had
come with a sharp drop
in the standard of living of most Zimbabweans, whose
salaries have not kept
pace with inflation.
Analysts say poverty is rising in
Zimbabwe, with at least 80 percent
of the population estimated to be living
below the poverty datum line.
By Stanley Taderera Business
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
13th July 2003
Weekly media update
Bush’s African safari
Economics of the bread
week witnessed yet another gross abuse of authority when The Herald (8/7)
revealed that government had drafted a law that seeks to criminalize MPs who
boycott presidential addresses, among other issues. According to the report, the
Privileges Amendment Bill stipulates that parliamentarians who “wilfully
absent themselves from parliamentary sittings or interrupt Presidential
addresses to Parliament”, would be “guilty of an offence and
liable to a fine of an amount equivalent to six months’ salary”.
of examining the constitutionality of such a Bill, which is aimed at MDC
legislators whose party does not recognise President Mugabe’s legitimacy as head
of state, the paper seemed to justify such a move by noting that the Bill would
“uphold the dignity of the office of the President”. It repeated
this line of thinking the following day in its article MPs express mixed
reactions over Bill.
again a critical view on the issue was only found in the private media. For
example, Studio 7 (9/7) quoted a constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku
condemning the move as an “indication of their (government)
anti-democratic culture”. The
(10/7) observed that the move was “an assault on one of the remaining
bastions of democracy in a country whose slide into tyranny has been
painful”. The paper rightly observed that the decision was “very
much in the spirit of other repressive legislation” such as POSA and
the arrest of the suspended Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri aptly illustrates the
level of intolerance and repression government has subjected the country to.
Mudzuri was arrested twice within 24 hours and, in both cases, released without
charge, for reporting for duty as usual after the end of his month-long leave.
This was before the High Court had made a ruling on Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo’s application seeking a court order to bar Mudzuri from doing
his mayoral duties. Chombo even directed Harare City Council to withdraw
government-controlled media did not see anything irregular in the government’s
heavy-handedness but presented Mudzuri as stubborn and disobedient. Only the
private media condemned Mudzuri’s persecution and questioned the apparently
overzealous response to Chombo’s orders by the deputy mayor, Sekesai Makwavara
(The Standard and Daily News on Sunday, 13/7).
dismissing US President George Bush’s visit to Africa, particularly South
Africa, as a non-event, the government-controlled media interestingly sent its
senior reporters to Pretoria and Botswana to cover his visits. However, their
efforts did not translate into informative or balanced coverage. They
conveniently selected comments by Bush and his South African counterpart, Thabo
Mbeki, to portray a sudden change of stance by the US to give the distorted
impression that Mbeki had warded off Bush’s earlier calls for Mugabe to step
down and pave the way for the restoration of democracy.
private media handled the issue better. They tried to unravel the diplomatic
language that the two used during their press conference in South Africa and
investigated the behind-the-scenes discussions to show that rather than
relenting, Bush had actually matched his words with action by asking Mbeki to
resolve the Zimbabwean crisis urgently.
Bush’s arrival in South Africa, the government-controlled media was still
engrossed in their bigoted campaign against the US President. For example,
The Herald (7/7) claimed that “ Mr Bush will try to arm-twist South
African President Thabo Mbeki to help him effect so-called regime change in
Zimbabwe”, adding that he was
coming to Africa “with very
dirty hands after his alleged bungling in Iraq”. But
when Bush stated that he was of “one mind” with Mbeki in resolving
the Zimbabwean issue, ZBC (9/7, 8pm), The Herald and
Chronicle (10/7) suddenly toned down their vitriolic and racial attack on
Bush and seemingly embraced his position, which they narrowly interpreted as a
“climb-down” from his earlier stance and therefore a
“snub” to the MDC.
emerged however, that this merely reflected a statement from the Department of
Information, which was used to buttress their stance: “President Bush’s
fleeting and perfunctory reference to Zimbabwe at his Press conference is a loud
climb-down by a president misled, but who now leaves the region better
enlightened about issues at stake”.
government media conveniently ignored the fact that Bush also said: “We
share the same outcome and I think it’s important for the United States, whether
it be me or my Secretary of State, to speak out when we see a situation where
somebody’s freedom has been taken away from him and they are suffering and
that’s what we have to continue to do”. Even
The Daily News (10/7) conspicuously missed this loaded statement in its
coverage of the press conference. However, the paper disputed claims by the
government-controlled media that Bush had conceded to Mbeki’s approach, saying
he had in fact urged the South African leader to “step up pressure on
Zimbabwe” to “return to democracy”.
further rebut the government-controlled media reports, The Daily News
(12/7) quoted the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, saying his country’s
“position is consistent”, adding that, “we believe that
something has to change in Zimbabwe, that under President Mugabe’s leadership
the economy has been driven into the ground”. Bush echoed Powell’s statements after meeting
Botswana President Festus Mogae (The Daily News,
to add weight to The Daily News reports, The Zimbabwe Independent
(11/7) investigated the leaders’ private discussions and quoted diplomatic
sources as having said Mbeki told Bush that Mugabe “has promised to give
up the ZANU PF leadership in December during the party’s annual national
conference” to make way for fresh presidential elections, which the
South Africans allegedly wanted held before June next year. It then quoted “observers”
saying, “Bush’s ready compliance with Mbeki’s stance on Zimbabwe suggests
he has been given firm assurances on Mugabe’s exit”. The report also
revealed that the two leaders discussed “an American
reconstruction package that would be released once Mugabe leaves
office”. The MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, who was part of the
delegation that met some US officials, corroborated this (The Daily News,
was not fooled by the two leaders’ public posturing either. It observed that
Bush had seemingly softened his stance because he had been “ convinced… that indeed change was on
the way in Zimbabwe”.
The Sunday Mirror of the
same day pointed out that Mbeki had told Bush that a “road map” to
the general and presidential elections after constitutional reform was on the
the government-controlled media was determined to drown any alternative
perspective to its propaganda; that Bush had climbed down. For example, The
Herald (12/7) urged the MDC to “engage in constructive dialogue with
humility” after its “failure” to “extract
anti-Zimbabwe vitriol from US leader Mr George Bush”, adding that,
“after his meeting with President Mbeki, Mr Bush evidently got off his
horse and appeared to be a converted man”. It also stated that a
“seeming shift of posture” by Bush and Powell
“punctures the runaway sentiments of the MDC and its allies that a panacea
to the challenges facing Zimbabwe lies with aliens”. The
Chronicle (11/7) echoed similar views, saying Bush’s
“U-turn” was as a “slap in the face” of the MDC. While
describing Bush as a “warmongering cowboy” whose hands “are
dripping with the blood of innocent Iraqis”, The Sunday News
(13/7) claimed that Bush’s statements was proof “that Washington DC has
been fed on a diet of racist lies by anti-Zimbabwean campaigners”.
Whereas the paper blamed racists for misleading Bush, ZTV (10/7, 8pm) quoted an
advocate of ZANU PF policies, William Nhara, accusing the MI5, MI6 and the CIA
of “peddling lies” about Zimbabwe.
broadcaster (11/7, 6pm) then claimed that “a rift had emerged”
within the MDC following Bush’s alleged change of stance and his refusal to meet
members of the opposition. The Sunday News carried a similar claim.
However, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube was reported in the same Sunday
News story as having said his team never had an appointment with Bush but
with members of his entourage responsible for African Affairs. The Daily
News (12/7) revealed that the MDC had met members of the US delegation in
South Africa. The same issue also reported that opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai spoke by phone with the US deputy Secretary of State for African
Affairs Walter Kansteiner while Bush was meeting with Mbeki.
government-controlled media’s distorted coverage of Bush’s meeting with Mbeki
even saw The Herald (10/7) cited Tsvangirai’s statement describing claims
that there were talks between ZANU PF and the MDC as “patently false and
mischievous”, as proof that the MDC leader was “particularly
hurt” by Bush’s “turn-around”.
fact, Tsvangirai had issued this statement on SABC a day before Bush met Mbeki.
(9/7, 8pm) also reported on Tsvangirai’s statements, but then used them to
present the MDC as being confused. It quoted publisher Ibbo Mandaza saying
Tsvangirai’s comments contrasted with those of Nyathi, whom, he alleged, had
told SABC after Mbeki and Bush’s meeting, that talks between the two parties
were taking place at an “informal level”. However,
there seemed to be no such contradiction as claimed by Mandaza when ZTV (11/7,
6pm) aired excerpts of Tsvangirai’s interview on SABC. He was quoted saying that
there had been a “number of emissaries, overtures but then still we are
disappointed that it has not developed into a co-ordinated ZANU PF public desire
for resuscitation of the talks”.
(10/7) also quoted Tsvangirai reiterating that there were “no formal
negotiations and talks between the MDC and ZANU PF”, apart from
“emissaries from various groups that include churches, civic groups and
indeed the South African government ” who were “shuttling”
between the two parties to resuscitate last year’s aborted talks. Tsvangirai
even found an unusual ally within ZANU PF on the issue. The Financial Gazette (10/7) quoted
ZANU PF secretary for external affairs, Didymus Mutasa, as saying, “I am
totally unaware of what Mbeki is talking about. If the talks are going on, they
must be very secret, but with my position in the party I would have been
informed of any resumption of talks”. Studio 7 (9/7) also quoted Mutasa
making similar statements adding that ZANU PF was taking steps to resolve the
crisis without the participation of the MDC.
the parties’ denial of any formal talks between themselves, Mbeki insisted
during the Pretoria press conference that ZANU PF and the MDC “are engaged
in discussions on all of the matters that will be relevant to the resolution of
the economic and political problems”, The Herald and
his claims were based on revelations that Catholic Priest Fidelis Mukonori, who
has been reported as being Mugabe’s emissary, met Tsvangirai just before Mbeki
met Bush, to push for the resumption of talks between the two parties (The
Daily News, 12/7).
surprisingly, the government-controlled media, which wanted to give the
impression that Mugabe’s leadership was no longer a bone of contention for
America and SADC, ignored the report. Instead, they (ZBC, 11/7, 8pm, The
Sunday News and The Sunday Mail 13/7) reinforced the notion that the
region and Africa in general supported Mugabe’s leadership as demonstrated by
his election as one of the five African Union vice-chairmen during the Maputo
summit. Mugabe was himself quoted as saying his election “put paid to
those in hostile circles who think that Zimbabwe is being isolated”.
calculated failure by the government-controlled media to investigate and
thoroughly analyse political undercurrents surrounding Bush and Mbeki’s resolve
on Zimbabwe resulted in The Standard rightly observing that their stance
“ demonstrates the naivety of the Zanu PF propaganda
economics of bread
paralysis in its management of the economy was exposed when bakers unilaterally
hiked the price of a loaf of bread to Z$1,000 in spite of price controls
following an increase in wheat prices by the Grain Marketing Board (The Daily
News, 7/7 and Studio 7, 8/7). Apart from The Sunday Mail, the
government-controlled media, perhaps reflecting the government’s attitude
towards the issue, largely ignored the news.
fact, government’s failure to issue a statement on the matter only reflected its
failure to implement its price monitoring policy while at the same time ensuring
the availability of basic commodities, which are readily available on the black
market at a higher price than that pegged by government.
report of the recent bread price hike, The Daily News quoted the Bakers
Association’s Armitage Chikwavira as having said, “ the price increase was
a ‘life-and-death’ issue, with most bakers likely to close down if the
government forced them to reverse the hike”. He pointed out that
government had not sanctioned the hike, saying they had made an application but
had not received any response.
the paper was breaking such disturbing news, The Herald and
Chronicle of the same day diverted the attention of the public from such
pressing matters with reports celebrating Zimbabwe’s first ever qualification -
through the benevolence of Gabon - for the African Nations Cup soccer
tournament. The papers did not even follow up the story or seek comment from
government on such an important issue.
sister weekly, The Sunday Mail (13/7) tried to blame retailers saying
they were ignoring government’s ill-fated price controls. But the paper failed
to challenge government on why it had not reviewed bread prices to bring them
into line with wheat prices. The
paper did, however, quote the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe noting that the
latest bread price increase, among other commodities, had pushed the minimum
wage to about $150, 000.
(10/7), also reported on the sharp rise in the cost of living for urban
dwellers. However, its table on the costs of basic expenses was severely
conservative. For example, it pegged the basic rentals for two rooms at $11,000 a month when one room costs far more
than that. The
(11/7) pointed out that worse was still to come. It reported that millers wanted
to increase the price of mealie-meal by between 700% and 1 000% following the
GMB’s increase in the selling price of maize.
revealed that the problem was so serious that millers in Beitbridge had stopped
operations because of the new maize prices. The report quoted the District
Administrator for Beitbridge appealing to millers to resume business, naively
saying the new prices for maize “are only temporary as talks are still
going on with the central government with a view to review the maize
(13/7) however, revealed that government was not negotiating maize prices but
was meeting “millers to resolve their impasse on the pricing of
of the media went onto the streets to seek the views of consumers on the runaway
cost of living.
MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702,
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look
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website at http://www.mmpz.org.zw
You wouldnt believe this
place. I battle to myself, and I live here, and have been through the processes
to get here.
The Hon Thabo MbekI says
everything is fine here. Well, maybe this is how he would like
We needed five-and-a-half
million bucks today - to buy fuel at 1100 per litre. We have the money in the
bank, its been ready and waiting for just this situation. But we cant get the
money out in cash..it needs to be in cash, you see. This the only way anyone
can get the forex-for-fuel (still, its all a bit slow to catch up, you see) And
this isnt helped by the noxious oilco being on the market also. We tried both
our banks, and they very sweetly told us that all they bank is
Everybody's doin' it. It
the only way to do anything. And to cash a cheque now, you pay, for the
zimdollar, 12.5%. It is awesome. I was told this morning that to cash 10
million, you get 1million - Tony says its better than the paint business. So we
phoned a contact, and got our money, for a mere 675grand! Luckily we had made
about that having it on TBs for a bit. The story goes that someone has bought a
Monopoly set recently, and has tenderly put away the monopoly money, and use
real zimds, as the monopoly money is worth something when you sell the game in
pristine condition. What I really want to know is what our accountant is going
to do with all this stuff for the taxman.
I hear that the Hon Min.
MadE was jolly cross this week. I think he heard that the export cattle area
has foot-and-mouth. Meanwhile there is this big chunk of money been put aside
to feed all the cattle for export....and for rebuilding the breeding herd! All
I ever see is 00s and 00s of acres of vacant grass. Maybe there will be a good
price for heifers at last. And there are these grand plans for the wheat crop -
which someone has just measured and found to be down 60% Well wait till someone
has a close look at the crops that are in the ground. What was that one about
There is much less traffic
on the roads, but despite that we see another multimillion dollar pile up each
time we travel - this week it was huge rolls of brown paper smouldering at the
side of the road. Bread is quite readily available now, I bought 2 beautiful
loaves this week, for "only" 800 - compared to the scaffy loaves last week for
1060, it was great. 3 pies, 2 fantas, 2 apple slices, 2 bread - 6000 bucks.
I dont know if people are
hopeful or not, they shake their head a lot, and moan about no money. They
obviously went into this with no zim cash under the bed. Silly billies. It is
all just going on too long now, and quite honestly there does not seem to be an
end in sight. Those in the right positions are having too much fun to let it
We were given a milk price
increase of 25%, to 420 per litre - the stockfeed company immediately whacked up
the price of feed by 48% - I hear its now 500 000 per tonne. Maybe if the herd
gets foot-and-mouth I can just humanely destroy the lot, and not bother any
But people are still
smiling. We have all decided that shopping is for another time, another place,
and I see the supermarkets are getting cold feet - at 364% inflation, they'd
better. Sadly 5000 or so fatcats are just not going to keep their tills ringing
that merry little tune. Gosh I do hope they dont ask for sympathy - they didnt
give us much in the last three years.
Have a good day,
Mugabe re-election case to be heard in
July 18, 2003, 20:15
High Court will sit in November to hear an opposition
case against President
Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election last year,
court and opposition
officials said today. They said the Registrar of the
High Court set November
3 for the start of the case, filed by Morgan
Tsvangirai, the opposition
leader, soon after the March 2002 presidential
polls which he said Mugabe won
through rigging and intimidation.
Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) went to the
court last month to demand a date for the
hearing, accusing the government
of dragging its feet on the case against
Mugabe - who says he won the
elections fairly. "We are disappointed at this
further delay of this very
important matter but we have reluctantly accepted
the position because at
least now a fixed date for the hearing has been set,"
David Coltart, the MDC
legal affairs secretary, said in a
Mugabe has pressed the MDC to drop the legal
challenge as a
condition of re-opening talks on Zimbabwe's deepening
political and economic
crisis. The MDC has refused saying it has a right to
seek redress in the
courts for an election condemned as highly fraudulent by
powers. - Reuters
Zimbabwe inflation on course for 1 000%
July 18 2003 at
Zimbabwe's powerful labour movement has called on
President Robert Mugabe
and his entire cabinet to resign as inflation soared
from 300 percent to
Inflation is on course to reach the
1 000 percent peak predicted by many
economists by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general
Chibebe said his organisation was appalled by Mugabe's failure to
measures to ease the economic crisis, which had now led even to a
of Zimbabwe dollar notes.
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa
recently vowed to reduce inflation to 100
percent but economists said this
"If it were any other democracy the entire government
would have resigned
for presiding over the mess that this economy is in,"
Because of the shortage of banknotes, he
said, many employers were not
paying cash to workers who are paid
Those paid in cheques were unable to access their salaries, as
were limiting withdrawals to Z$5 000 a customer - not enough to buy
bag of mealie meal.
Paydays had become a nightmare, with workers
having to queue for hours at
banks, Chibebe said.
The government had
failed to pay salaries for June to many civil servants
because of the
shortages of notes.
Economists say the 364,5 percent official inflation
inflation, as it is based on official prices rather than the
Most of the goods on the Consumer Price Index, used
to calculate the
inflation rate by the Central Statistical Office, are in
fact available only
on the parallel or black market, at prices far higher
than those charged by
Economist John Robertson
said projections by the International Monetary Fund
that the inflation level
would end the year at 500 percent now looked very
would reach the 1 000 percent mark this year, even if the
continued calculating it using official prices for commodities.
.. This article was originally published on page 4 of The Cape Argus on
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE
PR COMMUNIQUE - July 18, 2003
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Leadership is a challenge and poor leadership needs
In 1995 a small group of people, from Harare, led by a
combination of a Business Management CEO and the CEO of a
indigenous Bank formed "The Leadership Challenge". The group
fairly representative body of people from various sectors of
including a commercial farmers wife, who saw the need for
leadership. Leadership in the home, the workplace, the community
country. They saw the need for the concept of principled leadership
become ingrained in every Zimbabwean.
What do we look for in
Leaders? First and foremost - Honesty, Integrity,
amongst other things, focused, transparent, proactive,
creative. They are servants of the people.
Managers manage what is -
Leaders create what is to be!
Where have our Leaders taken us? What have
they created? Economic chaos
with 90% of Zimbabweans now living in poverty,
with 50% below the food
datum line, leading to a humanitarian disaster
unprecedented in the region.
Why? Power corrupts, and absolute power
corrupts absolutely? The
solution? Commitment. Commitment to change,
within ourselves, our
leadership and our country.
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
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send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
email@example.com with "For Open Letter
Forum" in the subject
In response to Marie's letter in the Jag Open Letter Forum 115, I
like to suggest that if she is actually experiencing the time delays
speaks of (as opposed to being a typical Zimbabwean and complaining
anything has actually gone wrong) she changes banks and clearing
1. I go to the bank in the morning on the way to work with a copy
US$ invoice and fill in the CD1 - it takes about 15 minutes.
I take the CD1 to the clearing agent.
3. I go to work.
following morning on my way to work I go to the clearing agent and
all the export documents.
And... before anyone says I hit it lucky - I
have done this dozens of times
and the longest delay I have encountered is 48
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
Sunday Times (SA)
Zimbabwe government 'appeals for
Friday July 18, 2003 11:52 -
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government, faced with severe food
threatening nearly half the population, has appealed to
for continued food assistance, a newspaper said
The state-controlled Herald quoted Social Welfare Minister July
saying a request for aid had been made but could not state the
"The decision (to appeal for food aid) has been
made and it will be
communicated through the ministry of finance," Moyo told
The UN's food agency - the World Food Programme (WFP) - had
said it needed a
formal appeal from the Zimbabwe government before it could
Last month the agency, which is tasked
with spearheading emergency food
distribution here, announced it would
require more food aid contributions by
In a separate
report, the private Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said Friday
had appealed for between 600,000 and 800,000 tonnes of food
aid from the
Aid agencies estimate that 5.5 million Zimbabweans will this year be
of food aid because of severe shortages caused by drought and
controversial land reform programme.
The government blames the
shortages purely on a drought that last year
ravaged the entire southern
The UN food agency has said that as of May this year it
had, together with
partner organisations, distributed 346,000 tonnes of food
aid to 4.7 million
people in Zimbabwe.
Zim food price showdown
18/07/2003 19:33 -
Harare - Government attempts to enforce price controls on key
triggered a showdown with producers on Friday and was expected to
collapsing economy deeper into crisis.
Four main bakeries
were ordered to pay fines for allegedly increasing the
price of regular bread
four fold in violation of a government price freeze,
police and bakers
reported on Friday.
The Ministry of Industry also told millers of the
corn meal staple in a
letter that a 500% increase in the price of corn meal
this week had not been
authorized by the government and was
Ronald Madombe, the third ranking ministry official, said
offenders may be
prosecuted for violating price control laws.
state-run Grain Marketing Board, which has a monopoly on grain
announced earlier this month massive increases in the price of wheat
corn to bakers and millers.
It increased the price of a ton of
corn about 2 000% from 9 600 to Z$211
000. It raised the price of a ton of
wheat about 1 000% from 30 000 to Z$366
Armitage Chikwavira, head
of the Bakers Association, said bakers had sought
approval of increases but
the government had not responded. Retail prices
were hiked anyway to about
Z$1 000 a loaf, defying the fixed government
price of Z$250.
official currency exchange rate is Z$824 to the US$, but trading on
thriving black market is as much as 2 700-1.
Cecilia Churu said four Harare bakeries were each
ordered to pay fines of
Z$5m for overcharging.
She said the action followed an outcry about
consumers about the increases.
Chikwavira said bakers will go out of
business, worsening the shortages, if
they cannot pass on the government
"There is no way the baking industry is going to survive under
conditions," he said, adding his association may go to court to
Milling companies and food stores said despite
Madombe's letter no action
had yet been taken against them for raising the
price of the corn meal
staple from the controlled price of 100 to Z$680 a
Executives at one of the nation's largest food store chains
said they would
refuse to pay fines and would challenge the price freeze in
Court, Zimbabwe's highest court.
Corn meal began
reappearing on store shelves at the new price this week.
inflation rose last month to 364%, according to the state Central
Office, up from 300% in May.
Unofficial inflation estimates taking into
account a wide range of price
increases and a thriving black market in food
and gasoline put it nearer
Black market gasoline and corn
already fetch as much as five times fixed
prices. Most regular gas stations
have been dry for the past month.
Part of the deepening economic crisis
is blamed on a state program that
seized thousands of white-owned commercial
farms for redistribution to black
Hard currency earnings
from tobacco, tourism and mining have collapsed.
Investment and foreign
aid has largely ended in protest of human rights
abuses and the disputed
presidential elections last year that gave President
Robert Mugabe another
six-year term in office.
Passport application ordeal: Reporter asked to renounce
After two months of waiting, Herald correspondent Joseph
Katete returned to
the Passport Office yesterday to submit his application
form. But his hopes
of obtaining a passport soon were dashed. Read on for
IT is now two months since I visited the Harare Passport
Office when I
collected a passport application form.
I was told to
submit it on July 18 and I had been looking forward to this
not wake up as early as 4am this time around mainly for two reasons:
first is that the chilly winter morning made it difficult for me to wake
early, and secondly, my application form had a number on it. I had
that this was going to determine my position in the queue.
Some of the
people who I had befriended in the queues at the Passport Office
had assured me, too, that there was no need to wake up early since
been given numbers.
But surprisingly, when I arrived at the Passport
Office just after 8am, I
was told to join the queue by an old man who works
I tried to explain to him that my position in the queue should be
23, but he
said he would only attend to those who had come
Hopelessly, I joined the queue but before that I complained to a
whose signature appeared on my application form. She could not help
"People are going to be served according to their order of
coming. So go and
join the queue," she said.
She said the number that
was written on the application form was only to
identify the number of forms
that had been issued on a particular day.
In the queue I had to wait for
another one-and-half hours before I submitted
the form. When my turn came, a
good nurtured looking young man asked for my
birth certificate and
He did not take time to politely tell me that since
my parents were not born
in Zimbabwe, I had to go to the Citizenship Office
to denounce my foreign
citizenship by descent.
In the Citizenship
Office, a lady explained that a law was enacted in 2001
Amendment Act) stating that all those born in Zimbabwe but
by parents who
were not Zimbabwean citizens, should have renounced their
six months ago.
"After filling the forms renouncing your foreign
citizenship you then apply
for registration as a citizen of this country and
you will be required to
pay $30 000," she said.
The whole process of
renouncing my foreign citizenship and registering as a
approved, the woman said, would take at least six months.
Before she had
even finished explaining to me, a young couple with a baby
They wanted to get a birth certificate for their child but had been
to this office because the wife’s parents were not
This did not go down well with the husband who started
shouting that it was
unfair for the child since both its parents were
"I am the father of this child and I was born here and so
did her mother.
Why are you refusing to issue us with a birth certificate?"
fumed the man.
Maybe sensing danger, the official referred the couple to
that deals with identification cards so that the wife would
get a new one
showing she was alien.
As for me, this was a great
I did not know what to do. It has never occurred to me that the
laws of this
country regard me as an alien.
The battle to get that
important document continues and it seems the war is
still very far from
Having a passport by the end of the year remains but a dream. I
choice but to renounce "my" foreign citizenship.
See the article posted yesterday from the Daily News - "State fails to
for rural electrification"
By Ruth Butaumocho
RURAL electrification which had
remained an elusive dream to many over the
past decades, has become a reality
for thousands of families in the country.
As thousands of women walk
towards the hills to look for firewood daily,
this is no longer so for Mrs
Junia Mudyambanje and a few others from
Chirombo Village under Chief
Chinamora in Domboshawa, one of the areas that
It always puts a smile on these women’s faces to know that
want to cook, they do not have to worry about firewood, thanks
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority community-driven initiative
brought electricity to their doorsteps a few years ago.
be one of the major capital projects to be implemented after
the rural electrification programme, a brainchild of the
brought a new lease of life to the majority poor in the
For a number of families in Chirombo Village, having
living in the rural areas, has equated their social
standing with that of
people living in towns and cities.
heard about the Zesa community driven electricity project from the
councillor of the area in 1994, more than 40 villagers took interest in
During the course of its implementation, many people dropped
realising that they would be required to make regular contributions
The Mudyambanje family was among those that went
along with demands of the
project until they had electricity installed at
their homestead in 2000.
"During the project, we were required to pay
monthly installments towards
"Years went by, and those
who were not patient, demanded their money back,
saying the project was
taking longer than expected," said Mrs Mudyambanje.
The villagers’ dream
was realised when electricity was installed in the area
after nearly eight
years of waiting.
The successful implementation of the programme has
brought social and
economic benefits to many people in the area, who have
entrepreneurs, though at a small scale.
Some families in
the area have since started income-generation projects like
production of 'freezits' and sewing among other ventures.
initiatives have become a money-spinner for many families.
electrification of the area has also enabled small-scale businesses
enhance capacities of their existing projects, thus generating
Mrs Mudyambanje says besides using the
electricity for domestic purposes,
she is now able to irrigate her small
vegetable plot using an electric pump.
Although her husband is unemployed
the family continues to enjoy a
comfortable life from money they get from a
number of income-generating
initiatives they have started.
we are using to pay electricity is actually being realised from
the sale of
vegetables," she proudly declared.
Electrification of the area has not
only benefited a few individuals, but
has also boosted adult literacy groups
in the community, as many people are
now attending night schools with the
view of improving their social status.
Unlike her neighbour, who is
ecstatic about the transformation that
electricity has brought to her family,
Mrs Nomatter Vhovha feels that it is
expensive and not at all necessary for
daily use, especially in rural areas.
"The tariffs (electricity) are too
high. I am unemployed and my husband is
"Most times I have to
assist some villagers in recharging their car
batteries, for a small fee, and
this alone is not enough," she said.
Another group among several others
that are soon to benefit from the
community driven rural electrification
project is that of Mwanza village in
Although there are
several months to go before the project can be completed
a number of families
have expressed a keen interest in embarking on income
Mrs Lucia Nyamayaro of Kudyarawanza Village in Goromonzi is
among the group
of villagers who have pooled their resources together to have
Although she is currently using a solar
panel, she says she cannot wait to
start using electricity.
a number of income-generating projects that we intend to
implement once we
have electricity. Although at the moment we are
comfortable and seem to be
managing well, we would however want to improve
things," said Mrs
Over 1 529 projects have been completed so far under the
electrification projects with the majority of them being in
Provinces like Matabeleland North and South have few
completed projects, but
have the highest number of projects still in
The programme that is estimated to cost over $25 billion is
expected to be
complete in 2005.
About $11 billion will go towards end
user infrastructure financing, a new
concept that will help rural communities
buy electricity-consuming machinery
such as grinding mills, irrigation pumps
and sewing machines.
The remaining $14 billion would be used for power
Since its inception phase in 1997, the major source of
funding for the
programme has been the rural Electrification Fund Levy, which
is 6 percent
of electricity bills on consumers.
To date, the utility
has raised $2 billion through the issuing of bonds and
is in the process of
raising another $5 billion.
The ultimate result of these programmes is a
great stride in improving the
standard of living for everyone in the