CIO GETS TOUGH ON CHEATING OFFICERS Thurs 22 July
HARARE - Several officers from the country's spy agency, the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIO), have been arrested, suspended or dismissed
from the organisation after extorting money from individuals, companies
and institutions suspected of having externalised foreign currency.
The officers, mostly in the junior and middle ranks, were moving around
Harare and other cities in the country collecting ransom and promising
their victims that they would not be touched under the government's
financial sector clean-up campaign.
Nicholas Goche, the Minister
of State Security responsible for the CIO, confirmed that an operative based
at the department's offices at Harare Central Police station had been
arrested and that several other cases were being investigated.
Goche said the officer was now appearing before the courts and appropriate
action would be taken when the court case was over. "What happens is once an
officer is arrested they are suspended pending the outcome of his or her
court case and if found guilty he or she is dismissed automatically," said
Minister Goche. He urged the public and business people to report to his
ministry any untoward practice by his officers.
"Some cases have
never been brought to my attention and it is better to bring such cases to us
before you publicise them because you alert those involved," he said. A
senior official at the ministry's headquarters, who spoke on condition
of anonymity, told Zim Online that cases of extortion and corruption
in the department are "rampant and a number of officers have been dismissed
and others are appearing in the courts."
The official said apart
from the foreign currency cases, some of the officers in question had also
been arrested after confiscating gold from panners and dealers. In one such
case, officers from the CIO together with colleagues from the Zimbabwe
Republic Police's Criminal Investigations Department arrested a gold trader,
saying he had no license to sell gold.
They confiscated his 5kg of
gold and ordered him to go and obtain a licence.. When he turned up at
Borrowdale police station days later with his licence, the CID and CIO
officers had sold 4kg of the gold. They were arrested and sent to the
magistrates court before being dismissed from the service. Last month,
Lazarus Guzha, a CIO operative based at Harare Central police
station offices, was arrested after trying to get about $2 million ransom
from a city businessman under investigation for alleged illegal foreign
Guzha, who spent two weeks behind bars, is out on
bail and has been suspended by the spy agency.
In most cases
where staff have committed such crimes, the CIO has been quick to disown
them, saying they were bogus officers, in a move seen as a way of sprucing up
the organisationıs tainted image. But Minister Goche said the CIO had no
place for corrupt officers.
The government's corruption clean-up
campaign spearheaded by Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, has called in
officers from CIO, CID and the recently created Anti-Corruption and
Anti-Monopolies Ministry. Zim Online
Minister ignores pleas for food aid from provincial
governors Thurs 22 July 2004
BULAWAYO - Four provincial
governors have written to the government asking it to authorize
non-governmental rganizations to resume feeding programmes and avert mass
starvation. But Paul Mangwana, the minister of public service, labour and
social welfare, has not responded to the letters, some written a month ago,
despite mounting starvation in rural and urban areas, government sources said
According to the government's new policy on food aid,
donor agencies can only operate in specific areas upon receiving
authorisation letters from the ministry of public service, labour and social
welfare.The ministry acts on recommendations from provincial governors. The
governors of Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South and Bulawayo had told the
minister that people in their provinces were starving and in urgent need of
food aid, the sources said. But Mangwana, in keeping with the
governmentıs assertion that there would be enough food for Zimbabwe, had
largely ignored the governorsı letters.
Bulawayo governor Cain
Mathema wrote to the Minister a month ago asking him to authorize World
Vision to resume the urban feeding programme, said a senior official in his
office. Neither Mangwana nor Mathema could be reached for comment.
While the government claims that the country has experienced a bumper harvest
enough to supply all its citizensı needs, United Nations assessment reports
indicate that 2,3 million Zimbabweans will need food assistance this year.
ZIMVAC, which comprises NGO and government representatives, has
also indicated that the country did not harvest enough crops to feed
Although Zim Online could not get copies
of the letters, Masvingo governor Josiah Hungwe confirmed that he had written
to central government saying that he needed donor organizations to resume
feeding people in his province.. However, Hungwe said, this was because
farmers had been duped by donor organizations into planting the wrong
varieties resulting in low yields. Care International has
acknowledged that it gave my people the wrong seed. So the hunger here has
nothing to do with land reform. Care (International) should come back and
feed the people because it was wrong in the first place to give people the
wrong seed. We need food, yes, but the need is not of our own making. I have
informed the relevant government minister about our problem here, said
World Vision Zimbabwe and the Catholic Relief Services
(CRS) have been forced to delay the implementation of an urban feeding
programme called the Market Assistance Program (MAP), worth over $10 billion,
in Bulawayo, peri-urban Harare and Chitungwiza as a result of governmentıs
reluctance to issue the necessary authorization letters. About 1 million
people, including malnourished children, were supposed to benefit from the
programme, which sought to provide cheap sorghum to urban dwellers
and was supposed to be launched two weeks ago.
Jean Claude Mukadi,
the World Vision director for relief, denied that his organization was facing
problems in implementing the programme. We have not experienced any
challenges with the ministry. It granted us authority early last year to set
up the programme and World Vision is only taking over from CRS, which are set
to implement a similar programme in Chitungwiza (a dormitory town near
Harare). But authoritative sources within the organization insisted that
World Vision had been asked to seek fresh approval for their project, as had
CRS for its Chitungwiza project, the sources said.
was asked by the government to go and collect letters from respective
Governors giving testimony that they really wanted the organisation to
continue with food aid, and the governors submitted these letters to the
ministry which should have given the go ahead. To date World Vision is just
sitting on tons and tons of sorghum because the government has not
acted on the governorsı letters.
Added a top official with the UN
food agency arm, The World Food Programme (WFP): They (government officials)
might delay but they will come back to us for assistance. People are
starving, really starving and no-one, even those turned insane by politics,
will contest that Zimbabwe is in dire need of food aid. But for any
meaningful food assistance to come to Zimbabwe then there be will be need for
a new MOU (memorandum of Understand) and the government doesnıt seem to be in
a hurry. The official said the forecast figure of 2,3 million was
expected to rise due to increased poverty in urban areas. A number of city
councils have already started feeding programmes of their own because of
rising urban poverty. Bulawayo City Council has reported 65 starvation
related deaths this year alone.
The United States government on
Tuesday accused the Harare regime of trying to curtail donor activity in the
country. Said US state department spokesman Richard Boucher: "We've
been deeply concerned the Mugabe government is using its monopoly on food
distribution to manipulate food availability for political ends, and ...
there needs to be another track of food distribution available to people. Zim
UK urged to denounce Mugabe's 'evil regime' By Anton La
Guardia, Diplomatic Editor (Filed: 22/07/2004)
Ncube, one of the most trenchant critics of President Robert Mugabe,
yesterday urged Britain to shed its post-colonial "complex" and take the lead
in denouncing the "evil" of Zimbabwe's regime.
Britain has been reluctant
to confront Zimbabwe directly, preferring to work behind the scenes to
persuade African countries and the European Union to increase pressure on Mr
Archbishop Pius Ncube Officials argue that if
Britain becomes too prominent, it would encourage Mr Mugabe's policy of
playing the race card and presenting Zimbabwe's crisis as a dispute with its
former colonial ruler.
But the Most Rev Ncube, the Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Bulawayo, argued that Britain's silence played into Mr Mugabe's
"Mugabe has got Britain where he wants them. He blames the evil on
Tony Blair but it is he who perpetrates evil on his own people.
should not allow him to hoodwink everybody. He is 100 per cent responsible
for the suffering of the people."
Urging Britain to "stand strongly", the
archbishop said Mr Mugabe cared about what London said despite his
He said Mr Mugabe used to delight at shopping in London. "He
admires Britain secretly. Listen to how he expresses himself. His accent is
unique among Africans.
"Mugabe knows what is right. He got a good
Catholic education, which is against oppression. But he is too embarrassed,
too proud to own up to the fact that he has done evil."
was also critical of the silence of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki,
calling him "a disappointment".
Archbishop Ncube, one of the few
Zimbabwean religious figures ready to denounce Mr Mugabe openly, reserved
some of his strongest words to chastise world Churches for failing to stand
up to Zimbabwe.
Accusing Mr Mugabe of using food shortage as a political
weapon, to starve opponents and feed those who vote for him, he asked: "What
would Jesus Christ say if he were here today?
"Would he keep quiet
when people are being held to ransom? The Churches are betraying Jesus
Christ. They must speak out - all of them. People must speak up when people
The archbishop hinted that the England cricket team
should not play in Zimbabwe this year.
"In a healthy situation,
politics and sport should be separated," he said.
"But in an unhealthy
situation . . . all occasions should be used to make a protest against a
government as evil and oppressive as that of Zimbabwe."
Mercenary gang goes on trial for plotting revolution By
Peta Thornycroft in Harare and David Blair, Africa Correspondent (Filed:
Africa's largest mercenary trial in recent history began
yesterday at a Zimbabwean maximum security prison as hundreds of soldiers
patrolled the forbidding walls and razor wire outside.
accused men struggled into a makeshift courtroom inside Chikurubi jail in leg
irons and handcuffs. Their alleged leader, Simon Mann, an old Etonian and
former SAS officer, was chained to another prisoner.
All wore thin,
tattered shorts and shirts - the regulation uniform of prison khaki that
provides scant protection from the winter cold. Mann's hair has grown to his
shoulders behind bars.
The men were detained after landing at Harare
airport four months ago and are accused of conspiring to depose the
government of the tiny, oil-rich West African nation of Equatorial Guinea
with weapons bought in Zimbabwe.
They are charged with violating
Zimbabwe's immigration, firearms and security laws and if convicted they face
penalties ranging from fines to five years in prison. But what they most fear
is being extradited to Equatorial Guinea where they could be
About 50 members of the men's families gathered at the prison
outside Harare carrying parcels of dried foods, ketchup and lavatory
Local reporters allowed into the prison said wives wiped away
tears as the suspects shuffled in to the hearing.
In the aftermath of
their arrest in March, Guinean state radio urged all citizens to be on the
alert for suspicious foreigners. The authorities, who are notorious for
torturing prisoners, promptly rounded up 15 South Africans in Malabo, the
capital. One, Nick du Toit, has made a televised confession.
Zimbabwean court assembled more than two hours late. Stephen Musona,
the state prosecutor, immediately asked for an adjournment until today.
Francois Joubert, the leading defence lawyer, raised no objection and the
hearing ended after five minutes.
The adjournment prolongs the ordeal
of the relatives. "You don't expect anything," said one. "You don't hold your
breath. It changes every day."
The case has been continually delayed
since the men were arrested after landing in a Boeing 727 hired by
Prosecutors say the aircraft stopped in Harare to collect weapons
from Zimbabwe's state-owned defence industry. But instead of receiving
their arms, the men were arrested.
Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa's
intelligence minister, has confirmed that his agents tipped off their
Zimbabwean counterparts before the plane touched down.
pre-trial hearings, prosecutors claimed that Mann made a £1 million deal with
Equatorial Guinea's exiled opposition leader, Severo Moto, to bring him to
Mann, who holds South African and British citizenship and lives in
Cape Town, has been involved with soldiers of fortune in various African
wars since 1989. He was expressionless during the opening hearing and
has apparently passed his captivity reading the works of Shakespeare. None
of his relatives were present.
The Zimbabweans mounted a large
security operation to guard against any attempt to rescue the men, all of
whom are South African except for Mann. Five armoured personnel carriers
patrolled the prison's perimeter throughout the morning.
Africa's constitutional court is due to hear an urgent appeal for
the accused, excluding Mann, to be extradited to face trial at
Legal sources said that defence and prosecuting lawyers had drawn
up an agreed statement of facts, which would see all the accused admitting
the offences under Zimbabwean law in return for light sentences.
US ambassador to S. Africa hits out at
Zimbabwe by STAFF EDITORS (7/22/2004)
violations in Zimbabwe have been slammed by the outgoing US ambassador to
South Africa, Cameron Hume. In an exclusive interview with the Pretoria News,
Hume lashed out at Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's apparent need for
"another year" to study an African Union human rights report on his
Speaking a week before the end of his term of office, Hume said
he believed South Africa had been damaged directly in its own national
interest because of the flow of refugees from Zimbabwe, and the impact on its
Asked whether he thought the South African Government should
become more vocal on the Zimbabwe crisis, he said real diplomacy needed to
extend to the question of what kind of strategy one was applying.
strategy had to be realistic.
Hume believed events in Zimbabwe were not
only of concern to that country's citizens, but also legitimately of concern
to others - South Africans in particular.
He said the US was aware of
the fact that it was hard to fix problems in another country.
had had its own experience of this in Haiti in the 90s and was also finding
it difficult in Iraq.
"It's a little hard to be prescriptive. However,
such things as the AU (African Union) deciding that Mr Mugabe needs another
year to read a human rights report in order to know what is going on in his
country absolutely stretches my credulity."
"If he doesn't know the
degree of human rights violations in Zimbabwe it could only be because he
doesn't want to know."
Hume said one in 10 Zimbabweans were Aids orphans
and questioned what protection existed for a 14-year-old girl whose parents
had died of Aids.
"What is her prognosis?"
"Does Mr Mugabe think
of that before he goes to bed at night? I frankly doubt it," said
In report tabled at the recent AU summit in Addis Ababa, Mugabe's
government was lambasted for flagrant human rights abuses.
slammed the government for the arrests and torture of opposition MPs and
human rights lawyers, the arrests of journalists, the stifling of freedom of
expression and clampdowns on other civil liberties.
minister, Stan Mudenge, protested against the adoption of the report by the
AU, saying the Zimbabwe government had not been given an opportunity to
review or respond to the report.
It was to have responded to it earlier
this month, but has not.
One of Zimbabwe's most influential religious figures
yesterday called on opponents of Robert Mugabe's regime to protest when the
country's cricketers meet England in the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston in
September. Archbishop Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic cleric who led protests
during Australia's World Cup fixture against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last year,
said that under Mugabe's "evil" regime sport was a legitimate arena for
England will meet Zimbabwe on September 10, and in October they
have five one-day internationals scheduled in Zimbabwe. The Test series was
cancelled when Zimbabwe's Test status was withdrawn after 15 white players
Ncube, visiting London to raise awareness of
human-rights abuses, stopped short of calling for England to boycott the tour
but said protests were appropriate. "In an unhealthy situation people have
the right to protest," he said. "Robert Mugabe is president of the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union and in Zimbabwe everything is political, even
"Every opportunity should be used to protest against the evil that
is being carried out in Zimbabwe by this dictator against its people. Life
is impossible and the suffering is huge. The most important thing to
remember is the suffering of the ordinary people who just want food on the
table and a roof above their head. Everything else is a distraction from that
On Monday Ncube will meet Mike Soper, the deputy chairman of the
ECB who opposes the tour, and will tell him that human-rights abuses in
Zimbabwe are routine.
Protests marked Zimbabwe's last appearance in
England in May 2003 and Jonathan Chibata, 22, a Zimbabwean in exile, is ready
to protest at Edgbaston. "This is a good opportunity to show our feelings,"
he said. "It is not fair to attack the cricketers but cricket is the only
context in which my country is discussed here. We should be talking about the
abuses that have made the tour such an issue." The impasse between the ZCU
and the rebel players moved a step closer to being broken, meanwhile, when
the players agreed to enter into arbitration with the board. "We have to do
it to try to play some cricket," their lawyer Chris Venturas said.
players were sacked after refusing to play, in protest at the removal
of Heath Streak as captain in a dispute over selection policies, which
they viewed as racially biased. The ZCU initially resisted arbitration
but relented after the players brought proceedings through the
International Cricket Council. Those proceedings will now be dropped and the
arbitration process should end within 52 days.
IN what could be the
clearest sign yet that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) remains
sitting on the fence as regards next year's election, the opposition party
this week admitted that it is, to all intents and purposes, undecided whether
or not to participate in the crucial poll.
News that the opposition
party has adopted a wait-and-see attitude with regards to the next poll comes
after it emerged that a shadowy political grouping to be known as the Broad
Alliance - suspected to have strong links with the main opposition MDC - is
envisaged to be launched in Harare next week. Its specific brief would be to
gauge the mood of the voters in the run-up to next year's polls. The polls
are slated for March 2005 but the exact dates have not been made
Impeccable sources within the MDC yesterday said that one
of the priorities of the Broad Alliance would be to gauge the temperature of
the country's treacherous political waters and ascertain from the
electorate whether or not the MDC should boycott the polls.
While the signal the MDC has been sending is that it has President Robert
Mugabe on the ropes after he experienced a severe crisis of public confidence
in the face of the shrunken state of the once-robust economy, its decision to
participate in next year's poll will be very much dependent on the exercise
being undertaken by the Broad Alliance, the sources said.
by the MDC comes at a time when ZANU PF, its main rival which has been
reluctant to renounce its monopoly on power, is already girding its loins for
what could be another watershed poll in Zimbabwe's
Although views and opinions were starkly
divided over whether this was the best way forward for the MDC, a significant
number of observers said that the apparent indecision on the part of the MDC,
which many thought could capitalise on voter anger, could have far-reaching
In terms of opposition politics in Zimbabwe, the
MDC, led by the firebrand former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, has been
the biggest hope. Other fringe political parties, which only emerge during
election time and disappear into oblivion thereafter, do not register on the
"When the dates (voting dates) are out and we
are not satisfied with the electoral changes we will take appropriate action
at the appropriate time. The exercise by the Broad Alliance will help us
gauge the mood of the people," said Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC
The insiders said after collecting five million
signatures throughout the country, the Broad Alliance would petition
President Mugabe if its findings indicate that the people feel that the
political environment does not meet the minimum conditions conducive to a
free and fair election. This would be in line with the MDC's 15 demands to
the government for changes to the country's electoral process.
"About two million five hundred signatures have been collected as we speak
out of a proposed five million signatures. If these five million people
decide that it is impossible to hold free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, it
will be up to the MDC to decide. What the Broad Alliance envisages doing is
to gauge the political mood on behalf of the main opposition," said one
insider privy to the grand scheme.
Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman
of the National Constitutional Assembly, a civic organisation lobbying for
constitutional reform before the staging of any elections in Zimbabwe, is
strongly linked to the coalition working on the petition.
Madhuku yesterday said there were discussions to create an alliance
by "democratic forces" - among them civic organisations - in Zimbabwe
to peacefully fight for democratic space through petitioning the
"It (Broad Alliance) has not been launched but there
are discussions to create such an alliance which will fight for democratic
space in the country on the basis of a charter which has to be agreed by all
the democratic forces working to achieve a similar goal," said Madhuku. "We
are in the process of drawing up a charter and will thereafter launch a
petition calling for certain things, such as constitutional and electoral
reforms, among other issues that we feel are militating against the enjoyment
of democracy in our society," he said.
Sources added that the
official launch of the Broad Alliance had been delayed as other fringe
political parties and civic organisations that had been invited to the
grouping were yet to commit themselves to the plan, seen as an attempt to
prop up the MDC, whose fortunes some political analysts believe have been on
the decline since the historic June 2000 poll.
A number of civic
organisations associated with the main opposition confirmed the covert
existence of the Broad Alliance, with most branding it a grand scheme to help
the MDC try to wrest power from the ruling ZANU PF, which has ruled Zimbabwe
since independence in 1980.
Nyathi, the MDC legislator for Gwanda
North, said of the alliance: "What Broad Alliance entails is that democratic
forces in Zimbabwe have decided to collaborate on a wide frontier. It is
designed to consolidate the fight for democratic space. The organisations in
the alliance will retain their individual autonomy. These organisations,
which include civic society and political parties other than ZANU PF, are
brought together by the crisis in Zimbabwe. They are brought together by
their subscription to the same values of solidarity, equality and the pursuit
for a better life for all Zimbabweans."
He said that a petition
with five million signatures would be authored and produced "to express that
the people of Zimbabwe require the opening of democratic space through
electoral reforms so that people are free to elect leaders of their choice,
among other issues. The collection of signatures is being enthusiastically
supported by the generality of the people. The signatures are a way of
exerting political pressure so that changes sought are authentic and
civic groups remain largely unimpressed by the changes to the country's
electoral procedures recently proposed by the government whose aim, in a
certain sense, is to lose as little as possible politically.
advantage of the on-going Sixth Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Electoral Commissions annual conference in Victoria Falls, they are
circulating a damning report criticising the "cosmetic" electoral reforms
proposed by the government. After relentless diplomatic, opposition and moral
pressure, the government, through Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister, recently announced ZANU PF's intention to
overhaul the country's controversial electoral system.
He said this
would be done through the appointment a five-member Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, reducing the number of voting days to one and the use of
The other changes would entail the use of
visible indelible ink to replace the invisible ink, the setting up of an ad
hoc court to immediately deal with electoral disputes within six months and
the suspension of the use of mobile voting stations, among other
But civic groups with strong ties with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) maintained the proposed changes were
And Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a loose
coalition of more than 350 civil organisations, has taken advantage of the
presence of SADC officials at the Victoria Falls to circulate the document
entitled "Lipstick on yet another frog".
The document is a
critique on the implications of the proposed electoral reforms in Zimbabwe in
which the government also says citizens who attain 18 years would be
automatically included on the voters' roll in their constituencies and that
verification and vote counting would be undertaken at the polling stations.
The government also proposes freezing transfers from one constituency to
another when there is a by-election.
But the document urges
delegates to the sixth SADC annual general conference, whose theme is
Elections, Democracy and National Development, not to be hoodwinked by the
proposed electoral reforms.
"The glaring silence of the government
on contentious legislation such as the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and (Public Order and Security Act (POSA) demonstrates
the govern-ment's intention to tinker with, rather than transform the
electoral environment," reads part of the 10-page document widely circulated
among the delegates attending the five-day conference of the regional
grouping's electoral commissions.
"It is also noteworthy that
nothing has been mentioned concerning the vote of millions of Zimbabweans in
"Needless to say, the majority of these Zimbabweans
living abroad are victims of a repressive political culture that has refused
to reform itself despite alarming levels of disenchantment on the way the
country is being administered," it said.
The conference is being
hosted by Zimbabwe's Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) which is a member
of the Electoral Commissions Forum (ECF) of SADC countries founded in
It brings together electoral commissions from the region for
the purposes of sharing experiences and encouraging democratic
"Perhaps, there is an aesthetic value to putting
lipstick on a frog for it will look pretty for a short while.
"However, the country is now beyond the politics of cosmetic gestures because
of the deepening legitimacy and governance crisis that Zimbabwe has been
grappling with since ZANU PF lost the hearts and souls of
Zimbabweans following its drubbing in the constitutional referendum of
In the document, the civic grouping said the
minimum conditions for a free and fair election must include the dismantling
of the infrastructure of violence such as the "Green Bombers" (graduates of
the Border Gezi youth camps), the limitation of the presidential powers in
elections, a code of conduct that is agreed by all stakeholders, the freeing
of the airwaves and the repeal of draconian legislation such as AIPPA and
"These laws inhibit the exercise of democracy," says the
"It will be naïve for Zimbabweans to believe free and
fair elections would be possible without the repeal of POSA and AIPPA which
restrict freedoms of assembly, association and expression of all
stakeholders, bar ZANU PF."
Since the formation of the ECF in
1998, annual general conferences have been held in Tanzania, Zambia,
Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique.
"Despite the forecast
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to reduce inflation to a manageable level,
what we are seeing on the ground is the reverse.
statistics being given are indicating a downward trend, the reality is that
prices of basic commodities are rising. This is confusing," so said Comfort
Muchekeza, regional manager of the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) in
Muchekeza's sentiments are shared by many. It is
indeed confusing, even baffling. Inflation is going down but prices are going
This has driven many to dismiss the figures released by the
Central Statistical Office, a government department, claiming that they are
cooked up to give the impression that the country's battered economy, which
has been on a five-year slide, is improving, because nothing seems to
be improving for the person on the street.
Central bank governor
Gideon Gono, the architect of the current reform programme which aims to
reduce inflation to below 200 percent by the end of the year and to a single
digit by 2008, is emphatic. Inflation is indeed going down. But he quickly
adds that a decline in inflation does not necessarily translate into a
decline in prices.
Gono said when inflation started declining, all
that it meant was that prices were going up, but at a lower rate. This is
what boggles the consumer.
The drop in inflation has been
remarkable - unbelievable, some would even say - considering the mess in
which the country was in. From a peak of 622.8 percent in January, it
declined slightly to 602.5 percent in February, then marginally to 587.7
percent in March.
The central bank had predicted that inflation
would peak at 700 percent in March. Gono said some economists had even
predicted that it would increase to 1 400 percent by March and to 1 600
percent by June.
Things have been different on the ground.
Inflation dropped significantly to 505 percent in April, then to 448.8
percent in May and 394.6 percent in June. This has convinced even the worst
sceptics that Gono's target of reducing inflation to 200 percent by December
The only question that remains unanswered is:
what does this reduction in inflation mean to the average
Oscar Chiwira, chairman of the banking department at the
National University of Science and Technology, said to understand the
relationship between inflation and prices, consumers had to appreciate that
inflation was generally the average increase in price levels over a period of
"This means that some prices will go up, while others will be
going down. But at the end of the day if the average price goes down,
inflation goes down," he said.
Chiwira said inflation in
Zimbabwe was based on the consumer price index (CPI), which was based on a
basket of what an average Zimbabwean required.
explanation would be like this. If the index in June 2002 was 50 and it went
up to 100 in June 2003, annual inflation would have gone up by 100 percent.
If the index in June 2004 rose to 150 percent, inflation would be down to 50
percent but prices would have continued to increase," Chiwira
The CPI stood at 1 642.8 points in June 2002. Inflation at
the time was 114.5 percent. The CPI had rocketed to 7 631.4 points by June
last year while inflation had shot up to 364.5 percent. It stood at 3 7741.4
points last month with inflation at 394.6 percent.
consumers would only reap tangible benefits of the reduction in inflation
when it went down to single-digit levels because prices would have stabilised
and development would then be taking place.
He said the poor,
unemployed and pensioners faced the greatest hardships in times of inflation,
largely because they were hit where it hurt most - food.
most poor families spend up to 80 percent of their incomes on food, it
accounts for only 33.6 percent of the CPI basket. Non-food items, which
include beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; rents, rates
and domestic power; furniture and household goods; medical care; transport
and communication; recreaction and entertainment; education; miscellaneous
goods and services, account for the remaining 66.4 percent.
means if prices of basic food items go up while the cost of non-food products
goes down, inflation is likely to go down. The average Zimbabwean would,
however, be facing increasing hardship.
According to the CCZ, a
family of six - a father, mother and four children - needed $907 055 for
their basic requirements in February. It needed $431 955 for basic food items
and $475 100 for non-food items.
By June, the same family needed
$580 310 for food and $563 200 for non-food items, making a total of $1 143
510 a month.
Chiwira said what these figures meant was that while
inflation was on the decline, a consumer whose salary was below $1.1 million
faced increased hardships. The situation was even worse if the consumer
earned less than $600 000 a month as this was barely enough to meet basic
food requirements, especially if the household consisted of six persons or
The CCZ basket was also quite revealing. Some of the food
items whose prices had risen drastically are what is considered by the
average consumer to be very basic.
As an example, the cost of 40
kg roller meal, which the family is said to require, had risen from $49 280
to $76 050, while the cost of vegetables - the poor person's relish - had
more than doubled from $58 000 to $135 000 per 29 bundles of vegetables as of
February this year.
Ironically, the price of beef, which most poor
households now consider a luxury, had dropped from $108 800 to $80
And though Gono has declared inflation enemy number one, and
the government is helping fight inflation, there are some who think
that governments "love inflation" because they benefit
According to an economics website, Abelard.org: "When
governments 'borrow' from you, they have no intention of repaying the money
they have supposedly borrowed. This is much of what inflation is all
"Inflation is a trick to make you think you are being repaid
money that you lend the government, when they are in fact stealing the money
from you. The objective is that the longer that you leave your money in
savings, the less it will be worth."
It adds: "As a politician
once said: 'The objective is to pluck the geese ( read poor) in such a manner
as to obtain the greatest number of feathers with the least amount of
Zimbabwe's domestic debt has, for example, ballooned
from $375 billion in May last year to a staggering $1.4 trillion by June 25
If this does not make any sense, just imagine: If you
lent someone $10 000 in June last year, and they gave you back $10 000 today,
or even $20 000, would you not feel robbed?
controversial confirmation exercise undertaken by the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has spawned intense jostling among district executives for the
posts of the six sitting legislators who were dumped by their constituents
during the vetting process.
The jostling has intensified despite
the fact that it is not clear whether the MDC will contest next year's
parliamentary election after it emerged that the party wanted to consult the
electorate first before making a decision.
The eleventh hour
confirmation exercise, which resulted in cracks emerging within the
opposition, saw Harare North Member of Parliament Trudy Stevenson and five
other sitting MPs falling by the wayside.
While all the other
current legislators were endorsed by their districts, Bennie Tumbare-Mutasa
(Seke), Justin Mutendadzamera (Mabvuku), Tichaona Munyanyi (Mbare East),
Sydney Mukwecheni (Mutare South) and Dunmore Makuwaza (Mbare West) were
rejected by their supporters - a development they have since
Impeccable sources within the MDC told The Financial
Gazette that Stevenson's rivals were her district's chairman, estate agent
David Lowe, organising secretary and lawyer Obert Gutu, vice chairman for
Harare North and postman Energy Gombiro and Harare provincial executive
member responsible for security Steven Nyoka.
provincial chairman Timothy Mubhawu looks set to battle it out with
Mutendadzamera in Mabvuku, while Harare provincial chairman Morgan Femai was
said to be vying for Munyanyi's seat. Party chairman Isaac Matongo is said to
be also eyeing Mabvuku while the deputy secretary-general, Gift Chimanikire,
will reportedly stand in either of the Mbare constituencies.
Charlton Hwende, who cried foul after the MDC leadership preferred James
Makore to run ahead of him in the fateful Zengeza by-election held last
March, looks set to return to the constituency and fight it out
against Councillor Goodwill Chimbaira. However, it was not clear whether
Makore, who lost the by-election to ZANU PF's Christopher Chigumba, would
In Seke, Tumbare-Mutasa faces his district chairman,
Charles Nzombe, former Zimbabwe Union of Democratics member Greenbert Dondo,
a former youth executive member identified only as Bene and another MDC
supporter also identified only as Munyonga, who was thrashed by legislator
for Mhondoro, Hilda Mafudze, in the last primaries held before the general
elections in 2000.
It could not be immediately established who,
within the MDC's Mbare West district, would contest against Makuwaza, but it
has been suggested that his district chairman had thrown his hat into the
Failure to confirm the six MPs came as a result of protracted
internal squabbles within the MDC, which critics said could harm the party
ahead of next year's elections.
Meanwhile, outspoken MP for St
Mary's Job Sikhala still has to be confirmed after the process in that
constituency was stopped to allow for investigations into the acrimonious
wrangles within the leadership there.
egg-shell-thin stability that it currently enjoys, Zimbabwe, which attained
its independence from Britain after a bloody war of liberation in the 1970s,
is still widely seen as the stereotype African country where there is
intolerance for opponents and political pluralism.
This has become
more pronounced following the emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), an event which touched off violent confrontation in which hundreds of
people met their tragic and abrupt deaths.
In some areas the
violence unleashed on innocent citizens was so brutal that the communities
that suffered the traumatic experiences will be scarred for life. The wounds
would be difficult to heal.
However, after five painful years of
violent battling and the resultant psychological crises, an odd shaft of
light could soon break through the dark clouds of political violence. This
comes as diplomatic relations between regional governments and opposition
political parties in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem
to be thawing.
The previously much-maligned opposition parties in
the region are being included in critical deliberations involving issues of
governance at regional and international levels.
observers this week said that the new development could usher in a new
political culture in countries such as Zimbabwe, long accused of treating the
opposition political parties, which the government dismisses as Western
fronts to effect regime change, with disdain.
The formal embracing
of opposition parties in regional and international activities comes hot on
the heels of failure by South African President Thabo Mbeki to find a
solution to Zimbabwe's long-drawn crisis.
Analysts said while the
latest development could signal a broader acceptance of Zimbabwe's main
opposition, the MDC, the move could also be egg in the face of President
Mugabe, who critics say resents the participation of his archrivals in
Surprisingly, the 80-year-old leader
succumbed to the new SADC standing rules when he openly invited developing
countries and those he considers to be friendly to Zimbabwe to observe the
upcoming parliamentary elections, but locked out Britain, which he claims
refuses to atone for its colonial sins and is instead bent on regime
Sources this week told The Financial Gazette that it was
now compulsory for all governments under the SADC umbrella to include members
of recognised opposition political parties in its programmes, including
the SADC Parliamentary Forum, which authored the norms and standards being
used in elections in the region.
Under the new rules and
regulations, opposition political parties can participate in deliberations
involving the SADC organ on peace and security, Inter-parliamentary Union,
Pan African Parliament and the African, Caribbean and Pacific
Already, the MDC observed recent elections in South
Africa and Malawi won by presidents Mbeki and Bingu wa Mutharika
respectively. The party is also involved in observing the preparations for
elections to be held in Namibia.
ZANU PF legislators Sydney
Sekeramayi, the Minister of Defence, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power
Development Reuben Marumahoko, Pearson Mbalekwa (MP Zvishavane) and the MDC's
Priscilla Misihairabwi (MP Glen Norah) and Tendai Biti (Harare East) observed
the South African elections under the SADC Organ for Security and
Other delegations went as far Nigeria to observe
presidential elections won by President Olusegun Obasanjo, while three
delegations travelled to Namibia, Angola and the Caribbean to attend meetings
Far from being a regional diplomatic coup for the MDC, being
allowed to observe elections in countries whose leaders are supposedly
President Mugabe's allies was a positive development for the opposition
party, observers said.
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure
said: "It clearly suggests that the MDC is being recognised as a legitimate
opposition party in Zimbabwe, unlike what the government and ZANU PF would
like to project that they represent imperialistic interests.
"The more the MDC is involved in the electoral systems in other countries,
their image, in the process, would be built even beyond the African
continent. Their role as observers shows that they are being recognised as a
credible and legitimate opposition party."
He added: "It is also a
good learning experience for the MDC, seeing that they are a young party
which is barely walking. It helps to expose them to various experiences of
other countries so that they can utilise the knowledge they would have
acquired to enrich their own practices."
Constitutional lawyer and
chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly Lovemore Madhuku said:
"Those African countries respect democracy and accept pluralism. The presence
of observers including officials from the MDC doesn't affect them. They
believe in a multiparty system. Whether or not the MDC is Mugabe's rival
party is neither here nor there to them.
They adhered more to
democratic principles than ZANU PF. This meant that the presence of a variety
of observers showed the level of transparency in their electoral processes,
said Madhuku, whose organisation has had several nasty brushes with the law
for attempting to get the government to accept a new
Another political analyst, Joseph Kurebwa, said:
"Their invitations, whether through civic society groups or the respective
governments, goes to show that there is no doubt that the MDC has been
accepted as a legitimate opposition party. Those governments, I would like to
believe, do not have anything against the MDC.
"The signal is
that if one day the MDC wakes up in power, other governments were unlikely to
have any qualms in working with them given that in politics anything can
happen. However, the attitude of ZANU PF towards the MDC is expected to be
different from other countries primarily because they (ZANU PF and the MDC)
are fighting for political spoils in the same country."
THAT Zimbabwe's once reassuringly
resilient economy has for the better part of the past decade been caught up
in a vicious circle of stag-inflation - where rising inflation is accompanied
by static industrial production and falling employment levels - is beyond
argument. Up until now, inflationary pressures - the suppurating national
ulcer - have been worsening with no prospects of easing.
this explains why Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono, who
cut the image of an old-school anti-inflation hawk of the traditional
economy, was understandably dismissed as dangerously optimistic when he
projected year-on-year inflation at 200 percent by December 2004. This was
moreso given that the major player, government, with its insatiable appetite
for cash, has over the years shown that other than fuelling inflation, it is
incapable of tackling what now seems to be a complex problem. For years,
curbing the inflation menace appeared more like a finite game - despite
repeated official claims which seemed to suggest that it has been at the
centre of government's economic agenda.
And indeed sceptics
reckoned that the RBZ's optimistic projections notwithstanding, it was always
going to be an uphill slog to control let alone reduce inflation to projected
levels given the blackhole in public finances where the government, blamed
for aggravating the festering national ulcer through its profligacy, is
increasingly finding it difficult to balance the books. Fortunately, however,
what initially appeared to be an elusive quest to tame inflation now
increasingly appears more likely, with the rate having eased to 394.6 percent
for June from a high of 622.9 percent in January.
year-on-year inflation figures started slowing down some six months ago in
line with the central bank's forecasts, this was viewed as nothing more than
false impressions. But now, it is increasingly appearing more realistic than
was initially thought - inflationary pressures seem be on a long term easing
trend which news was greeted with a collective sigh of relief by Zimbabwe.
The inflation scourge had and continues to wreak havoc on the people's lives.
A case in point is the unforgettable cruel twist of fate when hundreds of
thousands of insurance policyholders felt the sharpest edge of the knife late
last year following the savage inflation-induced slump in the values of their
policies. All of a sudden lifetime savings in the form of insurance policies
were not worth the paper they were written on!
Lest we are
misunderstood, we are neither suggesting that the worst is now behind us. Nor
that Gono, the architect of the monetary policy, is all of a sudden on the
verge of becoming a symbol of Zimbabwe's economic preeminence, even though he
has admittedly done "a great job when there was no rule book to look to" as
former US president Bill Clinton once said about Alan Greenspan of the
Federal Reserve. Far from it, because we are only too aware of the
limitations of the monetary policy especially if implemented
It is indeed pertinent to note that although the
government is yet, from the fiscal side, to elaborate the formula for the
solution to the current crisis, monetary policy alone, while it has
admittedly provided the much-needed tonic to the battered economy, cannot be
the be-all-end-all of the country's economic stimulus package.
Be that as it may, it is important to point out here that the fact that the
central bank has taken the scythe to inflation is itself an acknowledgement
by the country's monetary authorities that nothing short of tough remedial
action could enable Zimbabwe to curb the cancerous inflation scourge. It was
born of a realisation that the highly inflationary environment was untenable,
hence the public enemy No 1 tag.
This is where the government,
known more for shortsighted and populist policies meant to appease a restive
and deeply disillusioned citizenry for bloated political self-interest,
should come in to complement the central bank's efforts from a fiscal point
of view. It has to bite the bullet and adopt austerity measures no matter how
unpopular they might be. These should, together with the RBZ's
inflation-beating measures, form an integral part of that well-filled pot of
ingredients to be stirred in order to put a fresh heart into the stricken
It is now more imperative than ever before for the
government, a target of massive fire power from a frustrated electorate, to
realise that it has to complement the central bank's efforts. Even though an
election is around the corner, it should not be tempted to - for fear that
the opposition might tap into the existing deep well of disenchantment -
placate the increasingly angry and resentful public by going for
unbudgeted-for expenditures as it has previously done. That would be farewell
to the main achievement of the RBZ to date - the improving inflation outlook-
which, if the central bank is not forced to take the foot off the pedal,
could see the economy breathing freely for the first time in many years by
2006. The result of such a retrogressive move is that the now fragile economy
will continue to lurch from one crisis to another.
line is that it is now time to pursue fiscal rectitude with a missionary zeal
to rein in government profligacy. And damn the likely political backlash.
Sadly, given the government's track record where political measures are known
to have been suggested as a remedy for economic woes and national
disintegration, it would however require an incredible leap of faith to
believe that this can be done. This is complicated by the fact that the
government has since scaled down on its services to the public as most of the
funds needed to provide for the actual services expected of it are financed
through borrowed funds when it is under pressure to borrow as little as
possible. But we remain optimistic that this can be done with
a well-thought-out economic revival package. If only Zimbabwe did not
have upside-down priorities to satisfy narrow political interests!
WHAT determines the role of the media
and the mix of subject matter covered at any given time is the perceived
function of journalism in a given society. This is a reflection of the media
system in place.
Media systems themselves are a result of press
laws, economic and political variables, cultural and social influences and
also such basic considerations as demographic distribution, literacy and
personal income levels.
Furthermore journalism is affected by
traditions of the profession and history. The media plays an important role
of informing the public about pertinent developmental issues affecting the
nation; providing for a for free expression and public debate on various
socio-politico-economic issues; and shaping and influencing public opinion on
Naturally, the role of the media at any other time should
not be different from its role at election time except that an election
presents the electorate with a multiplicity of issues and the people always
count on the media for a balanced perspective of news.
in Zimbabwe the media is operating under a very harsh and stringent political
and media law regime which makes the work of journalists quite perilous. What
is worse is that the media fraternity is polarised along political divides,
with the state-controlled media used largely to disseminate ideological
propaganda and fostering support for the regime.
media has tried over the years to give an alternative view of news but as a
reaction to the partisan stance of the state-controlled media, some media
houses have now adopted an extremely oppositional stance in their coverage of
news while others have tried, with great difficulty, to be less emotional and
stick to the media ethic of objectivity.
It is now an open
secret, though, that public authorities are notoriously bad judges of
objectivity and balanced reporting. There are few indications that these
authorities, whether acting through the Department of Information and
Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet or the so-called Media
and Information Commission, could give any meaning to objectivity other than
adherence to official policy. In such a context, only desirable journalism is
good journalism. Objectivity is thus reduced to expediency.
2005 parliamentary plebiscite presents Zimbabweans with manifold factors
relating to the democratic evolution of the country, the economy, land, our
relationship with the international community, the Southern
Africa Development Community, the African Union, etcetera, including our role
and position with respect to NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's
Development) and the African Renaissance project.
It will be
interesting for the media to pursue the extent to which NEPAD's peer review
mechanisms will be applied to Zimbabwe, especially in light of the damning
African Union report on Zimbabwe's human rights record.
several other issues that arise like, for example, whether the election is
not going to be as bloody as the previous two national elections which were
preceded by massive pre-election violence; impartiality of law enforcement
agents; whether the entire electoral process itself is free and fair, and
whether the playing field is even; electoral and constitutional proposals;
the role of international observers and when they should come. The list
cannot be exhaustive by virtue of the dynamic nature of political
It is the role of the media to research and inform the
public about the issues at stake and offer ample time and space to the
coverage of critical analyses of these issues and promote open debate within
the electorate. People need information about political parties, that is,
their ideological orientation, political election manifestos, structures and
so forth. To be able to make a rational choice to vote for a
particular political party one has to have information about the policies of
that party and it is the role of the media to provide such
More often than not some journalists display shocking
ignorance about the issues dominating or presented by an election within the
context of the country's contemporary political history, let alone
information about the contesting political parties and their policy thrusts.
This has invariably compromised the quality of journalism in
What we want are professionals who are able to get
"news", analyse it and present it in an understandable and interesting
manner. If it is not interesting, it is poor journalism; if it is not
understandable it is not journalism at all!
always presented the reporter as a key figure for conveying information about
society although his/her role is perceived in many different ways: reporter,
interpreter, disseminator, spokesperson, artist, thinker, informer, political
worker, nation-builder and so on. The contemporary journalist will require
less emphasis in the classical practical skills and more emphasis on
technology and especially, knowledge of specialised issues and analytical
Journalism in recent years has undergone a
transformation, being substituted by information as a hybrid to journalism
It is obvious that the applied skills of
writing, reporting, editing and design must be mastered in close connection
with the more reflective skills of problem-solving, critical thinking,
confidence, self-esteem, responsibility, initiative and
Journalism is not only characterised by its functions
in society, but also by its subjects, methods and forms of presentation.
Journalists should guarantee media credibility and ensure its position as a
watchdog in society. Professional journalists should contribute to maintain
public discussion as a prerogative for liberal democratic societies and
should be able to unveil, verify and control the executive political and
economic powers of society and through this function, make the consequences
of the exercise of this power visible to the public.
this democratic priority is nuanced by the political and social context
within which the media operates. In any democracy, the public will closely
scrutinise the way in which leaders and other public officials are performing
their duties. The media play a vitally important role in holding public
officials accountable for their actions. It is an important function of the
media to probe the actions of public officials and bring to the attention of
the public any shortcomings and abuses of power by them. In Zimbabwe the law
of defamation and various other laws make it difficult for the press to
perform this important watchdog role properly.
Next week I will
analyse the legal and institutional obstacles to media freedom in Zimbabwe
and make proposals for reform. Let's make a date.
Sithole, a Harare-based legal practitioner, is a social and political
Ordinary Zimbabweans have every right
to be hopping mad and asking: when is corruption not corruption?
The reason for this outrage is the "public be damned" attitude and selective
manner in which the ruling party has chosen to tackle the rampant corruption
that has contributed to the prevailing economic meltdown.
that the country's tough new anti-corruption laws seem to be designed only to
target alleged wrongdoers in the private sector while steering clear of the
"fat cats" in the government continues to rankle among struggling
Every passing day seems to confirm the widespread
public perception that the initial, much-publicised hype about the
government's determination to clamp down on corruption was all cheap talk.
Very little has happened to prove that all culprits have been targeted
regardless of their station in life.
In fact, after the initial
brouhaha accompanying the swoop on the finance sector, the crackdown has been
a letdown from month to month.
Admittedly, a few ZANU PF
"sacrificial lambs" such as Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri and business
tycoons Philip Chiyangwa, James Makamba and Mutumwa Mawere have landed in hot
soup. A few other people have been investigated, but these investigations
seem to have yielded very little.
The people are asking: Is that
it? Is it conceivable that the activities of the relatively few people
publicly named so far were alone enough to impact so negatively and
pervasively on every facet of the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans? How long
will such a glaring lack of even-handedness in a bid to protect sacred cows
in the ruling party and government continue?
These are not
academic questions being posed by a "prophet of doom" considering that
even as I write, the ruling party seems hamstrung by these double standards
in its attempts to tackle the multiple farm ownership scandal.
What are ordinary people to make of the fact that the land-grab "fat cats"
implicated in this racket have the guts to show they are a law
unto themselves by refusing to give up the extra farms they corruptly
By adopting this arrogant and greedy stance, these
culprits are not just defying an order from the head of state and leader of
their own party. More disturbingly, they are also thumping their noses at the
rest of the suffering population, and particularly the 350 000 or so landless
people they are depriving of the national resource.
And the most
annoying aspect of the matter is that, if asked, these greedy individuals
would pontificate about being patriotic and revolutionary. One wonders what
gives them such guts and what drum they are marching to.
a national resource in which all Zimbabweans have a stake. It is not a
private matter between these individuals and the head of state. There is
therefore no reason whatsoever why President Robert Mugabe should mollycoddle
If ZANU PF is serious about remedying this
situation, it surely knows that the right approach is not to make compliance
with the "one man, one farm" edict optional but compulsory.
law has been invoked to deal with suspects accused of corrupt activities in
other sectors. Why is there impotence and inertia with respect to the 329
multiple farm owners identified by Special Affairs Minister John Nkomo's land
The land question has always been an emotive
issue, but it is even more so now. The chaotic and violent manner in which
land redistribution was implemented has left many Zimbabweans disillusioned
Although land reform was touted as a
revolutionary government policy to correct historical injustices and to
empower blacks, the ensuing ruination of the agricultural sector has resulted
in untold suffering for the people. The vast majority of ordinary people can
no longer afford basic foodstuffs such as bread, mealie-meal, sugar,
Logic says all these commodities should be in abundant supply
and should be more affordable if land reform has had the positive impact that
is incessantly cited in government propaganda.
invasions began in 2000, the slogan, "one man, one farm" did not even exist,
at least in reference to government ministers and prosperous business
The povo were made to understand that the government's
revolutionary aim in embarking on land reform was to decongest the
rural areas. The nation was led to believe that landless peasants were to be
the beneficiaries of the programme.
Now, of course, we know
differently. Somewhere along the way government officials and ZANU PF
stalwarts replaced peasants as the people most in need of land.
This was bad enough. But for these prosperous individuals to now demand the
lion's share of the resource is preposterous!
The government is at
present under intense pressure to tackle electoral flaws and human rights
abuses. Both the Southern African Development Community and the African Union
have called for self-correction on these fronts.
should begin at home. If ZANU PF hopes to regain a measure of public trust at
home, it cannot afford to sweep this land grab under the carpet. Doing so
would be akin to rubbing salt into the wounds of ordinary Zimbabweans, whose
quality of life has been severely compromised since farm invasions began in
Lack of action would also send a clear message that there is
a special brand of corruption reserved for a select group within the ruling
ZANU PF party to indulge in with impunity.
DEVELOPMENT in all major cities has stagnated since the Public
Service Investment Programme (PSIP) was scrapped, home-seekers have noted
Housing demand has increased sharply over the last
decade, when the government, through the Ministry of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, scrapped its traditional housing provision
progra-mme during the structural adjustment programme.
Institute of Regional and Urban Planners (ZIRUP), president Percy Toriro this
week told The Property Gazette that housing, which is classified under
"capital projects", has stagnated as a direct function of the financial woes
plaguing local authorities.
"Providing new residences means a
higher demand for water and sewerage treatment. It also means constructing
new roads, which in turn means a higher demand for tar and numerous other
construction inputs and equipment, Toriro said.
"At the moment
the city council is failing to adequately carry out road maintenance,
sewerage removal, and street light replacements and even to collect litter.
Certainly, under these circumstances, urban development is completely out of
the question," he added.
The Harare City Council has resorted to
intensive water rationing in desperate efforts to counteract acute water
shortages, which engineers ascribed to infrastructural flaws at the city's
Morton Jaffray water treatment plant, which at the optimum capacity can only
pump 550 megalitres, against the city's daily demand of over 700
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) at the beginning of
the year unveiled a rescue package for local governments to tap cheap loans
from the central bank with a view to revitalising their service provision
Sadly, Toriro said: "All but one small local authority do
not qualify to obtain the concessional loans because their accounts are not
up to date."
The RBZ has mulled probing local authorities and
parastatals, which are accused of flouting basic accounting
Leadership involves influencing others to achieve set
objectives. Humility, honesty, integrity, accountability, self-lessness and
inspiration are some of the attributes of good leadership.
crisis in Zimbabwe has often been discussed in terms of its political and
economic manifestations. However, there is a dimension that has seldom been
highlighted - the leadership dimension.
Last weekend, Nelson
Mandela, the revered former president of South Africa, celebrated his 86th
birthday. All sides of the South African political divide hailed him as an
icon who has done more than anyone could ever recompense him for. He has
worked tirelessly to create a "rainbow nation" out of the depths of despair,
out of the strife, hatred, racism and violence that had characterised that
What makes Mandela stand out is that after 27 years of
imprisonment, he came out preaching reconciliation and nation-building. He
put his country ahead of his personal interests. His selfless leadership
style therefore separates him from the rest - indeed a rare breed of
As Heroes' Day beckons, we are also reminded of our own
gallant sons and daughters who died fighting for the liberation of their
country. These gallant sons and daughters of the soil sacrificed personal
interests to die for the liberation of their motherland. They made the
supreme sacrifice for the sake of their country.
hungry, lived like animals in the forest, they were hunted by aeroplanes,
bombed and killed for the sake of their country. These gallant sons fought
for clear ideals - namely justice, equity and fairness.
for a non-racial, non-tribal, non-ethnical and just society where honesty and
integrity are the hallmark of society. They paid the supreme price, death, in
order to achieve fairness, even-handedness, impartiality and fair dealing
irrespective of race, creed, ethnicity, gender, physical condition or
Today, Allan Paton's Cry The Beloved Country is an apt
description of the state of the motherland. Selfless political leaders are
hard to come by. Take a moment just to reflect on all the funds that were
created for some noble objective: the War Victims Fund, the Housing Fund, and
the bus disaster funds, among others. All these were plundered by people
Various commissions of inquiry named some past
and current leaders who had helped themselves with the resources that were
meant to benefit the needy. Look at the state of public enterprises, such as
state oil firm NOCZIM, Air Zimbabwe, the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the
Cold Storage Company, national power utility ZESA, among others - all have
been victims of plunder by people in leadership.
Now the land
reform exercise is suffering the same fate, with people in leadership
unashamedly going for the lucrative farms. Attempts by the Minister of
Special Affairs in the Office of the President, John Nkomo, to rectify the
anomalies by withdrawing offers to beneficiaries of multiple farms have met
with stiff resistance from the culprits.
Clearly, these bigwigs are
using their relatives to hide their multiple farm ownership. How could the
ministers defend themselves in the press lamely by arguing that the farms are
now owned by their mothers, brothers, aunts or uncles?
Is it not
clear that these multiple farms were taken by these senior persons in the
first place? What does all this say about the integrity and honesty of such
leaders? Are they nation-serving or self-serving?
Indeed this is
the time to reflect on the crisis of political leadership that we face as a
nation. We do not deserve political leaders who stoop so low as to think only
of themselves, and will not hesitate to use national positions to line their
Leadership is about service and not about being served.
Most unfortunately, the role of leadership has been usurped to the extent
that leaders are now there to be served and not to serve. This is why they
think about themselves first, while the rest of the people wallow in
Political office is now a passport to accumulating wealth
at any cost. It is no wonder that this country has fallen to the current
levels of desperation. Leadership has failed the people.
leader is humble and not haughty. The term "chef" has catapulted leadership
to a non-accountable position of pride. Most political leaders have perched
themselves on a pedestal far removed from the people they lead.
The ordinary Zimbabwean lacks access to food security, health
care, education, transport, housing, basic utilities such as electricity
and water, and yet the priorities of political leaders are on luxuries,
and hence albums are launched on a boat cruise along the Zambezi River,
beyond the reach of the ordinary people. One would not believe this is
happening in a country where in excess of 80 percent of the people live in
poverty. How those love songs will contribute to alleviating the suffering of
the masses beats me.
Good leadership inspires those who follow
to achieve set objectives or achieve their own dreams. Interestingly, the
ruling party's youth and women' s leagues have been used in a way that has
polarised our society. They have been used to impose leadership, and not to
inspire our society to achieve the ideals of a just and equitable
True leaders admit mistakes, even when they are not
directly responsible. A true leader knows that whatever happens, the buck
stops with him/her. Intriguingly, up to now, our political leadership is
playing the blame game, accusing the "imperialists", profiteering
businesspeople, etc, for Zimbabwe's economic crisis.
failure is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it separates the real leaders
from the pretenders. Good leadership is not only transparent: it is
accountable to the people.
Real leaders are people of integrity who
are principle-driven. They do not tell others to do what they themselves do
not do so. They lead by example.
Sadly, our political leadership
is the "do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do" type. People often follow what leaders do.
If leaders preach violence, the followers practise violence. If leaders
preach peace, people pursue peace. It is very sad that our nation today is
polarised because the leadership has preached and practised
True leaders have a sense of time. Leaders are
mentors. It is a disgrace if after a decade, leaders have not cultivated a
crop of future leaders. True leaders should be in a position to step aside
for a new crop of leaders to take over and in turn enjoy playing the role of
adviser to the new generation of leaders. If the leadership feels that it is
irreplaceable, then it reflects badly on it. This applies to all walks of
life: the church, community, organisation, business, government,
True leaders, therefore, do not feel indispensable. To be
dispensable is good because it reflects dynamism. We are all going to leave
the stage of life at some point in time and if we do not prepare our
children, society, organisations for life without us, it is a real
Good leadership is visionary. A visionary leader does not
only point the direction, but leads the way and inspires the people to
believe in themselves and achieve the seemingly impossible. The Bible states
clearly that "where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:
18a). It is not clear what our vision is as a country. Where are we going? Do
we have any development strategy at the moment?
come from the people, the people eventually will have their say. It is
because of this realisation that it is often observed that people get the
leaders they deserve. If we do not make our leaders accountable, they take us
However, even where the people are cheated through
propaganda machinery, they will eventually rise and demand transparency
and accountability from their leaders. It is said that one can fool some
people some time, but one cannot fool all the people all the time. In this
regard, it is not always smart to wait for the people to reclaim leadership
- because, quite often, it can be messy.
As Heroes' Day
approaches, may it be a reminder to all of us with respect to the ideals that
the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe fought and sacrificed their lives
for. They fought and died for principles and values we should hold dear:
liberty, freedom, justice, equity and fairness irrespective of race, sex,
tribe or ethnicity.
The struggle for principle-driven leadership is
a struggle we should all engage in. The problem quite often is that the good
people fold their hands and watch events unfold.
better. We need visionary leadership that can take the people of Zimbabwe to
the "promised land", the land that the gallant sons and daughters perished
for: a land where the people live together in harmony, peace and abundance.
In the words of Isaac Disraeli (British foreign affairs secretary in the 19th
century: "It is a wretched waste to be gratified with mediocrity when the
excellent lies before us."
Godfrey Kanyenze is director of the
Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe.
Mangwende and Njabulo Ncube 7/22/2004 6:59:34 AM (GMT +2)
CABINET ministers and senior government officials implicated in the senseless
land-grab orgy under the scandal-tainted land reform will soon be summoned
before the Presidency to account for their "deplorable actions", ruling ZANU
PF insiders have said.
President Robert Mugabe, who has pledged
to take the government's anti-corruption drive to its full expression, was
forced to intervene after it emerge that the voracious acquirers of land were
reluctant to surrender the multiple farms they acquired in direct violation
of the government's one-man-one-farm policy.
decision to be directly involved in dealing with the rot afflicting land
reform comes at a time sceptics have expressed fears that with ZANU PF
clutching at straws in the face of waning political fortunes, the authorities
would be wary of dealing with the issue for fear of political
The decision also comes after repeated calls by the
Minister of Special Affairs in the President's Office responsible for Lands,
Land Reform and Resettlement, John Nkomo, for the culprits to hand back the
farms had largely been ignored. Nkomo, who is also the ruling party's
national chairman, had been tasked to repossess swathes of land after an
audit into the land reform unearthed shocking levels of greed by
influential politicians and their cronies.
Impeccable ZANU PF
sources told The Financial Gazette that the offenders would soon appear
before President Mugabe and Vice-President Joseph Msika with Nkomo leading
the evidence. They could not, however, say exactly when the land grabbers
would be hauled before the presidential hearing. They however said President
Mugabe was already studying Nkomo's report on the defiant Cabinet ministers
and others, including those who allegedly made frantic efforts to surrender
excess properties this week.
"They will all appear before the
Presidency soon to explain why they have defied government policy," the
source said. "Those whose names appeared in the media will probably be the
first to be summoned because they are senior government officials. They would
be called before Nkomo to explain their unbecoming behaviour. After the
inquiries, the Presidency would then make a determination on the matters and
their decision is binding and final."
Recently, in a story that
appeared in the government-controlled Herald headlined "Nkomo, ministers in
row over farms", it was reported that Nkomo's ministry wrote letters to Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo and
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Joseph Made to surrender excess
Others who were reported to have received similar letters
were the ministers of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick
Chinamasa, Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo and Transport and
Communications Christopher Mushowe. All these officials have since denied
that they own more than one farm.
President Mugabe's remarks on
Monday at a reception he held for parliamentarians ahead of the official
opening of the Fifth Session of the Fifth Parliament on Tuesday seemed to
have sent shivers down the spines of the multiple-farm owners who thought
they had his support.
But when the 80-year old leader reiterated
his sentiments about illegal excess farm ownership when he officially opened
Parliament, sources said soon after Nkomo's offices were inundated with
inquiries on how to dispose of the extra land.
speech during the Fifth Session of the Fifth Parliament seems to have sent
jitters among those that have shown stubbornness. We are busy, there is a
stampede here," said an official in Nkomo's office.
efforts to get comment from Nkomo and his permanent secretary Simon
Pavakavambwa, who was accused by war veterans' leader Joseph Chinotimba of
causing confusion in the agrarian reform process,
Speculation is rife in ZANU PF inner circles
that the suspects - Cabinet Ministers and Politburo members - have since
replied Nkomo, but details of the contents were not readily
As soon as news swirled that some unscrupulous
government officials had acquired more that one farm, President Mugabe
appointed the Presidential Land Review Committee led by former Secretary to
the President and Cabinet, Charles Utete, who in turn produced a damning
report about multiple farm owners.
The controversial report was
later serialised by the state-controlled print media.
produced another report which stated that 329 people, among them Cabinet
Ministers and senior government officials, had excess farms measuring 55 513
688 hectares, while the intended beneficiaries, mainly the landless blacks,