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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

22 July 2003

Fellow Zimbabweans,

At our National Executive meeting on Saturday, 19 July 2003, we decided to invest all our energies in the search for a permanent and lasting solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.

We expanded our negotiating team and agreed on the route to guide the team when dialogue resumes.

That route calls for the setting up of interim arrangements to enable the nation to regain its confidence leading to the holding of a free and fair election.

The peace process and what has to be done to build the necessary confidences before a legitimate election is held will determine the length of whatever the transitional lifespan is agreed upon by Zimbabweans.

Any meaningful return to legitimacy in Zimbabwe is inextricably linked to the democratisation of the country and all its public institutions.

We are ready to support and participate in all efforts designed to chart a peaceful course towards the resolution of the crisis of governance in Zimbabwe.

Our national executive tasked the leadership to do all it can to clear the avenues for a peaceful political engagement.

The MDC and all Zimbabweans must be in a state of preparedness for fresh elections. We need to ensure that everybody is ready for the final return of the country to legitimacy.

Only under a democratised environment is progress possible and subsequent opportunities avail themselves for personal advancement, safety and security.

We believe in the dignity of all the people everywhere. We must respect the sanctity of life in line with our social democratic ideology. This can only be achieved through a vibrant multi-party political culture where basic freedoms are entrenched and respected by all.

We cherish a society where our national diversity and differences are acknowledged as assets. We need a society where all forms of intolerance are discouraged and a nation where every person is equal before the law, whether such a person is a peasant or a president.

The MDC has always been committed to a smooth transition to a democratic order. I am convinced that the transition to a new order cannot be far away as the current situation has become totally unsustainable.

The challenges facing the party and indeed any new order are obviously going to be immense. The country will need a comprehensive reconstruction and development agenda, which would need to be underwritten by the international community.

As we enter into any transition, the country shall require significant amounts of humanitarian aid to alleviate current emergencies, including food and fuel shortages that have overwhelmed us for some time now.

Morgan Tsvangirai


Back to the Top
Back to Index



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


Letter 1:

Mrs Simon wrote another letter asking us to remember that agriculture has
been destroyed by government not by the CFU.

By the same token the Jews in Germany were destroyed by Hitler's government
and not by civic society in Germany.† The facts however are that the
Germans and civic society did precious little to stop this genocide and
thereby became complicit in it.† Of course they had many excuses; they had
too much to lose; they were afraid.† Is there a parallel here?

As to standing for CFU council and influencing it from the inside I have
tried that already and although I was elected unanimously by the Farmers
Association Chairman in Mashonaland West (South) region.† I was thrown out
of Council with the excuse that I was a suspended member of staff (although
there was nothing in the CFU constitution from preventing me from
standing).† The suspension hearing has yet to take place and I have still
not received even my leave pay which I applied for in September 2002.

I received a legal opinion on the constitution which confirmed its
fundamental flaw, which vets all power with the President's Council (rather
like the Politburo) and ultimately the President.† There is no mechanism to
allow members to call a special meeting or a referendum to talk about
changes in policy without President's Council agreeing to this.† There is
also no mechanism to allow members (rather than the Politburo) to elect the
president of their choice.


Letter 2:

My dear Jean,

Thank you for your challenge.

I actually asked the Umzingwane Farmers' Association if I could attend
Congress on their behalf, last week. I have since been advised that the two
delegates had already been selected. They are C. De Villiers Esq. and M.
Stone Esq. I have absolute confidence that both gentlemen will act in the
interests of the Association, and agriculture, and Zimbabwe as a whole. It
would be more than arrogant of me to think otherwise, and I do not.

The real issue at stake is whether or not the mechanisms in place at
Congress will empower the likes of these two gentlemen to fully enunciate
the feelings of the FARMERS, both farming and displaced.

As to your second challenge about standing for Council - the Councillors
are elected at the AGMs as far as I am aware, not at Congress.

As to your third challenge - it has never crossed my mind. On reflection I
honestly believe that Matabeleland has attempted to put forward gentlemen
of integrity over many years. Right now we have a Boilermaker, a Foundryman
and an Auto electrician on Council - all gentlemen of integrity. All three
have struggled with the surprising impossible procedure of attempting to
bring about change in Council, some of which I have referred to previously.
Over the years Matabeleland has put forward a retired Headmaster/Musician,
a Retired Policeman, an Inventor, a future Governor of Southern Rhodesia
and many other great characters. Our new Vice President is a retired sugar
merchant and caterer, and breeder of Buffalo, I believe. He actually asked
the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, at the 2001 Congress, "what is on
the menu for 2002 and 2003?" Being a good caterer he foresaw a "Problem in
our Pantry" in August 2001 - two years ago.

Again it would be arrogant of me to think they do not understand and will
not ATTEMPT to do what is best for farmers, agriculture and Zimbabwe.

Thank you for your concern.



Letter 3:

Dear John

I am gently amused by the fact that Ben and Will appear not to want to take
up my challenge to stand for President of the CFU!

It reminds me of the man who constantly bitches about his wife but wont
leave her because he wont have anything to complain about!!

The debate is good for our souls.

Yours sincerely

Jean Simon


Letter 4:

Dear Jean,

I am greatly relieved to hear that both Ben and Willy have been so gentle
with you and so amusing to boot.† I wish the situation could be taken so
lightly and I for one hope that a resolution as to the way forward not only
with regard to leadership of the Union but also policy and strategy is
arrived at out of congress.† These are very pertinent farmer issues right
now, more so than in normal times, and it is up to farmers to resolve them
at this congress.

Warm regards

John Worswick


Letter 5:

Dear Sirs

I have to agree with Jean Simon's letter in the JAG Open Letters Forum 114
in which she states "Willie Robertson does not have the right to write a
letter on behalf of Martin Olds."

I would like to add that I don't feel any living person can write "on
behalf of" anybody who has passed on.† Unless, of course, they can prove
that they have some direct line to the dearly departed.† Apart from the
contents of Willie Robertson's letter, I was pretty appalled with the
manner in which he had signed it.

Debbie Graham


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

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Cash Crisis: Thorough Probe Needed

The Herald (Harare)

July 23, 2003
Posted to the web July 23, 2003


THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last week announced that it had injected into
the banking system $12 billion in new $500 notes. This is supposed to be the
last tranche of the $24 billion which the central bank said it would release
into the system in May.

But the crisis it seems, is far from over.

The long-winding queues at banks and building societies are still the order
of the day.

Everyone had hoped that this injection of cash would result in a reduction
of queues at financial institutions and an increase of withdrawal limits
that had drastically gone down to between $5 000 and $10 000 per account

The question to be answered is: Where are those billions that have been
injected into the market? If anything, money has become more scarce. Clients
are still being turned away by banks and building societies for lack of

Could it be that demand has far outstripped supply; or are people hiding the
money under their mattresses to cushion themselves against unforeseen cash
crises in the future? We hope not.

Some economic analysts have come up with different views on how and why the
crisis evolved, with some blaming the central bank and others saying the
issue was more complicated.

There is no doubt that some external forces could be involved in exploiting
the situation by mopping up the cash on the market and worsening the
situation thus causing chaos. A cash crisis is the worst form of shortage as
life virtually comes to a standstill.

We have said time and again that the Reserve Bank needs to do a thorough
investigation into the whole issue. Whatever the case may be, there is need
for a definite policy intervention to get to the bottom of the issue. Things
have to get back to normal.

The operations of banks should be reviewed to give incentives to depositors
instead of penalising them for banking huge sums. We feel the crisis is
uncalled for but it has happened. If the responsible authorities don't act
promptly they will create a vacuum and other forces will exploit that for
selfish reasons.

It is not a healthy situation where people spend endless hours in queues to
withdraw money. In most cases, they go home empty-handed as money would have
run out. The shortage of bank notes may have well created permanent changes
in the way people regard plastic money and might well have created that
critical mass of card-wielding consumers that makes widespread distribution
of swipe machines, coupled with low charges, a viable proposition.

Zimbabwe has a very sophisticated banking structure and there is no need for
anyone to be carrying huge stakes of money. Savings have been dwindling over
the past few years due to the hyper-inflationary environment.

People are no longer saving for the future. It is now up to the banks to
come up with policies that encourage savings. People should have a feeling
of security which will encourage them to save for the future.

The chaos in the banking sector is causing extensive damage to Zimbabwe's
already battered image and quick action is needed to convince investors that
the country is capable of solving any crisis expeditiously.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Comment from ZWNEWS, 23 July

Admissions of guilt

By Michael Hartnack

The general response by black Zimbabweans to the dire conditions in which
they try to survive, and to the hate-speech against minorities with which
they are daily bombarded, must constitute final, irrevocable proof that
apartheid was unjustified and unjustifiable. The overall refusal by
Zimbabweans to give way to hate-crimes against officially-designated
scapegoats - whites, Jews, Asians, homosexuals - is the great "positive"
news, to which we, the media, do not give sufficient prominence. Indeed,
thanks to the fortitude and the spirit of the people, it is clear to most
Zimbabweans that this is only what Shakespeare might have called "A Time of
Needful Woe". How long it will take for this phase to pass, and for us to
recover from it, is another issue. This past week, inflation officially
reached 365,4 percent. Two undertakers were arrested for hiring out bodies
to conmen to obtain emergency supplies of diesel through bogus rural burial
orders - my garage has had fuel once in three months. A company belonging to
a ruling Zanu PF party member of Parliament is openly selling "coupons" to
buy a minimum 200 litres of petrol from his filling stations. His pumps are
marked: $450/litre (the controlled price), but attendants will serve no one
without the coupons. Police "invited" four major bakeries to pay $20 million
Admission of Guilt fines for charging $700 a loaf for bread (instead of the
hopelessly below cost of production $255 controlled price). Others still
sell loaves for $1 000-$1 200.

An extraordinary Admission of Guilt, but of a different kind, was signed by
the Zimbabwe Council of Churches just as Zimbabweans might again have been
asking themselves: "How did we get in this mess? 'Who sinned?'" The ZCC
admitted its own sinfulness but in language so guarded that it exposed
itself to further censure. The ZCC also associated itself with a bizarre
statement issued with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference and the
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe. The ZCC, Catholic bishops and the
Evangelicals made no attempt to attribute blame for violence, corruption, or
economic collapse. Instead, they urged Christians to pray for a resumption
of dialogue between Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (which assumes South African President Thabo Mbeki was
wrong in telling President George Bush talks are taking place now).
However,the ZCC, the Catholic bishops and the Evangelicals told "the press
to desist from manipulative and speculative reporting.'' "The Church," it
declared (as if there were only one) "remained united in its resolve to
pursue the route of a peaceful, mediated settlement, which will bring about
normalcy to our nation. Once this has been arrived at, the church will
inform its constituency as well as the nation at large." The Catholic
bishops include six prelates who have sat on their chasubles these past four
years while death threats have been issued against their colleague,
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, for daring to say agitation for land
reform is a smokescreen for intimidation of opposition. The Anglican Bishop
of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, declares his devotion to Mugabe and has
desecrated memorials to black and white soldiers killed in World War II.

The ZCC, in which none of these reverend clerics holds sway, appealed in its
own private statement for "forgiveness". "We have with our own eyes watched
as violence, rape, intimidation, harassment and various forms of torture
have ravaged the nation. We have been witness to and buried our own people
who have starved to death due to food shortages. While we have continued to
pray we have not been moved to action," said the ZCC statement. "We as a
council apologise to the people of Zimbabwe for not having done enough at a
time when the nation looked to us for guidance.'' It added that some of the
perpetrators of human rights abuses had been "set free" - but dodged saying
who they are. Meanwhile, the bakers' attempt to cloak their nakedness before
the inspectors by marketing bread as "Swedish Loaves", "Health Loaves" and
"Twist Loaves" in order to charge a realistic price. "What is being
"'twisted'? The dough or the customer?" I asked an assistant. We both had a
good laugh as I handed over my $700 (19 pence at the black market rate)
knowing I was extraordinarily fortunate to be one of the few with the money.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE: Focus on the extent of the brain drain
††††† IRINnews Africa, Wed 23 Jul 2003

†††† Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk in recent years

††††† JOHANNESBURG, - Zimbabwe is experiencing a debilitating flight of
professional and skilled people escaping the country's economic crisis, a
study funded by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has found.

††††† A large number of Zimbabweans had taken up South African citizenship
and there were probably more Zimbabweans in South Africa than in the United
Kingdom, the country with the highest official tally of expatriate

††††† The study was undertaken by the Scientific and Industrial Research and
Development Centre (SIRDC), under contract from the National Economic and
Consultative Forum, to measure the rate and level of the 'brain drain'.

††††† It confirmed that the "level and trend of the brain drain in Zimbabwe
has reached unacceptable and unsustainable heights". Noting that "during the
last four years, this brain drain trend has escalated in magnitude to levels
that have serious implications for the country's capacity to deliver on the
sustainable development front".

††††† Zimbabwe dropped to 145th place out of 175 countries in the Human
Development Index (HDI) rankings in 2003. The HDI is a composite measure of
average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development: a long
and healthy life, education and a decent standard of living. [See IRIN

††††† The SIRDC study estimated there were 479,348 skilled Zimbabweans "in
the diaspora, although the study team is aware that there is a large number
of diasporants that it could not contact". The majority held bachelors
degrees and "about 20 percent held masters degrees, while 5 percent held PhD
degrees," the report noted.

††††† Most Zimbabweans who had left the country since 1990 had gone to the
United Kingdom (36.8 percent), Botswana (34.5 percent) and South Africa.

††††† Although data collected from government departments, embassies and
other official sources showed that South Africa had the smallest proportion
(4.6 percent) of immigrant Zimbabweans, the authors of the report believe
this to be a "a gross underestimation of Zimbabweans in South Africa, the
preponderant majority of whom are illegal immigrants".

††††† "As the illegal immigrants have no defined places of abode, and are
constantly on the run from law enforcement agents, there was no way for us
to interview them so as to include them in our catchment," the SIRDC stated.

††††† During a visit to South Africa, the report's authors also found "the
majority of diaspora Zimbabweans there had changed their citizenship. We
could thus not find an appropriate manner of handling the case of the
diaspora Zimbabweans in South Africa. Many Zimbabweans readily mix in with
the South Africans because of the similarity of last names. Our view, not
backed by data from this study, is that there are probably more diaspora
Zimbabweans in South Africa than in the UK," the authors commented.


††††† More than half the respondents sampled in the study had emigrated for
work reasons (54.5 percent). "The most common work-related reasons for
emigrating given ... were the low salaries in Zimbabwe, followed by the
exchange rate, and better career advancement opportunities." In recent years
the Zimbabwe dollar has depreciated sharply against major currencies and
those of its neighbours.

††††† About 8 percent of respondents mentioned "political factors" as their
main reason for emigrating.

††††† "If the Zimbabwe government does not do something to make staying at
home more attractive and rewarding, the brain drain will continue unabated,"
the study warned. The forces driving people out of the country were as
powerful as the opportunities luring them away.

††††† There was no alternative but to enact "necessary economic reforms that
make staying at home attractive and rewarding" for skilled and educated

††††† The shrinking economy was not only forcing productive Zimbabweans
abroad but had also resulted in what the authors of the report termed an
"internal brain drain".

††††† "The deteriorating economy in Zimbabwe has forced some professors,
lecturers, medical doctors and scientists to operate minibuses, taxicabs or
operate beer parlours. It is a form of internal brain drain to have many
architects, accountants and pharmacists underemployed," the study said.


††††† The health and teaching professions were the worst affected by the
brain drain.

††††† "An examination of the professions of those who are leaving the
country shows that a sizeable proportion of them are doctors, teachers and
nurses. In fact, the health care sector is the most affected. Many are
leaving because health care and education spending cuts across the board
have denied them a place to stay and work in Zimbabwe."

††††† The report found that the flight of doctors had been "so overwhelming
that the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has had to recruit hundreds of
Cuban doctors who are paid in foreign currency to fill the gap".

††††† "Many professionals leave Zimbabwe for the brighter opportunities
offered abroad, complaining that Zimbabwe is too corrupt, and needs more
politicians of high moral standards. The dilemma is that Zimbabwe will not
advance in development if the majority of qualified people continue to

††††† "The reason why certain professionals are leaving Zimbabwe is that
they think working at home is synonymous with supporting the current
government and not the people," the report observed.

††††† The majority of emigrant Zimbabweans interviewed said they intended
returning. But about a quarter were not sure whether they would ever live in
Zimbabwe again.

††††† Erecting legal barriers to the emigration of educated professionals
would only encourage illegal emigration and discourage "bright Zimbabweans
from seeking to better themselves through overseas education in the first

††††† "If brain drain is a valid concern, the main thrust of public policy
in Zimbabwe should be driven by efforts to stem [the tide] and targeting our
policy thrust towards domestic equity, efficiency, and growth," the authors
of the report concluded.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Group Alleges Zimbabwe Opposition Candidates Pressured Against Running in
Upcoming Election
Peta Thornycroft
23 Jul 2003, 16:19 UTC

A human rights group in Zimbabwe says opposition candidates are being
prevented from running in elections scheduled for next month.

In a statement Wednesday, the human rights group Lawyers for Human Rights
expressed its concern that MDC candidates are being pressured not to run for
office. In some cases, the group says, MDC politicians have been threatened
with violence and in others they have been physically assaulted.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says at least two MDC members
who wanted to run for office have been attacked in recent days, with one
suffering a broken neck. It also accuses militia members linked to the
ruling ZANU-PF party gathering around registration areas to stop candidates
from presenting papers to the nomination court.

MDC officials say more than 40 of their candidates have not been able to

The elections are to take place in small towns, where the MDC has
considerable support.

In its statement, Lawyers for Human Rights says it is both unfortunate and
sad that despite 23 years of independence, Zimbabweans could still not fully
enjoy the right to vote, or be voted into public office, without the risk of

The election authority has declared all seats where the MDC failed to
register candidates as won unopposed by ZANU-PF.

The MDC says it plans to challenge the exclusion of its candidates in the

Meanwhile, African and western diplomats have responded positively to the
decision by MDC legislators to attend President Robert Mugabe's address to
the new session of parliament. The MDC had been boycotting Mr. Mugabe's
opening speeches as a protest against his victory in last year's
presidential election, which the MDC and many observers say was widely

The diplomats, speaking on the condition they are not identified, say the
next step has to come from Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Theft of electrical transmitters leaves suburbs in darkness

Herald Reporter
Thousands of people in Harare have gone for weeks without electricity
following increased vandalism of electrical transmitters.

Residents of Budiriro, Mufakose, Mabvuku, Tafara, Greendale, Msasa Park,
Eastlea and Borrowdale have resorted to using candles and paraffin for
lighting and cooking as a result.

Owners of businesses like butcheries, supermarkets and bottle stores said
they had lost business and perishable goods like meat, margarine and fresh
milk worth millions of dollars as a result of the power cuts.

They have expressed concern at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority,
which they are accusing of not solving their problem quickly.

Residents say they have reported power blackouts to Zesa officials on
several occasions but it seemed like nothing was being done to address their

A resident of Budiriro 2 said there had been a power blackout in the suburb
since Monday evening and yet there had been no official response from Zesa.

"We experienced a power cut around 6pm on Monday and up to now (Tuesday
night), there is no sign of electricity," said the irate resident.

"At the end of the month, Zesa expects us to settle electrical bills yet
they are not attending to our problems as quickly as possible," said Mrs
Precious Dongorera of Budiriro 2.

She said using paraffin, candles and firewood was more expensive than using

"And we donít have the money to buy all these on a daily basis because they
are very expensive," she said.

Another resident from Mabvuku said: "It appears as if our pleas for the
problem to be rectified are falling on deaf ears because we have spent
almost three weeks without electricity."

Muggings and thefts were also increasing as thieves took advantage of the

Some said their social lives had been affected as they could no longer
listen to radio or watch television.

However, Zesa Harare area manager Mr Steve Pieron said the power utility was
doing everything that it could to solve the problem.

"We are doing our best to solve the problem. The only problem that we have
so far is that we donít have the required material right now," he said.

Some of the materials stolen or vandalised would have to be imported from
Europe and would take more than three weeks to arrive in the country, he

Transformers were being stolen and in Budiriro alone, a 33 000 volts cable
that feeds the sub-station in the area had been stolen.

"One drum of the cable (300 metres) costs about $40 million, but we have so
far managed to get some of the materials from other places that are outside
Harare," he said.

Mr Pieron said Zesa was also facing foreign currency shortages to import
some of the required materials. He urged members of the public to report to
the police anyone who they found stealing or vandalising Zesa property.

Recently, two suspected thieves were arrested by the police in New
Marlborough after they allegedly stole Zesa electrical cables worth over
$500 million.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Service stations to import own fuel

By Lovemore Chikova
THE National Oil Company of Zimbabwe will stop importing fuel for resale to
service stations once it is through with its restructuring process.

Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister Cde Reuben Marumahoko said fuel
imported by Noczim would only be for Government departments and parastatals.

"The private sector will be importing its own fuel for service stations,"
said Cde Marumahoko.

"It is not very long before we implement the mechanism."

Cde Marumahoko said there would be a price monitoring mechanism for fuel
coming into the country.

President Mugabe indicated in his speech while officially opening the Fourth
Session of the Fifth Parliament on Tuesday that there would be a dual
pricing structure for fuel once the restructuring of Noczim was completed.

"On the other hand, Noczim, after restructuring and refocusing will be
competing with private oil companies in importing and distributing fuel
products through a dual pricing structure," said Cde Mugabe.

Cde Marumahoko said fuel would cost the same price under the structure.

"I do not want to say there will be two prices," said Cde Marumahoko.

"Fuel will definitely (cost) the same."

The Government recently increased the prices of petrol from $145,20 per
litre to $450 and diesel to $200 per litre from $119,43.

But some service stations were reportedly selling petrol for about $1 500
per litre, almost the same price charged on the black market.

The Government has instructed private oil companies to import fuel on their
own for resale to the public.

The oil companies recently indicated they would not be able to import the
commodity because of lack of foreign currency and low prices.

The country has been facing fuel shortages since 1999 when foreign currency
shortages began affecting the economy.

The shortages eased after the Government and Libya signed an agreement under
which Tripoli supplied 70 percent of the countryís fuel needs.

The deal had some problems but was renewed last month.

Noczim indicated last week that it had made substantial inroads in its bid
to raise adequate funds to meet the countryís fuel requirements.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


British Tycoon to Get New Trial

By Associated Press

July 23, 2003, 7:58 PM EDT

LONDON -- A wealthy businessman who was convicted of hiring two men to kill
a rival will receive a new trial, a court ruled Wednesday.

The Court of Appeal said the conviction last year of Nicholas van
Hoogstraten was flawed, though it ruled that the reason for its decision
could not be disclosed.

Van Hoogstraten, 58, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for hiring two men
to kill Mohammed Sabir Raja, a developer and business competitor.

The court ordered him to remain in custody pending a new trial.

In 1999, Raja, a father of six, was slain at his home outside London by two
men who stabbed and shot him. At the time of the killing, Raja had begun
civil court proceedings against van Hoogstraten for alleged fraud.

At the July 2002 trial, the prosecution had portrayed van Hoogstraten as a
ruthless businessman. A jury found him innocent of murder, but guilty of

The same month, Robert Knapp and David Croke were convicted of Raja's murder
and received life sentences.

Van Hoogstraten built his fortune through global mining and property
holdings. He has homes in the United States, France, Zimbabwe, the West
Indies and southern England.
Copyright © 2003, The Associated Press

Back to the Top
Back to Index