|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Struggle of torture victim
For the Cardiff Law Centre asylum team, tales like those of Anna (not her real name) are sadly not unique.
Until recently, Anna was living a normal, family life in her native country, with her husband and young daughter.
Her husband was quite a senior figure involved with the government in Zimbabwe, which meant the family was fairly well-off.
But then Anna was accused of being involved with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and her life took an horrific turn.
Sarah Sugden, immigration supervisor for the law centre, recounted how Anna came to be a client.
"There's a group called the green bombers, or Zanu-PF [the ruling party], and they go around terrorising MDC members because they don't want the opposition around," she said.
"She was accused of involvement and, although she wasn't, her husband left her because he couldn't be associated with such things.
"He ran off and left her all alone with the child.
"She was attacked numerous times, kidnapped, gang-raped by Zanu-PF members, went through the most horrific tortures you can imagine.
"They took her to abattoirs and submerged her in vats of ice and meat.
"They'd beat her, they stripped her naked and walked her though the town naked, and young boys would be touching her.
"In the end, she had no choice but to flee the country because she knew the next time, that was going to be it."
Anna fled to England and then came to Wales. She could not afford to bring her daughter and was forced to leave the child with her sister.
"She went through the usual asylum process and got refused, which seemed quite outrageous," said Ms Sugden.
"We had medical reports and psychiatric reports stating it was quite obvious she was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
"There were obvious signs she had been tortured and the secretary of state decided, no, we are not going to grant asylum in this case."
The centre appealed against the decision, but the nature of the case made it quite complicated.
"When she first came here, she didn't want to admit she has been raped, because in Africa, it's a sign of social degradation," Ms Sugden explained.
"If you've been raped and you are a woman, you have to go through a tribal cleansing ceremony, which is quite horrible.
"Women will want to avoid this so they won't admit they have been raped.
"Our client was very lucky as she didn't contract Aids or HIV, which is quite common from the rapes in Zimbabwe."
Because Anna had not mentioned rape in her asylum claim initially, when she finally brought it up, the assessors said it was not credible that she would have kept quiet about it.
"We put forward a very good argument that that is not actually the case," Ms Sugden said.
On the edge
Anna's appeal was adjourned no fewer than six times before it was finally heard.
"By that time she had been worn down to virtually nothing. She was in a terrible state. She was very much on the edge.
"I'd had letters from her saying she couldn't live anymore, that she was going to take her own life.
"The guilt she feels for leaving her daughter behind is quite horrendous on top of everything else that's happened to her."
Anna's appeal was successful - Ms Sugden described it as a "fortunate case".
"A lot of clients, they don't get a good outcome - it's quite tragic," she said.
But Anna's struggle is not over yet.
She has found out that her husband is now going through the courts in Zimbabwe to get custody of their daughter from her sister and, because of his connections, is likely to win.
The centre is now trying through the Red Cross to bring the girl to Wales to be with her mother.
Thursday July 24, 2003 07:23 - (SA)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) rival Morgan Tsvangirai have taken a huge stride towards resuming
talks to resolve their country' s political and economic crisis.
In an unprecedented gesture of reconciliation, the two leaders extended each
other the olive branch, calling for co-operation and dialogue to end the
The apparent thawing in relations between the two leaders and their parties
would vindicate President Thabo Mbeki's insistence, made recently to US
President George Bush, that behind the scenes talks were taking place.
The prospect of meaningful talks starting soon appears to have been
bolstered by the MDC's announcement yesterday that it was upgrading its
negotiation team ahead of resuming talks with the ruling Zanu (PF).
Three new members are to be added to the team, which will be led by MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube.
Tsvangirai said in Harare yesterday the MDC had decided to invest all its
energies in the search for a permanent solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.
"We have expanded our negotiating team, and agreed on the route to guide the
team when dialogue resumes.
"We are ready to support and participate in all efforts designed to chart a
peaceful course towards the resolution of the crisis in governance in
Ncube led the previous round of talks which were called off by Zanu (PF)
last year. The names of the new MDC delegates have not yet been announced.
Mugabe told a luncheon, hosted by the local government ministry to mark the
opening of parliament on Tuesday, he was happy that opposition MPs,
including MDC leader Tsvangirai, who is not a legislator, were present
during his address to parliament.
MDC MPs have in the past boycotted Mugabe's parliamentary speeches, claiming
that he stole last year's March election.
In a conciliatory tone, Mugabe said he hoped the two parties would be able
to work together despite their differences.
"I am glad that today there was that realisation that parliament must
hitherto be an honourable institution to which we belong," Mugabe said.
Tsvangirai said his party would do everything it could to ensure
"Our national executive tasked the leadership to do all it can to clear the
air for a peaceful political engagement.
"We decided to invest all our energies in search for a permanent and lasting
solution to the Zimbabwean crisis."
The Zimbabwean official opposition is still pressing ahead with its court
petition to have the results of the 2002 presidential election overturned.
The MDC's petition will be heard in the high court on November 3.
However, David Coltart, MDC secretary for legal affairs, said yesterday that
the party might be prepared to suspend the court petition should talks
resume. With Sarah Hudleston
An African lament
Liberal whites are emigrating from the African countries they
call home. This can only mean further decline
I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong hills.
runs across these highlands," Karen Blixen begins Out of Africa. "The
Mountain of Ngong stretches in a long ridge from north to south, and is
crowned with four noble peaks." For Karen—and other whites who came to live
here—the key was the altitude of 6,000 feet and the cool air. "Up in this
high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of
heart. In the highlands you woke in the morning and thought: here I am,
where I ought to be."
As I write these lines, I too look out at those four peaks of Ngong
for I am on the outer fringe of Nairobi, in Karen (named after Ms Blixen) on
the next property to hers; indeed, I visited her house today. It is well
preserved, thanks largely to the Danish government, which bought the
property and gave it to the people of Kenya at independence, and its
beautiful grounds—a 6,000-acre coffee plantation in her day—have the cricket
pitch smell of new-mown grass. It's a lovely place; her furniture still as
it was, photos of the smiling, attractive Karen and her numerous (and
equally smiling) black staff. But it's as well to remember that despite her
confident statement, "Here I am, where I ought to be," Karen Blixen left
Africa in 1931 and in her remaining 31 years never set foot on the continent
again. It seems slightly odd to be celebrating her book and her life as a
key piece of Africana. A nearby shop prominently displays a picture of Meryl
Streep during the filming of "Out of Africa". It is as if Karen Blixen's
real achievement was that, long after her death, Robert Redford and Ms
Streep were in a film about her.
As you drive around Karen, the name boards at the gates tell their own
story—Harney, Griffiths, Koch, Bulloch, Mbwa Kali, Pelizzioli, Dobie, Fryer,
Ballantyne Evans, Cross—but the houses are invisible, for the properties
here all have several acres and long drives, populated with tall trees and
thick multi-coloured bushes. To motor up the drive of the house I'm staying
in is like entering heaven; as you turn off the road everywhere ahead is
blue, purple, red and orange flowers, great waving bamboos, and the almost
narcotic odour of the bushes overwhelms you.
But there is more than a touch of sadness even here. "Lots of people
are leaving," I'm told, a fact borne out by the forest of "For Sale" signs.
"Not just whites and Asians, but many black professionals. Some of the
blacks go to South Africa but otherwise they go to the same places as the
others, the US, Canada, Britain and so forth. They've just given up on
Kenya." You can see why they might. The arrival in power of the reforming
Kibaki government has been the most heartening thing to happen in decades,
but the problems are such—and the government's naivete so obvious—that it is
hard to believe it can quickly reverse the banditry and vigilantism, the
ubiquitous power cuts, potholes, vanishing services, sky-high prices, the
Aids orphans in the streets, the babies for sale you read about in the "East
African Standard" and all the rest of it.
I've spent a good deal of the last three years in Zimbabwe and the
feeling of déjà vu is strong. But not complete: after all, the Zimbabwe
crisis is about the death frenzy of the liberation culture, of Mugabe
pulling down the pillars of the building rather than be survived by his old
enemies, the white farmers. Far worse, Mugabe is deliberately trying to
starve out the half and more of Zimbabweans who supported the opposition
against him. Nothing remotely like that is going on in Kenya to explain the
same despairing emigration. The only thing in common, and perhaps the only
thing that matters, is that both countries have for too long endured an
African elite in power which knew no bounds of law, patriotism or even of
rationality in its enjoyment of power and its kleptomania.
I think of a white Zimbabwean couple I know, their Harare house a
beautiful refuge I cannot pass without a surge of warmth. As a young lawyer,
Morris abandoned his practice in the Cape after a client was re-classified
from white to coloured. Morris set himself to fight this ruling but the
client, overwhelmed by the collapse of his marriage, the dispatch of his
children to inferior schools and the need to relocate to a slum, hung
himself. Morris and his wife Sandra, atheist Jews both, had found the
incident Hitlerist and had decamped to the more liberal world of Southern
Rhodesia (as Zimbabwe then was). Morris became a leading lawyer; Sandra
devoted herself to human rights work and, later, to helping Aids victims.
In the end, as Mugabe destroyed the country, I helped them pack for
Sydney. The house, although beautiful, was, of course, unsellable. Life in
Sydney would be much poorer, horribly reduced in fact, but at least
predictable—there would be electricity that worked, shops with food in them,
the certainty of doctors and dentists being around and even the prospect
that children and grandchildren might join them there one day. Australia was
a country where the pillars would not fall down. That, rather than any sense
of bitterness, was what they talked about as they packed to leave the
country they loved, which they had intended never to leave. I remember, one
evening after helping them pack, lying in a bedroom full of boxes,
wondering: perhaps all whites who stay in Africa long enough will leave as
Some of these migrations are a terrible mistake. Academics in their
50s take early retirement, sell their houses in Durban or Johannesburg for
pitiful amounts in hard currency, and abandon comfortable if anxious lives
to embark hopefully for Toronto or Auckland, applying in vain for jobs as
schoolteachers, night-shift copy editors or what have you while they pour
away their tiny capital on high bedsit rents. One of the better philosophers
I knew in South Africa ended up, without the assistance of Zen, as a
motorcycle maintenance man in Wisconsin. Lives full of meaning become dingy
Too many whites have behaved badly in Africa for their emigration to
arouse much sympathy. In any case, it is beside the point, which is simply
that Africa's crisis deepens by the year. If that crisis is ever to bottom
out, if recovery is ever to happen, Africa will need all the hard-working,
humane professional people it can find—countries which drive away people
like Morris and Sandra are committing suicide.
Many of the professionals who leave Africa today are Africans or
Asians but often, still, they're white. Many black professionals were
brought on by whites like Morris and Sandra; theirs was the innovating
liberal impulse, the first drive, the original model. It is this, rather
than their skin colour, which makes their leaving so significant and so sad.
But there is a racial angle too. If you ask young whites why they
leave South Africa they often speak of affirmative action, a reply which
fewer Asians and no African would give. Affirmative action in favour of
downtrodden minorities in the US or Britain is so ordinary that it often
goes unnoticed that affirmative action in favour of a huge majority is
discrimination against a better-educated minority—a different thing.
Of course, there have been pockets of whites in pockets of time who
have felt they were utterly rooted here, could live nowhere else:
pre-eminently the Boers, but one should not forget that Albert Camus and
over a million other whites once felt equally rooted in Algeria. Today they
are all gone and Afrikaners now emigrate from South Africa as easily as
It had always been hoped that the coming of democracy would see a
return of the South African diaspora, for the country had leaked talent
throughout the apartheid period. In the event, not one tenth of the white
émigrés returned. I was one of the few white returnees of the diaspora.
Many, even of those who did return, did not stay long. Everyone welcomed
democracy but none could welcome the hugely higher crime rate, the
anti-white, anti-Asian and anti-coloured discrimination in the job market
and the speed with which Mandela's rhetoric of national reconciliation gave
way to Mbeki's black nationalism.
Young whites flooded abroad in numbers—there are said to be some
300,000 in London alone—and the exodus continues. It is mainly the older age
groups who stay, which means that natural mortality will produce a huge
shrinkage in the white population in the decade or two ahead. To attend any
theatre or orchestral concert in South Africa is to view a sea of grey and
white heads in a still largely white audience, allowing one to predict with
some certainty the collapse of those institutions of high culture which have
survived thus far. In the universities, people are being appointed to
lectureships, chairs or even vice-chancellorships who, on merit, would never
even have reached shortlists before. My own home town of Durban boasts two
universities. The vice chancellor of one is a man who recently boasted of
how he would rub himself all over with lion fat every morning the better to
arm himself against his adversaries. The other is a man who was expelled for
exam cheating at the institution he now heads.
There is a terrible, ineffable sadness to this: not only the collapse
of standards and cultural institutions, nor even the far larger sense that
for all its 350-year length South Africa has suffered a failed colonisation.
Far worse is the certainty that the euphoric birth of the "new South Africa"
can hardly survive the ebbing of this tide: how to make a success of the
country if orchestras, theatres, museums, newspapers, libraries and
universities collapse or suffer a catastrophic lowering of standards? The
government operates on the assumption that it can create an adequate new
intelligentsia to run all these institutions simply by administrative fiat.
All it is achieving is an ever more rapid devalorisation of everything it
touches. There are times when, to borrow the title of one of JM Coetzee's
books, the sense of "waiting for the barbarians" is overwhelming.
Which, indeed, brings one to Coetzee, South Africa's greatest literary
son and Nobel Laureate-in-prospect. His own take on the new political
correctness and the death-in-life it implied was laid bare in Disgrace. The
anti-hero starts, like Coetzee himself, as a Cape Town-based lecturer in
English literature. The man has a regular relationship with a coloured
prostitute which seems fair enough to him: he gives her money, she gives him
sex—until he sees her, harassed, with her young family. Then he drifts into
an affair with a young student. Again, it seems fair enough, a voluntary
liaison on both sides. But then his number is called: he has, like South
African whites down the ages, been making apparently equal arrangements with
people who are not only intrinsically weaker but, in the case of the
student, are left in his care. He is told that the only way out is to
confess, abase himself utterly. He refuses; he makes no other stand, he
simply will not abase himself. He is cast into outer darkness, into complete
Tellingly, the anti-hero is engaged in a high-culture project,
anchored within a sophisticated, Eurocentric world of letters. Most of his
waking hours are preoccupied with this project, but it comes to nothing.
Like all such projects, on African soil it is out of place, it fails. He
seeks out his daughter on a farmstead in the eastern Cape. She is gang-raped
by passing Africans but decides to carry on with the pregnancy that results,
refuses to complain, says it is the price of staying on if you are white. He
is horrified but all he can do is give comfort in trivial, dead-end ways to
lonely women or, in another telling image, to dead dogs whose carcasses need
re-arranging so they can pass smoothly into the incinerator. If you are
white, no positive, active role is left to you. Either you accommodate
yourself to the unreasonable or you play out your life in some futile back
alley. You are doomed to this by the disgraceful history of your kind. Maybe
it's fair, maybe it's not, but it is the way things are.
At first the moral dissonance in "Disgrace" consists merely in the
fact that the lecturer's sex-for-money deal with the prostitute isn't really
fair; then in his affair with the student which is, ironically, treated as
more serious. But the novel derives its punch from the far greater
dissonance of his daughter's acquiescence in her own gang-rape. "Disgrace"
won Coetzee the Booker for a second time and many other awards. It sold well
in South Africa but its theme made Coetzee a non-person in polite society.
It was ignored by South Africa's book-prize givers, who preferred third-rate
but politically correct works.
Which is where the matter might have rested, were it not for the fact
that the young Thabo Mbeki, who mixed with the Marxist literary crowd at
Sussex University in the 1960s, had learnt how well a good literary
quotation could set off a speech. This habit he employs in virtually every
speech as president, earning himself a reputation for intellectualism in ANC
circles where such flourishes are otherwise unheard of. Moreover, it had
been decided in 2000 that the ANC would bring the errant liberal press to
heel by having the human rights commission hold inquisitorial hearings into
"racism in the media." The luckless ANC Minister, Jeff Radebe, was chosen to
present the ANC's diatribe against "subliminal racism"—and out poured a
vitriolic denunciation of "Disgrace", transparently authored by Mbeki
himself: indeed, one newspaper even managed to trace the document back to
Mbeki's own computer. As the Aids debate has revealed, Mbeki feels a
particular fury over the image (which he feels to be immanent in many
discussions of Aids) of black males as sexually irresponsible
"disease-carriers," and the book's depiction of a gang rape by black men had
predictably set him roaring.
"Disgrace" was thus savaged by the ruling party as the epitome of
white racism and pretty clearly by the president himself. Coetzee, who has
always avoided public statements, said nothing but it was not very
surprising when, a few months later, news of his emigration slipped out.
Typically, Coetzee refused to explain, pointing out that all emigrations
were "intimate" affairs: sometimes one only understood their true
significance years later. It is a good index of how fearful and
ideologically bullied the South African intelligentsia has become that no
single word of protest or even regret was uttered at this treatment of the
country's greatest writer. Last year, I pointed out this sequence of events
in a column I write for a Johannesburg newspaper. The result was a
predictably furious response from a presidential spokesman denying Mbeki's
authorship of the original denunciation of Coetzee and claiming that Coetzee
himself had said he wasn't leaving for the reasons I had adduced. Both
assertions were untrue: Coetzee had refused to give any explanation; and
Mbeki, as head of the ANC, was clearly responsible for its statements on
such key subjects as press freedom. This second statement too was replete
with literary flourishes—this time about Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. It
too had probably been authored by Mbeki and then given to a "spokesman" to
Much as I admire "Disgrace", its message is surely wrong. Given that
the doctrine of collective guilt is nonsense, it follows that whites in
Africa should only feel guilty if they have individually deserved to do so.
Nor do I think that the only thing left for people like me is to rearrange
dead dogs so they can go neatly into incinerators. Whites have lived in
Africa since Roman times. Never more than a tiny minority, they have
extraordinary achievements-as well as great crimes—to their name. If Africa
is to rescue itself from its current crisis it will need all the help it can
get, certainly including help from whites.
All this must have seemed very obvious in Karen Blixen's day. What
happened in between was the great convulsion of Mau Mau, the ascent and now
the collapse of African nationalism. Even Kenyans refer disparagingly to the
group which took over in the 1960s as "the nationalists," for nationalism
turned out mainly to be a cover for theft. First Kenyatta and then Moi used
their office to acquire enormous wealth, as did most of their ministers.
Their example inevitably percolated down through every avenue of life. The
result has been the economic, environmental and moral exhaustion of the
It has been the same story elsewhere in Africa. The nationalist
determination to get rid of Asians and whites is a key part of this
irrational convulsion. What makes it irrational is that these are
nationalists devoid of patriotism. If Kenyatta or Moi had really wanted to
build Kenya up they would not have encouraged the pervasive culture of
corruption. Moi is now reputedly the tenth richest man in the world but
Kenya's hospitals, schools and physical infrastructure lie in ruins:
everywhere the national patrimony has been plundered. Similarly, Mugabe has
cut Zimbabwe's GDP by 30 per cent in three years and is starving half his
countrymen to death, actions justified in the name of the same strange
"nationalism" which has no regard for the national interest.
It is the same with Mbeki. If he were genuinely concerned with South
Africa' s national interests he would not be destroying the universities or
driving hundreds of thousands of the best and brightest abroad. Nor would he
insist on acclaiming the genocidal Mugabe as a "progressive." Such African
nationalists, although they may defend their actions in the universalist
terms of justice and development, are acting out psycho-dramas of revenge
and self-aggrandisement rooted more in the damaged colonial ego Fanon
describes than in any rational consideration of national needs. VS Naipaul's
"A Bend in the River" said it all long ago.
Many of the whites and Asians who stay on in Africa do so because they
believe that this vast, irrational convulsion must pass—and pass in their
own lifetime. But many have already lost this bet. Morris and Sandra sat it
out through the 1980s and 1990s in Zimbabwe believing the lunacy must lessen
or that the opposition would give the country a fresh start. The bitterest
thing for those who leave Africa now is that they have reason to envy those
who left in the 1970s or 1980s—people they excoriated at the time as
fainthearts but who, because they gave up hope sooner, have used their time
to build comfortable lives elsewhere rather than, as it now appears,
"wasting" that time working for a future which refused to arrive. The logic,
it might seem, is for all whites, Asians and those of mixed race to quit
Africa. But such an outcome would not stop the irrational convulsion: the
vast majority of Mugabe's victims are black, just as almost all the victims
of Mbeki's Aids policies are black. If all Asians and whites left, even
larger numbers of African professionals would leave too, precipitating a
further economic collapse and robbing the continent not just of any shared,
non-racial future but of pretty well any future at all.
For those of us committed to staying put there are many frustrations,
above all that we are not allowed to contribute what we would like to give.
But even if those who thought the irrationalism would pass quicker than it
has have been proved wrong, they were still right that pass it must. Africa
is, in any case, bigger than anyone's personal disappointment. It is always
beautiful, never boring. To wake up looking down over Table Bay, or over the
sub-tropical vegetation of Durban to the huge rollers of the Indian ocean,
or, indeed, at the four hills of Ngong is compensation enough for anyone
with a soul to lose.
RW Johnson, a former South
African Rhodes scholar, was fellow in
politics at Magdalen College, Oxford for 26 years before he resigned to
return to South Africa in 1995
Mozambique outlaws meat imports from Zimbabwe
July 24, 2003
Maputo - Mozambique had banned meat and animal imports from Zimbabwe,
where there had been an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, a government
official said this week.
Zimbabwe said last week its main beef export zone had been hit by
foot-and-mouth disease, dealing a blow to chances of a resumption of meat
exports to the European Union and other markets after an outbreak of the
disease in 2001.
Mozambique, which shares a lengthy border with Zimbabwe, said on
Tuesday its ban on meat and livestock imports would remain in place until
the disease had been eradicated
. "We had no choice," the senior official said.
Mozambican officials had no immediate figures on how much meat was
imported from Zimbabwe annually, but the country is not one of Harare's main
export markets. The ban will, nevertheless, affect large swathes of central
Mozambique, where cattle remain rare after herds were slaughtered during the
country's 16-year civil war.
Industry officials say Zimbabwe's beef exports have declined by more
than 90 percent since 1997
Fuel deal collapses
Hama Saburi Deputy Editor-in-Chief
7/24/2003 8:33:00 AM (GMT +2)
A US$360 million ($296.6 billion) fuel procurement deal cobbled up
this month by the Petroleum Marketers Association (PMA) as a last-ditch
attempt to help Zimbabwe out of its three-year crippling fuel crisis has hit
a brick wall after banks rejected the exchange rate to be applied for them
to bankroll the deal.
The still-born deal, which would have required monthly foreign
currency allocations of US$30 million, came unstuck after financial
institutions, which were expected to provide the scarce foreign currency,
refused to buy into the arrangement unless the central bank accepted to
review the country’s exchange rate regime.
Impeccable fuel industry sources privy to the ill-fated arrangement
disclosed this week that the deal, which could have been concluded by now,
ran into difficulties in the last stages of protracted negotiations
following disagreements over the exchange rate to be applied.
The haggling over the exchange rate came to a head after bankers
remained adamant that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which controls the
country’s financial levers, should increase the price of the greenback from
the current Z$824 to around $2 200 to make the deal profitable.
Tough-talk from banks meant that the deal had been put in the
deep-freeze, at least for now, the sources said.
They however, indicated that despite the glaring differences,
negotiations were set to resume today between banks and fuel industry
The proposal by the banks to devalue the local unit, which is still
trying to find a bottom against the greenback, would have the net effect of
raising the pump price of petrol from $450 per litre to $1 022 with that of
diesel shooting up from $200 to $948, industry sources said. This could
spark a fresh wave of sensitive price hikes.
The central bank, the sources said, was however understandably ducking
the issue knowing fully well that it would put it on a collision course
with the government, which was likely to shoot down any proposals to devalue
Despite excessive pressure, President Robert Mugabe has publicly
stated that devaluation of the local unit was not an option for his
government. In fact, the 79-year-old leader has in the past hit out at
attempts to weaken the troubled currency through "the back door."
The RBZ’s dilemma was compounded by the fact that if it gave in to the
demands by banks it would also come under immense pressure to make
concessions to exporters who have been vociferously pressing for the
devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar which they feel is over-valued.
Charles Chikaura, the acting RBZ boss, was said to be in a meeting
when contacted for comment yesterday.
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president Washington Matsaira told The
Financial Gazette yesterday that his vice-president, Jerry Tsodzai, was
handing the issue. Tsodzai could not be contacted for comment as he was said
to be out of the country.
"There is no way we can finance fuel at uneconomic prices. The price
has to be right for us to extend both the foreign currency and the Zimbabwe
dollar facilities. The RBZ will come down hard on us if we proceed with the
deal without its blessings. Look, most banks have been penalised of late for
trading at exchange rates higher than the official one," said one banker.
Banks have since been requested to indicate the amount of foreign
currency and Zimbabwe dollars they could source as well conditions applying
to the facilities.
"To fund the purchase of this forex (foreign exchange), at the
existing exchange rates, credit facilities of about Z$30 billion per month
are required. While it was agreed before that the fuel companies may
approach banks on an individual basis, we feel that the difference in
funding structures for banks will lead to the fuel having different cost
structures and ultimately different pricing structures for the final
product. This is the situation the PMA is trying to avoid.
"We therefore, suggest syndicating the credit facilities so as to
closely co-ordinate the Zimbabwe dollar funding of this programme," read the
letter circulated to banks.
Under the arrangement, the fuel industry would operate a yet-to-be
established consortium that would procure, distribute and sell fuel to
participating oil companies which would be required to pay up-front for
Splits have however emerged within the PMA with some members wanting
to invoice fuel in United States dollar terms.
The government has also made it clear that it would not accept the
"dollarisation" of the economy, referring to the use of another country’s
currency as a legal purchasing tender.
In a document sent to Energy and Power Development Minister Amos
Midzi, the PMA expressed concern at the current fuel procurement system.
It said: "The current totally chaotic, disorganised and highly
dangerous practice of private importation, not withstanding the unacceptable
charges, is unsustainable and can go no way to satisfy the needs of the
entire nation, which is trying desperately to normalise its modus operandi."
The association said the oil pipeline from Beira, Mozambique should
operate on a 24-hour basis to sustain the 75 percent carrying capacity that
adequately covers Zimbabwe’s supply requirements.
It is estimated that 33 million litres of petrol and 44 million litres
of diesel would have to come through Beira, while Beit Bridge border post
would be a conduit for 11 million litres of petrol and 15 million litres of
"Without an upgrade to said pipeline, throughput is limited and of
necessity the balance must be overland by a mixture of rail and road through
Beit Bridge," it said.
Zimbabwe is going through a critical fuel crisis blamed on critical
shortages of foreign currency emanating from poor economic management and
falling exports, among others.
Corruption at the debt-laden National Oil Company of Zimbabwe where
some officials have since been arraigned for pushing the envelope too far,
has also played havoc with the fuel supply situation in the country.
National interests take precedence: MDC
Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter
7/24/2003 8:45:26 AM (GMT +2)
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) stunned
sympathisers when its legislators attended the opening of the fourth session
of the fifth parliament on Tuesday addressed by President Robert Mugabe,
with the MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, sitting in the Speaker’s gallery.
The MDC legislators had always boycotted Mugabe’s official address to
parliament, arguing they did not recognise him as the legitimate head of
state and government.
The latest move by the MDC parliamentarians and its leader, which
marked some measure of recognition over Muga-be’s legitimacy as an incumbent
head of state, could spill over into a withdrawal of Tsvangirai’s High Court
challenge against Mugabe’s election, critics said.
A statement by the MDC leader indicated this week that the MDC was
"ready to support and participate in all efforts designed to chart a
peaceful course towards the resolution of the crisis of governance in
Mugabe has already said the MDC had to recognise him as the legitimate
head of state first, and to withdraw its High Court order challenging his
election in March last year, before he can dialogue with the MDC leadership
over a resolution to the country’s present economic crisis.
The latest developments seemed to confirm South African President
Thabo Mbeki’s remarks during US President George W. Bush’s visit to Africa,
that the ruling party Zanu PF and the MDC were engaged in talks to find a
lasting solution to the country’s political and economic crisis.
In a statement soon after Mugabe’s speech, Tsvangirai said his
presence at the official opening of parliament was decided upon by the party
’s national executive at a meeting last Saturday.
The executive had made a resolution "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," said Tsvangirai.
Some sources indicated that the MDC had caved in to pressure from
regional leaders and some sections of the South African press which had
accused Tsvangirai of being a major obstacle to the resumption of collapsed
talks between the two rival parties.
Despite public avowals by the MDC leadership that the opposition
lawmakers will not recognise Mugabe and would boycott his speech, many
people were more surprised to realise that Tsvangirai had chosen to listen
to Mugabe’s speech from Parliament Building, rather than from his television
set at home.
Supported by the MDC’s National Executive, traditionally seen as a
hard-line organ of the opposition party, the latest development has been met
with mixed reactions from MDC supporters and sympathi-sers, who say it was
an act of betrayal.
Others said it was about time the MDC leadership tucked their tails
between their legs for the benefit of the nation.
"I am absolutely shocked at that decision," Lovemore Madhuku, a
constitutional law expert and political analyst, said.
"Effectively all this amounts to the fact that the MDC has recognised
Mugabe as the head of state contrary to their previous arguments and initial
reasons for boycotting parliament.
"It’s an acceptance on their part. It’s capitulation. On one hand they
say Mugabe is an illegitimate leader while on the other they say let’s go
out there and listen to him. They should make their position clear and stop
swinging back and forth," said Madhuku.
In the past, MDC legislators boycotted Muga-be’s speech and its
subsequent debate in Parliament, claiming he stole
Innovation key to banking success
Nelson Banya Staff Reporter
7/24/2003 8:42:53 AM (GMT +2)
AMID the unfolding economic crisis that has decimated the once robust
Zimbabwean economy, financial institutions are using innovation to triumph
Although critics are skeptical about the sustainability of the
phenomenal growth enjoyed by the sector, there is no doubt that its
liberalisation in 1991 has brought far more benefits than downside effects.
The entry of more banks, in a market once dominated by Standard
Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank and Stanbic Bank, has heightened the level of
It has also widening product offerings in an increasingly hostile
environment, in which financial institutions have to cope with an economy in
Financials institutions are becoming more customer-driven than before.
They have diversified their product portfolios.
Touted as one of the few African countries with a sophisticated
banking system, Zimbabwe has not lagged behind in introducing new banking
product such as telephone banking, bancassurance and instore banking among
Trust Holdings Limited, now in its eighth year of operation, is one
such institution that has been riding on the wave of success.
Trust’s rapid growth and development signifies the power of creativity
or innovation that anchors the success enjoyed by the financial sector
The bank, which made its debut as the tenth acceptance house in 1996,
is indeed the sum of all its parts.
Christopher Goro- monzi, one of the founding directors of Trust has
been an integral part of the group’s dream.
Goromonzi, who is the executive director of the merchant banking
division, speaks so passionately of the role innovation has played in
creating the group’s burgeoning balance sheet.
"More credit is due to the banks that have made money out of
creativity, which has ensured real sustained growth.
"I know for sure that Trust will continue delivering strong growth for
our shareholders because we are people-driven and not product-driven so we
have people with skills to scour for opportunities and create relevant
products for the market," Goromonzi said.
Goromonzi, who started his banking career at Standard Chartered as a
graduate trainee in 1987, said there was a discernible break from the
traditional banking philosophy to innovative flexibility without necessarily
increasing exposure to risk.
"Clients do not necessarily need money — overdrafts or acceptances,
but solutions to their raw material requirements and that is the new
philosophy that has led to the development of products tailor-made to suit
"For instance, traditional lending is done on the back of a borrower’s
balance sheet, but we hold securities, which will be ours so in the event of
a client going under, traditional banks would have to sell buildings or some
Goromonzi boasts of 15-years banking experience. He has
cross-sectional experience in the financial sector, having started off at
Standard Chartered before moving to the Zimbabwe Development Bank (ZDB),
that veritable cradle of local banking talent, where he was a project
He then moved on to the Venture Capital Company of Zimbabwe (VCCZ)
where he was one of the pioneers in 1992 and had a hands-on management
experience and up to 36 firms in his portfolio. Goromonzi left the VCCZ to
become one of the founding directors of Trust.
He said: "I was always looking for new challenges and I remember that
when we started off we had a $14 million cheque and empty offices. The
company letterhead was handwritten!"
It was at the venture capital company that Goromonzi was to pick a
penchant for financing start-ups as a means of creating new wealth.
"It is with satisfaction that I note that some of the firms we
financed at VCCZ have survived the ravages of time and listed on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. This is why I think the banking sector should
complement venture capital companies to create new wealth and, ultimately,
new clients for the sector.
"I would like to go back to venture capital some day, as it is really
an engine for growth and creates new capacity," Goromonzi said.
Apart from venture capital and project finance, Goromonzi is also
passionate about the need for research and product development, saying the
dearth of these pillars of growth was partly to blame for some of the
problems companies were facing, yet scant resources were channelled that
Asked about his position on the interest rate debate that is fast
gaining momentum along with the flying rates, Goromonzi, who is an ardent
soccer follower, said the rates were just one aspect of the micro-economic
scenario that needed to be addressed as a whole.
"I do realise the need for rates to be low to facilitate production,
but there is also need to encourage savings through realistic interest
rates, but that is just one aspect and we need a broader look in order to
solve our problems.
"This has been the major undoing in terms of implementing World Bank
prescriptions resulting in the widespread belief that they do not work, yet
they could have worked had it not been for selective implementation."
Probe into gold scam launched
7/24/2003 8:35:36 AM (GMT +2)
A BOARD of inquiry has been set up to investigate allegations of
misconduct at the Gold Mining and Mineral Development Trust (GMMDT) amid
fears that millions of dollars could have been lost through illegal gold
To facilitate the investigations, the trust has suspended its mineral
development manager, Peter Mutsinye.
Sources said the inquiry — the first to be instituted at the young
organisation established in November 2001 — has tainted the image of GMMDT.
GMMDT was formed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) at a cost of
$500 million to boost gold production, which suffered a severe knock because
of poor international prices and adverse operating conditions in Zimbabwe.
The trust was also tasked to come up with ways of curbing leaks within
the gold mining sector.
Nhlanhla Masuku, GMMDT chairman, confirmed that the inquiry was
underway but declined to disclose the basis of the investigations.
"I have just given them (the board of inquiry) terms to investigate,
unhindered, and interview anybody they want to establish issues of corporate
governance," he said.
Sources told The Financial Gazette this week that they were
allegations of underhand transactions involving the buying and selling of
the precious metal.
It is suspected that they were cases where gold was bought from
small-scale miners, who cannot sell the mineral directly to the RBZ, through
its subsidiary — Fidelity Printers.
While the miners were paid for the gold, it is suspected that the
commodity was leaked out of the official system without getting to Fidelity
Gold buyers are required by law to purchase the metal at the current
price of $15 000 per gram and dispose it of at the RBZ.
The illegal trade of gold and other mineral has continued despite
tight restrictions, worsening the shortage of foreign currency facing
Meanwhile, Engineer Charles Chipato, the chief executive officer of
the trust has resigned.
The former secretary of the then Mines, Environment and Tourism
Development Ministry, left the trust a few weeks ago before the
establishment of the board of inquiry.
Chipato would however, remain a trustee.
Masuku confirmed Chipato’s departure, but referred all questions to
the 49-year old engineer, who could not be reached for comment at the time
of going to press.
Before joining the trust, Chipato worked as a civil servant from 1983,
rising through the ranks to the position of Mines secretary in 1997. He
retired in 2000.
MDC drinking from poisoned chalice?
Dumisani Ndlela News Editor
7/24/2003 8:44:21 AM (GMT +2)
A VIOLENT political divide as the one currently obtaining in Zimbabwe
is unsustainable. It hurts the economy, which is feeling the pinch, and, at
worst, the country’s citizens, who bear the brunt of the sharpest edge of
In Zimbabwe, which went through a deeply divisive presidential
election in March 2002, political violence has resulted in hundreds of party
supporters, from both divides, losing their lives in political battles.
This explains why Zimbabweans breathed a collective sigh of relief at
what is widely seen as increasing rapprochement between ZANU PF and the MDC.
But as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) moves
within a whisker of talks with the ruling ZANU PF party, critics warned the
opposition party was now "drinking from a poisoned chalice", calling instead
for ZANU PF to relinquish power and allow the country’s destiny to be
decided by the people in a fresh election.
But others said an absence of a radical strategy to deal with the
ruling party left the MDC with no option but to go for a negotiated
In any case, pro-talks analysts said, ZANU PF was not under local
siege — there is no real action by Zimbabweans and the MDC to force the
party out of power.
But those against the idea of talks said the MDC, by offering itself
for talks with ZANU PF, was assuming that the current crisis in the country
was a militarised one requiring a transitional government.
The ruling party, they argued, had run out of time to work towards
extending its tenure in office — unless the MDC obliged to a government of
national unity or a coalition arrangement.
They said by engaging the ruling party, the MDC was allowing itself to
be entangled in a problem it is not party to and in the process exposing
itself to political pressure and manipulation.
ZANU PF had to simply step down, or call for a snap general election
if it felt it still had any claims to legitimacy, they said.
The country is currently facing an unprecedented political, social and
economic crisis that has posed a far greater threat to its citizens than any
menace that has ravaged the country in its history.
US$500m foreign dividends locked up in Zim
7/24/2003 8:42:03 AM (GMT +2)
AN estimated US$ 500 million ($412 billion at the ruling exchange
rate) worth of dividends remain unrepatriated as the foreign currency crunch
continues to bite deeper into the capacity of local companies to remit
earnings to foreign investors.
Economic analysts said non-remittance of dividends discourages foreign
investment, which has virtually dried up.
Foreign investors on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange are leaving for the
exits while a number of foreign-owned conglomerates are already relocating
their investments to "friendly destinations."
"The accumulation of arrears discourages foreign investment as
corporates struggle to pay dividends to foreign investors.
"The inability to remit dividends, coupled with the government’s
defaulting on its international obligations, only worsens Zim- babwe’s
ability to attract meaningful investment," one economic analyst said.
Declining exports, lack of balance-of-payments support and the
festering political crisis have dovetailed into the worst economic crisis
ever to visit the southern African country.
Exports declined by 40 percent to US$1.5 billion last year, from the
peak of 1996, while only $1.9 billion in international grants had
materialised from an expected $9.8 billion.
External arrears, which stood at US$800 million at the beginning of
last year, now exceed US$1.5 billion.
"The capital account has recorded huge deficits, which means we are
stuck with foreign currency shortages as long as we maintain unrealistic
exchange policies and do not inspire confidence in multilateral donor
institutions," an analyst with a local credit insurance firm said.
Net outflows on the capital account amounted to US$347 million
($285.93 billion) in 2002.
The shortage of foreign currency has impacted on the country’s vital
imports, leading to a protracted fuel crisis, power outages and a drastic
reduction in production, sending the economy further into decline.
Fuel companies jostle for deals
Dumisani Ndlela News Editor
7/24/2003 8:37:55 AM (GMT +2)
OIL companies are scurrying to stitch-up multi-billion dollar fuel
import deals with millions of litres of fuel already reportedly at the port
of Beira in Mozambique in anticipation of the widely expected deregulation
of the fuel industry.
Industry sources said the sector was buoyant about the opening of the
sector to private players, which was expected to be announced by Energy and
Power Development Minister, Amos Midzi this week.
Government sources said President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet approved the
deregulation of the sector and a dual pricing system under which the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) would sell fuel at below-market
New players would sell at prices determined by market forces.
Midzi is said to have delayed announcing the deregulation, insisting
that oil companies should prove first that they had supplies that could come
into the country once the sector is opened up.
Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe chairman, Masimba
Kambarami, refused to confirm the reports, but said oil companies were to
meet bankers today to receive feedback on how they could mobilise foreign
currency for oil procurement.
"After that meeting, that’s when the real big stuff is going to
happen," said Kambarami.
COMOIL Private Limited, an indigenous fuel company owned by Migdale
Holdings Limited, has already put up a US$4 million oil procurement facility
financed by three banking institutions under a rolling programme.
Under that deal, COMOIL is said to have received supplies amounting to
21 million litres of assorted petroleum products, acquired from Independent
Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait. The fuel was off-loaded at the Beira
harbour this week.
A COMOIL marketing executive, Fanuel Kangondo, confirmed the deal, but
refused to give details.
COMOIL has struck a deal with NOCZIM to use its pipeline to pump its
fuel supplies into the country.
Details of the arrangement were not immediately available, but sources
said COMOIL, the first privately owned company to enter into such an
arrangement with Noczim, would be charged per litre of fuel pumped into the
Sources said 5 000 million litres of diesel were also expected to be
fed into Mobil Mozambique’s tanks at the Beira corridor next week.
The ship carrying the fuel will dock the harbour on August 1, an
official with Mobil Mozambique told The Financial Gazette on the telephone
from Maputo yesterday.
Mobil’s fuel consignment would be moved into the country over land,
It was not clear if Mobil Zimbabwe would take up the entire diesel
consignment destined for Zimbabwe.
Diesel is one of the key inputs in industry and agriculture used
mainly to drive heavy industrial machines and vehicles.
Local Mobil Zimbabwe officials were cagey when contacted for comment
over the issue, but sources indicated that the company had huge orders from
clients for direct foreign imports on their behalf.
Some of the orders had been outstanding for "quite some time", they
"The fuel is already paid for by clients who simply asked Mobil to buy
on their behalf because they had the foreign currency," a source at Mobil
said, but refused to give figures.
Other multinational oil companies — BP Zimbabwe, Caltex Oil Zimbabwe
and Total Zimbabwe — are said to have already begun enjoying the limited
benefits of the impending deregulation through direct foreign imports (DFI)
for clients with their own foreign currency to buy fuel. But they were said
to be skulking for a bigger share of the retail market.
Zimbabwe has for the last three years experienced acute fuel shortages
that have disrupted economic activtites.
Arrangements that have been put in place before, enabling the country
to get fuel supplies from Libya in exchange for food commodities, crumbled
after Zimbabwe failed to meet its obligations under the deal.
Noczim’s poor international credit rating has resulted in its failure
to secure off-shore credit line for offshore fuel procurement.
We deserve better!
7/24/2003 8:46:31 AM (GMT +2)
OUR chickens are really flocking home to roost at the worst possible
time. The host of man-made problems besetting Zimbabwe has produced
poison-tipped arrows aimed, Cupid style, right at the heart of the country’s
economy. Zimbabweans are grappling with probably their worst economic and
social hardships ever.
Once touted as that rare bright spot in the gloom of the dark
independent Africa, Zimbabwe has sadly been reduced to an economic basket
case. The initial euphoria at independence has now but died and lapsed into
Ours is a very uncertain economic outlook. Among a plethora of ills,
we are currently suffering the consequences of rising run-away inflation
against a back-cloth of unprecedented falling industrial production — what
economists would call stagflation.
Industry is laden with gloom and jobs are being shed on a daily basis
as the deteriorating economic situation has touched off a rising tide of
company closures. Professionals trained with the taxpayer’s money are
leaving in droves with conservative figures putting their number at half a
The devastating and swift depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar against
the world’s premier currencies which has become a scapegoat for discontent
over sensitive basic commodity price hikes continues unabated and standards
of living are plummeting as long-suffering Zimbabweans continue to endure
social depravation. The health delivery system has collapsed — the list is
International confidence in Zimbabwe has since evaporated. Donor
fatigue has set in. Nervous foreign investors have pressed the panic button
for fear of being wrong-footed and have already taken flight to safety and
political risk has put paid to a number of projects with the promoters
We also have this long-running diplomatic deadlock with, much as we
might not want to admit it, some of the most influential countries of the
world in the form of the United States of America and the United Kingdom — a
stand-off from which only Zimbabwe, as surely as the sun rises from the east
and sets in the west, will emerge bruised.
Zimbabweans are indeed gnashing their teeth. A sad and emotion-filled
atmosphere prevails for the situation is nothing short of dire. The majority
of the population of this once prosperous nation live a hand-to-mouth
existence — living each day as it comes, hardly knowing where their next
meal will come from. They loathe upheaval but they are crying out loud for
the betterment of their lives. The country’s leadership hears but there is
scant evidence that it is listening! And the most disturbing aspect of this
whole situation is that those presently running our economy are clearly at
sea as to the strategic direction or path to be trodden at this cross-roads.
Nothing underscores this fact more than that Zimbabwe could once again
fail to produce enough food to feed itself come the next agricultural season
due to a widely expected shortage of agricultural inputs. The same problem
has already adversely hit the production of the winter crop simply because
there were no contingent plans in place to make provision for these inputs.
We are no crystal ball gazers but if there is no drought, what will we blame
It would seem like, with all due respect, our leaders lack the
imagination, depth and vision required for a radical surgery to revive the
enfeebled economy. All they seem to be able to tell us is that they have
formed this or that committee, (which committees are emblematic of
everything wrong with our system), appointed the co-ordinator of the
co-ordinating committee of this and that, and holding this or that
conference to discuss the way forward.
Discussing what? Fire prevention when the economy is already burning!
Please give us a break for we deserve better than this.
What’s the difference?
7/24/2003 8:52:57 AM (GMT +2)
EDITOR — I would like to ask all the advocates of a government of
national unity to explain the difference between a one-party state and a
country run by a government of national unity?
Will a new party created between the two parties not just become ZA
MUD? The dictator of the new party will still be "invincible", so where does
this leave ordinary citizens looking for freedom from oppression and good
We want to be able to choose our own government through free and fair
elections. A short transitional government is all we will accept.
President Mbeki is an advocate of a government of national unity
because he too is trying to absorb all independent voices in his country to
perpetuate the ANC into a one-party state. He too, like Mugabe, is not
mature enough to tolerate criticism from an opposition party.
. . . and now to the notebook
7/24/2003 8:48:28 AM (GMT +2)
The state media is throwing us into confusion about its position on
Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
One day, Herald’s Madhuku correspondent, Lovemore Mataire, dismisses
the University of Zimbabwe lecturer as a convicted criminal capable of doing
nothing but only causing havoc. The next day, Madhuku is an expert
pontificating on constitutional matters on ZBC. What should we know about
this Madhuku man?
It is the same guy who gives the police and army sleepless nights and
costs the Air Force of Zimbabwe millions in expensive fuel as it keeps all
its choppers hovering over Harare every time he calls for street protests to
pressurise the Greatest Uncle to put constitutional reform on his agenda.
Remember the Great Uncle dismissing the NCA as only
Madhuku-Madhuku-Madhuku-Madhuku and no other person? And the next day, the
Great Uncle’s personal media quote the same Madhuku as an expert. There is
some confusion here.
Still on Madhuku, what is the truth about a vote of confidence passed
against him and other senior members of the NCA?
The document CZ got hold of on the alleged coup in the NCA did not
look like something that needed serious attention and we hope it is not the
same document that ZBC and the Herald pegged their stories on.
The document, not on letterhead and not signed, but coming from
"political parties, civic society groups in the NCA, women’s groups,
churches and academics" did not look like anything from a civilised African.
It talked of a "demorcatic constituion", "Dr Madhku" and
We hope it is not true that some academics were involved.
CZ was amused from reading the document that one of the charges
against Madhuku and company was the "failure to mobilise financial support
for the organisation from international donor agencies." Talk of donor
Some people will not do anything unless there are donors to sponsor
them. At the rate at which things that have to be donor driven continue to
increase, very soon some of us may be seeking donors to sponsor our frequent
visits to the loo!
However, CZ agrees entirely with one of the allegations raised by the
idiots in point three of their dubious grievance document; the point on
There is so much happening in the organisation, but even worse things
are happening in ZANU PF and MDC. Please don’t quote me!
Fire power demo
At the weekend, our
notorious Zimbabwe National Army decided to show off some of the tired
contents of its armoury. We wonder if this exhibition had anything to do
with the Great Uncle’s threats to the Americans and the British at the
weekend because that threat can only impress those villagers whom they used
to terrorise during the war of liberation, not the Americans we know.
But who eats firepower demos? Zimbabweans don’t care about how many
bullets, grenades or fighter jets their army has because they are
pre-occupied with basic survival.
Knowing what their well trained army is richly capable of doing, they
get all the collywobbles in the world when these people start showing off
which weapons they have at their disposal to support the Great Uncle who
continues to stick to power with the tenacity of a Savanna tick.
People in St Mary’s, Budiriro, DZ, Sakubva, Amaveni, you name it, know
what ZNA really stands for.
They are more of human rights violators than human rights protectors.
Zimbabweans feel more secure in the absence of this type of army that is
there only for no one but itself.
It is not the Americans or the British who are the greatest threat to
ordinary Zimbabweans, but this army and its commander-in-chief, the Great
members of the fourth estate are angry to hell and back. They are
angry that some companies are now getting stricter about who should attend
their functions, because "traditionally" journalists don’t need invitations
to "cover" these functions.
By virtue of holding a press card with Dr Tafataona Pasipaipa Mahoso’s
signature, they have free access to any function in the country, be it
public or private, they argue. It’s simply because they are journalists.
Last week two companies, which insisted that only people with invites
were going to attend their functions, particularly angered them. For the
uninitiated, a lot of food and drink is served at these functions, and this
explains the great interest.
One of the companies sent out keys along with invites and whoever did
not have a key could not open the locked entrance to the function. And this
extremely angered most colleagues who had, in their accustomed wisdom,
decided to invite themselves to the private event.
As if that was not enough, the following day, another company decided
to throw a cocktail party for the media and sent out some invites . The
esteemed members of the fourth estate phoned and invited each other without
the knowledge of the sponsors only to be shocked to the hilt when they
realised that entry was strictly by invitation no matter which media house
one came from.
To say they were angry is an understatement because they had turned up
in their droves — the way villagers used to turn up for ZANU PF rallies in
the 1980s — only to be left salivating in gluttonous lust outside the
function that had so much food and drink.
"You don’t treat journalists like this. This is very bad PR," fumed a
colleague. For the sake of avoiding violent argument, CZ agreed that this
was really very bad PR, although he did not agree at all.
Apart from bona fide journalists who simply decide to invite
themselves, there is this serious problem of people masquerading as
journalists. This is the most noisome lot to deal with.
To start with, there is this group from the Mass Communications
department at the Harare Poly, who because they are studying journalism,
consider themselves equally entitled to invite themselves to any function
where prospects of food and drink being served are bright.
These students, and sometimes together with their colleagues from
CCOSA, not only invite themselves but also go on to invite anyone who would
care to go with them, and this explains the huge population that assemble at
hotels hours before most functions start.
Ask anyone who has attended the Environmental Reporter of the Quarter
As if inviting themselves is not bad enough, these students would
order so many drinks that even if they would be given the whole night to
guzzle them away, they will still not finish them.
This is not only confined to non-practicing "journalists", as CZ also
knows one news editor who is really good at this game. But most colleagues
This is maybe the reason why these companies, most of which are
reeling under the present economic hardships, are getting tough with us.
CZ prays that whoever will plan a do in the future will not forget to
include him on the invites.
ZANU PF/MDC talks might save the nation
7/24/2003 9:01:26 AM (GMT +2)
"Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I
may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend." — Albert Camus.
Nowadays it is being said frequently, but all the same it should
continue being said again and again, until it happens. From the look of
things, it may be our country’s sole redeeming feature.
The writing, in bold letters, is on the wall on the need for dialogue
between ZANU PF and the MDC. Time and tide wait for no man, so they
have to hurry up to the negotiating table lest they delay until so
much more has been lost and so little left.
The problems, the disruptions, the setbacks, the pitfalls and the
stumbling blocks the nation is facing need urgent attention before they go
No one is better placed for such a task more than the two opposing
parties. For the country to reawaken, reclaim and recapture some of
its most glorious and happiest days in history, they need to undo the
damage done by their cheap and nasty politics.
The responsibility is theirs. All theirs. Only theirs. Taking the
country off the rails, the conflict has raged for years with growing
rapidity, soon it will be 2005 and if things continue unsolved Zimbabwe will
for sure mourn a lost half-decade.
The benefits of understanding each other are without number. The mere
sitting down of ZANU PF and the MDC will provide a ray of comfort to so many
people in these trying times.
The international community can start taking us seriously as we would
have shown that even on our own, without any troika-Commonwealth or African,
we can resolve our differences peacefully as Zimbabweans.
It may also be the first step for investors to turn their heads
towards this country. Ready and waiting, a semblance of law and order may
reactivate their interest. Dialogue may also send a clear message,
especially to the rural areas, to the purveyors of violence who take
advantage of every election to cause mayhem, that the night is long gone and
the day is at hand to build and not destroy so that ‘freedom rings from
every village and hamlet.’
On the other hand, the costs of not embracing dialogue are obvious
and attract harsh and heavy penalties.
With a country forever sliding to rake and ruin, a time may come when
no one will find shelter from the economic chaos and instability.
Dialogue will also end up as a face saving measure for President
Robert Mugabe who, because of his rule that has dashed people’s hopes,
buried their ambitions and darkened their future risks bowing out of
his tail between the legs.
There is no disputing that the last years of his rule are a betrayal,
if not a violation of the people’s trust. In all this it must be remembered
that dialogue only works if people
face up to reality.
And the reality is that the country is stricken
with uncertainties such as conflict-ridden and sapped upheavals. The
country is cash-strapped, infested with corruption and the masses are
wallowing in poverty.
In short, the country is riddled with dilemma.
But dialogue may rectify this if those who go into it do so when they
are results oriented. And the results must be in the national interest and
not in any party’s interest.
The national interest is best saved if the ruling party realises that
the talks are not for it to re-charge its batteries or buy time.
It must also realise that democracy, like charity begins at home. That
self-realisation will ensure that it engages in talks with an open
mind and good intentions.
As for the MDC, ‘it must not fear to negotiate or negotiate out of
fear’. It must also not take the talks as a road map to State House but as
an important task to save the country.
If they behave that way they would have helped diffuse a national
time-bomb and as a result will sure have their names entered into the
register of men and women who saved a nation in its hours of greatest need.
- Clemence Manyukwe is a journalism student
Corruption levels sink to all-time low
7/24/2003 9:24:45 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE has been classified as one of the most corrupt countries in
the world, slumping from 45th place in 2000 to 71st position in a
Transparency International Corruption Perception Index released this week.
A Transparency International Zimbabwe programme officer, Mary Ncube,
said Zimbabwe’s corruption rating had been worsened by the country’s
continued economic meltdown, rising poverty and unemployment.
But the major blame for the country’s increasing corruption record,
she said, stood out as corrupt systems and policies that were benefiting a
few individuals while the rest of the country’s population bore the brunt of
the economic woes.
Zimbabwe is currently going through its worst economic crisis,
characterised by acute food shortages, foreign currency and From C9
fuel shortages that have disrupted the normal functioning of all
economic activities. Basic food commodities, whose prices have shot up by
over 500 percent during the year, are in short supply and only available on
the black market.
Inflation has been breaking record highs, with the year-on-year rate
touching 364.5 percent for June.
Ncube said a recent survey conducted by Transparency International had
indicated that over 80 percent of Zimbabweans believed corruption had
worsened their plight in the face of mounting shortages and economic woes.
She said the local chapter of transparency International was
advocating for the establishment of an anti-corruption commission to help
stem the worsening economic cancer.
Already, a Bill on the formation of the commission awaits
parliamentary approval. It is expected that the Bill could pass during the
fourth session of the House, which opened this week.
Tobacco producers throw weight behind contract farming
7/24/2003 9:08:40 AM (GMT +2)
TOBACCO producers, riled by difficulties encountered in accessing
loans, have thrown their weight behind contract farming saying it is the
only way that could restore viability in an industry critical to Zimbabwe’s
foreign currency requirements.
It was felt at the Air Cured Tobacco Association (ACTA) annual
congress that the auction and the direct purchasing marketing systems were
no longer competitive to the farmer because of high input costs.
Under the two systems, farmers carry all the production risks, which
has become unsustainable in view of the harsh economic environment.
Given the prevailing high interest rates ranging between 80 percent
and 100 percent, farmers cannot afford to shoulder all the financing costs.
"With contract farming, the contractor will bear all costs and risks.
Inputs will be provided by the contractor and all the farmers would provide
is the land, knowledge and skills only," said the Farmers Development Trust
(FDT) executive director, Lovegot Tendengu.
About 80 million to 85 million kgs of tobacco are expected to be
delivered to the auction floors this year, a 50 percent decline from the
crop that went through the floors last year.
The decline in output is blamed on the chaotic land reform and the
ACTA president, John Rimmer said the government should immediately
review the exchange rate to make tobacco prices more competitive.
The Zimbabwe dollar, which is officially trading at $824 against the
United States dollar is said to be overvalued.
Devaluation would result in farmers earning more in Zimbabwe dollar
terms. Farmers require prices that enable them to meet spiraling costs of
"Small farmers are now opting for crops that are easy and more
lucrative because the inputs are being bought on the parallel market and the
prices are not at par with the exchange rate on the crop," said the ACTA
Representatives in the flue-cured, air-cured and oriental tobacco
sector have also formed the Tobacco Industry Advisory Council to co-ordinate
— Staff Reporter
Tobacco farmers need $72 billion for inputs
7/24/2003 9:08:03 AM (GMT +2)
TOBACCO farmers require $72 billion within the next three weeks to
purchase inputs for this farming season or risk harvesting a failed crop,
farmers’ representative said.
Farmers Development Trust (FDT) executive director, Lovegot Tendengu
told The Financial Gazette that major tobacco players had sounded the
government on the huge financial burden to facilitate the procurement of
inputs such as seed and fertiliser.
Farmers are this week expected to meet government representatives for
a response to their appeal.
He said: "We have told Cabinet that tobacco farmers urgently require
$72 billion because we have three weeks of window period to produce tobacco
or else we will have no crop this year."
The golden leaf, which is the country’s single largest foreign
currency earner, could, for the third year running suffer a decline in
output because of late planting and the shortage of inputs.
Farmers will also have problems in accessing inputs after fertiliser
prices increased two-fold in less than two months this year.
Tendengu said the government had also expressed concern over the
proliferation of tobacco associations, which it said were undermining
efforts to centralise the distribution of the little resources available.
The government, reeling under a cash crisis at home and abroad, is
under fire from local farmers for failing to provide adequate funding for
the agricultural sector.
The central bank recently failed to give farmers US$20 million needed
to procure inputs for this year’s farming season. The tobacco season should
have commenced with the preparation of seedbeds now, but most farmers are
reluctant to borrow from banks because of the prevailing high interest
Tendengu said the government should fast track the transformation of
the Agriculture Bank of Zimbabwe into the Land Bank to ensure the
centralisation of farmers’ funding requirements.
Most farmers are not happy with the current discrepancies in funding
requirements they meet when accessing loans from different banks.
AU after Maputo: what next?
7/24/2003 8:56:39 AM (GMT +2)
IN September 1999, more than 40 heads of state and government gathered
in the Libyan town of Sirte to chart the way forward for Africa in the new
This special session of the OAU, called and sponsored by the
flamboyant leader of the Socialist Republic of the Arab Libyan Jamahiriya,
Colonel Muammer Gaddafi, undoubtedly set the tone for the founding of the
seemingly promising African Union (AU), which wrapped up its biennial summit
in Maputo a couple of weeks ago.
Although African leaders settled for the less ambitious AU, modelled
on the European Union style, Gaddafi himself still smarting from
decades-long US-led international sanctions envisaged a radical
establishment — in his own words he wanted to see the "United States of
Africa" being formed.
Successive meetings and summits however saw approval of a series of
key legal texts, which eventually culminated in the formation of the AU in
Pretoria two years ago. Wither OAU and enter the AU.
It is the hope of the AU leadership that the new dispensation which
already boasts of a Commission will soon have other structures in the form
of the Peace and Security Council, African Parliament, Court of Justice
While African leaders should be hailed for realising that they are
lagging behind the other continents in terms of development, it should
nevertheless click in their minds that the AU may not have a smart sailing
towards its noble goals of wealth creation, freedom from conflicts and
continued exploitation of its resources.
This is partly because of a century-long history of colonisation
characterised by a reckless exploitation of its resources.
Now in her infant stage of liberation, the continent has found her
individuals burdened by an array of socio-economic problems ranging from a
debt trap to a plethora of civil wars.
Even as the AU wrapped up its business in Maputo, Bujumbura (the
capital of Burundi) was under intense shelling from Hutu rebels. Burundi,
where several mediators tried to bring sanity including the octogenarian
statesman, Nelson Mandela, has seen more than 300 000 lives perishing in a
decade-long conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis.
As Africa continues celebrating the birth of a new socio-economic and
political paradigm in the form of the AU, raging conflicts in Mauritania,
the DRC, Sudan etc still continue unabated. The AIDS scourge, with Southern
Africa in the spotlight, remains enemy number one.
Some forces that are at play and may work against the AU’s
expectations are as follows:
- Africa, on its own represents perhaps the largest number of
countries spanning across a diverse racial and tribal divide. This may pose
serious consequences when moments of consensus are at stake.
- One of the major impacts of imperialism on Africa was to leave the
continent divided along colonially inspired lines in the form of Anglophone,
Francophone and Lusophone states. The result of this divide has left African
states with various forms of allegiance to their colonial former masters.
For example, Britain can boast of having its own friends in Africa by
virtue of the Commonwealth while on the other hand, France and its perennial
French Africa summit is a force to reckon with.
- With globalisation taking its toll, the continent may have left it a
little late to realise these dreams. The huge natural endowments Africa
rests on are increasingly at the mercy of Transnational Corporations (TNCs)
who come in the form of the so-called technological transfer and all sorts
of arguable interventions. Ironically, African countries themselves are
currently engaged in fierce competition through luring foreign direct
investment, whose source is non other than the Trans Atlantic zone.
- African economies are so different in their levels of economic
development. They range from vast economic powerhouses such as South Africa
and Nigeria to tiny sovereign states such as mountainous Lesotho. With an
entity of the AU stature, obviously issues of sovereignty and equality of
nations would have to be addressed.
One should also be able to see how a supposedly independent Africa
would operate in the current global environment without compromising its
ideals. Many analysts have rightly pointed out Africa’s indebtedness as the
biggest constraint to achievement of its goals.
The visit by American President George Bush to Africa at a time when
this summit was being held is so critical a coincidence.
That President Bush is pushing for the senate to authorise US$15
billion for Africa’s fight against HIV/AIDS is a clear indication of how the
AU ‘s path towards autonomy will be interfered with. Such aid often comes
with a lot of ties, mainly issues of governance and human rights, which
unfortunately is key to America’s relations with the rest of the world.
Various economic blueprints have also been put in place, supposedly to
stimulate developments in the beleaguered continent. Economic frameworks
such as the US’ Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the recently
launched New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) based on
the so-called "peer review" concept also speak volumes on Africa’s drive
towards autonomy and eventual realisation of its noble goals.
What Africa seeks to emulate, the EU, is in fact closely knit and with
a membership of hardly 20. Yet some key policy differences have often
emerged especially on the road towards a single currency. Even at this
advanced stage of integration, differences between the Eurocrats and
Eurosceptics remain a noticeable feature in the integration process.
However, Africa should not lose hope. The creation of the AU should at
least serve as an indicator of the bond that binds both Africans in Africa
and in the diaspora. It indeed is a useful entity if it succeeds in coming
up with structures that have potential to mediate in its perennial conflicts
and at least create a viable environment for both investment and respect to
A real practical solution to Africa’s problems however lies in the
consolidation of regional groupings like the Economic Community of West
African States, the Southern African Developmemt Community or the Community
of East African States.
Perhaps a good indicator of the effectiveness of solutions at regional
level is the 1997 reversal of a constitutional crisis and the restoration of
democracy in Lesotho after the intervention of the leaders of South Africa,
Botswana and Zimbabwe. The intervention of the Nigerian-led West African
force in Sierra Leone and also the role of SADC allied forces in the DRC
crisis five years ago suffices to explain the concept.
To date, we even have a SADC AIDS protocol, which needs to be
On evaluating the impact of this summit, one is even forced to say
that the most important outcome is that Africa is gender sensitive judging
by the requirement that its Commission should be run by a balanced number of
male and female commissioners. The other impact is the appointment of
President Mugabe as one of the five vice chairmen to President Chissano of
Meanwhile, last week’s coup de etat in the West African state of Sao
Tome becomes a test case for the AU’s response to the rising number of
African crises. Failure to positively respond will rather demonstrate that
the AU is just but the change of a name from the OAU, better known for its
conferences, summits and solidarity statements. This, however is not to
marginalise the OAU’s role in facilitating the continent’s liberation from
- Lovemore Kadenge is the president Zimbabwe Economics Society
Mugabe cleared Tsvangirai invite
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is said to have sanctioned opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s attendance
at the official opening of Parliament on Tuesday, a move that commentators
yesterday said could mark the thawing of relations between Zimbabwe’s main
Sources told the Daily News that Mugabe okayed Tsvangirai’s invitation
two hours before he was due to officially open the fourth session of the
Tsvangirai was accommodated at the last minute in the Speaker’s
Gallery, where only special guests with personal invitations from Parliament
Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa have seats reserved for them.
Mnangagwa personally invites and vets the guests who sit in the
The sources said when the MDC resolved at a meeting on Monday night
that its parliamentarians would attend the opening of Parliament, it was
decided that Tsvangirai should be present as well.
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube, in the company of the party’s
deputy chief whip in Parliament, Thokozani Khupe, approached Clerk of
Parliament Austin Zvoma on Tuesday morning seeking an invitation card for
Tsvangirai to attend the opening.
The sources said Zvoma directed the opposition party officials to
Mnangagwa, who is said to have first sought “binding” guarantees from the
MDC leaders that there would be no disruption or walkouts during Mugabe’s
address before processing their request.
MDC legislators have in the past boycotted Mugabe’s speeches, saying
he won last year’s presidential election using unorthodox means. The
opposition party is challenging Mugabe’s re-election in the courts.
The sources said Mnangagwa, after receiving assurances that there
would be no disruptions, phoned the Office of the President alerting it of
the development and seeking clearance to grant Tsvangirai an invitation to
attend the session.
The sources said Mugabe’s office gave its approval for the invitation
at 10 am on Tuesday.
Invitation cards were then sent to Tsvangirai, his wife Susan and MDC
national chairman Isaac Matongo.
Mnangagwa last night confirmed that he had processed Tsvangirai’s
invitation after being assured by Ncube and MDC vice-president Gibson
Sibanda that opposition party legislators would sit through Mugabe’s
He told the Daily News: “I processed Tsvangirai’s invitation after
getting assurance from the MDC leadership in the House that there would not
be any disruption and walkouts.”
He would, however, not respond to reports that Mugabe was consulted
before an invitation was extended to Tsvangirai.
He said the presence of the MDC parliamentarians and Tsvangirai in the
House was welcome, adding that he hoped it was “the beginning of greater
things to come”.
Mnangagwa said: “It was a full House and there were no disruptions.
This is how things should have been from day one. We should be able to
differ with each other while we are on the same table. I hope this is the
beginning of greater things to come and that this spirit will continue.”
Ncube, while refusing to comment on the circumstances surrounding
Tsvangirai’s invitation, yesterday said his party’s decision to attend the
opening of Parliament was a demonstration that the MDC was committed to
ending the political deadlock in Zimbabwe for the “good of the country”.
He added: “We restate our position that we are ready to work to create
conditions to have dialogue to break the impasse andour actions clearly
demonstrate that position. The ball is now in ZANU PF’s court.”
Political analysts yesterday said Mugabe’s decision to sanction
Tsvangirai’s invitation could indicate that the ruling party and the MDC
were ready to break the ice and end a stand-off that has significantly added
to the country’s crisis.
Eldred Masunungure, a respected political analyst at the University of
Zimbabwe, said: “All the developments which have taken place in the past two
days signify a preliminary breakthrough in the search for an internal
solution to the political stalemate in Zimbabwe. One can clearly see a
thawing of relations between the two political parties.
“By granting Tsvangirai the opportunity to attend Parliament, Mugabe
in essence indicated that he is ready to open the door to the MDC and its
leader. It is now even possible that we can have a situation where these two
leaders will have a meeting because a beginning has been made.” He added:
“Tsvangirai’s actions demonstrate that he is ready to rise above partisan
interests for national good.” But Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, the
leader of the ZANU PF delegation involved in talks that stalled last year,
was more cautious. He told the Daily News: “I think that the signs to create
an environment conducive for dialogue are there. Time will tell whether
these are political gimmicks. “The MDC gesture was good. It was a good start
towards mutual confidence-building. There is a perception in ZANU PF that
the MDC has been a front for foreign interests and once we don’t see it
(that the MDC is a front), we can start dialogue. If this dialogue is
rushed, nothing will come out.’’ By Sydney Masamvu Assistant Editor
NRZ starts buying new locomotives, wagons
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) yesterday said it had
started buying new equipment, including 10 locomotives and wagons, with the
$1 billion given to the national rail carrier by the government after a
train accident earlier this year that killed 50 near Dete in Matabeleland
NRZ corporate affairs manager, Misheck Matanhire, said the parastatal
had begun purchasing vital equipment following the spate of train accidents
in the country.
“The government disbursed $1 billion to the NRZ which is meant to
cover a number of projects, including the installation of a signalling
system on the North Line and the rehabilitation of some 10 locomotives and
wagons,” he said.
“The money will allow the NRZ to embark on various projects and
finance part of the projects. The organisation has already initiated the
procurement process for some materials required to start the projects.”
Matanhire did not say why the parastatal had delayed in utilising the
funds, given to parastatal after the Dete train disaster in April.
NRZ officials said following the accidents involving commuter trains,
the company last week began an investigation into the safety of the
18-kilometre rail track stretching from Harare’s main station to Marimba.
The officials said a comprehensive report on the investigations will
be completed today.
Thirty-three people were injured when a commuter train derailed near
the Rugare siding last week. The NRZ last week said it was abandoning its
auto-track control system and reverting to manual controlling after the
derailment of the commuter train which was allegedly caused by
malfunctioning of the auto control system.
Under the manual system, NRZ personnel will have to be adjusting the
rail track, each time a train has to pass.
The parastatal also introduced a manual monitoring system of the track
and the position of concrete and slippers on a daily basis to ensure that
entire system was working properly.
According to a senior NRZ manager in Harare last Thursday, several
technicians and engineers from their operations department toured the main
line and resolved to replace the ballast, the slippers and introduce the
manual tabular controlling system against the automatic one.
Matanhire said the Zimbabwe Republic Police and NRZ security personnel
have intensified their patrols in the areas affected by vandalism and thefts
of signalling equipment.