ZIMBABWE CONSERVATION TASK FORCE
2nd July 2006
Since September last year, we have been concentrating on solving the
problems in Hwange National Park. With the help of various donors including
the Hwange Conservation Society (UK) and the SAVE Foundation of Australia
and the assistance of Friends of Hwange, WEZ and National Parks, we hope to
have the park fully operational by the end of July this year. This is an
ongoing project and we will continue to try and raise funds for fuel for the
water pumps etc. In order to avoid a repetition of last year's water crisis,
we need to supply 10 000 litres of diesel per month to the park to keep the
pans full of water. Any assistance towards this will be greatly appreciated.
In the past few weeks, we have received several alarming reports of fish and
wildlife poaching around the country. With the current economic situation
and the levels of unemployment, the poaching is intensifying and has reached
crisis proportions. With the fuel shortages, National Parks are unable to
carry out anti poaching patrols so the poachers are free to go about their
business in broad daylight.
In the Sanyati Gorge in Kariba there are dozens of poachers netting fish
illegally and even offering to sell their catches to anyone passing by. They
make their boats from the bark of the large trees at the water's edge which
are perching and nesting sites for the Fish Eagle. A colleague reported
counting more than 30 trees that had been stripped of their bark on both
sides of the gorge. This problem is threefold - the poachers are killing the
fish, destroying the vegetation and depriving the Fish Eagle of their homes.
Whilst we sympathize with the local people who are trying to make money any
way they can in a floundering economy, we can't allow this to continue.
In the Mana Pools area in the Zambezi, Zambian poachers are netting fish
openly at all times of the day. Zimbabwean safari operators have tried to
carry out their own anti poaching patrols but had to stop because they were
being stoned from the Zambian side. We have alerted the Zambian Ministry of
Wildlife and Environment and asked them to please mobilize their police anti
poaching units to try and contain the problem.
In the past year, we have lost several black rhino to poachers and we have
been receiving reports of intensified poaching in the Chisarira Game
National Parks, the police and the Lake Captain in Kariba are extremely
concerned about the situation. They would desperately like to do something
about it but are unable to effectively control the poaching because of the
lack of fuel. We have many people who are prepared to assist the authorities
with anti poaching patrols. Residents in Kariba and Mana Pools are keen to
set up anti poaching units but fuel is required. We are appealing to anyone
who can help. It is very important that we tackle this problem immediately
so if anyone would like to assist, please contact us - contact details are
ILLEGAL HUNTING CONTINUES
The notorious Out of Africa Safaris who have been banned from hunting in
Zimbabwe are still hunting here undeterred. They have changed their name and
are hunting with certain unscrupulous Zimbabwean and South Africa safari
companies in the Matetsi area.
Although hunting has been banned in the Hwange area, we are still getting
reports of illegal hunting taking place in the Railway Farm area near Hwange
Safari Lodge. It is suspected that senior government officials are involved.
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Phone 263 4 336710
Fax 263 4 339065
Mobile 263 11 603 213
By Blessing Zulu
05 July 2006
A British Foreign Office official said Wednesday that mediation between
Britain and Zimbabwe was not required, as Harare's problems were of its own
making and did not arise from a bilateral dispute. The comments suggested
that the diplomatic initiative launched by President Robert Mugabe this
weekend at an African Union summit, with Tanzanian ex-president Benjamin
Mkapa as mediator, might be a non-starter.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the British official said the
cancellation of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's visit to
Zimbabwe was regrettable, as Annan could have highlighted international
community concerns about the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans, as well as the
need for the government of Zimbabwe to undertake economic and political
The official said Britain has always been willing to respond positively to
any real commitment to sustainable reform in Zimbabwe, but that the U.K. has
seen no evidence of such intentions coming from Mr. Mugabe and his
government. He added that any mediation or rapprochement needed to take
place first between the Mugabe government and the people it proposed to
represent, because the government was responsible for the country's
problems. However, he said Britain remained willing to talk to anyone
interested finding a solution to the country's internal crisis.
President Mugabe maintains that the country's crisis stems from unfinished
business with Britain over land reform following independence. But the UK
official said London has always recognized the need for an equitable
redistribution of land, and was ready to help, so long as it was done
legally and fairly to benefit all parts of society.
For perspective on the looming impasse, Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe turned to Dewa Mavhinga, a human rights lawyer based at Essex
University in England.
By Carole Gombakomba
05 July 2006
Zimbabwean human rights groups Wednesday condemned the attack this weekend
in the Mabvuku district of Harare on officials of the Movement for
Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara.
The Human Rights NGO Forum, which assembles 16 rights advocacy groups,
denounced what it called a "savage and barbaric attack," urging that all
political parties respect "democratic processes and the constitutional
entitlements of the people." The human rights umbrella group urged
authorities to prosecute the perpetrators.
Reports also said Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust Director David Chimhini has
announced plans to probe the attack, which left the parliamentarian for
Harare North, Trudy Stevenson, with serious injuries. Three other members
of the Mutambara faction were also hurt by assailants wielding machetes,
clubs and stones.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was unable to comment on the
official investigation into the incident in the MDC stronghold.
The MDC faction led by party founding president Morgan Tsvangirai has
announced its own internal investigation, and stated that it does not engage
in or condone violence.
Parliamentarian Stevenson, released from Harare's Avenues Clinic late
Wednesday, said she consult her lawyers about the incident. She gave Studio
7 reporter Carole Gombakomba an account of the attack by about a dozen
people which took place as Stevenson and several colleagues departed from a
A spokesman for Tsvangirai, William Bango, disputed Stevenson's allegation
that differences on political violence led to the MDC split in October 2005.
July 06 2006 at 12:28AM
Harare - A white Zimbabwean opposition lawmaker, discharged with deep
wounds from a private clinic on Wednesday after claiming she was attacked by
militant youths of a rival faction, said her assailants wanted "to kill me
"They (assailants) were obviously after me. We were in a car and we
could not run away as bricks and stones started coming through the windows,"
Trudy Stevenson, 61, said, describing the incident that took place on
"They were throwing boulders and they kept saying Trudy, Trudy, get
out of the vehicle or else we will kill you."
"We were terrified out our skins. They kept shouting my name and it
was obvious it was me they were after," Stevenson added, her head completely
covered in bandages and her arm in plaster.
'It was obvious it was me they were after'
"They attacked me because I am known better since I am a member of
parliament. I was in the enemy territory, it was considered I was
encroaching (on) their territory," Stevenson, an MP for Harare north, said
at a press conference.
She said her attackers belonged to a Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) faction loyal to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
She said there was "no doubt" as to the identity of the attackers,
since "the youths in Mabvuko were able to identify seven of them".
The MDC split late last year after Tsvangirai refused to participate
in the election of a new Senate.
"The split in the party was really about violence and not the senate
elections," said Stevenson, a member of a faction led by former student
leader Arthur Mutambara.
The MDC was founded in 1999 by Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist. It
made major gains in the 2000 parliamentary elections and now occupies 41 of
120 seats in the Zimbabwean parliament.
Tsvangirai's camp has distanced itself from the attack, saying there
was no evidence that linked it to the incident. - Sapa-AFP
By Bill Saidi
STATISTICS prepared by bona fide statisticians, without any ulterior
motives or any axe to grind, are generally speaking, reliable.
Yet, statistics, like books of accounts, can also be cooked.
In Zimbabwe, everything can now be cooked to fake the image of a
government tottering on the brink of collapse.
One statistic which not even the brightest wunderkind in the
government factory producing fake statistics cannot cook is this: more
Zimbabweans have drowned crossing the Limpopo River than South Africans.
The Zimbabweans have been trying to cross into South Africa because of
the economic crisis in their own country.
To list the statistics which confirm this crisis would be very
depressing. One vital one is that people are now dying younger than they
used to, before 2000.
If people in South Africa are facing a similar predicament, it cannot
possibly be because of an economic crisis in their country. It could be
because there are too many guns in the country, most of them owned illegally
by citizens who inherited a disregard for every law in the statute books
from the long, brutal era of apartheid.
Zimbabwe's crisis has been attributed, by its phony, boot-licking
statisticians, solely to the so-called sanctions imposed, illegally it is
aid, by the West.
These statisticians choose to ignore much of the humanitarian aid so
publicly given to Zimbabwe by the same countries which are said to be
applying sanctions. If the sanctions were total, there would be no aid of
any kind flowing into Zimbabwe from the West.
The argument is made, ad nauseam, that it is not the mismanagement of
the economy by a government obsessed with remaining in power under any
circumstances which has led to the Zimdollar being the most worthless
currency in the region.
From the government's point of view, even that has been caused by the
sanctions. This comes from a government, which in 1997, paid out unbudgeted
billions to war veterans, triggering a weakening of the Zimdollar which
plunged the economy into the red, almost immediately.
Some statisticians, the bona fide ones this time, believe the economy
has still not recovered from that Black Friday.
This is also a self-absorbed regime which has ignored advice from
abroad and from local economists to reduce the size of the government.
According to most experts this country could be run with half the number of
civil servants, half the army and half the police force it is using today.
Mostly for political reasons, the government wants everything to be
big. The statistics also tell us that the bigger the government the greater
the incidence of corruption.
President Robert Mugabe, recently at the African Union summit in
Bangul in The Gambia, seems to have concluded a deal in which Benjamin
Mkapa, the former president of Tanzania, will try and convince the West,
particularly the British prime minister, Tony Blair, that their sanctions
are hurting the people of Zimbabwe and must be dropped.
So far, no-one has mentioned what Blair and his colleagues are to be
given in return for dropping the sanctions. As far as Mugabe is concerned,
they deserve nothing for that.
Upon his return from Banjul, Mugabe bubbled with customary Zanu PF
braggadocio. He told us that Kofi Annan had told him that he had agreed to
complement Mkapa's efforts on Zimbabwe. Mugabe said Annan had rejected
suggestions that the British and the West were using him to deal with the
Annan told him he had only suggested he could only use his good
offices for the task.
Mugabe gave the unmistakable impression he had got his way - as usual.
Yet what most people must know is that a "rescue plan" is underway
now. What might complicate Mkapa's task is now to gratify Mugabe's whims.
The presidents of South Africa and Nigeria, respectively Thabo Mbeki
and Olusegun Obasanjo are aware of these. In their attempts to forge a
dialogue between Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) THEY HIT THIS BRICK WALL: Mugabe wanted the MDC leaders to repent.
In fact, this became the virtual theme song of the future of the
talks: the MDC leaders needed to repent before the talks continued.
What it meant was that the MDC had nothing more with which to
negotiate: their seats in Parliament, indicating massive public support for
their political platform, would count for nothing: only Zanu PF's programme
At one time, Mugabe also demanded that they acknowledge that he was
President of the Republic. In essence, this would elevate his status during
No longer would he be the leader of a political party seeking an
accommodation with another political party. No, he was now acting in his
capacity as the president of the republic.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, would be just another citizen of
the republic, seeking an accommodation with his president.
What if, for the sake of argument, Mugabe asked Mkapa to tell Blair
that he would not enter into any talks with the British until they
Repentance would presumably entail an open admission that they had
made a blunder and were now seeking his forgiveness.
There is not a hope in hell of that happening - of Blair capitulating.
His constituency would not stand for it.
Yet Mugabe could then turn around and say: "You see? They are not
reasonable people, these British!"
Or is Mugabe playing hard ball because of the recent events
surrounding two former heads of state - Charles Taylor and Hissene Habre of
Taylor is now in The Netherlands, awaiting trial for human rights
violations. He was president of Liberia during the bloody civil war in
neighbouring Sierra Leone. He is said to have aided Foday Sanko, the butcher
who led the rebel troops. He gave them weapons in exchange for diamonds.
Then there is the case of Habre, overthrown as Chadian leader in 1990.
He has lived in exile and prosperity in Senegal, which is now to try him for
human rights violations. The AU endorsed this action at the Summit in
The host, President Yahya Jamme, was another soldier turned
politician. He overthrew the civilian government of Sir Dawda Jawara who had
been in power for 25 years.
It may be difficult for many people in Zimbabwe to believe but there
is a growing sentiment here that the last thing on Mugabe's mind, in his
dealings with the so-called peacemakers is a genuine plan to rescue Zimbabwe
from the economic quagmire into which he plunged it.
"His primary objective is to save his political bacon."
To the true Zanu PF supporters, Mugabe has little or nothing to
apologise for. In fact, they see him as deserving the people's gratitude,
particularly over the land reform programme.
To them, the drowning of young citizens in the crocodile-infested
Limpopo River has little or nothing to do with Mugabe's leadership. "It's
the sanctions, in case you are wondering," they say.
Ben Mkapa is an intelligent politician, whose mentor was Mwalimu
Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, and one of the African
leaders, along with Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, without whom the liberation
struggle in southern Africa, would not have started and succeeded.
Quite often, people have accused Mkapa of being in such awe of Mugabe,
the hero of the liberation struggle they believe he has deliberately glossed
over the fatal flaws in the man's character as a leader - his intolerance of
dissent, his ruthless reaction to adversity and his single-minded
determination to have his way.
Joachim Chissano, the former president of Mozambique, backed off from
a mediating role between Zanu PF and the MDC, as initiated by Obasanjo, for
the same reason: only if there was a guarantee that Mugabe would come our on
top would any talks even begin.
If Mkapa, who is older than Thabo Mbeki, does not shake off his idol
worship of the old man, he too could come a cropper.
Ultimately, it is the people of Zimbabwe who must determine what will
happen to Mugabe.
Whatever he has done to their country has affected each one of them.
What remains is for the people to ensure that Mugabe knows this and
cannot hope to get away with it. They could always remind him of Charles
Taylor and Hissene Habre.
Moreover, since Mugabe has recently started consorting with church
leaders there has to be a question over his Maker's decision on his fate.
If he asks others to repent, isn't it time he too took up that option?
There can be no guarantee that He will forgive him for the 20 000
souls lost in Gukurahundi.
by Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 4th July 2006
There is a great deal wrong in Africa. The continent has the highest
ratio of internally displaced people in the world, we generate more refugees
than any other continent, and we are poorer now than we were before
We are the Aids capital of the globe and our life expectancies are
retreating on a scale seldom seen in history.
It's not for lack of resources - we have those in abundance and if we
rated Africa on the basis of population to its natural resource base we
would find ourselves at the top of the log. It's not for a lack of energy -
we are now a major producer and exporter of oil, we have vast reserves of
coal and hydroelectric potential to light the continent for decades to come.
It's not for a lack of aid from richer countries - many States in Africa
draw up to half their annual budgets from donors in the West. Per capita we
are one of the largest recipients of aid in the history of the world
The reason for all these problems lies not in our history nor in the
predation of industrial economies, it lies in our leadership.
No better example of this could be found than the latest meeting of
African Heads of State in the Gambia. This leadership summit of the African
Union was expected to yield new consensus on Darfur, condemnation of human
rights abuse in a number of countries, including Zimbabwe and the adoption
of a Democracy Charter for the continent. On the sidelines it was expected
to yield a breakthrough in the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Instead we have the spectacle of the Heads of State rejecting the
Democracy Charter, refusing to face up to the genocidal activities of the
government of the Sudan and complete failure to come to grips with the
crisis in Zimbabwe. A two-year-old report on human rights abuse is again
deferred at the request of the perpetrators. I despair and so do many others
who hold the welfare of Africa and its people's dear.
Of particular concern to us is of course the complete failure to come
to grips with the Zimbabwean crisis. Here is a prime example of the failure
of leadership in Africa. The most educated government on the continent, one
that came to power 26 years ago with such hope and promise has swept the
rule of law aside, corrupted the whole democratic system and deliberately
and systematically destroyed a functioning and relatively efficient and
competitive African economy.
This regime, led by Mr. Mugabe who struts the AU stage like a Pharaoh,
has seen the life expectancy of its people decline by half in ten years,
seen its economic output slashed by half and its exports by two thirds and
reduced the value of its currency to a tiny fraction of its value. A third
of its people have fled the country as refugees and another third are
effectively internally displaced. A million people will leave the country
this year as the human tide continues to swell and all State institutions -
especially those of health and education are simply disintegrating in front
of our eyes.
Many argue that we have gone beyond the point of no return. That we
are destined to become another Somalia or Congo. There is absolutely no
expectation here that the present leadership can address these mammoth
problems and perhaps turn the tide of disaster and despair. When Rhodesia
and South Africa presented a similar outlook to the world, because it
involved white leadership of predominantly black countries, the oppressed
peoples of these countries could rely on the solidarity of the OAU and the
"Front Line States" for their well being and future prospects. They could
rely on a world community that would not hesitate to impose mandatory global
trade sanctions on tiny Rhodesia and global sanction of the regime in
When the final crunch came and change became essential for the
prospects of the people of these two countries, the global community
rallied - first behind Henry Kissinger and P W Botha to remove Ian Smith
from power and then
12 years later behind Margaret Thatcher, to force F W de Klerk to
accept reality and begin the process of closure on 40 years of Apartheid. In
neither instance was domestic pressure and resistance the primary reason for
the act, which brought closure to these regimes.
Now that we have an African Head of State behaving in a similar manner
and also destroying his country on the alter of his ego and avarice, no one
is willing to take up the cudgel and come to the rescue of the ordinary
citizen held captive by the Zanu PF regime. Not Mr. Mbeki, not Kofi Annan,
not the AU or the "Front Line States" who have so much at stake. Instead
they shrink back into a defensive huddle knowing full well that they are
often just as guilty as Mr. Mugabe when it comes to failure of their
The decision by Annan was especially difficult to comprehend - he
knows the facts, he has 6 months to go and does not need the votes of Africa
to win another term and he has the authority and the support of the major
nations to do something useful for once. But no, he ducks the issue, blandly
tucks Zimbabwe and it's suffering people into a Tanzanian cubbyhole and
walks away. I hope he enjoys his hard currency pension while we pay the
price of his failure to lead.
Well at least that clears the air for us - we now know we are alone in
this struggle and that we must liberate ourselves or face disaster in every
We have ourselves and our faith in God. In the latter respect we are
one of the most Christian countries in the world. This gives us the
appearance of docility that is deceptive. I always said it took a great deal
of provocation to get the people in Zimbabwe to finally confront the
situation here in 1970.
Well now perhaps we are there again. Only this time we are really
standing alone. Nothing wrong with that - the Bible promises that "they that
wait upon the Lord, will not grow weary". We will not quit this struggle, we
will not give in and in the end our struggle will produce a better
government than we have now - one which will look to the interests of our
people and not their own. A government that will restore our basic rights
and freedoms and allow us to work and play in the land of our birth. A
leadership that will respect our democratic right to choose our leaders and
to dismiss them when they do not act in our best interests.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Mediator to insist on exit plan as precondition
BENJAMIN Mkapa - the former Tanzanian president confirmed on Sunday as
mediator in Zimbabwe's political crisis - could pull the rug from under
President Robert Mugabe's feet by insisting on an exit plan as a
pre-condition to resolving the diplomatic standoff between London and
Harare. A close ally of President Mugabe, Mkapa is the latest in a string of
statesmen to seek an end to the political mayhem that has spawned a
full-blown economic crisis characterised by five-digit inflation, falling
industrial production, joblessness and abject poverty ravaging close to 90
percent of the population.
Despite publicly shying away from any form of condemnation against Harare's
human rights record, diplomatic sources said the 68-year-old former
president is under pressure to silence critics who question whether he is
his own man or in President Mugabe's pocket.
Mkapa, they said, could also be keen to eclipse other African luminaries
such as Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and
Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique who all failed to bring about a thaw in the
frosty relations between Zimbabwe and its former colonial master. It would
be a master stroke for Mkapa to find the solution that has eluded all the
Yet others say in endorsing the former Tanzanian leader as the mediator in
the conflict over the weekend, United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi
Annan had been hoodwinked and out-manoeuvred by President Mugabe who may
want to buy time ahead of his retirement in 2008.
They say with Annan leaving office towards the end of the year and a new UN
boss needing enough time to settle down, the crafty Zimbabwean leader would
have ample breathing space to sort out the tricky succession issue that has
divided his ruling party.
Annan, seen as the last hope in international efforts to resolve the
Zimbabwean crisis, called off his
planned visit to Harare after meeting President Mugabe in Banjul on the
sidelines of the 7th African Union (AU) Summit. The UN boss accepted Harare's
proposal to pave way for Mkapa as mediator.
Civic and opposition groups have reacted angrily to Annan's withdrawal from
the mediation initiative, with the main Movement for Democratic Change
questioning the ability and capacity of President Mugabe in appointing a
mediator in a situation where he is a major actor.
"Mkapa is clever enough to know that the Zimbabwe- an crisis would be
untenable for as long as there is no breakthrough with Britain," said one
diplomat. "The crux of the matter is that nothing short of democratic
reforms to address issues of legitimacy would be entertained. In this regard
a timetable to Mugabe's retirement would do the trick," added the diplomat.
Lovemore Madhuku, the National Constitutional Assembly leader, said it was
misplaced optimism for anyone to think Annan would resolve the Zimbabwean
crisis. It was also wrong, he said, to think Zimbabwe's problems can be
wished away by bringing President Mugabe and Tony Blair, the British
premier, to the negotiating table as if the country's problems were a result
of the land issue and outside interference, as alleged by the ZANU PF
"It is misleading to say Mkapa is a mediator, in fact he is Mugabe's
ambassador who will provide more energy to Mugabe's parochial view that land
is at the centre of the crisis," he said. "There is need to understand
issues on Zimbabwe and be able to deal with them correctly," he added.
South Africa was this week confident the UN boss would keep an eye on
Zimbabwe. SABC quoted Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign affairs minister saying
Annan has committed himself to helping Zimbabwe and will assist the mediator
"to carry out his work.'
During his two-year tenure as head of the Tanzanian government, Mkapa's
broad policies won the support of the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund and resulted in the cancellation of some of that country's
Joseph Kurebga, a political analyst, said Mkapa commands the confidence of
both Britain and Zimbabwe since he comes from a stable political environment
with a mature democracy where presidential terms have been strictly limited
to two terms.
Kurebga however, said Mkapa would be effective for as long he doesn't play
out his intervention in the public domain.
"Mugabe takes great exception to people who play to the public gallery. He
would prefer humble engagement," said Kurebga who added that demanding a
timeframe from President Mugabe would kill off the talks.
"It is bad politics. There should be no preconditions to dialogue," he said.
"Privately, that will be the issue, but it should not be known openly as the
basis of the talks," he added.
MDC secretary for international relations Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said:
"Principles of natural justice and common sense dictate that one cannot be
an umpire and wicketkeeper in the same game. Clearly, in our view, if the UN
accepts the need and obligation of a point person then it, as an
international body, must appoint its own mediator."
THE United Nations (UN) is hopeful that former Tanzanian leader Benjamin
Mkapa could succeed in nudging President Robert Mugabe towards a negotiated
political settlement with the rival Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
which has been riven by a bitter internal feud.
Marie Okabe, the deputy spokesperson for Kofi Annan, said the UN
secretary-general - under fire for cancelling his trip to Harare after
meeting with President Mugabe in Gambia on Sunday - would not have thrown
his full weight behind Mkapa "if he didn't feel that the mediator could
provide energy to the process".
Okabe had been asked whether the world body was "abandoning" its efforts to
provide a conduit between the Zimbabwean government and opposition groups.
Talks between the MDC and the ruling ZANU PF collapsed in May 2002 after the
leader of the main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai dragged the veteran
Zimbabwean leader to court following a hotly disputed presidential poll.
President Mugabe (82), insisted he would not talk to the MDC, which has
split into two factions, unless it acknowledged he was the legitimate head
Church leaders and other respected emissaries, including former Mozambican
president Joaquim Chissano, have also tried to break the costly four-year
political impasse without success. Chissano, who was the best man at
President Mugabe's wedding to his second wife Grace in 1995, said officials
in Harare told him such talks were not necessary "because it is an internal
problem that they can handle through the democratic institutions in
In remarks published on the UN website, Okabe stressed that all Annan wants
to see is an end to the humanitarian suffering on the ground.
"Asked whether the UN would have contact with Mkapa, the spokeswoman said
she was sure it would. She stressed that Mkapa was not a UN mediator, but
worked independently of the United Nations," reads part of the remarks.
THE ZANU PF Harare province has demanded an explanation from Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo over his defence of the beleaguered
chairperson of the commission of the city, Sekesayi Makwavarara.
The ZANU PF spokesperson in Harare, William Nhara, said the Harare province
would not change its position on Makwavarara, who was lambasted by the party's
central committee members from Harare for lacking 'leadership qualities.'
"Until the province has been told by the Minister what is good about her and
what she has been able to deliver, our stance remains the same. Nothing has
changed," Nhara said, adding that Chombo's response to the party's
statement, through the press, "does not make Makwavarara any better."
After hounding the city's first elected executive mayor, Elias Mudzuri, out
of office, ZANU PF now stands divided over who should preside over the
affairs of the capital city.
Insiders this week said the battle had nothing to do with service delivery,
but everything to do with powerful factions seeking to position themselves
for lucrative back-scratching deals.
The ZANU PF Harare central committee members last week broke the façade of
cohesion at Town House despite a simmering feud between Makwavarara, the
chairperson of the commission foisted on the city when Mudzuri was
controversially booted out, and ousted town clerk Nomutsa Chideya.
"She has undermined and demeaned the position of the party in Harare and not
being a member of the party herself, she cannot expect any further
cooperation from the residents and ZANU PF in Harare. The meeting has been
saddened and shocked by the continued circumvention of council tender
procedures and misuse of council funds.
"While not defending the interests of any person in the council, the meeting
is worried by the fallout and irreparable damage being wrought on Harare by
Sekesayi Makwavarara," the stinging statement said.
Although the ZANU PF bigwigs in Harare said their attack on Makwavarara was
driven by nothing other than concern over deteriorating service delivery,
sources privy to the frenzied behind-the-scenes manoeuvres say Tendai
Savanhu, a ruling party stalwart in Harare and the only commissioner who did
not assent to Chideya's dismissal by Makwavarara a fortnight ago, was the
Savanhu, however, promptly switched his phone off when contacted by this
Chideya was also not giving anything away, referring all enquiries to acting
chamber secretary Ottilia Dangwa.
"She is the one handling my case," Chideya said. Dangwa, however, declined
to comment, and Mukarati Muvengwa, the city's public relations executive
said council could not comment on the issue.
"Because the matter involves a high-ranking member of council, only the
minister and the mayor are authorised to speak on the matter," Muvengwa
Sources said while Savanhu, who deputises for Makwavarara on the commission,
had long agitated for her ouster, matters came to a head when she suspended
"Chideya and Savanhu were close as the town clerk was doing Savanhu's
bidding. So he felt he was losing the turf war when Makwavara booted Chideya
out, that's why he sought to use the province to pressurise Makwavarara," a
source, who declined to be named, said.
This week Chombo, who re-appointed the Makwavarara commission last month
saying it was doing a good job, appeared to dare Savanhu to speak out on the
"I will hear it from Savanhu. I will wait," Chombo was quoted in a state
daily. The report also said Chombo, who has defended the much-maligned
Makwavarara at every turn, chided Nhara, the ZANU PF Harare provincial
executive's spokesperson for failing to observe protocol.
Chombo was apparently stung by a veiled reference in the ZANU PF statement
to his implied complicity in the Town House melee.
". . . anyone so interested in protecting Sekesayi Makwavarara can transfer
her to another willing city as Harare will henceforth not cooperate with her
in any undertaking.
"Central committee members of the Harare province remain dismayed at the
consequences and the "I-don't-care-attitude" adopted by certain individuals
who should be standing by the party."
A NEW Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) board is likely to be announced
next week along with the fate of the Tafataona Mahoso-led Media and
Information Commission (MIC) board, whose term of office expired on June 30.
Bright Matonga, the Deputy Information Minister, said ministry officials
would meet to appraise acting minister Paul Mangwana on outstanding issues
and possibly agree on the way forward.
"We will issue a statement very soon. We are just coming from a funeral and
we will meet next week to map the way forward on the ZBH restructuring, MIC
and other issues in the ministry," he said.
The death of Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya has stalled the
restructuring of the public broadcaster, whose board was dissolved last
month. Jokonya was also yet to decide on the future of the MIC board ruled
to have been biased in the handling of the Daily News case.
Matonga however, said the ministry would adopt Jokonya's vision on ZBH,
which has since been whittled down to two operating units.
Speculation is rife that there could be new faces in the MIC board, which
has presided over the closure of four newspapers.
Although viewed as the media hangman due to his perceived heavy handedness
against the private media, Mahoso is likely to be retained as Matonga
recently gave him a pat on the back when he said the MIC boss had done a
"wonderful job and has government support."
THE police yesterday quizzed and briefly detained opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) MP Willas Madzimure for allegedly inciting people to
gear themselves up for imminent mass protests the opposition has planned, in
what critics said was part of a new government drive against opponents of
President Robert Mugabe.
Madzimure, the Member of Parliament for Kambuzuma was taken in for
questioning yesterday morning at the Harare Central Police station by the
Law and Order Unit.
The police quizzed him and recorded a warned and cautioned statement on the
statements he allegedly made at a rally held in Dzivarasekwa in early last
month. The police allege that Madzimure encouraged vendors to beat up law
enforcement agents if they tried to arrest them and also encouraged
residents of the suburb to participate in mass demonstrations the party
intends to roll out to protest the country's deepening economic and
Madzimure told The Financial Gazette that the police accused him of
violating the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which prohibits citizens
from organising protests and denigrating President Mugabe.
He was only released late yesterday after spending the whole day under
State security agents have in the past selectively applied security laws
against opposition politicians.
AIR Zimbabwe's former chief executive officer Tendai Mahachi, who was
jettisoned late last year when the airline grounded its fleet due to a fuel
crisis, has formally ended his association with the troubled national flag
carrier after getting a golden handshake, reported to be about $55 billion.
Mahachi's contract still had one and half years to run when it was
The Mike Bimha chaired board suspended Mahachi together with Tendai Mujuru,
the divisional director for finance and company secretary in November 2005
after the national airline grounded its entire fleet because of a critical
shortage of fuel.
Mahachi, who crafted a turnaround strategy for the equally troubled Harare
City Council, was fingered alongside Mujuru for the embarrassing flight
Informed sources at the national carrier told The Financial Gazette this
week that Mahachi, who joined Air Zimbabwe in 2005 to spearhead the
turnaround of the troubled airline, approached the airline's board with the
intention to terminate his contract. They said Mahachi surrendered his
official vehicle, a Mercedes Benz ML last month.
"It was Mahachi who set out to terminate his employment," said the sources.
Air Zimbabwe board member Luxon Zembe, who chairs the human resources
committee, yesterday confirmed that Mahachi had
severed ties with
"We agreed to part ways amicably," said Zembe, who could not be drawn to
confirm the value of the severance package. "It is one of the best cases in
parastatals where we resolved the termination of employment without legal
battles. That is the philosophy of the new board," he added.
Mahachi had taken over from Rambai Chingwena who left the national airline
The sources disclosed that the Air Zimbabwe board has also offered to
terminate Mujuru's contract. Yesterday Zembe said of Mujuru. "We can't
discuss that because it is still under discussion."
Following the termination of Mahachi's employment contract the national
airline this week began hunting for a new group chief executive officer and
a group finance and corporate services director to spearhead its turnaround
Captain Oscar Madombwe has since the suspension of Mahachi been heading the
national airline in an acting capacity.
"The process of filling the group CEO's post is now in motion," Zembe said.
Air Zimbabwe, which for years has been battered by successive years of
maladministration, has failed to turn around its fortunes.
It has the highest turnover of chief
executives among Zimbabwe's parastatals. Only last week one of its Morden
Ark (MA60) aircraft acquired from China burst its tyres upon making an
emergency landing after being forced to abort a flight when its engine
developed a fault.
Apart from owing creditors billions of dollars, the airline late last year
broke aviation records by cruising more than 6 000 kilometres with a lone
passenger in its maiden trip to Dubai.
ZIMBABWE'S hopes of breathing life into the economy suffered yet another
setback after the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz), one of the
key partners in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), refused to pay wages
and salaries indexed to the Poverty Datum Line (PDL).
While the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the government said
it was vital that the PDL be a factor to determine wages, business shot down
the proposal saying the ability to pay, productivity and the levels of
inflation should be taken into consideration before pegging PDL indexed
wages and salaries.
The (TNF) kicked off in January amid optimism that it would come up with
solutions to the country's deepening economic crisis.
Representatives of government, labour and business appeared close to signing
the Prices and Incomes Stabilisation Protocol to curb runaway inflation and
rejuvenate the country's comatose economy when deliberations hit a deadlock
in May after Emcoz, refused to award workers wages and salaries indexed to
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has estimated PDL at $60 million.
Emcoz chief executive officer John Mufukare told The Financial Gazette this
week that his organisation is still consulting labour and the government,
the two other key allies in the tripartite forum.
" We are undertaking bipartite consultations and we are talking to the
workers at bipartite level," said Mufukare. However, ZCTU secretary-general
Wellington Chibebe whose organisation has threatened to roll out mass
protests over business's refusal to pay real wages and salaries yesterday
refuted Mufukare's claims on consultations.
"We don't bank on bipartisan discussion," said the militant Chibebe. "Those
are consultations which can not be binding," he said.
The ZCTU says employers must pay salaries that can cushion the ravages of
hyper inflation, which is marked by high rental prices, and food prices or
face nationwide protests.
SEVERAL ruling party officials, including deputy chairman Isaiah Shumba,
from the volatile Masvingo province have been suspended as tension, which
has been simmering in the province since the Tsholotsho debacle in 2004,
erupted last weekend. Although officials declined to comment on the issue,
party insiders revealed that the provincial executive, led by Indigenisation
and Empowerment Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, held disciplinary hearings on
Sunday where Shumba and other politicians from the province were suspended
for allegedly undermining the party by aligning themselves with former
chairman Daniel Shumba, who has now launched his own United People's Party
Also suspended were Philemon Maramba, the ruling party's councillor for Ward
3 in Chivi, Saunders Magwiza (Ward 2, Chivi) and Phillip Hungwe, who is
reportedly related to former provincial governor Josiah Hungwe.
Several councillors from Chivi and Mwenezi were also purged, while
Mumbengegwi's nemesis, Enita Maziriri, who embarrassed the minister in
primaries for the Chivi North House of Assembly seat last year, was rapped
for working against the party in last November's senate elections.
Shumba yesterday declined to comment on the matter.
"I have no comment. I think the right thing is for you to talk to the
provincial chairman or (political commissar Dzikamai) Mavhaire," Shumba, who
is the deputy Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, said.
Mavhaire was equally non-committal.
"Who told you that? Ask the chairman. You think I'm a fool who just talks? I'm
astute, my brother," an audibly offended Mavhaire thundered.
The ruling party's senior leadership in Masvingo has been sharply divided
and is still smarting from the effects of the Tsholotsho debacle when the
then Shumba-led provincial executive threw its weight behind Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the former ZANU PF secretary for administration, in the divisive
battle with Joice Mujuru to replace the late Simon Muzenda as vice
Mujuru eventually prevailed and the party's provincial structures have been
purged of officials who did not back her candidature.
Although Mumbengegwi could not be reached yesterday, his executive is
expected to recommend the suspension of Isaiah Shumba and others for periods
ranging from three to five years.
The Masvingo provincial executive is reported to have resolved to make an
announcement once the national disciplinary committee, chaired by ZANU PF
national chairman John Nkomo, has ratified the decision to suspend the
Nkomo was also not available to comment.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week reduced statutory reserve
ratios for banks by 2.5 percentage points and reviewed, upwards, the yield
on punitive special Treasury Bills, in a move aimed at softening conditions
on the money market, where huge deficits threaten to put the skids under
This is the second time the central bank has reduced the statutory ratios
and the development coincides with strong market speculation that a major
listed bank was on the verge of issuing a profit warning that could send
shivers in the market.
Statutory reserve ratios for commercial and merchant banks have, with effect
from July 3, been reduced to 47.5 percent, down from 50 percent, while the
ratio for discount houses is now at 37.5 percent, down from 40 percent. The
bank reduced the ratios from 60 percent to 50 percent for commercial and
merchant banks and from 45 percent to 40 percent for discount houses on June
The yield on the special TBs has been hiked from 200 percent to 375 percent,
backdated to April 1, in a move that is expected to provide a measure of
relief primarily to the bigger banks that hold huge chunks of that paper.
A bank executive told The Financial Gazette yesterday that although the
statutory reserve rebates had not immediately improved liquidity in the
market as they were converted to 365-day CPI-linked TBs, they had improved
banks' asset returns in the books.
Banks have been under duress since late February when the central bank began
mopping up funds in the market through aggressive open market operations.
Given that banks had to lodge as much as 60 cents for every dollar in
deposits with the central bank, many were distressed by the resultant
liquidity crunch and were forced to access the central bank's expensive
overnight funds, with rates touching 850 percent at one time.
Analysts expect below par results and, in some cases, catastrophic figures,
from the sector in the first half of the year.
IN a most intriguing revelation, Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development Minister Ignatius Chombo this week unwittingly turned over the
stone that brought to light what we have known all along but which he and
his colleagues in ZANU PF have spiritedly but unconvincingly denied.
And that is the fact that his excesses at Harare City Council have nothing
to do with the façade of altruism he displays. It has everything to do with
ZANU PF's obsession with reasserting its influence in the capital city where
its political star is on the wane. If in doubt, check this telling statement
from the minister, which puts everything into a perspective that justifies
why some say politics has no soul:
". . . I think Nhara is a very senior person in the party who should know
all the protocols. He should not make statements in papers but must either
approach me as the appointing authority or approach the person on the
commission who represents the party interests, who, in these circumstances
is Cde Tendai Savanhu . . .", said a patently angry Chombo who has no
cultural or political limits to his bullying approach.
My foot! Did the minister say it loud enough to hear it himself? I wonder
because even Chombo, with his proclivity to meddle in municipal affairs
driven by his obsession with political intrigue and gamesmanship without any
modicum of democratic decision-making, should surely know where to draw the
line. If it was meant to be a joke, then Chombo must have an off-the-wall
sense of humour where he is the only one laughing.
The minister, who is incuriously passive in his pursuit of the greater good
in Harare but intensely aggressive in turf battles with the popularly
elected Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) municipal councillors, made the
statement quoted earlier on in The Herald of Monday this week. He sought to
dismiss assertions by William Nhara, of the ZANU PF Harare province, that
the chairperson of the Commission running the affairs of the City of Harare,
Sekesai Makwavarara has failed and has now become a liability to the ruling
Whether there is a serious internal disagreement within ZANU PF over the
suitability of the incumbent as mayor or Makwavarara has cost ZANU PF votes
in Harare is the least of my problems. What worries me to no end though is
what Chombo, who is not embarrassed to say things that shock or annoy people
". . . I will hear it from Savanhu. I will wait. In the meantime we are
expecting the city to deliver . . . " as he darkly hinted that Makwavarara
would be reappointed, implying that she has acquitted herself with
distinction although the state of service delivery in Harare would drive a
coach and horses through such claims.
So, it is only what ZANU PF loyalists like Savanhu will say that will move
the minister? What about what the Harare residents have been saying all
these years through their umbrella body, the Combined Harare Residents
Association (CHRA)? Or is Chombo, who is the author of the deepening crisis
in Harare, saying that he is not accountable to the citizens of Harare but
to Savanhu (read ZANU PF)? If so, isn't this a blatant violation of the
social and political contracts between a people and their government?
As with most things in life, timing is everything. But this seems lost on
the politically deceptive Chombo, especially as his reckless utterances come
at a time when the municipality of Harare has gone to the dogs.
And come to think of it, how revealing could one get? The interests of ZANU
PF, the party that lost the Harare municipal elections in March 2002 after
being rejected by the residents are represented in the hand-picked
commission imposed on the municipality after the popularly elected council
was shown the door by Chombo? Which other political party or interest group
has its interests being represented in the Commission? The MDC won 44 of the
45 wards in the council elections held in Harare in March 2002. And ZANU PF
won one! Who is representing MDC's interests on the commission? Who
represents the interests of the residents of Harare now after those they
voted into office were removed from Town House? Why is the government acting
in the interest of one political party (ZANU PF) and not as an instrument of
balancing different socio-economic groups? Are these the actions of a
responsible, transparent and accountable government?
Since this has nothing to do with a popular mandate from the residents of
the city after Elias Mudzuri, the first popularly elected executive mayor
supposedly failed to turn around the operations of the city, what has
political party representation got to do with it? I thought that when it
comes to choosing people to spearhead the turnaround of the operations of
the city, it had something to do with the appointment of competent people
with the imagination, sincerity, seriousness, depth, clarity of thinking and
strategic vision instead of some politically pliable men upon whom the Lord
conferred wet spaghetti instead of backbones and are susceptible to
Does Makwavarara fit the bill? Has she done any better job than the deposed
popularly elected mayor Mudzuri? Hardly! If anything, the situation has
deteriorated further. Makwavarara, for whom Chombo has a soft spot, has
become part of the problem at Town House. And it's a mystery that this does
not prick the conscience of the minister, who in his warped reasoning thinks
that the appointment of Makwavarara was a master-stroke.
But in the court of public opinion, she is a human cancer whose malignance
can only be killed by killing the host. She should be given the boot.
Removing her and her commissioners would be a quantum leap towards the
elusive but much-hoped-for turnaround of the operations of the city.
It is true that an old broom knows all the corners. But the broom at Town
House is not only straining on a rigid political leash and partisan
obligations but it has lost most of its bristles, if ever it had them.
Cynics could not have put it any better. The mayorship is too big a job for
Makwavarara. It is like Mother Superior marrying Hugh Hefner of Playboy.
Thus the minister's gaffe which makes prospects for the long
yearned-for-turnaround rather grim, should provide the clearest public view
on how the ZANU PF government opposes certain local authorities, not because
of their failures but because they simply want to get their men or is it
women in. It is just crazy.
That the thick skin runs interference for Makwavarara is an open secret.
They are as thick as thieves those two. But where will this political
madness end, especially when Chombo continues to speak glowingly of the
Makwavarara-led commission which seems to be stymied by the
government-ordered chaos even at a time when the smell of death and decay
hangs over the city? Does the minister have a strategy as regards the
problems of Harare? Most likely not if what the residents of the city have
been put through over the years is anything to go by. It would seem to me,
as exemplified by his antics not only in Harare but Mutare too, that the
minister is always after the scalps of those that try to get things moving.
Thus, it will take years to recover what Harare has lost in the political
storms brewed by Chombo's monstrous injustice.
LEAVE us alone to make a mess of things but as soon as we are in trouble you
have an obligation to help us! It has not been said in those exact words but
that seems to be the message from Africa ahead of a meeting in Rabat next
week between ministers from 60 African states and representatives of the
According to press reports, the aim of the meeting, which begins on Monday,
is to formulate a strategy to tackle the problem of illegal African
immigrants who regularly risk their lives in a bid to reach Europe and find
a better way of life.
Images shown on television of men, women and children packed like sardines
in flimsy fishing boats are reminiscent of the era of the "boat people" in
the 1970s when refugees from trouble spots in Asia wandered aimlessly in
unsafe vessels on the high seas because of untenable political situations in
their home countries.
The main organiser of the Africa-EU meeting to be held in the Moroccan
capital, Youssef Amrani, a senior official from the country's foreign
ministry, said the gathering would be the first global initiative to tackle
the problem of uncontrolled immigration in a collaborative manner by
countries inundated by floods of new arrivals and the nations of origin of
the illegal immigrants.
African states will appeal for more development aid from the EU to promote
job creation initiatives in those countries where local conditions are
leaving young people no option but to leave in droves to seek a better life
"Without giving a priority to development in Africa, there will be no
solution or end to illegal migration. Synergies between the EU, the United
Nations and other countries and international bodies are needed to focus
efforts on Africa's economic development," Amrani is quoted as telling the
press. This meeting will take place barely a week after the AU summit held
in Banjul last weekend which did not have the issue on its agenda. But it is
abundantly clear that the problem of millions of Africans preferring to
desert their home countries to live in the diaspora is among the pertinent
issues that should embarrass the heads of state and galvanise them into
But alas, the AU and its forerunner, the Organisation of African Union (OAU)
are notorious for articulating high-sounding ideals on paper but failing
dismally when it comes to commitment and political will to tackle problems
affecting African populations directly and practically.
African leaders' table-thumbing, self-righteous indignation against foreign
interference in the internal affairs of member states has not been matched
by a determination to address the issues that attract negative publicity and
cause international outcries. The heads of state have, for example, not been
honest enough to ask themselves why the conditions in their countries are
not conducive enough to convince young Africans and the millions of
professionals now working in the West to remain at home and contribute to
The economic development of Africa that the EU is to be asked to fund at the
meeting in Rabat will remain elusive as long as leaders are not committed to
promoting democratic governance and abolishing dictatorships. At this year's
summit, the AU flaunted its new-found friendship with countries like Iran
and Venezuela whose presidents, Mahmoud Ahadnejad and Hugo Chavez were
special guests. The AU leaders however know that the millions of disgruntled
Africans deserting their homelands make a beeline for the West rather than
other developing countries governed by repressive regimes. As a result,
these countries do not have much to offer in the way of economic aid and
This year's summit proved once more that whenever they meet, African heads
of state prefer to discuss 'prestige' issues that do not focus on pressing
governance and human rights issues that impact negatively on large sections
of various African populations.
AU summits tend to be mere talkfests where the leaders meet to stroke each
other's egos and fend off scrutiny of each other's sins of commission and
omission, with respect to the manner in which they govern their people. As
was the case last year, one of the main items on the AU Summit agenda in
Banjul was the reform of the United Nations Security Council, which cannot
be considered a priority issue.
The committee tasked to handle the matter has not made any headway and
therefore the item goes into the organisation's bursting file of pending
issues that it never gets round to tackling. The only time the AU seems
ready to act decisively and aggressively is when it needs to prevent an
embarrassing item pertaining to one of its member states from being included
on its agenda.
This was seen in the run-up to last year's summit when the continental body
threw out a report on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe prepared by the
African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) on the basis of
technicalities and procedural flaws.
The Council of Ministers, which deliberated before the arrival of the heads
of state in Khartoum last year, announced it had sent the report back to the
ACHPR because of irregularities and procedural flaws. These included charges
that the report was a replica of an earlier version that had been rejected
at an AU Summit in Addis Ababa in 2004 and that the report called on the
heads of state to act on an adverse United Nations report on the
controversial demolition of dwellings the Zimbabwean government embarked on
last year. The summit refused to tackle the humanitarian issues arising from
the clean-up exercise and the questions raised about Zimbabwe's human rights
record after accusing the ACHPR of not taking the reports through the
relevant stages - a convenient but dishonest way of ducking responsibility!
Following the extradition of former warlord Charles Taylor for trial on war
crimes and crimes against humanity and the subsequent transfer of his trial
to The Hague, some leaders have complained that the former Liberian leader
was betrayed by both his successor Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and his former
host, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria where Taylor lived in exile before his
arrest earlier this year. But their annoyance over the fact an essentially
African issue is to be handled by "foreigners" is hypocritical in view of
the inertia that has afflicted the AU with respect to the outstanding cases
of other leaders accused of similar abuses and crimes against humanity.
The leaders gathered in Banjul for example made no moves to address issues
pertaining to former dictators Hissene Habre of Chad and Mengistu Haile
Mari-am of Ethiopia who have both been accused of ge-nocide and other human
rights violations. But these same heads of state who chose to say nothing
about these outstanding cases would be the first to cry foul if outsiders
drew attention to their failure to act.
CONTROVERSIAL British tycoon, Nicholas Van Hoogstraten sparked drama during
a Hwange Colliery Company annual general meeting (AGM) last week after he
tabled a motion to oust the company's audit committee chairman.
The businessman, who holds 34 percent of the company's stock, is strongly
opposed to a blockbuster rights issue that seeks to raise $2 trillion in
fresh capital. He accuses Ternard Kwashirai, the audit committee chairman,
of "misdirecting the board and management" on the issue.
Last week, Van Hoogstraten moved a motion at the AGM for Kwashirai's ouster,
despite the fact that the astute asset manager represents a different
shareholder on the Hwange board.
The tycoon's efforts, however, fell flat, as Kwashirai polled substantial
votes in a secret ballot to retain his board seat.
"Nick said Kwashirai single-handedly campaigned for a rights issue and did
not have the support of the government for the capital raising programme.
Nick has always said that he wanted the company to source offshore loans but
country risk and perception issues have not worked in the company's favour,"
said a source who attended the AGM.
Van Hoogstraten last year derailed a proposed $2 trillion rights issue at
the company but government, which has over 38 percent in the colliery
company backed the capital raising programme, which management says is
crucial for the company's survival.
Hwange says it needs US$80 million to continue with expansion work at its
three main underground shafts and fund other projects within the mining
Van Hoogstraten has been splashing billions on equity on the local exchange
over the years and reportedly holds close to nine percent in NMB.
Early this year he also tried to oust RTG executives after a fallout over
that company's rights issue.
IT is not out of character for the ruling ZANU PF government to
take the politics of patronage to a whole new disgusting level.
More-often-than-not it does not see beyond narrow political interests.
But the repeated yet unpopular and widely criticised
reappointment of the incompetent Sekesai Makwavarara as the chairperson of
the commission running the affairs of the City of Harare is perhaps the
central paradox of Zimbabwean politics.
Or is the media over-dramatising the decaying of the City of
Harare? That is the question for more reasons than one. We will explain. It
is almost next to impossible to pick up a newspaper - any newspaper
including those many think are sitting in the sewer because of their
editorials characterised by malevolence and mendacity - and not read horror
stories about the accelerating deterioration of service delivery in Harare
and the ever present need to arrest the decline.
The tenor of the stories, which resonates with the public
feeling is that: Makwavarara is a deadweight on the operations of the City
of Harare and what she knows about civic matters can fit on the back of
postage stamp. She must therefore go. That is the consensus. Yet she keeps
her plum job. And she probably will until the cows come home, if what Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo was quoted as having said on Monday this
week and has not yet been denied, is anything to go by. Forget the rights of
the people. Who remembers these when a system collapses?
Whatever hold Makwavarara has over Chombo beats us. It is
incomprehensible. But could there be any worse arrogance and more profound
contempt and disdain for the people of Harare than that shown by Chombo when
". . . So far we have done what we think is the best for the
city and we are awaiting to re-appoint the commission when the time is ripe
or when we see it necessary . . ."
In short, Chombo was saying to hell with the hue and cry raised
by the residents of Harare who wear the shoe and therefore know and how it
pinches over Makwavarara's monumental failure. The universal pandemic of
despair is inconsequential and she is here to stay. Now, if that is not
sticking the middle finger right in the face of the residents of Harare we
don't what is.
Which planet has the minister - whose political behaviour at
Town House is a sad reflection of the gap between Zimbabwe's stated
democratisation intentions and what should be its values on one hand and the
anti-democratic nature of some senior politicians in ZANU PF - just arrived
from? How in all honesty could he possibly imply that Makwavarara's
commission has done its job and therefore deserves to have its term
extended? What can the political chameleon, Makwavarara do in the extended
six months that she failed to do over the past three years since Harare's
first popularly elected mayor Elias Mudzuri was hounded out of office by
In any case, the situation in the capital deteriorated further
under Makwavarara, who owes her allegiance to no one but Chombo who imposed
her on the municipality of Harare. The capital is now a city of rivers of
raw sewage, mountains of uncollected garbage, unlit streets and collapsing
infrastructure, among others as the government-appointed commission spends
most of its time discussing fire prevention when the house is already on
fire. So why does the minister seem to think that everyone else except him
is wrong on Makwavarara who, by some cruel twist of fate or strange streak
of political fortune, found herself at the helm of the capital city?
Wouldn't he see the justice of it all when Harare residents,
disillusioned by the ZANU PF charlatans imposed on the capital city
following Chombo's ruinous political interference, say that he is directly
responsible for the imminent collapse of the erstwhile sunshine city?
We said it in our editorial of May 18, 2006 titled It's Chombo's
Fault and we will say it again. Chombo not only sees the problems besetting
Harare through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe but his meddling,
which has raised eyebrows and coughs of disapproval from a wide
cross-section of the Zimbabwean community will have drastic long-term
consequences borne, not by the government but by the residents of the City
of Harare. Unfortunately Chombo doesn't seem to care because if he did, he
would not hesitate to take the terminally ill horse to the back of the barn
and pull the trigger. That is why he continues to defend the indefensible!
Don't ignore real issues behind the MDC split
EDITOR - The article by one Geoff Nyarota entitled, "Serious politics,
educated elite and related matters " cannot go unchallenged. Nyarota chooses
to ignore issues that really led to the MDC split. He knows that the real
issue is not education but growing authoritarianism and promotion of
violence by one Morgan Tsvangirai.
It is unfortunate that Nyarota still chooses to promote tribalism and petty
issues at the expense of real issues. For sometime now, Nyarota has been
allowed to write about Mthwakazi, tried to distance himself from
Gukurahundi, insulted Welshman Ncube, Trevor Ncube, Sibanda and other
For the record, Geoff, people who have worked tirelessly to unite the
feuding MDC factions have told us the real MDC story. And I am not talking
of David Coltart here. Nyarota has never commented on the growing
dictatorship within the MDC but chooses to portray the Mutambara faction as
an ethnic project. Why? Because he does not only have an axe to grind with
Ncube but has issues with the Ndebele people.
Just like a white American will not wish to see a black man rule the US, he
will work hard to ensure that Ndebele people do not hold significant
leadership positions in Zimbabwe, no matter how good they are. I think it's
high time this fellow tells us why he works so hard to fan tribalism.
Does he want another Gukurahundi so that people can forget what he did? It
is a tragedy of African politics that masses are allowed to be swayed by
such senseless writing.
As young Zimbabweans, we are taught to respect old people and that old
people do not lie, but just check what Nyarota, Tsvangirai, President
Mugabe, Moyo and other elders tell to you. Nyarota, for example, lies for
tribal purposes. As a regular writer in your paper Nyarota should try to be
unbiased and not fan tribalism. We want a united Zimbabwe where leaders will
not be chosen on the basis of their tribal origin but on their capabilities.
It is true that as a leader Tsvangirai has his shortcomings but because
people are desperate for change they will even follow a baboon if it
promises to bring change. Tsvangirai or his bootlickers like Nyarota should
not fool themselves.
In Rwanda, they said "never again" and we want the same for Zimbabwe. I
challenge brother Nyarota to read what Brian Raftopoulos wrote about the MDC
split and then tell the nation what he thinks. As an elderly Zimbabwe, he
should also teach the youth values of unity and not ethnic hatred.
Who needs such a police force?
EDITOR - I read this extract from a paper circulating in Zimbabwe: "The
Zimbabwe government itself is conceding liability for the perpetration of
gross human rights violations. The Forum said it would send its report to
the United Nations to press for further action against government."
Police were cited as the most common perpetrators. "People in detention are
generally at a much greater risk of abuse unless there are extremely strong
safeguards in place governing the process of detaining people," reads the
report. "People in custody are likely to be beaten irrespective of their
alleged crime, political or criminal, and are commonly subjected to
falanga - the excruciatingly painful practice of beating the soles of the
feet, which leaves little obvious bruising." Police had "adopted torture as
a means to eliciting confessions on a widespread basis", the report says.
Harare Central police station has been cited as the worst station where
people have suffered severe torture.
At first, I thought that this was another of the usual exaggerations by yet
another NGO until I saw a police officer at Mzilikazi Police Station in
Bulawao beating up two young ladies in full view of his colleagues and the
public. This incident took place on June 29, 2006 at precisely 1350hrs in
the charge office.
I had gone there with my school-leaver daughter to get her certificates
stamped. Funny enough, my daughter wants to join the ZRP and what she saw
that day shocked her, to say the least.
I distinctly heard a plain-clothes officer refer to the thug as "Marabishi"
as the terrified girls were led up the stairs to a first floor office.
Once inside the office, whose windows face towards 6th Avenue Extension, and
in full view of other officers in the courtyard, Marabishi slapped and
kicked the two hapless girls and at the same time hurling insults at the top
of his voice. The fact that Marabishi had started slapping and kicking the
girls right there in the charge office showed me that this is normal
procedure at Mzilikazi Police Station. And to think that not even one police
officer, including the female officers present, lifted a finger in defence
of the two poor girls is appalling.
Not suprisingly, my daughter no longer wants to join the force.
Victor Z. Mtau
Shumba is no war vet
EDITOR - Please get your facts right. Daniel Shumba is a mere former soldier
and not a war veteran as far as the war of liberation for Zimbabwe is
He is just a young boy and was wearing nappies when the war was being
Intermarket and Finhold deal - misconceptions
EDITOR - I have read in you paper on a number of times where journalists
mention that Finhold acquired Intermarket and has majority shareholding of
78 percent. I would like to refute that statement as a concerned investor in
Zimbabwe. Finhold does not hold majority shareholding in Intermarket. They
are just pushing themselves onto Intermarket.
In Finhold's financial results published in March (under the Accounting
Judgements Section), Elisha Mushayakarara said: "During the period under
review the Group increased its shareholding in an unlisted third party from
7 percent to 10.86 percent following a restructure of that company's balance
sheet. The Group then concluded a Management Service Agreement in terms of
which the Group assumed management control effective from the 1st of August
2005 pending finalisation of an agreement of sale of a majority shareholder's
stake to the Group. Whilst negotiations are still progressing, management
has accounted for the cost of the shares under 'investments'".
It can clearly be seen from this statement that Finhold is hoping and
trusting that the RBZ will dispose of its majority shareholding to itself,
sidelining all other investors who might be interested.
Therefore, journalists must not be hoodwinked by Finhold's actions to think
that it has majority shareholding in Intermarket. They don't. If good
corporate governance princles are to be followed, Finhold should have waited
for the consummation of the transaction before heavily involving themsleves
in the operations of the Intermarket Group.
Of ZBH changes and SA satellite television
EDITOR - Debate is raging on about the shutting down of South African
satellite TV to make it inaccessible to Zimba-bweans and also about the
circus at ZBH. What do you get? A strong resistance from the public who have
already voiced concern on the closure as a sheer waste of time.
Tichaona Jokonya's successor must make it a prerogative to find out the real
reason why Zimbabweans prefer SABC instead of their own ZBH transmissions.
The ZANU PF poisonous glib propagandists must not interfere with the
restructuring exercise otherwise we will have more satellite dishes than we
have already. It's a chance that has been given to Jokonya's successor to
make and give the viewer first preference than the misused identity and
sovereignty hogwash that we continue to hear.
Sagit closure: Where is justice?
EDITOR - On March 2 2006, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) closed Sagit
Finance House on the basis that money was "siphoned' out of the company in
pursuit of non-banking activities".
Further, the RBZ cited non-performing insider loans as having been granted,
among other reasons.
The closure threw onto the streets around 100 people. On March 3, RBZ
officials formally announced the closure and ordered staff to go home and to
leave their contact details so that they could be contacted in due course.
More than three months later, neither the RBZ nor the company's executives
has made any announcement over the fate of the employees. No contact has
been made with staff. Employees were last paid in February.
Though employment contracts have not been formally terminated, employees
have, for all intents and purposes, lost their jobs. No process seems to
bind the employer to meet contractual obligations with the employees. These
are the employees who created the company's wealth and, in my view, who were
the greatest asset of the company, which have been thrown down the storm
The economic hardships facing Zimbabweans today, even for those that take
home a salary at the end of each month, need no introduction. One can
imagine what the situation is to those that wake up the next morning and
simply find themselves without a job. Needless to say, the effect of this
action has been felt beyond just the 100 or so employees. These are people
that have families and relatives to feed and support. This action also came
at a time when parents and guardians were due to find school fees for the
second term bearing in mind that schools, under pressure from the
ever-escalating costs, had hiked fees dramatically. My own children went
back to school without fees because someone siphoned money out of a company
from where I earned a living!
The RBZ did not say who siphoned the money but I am sure they know. The mind
boggles why such people - who have caused immense suffering to so many
innocent people - are allowed to enjoy not only their ill-gotten wealth, but
also their freedom. Where is justice here?
They can put regular meals on their tables and send their children to
expensive elite schools, I can't; they drive around in their luxurious cars;
I pound the streets of Harare on foot in search of a job that is more and
more difficult to find. Again, where is justice in all this?
A provisional liquidator was appointed and only God knows the outcome of
that process. The holding company, which would be expected to give policy
directions for the group and to support its subsidiaries, suddenly became
non-operational following the closure of its finance house. The silence from
its executives is puzzling.
The report by an independent panel in the Trust and Royal appeals case made
very interesting reading. It stated in a number of areas that, without the
creation of ZABG, all former employees of the two banks would have lost
their jobs, and as a result, their livelihoods.
Very well, but are former employees of Sagit any lesser human beings than
their counterparts in the two banks? Is it alright to throw former Sagit
employees on the streets without notice or compensation on one hand and
safeguard former Trust and Royal banks' employees on the other? Is it
alright that many families are made to suffer as a result of the greed of a
few and the inconsistent application of the law? Where is justice?
During the banking crisis of 2004 many bank executives were persecuted by
the same RBZ for these very same transgressions and a lot of them had to
flee the country and abandon their businesses and families. What has
happened to the missionary zeal with which the RBZ tried to clean up the
financial services sector then? What is special about those that have
plundered Sagit that they are still allowed to roam around freely?
If the RBZ is going to apply the law selectively as seems to be the case
here, then I know one fact - there is God out there who sees and knows all.
I may not be around to see him pass judgment, but if I had the power to
judge, the perpetrators of this evil in Sagit would be gone for a very long
time - not only to prison but also to eternal hell.
Aggrieved former employee
TOBACCO prices in Zimbabwe, the world's fifth-biggest producer of the top
grade of the crop, jumped 62% at auction on good leaf quality, the Zimbabwe
Tobacco Association said yesterday.
Prices rose to an average of $2,07/kg in the 45 days to June 28, from $1,28
in the same period last year, the Harare-based body said.
The price, which rose 6,7% from the previous five days of sales, reached a
high of $2,14 on June 28 at Tobacco Sales Floors, the world's biggest
tobacco auction floor.
The rise was the first in three weeks of sales.
"Leaf quality continues to range from good to excellent and buyers are
responding to that quality," Tafumiswa Sigauke, an analyst at the
association, said from Harare.
The association represents most of the country's tobacco growers.
Production of Zimbabwean tobacco, which competes with the US for quality,
has slumped since 2000 - the year President Robert Mugabe began seizing
white-owned farms for distribution to blacks who had been deprived of land
during colonial rule.
Zimbabwe has earned $50m from flue-cured tobacco sales this year, the
state-controlled Herald reported yesterday.
The country has sold 12196920kg of tobacco since sales began May 3, 18% less
than in the same period last year.
Tobacco wastage, the amount of the crop rejected by merchants or withdrawn
by growers dissatisfied with prices, was 13%, the same level as in the
previous five days of sales.
Wastage accounted for 14% of the crop this time last year.
Zimbabwe would probably produce 50-million to 60-million kilograms of
tobacco this year, compared with 74-million kilograms last year, the
It blames the fall in production on shortages of finance and inputs such as
fertilisers available to small-scale farmers resettled on former white-owned