BISHOP Trevor Manhanga, who led a team of clerics to State House
last month to meet President Mugabe, yesterday made telling disclosures of
what transpired at the meeting whose details have been largely kept under
At a meeting with Bulawayo church leaders in the city yesterday,
Manhanga was pressed to reveal details of the meeting with Mugabe after the
churchmen accused his team of being manipulated by the Zanu PF government.
Manhanga's delegation of clergymen was in Bulawayo to drum up
support for their initiative to promote dialogue with Mugabe.
At the meeting the church leaders voiced their concerns over the
process by which members were consulted before the meeting with President
Mugabe. They warned that the church should guard against being used by the
ruling Zanu PF.
But Manhanga, who is head of the Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe, defended the initiative and in the process narrated issues he
discussed with Mugabe.
"It was a frank discussion contrary to what some people are
saying," Manhanga said. "The first issue raised by Pastor Gatsi at the
meeting was that President Mugabe was surrounded by useless people."
Mugabe admitted that there were some useless people in his
cabinet, he said.
"Do you think anyone would have said that at State House (if
they had been manipulated)?" he asked.
Manhanga also revealed that the clerics raised the issue of
Operation Murambatsvina with Mugabe. He said the president concurred that
the manner in which the exercise was carried out was flawed.
"We raised our concerns about Operation Murambatsvina and
President Mugabe said he realised that the way the exercise was carried out
was wrong," Manhanga said.
He said Mugabe admitted government should have consulted the
church before Murambatsvina.
Manhanga said the church leaders told Mugabe that internal
dialogue should take priority over attempts to build bridges with the
He said the other issues discussed at the meeting included
corruption, inflation and the need for constitutional reform.
Manhanga said Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and State
Security minister Didymus Mutasa attended the meeting but did not make any
He told the Bulawayo clergymen that the reason he called for
talks with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was not to implore the West to lift
sanctions as reported. He said there were no sanctions against Zimbabwe but
targeted sanctions against Zanu PF officials.
"Tsvangirai did not call for sanctions in the first place and he
does not have the power to say drop sanctions," he said.
The church leaders also raised the issue of Matabeleland
atrocities. A local pastor, Lucky Moyo, said clerics should not be
"As members of the church, we should be wary of being used and
manipulated by politicians," he said.
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has come under renewed fire
from former Barbican Bank CEO Mthuli Ncube for cancelling his bank's
Ncube, a professor of finance and a director for executive
education at the Graduate School of Business Administration, University of
the Witwatersrand, South Africa, accused Gono of pursuing a vindictive
agenda against him by withdrawing Barbican's bank licence. He also made
allegations of ethnicity by Gono against him and accused him of destroying
Ncube slammed Agribank CEO Sam Malaba and former Barbican
employee Simon Nyarota for allegedly collaborating in the "grand plan" to
seize his bank's assets.
Ncube said he was shocked to receive a letter from the curator
of Barbican on June 21 saying his bank licence would soon be cancelled. In a
letter to Finance minister Herbert Murerwa dated June 26, Ncube lashed out
at Gono, accusing him of pursuing personal vendettas and ethnic agendas.
"I have received a copy of a letter dated 21 June 2006, from one
Mr TM Matavire, an employee of KPMG, who says he is a Curator of Barbican
Bank, notifying the directors of the bank that Mr Gideon Gono, Governor of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, intends to cancel the licence for Barbican
Bank on 30 June 2006," Ncube said.
"The letter mentions that a shareholder of Barbican Bank can
appeal to the Minister of Finance against the cancellation of the licence.
As a shareholder in Barbican Bank, I write to you appealing against the
decision of cancellation of the licence."
Ncube said the reasons for closure cited in the letter "are not
only false and fraudulent, but are misleading and without basis." He said
Barbican's assets were "illegally transferred" by the curator to "Gono's
ZABG project". ZABG was formed from an amalgamation of Trust, Royal and
Barbican banks. Shareholders of the banks are contesting the merger on the
basis of a Supreme Court ruling which said their assets were unlawfully sold
although Gono set up a commission which found nothing wrong with it.
"The facts are that Gono has been implementing a systematic
strategy of targeted ethnic-cleansing against me personally, victimising me
on purely ethnic grounds, through fraudulent expropriation in disregard of
well-understood principles of property rights and rule of law," he said.
"The reasons cited in their letter are a mere cover-up designed to cover any
tracks of their real intentions." Efforts to get comment from Gono yesterday
Ncube left Zimbabwe last year at the height of turmoil in the
banking sector and now lives in South Africa. His bank was closed amid
numerous claims of financial abuse, externalisation, and insolvency by the
central bank. But former Barbican directors have denied the allegations.
Ncube's attacks against Gono come at a time when the central
bank boss is coming under intensified pressure in the ruling Zanu PF and
business circles where his opponents are baying for his blood. Politicians
and bankers accuse Gono of destroying their businesses through his monetary
Gono has said he was not targeting anyone in his job as his
But sources said politicians from the ruling-party faction led
by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru are going after Gono. It is
understood that his rivals are pressing for his removal from the Reserve
Bank, two and a half years before his term expires. Gono, accused of being
connected to the Zanu PF camp led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, has openly clashed
with Murerwa over his monetary policies. - Staff Writer.
HARARE commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara's future at
Town House has sucked in Zanu PF's supreme body, the politburo, as Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo and Zanu PF Harare province bare their
knuckles over the matter.
Zanu PF secretary for Information Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday
said the politburo would discuss with concerned parties their seemingly
intractable differences to coordinate its position before it can issue a
"We are going to talk to Harare province and understand their
position, then coordinate our position on the matter," Shamuyarira said.
"Phone me on Monday and I will give you the party's position."
Apparently the mayoral issue has divided Zanu PF loyalists who
are beginning to question Makwavarara's party credentials, particularly for
someone who abandoned it to join the opposition nearly six years ago.
Zanu PF Women's League spokesperson, Nyasha Chikwinya, referred
all questions about the party women's position on the matter to Oppah
Muchunguri who was said to be out of town for the rest of the week.
"It's beyond me, I am too junior for that. Let the seniors like
Muchinguri make comments," Chikwinya said.
Rifts in Zanu PF have been deepening in recent weeks over the
extension of the profligate Harare mayoress' tenure, prompting Zanu PF
Harare provincial executive to pass a vote of no confidence in her.
Makwavarara's tenure has been extended for the fourth time after it expired
on June 9.
The vote put Chombo's decision to extend Makwavarara's tenure by
another six months as head of the commission running the affairs of Harare
under the spotlight.
The spectre of a divisive showdown pitting Chombo against
members of the Zanu PF Harare province became inevitable forcing the
politburo to intervene.
Zanu PF Harare province is seeking to oust Makwavarara, alleging
that she had no capacity to lead the city.
In an interview with the Independent on Wednesday, Zanu PF
Harare provincial spokesman, William Nhara, said Makwavarara was unsuitable
to continue leading the city since she lacked the professional and
leadership skills to deliver to ratepayers' expectations.
"Service delivery situation is not improving, contrary to
minister Chombo's claims," Nhara said.
"We want to be educated on where there are improvements. Maybe
the minister is measuring the city's improvements using growth-point
He alleges that Makwavara has a tendency of making arbitrary
decisions without consulting other members of the commission.
"As stakeholders in Harare, we no longer have confidence in
Makwavarara," Nhara said. "We would not provide her with any support and we
hope other stakeholders would join in."
Nhara said Zanu PF Harare province has reached that position
after realising that service delivery in the city was deteriorating under
He said the situation on the ground shows that basic service
delivery is not being carried out, characterised with potholed roads,
crumbling infrastructure not being fixed, uncollected refuse, erratic water
supplies and burst sewage pipes becoming a perennial problem.
Nhara said Makwavarara was not suitable to spearhead the
turnaround of fortunes at Town House because of her lack of professional
"We want people who can turn around the fortunes of Harare, able
to deliver and with necessary credentials," Nhara said.
"There are certain prerequisites for each job, at least
demonstrable deliverable even through experience. Makwavarara doesn't have
any professional qualifications. She has undermined and demeaned the
position of the party in Harare and not being a member of the party herself
cannot expect any further cooperation from the residents and the party in
Nhara said Zanu PF Harare branch had communicated its position
to the central government and were waiting for an explanation on Makwavarara's
Makwavarara was appointed chairperson of the Harare commission
more than two years ago, after the government sacked the elected MDC mayor
She was elected to council on an MDC ticket and to deputy mayor
before turning her back on the opposition to join Zanu PF. By virtue of her
about-turn she should have started in the lower party ranks according to the
ruling party regulations.
TANZANIAN President Jakaya Kikwete is recalling veteran
ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brigadier-General Hashim Mbita, widely seen as close
to Zanu PF, in a move thought to be part of Dar-es-Salaam's strategy to
crack the Zimbabwean problem.
Diplomatic sources said Kikwete - who has already made
appointments of new ambassadors to four countries - would soon be
withdrawing Mbita from Harare in a bid to re-energise his country's
initiative to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.
Tanzania, will supported Zimbabwe's liberation struggle during
the 1970s, has now taken centre stage to deal with the local crisis again.
Mbita would be replaced by Adadi Mohamed Rajab, former Director
of Criminal Investigations in the Tanzanian police force. Sources said that
Kikwete had finalised the issue which was part of other appointments to the
United Kingdom, China and Germany.
Rajab, who is a lawyer by profession, is said to be a forthright
diplomat who will tell it like it is on the Zimbabwe political and economic
While Mbita's recalling, sources said, was part of Tanzania's
diplomatic policy shift towards Zimbabwe, it was explained in official
language that his "contract has come to an end".
Sources said even though Kikwete, a former foreign and finance
minister with a strong military background, remains a steadfast nationalist
leader, he was modern and dynamic in his outlook.
"This is why he has difficulties with old-school leaders like
Mugabe," a source said. "He wants to see a new generation of leaders in
Although Mbita, together with the late Information minister
Tichaona Jokonya, was central in the appointment of Mkapa as mediator in the
Zimbabwean situation, sources said Dar-es-Salaam now wanted a
straight-talking envoy to tackle the issue. - Staff Writer.
A MASSIVE purging of staff is going on at the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) in a bid to clean up what are seen as
Sources say a senior army officer will be appointed to take over
as chief executive of the troubled national broadcaster under a new
structure announced three weeks ago by the late Information minister
The names of Brigadier-General Sibusiso Moyo and current
managing director of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Air Commodore
Michael Karakadzai, are being touted as possible candidates for the CEO's
Retired and serving army officers are already running
parastatals, other government-owned companies and state departments as part
of President Robert Mugabe's militarisation of public institutions.
Observers have said militarisation comes about as government paranoia
increases due to national discontent over the country's governance.
The new chief executive is expected to be announced next week to
coincide with the appointment of a new board of directors. Sources say the
new board is likely to be chaired by current Zimpapers chief executive
Justin Mutasa who was vice chairman of the board dissolved by Jokonya.
Already there was involvement of the army through Major-General
Engelbert Rugeje who was chairman of Radio Zimbabwe under the ZBH board
dissolved by Jokonya two weeks ago.
"It is part of the militarisation which has been going on but
the other main reason is that under Rino Zhuwarara's tenure as chairman
there was chaos," said a source. "Zhuwarara did not have the respect of his
"There were cases of sabotage, sexual harassment and
insubordination. Even now there is confusion."
The source said the nine chief executives of the nine companies
that came out of the unbundled ZBC during the controversial restructuring
under former Information minister Jonathan Moyo have been told to either
resign or reapply.
Others have been offered jobs at the Ministry of Information and
Christopher Chivinge and Tazzen Mandizvidza who currently occupy
the same position of editor-in-chief of Newsnet are among the heads that are
understood to have been offered posts in the Information ministry.
There is currently confusion as to who is in charge at Newsnet
between Chivinge and Mandizvidza.
Sources said former broadcasters who left ZBC during the 2003
restructuring and retrenchments altogether would replace those either posted
to the ministry or forced to resign.
A source said ministry officials have since approached former
broadcaster Happison Muchechetere, retrenched three years ago, to head the
troubled ZTV which is currently in the red and failing to pay its employees.
A TOTAL of 110 people have succumbed to malnutrition-related
diseases in Bulawayo since the beginning of the year, reflecting the
deepening economic crisis that has left many families failing to fend for
themselves, a report compiled by the city's health department has revealed.
The report which was discussed during a full council meeting two
weeks ago indicates that the deaths were recorded in the first three months
of the year.
Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, this week
confirmed the latest figures and said they were worrying. He said that
council was doing everything in its powers to keep supplementary feeding
programmes it is running in the city going on.
"The malnutrition figures are still bad but these statistics
will help us plan for the supplementary feeding programmes we are running in
council schools and clinics," Ndabeni-Ncube said.
The city's health department report indicates that in the month
of March alone a total of 33 people including 28 children under the age of
four succumbed to malnutrition-related diseases in Bulawayo.
The figures add to the 77 people who died of
malnutrition-related diseases in January and February this year.
The figures for January and February also indicate that the
majority of the deaths were recorded in the under-four age group.
Of the 43 people who died in February, 31 were children under
the age of four while 29 children in the same age group died in January
where a total of 34 other people died.
The latest malnutrition figures are certain to rile President
Robert Mugabe's government that has insisted that no one will die of hunger
in Zimbabwe. - Staff Writer.
THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is failing to provide adequate
maize supplies to millers for maize meal production, raising fears that the
country might face grain shortages before the next agricultural season.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made's predictions of a bumper maize
harvest remain a farce as the GMB silos are still empty with very little
maize being delivered.
National Foods Ltd says it has been receiving small maize
allocations from the GMB over the past several weeks.
"Bulawayo regularly receives small maize allocations from the
Grain Marketing Board. Harare, Mutare and Masvingo depots have had very
little maize allocated to them over the past several weeks," said Linda
Musesengwa, public relations consultant for National Foods Ltd.
National Foods also said the small maize allocation from the GMB
had affected the marketing of the company's maize products.
"Maize allocations permitting, the company also markets granular
and mealie rice," Musesengwa said.
Lately there has been a proliferation of small-sized millers
that are being allocated maize at the GMB ahead of large millers.
A source privy to what is happening at the GMB revealed that
small-scale millers that are closely connected to the ruling Zanu PF are
considered ahead of larger millers in the allocation of maize.
This year there were reports in the media that maize dealers
were buying maize imported by the GMB for the purposes of reselling it to
the parastatal at a higher price or for resale to neighbouring countries.
Farmers have expressed displeasure at the money GMB is offering,
resulting in them selling the bulk of their maize harvest to private buyers.
GMB buys a tonne of maize at $31 million with the farmer paying
transport costs to the GMB depots while some private buyers are said to pay
up to $37 million a tonne and provide transportation. GMB chief executive
officer retired colonel, Samuel Muvuti refused to talk to this reporter
saying he doesn't talk to journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent.
"Handitauri nemareporters eku-Independent, takarimirana kudhara
(I don't talk to reporters from the Independent, we are enemies)," said
Muvuti before hanging up.
By Richard Beeston/Jan Raath
AS she lay in a Harare hospital recovering from severe head
injuries and surgery on a broken arm, Trudy Stevenson was still amazed that
she had lived to tell her story.
"They were calling my name: 'Trudy! Trudy! Get out (of the
car)," she told The Times from her bed. "They wanted me. They wanted to kill
The veteran opposition MP is no stranger to the sharp end of
African politics. She has survived repeated intimidation at the hands of
President Robert Mugabe's regime and in the 1970s had to flee Idi Amin's
murderous rule in Uganda.
But what makes her closest brush with death so extraordinary is
that the assailants were members of her own Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) - once the unified opposition in Zimbabwe, but today a badly divided
party in the process of imploding.
Stevenson's troubles began last year when she and several
colleagues split from the MDC, in part over the violent behaviour of some
supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai, its founder and leader.
On Sunday afternoon, after she had attended a small political
meeting in Mabvuku, her colleagues saw a dozen Tsvangirai supporters.
"They approached us in a threatening way. Most people just ran.
I had a car and tried to get in and drive away. But I was not fast enough,"
said the 61-year-old American-born politician, recalling her ordeal.
Stones the size of footballs rained down on her car, she was hit
by a panga on the back of the head and her attackers tried to drag her out
of the vehicle with such force that they broke two bones in an arm.
"I knew I would be in greater danger if I got out of the car. I
knew they wanted to kill me. They kept trying to drag me out. They kept
hitting my head with rocks. I could feel the blood running down my neck."
But before the assailants, some of whom were identified as MDC
activists, were able to complete the attack they fled, leaving five former
colleagues bleeding and beaten.
Stevenson insisted this week that she would not be intimidated
and vowed to remain to serve her constituency in the capital.
Despite appeals from her family to move to Britain, she refused
to leave her adopted home. To prevent further violence her son confronted
Tsvangirai and demanded an explanation.
The former union leader apologised for the "barbaric" attack,
which he condemned, adding that if any of his supporters were responsible
they would be expelled from the party. But his assurances did little to
reassure his former supporters that the movement, once regarded as a symbol
for peaceful, democratic opposition in Africa, can be resurrected.
The unravelling of the pro-democracy movement and champion of
Harare's urban poor began in October when Tsvangirai refused to accept a
national executive vote to participate in elections for a new senate.
He claimed to have won support to boycott the election.
Stevenson then joined the breakaway faction opposed to Tsvangirai.
Dumisani Muleya/Ray Matikinye
THE Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group, which is owned by the
Central Intelligence Organisaion (CIO), is in an "extremely precarious"
financial position as it owes creditors almost $160 billion due to poor
advertising and circulation, minutes of a recent board meeting reveal.
This comes as the Daily Mirror has hired a new editor, Dr Joseph
Kurebwa, from the University of Zimbabwe to take over the editorial
department of the paper which the CIO has wrested control of. Kurebwa's
employment, which has divided the Mirror board, was part of a rescue package
promised to the company by its "shareholder", minutes of a board meeting
held on June 23 disclose.
Kurebwa last year predicted in a survey that Zanu PF would win
72 seats in the general election and the party won 78 seats. He also
forecast the MDC would win 45 seats and it won 41.
The meeting was attended by board chairman Jonathan Kadzura, his
deputy John Marangwanda, Charm Makuwane, Alexander Kanengoni and acting CEO
Tichaona Chifamba. Board member Thomas Meke was absent. The current board
largely represents the CIO interest in the Mirror.
The minutes obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent show that the
company, whose titles include the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror, is in
deep financial trouble and is saddled with a staggering debt profile that
threatens its survival.
The minutes say the Mirror group has been performing poorly as a
result of "low circulation and low advertising". The company owes $108
billion to its bankers and $50 billion to creditors.
Kadzura told the June meeting that the company was in dire
straits and an urgent rescue plan was needed. He suggested that the best way
forward would be for the company to buy its own printing press and image
setter. The cost was US$1 million for the printing press and US$48 000 for
the image setter, the minutes say.
"He said members had appreciated this, but no capital had been
injected into the project. In the meantime, the company owes the bank $108
billion, and another $50 billion to other creditors."
The minutes say the Mirror was only able to get a bail-out
package if it accepted Kurebwa's hiring because "there is a strong
correlation between the appointment of the editor of the Daily Mirror and
the release of funds".
Kurebwa's appointment by the "shareholder" has divided the board
and the owners of the papers. Marangwanda expressed his displeasure at
Kurebwa's appointment by the shareholder saying this should have been the
responsibility of the board. He queried what value Kurebwa would add to the
"He said he was against the idea of rubber-stamping decisions
arrived at by other parties. His sentiments were echoed by Mr Mukuwane, who
said the appointment of an editor would complicate matters given the
prevailing situation where the company was involved in a legal wrangle with
Dr (Ibbo) Mandaza.
"He also said the mandate of the board should be clearly
explained. The chairman pointed out that Dr Mandaza was editor-in-chief, and
therefore Dr Kurebwa's position would not be in breach of the current
But Kanengoni chipped in with a different view to break the
impasse at the board meeting.
"Mr Kanengoni said if bringing in Dr Kurebwa would result in the
release of funds, then the appointment should be effected. However, the
board had to register its displeasure with the way the shareholder had
conducted himself," the minutes said.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week further reduced
statutory reserve thresholds as it reacted to the threat of a financial
sector crisis first reported by the Zimbabwe Independent in May.
The reduction in statutory reserve ratios was aimed at
precluding a top banking institution from releasing a profit warning that
might have served as an indictment to a raft of central bank policies which
banking sector executives feel have significantly undermined their banks'
Sources said this week that Barclays Bank (Zimbabwe), the third
largest bank by assets, had indicated that it would issue a profit warning
to shareholders after the central bank failed to address concerns raised by
the top five commercial banks that costly treasury bill (TB) portfolios
accumulated under the central bank's tight monetary policy were wiping out
The Independent reported in May that the country's financial
sector was on the brink of bank failures, with five key banking institutions
reportedly sitting on costly TB portfolios that could wipe out accumulated
The situation at the top five banks - Standard Chartered,
Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), Barclays, Stanbic and Zimbabwe Banking
Corporation (Zimbank) - had been compounded by the high statutory reserve
requirements for commercial banks which have shifted huge amounts of
deposits from the banking system, transferring them to the RBZ.
The commercial banks are holding huge TBs in their portfolios,
most of which had yields averaging around 300%.
However, the banks are financing their positions at rates in
excess of 850% through the overnight accommodation facility of the central
bank, creating huge gaps between their financing costs and the cost of their
The TBs are difficult to redeem for cash until maturity, and
this had forced banking institutions to seek recourse from the central bank
through the overnight accommodation window to fund short positions.
Documents seen in May indicated that the big financial
institutions were each picking up debts as high as $1 trillion daily through
borrowings from the RBZ, with daily interest charges in excess of $500
A memorandum from the Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) had
warned that developments from the RBZ's monetary policies were "a major
concern to the industry and will, if not addressed urgently, precipitate
bank failures" before the end of June.
The high statutory reserve ratios had meant that commercial
banks were effectively paying out 58% of all their deposits to the RBZ at no
Of the balance from the deposits, 76% has been locked up in TBs,
leaving the commercial banks in the lurch.
The central bank on Monday reduced statutory reserve ratios for
commercial and merchant banks from 50% on demand or call deposits to 47,5%
and from 40% on savings or time deposits to 37,5%.
This was after the RBZ had made a similar reduction in statutory
reserve ratios from 60% for call or demand deposits to 50% and from 45% on
time or savings deposits to 40% on June 19.
In his latest announcement to banking sector chief executives on
June 29, RBZ governor Gideon Gono said the central bank was "making these
progressive reductions in the spirit of releasing more financial resources
on banks' funding positions so as to enable the industry to increase its
contribution to the economic turnaround programme".
He had also indicated in his earlier notice to bankers that the
reduction in statutory reserves was meant "to reduce the cost of funding for
Sources indicated that the central bank had made the decision to
lower statutory reserve ratios after Barclays Bank had indicated it would
take the unusual step of issuing a cautionary that would give details of the
impact of the central bank's policies on its margins.
Gono also discontinued the two-year special TBs into which banks
were forced if they remained with surplus cash by end of business as part of
measures to restore viability in the banking sector.
Under the new measure, surpluses will now be accommodated in
30-day non-negotiable certificates of deposits (NNCDs) at zero interest.
To further enhance viability of the commercial banks and
curtails bank failures, Gono has increased returns on all outstanding
two-year TBs, making them more marketable and tradable on the secondary
market. The interest rate on all outstanding two-year TBs has been adjusted
upwards to 375%, from levels of 200%.
A central bank official had written to bankers on June 21
informing them that the effective date for the new interest rate of 375% on
outstanding two-year TBs would be April.
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono is expected
to revise his inflation target during his half-year monetary policy review
due this month.
Sources said Gono is expected to announce a new inflation target
of around 500%, up from an initial year-end target of between 220% and 230%
that he had projected in his January monetary policy statement.
Analysts said excessive growth in money supply at 590,6% for
April, rising fuel prices and foreign currency shortages are some of the
issues that the governor should address if inflation is to be controlled.
Analysts who spoke to businessdigest this week said Gono would
be forced to revise his targets. They said money supply growth and excessive
government spending had mitigated against his ambitious inflation forecasts.
Finhold group economist, Best Doroh, told businessdigest
inflation was likely to soar to 2 000% by year-end.
"The bank should look at factors that have been driving
inflation upwards and adopt solid long-term measures to stop such
developments," Doroh said
"What has been pushing inflation upwards is fuel increases. The
effects of recent increases would be felt in the short-term," Doroh said.
The weakening of the local currency during the first half of the
year has increased the local cost of imports, a situation that will add to
Andy Hodges, an economist with the Zimbabwe Allied Banking
Group, said there was need for broad-based measures involving all major
sectors of the economy if inflation was to be defeated.
"Fighting inflation should be set as a long-term goal, rather
than a reactionary measure to negative developments in the economy," Hodges
"All sectors must have learnt from last year and should start
making long-term and timely plans now," he said.
The country's inflation rate for January was 613,2%. The figure
rose to 782%, 913% and 1 092% in February, March and April respectively.
It is currently at 1 194% year-on-year for May.
In his monetary policy statement for 2006, Gono said he expected
the combined effects of tight monetary policy, fiscal restraint and the
expected improvement in food security this year to suppress inflationary
pressure, predicting that inflation would end the year at "230%, before
declining to lower double digit by mid-2007".
Last year the Reserve Bank failed to meet its inflation target
of between 50% and 80% by year-end.
The bank had initially projected inflation to fall to between
20% and 35% but subsequently revised the target upwards due to sustained
inflationary pressure in the economy.
The inflation figure for December was 585,8%.
Independent economist consultant John Robertson said the most
hopeful figure the Reserve Bank could aim to achieve was 800% by year-end.
"There are a lot of inflationary pressures at the moment and no
measures have been put in place yet to control inflation," Roberson said.
Robertson said he was not prepared to forecast a figure by
year-end because of the chaotic nature of Zimbabwe's statistics, some of
which have been disputed by independent observers.
"It would be difficult to rein in inflation at the moment as
most commodities are being pegged on parallel market rates," said Robertson.
GOVERNMENT was $1,6 trillion in the red in February after its
revenue sources failed to meet targets, latest statistics from the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) have revealed.
While government's cumulative revenue for the month of January
totalled $5,8 trillion, its total expenditure and net lending including
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) grants was $7,3 trillion.
"The revenue and expenditure developments resulted in a budget
deficit of $1,58 trillion for the month under review," said the central bank
in the monthly review for February.
"Major revenue heads performed below target," added the RBZ.
The February deficit is understood to represent a growing
deficit problem faced by government due to dwindling revenue streams due to
a contracting economy.
Income and profit tax contributed $2,97 trillion, Value Added
Tax (Vat) $1,76 trillion, customs duty $1,45 trillion and excise duty $0,3
On the other hand, government's expenditure included salaries
and wages of $4,1 trillion, transfer payments of $1,45 trillion and interest
payments of $0,5 billion.
These developments come against the backdrop of a growing
domestic debt now close to $42 trillion.
Foreign debt is close to US$$4 billion.
According to an RBZ monthly review for January, government
closed the year 2005 with a total external debt outstanding of US$3,9
billion, equivalent to $402 trillion using the interbank rate of US$1:$101
The country managed to scrape a paltry US$1,7 billion from
Government recorded a revenue of only $33,4 trillion during the
Out of the revenue, income and profit tax contributed $16,33
trillion, Vat ($10,55 trillion), customs duties tax ($3,86 trillion) and
excise duty income was $1,06 trillion.
The RBZ said at the close of 2005 bilateral and multilateral
creditors were US$1,44 billion and US$1,46 billion respectively.
THE Chamber of Mines has appealed to the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) for an urgent review of the gold price in a bid to save the
sector currently facing viability problems.
The Chamber, which represents the mining industry in Zimbabwe,
last week wrote to the central bank requesting the gold price to be
increased to $6,8 million from the current $2,5 million per gramme.
The Chamber said an urgent price review was required to cushion
the mines from the increased production costs.
The appeal comes barely a fortnight after businessdigest
reported that gold mining firm, Falcon Gold, had threatened to shut down if
problems related to the gold price were not addressed.
David Murangari, the Chamber's managing director, wrote to Gono
after several representations from other gold mining firms.
The letter, a copy of which was seen by businessdigest, is dated
June 26, 2006. Murangari, in his plea on behalf of the gold mining
companies, urged the central bank to review the gold price quarterly to
enable mining companies to meet increasing production costs.
Murangari suggested that the central bank should consider the
sector's cost structure when reviewing the gold price.
Businessdigest is informed that labour accounts for 35% of a
gold mining company's costs, while spares account for 38%, electricity 7%
and other expenses, 20%.
Input costs, which include salaries and wages (238%),
electricity (280%) spares and machinery (350%) and services (148%) have been
rising significantly over the past few months due to increased inflationary
pressures in the economy, Murangari highlighted in his letter to Gono.
The letter said production costs had gone up by 265,8% during
the first half of the year.
In January, the Reserve Bank increased gold prices from $1,2
million per gramme to $2,5 million in a bid to boost production after
official deliveries to Fidelity Printer, a gold-buying subsidiary of the
central bank, plunged by 40% last year.
Gold is a key foreign currency earner and accounts for about 52%
of total mineral production and a third of export earnings.
The sector has however been hit by mine closures in the last
eight years as operating costs soared on the back of foreign currency and
Gold deliveries fell to 13 000 kg last year from 21 300 kg the
The central bank has accused gold miners of smuggling the
precious mineral to neighbouring countries.
ZIMBABWE'S timber industry is under threat from resettled
farmers causing fires in woodlands or illegally cutting down timber from
plantations, the Timber Producers Federation (TPF) said this week.
TPF chairman, Joseph Kanyekanye, said the resettled farmers were
illegally harvesting timber and destroying trees through fires in timber
plantations when clearing land for farming activities, leading to the
collapse of the industry.
Kanyekanye said last year alone, resettled farmers cost the
nation above $1,5 trillion worth of Timber through illegal harvests or
"An unprecedented 252 fires occurred and in the inflammable
conditions rapidly spread through the plantations, damaging and destroying
10 000 hectares," said Kanyekanye in a statement.
"The fires destroyed timber with an estimated mature standing
value of $1,5 trillion. The national forest resource was diminished by 10%,"
Kanyekanye said due to the fires, "resulting from arson attacks
or land clearing activities by unauthorised settlers in the
plantations.trees of all ages have been destroyed and consequently log
shortages will occur for many years".
Added to that, the TPF chairman alleged that the new farmers
were preventing foresters' from replanting in the fire-damaged areas.
Forestry Commission managing director, Darlington Duwa, said the
new farmers had caused serious damage to their plantations resulting in the
company posting financial losses.
"Illegal settlers have really affected our operations. We are
trying to liaise with the government to speed up drafting a land policy
document which I think will protect us," Duwa said.
FUNGAI Mutseyekwa, the general manager of St Lucia Park, a
training and conference centre, works around a very serene environment: lush
green gardens about magnificent brick under thatch buildings that provide a
scenic view from the office.
And the air is refreshing.
St Lucia Park, sitting at the heart of Marlborough just off
Harare Drive, is outside the hussle and bustle of Harare's fast and noisy
central business district.
An environment for clear thinking, one would imagine, and may be
the ideal place for the new Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz)
president to ponder clearly over how to tackle problems troubling a
once-promising hospitality sector now haunted by negative perceptions and a
six-year economic crisis.
Mutseyekwa, who served as the deputy of two previous Haz
presidents before his election as president at a recent annual general
meeting (AGM), is very clear about what needs to be done to turn around the
ailing tourism sector.
"We need to be honest; we have a situation that needs to be
resolved (and) tinkering on the periphery of the problem will not help,"
He maintains: "We cannot resolve the problem (affecting the
tourism industry) by doing what we've always done."
In other words, government should adopt policy measures that
encourage investment in the sector and attract visitors from key source
markets who have shunned the country because of concerns like fuel shortages
and a breakdown of the rule of law in the country precipitated by agrarian
reforms and electoral disputes that have left a trail of deaths behind them.
He has a very simple prescription: the government should know
what it is supposed to do, and so should Haz and other stakeholders "so
there's accountability," he says.
At its AGM, Haz appointed Vice-President Joice Mujuru patron of
the tourism sector.
Mutseyekwa says this has opened doors to the Presidium and
tourism players can now easily approach Mujuru on issues they feel should be
urgently dealt with to improve the country's image.
Already, Mutseyekwa says, Haz has pushed for a complete
transformation of the country's borders to improve services and eliminate
unnecessary delays that had become a major frustration to tourists visiting
Mujuru has already taken a leading role on pushing for the
transformations, Mutseyekwa says, and there is a lot more the industry
believes it could gain through her role as the sector's patron.
"I'm encouraged by her attitude," Mutseyekwa says, shrugging off
a pessimistic question from this reporter. "She's passionate about wanting
to see things turn around," he says, trying to sway opinion.
But his opinion of the tourism industry is, nonetheless,
"The industry is crawling because of negative perceptions," says
Mutseyekwa, "Volumes are down and the hyperinflationary environment has made
our human resources vulnerable and they expect solutions from employers.
Their motivation has been affected and that impacts on service levels."
"We need various stakeholders to work together to get the
tourism sector back on a growth path," he says, sounding a little
disappointed by previous efforts by both government and tourism sector
players which looked disjointed.
Industry players, Mutseyekwa says, had undertaken their own
efforts apart from government's own initiatives to revive the tourism
This did not work, Mutseyekwa says, and at times, industry had
overstepped its own mandate, encroaching into what government perceived to
be its territory.
"We have been a little controversial in trying to find due
solutions to the crisis," says Mutseyekwa.
"I'm passionate about branding Zimbabwe but it's the mandate of
the Zimbabwe Tourism Association (ZTA). We'll support them in their efforts.
We have to work together, we have to sing from the same hymn book," says
Mutseyekwa, talking about combined efforts between stakeholders to tackle
problems besetting the sector.
The ZTA is a quasi-government institution whose role is to
promote Zimbabwe internationally as a tourism destination.
Last year, Zimbabwe suffered a 16% decline in tourist arrivals
against those recorded the previous year.
Over the six-year economic crisis, the country has experienced a
decline in tourist arrivals of well over 50%.
But Mutseyekwa is not about to throw in the towel.
"I have a vision, and it needs commitment. I predict that in the
next three years, we'll see a lot of transformation," says Mutseyekwa.
Mutseyekwa graduated from the School of Hospitality and Tourism
at the Bulawayo Polytechnical College in 1994, before joining the Rainbow
Tourism Group (RTG), now led by the affable CEO Chipo Mtasa, whom he reckons
will be part of a renaissance of the tourism sector together with the ZimSun
Leisure group CEO, the astute Shingi Mutasa.
Mutseyekwa started as an assistant food and beverages manager at
RTG's Rainbow Hotel in Victoria Falls before becoming general manager of RTG's
various hotels around the country.
He moved to St Lucia Park in 2001.
"I believe I am called to hospitality; it's what I enjoy," says
Mutseyekwa, who had a brief work experience at a UK hotel.
During his term as Haz president, he intends to grow the
organisation's membership and make Haz a self-sustaining organisation.
Mutseyekwa says the tourism industry has lost significant skills
to the brain drain experienced in the country because of the economic crisis
and deaths of professionals from HIV/Aids.
Therefore, he would want to push for an increase in the output
of relevant skills from colleges.
"The deficiency manifests itself through service levels," says
Mutseyekwa says consultations are currently underway to address
the issues of negative perception.
He says the groundwork had been laid through the appointment of
Mujuru as tourism sector patron.
The industry would embark on various campaigns to address issues
raised by countries that have issued travel warnings on Zimbabwe.
CONSTRUCTION costs continue to soar due to galloping inflation,
making it very difficult to build residential properties to meet growing
demand, a property consultancy said in its quarterly report.
CB Richard Ellis said in its report for the first quarter of
2006 that the cost of building a house in the high density suburbs now stood
at between $50 million and $65 million per square metre.
The report said the cost of building a house in the medium
density areas is now ranged from $90 million to $110 million per square
metre while constructing a house in the low density suburbs now costs
between $125 million and $130 million per square metre.
"The fact that there are only a few residential developments is
largely due to the ever increasing costs of construction," the report said.
It said investment activity in the office market had been
stagnant throughout the year 2005 due to the high costs.
Building costs for properties in the office market continued to
escalate rapidly, rising from $17,5 million per square metre in January 2005
to between $70 million and $100 million per square metre as by December
The report added that it was becoming increasingly difficult for
property owners in the property market to maintain properties as the total
cost of acquiring lifts for a ten storey building currently stands at around
$18 billion to $20 billion.
The report said although real estate performed satisfactorily in
the current economic crisis, significant investors remained reluctant to
venture into the property industry.
It said in the short to medium term there is likely to be very
few, if any, new developments in the industry due to the harsh
The prevailing economic environment, characterised by high
inflation, high interest rates, acute foreign currency shortages and a
distorted exchange rate had resulted in reluctance by institutional
investors and other property developers to carry out any commercial or
"The prevailing economic environment has resulted in the
escalation of operational costs of buildings," CB Richard Ellis said in the
The report said that the operational costs shot up by over 1
100% last year, far higher than the average rental increase of 400%.
"Although most leases are based on the net leasing concept,
where the tenant pays for all the operational costs, property owners have
not been able to increase rentals at the same pace as that of inflation,"
said the report.
The government is planning to introduce a policy that will
exempt new property investors from rent control by the Rent Board for the
first ten years, in a bid to lure investors into the sluggish property
The government-appointed Rent Board has become the major
obstacle to investment in the property sector, as it imposes rentals barely
enough for the investors to realise meaningful returns on their investments.
"Building costs are rising faster than the income being received
by institutional investors," the report said.
"It has become too risky for the institutions to undertake new
building projects." the report further stated.
It said loan qualifications had significantly diminished
especially for individual borrowers due to high prices of house, high
construction costs, high cost of borrowing and high costs of living.
If an individual intends to buy a middle income house worth $10
billion at an interest of 150%, they would have to earn a salary of $5
billion in order to make a monthly mortgage repayment of $1,25
billion.Mortgage rates have been volatile since last year, adjusting in
response to the bank lending rates.
The report revealed that the three mortgage lenders namely Cabs,
FBC and Beverly last year advanced a total of around $476 billion to a total
of 1 275 residential property applicants.
However, the report revealed that the galloping inflation,
currently at 1 193%, had reduced the effective demand for mortgage loans.
By Eric Chiriga
THE Cold Storage Company (CSC) could be forced to dissolve its
pension fund due to serious financial problems, businessdigest has
Confidential documents seen by businessdigest reveal that the
administrators of the fund, Marsh Insurance Brokers wanted the fund to be
The move will affect hundreds of employees at the parastatal,
which has been in the red for the past decade.
In a memorandum to all branch managers, directors and workers'
representatives, CSC human resources director Moses Mrewa announced the
possible termination of the pension scheme.
"The financial challenges that the company is facing have
resulted in the company's failure to remit pension contributions to Marsh,"
"In view of this, Marsh has proposed that the pension fund be
converted to a paid-up status, which effectively means the cessation of the
Mrewa further said that if the proposal is adopted, both
employer and employee contributions will cease and the fund's assets
including contribution arrears and loss of return on the outstanding
contributions will be evaluated to determine each member's share of assets.
However, the members' share will be payable on attainment of
If the pension scheme is dissolved, CSC will only be required to
continue contributing to the National Social Security Fund.
Mrewa however said management was confident that the company's
fortunes would have significantly improved by mid next-year.
"Riding on this confidence and the need to safeguard members'
interests, management is of the view that the pension fund remains active,"
He said the contribution arrears should be amortised and cleared
over a reasonable period of time starting mid next year when they expect
their turnaround strategies to start bearing fruit.
He said the principal officer of the fund will call for a
meeting of the board of trustees whose outcome would be presented to the
Commissioner of Insurance and Pension Funds.
CSC has been struggling to operate viably for the past three
years due to huge debts.
CSC has been failing to remit pension contributions to Marsh due
to cashflow problems.
Marsh refused to comment on when contacted this week.
"Marsh cannot disclose any information without consent of the
principal officer," said a Marsh official responsible for the CSC account.
BURLEY tobacco auction floors remained closed despite an earlier
agreement for trade to resume on Thursday last week after a brief agreement
between farmers and merchants on a favourable price.
However, merchants later on rescinded on the agreement, forcing
farmers to withdraw from participating in the burley tobacco auction.
Farmers were demanding that merchants pay them in foreign
currency or the local currency at a rate above the official exchange rate.
Businessdigest understands that it was mainly the local
merchants who refused to buy the tobacco in foreign currency or at an
exchange rate higher than that offered on the official foreign currency
Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) deputy president Edward Raradza
said the tobacco selling season, which was temporarily suspended early last
month, failed to resume as had been agreed after the two parties failed to
agree on the selling price.
"Local merchants are against the buying of tobacco in foreign
currency, arguing that they did not see the point in buying the crop in
foreign currency when they want to use it locally," Raradza said.
He said farmers were calling for a better price in local
A farmer who spoke to businessdigest said while they saw nothing
wrong with selling their crop in local currency, they were not willing to
sell it at the current interbank rate of $101 195 against the US dollar.
"Considering the costs of inputs, an exchange rate above the
current interbank would be the starting point. Unattractive prices are a
hindrance to the production of the crop next season," the farmer said.
On the parallel market the US dollar is trading at $450 000
while the British pound is at $750 000.
Raradza could not be drawn into revealing the minimum price the
farmers were demanding, insisting that farmers wanted an attractive price.
When the 2006 burley tobacco selling season was suspended early
last month, farmers expressed displeasure at the selling prices of between
US$0,30 and US$0,40. Last year's selling prices averaged US$1,90 per kg.
Raradza said last week an agreement had been reached between farmers,
merchants and the Reserve Bank which would allow the crop to be sold in
local currency at rates which are attractive.
Raradza could however not give a specific date when the selling
season would resume after the latest dispute.
"At present I cannot say when the selling season would resume,
but as an association we hope it would be soon," Raradza said.
The delays in the opening of this years' burley tobacco selling
season have already negatively affected most farmers whose earnings from the
crop have been eroded by inflation and rising input costs.
Last week Raradza said it was important for government to
intervene in the selling of the crop to enable farmers to recover their
expenses and remain viable.
He said the RBZ had to offer viable prices for tobacco as the
crop was capable of generating enough foreign currency for the country.
There are three main types of tobacco grown in Zimbabwe -
flue-cured, burley and oriental tobacco.
Zimbabwe is the largest producer of tobacco leaf in Africa and
the world's fourth-largest producer of flue-cured tobacco after China,
Brazil and the United States.
THE following is a letter written by the late Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo to President Robert Mugabe on June 7 1983 condemning the way
the then prime minister had treated him after "discovering" arms that saw
the government unleashing the Korean-trained Fifth Brigade on the
Matabeleland and Midlands provinces and leaving 20 000 people dead.
2 Stevenage Road
East Ham E6 2WL
London E6 2WL
7th June, 1983
INFORMATIVE LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER MUGABE
I write to you as a citizen of Zimbabwe and one of the leaders
of our country, to you not just as one of the leaders of Zimbabwe but, above
all, as Prime Minister of the government of Zimbabwe as provided for by the
constitution that you and me as well as other leaders signed in December
I write because I feel that our country is in danger of complete
disintegration, to the detriment of all its citizens now living and of
generations to come.
Not least, I write to you because I am convinced that you
believe I am the main contributory factor to this dangerous situation.
You have stated publicly on several occasions that I have
plotted, and continue to plot, to overthrow you and your government, that I
have conspired, and continue to conspire, with South Africa to do that, that
I have organised and continue to organise dissident groups for the purpose
of destabilising the country and finally to overthrow you.
You now say I have run to Britain, ostensibly because I thought
my life was or is in danger, but that I have done so for the purpose of
recruiting mercenaries and/or assassins to wrest power from you.
I also know that you and your party believe that because Zapu
lost in the last election we feel wounded, and therefore plan to wrest power
from you by any means, fair or foul.
You say we did all I have stated above despite the fact that we
agreed to take part in your government when you, as Prime Minister, invited
This whole series of accusations against me and Zapu, which are
false and without any foundation whatsoever, started on the 6th February,
1982 when caches of arms were discovered at Escort Farm and later at Hampton
Farm, both of which were owned by Nitram, a private company I assisted
former Zipra combatants to form for occupation and use by those of them who
were not incorporated into the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe
The discovery of arms on the 6th February was followed by a
number of categoric and definitive statements, by yourself, to the effect
that arms were discovered in Nkomo- and Zapu-owned properties and that the
cache of arms were part of a plot to overthrow you and your government; and
that all those properties were being used for subversive purposes. You said
in Marondera on the 14th February, 1982: "Zapu had bought more than 25 farms
and more than 30 business enterprises throughout the country. We have now
established they were not genuine business enterprises, but places of hiding
military weapons to start another war at an appropriate time." You added:
"Dr Nkomo was trying to overthrow my government. Zapu and its leader, Dr
Joshua Nkomo, were like a cobra in a house. The only way to deal effectively
with a snake is to strike and destroy its head."
You will remember that you met me and three of my colleagues at
your official residence on the 5th February to discuss a number of issues,
and at the end of that meeting I mentioned to you that I had received a
telephone message from Bulawayo to the effect that two Nitram Farms, Ascot
and Woody Glen Farm, had been invaded by the police the previous night and
you said you had also got information and you would inform me later what it
was all about.
That evening I travelled with two of your ministers on a plane
to Bulawayo, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Sydney Sekeramai. Little did I know that
you had sent these two men to Bulawayo to display to the press arms
allegedly unearthed in one of those farms, namely Ascot Farm.
I would have expected that as minister under you, you would,
after finding arms in Nitram-owned properties, to have summoned me to your
office to find out from me as to whether I knew anything about the arms.
I would have expected, further, that you would have instructed
me to have joined Mnangagwa and Sekeramai in an attempt to uncover
information about those arms. I am sure you realise how important it was for
me to have physically seen the location, the quantity and nature of the arms
that were discovered, especially at a time when I was still minister. While
I do not dispute that arms were found on these farms, how else would I have
been expected to believe the quantity, and nature of the arms unearthed and
displayed to the press were authentic?
As it is now, I cannot be made to believe that the quantities,
quality and nature of arms presented to the press were in fact all unearthed
just in those two farms. It is quite clear for the discovery to make an
impact on the people of Zimbabwe and the world in general, it was necessary
for those who assisted you to ferry arms from elsewhere so as to make this
accusation of a plot to overthrow the government to appear real.
To quote a statement made at a press briefing at Brady Barracks
on the 8th February 1982: "Arms and ammunitions so far recovered in the
joint police and army search operation in Matebeleland are sufficient to
equip a force of 5 000 men." Note, in "Matebeleland" and not in Ascot and
Hampton Farms. However, this is neither here nor there.
By Monday the 15th February 1982, the two properties owned by
Nitram, the only properties on which arms were found, together with
properties owned by Zapu and those owned by companies whose members were
Zapu, including properties owned by me and my family, were confiscated under
the notorious Unlawful Organisations Act, which was enacted by settler
regimes to suppress liberation organisations.
I would like to emphasise that no other property, even those
others owned by Nitram, which were all confiscated, had any arms found on
Having reminded you that arms were discovered in only two
Nitram-owned farms, Ascot Farm near Bulawayo and Hampton Farm near Gweru,
let me further remind you that in the course of your marathon speeches round
the country, telling the story of having found caches of arms meant to
perpetrate a plot to overthrow you and your government, you said among other
things: "If all arms cached by Zipra were found in or near assembly camps
only, my government and I would not have minded.
"But that," you continued, "a large quantity of arms was found
in Zapu-owned properties, it is clear they were intended for use against my
government." You said this because you knew that Zanla had cached a lot of
arms in and near their former assembly camps, and there was the question of
a trainload of arms that had disappeared between the (Mozambican) border and
It appears to me you have conveniently forgotten that Ntumbane
in Bulawayo, was in fact an assembly point for both Zipra and Zanla, that
after the first Ntumbane disturbances every type of weapon not allowed
there, was found in that assembly point. The same happened after the second
disturbances there; heavy weapons were found in both Zipra and Zanla camps
in Ntumbane. Why then did you find it surprising to have found arms at Ascot
Farm which is hardly seven miles from Ntumbane assembly point?
The same applies to Hampton Farm which is not far from Connemara
Barracks where there were disturbances at the same time as there were
disturbances in Ntumbane the second time. As a matter of fact, Comrade
Munangagwa on 26th February said: "Four caches of arms including 600 G3
rifles stolen during the mutiny in Connemara more than a year ago were
discovered on a farm near Gweru."
Over and above what I have stated regarding arms caches I quote
a statement by PF Zapu Central Committee held in Bulawayo on the 15
February, 1982: "The Central Committee is dismayed at the deliberate attempt
to build a case on an issue whose background the Prime Minister very well
knows emanates from a war situation. The Central Committee denies the
allegation that Zapu had any prior knowledge of the arms caches anywhere.
"The administration of the army and all military issues,
including former combatants' assembly camps, were placed under the
responsibility of the Joint Military Command, thus removing Zapu and Zanu of
responsibility over military affairs. We wish to categorically deny the
allegation of a plot to overthrow the government. On the contrary, PF Zapu
did everything, and still does for the consolidation and success of our
On Thursday, February 17, you announced at a press conference
that I and three of my colleagues, JM Chinamano, JW Msika and JG Ntuta, were
dismissed from your government. You made your announcement at a press
conference and we learnt of our dismissal from your government by press,
television and radio.
was completely flabbergasted and astounded by your accusations,
your actions and the manner in which they were made. What stunned and
bemused me even more is that I was convinced that you knew in your heart of
hearts that all accusations were false.
I was also convinced that you could not have been unaware of the
repercussions of your statements and actions on former Zanla and Zipra
combatants in the national army and in the police, and the feelings of
divisiveness and hostility they would arouse.
You must know that it was soon after your initial statements and
actions that there was talk of polarisation of Zanla and Zipra former
combatants within the national army. Mutual suspicion and mistrust was
maximised, and clashes between the two groups became commonplace.
Meanwhile, former Zipra commanders were summoned by the army
command, at your instruction, for questioning and investigation. This was
done, it is said, by the military police and/or the CIO. Later, ordinary
former Zipra men, irrespective of rank, were also taken for investigation.
Information has it that during these investigations there was a
lot of beatings and torture of all types that a number of these young people
were killed and others maimed.
These actions were followed by desertions and defections from
the national army not only by former Zipra combatants, but also by former
It was then that we learnt from your public speeches, and those
of your ministers, that a number of armed robbers and bandits in the country
was growing, especially in the western province of Matebeleland.
Later your public statements and those of your ministers began
to stress that these armed bandits were in fact politically inspired
Information has it also that some 300 or so Zipra combatants and
a few Zanla who were arrested after the troubles in a battalion camp near
Karoi were detained secretly somewhere near Harare and are taken in small
batches to be court-martialled and executed, with no right of appeal and
without informing their next of kin. It is further known that the last of
these executions that has come to light took place on February 14, 1983.
It was when in your parliamentary speech you openly and
blatantly accused me personally and Zapu as a party of organising,
maintaining and directing such armed dissident activities that I met you,
and after thorough discussion, that I thought you accepted our position that
we were not in any manner connected with these elements.
I found it necessary to meet you because despite the fact that I
had continuously and persistently denounced and condemned the activities of
these dissidents and had demanded that you appoint a Parliamentary Select
Committee, without success, to investigate who these dissidents are and who
succours them, instead you found it necessary to accuse us in parliament the
way you did.
During December, overtures on unity between Zapu and Zanu were
made to me by your emissaries in the persons of President Canaan Banana and
Minister Enos Nkala. After two meetings with them I thought we had made
progress and suggested to them that the next meeting should be with
* To be continued next week.
By Jonathan Moyo
IF there is one major outcome of last week's eagerly anticipated
Banjul meeting between United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and
President Robert Mugabe that has gone unnoticed yet it has far reaching
implications, it is that Mugabe's quest for self-preservation has now taken
him back to the colonial trappings of the 1979 Lancaster Talks.
This is because the mediation between Zimbabwe and Britain by
former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, which has since been endorsed by
Annan, smacks of colonial history repeating itself - but now as farce.
Apparently, Mugabe hopes to use Mkapa's mediation to initiate
direct settlement talks with Britain as Zimbabwe's former colonial power;
and this after 26 years of the much-touted sovereignty and
self-determination during which Zanu PF has been rallying the nation to
become "our own liberators".
Yet the Banjul meeting had a decidedly colonial outcome in that
Mugabe used it to reveal his yearning for a British solution to the
Zimbabwean crisis. He now wants the world to believe his Zanu PF propaganda
that the cause of the Zimbabwean crisis is a bilateral dispute between
Zimbabwe and Britain that started after the land reform programme in 2000.
But to accept this propaganda one would have to conclude that
Mugabe's legendary posturing about sovereignty is deliberately deceitful.
Maybe this is indeed the case. And maybe this is what has been missed about
Mugabe, namely, that he is principally a colonial politician steeped in an
outdated nationalistic outlook.
African leaders with this mendacious nationalistic outlook
always blame their former colonial powers for every major ill in their
national politics or economy while accepting no responsibility whatsoever
for their own policies or lack thereof. That is why such leaders come across
as opposition politicians when they are actually in power.
Listening to Mugabe rant and rave while punching the air and
pounding the podium always leaves the impression of a powerless and
frustrated opposition politician.
This perhaps explains why Mugabe has remained incorrigibly
unable to understand that the cause of the Zimbabwean crisis is deeply
national and urgently requires a national solution from and by Zimbabweans
supported by the international community.
Otherwise the mediation by Mkapa is bound to fail if it is
guided by Mugabe's claim that the crisis is mainly due to a bilateral
dispute with Britain. Mkapa needs to understand that Mugabe's claim is
equivalent to the quandary of a drunkard who loses his car keys on the dark
side of the street without lights only to look for them on the side with
lights in the real but vain hope of finding them there.
But not everything about the Banjul outcome is negative. The
fact that Mugabe has for the first time accepted mediation is very positive.
It suggests that he now feels cornered and wants some breathing space if not
a face-saving way out altogether.
That space should be positively exploited to get Mugabe to
realise that he should provide the solution to the Zimbabwean crisis by
accepting that he has become the historical, institutional and
constitutional personification of the crisis.
In this regard, Annan demonstrated that he is indeed a suave
international diplomat by endorsing Mkapa's mediation and offering UN
support. Mugabe must have been surprised by this because he had expected
Annan to insist on coming to Harare on the back of lingering humanitarian
questions around the horrible effects of Operation Murambatsvina.
But Annan appears to have understood that the best way of
addressing the evil that was Operation Murambatsvina is by resolving the
Zimbabwean crisis itself. If Mkapa's mediation can achieve that, then Annan
would have succeeded.
Besides, while Mugabe described Mkapa as "the appointed
mediator", he did not say who made the appointment. This alone leaves Mkapa's
mandate open for the taking because there can be no mediation without
resources to underwrite the cost of logistics, travel and expertise. Even
though Mugabe has unilaterally said Mkapa will work within Sadc, indications
are that the mediation is likely to be funded by the UN thus effectively
making it the key facilitator.
This would explain why Annan endorsed Mkapa's mediation. It is
better and strategic for the UN to facilitate than mediate. He who pays the
piper has the comparative advantage to name the tune.
Another positive outcome of the Banjul meeting is that Mugabe
formalised Mkapa's mediation without insisting on the precondition that
British, American and European Union targeted sanctions must first be
removed. So far Mugabe has been using these controversial sanctions as
propaganda to inoculate himself as the cause of the Zimbabwean crisis.
If Annan had sought to be the mediator as initially expected,
Mugabe would have predictably insisted on the sanctions precondition. Those
who have claimed that Mugabe outfoxed Annan in Banjul have missed the finer
While no terms of reference or timeframe for the mediation were
announced, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to realise that the
widening and deepening economic meltdown in Zimbabwe will itself impose
inevitable terms of reference and provide an urgent timeframe.
In the circumstances, Mkapa has only two choices. Either he will
work faster than the widening and deepening crisis he seeks to resolve or he
will run a high risk of being overtaken by the momentous events on the
ground. The latter would render his mediation useless.
One thing for sure is that as soon as Mkapa gets down to work,
he will discover that the real critical issue is not about the alleged
bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain but about the failure of
governance, policies and leadership since 1980.
Mkapa will come to understand that the more things have changed
in Zimbabwe following Independence in 1980, the more they have remained the
same. He will recall that the core of the 1979 mediation at Lancaster
revolved around three fundamental issues:
* a new democratic constitution;
* a new national economy; and
* a new accountable nationalist leadership.
But he will be shocked to observe that, ironically 26 years
later, Zimbabwe is back to square one facing the very same three fundamental
issues which were at the core of the Rhodesian crisis in 1979. He will see
that, objectively speaking outside Zanu PF propaganda, no serious person can
deny that 15 years of Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front rule in Rhodesia and 26
years of Mugabe's Zanu PF rule in Zimbabwe have produced a structurally
similar crisis. This is why history is now repeating itself as farce.
Yet there is a qualitative and important difference between then
and now. It is that unlike the Rhodesian crisis which required a British
solution, the Zimbabwean crisis today does not require a British solution
whether through mediation or whatever.
When Mugabe says the crisis started in 2000 due to the rejection
of the land reform programme by Britain and its allies he is not telling the
truth. Many in his government and party know that the crisis started on
August 16 1997 when the compensation for veterans of the liberation war
became an economic albatross to the fiscus.
It is also a widely known fact that the demands for a new
democratic constitution started well before 2000. Indeed, the MDC itself was
formed before 2000.
If the truth be told, the 2000 land reform programme was itself
a hasty, brutal and chaotic response to serious national problems that were
already present. It was not a sustainable policy action. That brutal and
chaotic response was more about Mugabe's political survival than about
redressing historical injustice.
While there can be no doubt about the historic necessity of land
reform in Zimbabwe and about the social justice of that necessity, the fact
is that the brutal and chaotic response in 2000 necessarily led to serious
mistakes being made. Those mistakes need to be corrected without making a
bad situation worse or falsifying history through Mkapa's mediation.
* Professor Jonathan Moyo is independent MP for Tsholotsho and
former Information minister.
By Eliphas Mukonoweshuro
THE MDC has followed closely developments at the seventh African
Union summit held in Banjul, Gambia, over the weekend.
The MDC notes with concern the acceptance by the United Nations
secretary-general Mr Kofi Annan of former Tanzanian president, Benjamin
Mkapa, as mediator in the conflict "between Zimbabwe and Britain".
In our view, there is a serious structural crisis in Zimbabwe,
but it has to be located correctly. The crisis in Zimbabwe is one of
governance. It is a crisis of a weak and usurped constitution, a crisis of a
privatised and militarised state that has failed.
In our view therefore, incorrectly identifying the crisis
necessarily predicates an incorrect solution.
The mediation that is required urgently is between the stubborn
dictatorial Mugabe regime and the brutalised people of Zimbabwe. The
Zimbabwean crisis will not go away unless the dictatorship is totally rooted
out of the country's political culture.
More importantly, since this is a regional crisis, it will be
wise for the Sadc region to come up with its own point persons and
The region, through Sadc, must accept and recognise that the
Zimbabwean crisis is having a pervasive and negative multiplier effect in
the entire region. That being so, Zimbabweans and the region itself, must be
at the core of any process and roadmap connected with resolving the crisis.
The African Union too must recognise that this is an African
crisis and like Sadc, it must not pass the baton to the UN. Understandably,
the region and Africa are arrested by fatigue and frustration vis a vis
their failure to rein in the dictatorship in Zimbabwe. However, Africa must
recall its recent united front against the apartheid regime when everyone
played their role.
Of further concern to us is the ability and capacity of
President Mugabe in appointing a mediator in a situation where he is a major
actor. 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 must appoint its own mediator. In addition, it is
our experience from the past that appointing point persons with ambiguous
and ill-defined terms of reference, is a disaster.
The whole process can become a smokescreen for averting,
delaying and postponing the urgent action that is required in respect of the
crippling crisis in Zimbabwe.
To us, there can be no solution to the Zimbabwean crisis unless
Zimbabweans are allowed the opportunity of writing a new, democratic,
people-driven constitution for.
Once this constitution is accepted in a referendum, clearly,
free and fair elections under international supervision must be held.
* Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is MDC secretary for
By Vincent Kahiya
A MARTIN Luther King commandment says "refrain from violence of the fist,
tongue and heart".
Most people can stop themselves from hitting others out of fear of arrest
and can bite their tongue to refrain from saying something mean, but
violence of the heart is challenging. Following this rule is imperative
because things we think about, sooner or later, are going to come out in our
Violent conduct in an individual comes from the heart. It controls the fist
and the tongue. No wonder fists are raised menacingly when rulers proclaim
"degrees in violence" or when they implore supporters "to strike fear in the
heart of the white man". The next time they stand up to preach peace,
tolerance and co-existence the violent heart will still be beating.
In political parties violence is rarely regarded as a virtue. It is quickly
denied and condemned even when it is at the heart of a party's activities.
But as long as violence has an imprint in the heart of the party no amount
of cover-up and denial can hide its ugly face. Sooner or later it will come
out in actions such as physical assaults, verbal attacks and other subtle
The assault on Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson this week by youths allegedly
aligned to the Tsvangirai-led MDC provides useful insight into intra-party
violence and useful lessons of what happens when violence of the heart is
not dealt with expressly.
Tsvangirai's camp has denied culpability in the assault on the feisty but
small and frail woman. Stevenson's camp has fingered Tsvangirai's supporters
for the violence.
Tsvangirai's secretary-general Tendai Biti in a statement denounced the
assault on Stevenson. He said his faction did not support violence and
wished Trudy a speedy recovery.
Also this week, Linos Mushonga, who was also at the receiving end in the
attack, was on the Voice of America denouncing the Tsvangirai faction for
the violence that left him with two broken fingers.
Remember this Mutambara quote at the beginning of the year: "How do we talk
about a regime which is criminal and violent when you yourself are carrying
out violent acts and violating your own party rules? We won't be qualified
to fight Mugabe if we are little Mugabes."
This of course has been denied. It would be stretching honesty to breaking
point for any party to confess violence and own up. It is not surprising
therefore when Biti's statement fingered Zanu PF for the violence. He said
the "barbaric act of attacking political opponents has always been
synonymous with Zanu PF and not the MDC".
In another statement announcing the formation of a commission to investigate
the violence he laid the blame on the CIO for being "at the centre of
manufacturing evidence and issues in a bid to implicate the
opposition...these old-fashioned divide-and-rule tactics will not fool us".
But isn't it that leaders of the two factions have fooled themselves into
believing that the opposition movement would be stronger as a divided
entity. Biti's conspiracy theory of CIO involvement cannot be dismissed
completely but the intelligence service will always find it easy to
stage-manage a war between two already-fighting parties. And what better way
to use violence to divide a party that split partly because of unresolved
t is encouraging to note that a commission of enquiry has been formed to
probe the assault on Stevenson and her colleagues. This is how past
incidents of violent clashes should have been handled but they were not.
Evidence was suppressed.
Recent revelations in this paper by Bulawayo South MP David Coltart on the
failure of party leaders to mete out punishment to those accused of trying
to murder party director for security, Peter Guhu, in September 2004 at
Harvest House and the rehiring of youths accused of violence should be
sobering to Tsvangirai's henchmen who have told us that the party does not
The probe should not just be fashioned to flush out the culprits but to put
in place systems that send a clear message that violence will not be
tolerated. That includes publicising results of probes and ensuring that
senior party officials are not seen in the company of the criminal elements.
This observation by Coltart is important: "Young men often have a
predisposition towards violence; that happens the world over and Zimbabwe is
no different. What controls that predisposition is the manner in which it is
handled by leaders. If it is not dealt with, a culture of impunity develops
and violence perpetuates itself."
It stays in the heart.
WE were interested to note recent statements by South African
and Namibian ministers on land reform in those countries. This followed
recent claims in the Zimbabwean official media that Zimbabwe's example of
arbitrary seizures had set a paradigm for Africa. In fact it has been a
lesson in how not to proceed judging by recent statements from South African
and Namibian officials.
First we had South Africa's newly appointed Minister of
Agriculture and Land Affairs Lulu Xingwana saying: "We have learned from the
Zimbabwean situation that force does not work. You've got to have the buy-in
of all the people involved."
Farmers' leaders agreed.
Then Namibia said last week it will not abandon a market-driven
approach to land redistribution by going the route of Zimbabwe.
This clarification followed recent remarks by a Namibian junior
minister praising Zimbabwe's land programme which led to fears that Namibia's
economy could be similarly sabotaged by fast-track seizures.
A government statement last Wednesday in Windhoek distanced
itself from those comments.
"There has been a total misunderstanding on the statements made
by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Isak Katali, during his
recent visit to Zimbabwe," the statement issued by the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting said. It set out Namibia's commitment to a
market-driven approach that observed constitutional provisions.
It is useful to have these corrections. It is widely understood
in southern Africa that Zimbabwe has created a major threat to regional
investment and productivity. Usually regional governments have been
reluctant to say so. But now they are doing so, making the point loud and
clear that Zimbabwe's way is not Africa's.
We were also pleased to note an incisive comment by respected
South African politician Frederick van Zyl Slabbert which applies as much to
Zimbabwe's leaders as it does to South Africa's.
"If you make yourself a hostage to a racist past you can plan on
a racist future," he told a trade union forum in Pretoria.
Zimbabwe provides ample evidence of that. But another point
about Zimbabwe's anarchic land reform process needs to be made here. Where
the rule of law is ignored and law enforcement agencies suborned, powerful
political thieves will fight with each other over the loot. Isn't that what
we are seeing now with Zanu PF fat-cats at each other's throats?
It is tempting to derive some satisfaction from this inevitable
descent into anarchy on the farms. But the country is the loser in the final
The IMF says Zimbabwe's GDP will contract by nearly 5% this
year. This contradicts rosy predictions of recovery by ministers. It will
compound six years of steady contraction under a government clearly bereft
of policies. With unemployment at 80%, inflation at over 1 000% and
businesses going to the wall on a weekly basis the country's supreme
ayatollah appears unmoved.
Rescue? Who needs rescuing, he wants to know. "You would think
we were about to perish as a nation."
At last he's got it, you may conclude. But actually he hasn't.
He simply can't recognise the appalling reality around him. People who claim
we need rescuing are mistaken, he suggests.
Benjamin Mkapa's mission is evidently headed for the rocks
before it has even cast off!
The official condition is called cognitive dissonance. Cocooned
in a comfort zone of official deceit and surrounded by a coterie of
hard-line nationalists from the Stone Age plus a handful of opportunists,
our leader has decided we don't need help.
Of course he will take the food aid from our "enemies" which is
keeping the nation fed. But there will be no change, no reform, and
therefore no recovery so long as he is master of all he surveys.
Thabo Mbeki has given up trying to be of help, and so it seems
has Kofi Annan and Joachim Chissano. No statesman in his right mind wants to
be forever indelibly stained by the brush of Zimbabwe's toxic politics.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes Mkapa to wake up
to the immovable object that blights Zimbabwe's present and steals its
Friends and former colleagues of onetime Herald editor and now
Olympic official Tommy Sithole will be delighted to hear of his latest
achievement which we share with readers.
"I have over the past one year been arranging to enroll for a
sports management science doctoral programme at the world's leading sports
university, the United States Sports Academy in Alabama.
"However, last week, the president of the college called to tell
me that the board had decided to confer on me an honorary doctorate due to
my experience in sports management, journalism and aviation. Phew! That
saves me, my sponsors and the Sithole clan almost $40 000 in tuition, travel
and other fees . . . and two years of burning the midnight candle.
"I wanted to share with you my friends this piece of good news
and to thank you for your support over the years. I do hundreds of
presentations for the IOC on what we call Olympic Values. We talk a lot
about sport being the 'school of life'.
"My sporting career has no doubt been my school of life. So has
it been in business, journalism and aviation. From my days in Tanzania to
that particular day you gave me a great bash on my departure, the support of
all the people around me has been absolutely wonderful. Difficult sometimes
but wonderful all the same in the end."
Victoria Ruzvidzo, writing in the Business Herald, had a go last
week at those Zimbabweans who were "in the forefront of tarnishing their
country's image by exaggerating the state of affairs here, be it on the
political, economic of social front".
The result, she said, was "the creation of a bad Zimbabwe that
no one should do business with". Their stories are easily believed by their
target audiences, she said. "Who would doubt a story on Zimbabwe coming from
a Zimbabwean?" she asked. "And yet most of the stuff is mere fabrication."
Really Victoria? Chefs fighting over farms; mere fabrication?
Properties under Bilateral Protection and Promotion Agreements overrun; mere
fabrication? Lowveld sugar estates and conservation areas parcelled out;
And what of the hostile business climate that makes it
impossible for any company to do business here? All attributable to
sanctions no doubt.
We understand that our colleagues in the state media are
required to pretend that the situation is normal; that our rulers have only
the welfare of the people at heart. But when they attack other journalists
for telling it like it is, we have to ask questions about their motives.
Did they choose journalism in order to see nothing, hear nothing
and say nothing? Are they content to be the ruling party's public relations
If so, they should stop calling themselves journalists. Anybody
can be a government PR agent although admittedly it must take some
resourcefulness to defend Air Zimbabwe as Victoria was trying to do last
Muckraker was amazed at how some ministers and politicians take
the electorate for granted.
Addressing a housing co-operative formed by domestic workers,
Zanu PF information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira last week stretched the
truth beyond its trading limits by raising the hopes of the poor workers
that they will own homes of their own in urban centres.
Shamuyarira chose to ignore the fact that a brick now costs $45
000 each and what that meant to a domestic worker taking home $3 million
gazetted by the government. It will take two generations for a domestic
worker to lay a foundation at today's building costs.
Why raise their hopes needlessly?
If local authorities with all the billions they generate in
revenue have not been able to build rent-to-buy units over the past two
decades, what chances does a domestic worker have?
Chombo this week featured in the same pantomime with his wishful
thinking when he told local authorities to release stands to the homeless so
as to clear the housing backlog in two years' time.
What happened to our Housing for All by the year 2000 promise?
No one would think we have dented the housing backlog one bit
despite all the posturing. The slogan fits well and sounds more prescient
running in the vein of mansions for all chefs by the year 2000. The mansions
are of course those that the chefs wrested away from commercial farmers.
Does the minister know how much it costs to build a modest
house, not the "jathropha" Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai units?
"Development must focus on houses for the poor emanating from
deliberate central and local government policies of social inclusion,"
When did Chombo wise up to the nostrum by Abraham Lincoln who
said: "The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people."
Muckraker was stunned by President Mugabe's dog-in-the-manger
view of the disaster government invented on commercial farms since 2000.
When Gideon Gono flays robber barons that turned productive
farmland into "weekend braai spots" Mugabe brazenly dares critics not to
talk of the rot on the farms.
"Ndimo matiri. Kana tikada kuita Jerusarema zvinenge zvineyi
nani? (This is where we are. If we decide to be idle and dance no one should
bother us, what has that to do with them?)" Mugabe blustered in jingoistic
reference to criticism of the failed land reform scheme.
Up till now we least suspected that land beneficiaries are
allowed to perform that hip-jigging and raunchy dance made popular by
Murehwa villagers instead of putting their nose to the wheel and growing
crops as long as they did that in the name of Zanu PF.
Reading between the lines of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's
speech at the AU summit gives the impression that he had one country in mind
when he spoke about the three waves in the lifespan on an African nation.
Annan said the first wave was decolonisation, the second
was the struggle against apartheid and first attempts at
The third wave, Annan said, was a disappointing one marked by
civil wars (we had our own during Gukurahundi), the tyranny of military or
one-party rule, economic stagnation as a result of corruption, weak
governance, inadequate regulatory systems and state-sanctioned theft. Sound
There has been some predictable satisfaction in Zanu PF ranks
over the assault on MP Trudy Stevenson. This just goes to show what a
violent party the MDC really is, the ruling party sanctimoniously tell us.
But there is a difference of course. The MDC will have the
incident investigated by a credible team and its findings will hopefully be
Then we can see how Morgan Tsvangirai acts to deal with the
perpetrators. It will be a litmus test of his leadership.
But how many investigations has Zanu PF carried out into
documented cases of torture? What has been their response to abductions and
beatings? They are the last people who should be commenting on this episode.
Let civil society judge the MDC once it has the evidence. And if they let
Tsvangirai's tsotsis get away with violence we will be the first to cry
Anyone following Bishop Trevor Manhanga's drift to the
government side of the fence in recent negotiations will have had their
fears confirmed by his warm welcome to "Comrade" Kangai at the US embassy's
Independence Day celebrations this week. Manhanga is an impressive public
speaker who in his address made some telling points about the right to
"life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" as the bedrock of a successful
society. But if Kangai is his comrade, we will need to question his
We still haven't heard from Manhanga or the ZCC what values they
think government should embody or what steps it needs to take in resolving
the current crisis. Why are they so silent on issues of Christian principle
and social justice. Why have they not said a word about Operation
Murambatsvina? Curious isn't it?
It is good to know that some of our neighbours don't carry
around the baggage of colonial hang-ups. One forthright African diplomat was
very clear which team she would be supporting on Tuesday night. "Germany,"
she said without hesitation.
Sadly, it turned out to be a case of Viva Italia!
By Eric Bloch
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) held its annual
congress last week, and while there were inevitably some facets of
disappointment, there were several very positive ones.
First and foremost was that, despite the very immense hardships
confronting most of Zimbabwe's business community, nevertheless there were
about 180 participants - albeit that a small portion of that number were
from the government in general and the Central Intelligence Organisation in
The second, very major, positive that evidenced itself at the
congress was the immense extent to which the private sector participants
were willing to voice their concerns at the distressed state of the economy,
at the extent that the causes of the economic malaise is attributable to the
government's rigid and obdurate adherence to failed policies, and at its
dogmatic disregard for economic fundamentals.
But equally positive was that the delegates did not only
castigate the government for its near-destruction of the economy and its
false attribution of blame to third parties. They also sought to suggest
constructive solutions to the economic crises, and not to succumb to
near-justifiable despondency, but to have a determination to persevere until
the very long-awaited economic turnaround eventually happens.
An equally important positive was that the government was in
attendance, albeit that unforeseen circumstances (including the death of the
Information and Publicity minister) did reduce the numbers of ministers and
their deputies from the very significant number that had originally
intimated that they would be attending. Those who were present laid very
great emphasis upon the government's desire for private sector input in
general, and on the National Economic Development Priority Programme in
However, despite their protestations of intense desire for
substantive consultation by the government with the private sector, many of
the political hierarchy present showed very little ability to modify
pre-determined conceptions and policies. Many of the delegates were left
with the impression that, in reality, as distinct from its contentions, the
government only welcomes advice when it accords with what the government
wishes, and that the consultation process is naught but the state being able
to claim that policies are formulated on the basis of wide-ranging private
To a major extent the impression given to the private sector is
that the government pretends at consultation so that, if and when things go
wrong, it can disclaim culpability, and can attribute the fault to the
private sector. Whether that impression is well-founded, or misguided, will
evidence itself over the next few months, including in the forthcoming
mid-year fiscal review statement.
As has been the case for an extended period of time, the
government does not only blame the private sector, and acts of nature, for
the Zimbabwean economic morass. It has long contended that fault very
extensively lies at the feet of the European Union (EU) in general, and the
United Kingdom in particular, as also USA and most Commonwealth countries
outside of the continent of Africa. In order to deflect blame from itself,
the government will blame whomsoever else it can, even if devoid of
It was in this context that, yet again, ministers were
scathingly bitter in their continuing, ill-based claims that much of
Zimbabwe's economic woes are due to economic sanctions imposed by Western
countries. Although the facts conclusively belie the allegation, the
government persists in it, and the ministers present at the congress
outspokenly argued that economic sanctions do exist, and are a very major
fuellant of the abysmal state of the economy.
As previously stated in this column, and emphatically addressed
in recent months by the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Xavier Marchall, Swedish
ambassador Sten Rylander and many other diplomats, only targeted sanctions
against less than 100 of the upper echelon of Zanu PF and its supporters
have been applied. Those targeted sanctions restrict the travel of the
targeted persons, and their possession of assets in the countries imposing
the sanctions, but they are not applied against the populace in general, or
against Zimbabwean economy.
However, because the ministers are the targets, they are
resentful, and therefore misrepresent the actualities, while also using the
allegation of economic sanctions to conceal the real causes of the endless
governmental mismanagement of the economy.
The facts speak for themselves, but the government does not hear
them, for there are none so deaf as those who will not hear! In 2005 the EU
imported Zimbabwean products to a value of 391 million euro, and sold to
Zimbabwe goods to a value of 130 million euro, resulting in a net favourable
trade surplus in Zimbabwe's favour of 261 million euro.
Zimbabwe exported goods to the USA in 2005 to the value of
US$94,3 million, being an increase of 24% over the exports to the USA in
2004, and approximately 95% of those goods entered the USA free of any
import duties. Zimbabwe's imports from the USA in 2005 amounted to US$44,7
million, according Zimbabwe a net trade surplus of US$49,6 million.
In addition, both the EU and the USA continued to provide
Zimbabwe with very substantial humanitarian aid, with especial reference to
food supply, healthcare and education.
If all this constitutes economic sanctions, then clearly
economic sanctions are beneficial to the Zimbabwean economy, in
contradistinction to causing collapse. But, no matter how greatly the
government may contend the contrary, there are no economic sanctions, as
irrefutably demonstrated by those facts.
However, some of Zimbabwe's political leaders are not prepared
to accept these facts, and this was very apparent at the ZNCC congress. One
deputy minister cited the USA's Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act
as evidence that economic sanctions exist, but did not explain how the USA's
continued willingness to trade with Zimbabwe, to an extent as accords
Zimbabwe a substantial trade surplus, is a result of economic sanctions!
Another minister sought to prove the existence of economic
sanctions by contending that the EU and the USA caution their citizens
against investment in Zimbabwe. But is it not the obligation of any country
to protect its citizens by advising them if legitimate doubts exist as to
And, in the case of Zimbabwe, such doubts must exist. For five
years Zimbabwe has rigidly denied liability under Bilateral Investment
Protection and Promotion Agreements that it had entered into. Zimbabwe had
allowed such a breach of agreements to destroy investor confidence.
Recently it compounded that erosion of investor confidence with
statements by ministers and the president of imminent mandatory governmental
and/or other indigenous participation in the mining sector, without
assurance of equitable compensation. The resultant perception of
international investors was: "First they took the farms, now they're taking
the mines. Next they'll take the industries, then the hotels, then the
banks, and all else."
In such circumstances, other countries would be remiss in caring
for their nationals if they did not highlight possible risks of investment
in Zimbabwe, exacerbated by the absence of market-force economic influences.
But they have not legislated against investment in Zimbabwe. They have only
advised their exercise of caution.
That, Mr Minister, is not economic sanctions!
CONFIRMATION of the appointment of former Tanzanian president
Benjamin Mkapa at the just-ended African Union summit in Banjul as mediator
in the protracted Zimbabwean crisis was an encouraging, yet at the same time
While the initiative undoubtedly shows that President Robert
Mugabe now accepts mediation - which he has been resisting - it is worrying
that Mkapa's terms of reference and mandate are vague.
Firstly, it is not clear who appointed him. While the British
have welcomed his assignment (he sat on Tony Blair's Africa Commission) his
mission does not originate in Whitehall and there is privately much
scepticism about his prospects.
Several questions arise: What sort of mediator is he going to
be? Between whom is he mediating? It is also not clear what his objectives
are or who will underwrite his mission.
We are told this is a regional initiative. What consultations
with other parties were undertaken? Kofi Annan has said the UN will provide
the necessary space and time. Words have also been put into his mouth by
Zimbabwe's official media on the lifting of sanctions.
If the process leading to Mkapa's appointment was flawed, so
will be the outcome. There is simply no way his mission will succeed if it
is going to be guided by undeclared agendas and interests.
Mugabe claims Mkapa will be mediating in an alleged "bilateral
dispute" between Zimbabwe and Britain arising from the disastrous land
reform programme. This is not a view accepted by the European Union, the
United States, Canada or Australia. They see the root problem as Mugabe's
Mugabe also claims Annan has agreed with him that targeted
sanctions against him and his cronies were the problem.
In Mugabe's logic, this means Mkapa will be working to convince
the EU and US to lift the sanctions imposed on him and others for misrule
and human rights abuses associated with the land issue and elections.
From that faulty premise, Annan and Mkapa will overlook urgent
issues of political and economic reform. In other words they will have to
ignore the prevailing political impasse created by disputed elections, human
rights abuses - dramatised by Operation Murambatsvina and the humanitarian
crisis that followed - and a plethora of man-made socio-economic problems
wreaking havoc on the nation such as inflation (1 193%), unemployment and
poverty, HIV/Aids, capital flight, de-industrialisation, emigration and the
general collapse of the social service delivery system.
In brief, Mkapa will not be interested in the institutional
breakdown, the constitutional impasse, or policy and leadership failures. He
will be required to ignore structural issues and instead put on a normal
footing Mugabe's relations with Blair and secure the removal of sanctions.
Mkapa and Annan are being portrayed in Harare as Mugabe's envoys, not
But Mugabe's story is full of contradictions.
He says Zimbabwe's economic problems were caused by sanctions -
imposed in 2002 - but everybody knows that problems such as the shortages of
foreign currency, fuel, exchange rate crash and balance-of-payments
disequilibrium were there before the land reform programme and sanctions.
Mugabe last week also exposed himself when he claimed Western
countries that want to rescue Zimbabwe from its crisis "depend on us", yet
at the same time they were the ones undermining our economy.
How does that happen?
He also says he does not want a foreign solution to the Zimbabwe
question but insists on negotiating with a foreign power over what are
essentially domestic problems.
Is this not the same Mugabe who used to ride in the Queen of
England's carriage and received an honorary knighthood from the former
colonial power? Does this explain his insistence on talking to Blair and not
What kind of bridges does Mugabe want to build with Blair which
he can't build with the local opposition leaders like Morgan Tsvangirai and
Why does he want a summit with the British instead of an
all-stakeholders conference - Codesa-style - with Zimbabweans?
This sort of posturing is damaging to Zimbabwe's national
interest. It exposes the sovereignty lie which Zanu PF seeks to market to
its gullible supporters and offers no light at the end of the long dark
tunnel of the ruling party's misrule.
By Ray Matikinye
SIGNS this week that mandarins in the ruling Zanu PF are
realising rather belatedly the folly of their actions and that the agrarian
revolution they engineered had long ago lost its way are encouraging.
The frank admissions from various politicians point to the fact
that belatedly recognising their mistakes has come before their sense of
reality becomes unhinged.
When criticism of the land debacle comes from the second most
powerful man in the land, it leaves no lingering doubts how the ruling party
has wrecked a once thriving industry and sacrificed the agricultural sector
on the altar of political expediency.
Vice-President Joseph Msika hit the nail on the head with his
frank assessment of the ill-conceived land redistribution programme.
Msika condemned the way land had been taken and given to
"anybody" who wanted it. "We have not sat down to ask, really: 'Does this
person to whom we are giving land have an aptitude for farming, is he a
farmer? Is he going to develop the land?'" Msika said in remarks broadcast
on national television. He said the programme had not achieved its intended
results due to lack of planning.
Yes, land needed to be redistributed to remedy ownership
imbalances. But going about it in a manner devoid of any rationale pulled
the rug from under the noble revolution. The misleading notion that it would
destroy the last vestiges of colonialism without due and diligent regard to
the consequences is a wrong way of doing the right thing.
Most disconcerting is the fact that while the programme profited
only a few thousand, the agrarian revolution impoverished millions. The
consequences of doing the right thing the wrong way have created downstream
problems such as inflation, foreign currency shortages and a shrinking
Zimbabweans continue to be tormented by the ruling elite's
innumerable delusions. And some of the more sinister of these delusions have
yet to impinge on the leaders' conscience
For the past six years or so the state has tried to fan huge
smokescreens to mask obvious failures that presented themselves for all to
see. Our rulers stuck their heads firmly in the sand in an act of collective
Slowly the ruling elite is beginning to awake from this slumber.
They are starting to appreciate, albeit belatedly, the vanity of taking God
for an idiot who could create 13,5 million competent farmers and exclusively
place them in a country called Zimbabwe.
Politicians misjudged and indulged in arrant deception hoping
that by some miraculous streak the reform programme would pan out right and
confound well-meaning critics.
Sober-thinking Zimbabweans saw it coming.
The late maverick politician, Edison Zvobgo, had foreseen the
dangers and pitfalls ahead when he protested about "turning a noble land
revolution into a racist enterprise".
Deputy agriculture minister, Sylvester Mguni, broke ranks and
admitted the looming failure in the agrarian reforms just as much as the
former president of the Chiefs Council Chief Jonathan Mangwende remarked:
"Pamunofunga kuti mapedza nyaya ye land reform muchazoona kuti hamusati
matombotanga nepadiki pose." (When you consider the land reform complete,
you will be surprised that you have not even started).
Why government did not pay heed no one knows for certain. For
Msika, this is not the first time that he has noticed how skewed the land
revolution had become. A few months ago he spoke strongly against people who
invaded farms driven by racism. The invaders' racism has caused such
criminal acts to bounce off their conscience.
"What they are doing is to go into the houses where whites were
living and they want land, they just plough a small hectarage, and they are
saying that's enough. We have taken this land, and using it for political
gains other than the development of the agricultural industry."
Msika must have realised that admitting one's mistakes is a
strength rather than a weakness.
Msika promises pales into insignificance if the countermand by
President Mugabe is anything to go by.
Mugabe does not want anyone to criticise the
decline and near-collapse that the agricultural sector is
experiencing due to ill-conceived land reform. He remains tethered by years
of habit to opportunistic behaviour that has demolished the private sector.
All has been sacrificed to champion his son-of-the-soil slogan.
Productivity on the farms plays second fiddle to the political
demagoguery of being a son of the soil.
Perhaps he needs to revisit the "land is the economy and the
economy is land" nostrum unblinkered by racial bigotry so the nation can
benefit from such a natural resource.
Church should have censured government
WE wish to congratulate the church and government for joining
hands and working together and believe it will leave an indelible mark in
the history of the country.
Thumbs up for the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and their
representative our Honourable Apostle EN Guti for the historic initiative.
We also understand and appreciate that the government and the
church are important structures in a state and should, more importantly,
complement each other.
We believe from the onset the parameters of such covenant
relationships should be clarified. Without taking much from the just-ended
National Day of Prayer, the church should have first educated its followers
on the purpose and objectives of such an initiative.
Now that the day has come and gone, should we expect a change of
attitude by these rulers? Should we expect the end of misrule and
mismanagement? An end to joblessness, hunger, selective application of the
law, rape, killing of innocent souls, torture, etc?
It is the role of the church to offer moral guidance to those
who govern the nation.
It is in this context that the church should have openly
denounced the evil that is being exercised and perpetuated upon the innocent
and disadvantaged majority.
As it is said charity begins at home.
I believe justice and moral righteousness should first be
championed from the church. The church should thus first unite before trying
to unite the nations.
Not long ago a similar group of churches organised a day to
commemorate Operation Murambatsvina and console the victims. Was it not a
good opportunity for the ZCC, or of us the Zaogeans under the leadership of
Eunor Guti to take a stand and tell the government its evils like what the
prophet Nathan did to King David?
Why is it that Christians are quick to provide food, blankets,
shelter etc to victims of man-made atrocities, but at the same time fail to
tell the perpetrators to stop it.
The church, especially leaders as moral torch-bearers, voice of
the voiceless need not stand aside and watch some inhumane policies being
implemented only for them to come later and organise a Day of National
Prayer, especially after an innocent infant died of cold weather, millions
of people were made jobless, homeless, foodless and destitute in their own
Is it not an insult to the Almighty to organise and pray for the
healing of our nation when the perpetrators of the evil do not want to
confess their sins? Please Mai Guti, lead us not into temptation but deliver
us from evil.
Even after the implementation of such policies, it is incumbent
upon the church to denounce them and call the parties involved to repentance
(Inga Jeremiah akatambudzikira kutaura chokwadi wani, Eriah akatandaniswa
The question still stands, has the church denounced the
government for its wrongs before being married into this relationship?
Church leaders should not entertain, dine and wine with evil for
their gain at the expense and in the name of the Lord God. They should
emulate prophets of the Old Testament in standing and advocating for
The church should be bold enough to denounce the government for
its evil dealings as Nathan denounced King David for killing Urriah for
Bathsheba (2 Sam 12 vs 7-9 and John the Baptist spoke against Herod for
unlawfully taking the wife of his brother Philip (Matt 14 vs 1-11).
We are not saying the church, or leaders in particular, should
not be for nor against the government, but should speak the truth for only
the truth shall set the people free.
Let evil be castigated as evil and good be complemented as good.
As Christians we believe we are Ambassadors of Christ, the light of the
world and sherpherds of justice. What then is the image of Christ we are
portraying to the heathen and the world at large?
By wining and dining with evil as the church is doing, it is
actually perpetuating evil because the only thing necessary for evil to
prosper is for good men to do nothing.
Concerned Zaoga members,
Serves him right
THE melodramatic story of the city of Harare has reached
its peak with the recent suspension of town clerk Nomutsa Chideya.
Ratepayers and workers of the municipality can now heave a
sigh of relief over how the mighty have fallen.
After being supported by the same hand that looked
lethargic over the years, the minister can no longer be a pillion passenger
on Mr Chideya's motorbike of mismanagement.
It is soothing that the town clerk, who until now regarded
himself as an untouchable, has had his fair share of sad moments.
It is not a surprise that the mudslinging at Town House
has reached a crescendo, this time with Chombo's endorsement of the
suspension serving as a post-script to both the commission and council
executive that the honeymoon is over.
The minister has been dithering on what course of action
to take, but finally arrived at it with the help of commission chairperson
Makwavarara should however, be reminded that Mr Chideya is
a survivor, to him this is just deja-vu, since he has been suspended by all
city mayors and commissions from the day he occupied Town House, only to
bounce back courtesy of the same minister.
Authorities may have been impressed by the strength of his
CV as he was previously town clerk of Marondera, where he was also fired.
We can only hope that this time, whatever tricks he might
have in his bag to return to his most prized job have deserted him.
Chideya embodies characteristics of all things that have
gone wrong in the municipality and will not be missed by any progressive
During his tenure of office he has presided over the
collapse of service delivery because of his obsession with luxury vehicles,
our refuse bins went uncollected and raw sewage spilled into the streets
while the CBD was deprived of street lighting.
He cared less for the image of our city. The man deserves
censure of the highest order.
This is the only council with more than five suspended
heads of department enjoying full pay and benefits for more than three years
yet the town clerk would not resolve their issues because he suspects they
know something shady about him. The man has been forced to taste his own
This detour taken by the minister and commission is
soothing and has left us hoping that sanity will be restored at Town House.
How the mighty have fallen!
Show us you have a heart minister
I AM a teacher who bought a stand in Bindura under the
Chipindura Park Housing Scheme in 2000.
The project which belongs to a government minister under
the guise of Manyati Company was supposed to be completed in June 2000.
We were promised by the company that the stands would be
fully serviced with water and sewer connections. Surprisingly, up to now
there has been no development.
If we contact an official at Manyati, we are promised that
they are looking into the matter. Further investigations we have conducted
have revealed that the minister is just collecting money from people without
doing anything on the stands subdivided on his former farm which is assumed
to be under Bindura Municipality.
More than 1 000 people who bought the stands are failing
to build on the stands because of this drawback.
This is probably one of the reasons why Mashonaland
Central is one of the least-developed provinces in the country. If one
complains he is labelled unpatriotic or an MDC member.
As I am write, officials from Manyati are busy collecting
money from unsuspecting clients for Chipindura Phase II Housing Scheme
despite the fact that nothing is going on in Phase I.
We are willing to develop our stands but there is no water
or sewer facilities in place. Manyati must attend to this as a matter of
urgency and at least show that the company has a heart.
Spare the elderly's homes
AS an inmate of a retirement home in Wessex Drive,
Mabelreign, I write in the hope that someone at Zesa might read this letter
and perhaps avoid power cuts for Old People's Homes.
We are cut off for hours at a time, sometimes as much as
three times a day, although mostly twice a day.
Zesa has spent millions of dollars on notices in the
media, advising consumers when to expect cuts, but doesn't stick to its own
One cannot help but wonder why we endure power cuts when
so many street lights are left on during the day.
I plead with Zesa to please attempt to avoid cutting off
power to the homes for the elderly, which is so harassing for them, both
physically and mentally.
A warning to ATM users
THIS is a warning to all ATM users.
I was using the CBZ's Makoni branch ATM machine when I
espied a camera attached to one corner of the ATM above my left shoulder,
pointing directly at the ATM keypads.
I do not remember the CBZ or the RBZ announcing this new
system of technology to the public.
In these days of government paranoia, there's every reason
to believe that the cameras could be taking down customers' personal details
for forwarding to some government agency.
The cameras are not put there for security purposes
because every bank has a security guard close to these ATMS.
It is obvious that the cameras are there to take down what
ATM computers cannot.
I therefore urge ATM users to block their ATM transactions
from the cameras when they enter their Pins.
I have a hunch these cameras are illegal. Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights, please take note of these violations of our privacy.
Heed the Highway Code
IT appears that users of Borrowdale Road are of the
opinion that they have the sole right to proceed when traffic lights are not
With the relentless power cuts being experienced these
days, this has become a frequent occurrence.
May I remind them of the law which states that "traffic on
the road to the right" has right of way.
Inbound traffic on Borrowdale Road always ignore this rule
at the Churchill Avenue intersection.
If there is no outbound traffic on Borrowdale Road as
happened on a recent morning then I, on Churchill Avenue, have the right to
proceed and I will continue to blast my hooter and insist on my right.