US Official Says Situation In Zimbabwe Deteriorating
Keto, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
SAVANNAH, Ga. -(Dow Jones)- A senior U.S.
administration official attending the Group of Eight industrialized nations
summit said the situation in Zimbabwe is deteriorating and said African
leaders need to do more in response.
Earlier this week, the government
of Robert Mugabe, the leader of Zimbabwe, announced that all arable land in
the country will be nationalized and will be distributed to farmers on
99-year leases. A government spokesman said the Zimbabwe's government
couldn't be expected to waste time on issues such as paying for the
The action is just the latest move by Mugabe on the land issue.
Beginning four years ago, Mugabe's government started confiscating
white-owned commercial farmlands, a move that threw the country's economy
into a tailspin.
"Clearly, the situation in Zimbabwe continues to
decline. There needs to be a return to democracy there," the administration
The official said African leaders who are participating in
the New Partnership for Africa's Development, or Nepad, with the U.S. need to
take a stand on Zimbabwe's actions.
"The leadership of Nepad clearly
has a responsibility to help push for and advocate for the people of
Zimbabwe. This announcement on continuing to seize land is obviously going to
further harm the economy, which will have an impact on South Africa," the
"I do think that the leadership in Africa needs to do more
to address the situation in Zimbabwe," the official said.
African Thabo Mbeki is attending the G8 smmit and will likely hear this
Over the past few years, Mbeki has declined to
criticize Mugabe's efforts to seize land on the grounds that it would
alienate Mugabe. However, this stance has frustrated U.S. officials who
believe Mugabe stole recent elections and is in the process of wrecking his
At one point, Zimbabwe was a net exporter of food but
now needs international aid to avoid famine.
(June 9, 12:57 pm PDT) - Robert Mugabe seems
determined that the nation he leads, Zimbabwe, will die a slow-motion
After running the once-prosperous African nation's economy into
the ground, Mugabe has decided to put the finishing touches on its ruin with
a loopy scheme to nationalize all farmland. Private ownership of land will
A scheme to confiscate land from white commercial
farmers, who accounted for most of Zimbabwe's agricultural exports, has now
expanded to confiscate land from everybody. That should make a bad situation
worse, much worse. Once a food exporter, Zimbabwe now grows only half the
food it needs. Now it is unlikely to grow even that.
Mugabe's dictatorial mismanagement and goofy socialist schemes, Zimbabwe's
once-vital mining and manufacturing sectors are moribund, unemployment is
rampant, foreign investment and aid nil and its currency virtually
In confiscating white-owned land, Mugabe turned over the best
of it to his cronies, who have proved incapable of farming it, and the rest
to small farmers who are unable to farm it because they cannot afford to buy
seed, fertilizer, fuel and farm machinery. And without clear title to their
land, they are unable to borrow.
The latest scheme, which envisions no
compensation for land nationalized, calls for the farmers to be issued
99-year leases, which the government feels will be collateral enough for
lenders. This dismissal of the rights of private property ensures that
Zimbabwe's entrepreneurs will be unable to raise capital.
But even if
lenders trusted the Mugabe government, which they don't, "The banks aren't
going to lend to an individual against a lease that belongs to the state," a
local economist told the Associated Press. "It doesn't work that way. You
can't borrow on the strength of something you don't own."
government's explanation for the economic disaster is a plot by the white
nations to restore colonialism. That argument was bogus when it was first
made and is laughable now. If anything, Mugabe has probably made colonialism
seem a desirable alternative to his people.
There are precedents for
land-nationalization schemes like Mugabe's. In 1932-33, the Soviet Union
forcibly collectivized its agricultural sector; 7 million died from
starvation in Ukraine alone. From 1958-62, China's farmers were forced into
the Great Leap Forward that left an estimated 30 million dead from
Sadly, something like that may be the fate of Zimbabwe if
The Zimbabwe government's apparent decision to
nationalise all farmland, plus private game parks, will take that unfortunate
country's economy from a steep decline to a perpendicular nosedive. It is as
if the economy, already wrecked, is to be deliberately atomised. It is the
folly of an economic Pol Pot.
While it is not entirely clear
whether the nationalisation will apply eventually to business and private
residential property as well, Zimbabwe's economy - what remains of it - is
essentially agriculture-based. Nationalisation would be enough to kill it
It is impossible for an economy to thrive without
private ownership, which stimulates initiative and provides collateral for
the raising of development capital. At the same time it provides the owner of
agricultural land with every incentive to conserve it. Without collateral,
commercial farming operations are impossible, no matter who is in
Experiments worldwide with the nationalisation of
agricultural land have been dismal failures, notably in the former Soviet
Union. The failure was inevitable simply because nationalisation negated the
fundamental laws of economics.
In Zimbabwe, agriculture had been
significantly complemented by tourism. Nationalisation of the private game
parks would destroy that industry also, at the same time reneging on
investment guarantee agreements with several foreign
Mugabe appears set on installing some sort of
primitive socialism, a defiant North Korea of Africa. He is a growing threat
to the stability of the region and to the credibility of Nepad.
Current levels of productivity not sustainable to business -
Business Reporter INDUSTRIALISTS have called for action to be
taken in order to arrest declining levels of labour productivity caused by
different social and economic factors.
"The current levels of
productivity are too low and cannot sustain business," PG group marketing
director Mr Manase Bara said when he addressed a business gathering in Harare
"People argue that a family of six needs at least $1 million
to survive in a month.
"What they do not take into account is how much
that same family produces for the country's economy in the same month," he
Factors that have been blamed for the low productivity include the
HIV/Aids crisis, which has hit the Sub-Saharan African region very hard, and
the brain drain affecting Zimbabwe.
A recent report by ActionAid
International showed that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of southern
African countries has dropped by 2,6 percent because of
"There is a direct link between HIV/Aids prevalence and the
drop in food production in the region," the head of ActionAid's Southern
Africa's partnership programme, Caroline Sand-Mukulira, said.
another survey by ActionAid, it was discovered that between 1995 and 2001,
most Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries recorded a
decline in their Human Development Index (HDI).
HDI is a standard means
of measuring human well-being especially child welfare which includes poverty
levels, life expectancy, literacy and dependency ratios
expectancy in almost the entire region, except Mauritius and the Seychelles,
is now below 51 years while in Zambia it is as low as 33,4 years.
issue of brain drain is also very critical with an estimated three million
Zimbabweans now said to be in the diaspora.
"We have lost critical skills
to the very same countries we have lost market share to.
has lost valuable skills which need to be replaced," Mr Bara said.
comments on productivity come at a time when the annual collective bargaining
process for salary adjustments is beginning.
Less than half of the
National Employment Council (NEC) are reported to have reached agreements
with their employees so far.
Thirteen out of 45 NECs have so far reached
common ground with their employers.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions has set $864 000 as the minimum wage acceptable.
pressure is also contributing to the slow progress in wage negotiation, as
huge hikes are likely to worsen the pressure being felt by the
The Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, Mr
Paul Mangwana, has, in the past, pointed out that it is the huge perks and
salaries that management and executives award themselves that lead to workers
making huge salary demands.
S. African President presses need to resolve crises in
Zimbabwe, Sudan (AFP)
10 June 2004
WASHINGTON - Ahead
of talks with G8 leaders, South African President Thabo Mbeki called
Wednesday for greater urgency in resolving two of the most pressing crises in
the African continent-in Zimbabwe and Sudan.
He lamented that formal
talks between Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai had not started despite prolonged informal negotiations to resolve
the nation's political and economic crisis.
Mbeki said time was also
running out in Sudan's crisis-stricken western Darfur region, where there was
an urgent need to rush in humanitarian aid to about one million displaced
people before the rainy season sets in.
The two issues were expected to
be among a host of subjects to be discussed by leaders of the the Group of
Eight industrialized nations of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
Japan, Russia and the United States and six African leaders on
The meeting with the leaders Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal,
South Africa and Uganda will be at the Sea Island resort off the southern US
state of Georgia.
This is the third time the G8 leaders are meeting
their African counterparts to help them overcome their problems.
at a political forum in Washington to comment on the crisis in neighbouring
Zimbabwe, Mbeki said he felt that Mugabe and Tsvangirai had not been moving
quickly enough to set aside their differences and tackle the massive crisis
gripping their country.
"In my view, they are moving too slowly," said
Mbeki, among those involved in mediating Zimbabwe's crisis. "That's my
Amid the prolonged political crisis, Zimbabweans, 70 percent of
whom are said to live in poverty, are reeling under severe hardships with
runaway inflation, high unemployment and critical shortages of food, medicine
Mugabe has come under increased isolation including
sanctions from the United States, Britain and the EU for alleged human rights
abuses and undemocratic practices.
His government unveiled plans this
week to cancel titles to all productive land and replace them with 99-year
leases under a massive nationalization scheme-an extension of Zimbabwe's
highly controversial land reform program that has seen the seizure of
white-owned farms and their handover to blacks.
Mbeki said the
deteriorating situation in Sudan needed the urgent attention of G8 leaders,
particularly in providing humanitarian aid to some one million people
displaced by the 15-month conflict in Darfur.
Mbeki said that South
Africa had sent military observers to help in resolving the conflict there so
that the displaced could receive food supplies.
"It is important to
respond very quickly ... Once rain comes in the underdeveloped area, the
people will become inaccessible," he warned.
Aid workers charge that
Khartoum has hampered access to displaced people in Darfur, slowed the
delivery of relief supplies and militarily backed Janjawid Arab militiamen
who have staged murderous raids on villagers and are widely accused of
At least 10,000 people have died and 130,000 others fled
across the border into Chad since rebels launched an uprising in Darfur in
February 2003 and were met with fierce retaliation by government and Janjawid
The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono is due
in Britain this week on a fundraising tour for Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF regime
(Report, June 7). Nearly 100 individuals closely associated with the
Zimbabwean regime are already prevented from travelling within the EU and
their personal assets are frozen. Gideon Gono's visit underlines the need to
keep the list of names on the travel ban under constant review. He is a
powerful lieutenant of Mugabe, charged with raising the hard currency needed
by the regime to sustain its system of patronage and corruption. We have
both made undercover visits to Zimbabwe in the past 12 months and observed
the all-pervading fear that stalks the country and witnessed the wanton
destruction of its human and natural resources. The UK aid budget
is stretched providing food to a nation whose agricultural production has
been cynically destroyed under the economic and agricultural policies adopted
to keep a brutal tyranny in power. We are outraged Gono has been granted a
visa and call upon the government to withdraw permission for his
visit. Kate Hoey MP John Bercow MP
By renationalising land (Mugabe
to seize all farm land, June 9), Mugabe has only returned to the colonial
system. Before independence in 1980, all land was leasehold, so the colonial
authorities could take it back from white settlers who did not use it
well. Joseph Hanlon London
Govt taps into remittances to ease forex shortages
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Jun 2004 (IRIN) - Recent measures by Zimbabwe to attract much-needed foreign
currency has paid off, as the central bank announced earnings this week of
Zim $520 billion (about US $100 million), mainly from remittances sent by
Zimbabweans living abroad.
Since the registration of 11 money transfer
agencies (MTAs) five weeks ago, thousands of Zimbabweans, both locals and
those in the diaspora, have flocked to convert their foreign
"There is an improvement in foreign currency inflows into the
country since the implementation of the new policy allowing citizens to use
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe [RBZ] accredited money transfer agencies and the
adoption of currency auction floor exchange rates," the RBZ said in a
Zimbabwe has faced foreign currency shortages as a result of
its poor export performance and withdrawal of financial support by Western
donors and some international financial institutions.
The move to
harness foreign currency from Zimbabweans living overseas, dubbed "Homelink",
was a direct response from the government to undercut the parallel market
which until now had reaped the bulk of inflows.
The RBZ realised that the
3.4 million Zimbabweans living overseas were sending home significant amounts
of hard currency. But, given the unfavourable rates at which foreign exchange
was traded officially, hardly any of this money arrived through conventional
Under the Homelink scheme, Zimbabweans in the diaspora
are offered a special exchange rate to entice them away from the parallel
"As an incentive for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to send money
home, the central bank has waived the charging of commissions by money
transfer agencies," RBZ governor Gideon Gono said in a recent monetary policy
review. "This means that for all foreign currency remittances made through
this facility, beneficiaries in Zimbabwe will be paid the full amounts
converted at the ruling auction rate or at the diaspora floor price of Zim
$5,200/US dollar, which ever is higher," he explained.
also decide between getting the money in foreign or its local currency
Prior to the liberalisation, and faced with extreme foreign
currency shortages, the authorities had imposed strict controls to govern
the importation and use of foreign currency, and instructed all banks to
demand proof of its origin.
But earlier this year, the RBZ set up a
team of financial experts to explore more creative ways of tapping into the
foreign currency earnings of Zimbabweans abroad.
It relaxed its
stringent rules and directed all banks to stop asking questions about the
origin of the foreign currency.
In a controversial move last week, Gono
even encouraged Zimbabweans to seek employment abroad.
foreign currency reserves will improve significantly if more people went to
work abroad. The exportation of labour has helped many countries in earning
foreign currency as citizens use official channels to send money back to
their families at home. I encourage Zimbabweans to seek jobs outside the
country," he said.
But Gono's suggestion has come under fire. The
independent press was filled with letters questioning why the government
wanted to enlist the help of expatriates to resolve an economic crisis
critics accused the government of creating.
Homelink were held in the United Kingdom and the United States where RBZ
marketing teams were heckled and labelled as fundraisers for the
Zimbabwe's economic, and for some, political crisis, has
fuelled the exodus of young men and women looking for better opportunities
Tourism Authority said on Monday it was working with relevant ministries and
training institutions around the country to start training people in Chinese
ZTA marketing and communications director Givemore Chidzidzi
said that the move was intended to ensure the country had as many local
mandarin speakers as possible, in expectation of an increased inflow of
Chinese tourists after the Asian country granted Zimbabwe the Approved
Destination Status (ADS) last year.
Already, the number of Chinese
tourists to Zimbabwe has increased since the ADS deal was sealed, recording
the highest growth in the first quarter of the year.
"We are working
with the Ministries of Higher and Tertiary Education, Environment and Tourism
and various training institutions to make sure that we have local people
trained to speak Chinese," he said.
He said the governments of China and
Zimbabwe had also reached an agreement for the training of people not only in
the mandarin language, but also in other special areas related to Chinese
tourism. He said ZTA was inviting mandarin speakers to register with it so
that they could provide their services as and when required.
trying to create a database of people in the country who can speak Chinese,
who will possibly be required by players in the tourism industry as and when
they need them. We want this to be a quick win for our industry as we prepare
for the ADS with China," he said.
Chidzidzi said ZTA had already secured
people for Chinese translation, contrary to media reports that it had failed
in its earlier attempt to attract mandarin speakers.
tourism industry has suffered badly in recent years from a relentless
negative media campaign in Europe, the country's former key source market for
tourists in opposition to the Government.
But it has began to pick up
again, after the failure of the campaign to dislodge the Government, and
ZTA's moves to reach out to Asia and other non-traditional tourist source
markets for Zimbabwe.
China presents a huge alternative tourism market to
Europe and North America for the country, hence, stepped up efforts by ZTA
and other local Government and private agencies to tap into it.
include plans by national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, to open a direct flight to
China and other Asian markets, such as Bangkok. - New Ziana.
Reporter POLICE have launched a major operation against violent criminal
syndicates, committing substantial manpower from several branches,
providing high-powered police cars and using a helicopter of the Air Force of
Zimbabwe for aerial surveillance.
Police spokesperson Superin-tendent
Oliver Mandipaka said adequate human and material resources had been provided
for "Operation Hokoyo (Beware)".
"We are fully committed to bringing to
book perpetrators of these heinous crimes and break through these criminal
syndicates," he said.
Supt Mandipaka said the main operation would be in
Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru and other cities and small towns.
have made provision of adequate human and material resources for
the operation to the extent that our sister department, the Air Force
of Zimbabwe, has assisted us with a helicopter for aerial surveillance.
There is also inter-agency liaison with other stakeholders."
Mandipaka said high-powered police patrol vehicles would track down notorious
criminals who might want to escape using getaway vehicles.
police units have been co-opted into this operation - that is police
detectives, Support Unit, Special Tactics Unit and officers from the Police
Internal Security Intelligence," said Supt Mandipaka.
He urged members of
the public to supply the police with information leading to the arrest of
"Carjackers, murderers and robbers are not suitable
neighbours in our communities and so we call upon all law-abiding citizens to
expose them either openly or anonymously," he said.
At least 171
vehicles worth $16 554 200 000 were stolen countrywide between January and
June 8 this year, with Harare and Bulawayo having the highest numbers of
Most of the vehicles, which include latest four-wheel
drives and luxury cars among others, were stolen at gunpoint.
the vehicles are believed to have been smuggled outside the country through
Mozambique to Malawi, where there are ready markets.
Apart from Operation
Hokoyo, police have launched other operations and increased their patrols to
curb criminal activities in the city centre.
Detectives from the Criminal
Investigation Department, the police cycle patrol unit and Crime Prevention
Unit officers have so far managed to reduce crime by carrying out patrols in
and around the city.
Supt Mandipaka said the police would also target
motorists who violate traffic regulations, such as driving while drunk,
speeding, using unroadworthy vehicles and driving through a red
He warned those still using Peugeot 404s as taxis that they risk
impoundment of their vehicles.
"In terms of our laws, these types of
vehicles have since been phased out but we still find some operators carrying
commuters in these vehicles, the majority of which are defective," said Supt
He said the vehicles were still being used in places like
Machipisa, Glen Norah, Makoni, Westgate and Chitungwiza.
Hokoyo comes after several people --- including prominent businesspeople and
policemen --- have been shot and killed by armed robbers.
Last month, the
chief executive officer of Trojan Nickel Mine, Mr Leonard Chimimba, was shot
and killed by armed robbers in a failed attempt to steal his vehicle, a
Toyota Land Cruiser.
Mr Chimimba was found lying in a pool of blood next
to his vehicle after he was shot in the head outside the gate of his
Liberation war hero Cde Gerald Chitsongo was shot and
killed by armed robbers in another abortive attempt to steal his vehicle, a
Toyota Land Cruiser, in Eastlea last year.
Cde Chitsongo was shot
through the cheek after the suspects, who had a getaway vehicle, ordered him
to get out of the vehicle when he was parking at Northampton Court in the
suburb last September.
Last month, two policemen were shot and killed by
armed robbers in Mukumbura.
The two were shot at a roadblock near
Mukumbura Border Post as they tried to arrest two suspected carjackers who
had abandoned a vehicle believed to have been stolen.