The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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      $41bln for water project

      Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief
      6/19/03 2:16:35 AM (GMT +2)

      AN East Asian financial institution will within a fortnight put a
fresh heart into the on-off Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project with an
injection of US$50 million (Z$41.2 billion at the ruling exchange rate) to
bank-roll the piping of water from the Zambezi River and the construction of
the Gwayi-Shangani Dam both of which have been on the cards for decades.

      Officials from the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) and
Zimbabwe-Malaysia Holdings (ZimMal) on Tuesday confirmed this development.

      They said the loan facility for the long-stalled project would be
extended by the Export-Import Bank of Malaysia to Mount-Hope Services
(Private) Limited, a company specifically formed and registered by the MZWT
and (ZimMal) to drive the project. Documents seen by this newspaper show
that Mount-Hope Services was registered on January 23 2003 to clear hurdles
for the partners in the project to secure international funding.

      Dumiso Dabengwa, the chairman of the MZWT board, confirmed to this
newspaper on Tuesday that they were in the cusp of sealing the deal with the
Malaysian government-owned Export-Import Bank.

      He was reluctant to peel the entire wrapping shrouding the loan
facility, but however indicated that it was agreed that the funds should be
released before the end of this month.

      The project, whose capital burden could not be ascertained this week,
has failed to take off despite being on the government’s development agenda
for years.

      Previously, it has been throttled by red-tape and political bickering,
among other things. There has always been niggling disappointment at the
failure of the project to take off early, sparking a political storm as
Zimbabwe’s feuding politicians traded accusations and counter-accusations.

      Leading politicians, including those from within the ranks of the
ruling ZANU PF from Matabeleland are known to have openly accused the
government of deliberating under-developing Matabeleland and the delayed
implementation of the on-off project seemed to give credence to their claims
and casting fresh doubts over the government’s commitment to the project.

      Over the years government has done nothing to assuage the general
perception that the Matabeleland Water Project usually looms large on the
agenda mostly during election time only as a vote-catching gimmick.

      Sources close to the deal with the Export-Import Bank of Malaysia on
Tuesday said that all the necessary papers to facilitate the swift release
of the funds had been signed, adding that only minor details, which they
could not specify, were still outstanding.

      Efforts to reactivate the project come at a time when Zimbabwe has
been bruised by negative publicity and dented international credibility,
making it very difficult for the country to mobilise funds from other
sources for the project.

      All Dabengwa, a former Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra)
supremo could say was that the project had already kicked off at the
Gwayi-Shangani Dam site with the project managers in attendance.

      A Chinese firm, Chinese Electrical Machinery and Equipment, has since
been contracted to construct the dam, the first phase of the ambitious
project first mooted in 1912 but has been on ice since then with successive
governments citing the huge costs involved in its implementation as a

      "We are tying up certain loose ends but I think we are already there,"
Dabengwa, who is also a former minister of home affairs, said in an
interview at the MZWT premises. "It is just a matter of time before we make
an official announcement about the US$50 million from the overseas financial

      "The money is there, it’s just a matter of time before its is
released," said Dabengwa, who could hardly conceal his glee.

      An unspecified tonnage of cement is understood to have been procured
from a local cement producer and was understood be on its way to the dam
site, about 300 kilometres from Bulawayo.

      Dabengwa disclosed that work already underway at the dam site was
being bankrolled from the Z$500 million allocated the water project by the
government in its budget estimates for the year 2003.

      He said when the US$50 million is finally released by the end of this
month, construction at the dam site would have reached certain development

      "Project managers are on site as we speak. There is activity out
there. We are utilising the money allocated to the project by the government
in the current budget. We want to make progress while we await the release
of the funds by the Malaysian bank which should not take much time," said
Dabengwa. "That money from Import-Export Bank of Malaysian must find us

      The implementation of the project is envisaged to turn the dry areas
along the 450-kilometre route of the pipeline to Bulawayo into a green belt,
lighting the fuse for an industrial revolution in the region.
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      Govt in U-turn over licence withdrawals

      Hama Saburi Deputy Editor-in-Chief
      6/19/03 2:22:47 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is backing off from ill-conceived and
politically-motivated plans to withdraw licences from companies that took
part in the five-day mass protest organised early this month by the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), but is now instead mulling tough laws that
would compel employers to dismiss workers who join mass stayaways.

      Reliable sources said the government’s volte-face came after strong
representations from industry and commerce who argued that instead of
government cracking the whip on the companies it had to seek ways to soothe
business fears, reactivate the stricken economy and reverse the current
economic melt-down.

      They managed to wring concessions from the government, already under
immense external pressure for using heavy-handed tactics to quell mass
protests. The government is said to have softened its stance this week
fearing that it could cripple fragile relations with business by withdrawing
licences from companies suspected of collaborating with the main opposition

      Harmonious links between business and government is seen as vital to
the success of the National Economic Recovery Programme (NERP) adopted in
the first quarter of the year to put the once-robust Zimbabwean economy back
on the rails.

      Government sources said the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade had been warned against doing anything that worsens an already
negative investor perception, at a time when the convulsions being suffered
by the Zimbabwean economy are reportedly having a ripple effect on the
economies of neighbouring countries.

      There was also concern that actions that seem to militate against the
ownership of private capital could confirm Zimbabwe as a lawless state and
add weight to overtures that the southern African country should be

      Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Industry, was quoted in the local
press last week saying six companies were on the verge of having their
licences withdrawn after failing to convince the ministry on why they closed
shop during the five days. The minister and leading hawks in the government,
ahead of the mass action, issued stern warnings against companies that would
participate in the mass stayaway.

      Government’s threats came as it emerged that a number of top
politicians, known to have been beneficiaries of influence-peddling in the
past, were lining themselves up to take over companies aligned to the
opposition party.

      Mumbengegwi could not be contacted for comment as he was said to be in
Mauritius. He is expected back on Monday. Kenneth Manyonda, Mumbengegwi’s
deputy, skirted the issue yesterday saying it was still premature to discuss

      Manyonda said: "If we don’t get sufficient and convincing evidence, it
would be stupid to take any action, except to give stern warning."

      He said further investigations would be required to ensure his
ministry does not plunge itself into trouble.

      "The problem is that we are working on what we hear and when you take
action, you should remove any element of doubt. We have to be responsible
with what we do in the end. We want to remove the margin of error," said the
former governor of Manicaland.

      Manyonda said the government was considering making it mandatory for
employers to dismiss employees who shun work in pursuit of "political

      "We are working with the Ministry of Labour to effect this," he said.

      Jim Sanders, president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce,
said his organisation had not received complaints from its membership of
about 1 600 companies on the threats by the ministry.

      However, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) would
circulate a statement deploring the victimisation of companies.

      Legal experts said there were legal issues that make it difficult for
government to withdraw licences.
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      OMA bank's $15 mln still missing

      Zhean Gwaze Staff Reporter
      6/19/03 2:28:25 AM (GMT +2)

      MYSTERY surrounds the fate of over $15 million raised as share capital
five years ago by members of 15 women’s groups in the country to launch a
women’s bank, it was learnt this week.

      Investigations by The Financial Gazette established that some members
driving the OMA bank project have since deserted the project, whilst those
remaining are offering conflicting statements on how the funds are being

      The project, launched in 1996, was a brainchild of the ruling ZANU PF
Women’s League and was meant to empower women financially through the
establishment of the commercial OMA bank, which was supposed to open its
doors to the public in August 1999.

      It had more than 30 000 women members from all walks of life who
contributed at the Post Office Savings Bank(POSB).

      OMA is an acronym that represents the Ndebele and Shona words for

      OMA bank chairperson Violet Madzimbamuto refused to comment, citing
ill health while Monica Mudamburi, one of the leaders of one women’s group
confirmed that members have not yet been given back their contributions.

      "I am not aware of anyone who has been refunded nor can I confirm when
they will receive their money but for more information you can phone the
chairperson," Mudamburi said.

      Last year OMA bank officials said that all the 15 non-governmental
organisations were to convene a meeting and sign an affidavit before the
women’s accounts would be dissolved and money refunded with interest.

      However, one of the main backers of the project Nyasha Chikwinya said
her organisation (Women’s Multi-Million Dollar Round Table) had withdrawn
their funds long before because the project had too much political

      "As an organisation we withdrew our money because we realised the
perks were not attractive as the project had been put at a national level by
some politicians. However some members remained but unfortunately could not
raise the deposit to open the bank," said Chikwinya.

      OMA coordinator Gloria Mukombachoto has severed ties with the
organisation and is now based in South Africa.

      ZANU PF Women’s League head Thenjiwe Lesabe refused to comment on the
matter and through her secretary referred all questions to Madzimbamuto.

      The women were required to raise $50 million to acquire an operating
licence from the Ministry of Finance’s registrar of banks, but by May 1997
they had only managed to contribute $15 million.

      They would now be required to pay $500 million to get a banking

      An investigation by the Financial Gazette also revealed that several
members of OMA throughout the country were making frantic efforts to
withdraw their money from POSB, but to no avail because the bank had no
account with them and individual accounts still had an instruction not to be

      Officials from the POSB confirmed that several members of OMA were
making inquiries about the fate of their contributions but the POSB could
not assist them because POSB was instructed to maintain the account for one
year, after which it would be transferred to OMA bank.

      "We have several inquiries about the OMA funds but we can not assist
the members because their accounts can not to be withdrawn and OMA has no
account with us and nothing new has been communicated to us," the official

      Members were entitled to deposit a minimum of $840 a year or $70 per
month, of which $240 was being kept in a special fund to be used by women
facing hardships.

      However, some of the members who spoke to this paper on condition of
anonymity said they had spoken to the OMA chairperson who had told them that
they were only dealing with the matter through the women’s organisations.

      Among the contributors to the OMA account were President Robert Mugabe
who pledged $50 000 as a minority shareholder during the launch of the
project and Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe’s managing director Gideon Gono who
pledged $5 000 to support the establishment of the secretariat, which was
never set up.

      Similar women’s banks operate in South Africa, Bangladesh, Kenya and

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      ZNCC faces eviction

      Staff Reporter
      6/19/03 2:31:37 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), the largest
commercial representative body locally, will be served with an eviction
notice from its Harare offices for failing to pay rentals for the past two

      Officials at ZNCC were this week in consultations to find ways of
raising $2 million owed in rentals and save the chamber from the looming

      The owner of the premises, Sunnyvale Investments (Private) Limited,
represented by Gill, Godlonton & Gerrans legal practitioners, advised ZNCC
this week that their client would soon proceed to serve the eviction papers.

      In a letter dated June 16, 2003, lawyers representing Sunnyvale
Investments wrote to ZNCC president, Jim Sanders saying Sunnyvale
Investments will also claim damages arising from the chamber’s occupation of
the premises.

      "This letter is to advise you that in due course our client will
institute a separate action to recover holding over damages which we are
instructed is the amount of $1 000 000,00 per month for your continued
occupation of its premises being stand 812 and 813 Salisbury Township.

      "Please be guided accordingly," read part of the letter.

      The latest turn of events mark another twist in a series of events at

      A ZNCC investigative team led by Mary Chidimu is currently
investigating circumstances leading to the sale of the building.

      It is alleged that the Italian government had offered to help ZNCC
acquire the building but later withdrew its offer fearing backlash from
other European countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

      The ZNCC was therefore, unable to proceed with the acquisition.

      The ZNCC president is said to have proceeded to facilitate the
purchase of the building without the chamber’s approval.

      A meeting was held on Friday last week to discuss the investigative
team’s findings. The findings will be tabled at another meeting scheduled
for Friday this week at a local hotel.

      A source at ZNCC said: "The eviction tarnishes the image of the
organisation. We are fighting with the government to put its house in order
and yet we are having our own internal problems, which we are failing to

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      ABC joins corporate exodus to SA

      Staff Reporter
      6/19/03 2:32:53 AM (GMT +2)

      REGIONAL financial services giant, African Banking Corporation (ABC),
has joined the growing band of companies relocating critical operations due
to the deteriorating local economic environment after it recently shuttled
its group management team to Johannesburg, South Africa.

      ABC managing director Francis Dzanya confirmed the development this
week but hastened to say that this did not mean the institution was
abandoning its Zimbabwean business.

      "Yes, our group management has since moved to our Johannesburg offices
in line with the strategic initiatives announced by the board to our
shareholders when we released our results.

      "This does not mean ABC is leaving, because we still run operations
here," Dzanya said.

      Dzanya now heads a new management team selected to run the local
operations, whose importance within the group will no doubt be attenuated by
the relocation as well as the diminishing contributions to total earnings.

      The Zimbabwean operation’s contribution to group net profit has
plummeted from 82 percent in 2001 to 50 percent in 2002, with projections of
a further decline this year due to the worsening domestic economy.

      The relocation of ABC’s group management comes hot on the heels of a
similar move by the Anglo American Corporation of Zimbabwe, which has
drastically cut fat and redeployed chief executive officer Godfrey Gomwe
across the Limpopo from where he is running the local operations as chief
strategy officer.

      Privatisation success story Cotton Company of Zimbabwe was reported to
have been considering relocating to Mauritius, although company directors
strenuously denied the move following reservations expressed by the
government, the erstwhile controlling shareholder.

      Dzanya said there was nothing sinister about moves by ABC to shift its
critical staff to South Africa, saying this was in keeping with the banking
behemoth’s vision and expansion into a truly pan African institution.

      He said the group sought to coordinate its expansion programme in
Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia from the South African office.

      "There is also the logistical factor and Johannesburg offers the best
location to manage challenges associated with running a group of ABC’s size.

      "We are also gearing at servicing the South African corporates engaged
in cross-border trade."

      Dzanya said it had always been realised from the group’s inception
that all the group’s operations could not be co-ordinated from Botswana,
where ABC is incorporated.

      The firm is dual-listed on the Botswana and Zimbabwe stock exchanges
and apart from these countries, has operations in Mozambique, Tanzania,
South Africa and Zambia.

      Plans are also underway to break into the Angolan, Ugandan and Kenyan

      Zimbabwe still maintains a strong presence on the cosmopolitan ABC
board chaired by Swiss Rudolph Hug, through deputy chairman Oliver Chidawu
and group chief executive Douglas Munatsi.

      Meanwhile, ABC has sealed the part acquisition of a United
Kingdom-based financial services firm for a cash consideration of about US$2
million ($1.648 billion).

      Managing director Dzanya, told The Financial Gazette that the rapidly
expanding banking institution now had a controlling 63 percent stake in the
UK entity.

      "We have acquired a debt capital market boutique in the United
Kingdom. The deal has been finalised and ABC has a 63 percent shareholding
in the firm.

      "It has since been renamed Iroko Securities," Dzanya revealed.

      The firm is expected to enhance ABC’s ability to issue and trade debt
instruments across the African continent.

      Since inception, ABC has gone on an aggressive expansion programme
punctuated by strategic acquisitions, the most recent being in Botswana and
Mozambique, where the group took total control of BNP Nedbank SARL, which
has since been rebranded as African Banking Corporation SARL. The deal was
pegged at US$4.5 million.

      An analyst with a local stockbroking firm said the conclusion of the
deal, which ABC directors had hinted would be concluded in the first
quarter, further enhances the counter’s lure as a foreign currency earner.

      "Although we do not know the market share the new entity commands in
the UK, it is a fair assumption that it is likely to make significant
contributions to earnings in the current financial year, as the group’s
earnings from outside operations continue to grow towards critical mass and
provide a hedge against the uncertainty in the Zimbabwe operating
environment," the analyst said.
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      ZANU PF-MDC dialogue only way out

      Cyril Zenda Staff Reporter
      6/19/03 2:39:21 AM (GMT +2)

      WITH prospects of an end to the current political impasse between Zanu
PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) getting slim by the day,
analysts were adamant this week that unconditional dialogue would be the
only way out of the present stand-off.

     The failure by the MDC-organised "final push" to force President
Robert Mugabe to step down from power and the disarray in opinions simmering
in the opposition camp has added weight to calls for continued dialogue.

      Analysts said after more than a year of tag-of-war between President
Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the MDC, it was time for the two parties to stop
playing games and put the plight of the people before their own individual

      "The way forward lies in unconditional dialogue between Zanu PF and
MDC," said David Chimhini, director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust.

      The trust is a civic body involved in building civic awareness in

      "There should be genuine political desire from both parties to find a
solution to this problem in order for this dialogue to work, but there is no
seriousness from both the Zanu PF and MDC in trying to solve this crisis at
all," Chimhini said.

      Since Mugabe’s controversial re-election in March last year, tension
has been building up between his Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, which
is challenging his re-election in court.

      Tension peaked this month when Tsvangirai unsuccessfully called for
nation-wide mass protest to force Mugabe to hand over power.

      The protest, whose outcome is still widely debated, earned Tsvangirai
fresh treason charges.

      Tsvangirai and two other senior MDC members are standing trial on
allegations of plotting to assassinate President Mugabe.

      Outside the courts, President Mugabe and Tsvangirai, have cast
concrete walls between them that have made it difficult for Presidents
Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Bakili Muluzi
of Malawi to find answers to the worsening political crisis.

      Mugabe has set conditions that he would engage the opposition in
dialogue only if they recognise him as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe.

      He is also prepared to come to the negotiating table after the
opposition has withdrawn a pending court petition to overturn his
re-election in last year’s disputed presidential ballot.

      Banking on its strength in organising crippling mass protests, the
opposition has in response also taken its own intransigent position, putting
conditions under which it would withdraw the court action before coming to
the negotiating table.

      MDC secretary-general, Welshman Ncube was quoted this week saying his
party was ready to resume unconditional dialogue to resolve the issue of

      Ncube said: "What the MDC seeks is an unconditional dialogue to
address the issue of legitimacy, which is subject to negotiations."

      Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a University of Zimbabwe lecturer and political
analyst said there were exaggerated differences between the two parties.

      The differences seem to boil down to mere personality clashes.

      Dzinotyiwei said politicians on both sides of the political divide
tend to be obsessed more with opposing each other just for the sake of
opposing each other, even where there is no need for such opposition.

      "Now the opposition should take a less militant position because it is
not the best for them," Dzinotyiwei said.

      He however, said ordinary Zimbabweans were not much worried about who
ruled them, but about who is doing more for their welfare.

      "I think there is arrogance on the part of Zanu-PF in its approach to
the whole issue that is why Mugabe is insisting that MDC should recognise
him first, and it should withdraw its court petition before he can talk to
them. I think instead of using brains, Zanu PF is using its muscles, and
that is where the problem is," he said.

      Analysts said in the event that all conditions set by both parties are
removed, it would be unrealistic for any of the parties to start
negotiations with the idea of replacing the current government because the
talks would not go far.

      Instead, the two sides should try as much as they can to make
concessions in order meet midway from where the would solve their

      Chimhini, however, said an unavoidable pre-condition should be the
release of Tsvangirai from prison. Keeping him behind bars, he said, would
portray Zanu PF as negotiating in bad faith.

      If talks, which have repeatedly failed before, proceed now, Zanu PF is
more like to demand an arrangement in which the MDC would be underdogs,
especially now that the opposition is in a checkmate after the failed mass
action, which for years has been its strongest tramp card.

      "This will not help the dialogue very much because in the end, of the
process, no body should be swallowed by the other," Chimhini said.

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      Consortium swoops on Interfresh

      Dumisani Ndlela News Editor
      6/19/03 2:26:44 AM (GMT +2)

      A consortium led by prominent banker, Nigel Chanakira, has taken over
control of the foreign currency-rich Interfresh Limited in a major swoop on
the horticultural concern that has posted a spirited performance despite a
struggling economy.

      Sources said the entry of Chanakira and his team into Interfresh had
turned boardroom tables at the group, with Lysias Sibanda, part of the
consortium, taking over the helm as chairman of the Interfresh board of

      Sources said Chanakira and his team had gone into Interfresh under
cover of Kingdom Nominees Private Limited, and through another investment
vehicle, Garmony Investments Private Limited.

      Members of the Garmony Investments are Lysias Sibanda, the chief
executive officer of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited, where Chanakira is
himself the executive deputy chairman responsible for regional expansion,
Solomon Mugavazi and Frank Kufa. Kufa is a senior official with Kingdom
while Mugavazi is now managing the consortiums investments.

      Kingdom Nominees now own 23.24 percent of Interfresh, representing
over 115 million issued shares. It is the major shareholder followed by
institutional investment giant, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company Zimbabwe
Limited holding an 18.22 percent stake representing just over 90 million

      Garmony Investments, which made its debut into Interfresh recently,
has managed to take-up about six million shares, or 1.19 percent of the
issued shares.

      The shares were recently bought at a premium on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange (ZSE), market sources said.

      The share price for Interfresh stood at $37 per share on Tuesday.

      The entry by Chanakira’s consortium into Interfresh is understood to
be part of the group’s aggressive hunt for promising stocks on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange (ZSE).

      Chanakira could not comment on the issue when contacted by The
Financial Gazette yesterday, referring all questions on the issue to

      Sibanda denied that they had become the majority shareholders in
Interfresh, saying the group’s ownership was "widely held"

      "We’re just ordinary shareholders," Sibanda said, adding: "We’re in
through our own vehicles."

      Interfresh, an industrial horticultural group, was founded in 1953 and
listed on the ZSE in 1997. It is involved in the processing, production and
marketing of horticultural produce and food products both locally and

      Before Kingdom Nominees’s entry into Interfresh, Old Mutual was the
major shareholder with a 21.94 percent stake.

      The company has eight subsidiaries, which are operating efficiently
and effectively as strategic business units.

      They are Mazoe Flowers, Interspan, Mazoe Citrus Estates, Marlon
Trading, Wholesale Fruiters, Interfreight, Intercrop and Interfoods
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      Black tycoons take ZSE by storm

      Nelson Banya Staff Reporter
      6/19/03 2:42:21 AM (GMT +2)

      THE emergence of indigenous consortia leading takeovers of firms in
vital sectors of the economy has taken the high-performing Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange (ZSE) by storm.

      Financial behemoth Old Mutual Plc’s stranglehold on the local economy
through ownership of significant stakes in listed companies has been
progressively whittled down by the emergence of a crop of aggressive
indigenous acquisition barons in the past two years.

      Gone are the days of black-owned businesses being synonymous with
backyard enterprises and general dealer shops.

      Away from the controversy that has dogged the country’s agrarian
reform, a silent revolution has been taking place in the country’s corporate

      Apart from the vibrant financial services sector, where locals have
long asserted their dominance, key industrial firms have now become targets
for indigenous investors with an eye for quality scrip.

      The past two years alone have seen a number of significant takeovers
of TSL Limited, Zimsun, Tedco, Bindura, and Lobels, while Circle Cement
Limited, National Foods, Interfresh and Innscor Africa now have significant
indigenous shareholding.

      Young business executive Simba Mangwende now holds fort at furniture
manufacturer and clothing retailer Tedco, having acquired a 35 percent stake
as the Dorward family eased out of their empire.

      Takepart Investments, led by Amalgamated Motor Company chief and
parliamentarian Ray Kaukonde has been in the news recently, having bought
into Natfoods and Innscor Africa.

      Closefin Investments, which is also linked to Kaukonde, beat the
Cotton Company to acquire 31 percent of TSL and now shares the biggest chunk
with erstwhile controlling shareholder, Corner Properties, in one of the
most significant transactions in recent times if the industrial conglomerate
’s balance sheet size and range of assets is anything to go by.

      TSL owns one of the country’s biggest tobacco auctioneers, Tobacco
Sales Floor, Chemco Holdings, Hunyani and is associated with car rental
company Avis and the Tetrad Group.

      Acquisition baron Oliver Chidawu, who sits on several boards of
ZSE-listed entities who also lords it over agricultural implements
manufacturer Zimplow, led Mwana Africa in acquiring a 52.7 percent stake in
mining giant Bindura as Anglo American Corporation cut fat to focus on

      Herbert Nkala, Livingstone Gwata and Anthony Mandiwanza, with proven
business acumen, teamed up under investment vehicle Ceuvost to land
bread-making giant Lobel’s from the Lobel family.

      Controversial indigenisation proponent and legislator Phillip
Chiyangwa recently acquired Old Mutual’s 16 percent stake in Circle Cement
to become the second largest shareholder after the Associated International
Cement Company.

      The doyen of the acquisitive culture, Mutumwa Mawere, who presides
over an empire, does not seem to have sated his appetite for sitting ducks
following his watershed takeover of the Associated African Mines of Zimbabwe
in the mid-1990s.

      Since then, his African Resources Limited (ARL) or its associate,
Ukubambana Kubatana Investments (UKI), have manoeuvred, and where necessary,
muscled their way into many a firm.

      Turnall Fibre Cement, General Beltings, Steelnet, Zimre Holdings group
and its associates, Nicoz Diamond and the soon-to-be listed Fidelity Life
Assurance Company are some of the firms with an ARL or UKI connection.

      Openings still exist for indigenous participation in the mining
sector, which is slowly emerging from a three-year slump, thanks to platinum
and firming bullion prices on the international metals market.

      South African mogul Mzi Khumalo has recently taken Mthuli Ncube, John
Mkushi and Albert Nduna on board at Metallon, which took over the
Independent Gold Mines’ operations.

      Up to 40 locals are believed to be jostling for a 15 percent stake
worth about US$40 million in Australian-listed Zimbabwe Platinum Mines
(Zimplats), which was originally earmarked for the National Investment
Trust, a government initiated empowerment trust that, however, failed to
raise the required funds.

      Analysts have lauded the increased participation of indigenous
businesspeople in the domestic economy, saying it was a shift towards
ensuring a stable economy driven by people with a long-term commitment to
the country.

      "It is a commendable development when one considers our short history
of nationhood.

      "There are, however, worrying signs because a snap survey of the
acquisitions and takeovers will reveal the same few faces — posing the
question of whether what we have is genuine indigenisation or the movement
of the economy towards one mammoth cartel," one analyst said.

      Indeed, there have been accusations the emergent class of
entrepreneurs is either fronting for powerful politicians or foreign

      Economic commentator Jonathan Kadzura said the reason why the same
names seem to come up each time indigenous businesspeople acquire something
was because of the thin spread of capital.

      "Of course, questions will have to be asked if the same people are
seen to be acquiring capital while others are not. It would be nicer to see
a broader participation in the national economy.

      "It would be very unfortunate for politicians to use fronts because
there is no law in Zimbabwe barring them from running businesses unless they
are using their influence to access what other people cannot have. The same
applies to whites who do not need to use fronts as there is no law
precluding them from owning companies here," Kadzura said.
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      Hold your horses

     6/19/03 1:53:34 AM (GMT +2)

      AFTER years of foot-dragging, gears seem to be finally engaging in the
government’s hitherto stop-go privatisation drive. Indications are that the
country is on the verge of a deal-making frenzy. Unfortunately the timing
seems odd.

      Only last week we reported in our lead story that the government is
mulling plans for the sell-off of 50 percent of the Hwange and Kariba South
power stations. There are already expressions of interest from East Asia and
the European Union.

      It is also an open city secret that the government has been in
exclusive talks and is in fact in the cusp of agreeing the acquisition of
assets belonging to the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) by the
Libyans under a fuel deal whose terms have never been made public. In fact,
the NOCZIM assets could have been disposed of a long time ago were it not
for the last minute complications and technical glitches resulting from the
two parties’ haggling over the true value of the company’s assets. Many more
state-owned companies are in line for privatisation.

      We hope that a day will not come when we will rue the sell-off of
these critical assets because frankly speaking, we feel the timing of this
exercise is as tricky as it gets.

      Zimbabwe is presently in a tough and desperate situation. Friends are
few and far between. Wherever we have gone of late, with our begging bowl in
hand, all we have gained is nothing but good words minus action. Zimbabwe is
as vulnerable as an old lady who falls in love on the rebound, and so it
could be taken advantage of.

      Some of the investors could adopt the take-it-or-leave-it stance.
Zimbabwe is compromised by the fact that because of its vulnerability, it is
an anxious seller — which is not the easiest bargaining position to start
from. With what has happened elsewhere, where they were forced to sell the
gold mine and retain the coal mine, we have to be careful.

      It does not seem like a great time for Zimbabwe to court strategic
technical partners for local companies promiscuously. The point is, the
government should not sell these assets in haste. Yet we are doing precisely
that. We are selling the NOCZIM assets to solve the crippling fuel problems
and we are selling ZESA assets partly because of the electricity import

      Couldn’t we have done this before these problems were upon us and when
the economy was firing on all cylinders? The authorities have to consider,
and very carefully, the before and after of such an exercise. Isn’t there a
risk that we might over-privatise? What is it that we aim to achieve with
these disposals? What will be the consequences of this exercise? Are we just
seeking an end to state ownership? Is it plausible for us to dispose of
these assets just to raise revenue and seek some fiscal relief? Does
bringing the foreign technical partners on board before privatisation ensure
the success of the exercise? Or should we involve the foreign investor on
the back of a strong local support base? Can we get realistic prices if we
sell these entities before restoring operational efficiencies?

      No doubt foreign ownership is important for the technological know-how
that it brings with it. In any case some of these state companies are known
to be surviving on a life-support system from the fiscus and need to be rid
of their huge mountains of debts. And admittedly Zimbabwe is not an island.
It is very much part of this global village where transnational investment
is commonplace. Be that as it may, we have to weigh the effects of foreign
ownership on local economic pride and promise if these foreign predators
were to snap up these companies?

      We do not have a problem with a well-thought-out and sustainable
privatisation exercise that seeks to add value to the economy. Transparency
is of the essence here and we should avoid selling the assets in a closed
envelope auction. The bottomline is, however, safeguarding national

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      Wake up Ndoro!

     6/19/03 2:11:03 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR — I make reference to the ‘Inside Politics’ column of June 5-12
2003 by Taungana Ndoro entitled ‘MDC Blundered, Period!’.

      Taungana, you seem to have contradicted yourself regarding the
legitimacy of the Zimbabwean judicial system.

      Let me explain: There was never any doubt that the ruling party would
win a judgement barring any form of action, peaceful or otherwise.

      It is the duty of civil society and the opposition to ignore rulings
that have no basis in law.

      The constitution allows for peaceful demonstrations and stayaways as a
legitimate form of exercising one’s right to freedom of speech and

      In no way did the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) flout the rule
of law by continuing with peaceful action.

      While your views should be respected as you too have the right to
peddle your point of view, you must also be prepared to be viscously
criticised for your lack of basic knowledge on what’s in the constitution.

      I also imagine that if the MDC had called off the planned
demonstrations you would be shouting: "Cowards!."

      The fact that the president of the MDC is languishing in jail is
testimony to last week’s success.

      To believe that people will not support further action in the form of
stayaways because they won’t be paid to do so is an insult to the millions
of people suffering under this regime.

      You seem to be out of touch on your lofty scribe’s pinnacle. Wake up
my friend because there is no way the opposition will be defeated in their
quest for true democracy in Zimbabwe. Period!


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      ZANU PF cancer destroying society

     6/19/03 2:12:40 AM (GMT +2)

      Editor — I think that the cancer of Zanu-PF needs to be extracted from
Zimbabwean society. As painfully as it came into power, the malignant party
infects everything it touches.

      I am shocked that most political commentators epitomise the fight
against the ruling government/party to be the removal of Robert Mugabe,
which I think is only the tip of the iceberg, to crush the head of this
leviathan will only allow a few more heads to grow and replace it, probably
more hungry and ruthless than Robert Mugabe.

      This is because Zanu PF is not a man but a system that has penetrated
the core of Zimbabwe’s society and removing Mugabe will only be the
beginning of the process which needs to be disassembled swiftly.

      We need to ‘de-Zanufy’ the country cause the symptoms of this deadly
disease are causing convulsions throughout the country.

      No more corruption, No more violence.

     Bangulanyi Ntaisi,


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      And now to the Notebook

     6/19/03 2:09:43 AM (GMT +2)

      Political chiefs

      As someone with a bit of royal blood in his veins, CZ would be tempted
to sing praises for Minister Patrick Chinamasa for his quixotic Bill giving
more powers to traditional chiefs for them to handle some banal cases in
their areas.

      But on second thoughts, CZ will have serious problems with the move
knowing that most of our chiefs are more of political chiefs than
traditional chiefs.

      At least judging by the half-a-dozen or so that we see on our one and
only ZTV dozing the afternoon off in our Parliament every time or nodding
their heads off at party rallies.

      In this circumstance, it’s a humble view that this move though well
intended, could turn out to be a dangerous one. If members of a different
party are brought before these types of political chiefs, definitely, there
will be a travesty of justice somehow. Knowing some of these chiefs, who are
too pleased to be on a ZANU PF government payroll, they will definitely do
everything they can to safeguard the interest of ZANU PF first before they
start administering any justice.

      Others who are rightfully supposed to be chiefs in their area, can not
be because the ZANU PF district administrator in the area, knowing their
political affiliation, or rather lack of it, is reluctant to recommend their
enthronement. So another ZANU PF supporter with the same totem as the
would-be chiefs will be appointed a chief in order to serve the interests of
the party under the cover of a traditional chief.

      If Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo can not tolerate an
elected opposition mayor in Harare, what would make him tolerate a chief who
would refuse to chant "pamberi neZANU PF"?

      And some of the so-called traditional chiefs are mere village yokels
bereft of any wisdom at all and so confused that they cannot tell their left
from their right. And these would come handy for manipulation by our own
wily ZANU PF.

      The way ZANU PF is using chiefs, is the same way Smith used them.
Anyway, ZANU PF and the Rhodesian Front are only different in that, the
present revolutionary party has perfected the tactics used by Ian Smith and
his ancestors. Any other difference is cosmetic.

      Besides, Zimbabweans are too civilised to be taking giant steps back
to the dreary days of the notorious chiefs like the legendary Chief Chirau.
Let’s wait and see.

      Traffic cops

      When a traffic officer charges a motorist with one or two offences at
a road block, but has no book to book them for the offences, what does he
expect them to do?

      Just give him the spot fine and go without any receipt or wait for him
until he is going to the station so that they can follow him to get their

      This is the case with some of our ZRP officers. They mount roadblocks
and tell motorists that they don’t have the books to book them for whatever
offices they decide to level against them. We don’t know what any
law-abiding motorist should do in this case. We also don’t know whether the
books will genuinely not be there or they would have been hidden.

      Maybe its this type of law enforcement that puts Augustine Chihuri
streets ahead of his African counterparts such that they always nominate him
for this or that award.

      Youth programmes

      It’s a wonder what sort of training the 57 ZANU PF youths that were
detained in Nairobi by Kenyan Aviation authorities last week were going to
get in Libya. Does this mean Nelson Chamisa can mobilise members of the
youth wing of the MDC for training in other friendly countries without any
problems? That would be the first good for Zimbabweans this year.

      If this Libyan trip was only part of the routine exchange programmes
between youths from Africa’s two greatest revolutionary parties, why then
would the pilots not only fly Nicodemusly, but also go to the extent of
trying to conceal their passengers until a physical search of the plane took
place. ZANU ndeyeropa!

      Nguva Yakwana

      CZ and his family wanted to attend Nguva Yakwana Three, a gospel show
billed to take place in Harare and Bulawayo next month, but will not be able
to do so because of financial constraints. He cannot afford to raise close
to $15 000 for his family to join others in praising the Almighty God for
all the wonderful things he has done for him and his family.

      So he will miss this show where God’s selfless servants will be
preaching His word though music and dance for the simple reason that he is
poor. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
But if the same Lord’s selfless servants discriminate against the poor, how
then will they see this Kingdom?

      Like consulting doctors and lawyers, gospel musicians are now also
charging market rates for their services so that they can join others in
affluent suburbs like Borrowdale, Mount Pleasant, Ruwa, you name them. CZ is
yet to find a free gospel music concept here is Zimbabwe where there are so
many musicians who say they went into gospel music for the simple reason
that they want to propagate His word.

      CZ also hopes it is an addled threat that God shall severely punish
those who use his name in vain.

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      Towards a bloody 2005 election?

      Clemence Manyukwe
      6/19/03 1:50:58 AM (GMT +2)

      "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you" —
Leon Trotsky
      WITH the 2005 parliamentary elections around the corner, the
deplorable lack of common ground between the country’s two major political
parties casts a long shadow on the probability of a peaceful poll, thereby
threatening a nasty replay of the bloody events which led to the 2000

      This is especially so considering the ever-increasing violence which
has accompanied each voting period between the turn of the century and now.

      Whether it was Bikita west, Insiza and recently Kuwadzana; people who
were supposed to regard each other as mere opponents chose to become arch
enemies. By-election after by-election, this has been allowed to go on
unchecked, providing a probability that they may just be rehearsals of what
awaits us in 2005.

      But if things are allowed to happen like this we will all be to blame.
There may never be any other prize for what we have done and what we have
not done for our country. It will be the total cost of our negligence.

      We may not want war, we may be regarded as a peace-loving people, but
for as long as the current mayhem goes on unchecked, we may be as well reach
a point where war itself may be interested in us.

      With failure to resolve our differences peacefully, with the country
slowly but surely becoming a breeding ground for vigilante groups such as
Chipangano, green bombers and other faceless, nameless ones with a belief
that a squeaking wheel always gets greased, but not replaced; their growing
powerfulness has the potential of bringing unremitting terror or worse on
our doorsteps come 2005.

      But this can be avoided. It only calls for everyone to voice their
concerns or displeasure and that includes those "safely" in ZANU PF.
Thinking that one is safe when others are in excruciating pain will only
lead to our collective peril.

      Marin Neimoller, a German Lutheran pastor who was arrested by the
Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp wrote: "In Germany the Nazis first
came for the communists, and I did not speak up because I was not a
communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up because I was
not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up
because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I
did not speak up for the Catholics because I was a Protestant. Then they
came for me, and by that time there was no one to speak up for me."

      Similarly, when white civilians were being killed during the
liberation struggle, some of us did not speak up because we are not whites.
When pandemonium broke out in Matabeleland, threatening to wipe out an
entire tribe, some of us did not speak up because we are not Ndebele. When
the farms were being turned into sites of utter desolation, some of us did
not speak up because we did not own a farm. Right now, there are random
beatings in the high-density suburbs and some of us are not speaking out
because they do not stay in the overcrowded places.

      What monumental folly? Like the Bourbons, we learnt nothing and forgot

      No-one shall ever be safe inside Zimbabwe when his fellow man is
subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. No-one shall walk outside
Zimbabwe with his head held high when the world is complaining about what is
happening in this country.

      Everyone will feel the pinch when the rights of others are held in
contempt in this country. All this is bound, in the long run, to have one
result: others will be forced to fight until everyone is treated equally.
The government must know better.

      Agitations for freedom have no deadline. They are stubborn and
unrelenting. They cannot be suppressed. They cannot be swept under the
carpet. They cannot be sent to jail. They can only be attended to in full.

      It therefore follows that the time has come for the emergence of
citizens who are prepared to face the music with their suffering countrymen,
citizens who are brave enough to tell Mugabe that if he decides to divide
Zimbabwe into two warring parties, they will choose to be with the people.

     Clemence Manyukwe is a student of journalism at CCOSA in Harare
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      Inflation continues to feed ZSE bubble

      D NDLELA
      6/19/03 1:39:21 AM (GMT +2)

      IT used to be said, half jokingly, that inflation, like sex, is
characterised by a high rate of interest.

      While the scenario in Zimbabwe confounds the joke, mainly because of
an official clampdown on interest rates, it has held true on the country’s
bourse where a high rate of inflation has spurred huge interest on a stock
market that has taken pessimists on the same ride with optimists.

      When pessimists thought the stock market’s phenomenal rise was a
bubble on the verge of bursting, nobody doubted this to be wise counsel.

      But the stock market today remains buoyant as inflation persistently
feeds the bubble with more air. And nobody doubts that its spell of good
fortunes is nowhere near crushing.

      It got tighter last week on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), which
was last year voted the second best emerging market performer after the
sophisticated Johannesburg Stock Exchange, when bulls ravaged counters to
create a massive rally that drove the industrial index to fresh territory.

      After opening the week at 203 959.37 points, the industrial index
cruised to an all-time high of 215 591.21 points last Friday.

      Nothing more could be that astounding. The market had already caught
up with news that year-on-year inflation for May was taking its maddening
ride to yet another fresh zone: it touched an all time high of 300.1
percent, up from 269.2 percent for April.

      And the bulls haven’t run out of steam yet.

      The industrial index touched yet another record high on Monday, driven
mainly by Econet which in substantial volumes put up 400 to 3 000, General
Beltings up 900 to 6 400, Radar 1 000 firmer to 16 000 and ABCH and Colcom
adding 30 000 each to close the day at 46 500 and 14 000 respectively. It
closed the day at 219 985.01 points.

      It broke new territory again on Tuesday to reach 222 809.18 points.

      ABCH again came in with major gains, rising 3 500 to 50 000. BAT
gained 60 000 to 270 000, CHEMCO firmed by 10 000 to sit at 160 000 and
Gulliver put on 2 000 to 64 000.

      Ariston also advanced 700 to 16 200 and Meikles went up 5 000 to 185

      Econet, however, lost the previous day’s gains by 600 to close Tuesday
’s trading session at 2 400.

      The mining index was also unbeaten by the "inflation" weather. It
advanced 6.04 percent to 21 518.84 points last Friday after opening the week
at 20 292.34. It surged further to 24 310.76 points on Tuesday after being
propelled by gains in Ashanti ZDR, Bindura and Falcon Gold in substantial
volumes up 1 000, 1 500 and 1 550 to 12 000, 23 000 and 5 000 respectively.

      An analysis by Kingdom Stockbrokers’ Itai Musindo points to a
continued bull run on the ZSE.

      "The equities market looks poised for an upward trend as we near the
end of the season quarter, which heralds June interims and finals," says

      Only a few companies are left to report on the current season, and
that has driven many investors into position-taking for the next reporting
season, says Musindo.

      Already, counters like Cottco are enjoying the delight of a good

      "Rather than admiring prices now, buying into companies with a forex
earning base, a substantial effective demand for goods they produce and
ahead of target first trading quarter updates should pay off," Musindo
writes in Kingdom’s weekly report to professional equity investors.
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      Tsvangirai down but not out

      Taungana Ndoro
      6/19/03 1:46:24 AM (GMT +2)

      After visiting her embattled husband in remand prison recently, Susan
Tsvangirai commented: "He (Morgan) says there is no surrender and that he is
paying the price for the struggle. He says there is no gain without pain and
that he is ready to sacrifice his life for the cause of Zimbabweans."

      On April 20 1964, Africa’s greatest statesman Nelson Mandela concluded
his "I am prepared to die" statement from the dock at the opening of the
defence case in the Rivonia Trial at Pretoria’s Supreme Court by saying:
"During my lifetime … I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free
society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal
opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But
if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

      Robert Mugabe is making Morgan Tsvangirai make history.

      Imprisoning the latter does not signify the end of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) neither does it indicate the beginning of its end
but perhaps the end of the beginning of a long and bitter struggle for
political change.

      Prolonging Tsvangirai’s detention simply amounts to giving the
opposition leader some serene time to map out crystal clear strategies that
will eventually topple the totalitarian government of Mugabe.

      When Tsvangirai leaves prison, Mugabe and his henchmen must not
daydream that they have disheartened and demoralised him enough not to call
the shots again. In fact they should expect a rejuvenated, more determined,
more dedicated and more devoted opposition leader bent on succeeding in the
political weather, come rain, hail or sunshine.

      According to his better half, the opposition leader has vowed to fight
to the death and so Mugabe must be prepared to be punched back since he
insists he "can still punch."

      Unless — God forbid — the ruling party employs the deplorable antics
of the apartheid regime that dared to butcher Steve Biko in prison — they
are yet to endure the full wrath of Tsvangirai and his party.

      Put simply Tsvangirai is down but not out.

      The MDC have now learned that they blundered. They now know that you
do not announce a date for mass action if you wish it to be successful. They
now know that you do not tell someone that you are coming to his house to
embarrass him for he will protect his territory to the death by all that’s
wicked and uncouth in humankind.

      Indeed, they now know that if they are going to break the law, it’s
detrimental to preach about it. If it’s for a worthy cause, just break it
and the people will rally behind you.

      It is refreshing to note that the MDC is now conscious that if it
blunders it will be slaughtered for it is not a sacred cow. The grave error
that Zimbabweans made before and after independence was that of making it a
taboo to lash out at ZANU PF.

      We let the ruling party design our destiny willy-nilly without even
mumbling objections as it plunged us deeper and deeper into the abyss of
economic and political malaise.

      We blundered when we failed to take ZANU PF by the horns then (as some
maintain and erroneously still do, that it is a sacred cow). We will
however, not blunder with the MDC now.

      The MDC’s procrastination over the protests against its leader’s
prolonged detention is prudent. If the protests are ever going to pull
through then they have to be discreet but at the same time inflict the
desired result — whatever that could be.

      As Mugabe gloats over his illusory victory over Tsvangirai he must be
mindful of the fact that it would be wise to leave the MDC no choice but to
play his violent game.

      He is closing all avenues for a peaceful and negotiated political
settlement and that could be tantamount to putting a cat in a corner.

      The MDC hoped to seek political emancipation without bloodshed and
civil clash. By engaging in the "final push" and other forms of discontent
they hoped that that would bring the government and its supporters to their
senses before it is too late, so that both the government and its policies
can be changed before matters reach the desperate state of civil war.

      As it is the MDC is an unofficially banned party and it soon could be
officially outlawed. That could send it underground, then the real struggle
will have begun.

      I am again reminded of Nelson Mandela who like Morgan Tsvangirai was
also tried for treason.

      During the whole of the fifties, Mandela was the victim of various
forms of repression. He was banned, arrested and imprisoned. For much of the
latter half of the decade, he was one of the accused in the mammoth Treason
Trial, at great cost to his legal practice and his political work. After the
Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, the ANC was outlawed, and Mandela, still on
trial, was detained.

      His call for a general strike in March 1961 was met with the
government’s largest military mobilisation since World War II, and the SA
Republic was born in an atmosphere of fear and apprehension.

      There was a deep-seated feeling in June 1961 when Mandela decided to
press for a change (exactly 42 years later Tsvangirai made a call for the
"final push" in Zimbabwe).

      It was a feeling more like the one the MDC could be experiencing at
the moment. It was a daring feeling, a feeling that only the bravest can

      As Mandela put it on April 20 1964 during his trial, the following was
that captivating feeling across the Limpopo two score years ago:

      "It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful
protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on
violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of
the Nation).

      "We did so not because we desired such a course, but solely because
the government had left us with no other choice. In the Manifesto of
Umkhonto published on December 16 1961 we said:

      "The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two
choices — submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall
not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power
in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom".

      I cannot say for certain whether the time and the feeling has loomed
in the MDC, neither can I gauge the wisdom and prudence of Mugabe’s
combative disposition as the nation burns, but I know for certain that there
comes a time when the opposition has to make one single, bold and conclusive
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      Let’s wake up to economic realities

      James Jowa
      6/19/03 1:55:22 AM (GMT +2)

      IT was so sad to see industry and commerce in beleaguered Zimbabwe at
a standstill for a whole week during the national protest called by the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from June 2-6 2003.

      Activities in Harare and Bulawayo, the major urban centres and
commercial hubs of Zimbabwe, ground to a halt and demonstrators and security
forces — the latter armed to the teeth — battled it out in the streets.

      Most businesses remained shut despite media campaigns and threats from
the government warning the public and business against participating in the
MDC-organised massive show of disobedience.

      The massive response to the protest call by the generality of the
public, particularly urbanites, and industry and commerce, portrays the
general discontent among the majority of the population across the economic
and political divide regarding the extent to which the economy has been

      It was purely a response to the urgent need for the government to
address head-on the bread and butter concerns of the populace.

      Lest we forget, more than 80 percent of the population now lives in
abject poverty. Anything that is meant to make ordinary people and business
survive is in short supply — foreign currency, jobs, food, fuel,
electricity, bank notes and skills.

      Given the extent of this decline and the ongoing political crackdown,
the country is no doubt seriously running short of common sense as well.
There is no clue that the authorities know what needs to be done to restore
economic viability despite all the economic advice that has been at their

      In economic terms, the country lost a great deal due to the work
stoppages. The production of already scarce commodities was dramatically
cut, thus exacerbating the shortages.

      The industries that produce for export failed to meet some of their
external obligations and now risk losing their already shrinking
international markets, thus further threatening the country’s capacity to
generate foreign exchange. The country’s reputation as an investment
destination received an additional knock in the process and any prospects of
attracting desperately needed foreign direct investment in the near-term
have been severely dented.

      All these developments narrow down to the fact that the economy will
further deteriorate if the authorities fail to stand up to the economic and
political realities of this desperate situation.

      The reality is that the economy is rapidly shrinking in real terms and
has been doing so for the past three years. It is also a reality that the
country faces international isolation — the multilateral lending
institutions, bilateral lending institutions, previously friendly
governments have but all turned their backs on us.

      The foreign currency shortages are partly a result of the country’s
inability to attract foreign currency, in whatever form, from these

      Another reality is that we have failed to undertake meaningful
economic reform. The country has had a flirtation with economic reform
programmes, the most recent being the Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme (ESAP) in (1991-95), ZIMPREST (1998-2000), Millennium Economic
Recovery Programme (MERP) in 2000 and the recently mooted New Economic
Revival Programme (NERP) 2003.

      ESAP did produce some positive results for the economy, particularly
in relation to trade liberalisation and market deregulation, but was
prematurely abandoned. ESAP was followed by a period of policy paralysis
between 1996-97 before the belated launch of ZIMPREST (1998-2000).

      The Millennium Economic Recovery Programme failed to make any
significant mark on the economy. In fact, MERP marked the economic turning
point, the time during which the economic downfall begun.

      With the government insisting on pegging the dollar against major
trading partner currencies, the local currency became overvalued and
dramatically reduced the country’s export competitiveness.

      Today the authorities are busy peddling the NERP, which already seems
not to be taking us anywhere. Since its launch with a lot of fanfare at the
beginning of the year, the programme has failed to meet most of its targets.
Moreover, the withdrawal of two of the social partners — labour and
business — has eroded the initial national enthusiasm with the programme.

      One of the fundamental weaknesses with all the economic reform
programmes is that they have been accompanied by serious fiscal
indiscipline. The government has always lived beyond its means and has
incurred huge budget deficits that have seriously stabilised the
macroeconomic environment. For instance, the current loose fiscal and
monetary policies have pushed up money supply growth and inflation, which
reached new highs of 300.1 percent in May 2003.

      Government spending will not subside this year but is rather going to
shoot through the roof. In fact, the macroeconomic instability is likely to
intensify as the 2003 national budget rolls along because most government
departments will not be able to live within the 2003 budget allocations. In
the 2003 budget estimates, total expenditure has been put at $770.2 billion
when total bids amounted to more than $1.4 trillion meaning that government
departments were allocated about half of their anticipated expenditures. As
such, as has become the norm, the Minister of Finance is certainly to go
begging Parliament for a supplementary budget.

      The shrinking economy will not be able to generate any additional
revenue to meet the increased expenditures. The consequences would be far
reaching and would further fuel inflation which could go beyond the 1000
percent mark by the end of the year. The result will be more and more
discontent among the population and the urge to go onto the streets would
become irresistible.

      Like the Zimbabwean national senior soccer team there is need for the
government to get real about its constant failures to stabilise the economy.
There is need for policy consistency, particularly as it relates to the
national budget. Parliament should strengthen its role as a watchdog of the
government’s expenditure pattern. In this regard, Parliament should not
approve a supplementary budget this time around otherwise the whole
budgetary process becomes one big joke.

      James Jowa is a member of the Zimbabwe Economics Society
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Mugabe 'considering retirement'
By Christopher Munnion in Johannesburg
(Filed: 19/06/2003)

Robert Mugabe is considering stepping down as Zimbabwe's president within a
year under "certain conditions", South African government sources said

His demands include the right to nominate his successor and international
and local recognition that he remains the country's properly elected
founding president to enable him to enjoy "honourable retirement", they

The 79-year-old autocrat, whose obsession with clinging to power has brought
his once-prosperous nation to the edge of economic collapse and political
chaos, is said to have assured President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa of his
retirement plans in a telephone call last week.

Mr Mbeki sees Mr Mugabe as a major impediment to his dream of successfully
launching Nepad - the "new partnership for Africa's development" under which
African nations commit themselves to good governance in return for
international financial aid.

Mr Mbeki called Mr Mugabe on the eve of the World Economic Forum Africa in
Durban, a crucial meeting for Nepad ambitions, at which the South African
leader was host.

Mr Mbeki was said to have been enraged by images emerging from Zimbabwe of
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
being hauled before court in chains to face a second charge of high treason
for organising protests against the Mugabe government.

According to sources, Mr Mbeki told Mr Mugabe of South Africa's

A surprisingly conciliatory Mr Mugabe assured the South African leader of
his plans for conditional retirement but emphasised that he would not quit
under pressure from "troublemakers" or "international subversives".

But Mr Mugabe has repeatedly broken assurances given to South Africa. His
office issued a statement yesterday rejecting any suggestion of his
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Barutiwa News Service

      Zimbabwean company exports 22,000 cartons of fruit to UK
      Charles Rukuni, Correspondent in Zimbabwe
      Barutiwa News Service
      Filed on Jun 18, 2003 @ 13:10 hours EST

Harare, Zimbabwe (BNS) - Though Britain is at the forefront of calling for
sanctions against Zimbabwe, its nationals are gobbling up at least 7000
cartons of citrus, a month, from the beleaguered Southern African country.
According to the latest report of Interfresh, a company listed on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, its subsidiary Citrifresh exported 22,000 cartons
of "easy peel citrus directly to UK supermarkets" in the first quarter of
this year.

The principal shareholders of Citrifresh are Interfresh with 51%, Mazowe
Rural and District Council with 10%, a group of resettled farmers with 10%,
and a black empowerment syndicate with 29%.

Interfresh has 10 subsidiaries which include the country's biggest growers
of oranges. It also exported 9.2 million stems of flowers to Europe during
the first quarter.

Last year, the company made a net profit of Z$1.6 billion up from Z$166.6
million the previous year.

The Zimbabwe dollar is officially pegged at Z$824 to the US dollar.
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