Fri 30 June 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party's politburo has recommended
that President Robert Mugabe reject overtures by United Nations boss Kofi
Annan that he step down to pave way for a transitional government.
Mugabe is likely to meet Annan and South Africa's President Thabo
Mbeki on the sidelines of the African Union summit in The Gambia at the
weekend to discuss, among other things, the resolution of the Zimbabwe
Sources within ZANU PF told ZimOnline yesterday that the politburo,
the party's supreme decision-making body outside congress, had told Mugabe
to reject any proposals for a transitional government which Annan is said to
The sources said the politburo had recommended that Mugabe accept to
meet the UN boss and Mbeki as a matter of etiquette but should not agree to
any suggestions that he should step down.
"He was given the mandate by the party to meet Annan or any other
leader wishing to discuss with him. But it will be purely on diplomatic
"We will not accept any suggestions for a transitional government or
economic rescue packages tied to veiled attempts at regime change," said the
senior ZANU PF politburo member.
ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira confirmed that his party had
discussed Mugabe's impending meeting with Annan but refused to shed more
light on the matter.
"The UN has no role in the internal affairs of countries, especially
those not involved in a bloody war like Zimbabwe.
"If Zimbabweans want change, they know when elections are due. The
party gave the President the discretion to meet Annan or other leaders as he
will see fit," said Shamuyarira, a trusted confidante of Mugabe.
Annan and Mbeki were expected to present to Mugabe a proposal for him
to set a timetable for his departure in return for massive assistance from
the international community to aid Zimbabwe's economic recovery.
But speaking at the burial of his late information minister Tichaona
Jokonya in Harare yesterday, Mugabe appeared to dampen any prospects for a
deal with Annan saying Zimbabwe will not accept any "rescue package" because
it was not collapsing.
The sources said the ZANU PF politburo was unanimous in its stance
that Mugabe should reject the UN deal saying the veteran Zimbabwean leader
should not be cornered into giving a time-frame for his departure as he was
not answerable to Annan or Mbeki.
Speaking during the politburo meeting, State Security Minister Didymus
Mutasa said his South African counterpart, Ronnie Kasrils who was in
Zimbabwe about three weeks ago, had indicated to him that Mbeki was keen to
meet Mugabe over the country's crisis.
"Mutasa said Kasrils had not directly tabled an agenda for Mugabe and
Mbeki's talks, but hinted that Mbeki and other international players wanted
to secure Zimbabwe's future and the issue of leadership would be crucial to
"Politburo members took this to mean that Mbeki and Annan wanted to
corner Mugabe into detailing a programme for retirement and they said it was
unacceptable," said the source.
The sources said ZANU PF officials, who are embroiled in a bitter
succession wrangle over Mugabe's succession, are keen to manage the
succession issue themselves without involving outsiders to secure their own
"They belong to different camps, but they would rather have Mugabe's
retirement managed here so as to suit their own divergent interests.
"Many of the people in the politburo have their political future tied
to Mugabe and would want to manage things from here," said the source. -
Fri 30 June 2006
HARARE - A Zimbabwean black farmer, embroiled in a bitter ownership
wrangle with Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo, yesterday filed an urgent
court application against State Security and Land Reform Minister Didymus
Mutasa seeking an order barring the powerful minister from evicting him from
The black farmer, Langton Masunda, implored the Bulawayo High Court to
reverse Mutasa's letter which was issued about two weeks ago nullifying an
offer letter issued to him at the height of farm invasions in 2002.
Mutasa is cited as the first respondent in the matter while Nkomo, who
is accused of inciting veterans of the country's 1970s liberation war, to
re-invade the disputed property in Matabeleland North province is cited as
the second respondent.
In his affidavit filed at the Bulawayo High Court yesterday, Masunda
said: "I have been in occupation of the land allocated me since August 2002,
until the 15th of June 2006 when I was arrested and evicted by the police.
"On the 20th June 2006, I was served with a letter by the first
respondent (Mutasa) in which the first respondent purported to withdraw the
offer of land made to me.
"Dissatisfied with the purported withdrawal, I made representations to
the first respondent seeking that he reverse his decision. I have in my
pursuit of my challenge, instituted proceedings for review which I have
filed simultaneously with this application."
Masunda said he stood to lose about US$400 000 if he was not allowed
to entertain hunters that had booked to hunt at the farm during the
remaining hunting season.
In his affidavit, Masunda says he risks being sued by his clients whom
he had already clinched business deals with before he was ousted from the
farm. Masunda says he is seeking access to hunting trophies at Jijima Lodge
which he needed to send to his clients.
"I have no access to the lodge, which is guarded by the police. The
clients who left the trophies want their trophies, they paid for them and
the authorised dealers can confirm.
"The failure to ship the trophies not only exposes me to suit for
damages but also has the potential to ruin my reputation and indeed ruin the
reputation of the whole hunting industry.
"I pray that the time limits which normally obtain in review
proceedings be dispensed with and the review application be heard as a
matter of urgency," said Masunda.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mutasa retorted: "What is he
(Masunda) up to? The matter has still not been brought to my attention."
Nkomo has battled since last year to grab the Jijima safari business
arguing that it belongs to him because it was part of Lugo Ranch, a vast
former white-owned estate allocated to him by the government during its farm
Nkomo was not immediately available for comment on the matter
The two's wrangle over the rich safari farm illustrates well how top
ZANU PF officials, rich and well-connected black Zimbabweans have fought and
scrambled among themselves to grab the best of the farms seized from
whites. - ZimOnline
Fri 30 June 2006
HARARE - About 20 church leaders on Thursday met Zimbabwe's main
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare as part of the clergy's
attempts to resolve the country's six-year old political and economic
Sources said Tsvangirai, who heads the main rump of his splintered
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, told the church leaders during
the meeting at Africa Synold House in Harare that Zimbabwe's problems were
due to a flawed constitution.
"We outlined to the church leaders our proposed roadmap which calls
for free and fair elections," said a senior member of the MDC who was part
of the delegation that met the church leaders.
Earlier this month, Tsvangirai unveiled what he said was a "road-map"
to end Zimbabwe's six-year old political and economic crisis.
The "road-map" includes demands that Mugabe accepts a new constitution
and that he steps down for a transitional government to take over to
organise fresh elections under international supervision.
"The churches realise that Tsvangirai is a key component and can break
the impasse and play an active role in resolving the Zimbabwe crisis," said
a member of the church who attended yesterday's meeting.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa refused to comment on yesterday's meeting
telling ZimOnline to contact the church leaders.
The church leaders have already met Mugabe in an attempt to find a
solution to the crisis.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai's faction yesterday dismissed as "outrageous"
claims by a rival faction that it is pushing for a power-sharing deal with
In a statement to the media on Wednesday, Gabriel Chaibva, the
spokesman for the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC party, accused Tsvangirai's camp
of pushing for secret talks with ZANU PF.
"We are not in any way talking to ZANU PF," said Chamisa, the
spokesman of the Tsvangirai-led faction.
"(The allegations) are a ploy by Gabriel Chaibva and company to try
and cleanse their grouping which all along has been working with ZANU PF. It
is a lie designed to put his faction in good light," he added.
The MDC, which had presented the greatest challenge to Mugabe's
26-year grip on power, is severely weakened after it split into two factions
last year. Tsvangirai now leads the larger rump of the party with former
university student leader Arthur Mutambara leading the other faction. -
Thu 29 June 2006
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Thursday said Zimbabwe did not
need any "rescue package" from the international community because it was
not collapsing dampening any hopes of a negotiated solution to the country's
six-year old crisis.
Speaking at the burial of the late Information Minister Tichaona
Jokonya at the Heroes Acre in Harare, a fired up Mugabe dismissed talk of
plans to rescue Zimbabwe from economic collapse.
"We have heard of so many so-called initiatives to rescue Zimbabwe,
rescue this nation from what?" he asked.
"We are not dying, we don't need any rescue. You would think that we
are about to perish as a nation.
"We tell the world from this sacred empire that is Zimbabwe, we are
not about to die, we will not die. We will not collapse. Maybe we are
suffering, yes, but we will never die," Mugabe told the mourners.
Jokonya died last Saturday after he collapsed in his hotel room.
United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan and South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki have been leading a fresh initiative to broker a
rescue package for Zimbabwe which is in its sixth year of an unprecedented
Western governments and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party accuse Mugabe of ruining the country which is also battling
severe food shortages as well as the world's highest inflation rate of
nearly 1 200 percent.
But Mugabe has often denied wrecking the country with his ruling ZANU
PF party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira telling the media last week that
Zimbabweans were happy the party's rule.
Under the proposed UN deal, Mugabe is supposed to step down with firm
guarantees that he will not be prosecuted for human rights abuses committed
over the past 26 years in return for massive economic aid for the country.
Mugabe, who has used burials of his ruling ZANU PF officials to launch
vitriolic attacks on the West, also took the time to castigate the United
States and Britain for imposing targeted sanctions on him and senior members
of his government.
"We are dismayed at some of our countrymen who have asked for
sanctions from Britain. The sanctions are punishing the ordinary person. The
lie about the so-called sanctions being personalised for the leadership not
to travel can no longer be sustained.
"Britain and the United States are campaigning against Zimbabwe and
discouraging other countries from investing in and trading with Zimbabwe.
That is illegal because the UN has not sanctioned that," he said. -
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 29 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - Standards of learning and teaching in Zimbabwe,
at one time the envy of the African continent, have been plummeting, says a
report by a cross-party parliamentary committee.
The Portfolio Committee on Education painted a grim picture after visiting
institutions of higher learning, and in some cases finding female students
resorting to sex work or cohabiting with men to pay for their fees at
universities and colleges.
Tuition and examination fees, as well as accommodation costs, have rocketed
and students have to fork out as much as Zim$200 million (US$2,000) per
semester, while their grants have remained stagnant at Zim$13 million
(US$130) per term. An average worker earns about US$150 a month.
"Education is now a preserve for the rich, some students have dropped out of
programmes, others will not be able to write examinations, which they cannot
afford, while others have had to defer their studies," the committee noted.
Promise Mkhwananzi, president of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union
(Zinasu), which represents students at 38 higher learning institutions, told
IRIN that some male students had also turned to crime to pay for their
tuition and other expenses. "From the desperate situation that we find
ourselves in, we can understand why our comrades have had to resort to
He added: "When we factor in the fact that institutions of higher learning
cannot attract and retain staff, and that libraries have no or outdated
books, then that means the quality of our education will be severely
Academic and non-academic staff at the University of Zimbabwe in the
capital, Harare, threatened to go on strike last week after there were
delays in salary payments.
Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe, commented, "The future of any country lies in the hands of its
youth; citizens of any country should hold their governments accountable if
they abandon their responsibilities."
He said the government would become more serious about addressing problems
in the education sector only when a decent education was made a basic human
Zimbabwe has been in recession for six straight years. It is struggling to
cope with food shortages caused by erratic rainfall, the impact of a chaotic
fast-track land reform programme on the agricultural sector and a critical
lack of foreign currency to cover imports. Inflation has climbed to 1,200
percent and unemployment is over 80 percent.
Thu Jun 29, 11:34 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has vowed to fight anyone
who sought to grab the country's land or sell it, in a renewed attack on the
international community and former colonial master Britain.
"We will fight unto death anyone who wants to take it (land) away from us...
to occupy, to sell or pawn it to the outsider," Mugabe said Thursday in a
speech at the southern African country's Heroes Acre cemetery.
He was cheered on by thousands of mourners, including soldiers in combat
fatigues attending the funeral of former information minister Tichaona
Jokonya, who died on Saturday.
"We have this ... responsibility of preserving and defending this only home
we have... a home made ours by divine will," said Mugabe, who has been in
power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980.
He said the issue of land was a "national question and a Zimbawean sovereign
fight and a basis of our differences with the government of (British Prime
Minister) Tony Blair".
He added that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) -- which
he alleged was being bankrolled by Britain -- was "beginning to understand
that telling Blair to keep his stealthy hands off Zimbabwe" was not a matter
for Mugabe or his ruling party alone.
"It is a national question and message every Zimbabwean must put to the
British... It is a Zimbabwean sovereign fight and should be our fight
Zimbabwe's relations with the West have been tense since Mugabe's government
launched controversial land reforms six years ago, seizing farms from around
4,000 white farmers for redistribution to landless blacks.
Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, the country of 13 million has
descended into economic meltdown. Critics say this is the result of the land
"The opposition knows that ... they (Western nations) are people without
morals, they tell lies and dream lies," Mugabe said.
Mugabe attacked various foreign initiatives designed to counter Zimbabwe's
economic woes -- characterised by runaway inflation, soaring poverty, an
unemployment rate at over 70 percent, as well as chronic shortages of fuel
and basic goods like cornmeal.
He added that Zimbabwe was facing "full sanctions from as far back as 2000".
In March US President
George Bush renewed a freeze on the assets of more than 100 people and 30
entities considered to be opponents of reforms in Zimbabwe.
The Herald (Harare)
June 29, 2006
Posted to the web June 29, 2006
THREE small thermal power stations belonging to Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)
have suspended operations owing to coal shortages and Hwange Thermal
Station, which is operating below capacity.
The affected stations are Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare.
Experts yesterday said if the stations were running at full capacity, the
ongoing load-shedding programme by Zesa Holdings would be less severe.
The Bulawayo station, which has a capacity to produce 90 megawatts of
electricity, has not been operating for the past two weeks, officials said.
ZPC acting managing director Mr Norbert Matarutse confirmed that operations
at the stations had been affected by coal shortages but said the reasons
were explained in a joint statement by his company and Hwange Colliery
Company published early this month.
"We are waiting for coal. Our equipment is ready to generate at full
capacity once the coal becomes available," Mr Matarutse said.
He said his company understood the challenges faced by the colliery in
producing enough coal.
In the joint statement published in most newspapers, Hwange and ZPC said
they were working together to address the shortage of coal to improve
In 2004 the Bulawayo station management told the Resident Minister Cde Cain
Mathema during a familiarisation tour that ZPC was contemplating importing
coal from Maruapula in neighbouring Botswana as a result of coal shortages.
At that time, the station was only generating 30 megawatts instead of 90
June 29 2006 at 03:22PM
Harare - The Zimbabwe government has seized another 19 farms near the
capital Harare, including four belonging to a major chicken breeder, despite
calls for an end to farm takeovers, it was reported Thursday.
Lands and State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa published the notice
of seizure in an official government gazette.
The Herald daily said that among the properties being acquired were
four belonging to Crest Breeders International, a major local chicken
President Robert Mugabe's government has been taking white-owned farms
for redistribution to blacks since 2000, to a mixed reaction from the
Western countries blame the land reforms for Zimbabwe's repeated crop
failures, but many African countries hail Mugabe for what they see as his
attempts to assert his government's ownership over resources previously
controlled by whites.
Within Mugabe's government, however, there have been isolated calls
for an end to farm takeovers and invasions, notably from Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono and Vice President Joyce Mujuru. - Sapa-dpa
PRESS RELEASE - Washington, D.C., June 29, 2006 -- Voice of America
Director David S. Jackson issued the following statement today concerning
VOA broadcasts to Zimbabwe:
"There has been some jamming of our broadcasts of Studio 7, but so far the
interference appears to be limited to medium wave broadcasts to Harare, so
many of our loyal listeners throughout Zimbabwe have been able to hear our
shows on shortwave and in other locations of the country without any
problem. We take any interference seriously, however, and we will continue
to monitor the situation."
VOA's Studio 7 is broadcast to Zimbabwe each Monday through Friday from 7:00
p.m. to 8:30 p.m. local time (1700-1830 UTC) in 30-minute segments in Shona,
English and Ndebele.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia
international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the
Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of
news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an
estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are
produced in 44 languages.
For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959,
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Herald (Harare)
June 29, 2006
Posted to the web June 29, 2006
GOVERNMENT has compulsorily acquired a total of 19 farms around Harare for
The Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa, published the acquisition order in a
notice in the Government Gazette.
The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association's Odar Farm measuring 605 809 hectares, is
among those that have been acquired.
Crest Breeders International (Private Limited) had its four farms around the
capital city also being compulsorily acquired.
These are Remaining Extent of Cerney Township of Saturday Retreat measuring
46 233 hectares, Lot 2 of Saturday Retreat measuring 22 077 ha, Remaining
Extent of Saturday Retreat Estate measuring 105 738 ha and New Cennety
Township 2 of Saturday Retreat Estate measuring 63 895 ha.
Mashonaland Holdings Limited had its Remaining Extent of Chizororo of
Eyrecourt measuring 197 548 ha acquired while Rothmans International
Enterprises Limited had Stand 48 Aspindale Township of Subdivisions A and B
of Lochnivar measuring 100 313 ha acquired.
Eddies Pfugari Properties had the Remainder of White Cliff measuring 1 065
709 ha acquired.
One farm registered in the name of Top Crop (1976) (Private) Limited
measuring 91 302 hectares was acquired for peri-urban agriculture.
The Herald (Harare)
June 29, 2006
Posted to the web June 29, 2006
GOVERNMENT is forging ahead with the privatisation of some parastatals with
a number of them at various stages of implementing the programme, a Cabinet
minister said yesterday.
State Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and Anti-Corruption Minister Mr Paul
Mangwana said the Government was, however, proceeding with the privatisation
programme with caution.
"The privatisation programme is a matter which we have to approach with care
and caution," he said.
"The programme is not expected to happen overnight. As Government, we need
to retain control of some strategic national assets."
He said discussions were currently underway with Chinese companies on the
operationalisation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint ventures
between TelOne, NetOne and the Chinese companies.
He revealed that Vice President Joice Mujuru, in her recent visit to China,
had discussed the MOU issue with the Chinese suitors, adding that nothing so
far had been concretised.
The National Railways of Zimbabwe was undergoing recapitalisation and some
equipment had already been ordered from China to revamp the country's rail
system, Minister Mangwana said.
"Nothing has been finalised yet for NRZ as it is still undergoing
recapitalisation," he said
Zesa Holdings, he said, had entered into a strategic partnership with CATIC
of China and that alliance had already seen the two companies venturing into
coal mining in Hwange as well as upgrading of the country's power generation
Minister Mangwana said Government was hopeful that the management contract
between the beleaguered Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco), and Global
Steel Holdings of India, would be finalised soon.
"Zisco has entered into a management contract with GSH Limited which will
see US$400 million being invested into the company. The contractors are
already on site and we are quite sure the agreement will be signed in the
near future," he added.
He said the privatisation programme at the Cold Storage Company was being
hampered by a huge debt accumulated over the years.
Although he could not reveal the size of the debt, the minister said
Government was consulting on how to liquidate it.
"The idea was to float CSC on the stock exchange but its debt overhead has
to be dealt with first. We are looking at how we can restructure the debt so
that the company becomes free from debt," he said.
He said measures were being put in place to restore viability and turn the
parastatal into a profitable organisation.
The Government has proposed that TelOne, NetOne and Air Zimbabwe should look
for strategic partners while Zisco and CSC should enter into joint ventures
and partially divest before listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange as part
of efforts to improve the performance of public entities so they do not
become a drain on the fiscus.
To date, Government has successfully privatised milk processor Dairibord
Zimbabwe Limited, Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe
and the Rainbow Tourism Group.
New face unlikely to improve press freedom in Zimbabwe
Commentary by Andy Sennitt
The press freedom situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate week by
week, day by day, along with the country's infrastructure and the quality of
life of its citizens. The developed world is so concerned with fighting its
own "war on terrorism" that it seems to be turning a blind eye to the state
terrorism being conducted by the regime of President Robert Mugabe.
We see very little coverage of events in Zimbabwe in the mainstream press
here in Europe. Admittedly there are hardly any western journalists left to
report from inside Zimbabwe, but there are news sources based outside the
country that do an excellent job of reporting what's going on there. Sadly,
it's easier to get that information if you live outside Zimbabwe than if you
live within its borders.
Turn for the worse
This week, the already grim situation with respect to radio broadcasting in
Zimbabwe took another turn for the worse. London-based SW Radio Africa
reported that its mediumwave service, which broadcasts from a transmitter in
Lesotho on 1197 kHz at 0300-0500 UTC, is now being jammed inside the
country. It has been widely reported that jamming transmitters installed by
the Chinese at an airbase near Harare are being used. The Voice of America's
Studio 7 programme, aimed specifically at Zimbabwe, is also being targeted.
To put these latest jamming reports in context, the first use of jammers was
against the shortwave signals of SW Radio Africa (SWRA), which began in
March 2005. SWRA responded by adding additional shortwave frequencies, but
in so doing it used up its entire annual budget for transmission costs by
mid-year, and was forced to abandon shortwave altogether. The jammers were
subsequently used to target the other independent radio station broadcasting
to Zimbabwe, the Voice of the People (VOP). That station actually produces
its programmes inside Zimbabwe, and sends them to Radio Netherlands, which
broadcasts them back into the country via the relay station in Madagascar.
But jamming the broadcasts was not enough for the Mugabe regime. The VOP
studios had been bombed in August 2002, disrupting production until February
2003. Production of new programmes continued until December 2005, albeit
with constant harassment from the government. Then on 15 December 2005,
Zimbabwean security agents raided the headquarters of VOP and arrested a
number of staff, who were later freed. They also confiscated production
equipment. The agents were ostensibly looking for a "transmitter", even
though they know that the programmes are broadcast from outside the country.
The Zimbabwe authorities attempted to construct a case for the prosecution,
but the court proceedings were farcical as they could not produce evidence.
The most recent court hearing, earlier this month, was again adjourned until
late September, as one of the key witnesses for the prosecution was not even
in the country. David Masunda, Chairman of the Trust which runs VOP, said:
"We know that the government of Zimbabwe knows it has no case against us and
so they are trying to buy time so they can also continue to hold onto our
computers and recorders for they know without them we cannot resume
operations. They should just drop the charges because they know we have no
case to answer. The government is just wasting everyone's resources,
including the taxpayers' money."
New face on the block
Professor Jonathan Moyo, who had been Information Minister for four years,
and no doubt ordered the bombing of the VOP studios in 2002, fell from grace
at the end of 2004. He was replaced by Tichaona Jokonya, who had announced
only this month that Moyo's reforms to the structure of state broadcasting
were to be reversed. But on Saturday 24 June, Jokonya was found dead in a
hotel room in Harare.
SW Radio Africa reports that "Kadoma-based lawyer Paul Mangwana, who
decided to burn ballot papers in the 2005 Zanu PF Kadoma East primary
elections after it became apparent he was heading for defeat, is the new
acting Information Minister." That's not exactly the kind of track record
that will fill press freedom campaigners with confidence.
The station adds that "Zimbabweans hope the only thing he burns this time is
the oppressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
that has been used to shut down media outlets and control the flow of
information via stringent registration requirements." But it is just hope,
and not expectation.
We will be watching with interest for signs of any significant change in the
attitude of the Mugabe regime to press freedom. But we're not holding our
breath. The names and faces may change, but for Robert Mugabe and his Zanu
PF party, it seems to be a case of Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of
the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Radio
Business in Africa
Posted Thu, 29 Jun 2006
Harare - A top Zimbabwean energy official said on Wednesday that the
government had put in a bid for a 25 percent stake in Mozambique's
electricity generator, Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB).
Obert Nyatanga, director of the state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA), said about $500mn was being mobilised to buy the stake,
crucial to securing badly needed long-term power supplies.
The country was currently facing a power crisis, worsened by its inability
to import sufficient quantities due to foreign currency shortages.
Zimbabwe generates 65 percent of its national requirements, and relies on
neighbours for the balance.
But apart from inability to finance electricity imports, a general power
shortage in the region has also forced Zimbabwe's neighbours to scale down
exports to the country.
Nyatanga said Zimbabwe might bid for the stake with other investors from
Asia, who have also expressed interest in the deal.
"The deal is being looked into. Funds to get equity in HCB are being
mobilised by the government through its partnerships with strategic
investors in Asia," he said.
"It is a strategic transaction that can also boast ZESA operations so we
just hope that the Mozambican authorities will come out with something
positive," he added. -panapress
MAPUTO - The World Bank is supporting Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers,
who are now living in Mozambique after the Zanu (PF) government evicted them
during the bloody 2000 land grab.
The Bank released a whopping US$20 million over the weekend to Mozambique
for the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project in the Zambezi Valley
aimed at boosting the country's food security, John Donaldson of the World
Bank told CAJ News.
"Full debt cancellation approved for some of the world's poorest countries
has seen the Bank approve US$37 billion for multilateral debt relief," he
said. - CAJ News
BY MFANDAIDZA HOVE
In the local press last week, minister Rugare Gumbo is quoted as claiming
that the NEDPP has managed to raise US$350 million in foreign currency since
its launch on April 19, 2006. The MDC now responds to the minister's
responses in the press to some of the key economic issues:
Question: The government has in recent years introduced programmes which it
said would spur economic development, what guarantees do we have that the
NEDPP will be a success?
Gumbo's response: Most of the programmes lacked private sector participation
as government set them up and implemented them at the same time. The
recently unveiled programme, however, takes various players, including the
private sector, on board, something that makes a major difference.
MDC's response: To what extent, if any, did the private sector voluntarily
participate in the drafting of this programme? Was their input
incorporated? Do they regard the NEDPP's targets as achievable? At both
the launch of the programme in April and the session with the Sunday Mail,
the Minister appeared to be making claims on behalf of the private sector.
One wonders what the actual position taken by both the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
(ZNCC) was. In any case, to what extent will the NEDPP's targets trickle
down to productive units in the economy? For example, we know that the
fertilizer industry is currently operating at 12% of its capacity.
Question: A lot has been said about the programme's intentions and
strategies. But there has been little mention of the (amount of) funds that
were allocated to the implementation of the programme and how the funds were
Gumbo's response: A budgetary allocation has not been made for this
initiative. However, line ministries are expected to avail funds from their
respective allocations. It was suggested that funds earmarked for certain
ministry projects should be channeled to the NEDPP. We would also like the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to provide funding through its various
MDC's response: The affected line ministries are surely, barely functional,
and not in any position to divert any funds to the NEDPP. This claim by the
Minister appears to be impractical and without foundation, unless, of
course, he is relying on Governor Gono' money printing expertise (to refer
to his second source of funding). The provision of funds by the RBZ is yet
another primitive and economically dangerous quasi-fiscal activity. These
funds have not been incorporated in the country's national accounts, and
have as a result, distorted national statistics particularly inflation
levels and the budget deficit. Ultimately, this source of funding cannot be
consistent with any positive economic growth.
Question: When the programme was launched almost two months ago, its "major
part" was to harness US$2.5 billion in cash and investments within three
months. Of the targeted funds, what amounts have you raised and what
investments have been made?
Gumbo's response - We have not gone very far, unfortunately. We have
managed to raise US$350 million in cash. But we are still quite optimistic
that we will raise quite a substantial sum of money. It should be noted,
however, that focus is not merely on raising US$2.5 billion in cash but also
in credit lines and revolving funds investments around the country. After
all is said and done, we will probably be able to have US$2.5 billion.
MDC's response: At least the minister is honest enough to admit that ".we
have not gone very far.." although this appears to be an understatement of
the situation. Given that the total foreign currency inflows during the
whole of 2005 (US$1.7 billion) translates to monthly receipts of just over
US$140 million, how does the Minister explain having raised US$350 million
in one month? Even if one were to accept the Minister's claim that this
amount has been raised, if it were to be pro-rated to the three months
within which it was claimed that US$2.5 billion would be raised, NEDPP will
only raise a total of US$1.050 billion by the end of that period. Fantasy
economics once again!
Question: Your detractors say you always blame the country's economic
decline on Western-imposed sanctions. Is there a way of circumventing the
sanctions and promoting investments without looking East?
Gumbo's response: Yes, ways of circumventing sanctions are there. Like a
caged tiger, one has to fight their way out.
The MDC's response: The truth is that no country has imposed economic
sanctions on Zimbabwe. The causes of the country's economic meltdown
emanate from the country's pariah status resulting from this government's
political illegitimacy, massive corruption, gross macroeconomic
mismanagement and political intransigence. Solutions will be found in the
restoration of political legitimacy, normalization of relations with the
international community and the restoration of the rule of law and property
rights. Only then, can the country realistically hope to attract any
meaningful foreign direct investment.
Question: The country's inflation rate is soaring above 1,000 percent, one
of the highest rates in the world. Can you boldly assure the country that
such high inflation levels will subside and when this can be expected?
Gumbo's response: I cannot predict and project when it (inflation) will come
down. But it is hoped that it will go down during the last quarter of this
year, depending on the performance of the economy. I agree that inflation
is high and is wreaking havoc in the economy. However, one should note that
we do not have lines of credit and balance of payments support. Anticipated
and existing investments that have been in productive areas as well as
progress in different sectors are, however, expected to affect the rate of
MDC's response: Clearly, the Sunday Mail journalist is not aware of the fact
that Zimbabwe's inflation rate is the highest (not one of the highest) in
the world. In addition, given serious doubts surrounding the integrity of
the data used by the Central Statistical Office to compute movements in the
consumer price index, the true rate of inflation is likely to be somewhere
between 1,500% and 1,800%.
The minister's response does not contain any new information; we have heard
all this before, and Zimbabweans are tired of false predictions and promises
about false economic turnaround programmes. Of course, the Minster is
correct in saying that the country does ". not have lines of credit and
balance of payments support". However, he should be reminded that the main
reason for this is his own government's policies that have brought about the
pariah status that the country has. As a result, no bilateral or
multilateral organization will want to deal with a 'rogue' state. Until
such time as political legitimacy is restored, international relations
normalized, the country will remain isolated, and there will be no foreign
direct investment. Without investments, the supply side of the economy will
continue to shrink thereby impacting negatively on all other economic
fundamentals. This is the cause of the economic meltdown and not inflation;
the latter is a symptom
Question: For several seasons, planning for the summer cropping season has
not been up to scratch and this, apart from drought, has resulted in the
country producing low yields. What measures are you taking under the NEDPP
to ensure the requisite resources are mobilized in time for future seasons,
starting with this year?
Gumbo's response: That is correct, while droughts have affected us, our
planning has not been perfect either. We are still battling to get
agricultural planning up to scratch. There have been fuel and input
shortages and this has yielded negative results.
The reason for the unavailability of inputs has largely been the lack of
foreign currency, brought about by sanctions and drought.
But we can assure you that plans are in store for next season. Committees
are presently meeting under the auspices of the NEDPP to discuss that. Once
research and analyses are completed, the Minister of Agriculture will state
MDC's response: Droughts have had little or no effect on food insecurity in
recent years in this country. The destruction of commercial agriculture has
largely been responsible. The 'parceling out' of most of the country's
arable land to ZANU(PF) cronies and to peasant farmers without the necessary
capital to make extensive use of the available land, significantly
contributed to food shortages. At the same time, massive corruption
involving agricultural inputs (fuel, fertilizer etc) and large subsidies to
peasant farmers (most of which came through the RBZ's quasi-fiscal
activities), significantly contributed to hyperinflation without any
positive contribution to food stocks.
As already pointed out, foreign currency shortages are caused by severe
supply side constrains that in turn, emanate from gross economic
mismanagement and corruption.
Question: Different quarters continue to express skepticism over the
proposed indigenisation of the mining sector. What measures are in place to
ensure optimum production and investment?
Gumbo's response: In terms of indingenisation, we do have local skills.
Most of the people running mines are blacks, only they are not shareholders.
A visit to various mines will reveal that management comprises indigenous
Zimbabweans. Training will, therefore, be facilitated through one of our
committees which deals with human resources.
MDC's response: If most of the management on the mines comprises blacks, why
is there a need for training? With respect to indigenisation, surely
current government plans will only scare away investors -if ever any were
forthcoming in this politically and economically hostile environment. In
any case, does the recent ZIMPLATS deal not involve un-delineated resources
that will require exploration capital to establish minable reserves?
It is important to note that the success of any business enterprise is based
not only on training, but also on the availability of capital, appropriate
technology and access to viable markets (domestic and exports). Given the
present hostile political and economic environment in the country, chances
of attracting the required investments are non-existent. - Mfandaidza Hove
is the MDC Secretary for Finance & Economic Affairs.
Mealie Meal - 5 kg
Peanut Butter - 1 litre
Milk - 500 ml
Oats - 500 grams
Cerelac - 250 grams
Tanganda Loose Tea - 500 grams
Crest Loose Tea - 500 grams
Tomatoes - 1 kg
Onions - 1 kg
Rape - 1 bunch
Potatoes - 1 kg
Milk - 500 ml
Bread - not available
Salt - 1 kg
Sugar beans - 500 grams
Mazoe Orange - 2 litres
Take Away Sausage Roll
Candles - 6
Shoe Polish - 59 ml
Washing Powder - 400 grams
Plastic small lunch box
Wool - shinda - 50 grams
Small exercise book
1 litre petrol - Kensington S Station
Comment from PBS Frontline/World, 27 June
Frontline/World series editor Stephen Talbot interviewed Robert Mugabe twice
in the late 1970s. In this personal essay, he looks back on that pivotal
time, just before independence, when he met "an eloquent, direct and
impressive man" who promised to turn Zimbabwe into a model for African
democracy. Talbot uncovers how far Mugabe pursued and then utterly betrayed
that promise and says, "After all these years, it's still difficult and
painful to reconcile my memory of this man with the tyrant he became."
When I first met and interviewed Robert Mugabe, he was still the exiled
leader of an African nationalist movement trying to end white-minority rule
in what was then Rhodesia. It was July 1977 at the Kilimanjaro Hotel in Dar
Es Salaam, Tanzania. I was a 28-year-old freelance reporter, he was a
53-year-old "terrorist" or "freedom fighter," depending on your point of
view. He had recently spent 10 years in a Rhodesian prison, now he was
commander of a guerrilla army. In the United States he was virtually
unknown. My first impressions, jotted in a yellowing notebook: "Mugabe:
straightforward, eloquent, direct, to the point; ironic, barbed sense of
humor. Impressive. Not in the least bit jive or phony, no posturing." "We
are fighting for a democratic state, for self-determination, for an end to
exploitation," Mugabe told me. "All countries should help us. There is no
reason why the American people should not come to our aid." He was
particularly keen on telling me how grateful he was for humanitarian aid
from Sweden. Mugabe spoke confidently, but without arrogance. A formal man,
dressed casually in an African print shirt, he conveyed the dignity of a
well-educated teacher, his previous profession. When his wife, Sally, who
was from Ghana, entered the room, he rose to greet her with obvious warmth.
After all these years, it's still difficult and painful to reconcile my
memory of this man with the tyrant he became.
Today, Mugabe is one of Africa's longest-reigning dictators, routinely
denounced by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for abusing his
people. "A disgrace to Africa," says Wole Soyinka, Nigeria's Nobel
Prize-winning author. "A caricature of an African dictator," says Desmond
Tutu, South Africa's Nobel laureate. And Pius Ncube, the Catholic archbishop
of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, says he prays for "a popular uprising" to topple
Mugabe's regime. Of all the depressing statistics about Mugabe's broken
country, the one that gnaws at me the most is that life expectancy has
declined in the last two decades from 62 years to a mere 38 years. It wasn't
supposed to be this way. When he came to power in 1980, in a landslide
election victory after a negotiated settlement of the war, Mugabe was
greeted as a national hero, at least by Zimbabwe's black majority. And at
first, Mugabe delivered on promises of peace, reconciliation with the white
minority, and social development. Yet even as early as the 1980s, there was
an ominous turn of events. Mugabe had formed a coalition "Patriotic Front"
government with a rival guerrilla leader, Joshua Nkomo, but it soon fell
apart when Mugabe accused Nkomo of plotting a coup against him. Mugabe
shocked many of his international supporters by unleashing his North
Korean-trained Fifth Brigade against Nkomo's minority Ndebele tribe in
southern Zimbabwe. Thousands were killed.
Frontline was one of the few media outlets in the United States to sound the
alarm, in the 1983 documentary Crisis in Zimbabwe, reported by Charlie Cobb,
an African American journalist, who, like me, was dismayed to see Mugabe
acting as brutally and repressively as the white-minority rulers he had
replaced. Should I have seen signs of what was coming? Had Mugabe deceived
me? In that hotel room back in 1977, Mugabe assured me he was doing
everything possible to overcome differences between the two guerrilla
factions, Zanu (Zimbabwean African National Union) and Nkomo's Zapu
(Zimbabwe African People's Union). Mugabe's group was primarily Shona,
Zimbabwe's majority ethnic group. Nkomo's base was among the Ndebele. "If we
make this attempt at unity and it fails, we fail the people of Zimbabwe,"
Mugabe insisted. He outlined in great detail the steps he was taking to try
to integrate the Zanu and Zapu armies. Mugabe had seen what had just
happened in Angola in the mid-1970s, where three rival nationalist movements
clashed as soon as Portugal ended its colonial rule. Angola's civil war
became a Cold War cauldron, with Washington backing one side, Moscow the
other and Beijing the third. Cuba sent troops, South Africa invaded. Thirty
years later the country is still devastated.
In Zimbabwe, the Soviet Union backed Nkomo and China supported Mugabe, but
Mugabe was pragmatic enough to realize that a repeat of Angola would be a
disaster. For the time being, and through independence day on April 18,
1980, Mugabe would maintain his tactical alliance with Nkomo. And once in
power, even after crushing Nkomo's opposition, Mugabe allowed Nkomo himself,
his burly adversary, to remain part of the government as long as he lived.
So the authoritarian impulse was probably there in Mugabe from the
beginning, but I chose to see his pragmatism and his political skill. After
that first meeting with Mugabe in 1977, I interviewed him again in 1979 at
an Organization of African Unity conference in Liberia (just before Liberia
descended into civil war) and filmed him later that summer at his exile
headquarters in Maputo, Mozambique. Looking at that old interview just now,
I am immediately struck by Mugabe's apparent sincerity, his baritone voice,
his reassuring manner. At the time, the fighting across the border in
Rhodesia was fierce. Ian Smith's white-minority regime was aided by a crude
assortment of white mercenaries from around the world, and there was always
the threat that South Africa's apartheid leaders might intervene to save
their ally to the north. But Mugabe seemed cool and calm, even in the midst
of his rundown guerrilla compound.
The offices of Mugabe's Zanu Party were located in a funky high-rise
building. Mozambique had only recently emerged from its own war of
independence against Portuguese colonial rule and was a poor, struggling -
if momentarily euphoric - country. The offices were spartan, the elevator
not functioning. We lugged our camera equipment up many flights of stairs to
the roof of the building, where we interviewed Mugabe against the city
skyline. He joked that having to climb the stairs kept his staff in shape.
"In the West, many consider you a terrorist," I began. "We are fighting an
unjust system," he replied. "We are not fighting the whites as whites. ...
We are not terrorists. ... We are fighters for democracy." Political
rhetoric, of course. Even in my 20s and sympathetic to his cause, I could
recognize that. But it also meshed with my own experience. Back home, I had
become friends with a number of Zimbabwean students studying in the States
who were members of Mugabe's Zanu. The thing I remember about them most was
how nonracist they were. For people engaged in a struggle with Ian Smith's
notoriously racist government, they were themselves almost incomprehensibly
free of animosity toward whites. Of course, the guerrilla war in Rhodesia
was brutal, with atrocities on both sides. But the Zanu people I knew in the
United States and those I was meeting in Mozambique defied the Mau Mau image
prevalent in much of the West.
The Zimbabwean I knew best, Tirivafi Kangai - who would later become an
ambassador for Mugabe's government - was a gentle soul, a teddy bear, with
an easy laugh. He had a few malapropisms in his otherwise articulate stump
speeches that still make me smile whenever I recall them. My favorite: He
frequently declared that the people of Zimbabwe would be free, whatever it
took, "by hooks or by crooks." In retrospect, the "crooks" part seems eerily
prescient. Today, Mugabe and his cronies live in luxury behind high walls,
having looted their country and impoverished their people. The man I once
saw as modest, even ascetic, now acts like the late Mobutu Sese Seko, the
dictator in his leopard-skin pillbox hat who plundered Zaire and lived in
splendid isolation on a vast compound in his pillaged, ruined nation. That's
not the vision of Zimbabwe that Mugabe presented to me in 1979. Asked what
kind of society he hoped to lead, Mugabe replied, "A truly democratic
society devoid of racism ... a society where there is equality, where there
are civil liberties. ... And as far as our own program is concerned, we are
for a socialist society, you see."
to be continued...
Comment from SW Radio Africa, 28 June
By Lance Guma
Kadoma based lawyer Paul Mangwana who decided to burn ballot papers in the
2005 Zanu PF Kadoma East primary elections after it became apparent he was
heading for defeat, is the new acting Information Minister. He replaces the
late Tichaona Jokonya who died on Saturday. Zimbabweans hope the only thing
he burns this time is the oppressive Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) that has been used to shut down media outlets and
control the flow of information via stringent registration requirements.
Also of interest is the fact that Bright Matonga, who defeated Mangwana in
the Zanu PF primaries, is currently the deputy information minister.
Speculation is already mounting over whether Mugabe will once again ignore
his press secretary George Charamba for the position. Charamba has found a
home for his frustrations at the Herald, allegedly using the Nathaniel
Manheru column to lash at his enemies. He has had to watch the likes of
Jonathan Moyo and Tichaona Jokonya beat him to the information ministry,
despite working closely with Mugabe. Mangwana is currently the Minister of
State for State Enterprises, Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies. His
appointment to act in the new capacity was announced by Dr M Sibanda the
Chief Secretary to cabinet in Mugabe's office. Meanwhile people who have had
dealings with his law firm, Mangwana and Partners, have described Mangwana
as an unscrupulous individual. He is accused of illegally acquiring dozens
of houses in Kadoma and Chinhoyi via the law firm. A journalist who lost his
house to Mangwana told Newsreel that the lawyer seems to enjoy immunity from
prosecution and that a lot of people have been conned into parting with
June 28 2006 at 10:26PM
Harare - Zimbabwe has signed a $45-million revolving fund with a South
African and local bank to import maize, wheat and fertiliser, central bank
governor Gideon Gono said on Wednesday.
Gono said Nedbank of South Africa and Zimbabwe's MBCA Bank had raised
the money but would not say how the money was secured. Nedbank is a major
shareholder in MBCA.
He said the Zimbabwe central bank had also struck a deal for a South
African company, which is supplying the fertiliser, to help revive the
country's ailing fertiliser manufacturing plants.
Zimbabwean industries are operating below 30 percent as a severe
economic crisis takes its toll on an economy grappling with the world's
highest inflation rate at nearly 1 200 percent, unemployment above 70
percent and shortages of foreign currency and food.
Under the $45-million revolving facility, Intshona Agriculture
Products of South Africa will supply the country with 50 000 tons of
fertiliser, 40 000 tonnes of wheat and 40 000 tons of maize.
"Whilst we are trying to deal with transitory shortfalls in the
agriculture sector, food security remains a challenge," said Gono.
"I know we have produced our own (maize) but we are beginning to stock
up for strategic reserves," he added.
Zimbabwe says it will harvest 1.8 million tonnes during the 2005/6
agriculture season, which will enable it to meet the country's food
Mail and Guardian
29 June 2006 07:57
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was still not sure if he
would meet with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at the upcoming
African Union (AU) summit in Gambia this coming weekend, a party
spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Mugabe would make the decision himself after the key
decision-making body of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic
Front (Zanu-PF) did not make a formal recommendation on the issue, Nathan
"It is for the president to handle when he gets to Banjul," the
spokesperson said in televised comments.
The focus of the summit is expected to be Darfur, the Sudanese
government is expected to be pressured by African leaders to accept a UN
peacekeeping operation in the troubled western Sudanese region.
Reports from South Africa have suggested Mugabe would meet both
Annan and South African President Thabo Mbeki on the sidelines of the AU
summit in Banjul.
Both men are keen to see an end to Zimbabwe's political and
economic crises, the worst in decades. Annan was last year invited by Mugabe
to visit Zimbabwe, but recently Mugabe's spokesperson said the invitation
had now expired.
Last year's government campaign of shack demolitions that left
up to 700 000 people homeless and jobless in the midst of the Southern
African winter has provoked criticism from home and abroad. - Sapa-DPA
June 29 2006 at 07:16AM
By Peter Fabricius, Reuters and Sapa-AFP
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Sudanese President Omar
el-Bashir are both expected to come under pressure to resolve the crises in
their countries at the African Union summit to be held in Banjul, The
Gambia, at the weekend.
The African leaders who will attend the summit are themselves facing
growing international pressure to deal more firmly with human rights abuses
on the continent.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will attend the summit and
plans to quiz Mugabe about how he plans to rescue his country from its
economic and political meltdown.
South African Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said this
week that President Thabo Mbeki would probably participate in Annan's
meeting with Mugabe. Annan will also meet Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir
to try to persuade him to allow a UN peacekeeping force into Darfur to
replace the inadequate African Union force there now.
El-Bashir earlier this week again rejected this plan, saying it had
been hatched by "Jewish organisations to re-colonise Sudan".
The massacre of civilians in Darfur by Sudanese government-backed
militias and others has reached genocidal proportions, according to the
United States Government.
Annan said in New York on Wednesday he hoped the "collective pressure"
of African leaders at the summit in The Gambia would persuade El-Bashir to
change his mind.
South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her
African counterparts have also begun to turn up the pressure on Sudan.
After chairing an AU Peace and Security Council meeting in Banjul late
on Tuesday she said the 7 000-strong AU peacekeeping force did not have the
finances to stay in Darfur beyond September 30, whether or not the UN was
ready to replace them.
A UN force - which officials estimate will need to number at least 17
000 - was supposed to enter Darfur by September but is not now expected to
do so before January; if Sudan gives the go-ahead.
Putting further pressure on the Sudanese, Dlamini-Zuma said the AU was
ready to impose sanctions on any group undermining a Darfur peace agreement
which the Khartoum government and one of three rebels group in the region
signed on May 5.
Both signatories to the peace deal have missed important deadlines.
Khartoum was supposed, by June 22, to disarm the pro-government janjaweed
militias blamed for most of the atrocities in Darfur.
"We must take certain measures. Measures like a ban on travel and
(seizing) their assets," Dlamini-Zuma told reporters.
The US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said the US would decide on
its next steps on Darfur after the AU summit.
Meanwhile, in Johannesburg on Wednesday, owners of Africa's top media
houses expressed concern about the "deteriorating environment for the media"
in Africa and called on the AU leaders at their summit to remedy the
The owners cited "enactment of legislation in some countries which
restricts press freedom as well as a deplorable trend of intimidation,
imprisonment and brutal murder of journalists, notably in the Horn of
And the Coalition Against Impunity, a group of 300 African and
international civil society bodies, said this week the AU summit should
pressure Senegal to prosecute or extradite former Chad President Hissene
Habre to face charges of mass murder and torture.
A Chadian official inquiry has accused Habre's government of 40 000
political killings and 200 000 cases of torture during his 1982 to 1990
He denies all knowledge of abuse and now lives in exile in Senegal.
Controversial presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Hugo Chavez
of Venezuela are due to address the AU summit, their offices said yesterday.
High on the official agenda of the summit is a plan to reduce the
number of sub-regional economic and political groupings on the continent
from eight to five, eliminating overlaps and then to accelerate the stalled
process of integrating them.
"Unless we find a better name we are working towards a United States
of Africa," the host country's foreign minister, Lamin Kabba Bajo, said.
But he admitted that the goal of a unified continent would not be
attained unless Africa rids itself of perennial strife and conflict.
This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on
June 29, 2006
June 29, 2006 Edition 1
HARARE: It is a cold winter night in central Harare, but 100 people are
willing to queue on the pavement until the shops open in the morning.
What is the glittering prize? A cellphone Sim card.
"I had no choice, this was the only way of securing a Sim card at a
reasonable price," said Sam Takavada, emerging from a dealer for the
cellphone operator Econet after a night in the queue.
Takavada considers himself lucky after paying Z$3 million (R220) for a
pay-as-you-go card that will link him to a cellphone network and comes with
airtime. Most are forced to buy Sim cards on the black market, at about Z$25
Zimbabwe offers a sharp contrast to the rest of Africa, where cellphone use
is spreading rapidly as an alternative to unreliable and expensive fixed
But foreign currency shortages have hamstrung network expansion and growth
in Zimbabwe's cellphone sector, capping penetration at around 5% of the
population, compared to 70% in South Africa or around 40% in Namibia.
Middle Eastern, South African and European firms are scrambling for a
foothold on the rest of continent, with South Africa's MTN recently offering
$5.53 billion (R40.1 billion) for Dubai-based Investcom.
But Zimbabwe, crippled by economic crisis, is different. The country has
three cellphone operators, Econet Wireless, state-owned NetOne and Telecel
Zimbabwe, majority-owned by Orascom Telecom's Telecel International.
The government has failed to attract foreign investors to pump money into
debt-saddled NetOne and fixed-line operator TelOne.
Dakarayi Matanga, spokesman at Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe's biggest cellphone
operator, said that about 95% of the company's key components were sourced
"Therefore any significant network expansion can only take place if and when
the company can access enough hard currency to import network equipment," he
In the past five years, there has been a rise in black market trading as
many struggle to eke out a living in a country grappling with its worst
economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.
Inflation exceeds 1 000%, the highest in the world, unemployment has topped
70% and the national currency is losing value faster than any other.
Newspaper classified sections are packed daily with advertisements from
unlicensed dealers offering people cellphone lines that are unavailable from
operators or their dealers.
Speculators buy lines released by the three cellphone operators and resell
them at up to Z$25 million on the black market. - Reuters
Thursday, June 29, 2006
By DAVID WALL
Special to The Japan Times
LONDON -- Who would have thought that the Chinese Communist Party would
become sensitive to world opinion? Strange as it may seem, Western criticism
of China's growing involvement in Africa has triggered outpourings of
justificatory articles in CCP-controlled media as well as trips this year by
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
There had been a lot of talk in the Western media about how China's growing
interest in Africa reflected a desire to secure access to raw materials from
African countries. Nothing wrong with that -- market competitors can slander
each other in the hope of getting better terms -- but the Chinese Communists
reacted strongly. The CCP mouthpiece People's Daily reported Wen's screams
that "no one can slander China for practicing neo-colonialism in Africa,"
and Wen was quoted in Inna, the party-controlled news service, as claiming
"there is no selfish interest for China to pursue in Africa."
So the Chinese are buying all this oil, uranium, copper, chrome, timber,
meat, etc. just to help the Africans out? In any case, it is nice to see the
party getting sensitive to foreign criticism, however silly.
Wen also said, "in its dealings with Africa, China adheres to the principles
of equality, mutual benefit and noninterference in countries' internal
affairs," and that "we encourage African countries to improve democracy and
the rule of law and to maintain social justice."
It is surprising that Chinese communist leaders would extol the virtues of
democracy, the rule of law, social justice and equality for Africa when they
have never tried them in China. Under the leadership of Hu and Wen, China is
moving backward on all these political virtues, making nonsense of the CCP's
criticism of the double standards of Western countries.
So we see undemocratic Chinese Communists, who block the rule of law in
their own country and for whom the words "social justice" rot on their lips,
actively working to encourage inequality and their own interests while
telling the world that their foreign policy is based on the principle of
noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries. The
self-selected CCP leaders reach new levels of hypocrisy when they say they
follow a policy of noninterference.
Try telling that to the citizens of Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia,
Manchuria and Taiwan, not to mention Hainan, Yunnan and all the other
"countries" overrun and occupied by Han Chinese and now labeled as part of
the Chinese Empire.
What you have to remember is that the CCP leaders stole China from the
Chinese people. Noninterference to them means working with leaders of other
countries regardless of how those leaders came to power, and stay in power.
Noninterference in Africa means not questioning the right of dictators and
autocrats, and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, to govern. More than
that, it means giving those tyrants and their supporters the means to
strengthen control over their suffering peoples.
Recently China has most visibly protected the dictators of Sudan and
Zimbabwe from United Nations criticism. It has also used its position on the
U.N. Security Council to block actions designed to limit the sufferings of
those peoples at the hands of corrupt dictatorial leaders. Meanwhile, the
Chinese leaders provide the leaders with the weapons and finances to help
them enforce their self-interested will on their suffering citizens.
Noninterference for the Chinese means feeling free to provide arms, military
equipment and military training to the thugs who run many African countries
so that they can extend their time in office and their ability to exploit
Noninterference means supporting the leaders of countries regardless of
their failings. Many, probably most, laughed after Wen lectured them on the
importance of democracy, the rule of law, equality and social justice before
giving them loans and grants that they could at least partially feed into
their Swiss bank accounts.
"Dictators of Africa unite! You have nothing to lose but your Swiss bank
accounts." This should be the real rallying cry of the Chinese Communists
for their comrades in Africa. Don't tell Africa's poor, sick, dying,
brutalized and dead that China does not interfere in the way in which they
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that hypocrisy is a unique vice of the
Chinese communists. The Americans are quite good at it, as are the Europeans
and most other "developed" countries.
For example, when likely future British Prime Minister Gordon Brown goes off
on one of his aid safaris to Africa, you never hear him drawing on his
political philosophy and ethical stance to criticize the ways in which the
leaders he meets degrade and dehumanize the poor people of their countries.
On the other hand, there is some credibility in Western leaders' calls for
democracy, the rule of law, social justice and equality. There is none in
such calls from Chinese leaders.
David Wall is an associate member of the East Asia Institute of Cambridge
University and an associate fellow of Chatham House.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/29/2006 09:38:39
MORGAN Tsvangirai last night faced a savage attack from a rival faction of
Tsvangirai, the founding MDC leader who now heads a faction of the feuding
opposition party was accused of political opportunism as details of a
confidential document (see report) proposing a political settlement with
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party were published.
The secret document, published by New Zimbabwe.com, reveals that Tsvangirai
is now quietly considering the option of opening talks with Mugabe's party,
leading to a transitional unity government and constitutional reform
Gabriel Chaibva, spokesman for the MDC faction led by former NASA rocket
scientist Arthur Mutambara, said they were "shocked and dismayed" by the
Said Chaibva: "Tsvangirai projected himself as a hard-nosed leader who
opposed dialogue with Zanu PF in favour of 'confrontation'.
"Tsvangirai declared that the dispute between himself and us was that we
favoured and sought dialogue with Zanu PF while he favoured and sought
confrontation. We have not forgotten claims by Tsvangirai that our
leadership wanted to kill him so that we could talk and compromise with Zanu
PF. Guess who is now seeking dialogue and compromise with Zanu PF?"
At his faction's congress in March, Tsvangirai told supporters that they
should prepare for a "a winter of discontent and short sharp action to
remove the dictator".
Political commentators immediately warned that Zimbabweans were not in the
mood for any "mass action", pointing to weaknesses within his party which
had just split over differences among senior leaders. Analysts warned that
if it were to take off, such a plan would be easily neutralised by Mugabe's
However, Tsvangirai still went on a nationwide campaign to mobilise for the
With winter almost over in Zimbabwe, evidence first emerged that Tsvangirai
was backing off from confronting the Mugabe government on a visit to the
United Kingdom during which he told supporters that the planned "mass
action" was only intended to force Mugabe to the negotiating table.
The confidential document, titled MDC proposals for the resolution of the
Zimbabwean crisis: Sign posts to peace, democracy, legitimacy,
reconstruction, and national healing, appears to be the final confirmation
that Tsvangirai has abandoned the confrontational course.
The document says in part: "The opposition and ordinary Zimbabweans suffer
from incessant political repression and the negative effects of a collapsed
economy, which cannot be reconstructed under the present political
"Therefore, no possible relief is on offer. Only a negotiated political
settlement provides for a resolution of the crisis."
The MDC says there is now consensus at home and abroad that the current
situation was unsustainable and only dialogue would rescue the country.
In its document - also termed the Road Map - the MDC proposes phased talks,
starting with Zanu PF and then later other political parties and civic
It says: "Our proposed road map entails the following:
Stage A: Negotiations and agreement between Zanu PF and MDC on the
Stage B: Negotiations between MDC and Zanu PF on a transitional authority.
Stage C: Negotiations between civil society, Zanu PF, the MDC and other
political formations on the involvement of civic society in various
transitional bodies including the constitutional conference.
Stage D: The enactment by parliament of the constitutional conference act
and the necessary amendments to the Zimbabwean constitution to cater for the
transitional authority and cabinet and any other matters incidental
The MDC says Stage E will deal with the drafting of the new constitution by
the constitutional conference, while Stage F would focus on the holding of a
referendum on the new constitution.
Stage G will concentrate on mechanisms for free and fair elections "for all
arms of government under international supervision in terms of the new
"The two political parties should establish a legally recognised bi-partisan
negotiating team to meet as soon as possible to map the route forward,
discuss and agree on key issues to the process and draft the constitutional
reform agenda for the constitutional conference," the MDC states.
"The two parties in the bi-partisan negotiating team must agree to: the
composition, structure, terms of reference; and methods of work of the
constitutional conference. An Act of Parliament should establish the
Tsvangirai's advisers have been defending the document. In a newspaper
column, Grace Kwinjeh, his deputy international affairs secretary defended
She said: "This draft document is our modest submission as a party to the
current political discourse on possible solutions to the current economic
and political turmoil we find ourselves in as citizens.
"The first stage is Constitutional Reform, followed by the setting up of a
Transitional Authority that will oversee the running of Free and Fair
elections in the final stage."
She added: "We are proposing a non-violent route to the resolution of the
crisis based on consensus by all key political players in a process that
does not confer a political advantage to any person or group, even ourselves
as the authors of the document.
"There has been enough violence in our country's history for anyone to
contemplate an alternative to a negotiated settlement."
However, Tsvangirai's opponents are seeing the latest policy shift as
evidence of desperation by the MDC leader following his stillborn plans for
Mugabe's ouster through a program of sustained popular street protests.
Chaibva said: "We hold the view that Tsvangirai is self-seeking and
opportunistic. Here is a leader who in one breath is talking about
mass-action, ostensibly to 'topple' Mugabe. In the next breath he is saying
No! No! It's about demanding free and fair elections.
"Next he claims he does not want to remove Mugabe 'undemocratically'. Since
when has mass action been democratic? Tsvangirai is a leader who is
inconsistent, confused and who has no strategy on anything that matters."
Following New Zimbabwe.com's publication of a leaked MDC document (see
report) drafted by Morgan Tsvangirai's advisers proposing a political
settlement with Zanu PF, the other MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara --
for long accused of seeking talks with Zanu PF -- responds to the apparent
policy shift by Tsvangirai:
By Gabriel Chaibva
Last updated: 06/29/2006 09:38:36
THE MDC is shocked and dismayed to learn of the secret plot by Morgan
Tsvangirai and company to open talks with Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe's
We are particularly shocked because it is the same Tsvangirai who was busy
denouncing us claiming that we were seeking "Unity Accord Number Two" with
The same Tsvangirai was busy claiming that we wanted to compromise the
struggle by negotiating with Zanu PF. Assisted by his hangers-on, including
Eddie Cross, Tsvangirai claimed that our Secretary General, Professor
Welshman Ncube and Deputy President, Gibson Sibanda were plotting to remove
him and replace him with a leader who favoured dialogue with Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai projected himself as a hard-nosed leader who opposed dialogue
with Zanu PF in favour of "confrontation". Tsvangirai declared that the
dispute between himself and us was that we favoured and sought dialogue with
Zanu PF while he favoured and sought confrontation. We have not forgotten
claims by Tsvangirai that our leadership wanted to kill him so that we could
talk and compromise with Zanu PF! Who is now seeking dialogue and compromise
with Zanu PF?
We once warned all of Tsvangirai's propagandists that they shall one day bow
in shame and disgrace once the truth bares itself. We have all along been
aware of the secret meetings between Tsvangirai and certain senior military
commanders closely associated with the Zanu PF succession battle. We have
been fully aware of the document titled, "MDC Proposals For The Resolution
Of The Zimbabwean Crisis: Sign Posts To Peace, Democracy, Legitimacy,
Reconstruction and National Healing" since 2005 and it explains Tsvangirai's
recent utterances in London about granting amnesty to the Mugabe regime as
if he lost a single kitten during the Gukurahundi massacre of innocent
Zimbabweans. We find this shameful and a gross betrayal of the people who
have suffered greatly at the hands of Mugabe's criminal government.
We hold the view that Tsvangirai is self-seeking and opportunistic. Here is
a leader who in one breath is talking about mass-action, ostensibly to
"topple" Mugabe. In the next breath he is saying No! No! It's about
demanding free and fair elections. Next he claims he does not want to remove
Mugabe "undemocratically"! Since when has mass actions been democratic?
Tsvangirai is a leader who is inconsistent, confused and who has no strategy
on anything that matters
It would be a monumental national tragedy if this country were to have the
misfortune of having Tsvangirai as its President. There it is, he called for
"a winter of discontent and short sharp action to remove the dictator" but
the cold season is almost over and we have seen nothing! In London he called
off his imaginary "mass action".
In his document "MDC Proposals For The Resolution Of The Zimbabwean Crisis:
Sign Posts To Peace, Democracy, Legitimacy, Reconstruction and National
Healing" he offers to suspend mass action in exchange for dialogue with Zanu
PF. How do you suspend something which does not exist?
How does he expect Zanu PF to agree to negotiate with a factional leader
controlling 19 legislators, leaving out Professor Mutambara who leads 27
legislators in Parliament?
Gabriel Chaibva is the secretary for information and publicity for the MDC
faction led by Professor Arthur Mutambara