Zimbabwean businessman Nigel Chanakira
warned yesterday of more "spectacular collapses" of top corporate companies
in SA's floundering neighbour.
Zimbabwe, showing signs of tackling a
runaway inflation rate under new reserve bank governor Gideon Gono, nearly
suffered a banking system meltdown late last year.
But in a session at
the World Economic Forum, Chanakira said yesterday that the country could
face further crises in its corporate sector.
"We have seen collapses (and
there are) more to come because it is not a sustainable
Chanakira, executive deputy chairman of Kingdom Financial
Holdings , said that despite current problems there were sizeable investment
returns to be made for corporate companies willing to invest in the
But speakers said it was difficult to get a cohesive sense of
just how fragile the economic environment was, given Zimbabwe's high
inflation of more than 500% and private sector credit growth of about
Makonsult MD Simba Makoni said while there were pockets of
lawlessness, mainly introduced through Zimbabwe's controversial land reform
programme, "it is not a wholesale lawless society". Otherwise, investors,
such as ZimPlats, would not be pumping money into the country.
said the country should focus on keeping viable parts of the financial sector
running and put in place stronger supervision mechanisms.
also be a well-planned contingency system for when things went wrong, as when
the banks suffered a crisis towards the end of last year.
UN sees huge Zim food shortage 03/06/2004 20:43 -
Harare - United Nations crop forecasts estimate Zimbabwe will
produce only half its food needs this year, despite the government's
insistence that the country won't need emergency aid.
stance has raised fears that it intends to use food as a political weapon in
parliamentary elections early next year.
Zimbabwe's 12.5 million
population consumes about two million tons of grain annually.
total food production this year is likely to be lower than last year's 980
000 tons, most of it the staple maize, the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation said in a memorandum released on
"The overall food deficit could be more than a million tons,"
the agency said, adding that the deficit would have to be
The UN forecasts are based on a survey of three of Zimbabwe's
Mugabe says they won't import maize
the government ordered three crop assessment teams from the United Nations'
World Food Programme and FAO to stop their survey of rural areas before it
was complete, saying its own forecasters expected a 2.4 million ton maize
harvest this season.
In a May 24 interview, President Robert Mugabe told
Britain's Sky News TV that Zimbabwe would "definitely not" be importing food
However, humanitarian officials, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said the government has been secretly importing food through South
Africa and neighbouring Zambia.
The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change has accused Mugabe's government of lying about food production and
rejecting international aid so it can control distributions to the needy in
the run-up to next year's elections.
Grain coming from Argentina,
In the past, UN agencies and aid groups have reported attempts by
district government and ruling party officials to withhold food from
suspected opposition supporters.
Ship manifests monitored by the South
African Grain Information Service since the beginning of the year record
cargoes of nearly 200 000 tons of grain from Argentina and the United States
destined for Zimbabwe.
The often-violent seizure of thousands of
white-owned farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans, combined with
erratic rains, have crippled the nation's agriculture-based
Critics say much of the choice farm land has been given to
Mugabe supporters and is underused or lying fallow.
A DIARRHOEA outbreak at St Davies Bonda Mission School
in Juliasdale - about 50 kilometres from Mutare - has forced some pupils to
leave the school, nearly a month into the second term to recuperate at
The outbreak at the girls-only school was first detected about two
weeks ago when pupils developed malaria like symptoms which included
diarrhoea, vomiting and headaches.
Affected pupils were taken to Bonda
Mission Hospital for treatment before some concerned parents picked up their
children to monitor them at home.
Some pupils who spoke to The Herald on
their way home said the situation was bad as some of those affected were
admitted at the nearby hospital and discharged after getting better but were
readmitted after developing the same symptoms.
"It is suspected that
we were being fed with meat from cattle that had just been dosed," said a
little girl who was on her way home.
However, the secretary for education
at the Anglican Church-run school, who only identified himself as Mr
Matambanadzo, dispelled fears that the outbreak is serious saying some pupils
were "exaggerating" the situation so that they can get a chance to go home to
be with their families.
Mr Matambanadzo said when he visited the school
to assess the situation on Friday last week, there were only five pupils who
were affected and were not in serious condition.
He said the pupil who
was in a serious condition had reacted to drugs.
A test was made to
establish the cause of the outbreak and results are expected next Monday.
PARLIAMENT yesterday adopted a motion resolving that
the portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural
Resources and Resettlement should ascertain the amount of grain that the
country will harvest this year as the Government maintained its estimates are
The motion was moved by Gweru Rural MP Mr Renson Gasela (MDC),
who is also the opposition party's shadow minister for agriculture.
moving the motion, Mr Gasela said the Government's crop assessment that the
country would produce 2,4 million tonnes of grain were incorrect
as independent estimates had put the maize harvest forecast at about 850
He said it was impossible for Zimbabwe to harvest 2,4
million tonnes of grain given the seed and fertiliser shortages that were
experienced during the season coupled with the problem of tillage
But contributing to the debate, Agriculture and Rural
Development Minister Cde Joseph Made maintained that the country would
produce 2,4 million tonnes of maize this season.
He dismissed claims
by Mr Gasela that the crop forecasts were incorrect, saying there had been no
seed shortages as communal farmers had retained their own maize
The minister also dismissed claims by Mr Gasela that the Government
was secretly importing about 300 000 to 400 000 tonnes maize to cover up for
the shortfall that would arise in the near future.
"There is no secret
that we entered into a contract to import grain in case of drought and before
the crop forecasts were made we had already entered into this contract," he
Cde Made reiterated that the Government had not stopped the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from assessing the food
He said he wanted evidence that the State had stopped the UNDP
from conducting the exercise.
"I have said it before that it is the
member state that conducts the crop assessment exercise and announces the
figures, and the UNDP and Food and Agriculture Organisation are international
public servants which must respect our sovereignty," Cde Made said.
denied allegations that the food from donors had in the past been distributed
through Zanu-PF structures, saying it was distributed through Government
MASVINGO has failed to meet its target of having 5
000 hectares under winter wheat this year owing to a number of problems, key
among them being failure to rehabilitate major irrigation schemes in the
To date, about 1 900 ha have been put under wheat, a far cry
for the 5000 targeted as part of a national drive to increase wheat
No meaningful farming activities have taken place at some of
the key irrigation schemes in the province, among them the 300 ha large
Mara irrigation scheme which is awaiting rehabilitation together with
Chilonga and Dromore in Masvingo district.
Most of these irrigation
schemes either have obsolete equipment while trhere are also problems of
damaged feeder dams destroyed by Cyclone Eline induced rains two years
The Masvingo provincial Agronomist Mrs Melody Kwanai confirmed that
the province had failed to meet its winter wheat targets though she said
the area planted so far is larger than that planted last season.
could not meet our target for winter wheat because some irrigation schemes
such as Mara Irrigation scheme are still to be rehabilitated.
also received their inputs late from the Grain Marketing Board and could not
beat the planning window from late April to mid May and they turned to other
crops such as maize," said Mrs Kwanai.
She said although the province had
received nearly 350 000 litres of diesel for sale, most farmers were failing
to buy the commodity due to lack of cash resulting in large stocks of diesel
for winter farming lying idle.
This year, Gutu district had the largest
area of 326 ha under wheat followed by Masvingo district, which has 639
Last year the province planted about 1 444 ha of wheat and had
intended to quadruple the figure to increase wheat production.
government, through the Agricultural Rural Development Authority, has already
started rehabilitating irrigation schemes in the country and is
also recruiting experts in the field.
This year, the department of
irrigation was allocated $20 billion by Government in a move expected to
benefit mostly resettled farmers.
Government Still Compiling Statistics of DRC War Casualties
June 3, 2004 Posted to the web June 3,
THE Government is compiling statistics of Zimbabweans
who died during the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Defence Minister
Cde Sydney Sekeramayi said yesterday.
"The process of compiling
statistics is a long one which involves the recovery and reburial of
casualties whose bodies were buried in the battlefield," he said.
Sekeramayi was responding to a question by Mbare East MP Mr Tichaona Munyanyi
(MDC), who wanted to know the number of casualties in the DRC war and the
number of those injured.
Cde Sekeramayi said the compilation of
statistics started only last year and was far from completion.
process has to be conducted systematically, from one area to the other. This
helps to ensure that all the casualties are accounted for," he
Apart from the burials, Cde Sekeramayi said, there were also
prisoners of war who had to be accounted for and the ministry was still
consulting with the belligerent forces to find out the number of soldiers
they were still holding as POWs. He said the Government would be in a
position to conclusively declare those still listed as missing in action to
be dead only after the exercise has been completed.
said relatives of the deceased have always been informed whenever the fate of
their kin has been ascertained.
Zimbabwe and Namibia sent troops to the
DRC in August 1998 to repel rebels that were being supported by Uganda and
Critics are saying South Africa should
increase the pressure on Robert Mugabe, reports Andrew
Thursday June 3, 2004
South African president Thabo
Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe is in shambles after Robert
Mugabe's categorical rejection of negotiations with the opposition in a rare
interview last week. As leader of Zimbabwe's giant neighbour, with its
critical economic links, essential supplies of electricity and a history of
influence, Mr Mbeki ought to have some leverage with Mr Mugabe's government
and South Africa has led the international community's efforts to find a
resolution to Zimbabwe's deepening political, economic and humanitarian
crisis. But the failure of the Mr Mbeki's strategy leaves fellow African
states, the European Union, Britain and the United States bereft of an
effective policy to improve the situation.
One year ago US president
George Bush, while visiting South Africa, called Mr Mbeki his "point man" on
Zimbabwe. Mr Bush and Mr Mbeki stated confidently that by June 2004 the
Pretoria government would have brokered negotiations between Mr Mugabe and
the Zimbabwean opposition that would pave the way for Zimbabwe to return to
democracy and halt the country's disastrous economic collapse. Mr Mugabe
scuppered that plan, however, with the deadline arriving this week.
don't see why we should talk about negotiations," Mr Mugabe told Sky News. He
asserted that Zimbabwe's current situation was "the normal way of running a
democratic system". Mr Mugabe repeated that he intended to serve out his
current term until 2008, when he will be 86.
In the wake of Mr Mugabe's
statements, the South African government admitted it was not planning to come
up with a new alternative to its "softly, softly" approach. "We have no other
alternative to quiet diplomacy so we will continue with quiet diplomacy.
Whatever else diplomacy is there?" said South Africa's deputy minister of
foreign affairs Aziz Pahad.
Diplomats, analysts and Zimbabwe's opposition
insist that South Africa has many options to encourage an improvement in the
Zimbabwean situation. In 1978, South Africa, under pressure from the United
States, pushed the Rhodesian leader Ian Smith to enter negotiations that
eventually led to the birth of majority-ruled Zimbabwe in
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
criticises the South African government¹s current policy. "We have said over
and over again that Mugabe is not interested in serious dialogue," said
Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the MDC. "Now that it has come from
the horse's mouth we hope the South Africans will stop shielding Mugabe from
international pressure on the pretext of non-existent dialogue."
added: "The Mbeki government should be willing to put pressure on
the Zimbabwean government to return to democratic traditions. It is not
doing that. It should, for instance, stop protecting the Mugabe regime
at international meetings." He pointed out how, at the meeting last month
of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, South Africa led the
African countries in voting against any measure being taken against
Zimbabwe¹s growing dossier of human rights abuses. South African officials
said they were protecting Zimbabwe from unfair criticism from the European
Union. The Mbeki government's resolute refusal to make any condemnation of
documented evidence of police torture and violence and rapes by Mugabe's
youth militia amounts to condoning it, say critics.
Mbeki acted as Mr Mugabe's protector in the Commonwealth, repeatedly trying
to shield Zimbabwe from suspension. Now that Mr Mugabe has pulled out of the
Commonwealth, Mr Mbeki has not taken action to help open dialogue between
Zimbabwe and the organisation. Some critics say South Africa could use its
supply of 20% of Zimbabwe's electricity to put pressure on Mr Mugabe to
adhere to the same standards of democratic elections as South Africa and
other neighbouring states. Zimbabwe's opposition has been bludgeoned by
blatant state violence and vote rigging. Desperately needed food rations have
been withheld from opposition supporters.
Many MDC leaders say they do
not want to participate in any further elections under the current system
which is completely controlled and manipulated by the Mugabe government.
"More than 350 of our supporters have been killed in election violence over
the past few years," said one MDC member of parliament. "Zimbabwe's electoral
system is rigged. We have no freedom of assembly or freedom of the press. Why
should we participate in such unfair elections? Our participation only gives
legitimacy to the entire repressive system."
Without more persuasive
diplomacy from South Africa, Zimbabwean civic leaders said they would be
forced to resort to anti-government demonstrations inside Zimbabwe, which
they warned could be bloody. "We cannot count on the South African government
for support. We cannot count on other African governments," said the leader
of a Zimbabwean human rights organisation. "We can only win back our rights
by confrontation in Zimbabwe and we will need to sacrifice. It is a
CONCERNS about living
conditions in part of Zimbabwe have been raised with the Foreign Office by
Nigel Beard MP.
The member for Bexleyheath acted after being contacted by
Ralph Mguni, a former citizen of Matabeleland in the west of
Mr Mguni now lives in Welling and is a teacher at St
Catherine's RC Girls' School, in Bexleyheath.
He joined a delegation
led by Mr Beard to see Foreign Office Minister Chris Mullin. They discussed
how people living in Matabeleland were being discriminated against by the
Robert Mugabe government in the allocation of United Nations' food aid and
children's education, because the region had always voted against the
Two members of the delegation had horror stories to tell. One,
a former magistrate, escaped with his life after his driver had been shot and
The other watched a friend beaten to death by the Mugabe militia
while police officers did nothing.
Mr Mullin assured the delegation
Britain was fully aware of the situation.
It has withdrawn all assistance
from Mr Mugabe and was pressing for discrimination to stop.
said the Government would not support any moves by Matabeleland to separate
from the rest of Zimbabwe.
Will the sacrifices of 15 brave Zimbabweans go
for nought? Column: Corporate box by Paul Verdon When Mohammad Rafique, a
No 9 batsman from the world's lowliest cricket-playing minnow, Bangladesh,
can score his maiden century in a total of 416 against a former global
powerhouse, the West Indies and in St Lucia, not Dhaka we know this grand
old dame of sport has finally lost her marbles.
Another country keen
to get above its station throughout most of cricketing history, New Zealand,
is playing at Headingley, Leeds, eager to make amends for botching its
chances in the opening test of the series against England, home of the game
but whose national team has also known some lean times in recent
But perhaps the most fascinating struggle taking place in
today's cricketing world is that being fought offstage in
The strokemaking push and pull of a battle between racially
motivated administrators of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (controlled by their
political masters; the patron of the Zimbabwe union is, after all, one Robert
Mugabe) and 15 white "rebel" cricketers may result in the country being
stripped of its test status at this month's meeting of the International
It won't be before time. The ICC has fiddled while
the game burned for far too long.
That the ICC played part of last
year's World Cup in Zimbabwe under political conditions that could only be
described as a police state, said a lot about the calibre of its leadership
and none of it good.
It eventually took a brave act by two Zimbabwean
World Cup team members, Andy Flower, a white player, and Henry Olonga, a
black one, to bring the true situation to the world. They wore black
wristbands to symbolise the death of freedom in their country.
defiance of the brutal Mugabe henchmen who control Zimbabwe was remarkable.
The criminals had left no stone unturned in their efforts to ensure the
western press gained a rosy view of the country. State propaganda ensured the
naive Malcolm Speed and fellow ICC officials became unwitting publicity tools
of the regime and even accomplices.
Retribution was swift for Flower and
Olonga. Both players are now exiled overseas. For a time it seemed their
sacrifices had been for nought. The ebb and flow of cricket in their country
seemed hardly to have been disturbed and the ICC's precious test schedule
But under the surface, a festering sore was about to break out.
Zimbabwe has a tiny pool of players and struggles to compete internationally.
The ZCU championed the policy of selecting up to five coloured players to
"help promote the game." But the white players who made up most of the
game's elite finally decided enough was enough.
The outside world
first learned of the rebellion two months ago when Heath Streak, Zimbabwe's
captain and one of its few genuine world-class players, was sacked by the
In typical Mugabe-speak, half-truth fashion, the ZCU announced that
Streak had resigned because he was unhappy with the composition of the
selectors' panel. But Streak's father said he hadn't resigned.
later revealed that "the straw that broke the camel's back" for him was
during the earlier series against Bangladesh. He claimed a board director
reconvened the selection panel and ordered the selectors to re-select the
Streak also claimed another director had offered to pay a double
match fee for a white player to sit out a match so that a black player could
take the field.
Streak said he and Geoff "Swampy" Marsh, the former
Australian batsman who coaches Zimbabwe but who has also decided to quit,
refused to be involved in the deal.
Streak would later say that some
of the young black players who replaced him and the other "rebels," were
against selection on non-merit basis, but were threatened if they made a
Fourteen other leading players had quickly backed Streak and
announced a boycott of the series against the touring Sri
They said there had been racial and ethnic discrimination. That
there had been threats of pitch invasions and digging up the pitch by at
least one board member if more black players weren't chosen. They demanded
that Streak be reinstated, one selector be sacked and the board apologise for
a series of "transgressions."
But the ZCU was having none of it. It
declined the players' proposal for arbitration. Then the legal writs flew
from both camps.
Left out of the Zimbabwe squad were players such as
Grant Flower, brother of Andy, who hadn't missed a test for 11 years except
through injury; Craig Wishart, the country's most reliable batsman; Andy
Blignaut, who had become the first Zimbabwean to record a hat-trick in a test
and Stuart Carlisle, who had hit two test centuries in the past five
In their places were two remaining whites, 10 blacks and one
As a result, Zimbabwe was crushed 2-0 in the test series
and 5-0 in the one-dayers. This led to the cancellation of the test series
against the touring Australians after the Aussies had arrived
England, the only country to refuse to play matches in Zimbabwe
during the World Cup and heavily fined for its action, is due to tour there
later this year.
The International Players' Association has also got
into the act. It says any ICC investigation must consider that the ZCU had
ignored cricket's "core values." Its CEO, Tim May, pointed out that these
values, including equality and integrity, were stated in the ICC's 2001-2005
strategic plan and endorsed by the sport's 10 test-playing
May, probably referring to the betting scandals that have rocked
the game, said the behaviour of players had been heavily scrutinised over
"If the ICC fails to investigate these allegations, then
apathy will permeate the player ranks," May said.
importantly, 15 brave and talented men who had the guts to stand up for their
principles, may be lost to the game of international cricket."
US Companies help President Mugabe to finance secret food imports - Africa
President Robert Mugabe is staking his people's future on
the false claims of a bumper harvest. His Information Minister, Jonathan
Moyo, parrots the line but fails to convince Zimbabweans. The state-owned
and militarised Grain Marketing Board keeps international observers and
journalists away from the almost empty grain silos. The opposition Movement
for Democratic Change protests, but is ineffective. Bizarrely, two of the
Mugabe government's key supporters come from the United States.
Confidential can reveal that Mugabe's government has secured financial
backing from at least two American corporations, Sentry
Financial International and Dimon Incorporated. Dimon, the world's second
largest tobacco-leaf trader, is a public corporation quoted on the New York
Stock Exchange. Its backing Mugabe goes well beyond the secret tobacco-for
maize swap first reported in here (AC Vol 45 No 9).
We have obtained a
letter confirming the Sentry International's offer of credit worth
US$700million, to fund Zimbabwe's imports of food and other goods. This
letter, dated 15 November 2003, is from Jewel Bank, addressed to the GMB's
Acting Director, Colonel Samuel Muhvuti. It begins: `The Jewel Bank is
pleased to extend to you an offer of US$80 million for the importation of
grains'. It goes on to explain the Sentry International is arranging finance
with `security being provided by tobacco merchants' as part of the $700 mn.
credit line. The secret deal will interest regulators south of the Limpopo:
South Africa's ABSA group has a big equity stake in Jewel Bank.
collateral for the loan consists of foreign exchange earnings from Zimbabwe's
tobacco crop. A separate document, under the letterhead of the Mashonaland
Tobacco Company (formerly Dimon Zimbabwe), spells out the terms whereby the
trader `has been granted permission by the relevant authorities to purchase
tobacco directly from farmers without using the auction floor. This
permission was granted to enable MTC to issue US dollar guarantees against
which importation of maize and wheat by the GMB could commence.'
sources say Dimon has been granted a preferential exchange rate, helping it
to outbid rivals in local currency terms. Buying direct from growers enables
Dimon to purchase the highest quality tobacco without competition. Financial
and industry sources say Dimon channels its foreign currency earnings from
tobacco sales into an offshore draw down facility that is available to
Sentry, and used to finance grain imports to Zimbabwe.
The US$80 mn. From
Sentry will buy US$55 mn. worth of maize at $270 a tonne, and $25mn. of wheat
at $340 a tonne. The prices were fixed last November, when the price quoted
for maize from South Africa was $135 a tonne. Because the deal is secret and
the GMB is under military control, the arrangement is not publicly
accountable, and there is no control over any `middle-men'
Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe, knows all about it, as he was Chief Executive of Jewel Bank when
the offer letter was sent. He declined to comment on the telephone about
sensitive financial agreements. Perhaps he will have no more to say soon,
during his goodwill tour to Britain and the USA - a trip designed, in part,
to convince Zimbabweans overseas to channel their remittance through the
Half a dozen requests to interview Dimon's spokesman went
unanswered. Sentry repeatedly responded `no comment' when asked about its
dealings with Zimbabwe. When we asked Sentry's Vice President R. Kirk Heaton
why Zimbabwe would be importing maize during a bumper harvest, he laughed
and asked: `Do you believe that?'
The tobacco-for-maize deal is a
small part of Sentry International's US$700 mn. loan facility, but may
explain why Mugabe is confident that he can buy a `bumper harvest'. The
tobacco-for-maize swap may possibly violate a US Executive Order (AC Vol 45
No 10) imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe's political and business elite. The
much larger US$700 mn. loan is legal, although we hear it worries some US
Congressmen, who may call for greater Treasury scrutiny of the companies
The Zimbabwe government has reacted to reports of the swap by
denying its existence and repeating its line about the bumper harvest.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the report was `false and
mischievous'. Yet it is a fact that some 40,000 tonnes of maize were
transported to Zimbabwe during April and May. Details of exports from and
through South Africa to Zimbabwe are publicly available online from the SA
Grain Information Service.
Most of the imported grain was purchased
through the tobacco-for-maize swap, and goes into silos operated by the GMB,
the sole authorised importer of maize and wheat. The rest of the imports
were food aid. For the past two years, food aid has kept millions of
Zimbabweans from going hungry, and the government has resented this large
relief operations. During those two years, Mugabe did not once publicly
mention the United Nations World Food Programme, which was feeding up to
forty percent of the population. This week, when asked about it by Sky News,
he gave a grudging response.
The WFP's memorandum of understanding with
the government expires in June. Despite the President's comments it may
linger on after that, but only to feed AIDS orphans and other particularly
vulnerable groups. Recently, for the first time, the state-controlled media
have directly attacked the UN's top official in Zimbabwe, J. Victor Angelo.
His inquiry about the welfare of workers displaced from commercial farms was
described as an infringement of Zimbabwean sovereignty, a violation of the UN
Charter and `racist'. Some diplomats in Harare say Angelo has been
unnecessarily mild in dealing with the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front regime, but he has been - until now - the only
interlocutor between donors and the government.
The decision to end all
pretence of dialogue is based on Mugabe's recent political success. His
ZANU-PF candidates have won by-elections even in former opposition
strongholds such as Lupane. This has emboldened the President to risk
promoting the fiction of a bumper harvest - with help from his American
THE STANDARD COMMENT
Chinamasa's reprehensible behaviour - and Bennett's
THOSE old enough will recall many years ago when Ian
Smith, the then rebel leader and former Rhodesian Prime Minister, sang a song
which blatantly implied that the African people were baboons and which
rightly caused great consternation among Zimbabweans of all races, colours
Today, we witness a government minister, Patrick Chinamasa
telling a fellow member of Parliament, Roy Bennett that his forefathers were
"thieves and murderers". What is the difference, we ask, other than that the
tables are now turned.
Like Smith's derogatory statement against
blacks, Chinamasa's diatribe was no less provocative and irresponsible.
Indeed, at the present level of global civilization such statements from
supposedly learned people like Chinamasa raise serious questions about their
general deportment as leaders.
Chinamasa caused great offence not only
to Bennett personally but to many of his supporters and sympathisers across
the colour line. Needless to say, such intemperate, uncouth and vituperative
language is not expected of a minister who is supposed to lead by
It is important to put it on record that Chinamasa abused the
absolute privilege conferred on MPs over what they say in the course
of Parliamentary debates and proceedings. We fear for his wellbeing were
he to repeat his crude insults outside Parliament. By no means are
we suggesting that the absolute privilege should be taken away. Far from
it. What we are saying, and with much emphasis, is that MPs are expected to
use this privilege responsibly, and not recklessly as demonstrated
We certainly do not condone violence wherever it rears
its ugly head and condemn reservedly Bennetts impulsive reaction to
Chinamasa's extreme provocation. But, as the MDC legislator asked: "what was
he expected to do under the circumstances? The government has taken all that
he has worked for in his entire life by dispossessing him of Charleswood
Estate, and to add insult to injury, heaps demeaning invective on top of it
all. We dare say even a saint of Mother Theresa would have found such
insults difficult to swallow.
Anger is an explosive emotion which, if
not properly managed, can culminate in mayhem and destruction. Many of us
never know what we are capable of until sufficiently goaded to act against
the source of our annoyance. After all Bennett is a human being with feelings
and emotions like the rest of us.
Not only that, Bennett is a
Zimbabwean just like Chinamasa and the rest of us. Attempts in Zanu PFs
tired propaganda refrain to associate Bennett, on account of his white
colour; with British imperialism and neo-colonialism stink to high
Ask any black Zimbabwean in Zimbabwe in general and Chinamasa in
particular and they will tell you how Bennett is such a lovable, likable
and compassionate human being. The same cannot be said about the Chinamasas
of this world.
For starters, Bennett was elected by a predominantly
black constituency. Chinamasa was not. The majority of Bennett's supporters
are black Zimbabweans and not white Europeans or the British. Indeed, there
is a disturbing ring of immorality in what Zanu PF is doing to this man and
many other Zimbabweans.
During Cyclone Eline in and around
Chimanimani, people will testify how Bennett rose to the occasion and
assisted the victims of the cyclone free of charge. Many will further
testify how in good times and bad, Bennett will be there for them. He does
all these things because he is first and foremost a Zimbabwean, he loves this
country and its people. Above all, he is an affable man with a highly
developed down-to-earth sense of humour which cannot be said of sullen-faced
We say all these things in the hope and belief that
the Parliamentary Privileges Committee that has been set up to institute
investigations on whether or not the behaviour of Bennett constituted
contempt of Parliament will be an honest broker in the whole controversy.
What the ruling party has done to Bennett by evicting him from his
Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani in defiance of numerous court orders and
Chinamasa's outburst in Parliament would have driven any man to boiling
point. This is an important factor that the privileges committee will need
to consider in their deliberations.
Parliament is intended to be a
forum for open, free and democratic debate on all questions and answers
affecting the nation but not to the reckless extent exhibited by Chinamasa.
There is no doubt, Chinamasa went overboard and his utterances were
unbecoming of a government minister and one supposed to preside over the
country's justice system.
There is no one that has been spared by the
ruling party's misgovernance. Even the rented crowds which demonstrated
against Roy Bennett last Thursday are on the receiving end of Zanu PFs
misrule. These innocent souls, many of them unemployed youths and idle women
who cannot find work because of Zanu PFs economic failure, are being used as
canon fodder by some unprincipled and sycophantic ZanuPF leaders.
whole Bennett saga was not helped by the blatantly biased coverage of the
issue by ZBC and the government newsletter which moonlights as The Herald.
They totally ignored the context within which Chinamasa and Mutasa were
floored by Bennett. But then we have become accustomed to the government
media's ceaseless work to lie, distort and suppress other viewpoints except
those of government.
Where do we go from here? The privileges committee
must approach its work impartially, objectively, dispassionately and in a
reasoned, non-partisan and deliberate way. Chinamasa's excesses must be
challenged. The point must be made there are many white Zimbabweans who
stand alongside their black counterparts, working to save this nation from
They just want to get on with their lives doing what they
Zimbabweans Overseas Use New System to Remit Money
Home Tendai Maphosa Harare 03 Jun 2004, 16:02
Zimbabweans overseas are using a new system to send money
through official channels to their families back home. The system is
resulting in an increase in foreign currency reserves available for imports
of food, fuel, and other necessities. This has not entirely killed the
illegal parallel market in foreign currency. Under a new arrangement
known as Homelink, Zimbabweans living overseas can go to a specified agent
and have funds transferred to their relatives in Zimbabwe. The recipients can
collect the money in U.S. or Zimbabwean dollars at the official auction rate,
now running at more than 5000 Zimbabwean dollars to one U.S.
That is close to the parallel-market rate. In the past, all
official transactions had to be done at the rate of 824 Zimbabwe dollars,
only about one-sixth of the market rate.
The initiative is the
brainchild of Central Bank manager Gideon Gono, who was appointed last
December. It involves the setting up of money transfer facilities in
countries with a concentration of Zimbabweans who went abroad because of the
economic problems back home.
In a report in the state-controlled
daily newspaper The Herald, Mr. Gono is quoted as saying $16 million have
come into the country under this initiative during the past two-and-a-half
The central bank has teams set up to meet with Zimbabweans
abroad to try to convince them to use the new system. The teams are expected
to visit Britain, South Africa, and Botswana, where millions of Zimbabweans
But the currency black market remains in business, in large
part because it still offers exchange rates higher than the official
One dealer in foreign currency, speaking on condition of
anonymity, says the fact that Zimbabweans may choose to receive their money
in U.S. dollars benefits them because they can bring their money to the
unofficial market with its more attractive rates.
Robertson says although the Central Bank initiative will increase the amount
of money coming into the official system, it still is not a long-term
Mr. Robertson says the continued existence of the
parallel market is a clear indication that supply and demand will remain the
determining factors. He says the real solution to Zimbabwe's foreign currency
shortage lies in the recovery of the local economy.
been experiencing serious foreign currency shortages as a result of its worst
economic crisis since independence. The unemployment rate is running at more
than 70 percent, and inflation is more than 500 percent.
Maputo - Companies that pay
bribes to African officials should be "named and shamed", and banned from
participating in further contracts on the continent, finance minister Trevor
Manuel has urged.
Speaking on the second day of the Africa summit
of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Manuel told delegates yesterday that "the
corrupters" needed to be hit as hard as those who accepted the
He said it was imperative that the public and private
sectors "campaign on this together" and ensure that corrupt firms were forced
to move aside for companies that "have conducted themselves impeccably and
have done no wrong".
Manuel said South Africa and Lesotho were
working together to get companies that paid bribes in the multibillion-rand
Lesotho Highlands Dam project blacklisted by organisations like the World
Bank, but this was taking a very long time.
Closer to home, he
said the SA Revenue Service had done more to combat corruption within its
ranks than "any other agency in the world", convicting 27 people in 2002
Manuel's comments followed a confession by civil engineering
firm Aveng's chief executive, Carl Grim, that his company had had to
make payments to officials to get essential spares into countries where
plants had broken down.
Grim said he could tell "horror stories"
about the difficulties faced in getting spares through borders, and payments
created leakage that both raised the costs of doing business and discouraged
foreign direct investment.
Grim told the gathering that while
senior politicians and officials had committed themselves to transparency and
fighting corruption, something needed to be done to fight it at "lower
Manuel said the low salaries paid to officials in many
countries were not enough for them to live on, meaning that they were forced
to rely on "baksheesh" to survive.
Neil Cumming, the managing
director of packaging company Nampak, which operates in 10 African countries,
said there were three things about investing in Africa: it was "not for
sissies", companies needed to respect the countries that they operated in and
they had to take a hard line against corruption.
"If you invest
in Africa you must run your company the same way you would run it at home,"
he said, adding that this would give a marketing advantage down the road.
"You will become known as a company that does things correctly," he
Corruption did not only involve companies making payments
to government officials but also included clinging to power or
appointing relatives to high positions.
In an oblique reference
to Zimbabwe - "an eyesore not too far from where we are now" - Linah Mohohlo,
the governor of the Bank of Botswana, said "we need to apply pressure so that
the leadership begins to lead by example", allowing Africa to take her
"rightful place in the globe".
Corruption was highlighted as a key
issue in the Africa Competitiveness Report, released this week by the WEF,
and Xavier Sala-i-Martin, a professor of economics at Columbia University in
the US and one of the report's co-authors, said that ensuring property rights
and the rule of law were important to boost the continent's
Supreme Court snubs Kuruneri bail appeal after lawyers'
By Zvamaida Murwira Last updated: 06/04/2004
10:08:24 JAILED Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Chris Kuruneri
will have to stay a little longer in remand prison after the Supreme
Court yesterday declined to hear an appeal against a High Court ruling
denying him bail.
Supreme Court judge, Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza,
declined to hear the appeal saying the minister's defence counsel was not
properly constituted before the court because they had not sought leave at
the High Court to appeal against the lower court's decision.
means Kuruneri's lawyers will have to go back to the High Court and make
another application to seek leave to appeal and should the application fail,
they would have to appeal to the Supreme Court against the lower court 's
decision to deny them leave to appeal before they make the actual appeal for
The State, led by Joseph Jagada of the Attorney General's Office,
indicated that the State would oppose the application.
judge, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo dismissed the bail application last month
saying if Kuruneri is released on bail he could evade trial.
said the prosecution had a solid case against Kuruneri on the three of the
five charges the minister is facing which could tempt him to flee the
On the charge of contravening a section of the Citizenship of
Zimbabwe Act, arising from his alleged possession of two passports,
Hlatshwayo said Kuruneri was likely to stand trial because the possible
penalty might not be that severe and that the evidence against him was not so
much stronger than his defence. Allegations against Kuruneri, who was
arrested in April, arose between 2002 and 2004 after he allegedly
externalised US$1 million, 37 000 British pounds and 30 000
The State alleges that he illegally externalised the funds to
South Africa where he is constructing a property in Cape Town, which he said
was worth "only 7 million Rands and not 30 million Rands."
He is being
represented by David Drury of Gollop and Blank legal practitioners. From
the Daily Mirror
Zimbabwe's white rebels head for greener pastures By
Peta Thornycroft in Harare (Filed: 04/06/2004)
In what looks
like a valedictory statement, Zimbabwe's rebel cricketers have wished the new
young national side luck for the future, saying they will help them at every
A statement signed by 13 white cricketers was due to be
published in Zimbabwe today. It comes as most of them head off for jobs
overseas, knowing that they will probably never return home. The statement
says: "Two months ago we decided to withdraw our services from the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union. Our action was in solidarity with our national captain, Heath
Streak, who was unlawfully dismissed, as well as in protest at the unfair and
discriminatory employment practices perpetrated against us by individuals of
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.
"It was our hope that meaningful dialogue and
negotiation would address our problems with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union . . .
to achieve our goal to safeguard the future of Zimbabwe cricket.
actions have never been racially or politically motivated. In fact, through
our years of service and dedication we feel we have been an example of a
successful and multi-racial team. Despite some perceptions, we have proven
time and time again that Zimbabweans of all colours can work together and
achieve excellence as shown in our last two World Cups.
citizens of the country we love, we still hope a solution will be achieved
and that we can soon return to playing for Zimbabwe."
The statement ended
by thanking loyal supporters "who have assisted us in becoming a highly
competitive force in international cricket. We would also like to wish the
current Zimbabwe cricket team the best of luck for the future. We will
continue to support the players in every possible way."
The statement was
signed by Heath Streak, Grant Flower, Stuart Carlisle, Craig Wishart, Trevor
Gripper, Andy Blignaught, Gary Brent, Travis Friend, Sean Ervine, Ray Price,
Barney Rodgers, Neil Ferreria, Richard Simms.
Streak leaves today to join
Warwickshire, where he will be under contract for two months. The county are
seeking clearance from the England and Wales Cricket Board to play him in
next Wednesday's championship match against Northamptonshire at Edgbaston
following the unexpected early arrival of the deposed Zimbabwe
Last week veteran batsman Flower left for Britain along with
Gripper. Blignaught and Ervine have been signed by Australian sides. The
others say they are reasonably confident of finding jobs, mostly
Some parents and friends of the departing players say the ZCU
are confident of retaining Test status at the International Cricket Council
meeting later this month, because white member states are outnumbered by
black cricket unions.
"The ZCU seem sure that Pakistan, India, Sri
Lanka, Bangladesh and the West Indies will support them in racial
solidarity," said one cricketing parent who asked not to be named as he
continues to live in Zimbabwe.
The players privately say that they do not
believe that the ZCU, as it is presently constituted, will ever address their
fundamental grievances and therefore none of them will turn out for Zimbabwe
"We wish that was not so," Streak said.
Local sponsors say
they are evaluating whether it is in their best business interests to
continue to support Zimbabwe cricket.