LONDON – Hundreds of people from all over the United Kingdom gathered in Trafalgar Square in an explosive and entertaining rally meant to support the struggling women of Zimbabwe.
Organised by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the rally brought together hundreds of Zimbabweans living in the UK, human rights activists, trade unionists and others who wish to see an end to the political and economic crisis that bedevils Zimbabwe today, affecting mostly women and the girl child.
Protest singer, Viomak, lit the stage with her songs that are loaded with attacks on President Robert Mugabe's presidency and his reluctance to relinquish power at a time when economic and political woes continue to affect many Zimbabweans.
The London rally, which came two days after International Women's Day, also
saw the collection of donations towards the dignity campaign that has seen ACTSA
buying and donating sanitary products to Zimbabwe’s women who can no longer
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Lovemore Matombo said things were bad in Zimbabwe for everyone but were worse for women, many of whom have been suffering and contracting diseases due to lack of sanitary pads.
“The women of Zimbabwe are suffering and it is sad that we have to travel thousands of miles to campaign on behalf our mothers, sisters and daughters,” Matombo told zimbabwejournalists.com at the end of the rally. “I, however, am so happy today that hundreds of Zimbabweans are here, they came out in full support of their cause and in solidarity with their compatriots back home. That is what we should do all the time – unite and walk together. Unity is the word. Without it then we cannot fight the regime in Harare at all.”
Matombo said he was grateful that ACTSA and many other activists in the UK and all over the world, especially trade unionists, were doing all they could to support those fighting for freedom in Zimbabwe.
Speaker after speaker talked about the lack of justice and freedom in Zimbabwe under the Zanu PF leadership. There was plenty of song and dance, drum beating and flowers were distributed amongst those at the rally as a show of love. Bunches of flowers and banners attacking Mugabe, others urging him to go now to save the country, were later pasted and left on the doors of the Zimbabwe Embassy in the Strand.
Lucia Matibenga, the ZCTU deputy president, said: “The situation back home is bad. It is affecting all women, whether you come from Zanu PF, the MDC, this organisation or that. That is why we expected women in Zanu PF to come and join us in our fight for regime change because they are also suffering. Women have big hearts and at the end of the day they give up everything for the love of their families – they buy everything else to feed and dress the family but themselves. The result – women are picking up funny diseases because they are using newspapers and other things during their monthly periods. It is a sorry state but we are distributing the sanitary pads that have been donated so far and they are making a big difference.”
She adds: “We have to deal with the things affecting us first – these things so we can pave the way for more action from the women of Zimbabwe. We have to fight to get our dignity back, it’s the least we deserve.”
Sicelesile Ndebele, an MDC supporter from Sheffield said it was heartening to see that hundreds had come out in support of the long-suffering women of Zimbabwe.
“What we need to do is to continue fighting from wherever we are to help end the brutal regime in our country that continues to cause more suffering to the poor Zimbabwean woman,” said Ndebele. “Today has shown us that we must unite under our leadership here and do more to support the struggle back home through mobilising support for the Dignity Campaign, collecting sanitary pads and even continuing to show the international community that we are unhappy with Mugabe and company.”
Liven Sibanda, also of Sheffield was one of the opposition faithfuls that came out in support of the women’s rally. “It pains me so much to see and hear from people like Mr Matombo and Mai Matibenga that the situation on the ground continues to worsen. Things are getting bad by the day as brutality continues. We must organise many more such rallies so we can continue to tell the world the truth about the ongoing Zimbabwean story. We must unite and help end brutality and the undressing of our mothers, sisters and daughters by the Zanu PF government.”
ACTSA's head of campaigns Kathryn Llewellyn said it was good that hundreds had come out in solidarity and respect for the bravery of the women in Zimbabwe as they struggle to meet their basic needs and also as they fight to put the country back on a democratic path.
Labour MP Kate Hoey, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, also spoke at the rally.
The Herald (Harare)
March 10, 2007
Posted to the web March 11, 2007
THE Government should adopt a holistic approach in addressing challenges
facing the agriculture sector that include improving the welfare of farm
workers as this was affecting productivity, the House of Assembly heard on
This came out in a joint report of the parliamentary portfolio committees on
Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement and Agriculture and Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare on the plight of farm workers that was presented
in the House.
Moving a motion to present the report, Chief George Chimombe of Manicaland
said improving the welfare of farm workers and boosting agricultural
productivity were intertwined issues.
Submissions made to the joint committee last month by farm workers showed
that wages for the workers were pegged at $8 000 per month.
This had resulted in most of the workers' children dropping out of school
owing to failure to pay fees.
Some of the farm workers had embarked on illegal activities such as gold
panning to supplement their incomes. Some A2 farmers told the joint
committee that they had inadequate capital to venture into serious
commercial farming with others having difficulty in accessing bank loans.
The committee was informed that some banks were not accepting the 99-year
leases as collateral security as they felt that the leases had legal
loopholes hence they did not provide adequate security.
"It is your committee's considered opinion that if Government does not put
in place aggressive policies to address the aforementioned challenges, the
country might be sitting on a time bomb in terms of food security and the
economy in general. Your joint committee, therefore, calls for the
Government to adopt a holistic approach to address these challenges and,
thus, raise agricultural productivity, which, in turn, will go a long way in
improving the welfare of farm workers because the two are inseparable," read
the committee report.
The joint committee recommended that the National Employment Council for the
agricultural sector should set minimum wages for farm workers indexed on the
Poverty Datum Line.
It also recommended that the multiplicity of farmers and farm workers unions
should be discouraged because this was contributing to delays in NEC wage
The Government was urged to identify farms and allocate plots to farm
workers so that they build their own permanent homes to address their
welfare after retirement or termination of contracts.
The State was also implored to facilitate the repatriation of farm workers
who wanted to go back to their countries of origin such as Malawi.
The Government was urged to assist farmers with the provision of irrigation
infrastructure to utilise water from dams currently lying idle.
The farmers, in turn, were called upon to pay a uniform wage to avoid
distortions in labour costs.
This is an excerpt from 'Writing to the President', a short story published
this month in an anthology called Give Me Shelter, Stories about children
who seek asylum, edited by Tony Bradman, published by Frances Lincoln
Children's Books, ISBN: 978-1-84507-522-4.
The author fell in love with Zimbabwe when she first worked there in 1989.
"I wrote this story to show how painful it is to be uprooted, and then to
seek shelter and face hostility and racism. But presidents and prime
ministers don't last forever. One day Zimbabwe's children will be able to
return. This story has been inspired by and is dedicated to the late Yvonne
Vera, a great Zimbabwean writer," - Kathleen McCreery.
WRITING TO THE PRESIDENT
By Kathleen McCreery
I am writing a letter. I am writing to the President, Mr Robert Mugabe.
Once Robert Mugabe was a hero. But that was a long time ago, before I was
born. I am 9 years old. And I am very angry with the President. There is a
lot I want to say to him. "When you write a letter," our teacher told us,
"you should go straight to the point." So I do.
Dear President Mugabe,
Why did you let them bomb the office where my father works? It was a
newspaper office, a peaceful place. People sat at their desks and they
looked at their computer screens and they typed, they talked on the
telephone and they went to meetings. They were just putting words on paper,
as I am now. Is that a crime?
This is not the first time my father's newspaper has been attacked. In
January, there was a big explosion and the printing presses were destroyed.
And before that people were beaten just for buying a copy. You had to be
brave to read the Daily News, and even more brave to work there.
Once I was in town with my mother buying school shoes. I saw the police
arresting a man who was selling the paper. They said he was blocking the
traffic. The man was not in the way at all. A bus had broken down, but
that was not his fault, it happens all the time.
They arrested the newspaper seller, but they have not arrested anybody for
bombing my father's office or blowing up the printing presses. Yet
everybody knows who has done these things. A Minister in your government,
Mr. Moyo, said the Daily News was a threat and should be silenced, and it
My father was not in the office when they bombed it, so he was not hurt.
That is not true. I rub out the word "hurt" and then I write:
...so he was not injured. But he has changed. My father is a big man, with
a big smile and a big laugh. He does not laugh anymore. There used to be a
light in his eyes, but now it is as though someone has closed a door and
shut out the light. He used to clear his plate, but now he pushes it away
with food still on it. I think his belly is getting smaller.
He was talking to my mother, the television was on so they thought I would
not hear, but I caught the word "jail". And now my father does not spend
the night at home any more. He comes without warning for an hour or two and
then he goes away again.
My mother has been crying. When our maid Violet dropped a plate on the
floor and it smashed, she screamed, and she shouted at Violet. And then she
burst into tears. Violet put her arms around my mother and helped her sit
down and told me to make some tea. So you see, my mother has enough to
worry about already.
I have never written such a long letter. My hand is tired. I wonder if I
should tell the President about my Auntie Chido. We went to Gweru for her
funeral. She was an instructor at the Gweru Teachers' College, and her
husband was in the army there. He died last year. Then it was Chido's
turn. My mother was very sad. She said she did not expect to bury her baby
sister. When we returned to Harare, we brought my cousins back with us. So
now my mother and Violet have five children to care for, and my sister and I
have to share our rooms, our clothes, our books and our toys.
My mother is worried about Chido's baby Blessing. If he has AIDS like his
mother, he will need special drugs. They are very expensive. My mother
works at the Avenues Clinic, but she can't just help herself to the
She is a radiologist. She takes pictures of people's insides. When she
comes home she is always tired. She has to take a lot of pictures of the
patients' lungs, because when you have AIDS, you often get TB or pneumonia,
and there are more and more people with AIDS in Zimbabwe. One night my
mother cried and said she just couldn't do it any more. But she did. She
got up the next morning and went to the clinic.
My mother also takes pictures of people's bones. Many people come to the
clinic with broken arms and legs and injuries to their heads. HIV-AIDS is
not the fault of Robert Mugabe. But the broken bones are his fault.
My hand is rested now. So I write,
My mother says the police and army and war veterans are beating everyone,
even old women who have nothing to do with the strikes or the protests.
People are afraid. And they are hungry. When we go to the supermarket the
shelves are bare. Violet and my mother and my cousin Victoria have to queue
for hours to buy mealie meal or cooking oil. There's no milk for my small
sister or my baby cousin.
I need to get more paper. I go to my father's desk in the room he uses as
an office. It has always been messy, but today it's very tidy. It is easy
to find the paper and an envelope.
When I come back, my cousin Victoria is sitting on the bed. She is reading
my letter. She has a strange look on her face. My cousin is older and
bigger than I am, she is 14. Maybe I have spelled some words wrong.
"What is this?" Victoria sounds angry.
"I am sending a letter to the President to -"
Victoria does not let me finish. She slaps me again and again and she
yells, "Are you crazy? Are you stupid? Aren't our parents in enough
"They are my parents, not yours!" I cry. I am immediately ashamed of
myself. We are Shona people, our cousins are our brothers and sisters,
there is no difference. And Victoria's parents are dead. But she did not
have to slap me.
"And this is how you thank them, you betray them!"
"I thought if I wrote to President Mugabe I could make him understand."
"Why should he listen to a little girl?"
"He has children too, I thought he might...." My voice trails away.
"He doesn't care about other people's children. Now you must promise never
to write such a letter again. It is dangerous. Promise!" Her voice is low
now, like a hissing snake.
"I promise." Victoria folds my letter up very small and she puts it in her
I go out to the garden and sit underneath the avocado tree. Our old dog
Friday comes and settles down next to me. He always knows when I am sad.
He whines and licks my leg. I scratch him behind the ears. It is chilly in
the garden, but I don't move.
In my head there is a cliff and I am walking towards the edge with my eyes
wide open, but I can't see that it is a cliff and then Victoria grabs hold
of my dress and pulls me back just in time, just before I step into the air.
I look down then, and I can see the rocks and my breath leaves my body. And
I turn around and I see my mother and my father and Violet and Blessing and
my sister Nokthula and my cousin Tendai and a lot of other people, thousands
of people, and the army and police and the Green Bombers and the war
veterans are pushing us towards the edge of the cliff, and there is nothing
any of us can do.
I am still sitting under the tree when my mother comes out of the house.
She is carrying my sweater. She sits on the ground beside me even though
she is still wearing her uniform. In her hand she has my letter. It is
creased and crumpled now. My mother puts my sweater around my shoulders.
She leaves her arm around me. I start to cry.
"I'm sorry, Mother, I thought I could help."
She hugs me and says, "It is an excellent letter, Tsitsi. I am proud of
you. You are your father's daughter."
A wave of relief washes over me. "You are not angry with me."
"No. But it is good you did not send the letter. It is also good that I
know what you are feeling."
She takes a box of matches from her pocket, and she gives me the letter. I
tear it into strips and then we burn each strip on the bare patch of ground
under the avocado tree. I watch the fire eat my words and turn them into
Dear Family and Friends, If you are a follower of events in Zimbabwe you
will know that the pressure is increasing at a dramatic rate. Almost every
day we hear or read of demonstrations, protests and marches. It takes a
considerable amount of courage to take part in these events which are met
with a range of repressive responses including arrests, beatings in
custody, water cannons, baton sticks, tear gas and riot police. There are
perhaps none more familiar with this than the WOZA women who regularly go
out and protest on our streets. These women know, almost without a doubt,
that their protests will be stopped. They know they will be arrested and
they know they stand a good chance of being beaten - and yet still they do
The women of WOZA draw attention to the every day things in life that
ordinary mothers, families and households are battling with - the price of
food, the cost of schooling, the desperate state of health care, the lowest
life expectancy in the world. These women really are the bravest of the
brave and this week Jenni Williams, the founder of WOZA received the
highest international recognition - for her bravery, her vision and her
Jenni was one of 10 women from around the world chosen to be given the
Women of Courage award by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Jenni has
been arrested over two dozen times herself, she has been physically abused,
followed, taunted, separated from her family and yet still she leads the
way, determined that the people in power in Zimbabwe hear the calls of the
ordinary women. Being interviewed on the day of the award presentation
Jenni Williams said: "The award is a great honour, but the real award will
be a free and independent Zimbabwe." We salute you Jenni Williams, and all
the women of WOZA.
In the same week as WOZA gained international recognition, inflation in
Zimbabwe rose by a hundred and thirty six percent since in a month and now
stands - albeit momentarily - at 1729,9% . A few quick sums on the
calculator show that inflation is rising by four and half percent every
day. Also this week came the tragic news of 35 people killed when a
commuter omnibus hit a train in Harare. This tragedy is littered with the
evidence of a country falling apart: a grossly overoladed bus; tall, uncut
grass alongside the railway line; no rail crossing warning lights, no rail
crossing booms The news coverage on ZBC Television was crude, callous and
utterly insensitive to the families and friends of the victims. Not
everything has to be seen to be believed. I close with a picture of March
for people away from home: cosmos in flower everywhere - purple, mauve,
pink, white and every shade in between, it is a magnificent sight. Until
next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.
Copyright cathy buckle 10 March 2007 http://africantears.netfirms.com
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
If economic collapse ends Robert Mugabe's rule, there may be no political
leader there to step in and replace him.
By Joseph Sithole in Harare (AR No. 100, 10-Mar-07)
Professor Jonathan Moyo, the lone independent member of Zimbabwe's
parliament, observed last year that the greatest threat to President Robert
Mugabe's hold on power was not political opposition but the crumbling
Zimbabwe has the world's fastest declining economy with unemployment of 80
per cent, inflation of 1,600 per cent, widespread and deep poverty, a sickly
health sector and crippling fuel and power shortages. Non-governmental
organisations and civic groups estimate that more than three million
Zimbabweans of a population of 11.5 million will require food aid this year,
despite good rains for the last growing season.
Moyo's statement stands as a rebuke to the leaders of the main opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, for their failure to
mobilise people against the ZANU PF government.
But what he did not say, and what many people may not immediately see, is
that a dangerous post-Mugabe vacuum now looms.
The implications could be dire for the nation. When - which is rather more
likely than "if", under the present circumstances - economic collapse
finally prompts a political implosion that ends Mugabe's rule, there may be
no leader ready to direct the ship of state. That will leave room for
opportunists to vie for power, and it is not far-fetched to imagine civil
strife if the transitional process is bungled.
"The paradox of Zimbabwean politics is that everybody else claims to know
what is wrong and what needs to be done to restore the economy except those
in government," a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe told IWPR. "Those
who know have no political power, those who don't are in charge," he said.
Another analyst said political repression was making it almost impossible to
effect peaceful change in the country. He said legislation such as the
draconian Public Order and Security Act made it difficult for opposition
parties to address their supporters so as to mobilise votes.
"Such an environment leads to frustration and could cause a revolution as
happened to Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia," said the university lecturer,
who did not want to be named.
But like many observers, this lecturer questions whether the opposition is
really in a fit state to take over power.
"The problem with Zimbabwe is that those opposed to the dictatorship have
proved themselves [too] poor in strategy and judgement to readily fit in
Mugabe's shoes," he said, citing the MDC's lack of clarity on potential
rallying-call issues such as land reform, and the perception that none of
the current crop of opposition politicians inspires confidence.
The MDC has missed a number of glaring opportunities to assert itself, he
"When the government destroyed homes under Operation Murambatsvina, and
Gideon Gono [Reserve Bank governor] confiscated their money in the name of
currency change last year, people expected opposition leaders to come to the
rescue," he explained. "But no one came, and the opposition has been losing
voters and a lot of goodwill."
The government's blitz on shanty settlements and informal businesses in
Operation Murambatsvina ["Operation Drive Out the Rubbish"] from May 2005
onwards left more than 700,000 people homeless while another 1.2 million
were also affected, according to a report released by United Nations special
envoy Anna Tibaijuka, dispatched to investigate by the then UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The other analyst who spoke to IWPR said the fact that long-time MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai allowed his party to splinter over Senate elections in
2005 exposed his poor leadership.
"Not even Mugabe takes him seriously anymore," he said. "When did you last
hear Mugabe mention Tsvangirai's name except in contemptuous reference to
him as a puppet of Tony Blair? Five years ago he offered the most credible
challenge to Mugabe - but all that is gone now."
A political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe warned that there was
little hope of salvation coming from within the ruling ZANU PF.
When senior politicians tried to propose their own choice of candidates for
the party's presidium in 2004, Mugabe blocked them and instead installed
Joice Mujuru as second vice-president of the party and therefore of the
"That was a major chance to reform the party from within, but Mugabe would
hear none of it," the political scientist said. "Those accused of plotting
against Mugabe were instantly punished and expelled from the party."
The academic also accused ZANU PF senior politicians of cowardice for
failing to challenge Mugabe at the party's national conference last
December. He said that despite agreement in the party and government that
Mugabe had become a liability, "no one was man enough to tell him point
blank to go", and instead they talked about extending his term in office
from 2008 to 2010.
Joseph Sithole is the pseudonym of a journalist in Harare.
The Herald (Harare)
March 10, 2007
Posted to the web March 11, 2007
THE Electoral Court has been thrown into limbo as there are no judges to
hear poll petitions following a Supreme Court ruling nullifying the section
of the Electoral Act under which the court existed, the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has heard.
Registrar of the High Court Mr Charles Nyatanga told the committee on
Thursday that election petitions were lying unattended since no judge could
hear the cases in the wake of the ruling.
The committee, chaired by Makoni East legislator Cde Shadreck Chipanga
(Zanu-PF), had been to the High Court on a fact-finding mission to establish
challenges the court was facing.
"At the moment we are in a limbo because the Supreme Court declared the
appointment of judges to the Electoral Court as unconstitutional.
"Just about two days ago, I received an election petition but there is no
judge to hear election matters," said Mr Nyatanga.
He was referring to the ruling made last July by the full bench of the
Supreme Court that the Electoral Court was improperly constituted since it
allowed the Chief Justice to appoint judges, instead of the President, in
consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.
Mr Nyatanga cited problems arising from obsolete equipment that had outlived
its life span, saying this had resulted in delays in the preparation of
court documents for either appeal or review, among others.
He said a number of transcribers at the courts had retired on medical
grounds owing to hearing problems they had developed as a result of the
manual and archaic equipment used.
One of the transcribers, Mrs Faith Matuka, said the department had three
persons instead of seven owing to poor remuneration and frustration as the
newly recruited personnel with diplomas earned more than the experienced
staff with certificates.
Describing her work, she said it involved listening to tapes used in court
proceedings. Before she transcribed, she could take more than a month
working on a single case as some records had more than 30 tapes.
Mr Nyatanga said clerks were still using typewriters as opposed to computers
and this delayed cases to be heard either on appeal or for review.
This has seen the settling of cases taking ages, he said.
He said they could not post mail to litigants or executors of deceased
estates inviting them to attend meetings or court hearings because they did
not have postage stamps.
The court had no money to bind documents used in the Supreme Court on appeal
and this caused delays in setting-down cases in the superior court.
The committee was also shown the library used by judges in preparing
judgments, which Mr Nyatanga described as archaic with no current Law Report
The latest reports it had were for 2002.
The Herald (Harare)
March 10, 2007
Posted to the web March 11, 2007
HARARE Province has a backlog of 1 937 criminal cases and 187 civil cases
owing to an acute shortage of magistrates, provincial magistrate Mr Mishrod
Guvamombe disclosed yesterday.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for two magistrates Mr Shane Kubonera
and Mr Kudakwashe Stewart Jarabini at the Harare Magistrates' Courts, Mr
Guvamombe said the four court units making up the province have been hard
hit by a shortage of magistrates.
"Last year, the four stations constituting Harare Province, that is Rotten
Row, Mbare, Civil and Chitungwiza courts, handled 17 947 criminal cases and
25 854 civil cases.
"The province had an average of 40 magistrates who presided over these
"Ideally, Harare Province should have 47 magistrates in order to operate
"Currently, we have a backlog of 1 937 criminal cases and 187 civil cases,"
said Mr Guvamombe.
He, however, warned all magistrates present at the function against
corruption, urging them to diligently execute their duties.
He commended the Government for its efforts in meeting challenges faced by
magistrates, calling on it to further alleviate other difficulties besetting
"We acknowledge that these are hard economic times, and we commend our
Government for its efforts to meet these challenges head-on and come up with
a package which will cushion us and our families.
"We are certain that in the near future, the constraints that we are
operating under will be acknowledged and addressed.
"We believe magistrates are an integral and vital cog in the judicial
machinery and we recommend that their remuneration packages be crafted in
such a way that their importance is acknowledged.
"Regard should also be taken of the fact that housing, transport and other
allowances are presenting serious challenges to the integrity of
"Inadequate research facilities are also presenting stumbling blocks to our
mission of delivering rulings in as short a period as possible," Mr
Mr Kubonera and Mr Jarabini, who graduated with Bachelor of Laws degrees
from Fort Hare University in South Africa, worked as prosecutors before
joining the magisterial bench.
The Herald (Harare)
March 10, 2007
Posted to the web March 11, 2007
A MAJOR shake-up looms at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as it seeks to
realign its operations to effectively focus on its core functions by next
Some staff members may voluntarily and involuntarily lose their jobs as RBZ
Governor Dr Gideon Gono takes measures to sharpen the central bank's
structures to conform to the prevailing economic dictates.
The move also comes in the wake of recommendations by the Minister of
Finance for the central bank to concentrate more on its core functions.
"Following on the directive from the Minister of Finance to rationalise our
activities by focusing more on our core business, and further, arising from
my January 31, 2007 Monetary Policy Statement announcing the scaling down
and cessation of quasi-fiscal operations and assigning those functions to
Fiscorp (Pvt) Ltd effective 1 March 2007, it has become necessary that we
follow up these matters with a clear realignment of the bank's internal core
activities, appropriate structures, supporting skills and manning levels.
"As a reminder to all, we stand for no failure, we stand for discipline, we
stand for respect, dedication to duty, uprightness and, above all, we strive
to put Zimbabwe and its people out there first before attempting to meet our
own personal or departmental/divisional needs," said Dr Gono in the memo.
The new structure is expected to be in place by April 1. All heads of
divisions, departments and units in the bank have been given up to March 20
to present their proposals.
The reorganisation programme would involve the drafting of new organograms
or reconfirming current ones in some instances, while also assessing manning
and skills levels, reporting lines, and workloads, among other
Other performance measures include past and present behavioural traits "that
may or may not be consistent with what we stand for as a bank".
"To this end, therefore, heads of all divisions, departments and units in
the bank are, hereby, called upon to embark on a soul-searching, focused
exercise that is aimed at achieving our objectives," read the memo.
Dr Gono said he intended to work only with committed members of staff,
encouraging those who felt they were not part of the central bank's vision
to volunteer for retrenchment.
"There may be those members of staff who wish to volunteer to be retrenched
even though their superiors may be in need of them. Please feel free to do
so because as governor, I do not want to lead a team of management or staff
whose hearts and minds are not totally focused on the challenges confronting
us at the bank or those not dedicated to serve their country with everything
they have at their disposal."
RBZ last had a restructuring exercise in 2005.
The Herald (Harare)
March 10, 2007
Posted to the web March 11, 2007
THE Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company is being sued by some of its creditors
for failure to service debts, the House of Assembly has heard.
This was revealed in a report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Foreign Affairs, Industry and International Trade that was presented in the
House on Thursday.
The report dwelt on the deal on that saw an Indian firm, Global Steel
Holdings, assuming control of Ziscosteel without any contractual agreement
or injecting working capital into the State-owned company.
Moving a motion to present the report, Buhera North legislator Cde William
Mutomba (Zanu-PF) told the House that four creditors had handed Ziscosteel
over to their lawyers to recover their money.
"On the debt profile, Ziscosteel's defaulted balance with KFW of Germany
stood at Euro 73,8 million and US$47 million with Exim Bank and Sinosure.
"Local suppliers' balance stood at $1,2 billion, the major creditors being
the suppliers of iron ore and limestone at $240 million, factory rates at
$209 million and coal at $231 million. Due to the poor servicing of debts,
four parties had handed over Ziscosteel to their lawyers," he said.
The steel giant has since stopped production overweighed with debt.
The committee said the major challenge to production was the supply of coal
as Ziscosteel required about 60 000 tonnes per month, in a normal
production, to make 1,1 million tonnes of steel per year.
Another challenge related to persistent increases in prices by suppliers of
inputs such as coke, railage and hire charges for RD6 and RD7 bulldozers.
On average, prices had gone up by more than 80 percent by June 2006.
"Foreign currency shortages had also affected production in as far as the
company could not purchase critical spare parts or service foreign loans.
"Instead of US$2,5 million required per month, only US$2,6 million had been
received during the period January to July 2006," said the committee.
This was attributed to low foreign currency receipts due to production
constraints affecting the company.
The committee recommended that the Government should come up with mechanisms
of co-ordinating and synchronising the inter-linked and inter-dependent
operations of Ziscosteel, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zesa Holdings,
Hwange Colliery Company and Sable Chemicals.