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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Business Day

Leaflet accuses Mugabe

WASHINGTON The US said yesterday that it would lead a campaign to condemn
Zimbabwe for what it said were flagrant and ruinous human rights abuses at
the upcoming meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Washington also said it would work to convince the international community,
especially Zimbabwe's neighbours, to ratchet up pressure on President Robert
Mugabe and his aides to end their repressive behaviour and press them to
hold "early free and fair elections".

To that end, the state department released a glossy 16-page pamphlet
entitled Zimbabwe's Man-made Crisis documenting a litany of abuses committed
by the country's leadership since independence in 1980.

"Mugabe has brought Zimbabwe untold suffering," said a US official.

The booklet is to be widely distributed at the annual meeting of the
commission in Geneva next week. Sapa-AP-AFP
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'UK and Zim might make up'
14/03/2003 12:52  - (SA)

Johannesburg - The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane,
says some progress has been made in setting up talks between Britain and
Zimbabwe regarding the controversial land-reform programme.

Ndungane has been asked by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to play a
mediating role in attempts to resolve the country's problems.

"We have made some strides as far as trying to see the two countries going
back to the negotiating table, but it is premature to reveal anything," he
said on his return late on Thursday after a two-day trip to Zimbabwe.

"President Mugabe said I could be of great assistance if I could help on the
question of land reform," he said.

Mugabe has said the root cause of Zimbabwe's troubles was that British Prime
Minister Tony Blair had reneged on certain agreements made by his
predecessors, Margaret Thatcher and John Major, on compensation for land
reform in Zimbabwe.

Britain has led an international outcry against Mugabe's government about
the land issue, which has seen about 4&nbs;000 white farmers evicted from
their land.

Blames famine on drought

Zimbabwe has been in the throes of crises on the political and economic
fronts in recent years, and is now dealing with a humanitarian emergency
arising from a famine.

Mugabe's government has blamed the famine solely on a drought that has hit
southern Africa.

Ndungane said he would brief President Thabo Mbeki about his visit to
Zimbabwe, where he met Mugabe, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, civil
society organisations and church leaders.

Mbeki, who has been criticised for his "quiet diplomacy" approach towards
Zimbabwe, conceded on Thursday the land-reform programme had not been
handled correctly, but maintained it was a problem inherited from

"We have seen for some time now that the matter is not being handled
correctly," Mbeki said during a state visit to Botswana.

"(Botswana) President Festus Mogae and myself have been in Harare and said
directly to the government of Zimbabwe, privately and publicly, that it
needs to be handled in a way that is not confrontational, in a way that
addresses the land needs of black and white Zimbabweans."

Ndungane: Zimbabweans are showing will to change
March 14, 2003, 07:45

Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, says he is
beginning to see the political will among Zimbabwean leaders to find
solutions to their country's socio-economic crisis.

Ndungane, who is mediating in the Zimbabwe question, says he met with
representatives of civil organisations, churches and the opposition. He says
they have all agreed that there is an urgent need to resolve the problems
affecting their country.

According to Ndungane there is a unanimity on the need for mediation among
the church leaders, Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean President, and main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The latest developments show all
the parties want to bring about normality to the situation in Zimbabwe.

On the oppositions' interpretation of Mugabe's willingness to mediation,
Ndungane said: "There is alot of polarization of society, not just among
politics but even in our churches". However, there seems to be a move to
support for mediation. Ndungane will soon meet with President Mbeki on his
role and the discussions in Zimbabwe.
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More African Leaders Criticize Mugabe
VOA News
14 Mar 2003, 18:29 UTC

Two of Zimbabwe's defenders have begun to speak out against President Robert
Mugabe's administration.

A report in The London Times newspaper says Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo has called on Zimbabwe's president to prepare to leave office. In a
surprise statement, Mr. Obasanjo told the newspaper that President Mugabe
should pick his successor.

His comments came days before South African President Thabo Mbeki said Mr.
Mugabe's controversial land reform policy had been handled incorrectly. Mr.
Mbeki said Thursday land reform is needed in Zimbabwe but that it must be
carried out in a non-confrontational way.

Under Mr. Mugabe's policy, white commercial farmers have been forced to hand
over their farms to poor blacks. Many farms have gone to government

Both leaders have been staunch supporters of the Zimbabwe government amid
sharp criticism by western nations of Mr. Mugabe.

One week ago, the United States froze the assets of President Mugabe and 76
other government officials for what President Bush called "undermining
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From The Star (SA), 14 March

Ndungane is hoping 'to turn the Titanic'

By John Battersby

Could the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town become the saviour of Zimbabwe?
This is the question being asked in the country after a whirlwind visit to
Harare this week by a delegation led by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. He
is mediating, at the behest of President Robert Mugabe, between the ruling
Zanu PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the
crisis that has followed last year's flawed presidential election. "It is
going to be like trying to turn the Titanic while avoiding the iceberg,"
Ndungane said. "We are going to need the wisdom of Solomon." The core of
Zimbabwe's political crisis is that the MDC will not recognise the
legitimacy of the Zanu PF government because it has mounted a legal
challenge to the election result. And Mugabe does not want to discuss any
transitional authority because it would imply that his government is
illegitimate. Zanu PF also faces a mounting succession struggle as opposing
factions jockey for power when Mugabe goes. Diplomats in Harare say Mugabe
will step down as soon as there is agreement on an heir.

In contrast to his first trip last month, which left civil society and local
church leaders in the cold, Ndungane this time held lengthy consultations
with civil society groups, church leaders and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
who is currently on trial for treason in Harare. Tsvangirai, who has given
Ndungane his cautious backing, did not want to be drawn on the details of
the talks. Ndungane said he would report back to Thabo Mbeki at his earliest
convenience. "President Mbeki is my president and I will engage with him on
my visit and hopefully he will be able to convey to (Nigerian) President
Olusegun Obasanjo my impressions after the wide-ranging meetings with
various sectors of Zimbabwean society," Ndungane said. He said he hoped his
mediation efforts would be complementary to those initiated by Mbeki and
Obasanjo. The archbishop said he had avoided engaging in "megaphone
diplomacy" as this was not the role of a mediator.

This week, the International Bar Association called on the International
Criminal Court to prosecute Mugabe for "serious violation of international
humanitarian law", while Obasanjo called for Mugabe's resignation. In
contrast, Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last week that South
Africa would never criticise the Zimbabwean government. The crisis over a
potential successor has deepened ever since a secret plan to manoeuvre
Mugabe's favoured choice of heir, speaker of parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa,
into the post of executive prime minister was exposed and scuttled by
Mnangagwa's opponents earlier this year. Ndungane did not indicate what the
next step in his mediation effort would be, but he noted that both church
and civil society leaders in Zimbabwe had requested that he should send an
independent fact-finding mission to the country. Some civil society leaders
had also suggested the assembling of a group of "eminent persons" to oversee
the mediation and to ensure that Zanu PF kept its side of the bargain on any
transitional arrangements agreed to.

Ndungane said he was confident that Zimbabweans would be able to resolve
their differences once the conditions for open dialogue could be created and
the space opened for democratic debate. The archbishop said he was spurred
to do something about the situation by a flood of letters and emails from
concerned members of the Anglican congregation. The state-controlled Herald
newspaper gave Ndungane's meeting with Mugabe splash treatment on Thursday,
but portrayed it mainly as a mediation between the archbishop and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair. Ndungane said on Thursday he had undertaken to
approach the British authorities. But he made clear that he also intended to
take up pressing issues relating to human rights violations, issues of
governance and the humanitarian crisis. He said he was encouraged that
Mugabe had vowed that there would be no hindrance of his efforts.
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Mbeki 'supports Zim land grab'
14/03/2003 19:21  - (SA)

Cape Town - President Thabo Mbeki's remarks about Zimbabwe's land reform
programme at a press conference during his official visit to Botswana on
Thursday has received divergent interpretations by opposition parties.

DA leader Tony Leon claimed Mbeki had not urged his Zimbabwean counterpart
to end land reform, and in fact said the opposite.

NNP foreign affairs spokesperson Boy Geldenhuys, on the other hand, claimed
Mbeki's criticism of the land reform process in Zimbabwe was good news for
the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

Media reports quoted Mbeki as telling Thursday's news conference in Gaborone
that land reform in Zimbabwe was not being carried out properly.

"We have seen for some time now that the matter is not being handled
correctly," the president was reported as saying.

In a speech made at Kungwini, in Gauteng, on Friday, Leon said Mbeki did
not, in fact, urge President Robert Mugabe "to stop his land grabbing; he
actually told him continue, to keep going and finish the job!".

What Mbeki had said, was: "There is no dispute about it, We need land
redistribution in Zimbabwe... It is now a matter of how to conclude the
situation of land distribution in Zimbabwe; and we continue to discuss it
with them.

"We must establish what remains to be done so we can come to a situation of
normalcy in that country as soon as possible."

Leon said that over the past three years, "it has been reported time and
time again that President Mbeki has decided to get tough with Zimbabwe".

"Many of us have hoped these reports were true, but every single time they
were false."

Leon said he would use parliamentary question time on March 26 to ask Mbeki
to explain his position "that the Commonwealth troika does not need to meet,
and that Zimbabwe should be reinstated".

"I will ask him to show any evidence of progress in Zimbabwe that supports
his position.

Good news for Nepad

"We shall listen to his answers, and we shall see whether we have a leader
ready to stand up for Nepad and for democracy, or whether Mbeki is really
Robert Mugabe's foreign minister," Leon said.

In a statement on Friday, Geldenhuys said Mbeki's criticism of land reform
in Zimbabwe was good news for Nepad.

"The Nepad process was in danger of derailing because African leaders, with
their refusal to criticise fellow heads of state, created the impression
that they were not really committed to democracy and sound government."

Mbeki's criticism would restore confidence in the Nepad programme, and his
message for the first time placed "real pressure on Mugabe to reform".

"Until now, Mugabe has dismissed criticism by Western countries as a
colonial plot against him and in the process even united Zimbabweans against
him. Criticism from a prominent African leader, however, cannot simply be
swept under the carpet.

"It is hoped that President Mbeki's criticism will also make the minister of
foreign affairs (Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) think twice before she makes rash
statements in public such as that South Africa will never criticise
Zimbabwe," Geldenhuys said.
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From SABC News, 13 March

Academics call for sanctions against Zimbabwe

A number of South African academics have called on Government to impose
targeted sanctions against the Zimbabwean leadership. They were speaking
during a round table discussion organised by the Institute for International
Affairs at the University of the Witwatersrand today. "Quiet diplomacy
without teeth will not work." This is the view of a number of South African
academics who attended the 'New Tools for Reform and Stability' meeting.
They say President Robert Mugabe's regime will not undertake any meaningful
reforms, unless the South African government flexes its muscles. Hussein
Solomon, a professor at the University of Pretoria says: "The way to do that
is by targeted sanctions, targeting Zanu PF political bureau and cabinet
ministers." The academics say the lack of free political movement in
Zimbabwe require external intervention. They argue that South Africa in
particular, should take the lead because political and economic
deterioration will see an influx of refugees. Failure to act, they say, will
raise questions about New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad)
commitments to good governance.
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Ex-presidents' pensions hiked
14/03/2003 22:58  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's parliament has passed a bill increasing the pensions of
former presidents, state radio reported on Friday.

Parliment on Thursday passed the Presidential Pensions and Retirements
Benefits Amendment Bill, which allows a retired president to draw a pension
of "100% of his pensionable income".

In November last year Mugabe's salary was increased to Z$1.6m (US$29 000)
from Z$1.3m.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it hoped the bill
was "a clear indication that Mugabe wants to retire", the private Daily News
said on Friday.

The pensions of vice presidents are also set to be increased under the new

Zimbabwe has two vice presidents, both of them more than 70 years old. There
is only one former Zimbabwean president, Canaan Banana.

The pension hike is likely to raise criticism from government opponents, as
the country struggles with economic recession, more than 208% inflation, as
well as high unemployment, poverty and food shortages.

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Mail and Guardian

Mugabe's 'appropriate demise'


      14 March 2003 08:49

A state witness in the treason trial of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai claimed on Thursday that President Robert Mugabe's death by
natural causes was an "appropriate demise" for the head of state discussed
at a key meeting.

This was the testimony given by the second state witness, Tara Thomas in the
ongoing treason trial of opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and two
senior party officials accused of plotting to kill Mugabe.

Thomas, an assistant at Dickens and Madson, the Canada-based consultancy
firm which implicated the opposition trio in the alleged plot, said a
natural death had been suggested by one Edward Simms at a meeting in
Montreal, in December 2001, where Tsvangirai allegedly requested Mugabe's

"Natural cause will be the appropriate demise for our friend," Thomas claims
Simms told Tsvangirai at that meeting. She was giving her version of what
was said on a barely audible video tape that had been secretly made of the
four hour-long meeting. The tape is seen as crucial evidence in the state's

The opposition trio deny the treason charges and claim they were set up by
Dickens and Madson, which has been linked to Mugabe's ruling party, to
sideline the opposition ahead of 2001 presidential elections.

They face the death penalty if convicted. Thomas, who earlier this week
alleged that Tsvangirai wanted Mugabe's assassination to look like an
accident, said on Thursday the opposition leader also wanted Dickens and
Madson to arrange discussions between his party and the army, "He wanted us
to arrange some kind of communication between the army and the MDC," she

The court heard that Tsvangirai wanted the vice president to form a
transitional government with the MDC. On an audible portion of the tape
played on Thursday, Tsvangirai is heard to say a transitional phase should
be the foundation for "a clean election", and that the military should not
step in to fill the breach, but remain impartial guarantors of peace and

"In my view, that would be the most stable way to proceed and, in my view,
it will not raise suspicions," Tsvangirai was heard to say in the recording.

Thomas also alleged that Mugabe's elimination was to take place within 10
days of the December 4 meeting in Montreal. The treason trial, which is now
in its fifth week, has already heard the testimony of Ari Ben Menashe, the
head of Dickens and
Madson. Another nine state witnesses are due to testify. - Sapa-AFP
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Zimbabwe's land acquisition -- a blunder that defies belief

The magnitude of the Government's land acquisition blunder defies belief.
It also defies all attempts to measure its likely impact or even the level
of destruction so far. However, with each passing month the evidence is
mounting that Government's actions will rank among the most destructive in
the history of Africa. That is, unless they are swept aside before too
many more months have passed.

At this stage, in the early months of 2003, the country could still embark
on an effective recovery course that could yield the beginnings of a
recovery in 2004. But a delay of months beyond about mid-2003 could delay
by as many years the start of any possible upturn. The key starting point
is to secure the 2004 food and export crops.

We know now that most of the crops hoped for in 2003 have been lost
already or were never planted. This year's meagre food harvests will
certainly be retained and consumed by the few hundred thousand growers.
This adds weight to the already-agreed fact that the balance of the
12-million Zimbabweans will be dependent on food aid until the 2004
harvests. But unless dramatic changes take place in 2003, the harvests in
2004 face every prospect of being equally poor.

To ensure that reasonable crops can be harvested in 2004, large-scale
commercial agriculture has to be resuscitated. This is unavoidable for two
major reasons:

· The state does not have the resources to fund the inputs, training and
subsidies required by the hundreds of thousands small-scale farmers who
have been resettled on formerly commercial farmland;

· Unless they are extremely capital-intensive and highly specialised,
small-scale farms are inherently non-viable, particularly in drought-prone
areas on fragile soils in the tropics.

Even in temperate regions with dependable rainfall and good soils, the
farmers need subsidies if their areas under cultivation are too small.
This remains true even when the farmers have ready access to training,
advice, the latest technical advances and bank finance.

Farm subsidies are the most contentious issue in the European Union,
despite the fact that the member states of the EU are among the wealthiest
nations on Earth. If they find it difficult to carry the burden of
subsidies, the idea has to be a long way out of the reach of relatively
very poor countries like Zimbabwe.

The resettlement of Zimbabwe's large-scale farms destroyed nearly 90% of
the country's commercial farming businesses, which used to number about
5 000. This number constituted a high proportion of the productive
enterprises in Zimbabwe, and can be compared to a similar number of
manufacturing companies and about 400 mostly small mining companies.

Outside the spheres of agriculture, mining and manufacturing, most
businesses are in the commercial, professional and other service sectors.
However, a high proportion of the manufacturing and service sector
companies also relied on commercial agriculture. Many factories either
supplied products to farmers, or depended upon farmers for their own
inputs. Farmers made considerable use of transport and communications
services, building and engineering services, banking, insurance and legal
services, and were major customers of the fuel and electricity suppliers.
In return, they generated agricultural outputs that were more than enough
to pay for all the products and services. They produced about 38% of
Zimbabwe's total exports, the revenues from which helped to fund the
importation of essentials for every other commercial and industrial sector
in the country.

Commercial farmers produced a high proportion of the food crops, growing
about 40% of the maize, almost all of the wheat and soya beans. They also
produced almost all of the sugar, coffee, tea and horticultural crops,
almost all the citrus and deciduous fruits and almost all the beef, pork,
poultry and dairy products. They were also responsible for a high
proportion of the non-food crops, producing most of the tobacco and timber
and about 30% of the cotton.

They employed the largest proportion of the country's workforce, paid
wages totalling Z$3 billion a month, provided housing for 350 000
families, schooling for 500 000 children and basic health care for more
than a million people.

The commercial farming industry also gave rise to most of the business
activity that sustained the country's small towns. This was through the
steady flow of supplies to or from the farms, the demand for workshop,
transport, construction, financial and insurance services and the
purchasing power of the farm-workers.

Incredibly, this is the industry that government has decided to close
down. Into its place, they have extended the largely subsistence
agricultural practices of the communal farming sector, areas that have
remained under-developed and impoverished for most of the past century for
the very same reasons now imposed on the former commercial farmland.

These reasons are the absence of collateral value for the land, the
consequential isolation of the farmers from the financial services sector,
their dependence on state subsidies and patronage and their ability to
disregard with impunity the exigencies of the marketplace. But as it was
always impossible to ring-fence agriculture to prevent repercussions on
other sectors, farming is by no means the only casualty of the rolling

As a result, Zimbabwe is in crisis. Food shortages are forcing the country
to appeal for aid as it no longer has the money to pay for food it has
failed to grow. A severe shrinkage of manufacturing and mining output has
resulted from the lost agricultural exports as well as from the adoption
of a fixed exchange rate. This policy is in defiance of the effects of
inflation, which has soared to more than 200%, the highest level in the
world today.

Shortages of essential imports such as petroleum products are destroying
business efficiency along with tourist inflows, hundreds of thousands of
jobs have been lost, hundreds of thousands of children have lost their
school places and the health services are in an advanced state of

Zimbabwe's domestic debts are so crippling that government believes its
only option is to confiscate the country's pension funds and other savings
through massively negative real rates of interest. It is in arrears on its
foreign debt service obligations and therefore does not qualify for World
Bank or IMF funding.  And its prospects appear more dismal by the day as,
with each reaction to each new instability, government takes measures to
more deeply entrench the policies that caused the problems.

These policies started with government's attack on agricultural property
rights, essentially to "legalise" the dispossession of commercial farmers
through constitutional amendments and to nationalise their land. Claiming
that the move was to redistribute land to land-hungry peasants, to
aspiring new farmers and to war-veterans, politicians, party-supporters
and veterans of the war in the Congo, the government appeared to be
content with the assumption was that farming skills were instinctive and

But farming is an exacting business. Farmers have to pit their wits
against the hazards of drought, flood, wind, hail, soil erosion, insect
pests, crop diseases, fungi, and a wide variety of animals from birds to
rodents to big game. Organised raids by humans hungry for food or profit
can be added, but these additional threats do not complete the picture.
Equally serious, but less tangible hazards have to be factored in, such as
possible changes in interest rates, price controls, exchange rates, labour
costs, world market prices, transport costs, fuel costs, electricity
costs, import duties, subsidies and consumer buying power.

The process of getting good at farming is a long haul. It entails getting
to grips with all the issues involved and using one strategy or another to
minimise the risks. All the challenges have to be met with investments of
time and money, in education and skills development. And all these
strategies call for long-term planning and yet more money, more time and
more effort.

All of these components of the business of farming can be leveraged up to
much more powerful levels if the farmers can gain access to information on
market preferences and price trends. They can further enhance their
prospects of success by learning how futures and options markets might
reduce uncertainties.

Of course, if everything always goes right for all the farmers, they won't
have to be nearly so well trained, so well prepared or so well informed.
If, every season, the seed and fertilisers are readily available, if the
ploughing and sowing present no problems, if rains are good and right on
time, if the weeds don't choke the crops, if the insect pests and crop
diseases don't attack, if the wildlife stays away from the crops, if the
harvesting goes smoothly and the workers are content with their pay, if
transport to markets is easily found, if the prices are good and if
revenues are comfortably above production costs, everyone will be happy
and well-fed and the farmers as well as the country will be prosperous.

But that is a lot of "ifs" in a row.  Life is not like that -- anywhere.
In particular, life is not like that in a drought-prone tropical country
that has fragile soils and is subject to the full selection of tropical
extremes and hazards. Add to that the range of risks from the financial,
marketing and distribution uncertainties, and the reasons fall into place
for the years of careful planning and investing needed to ensure that at
least some production and distribution can continue even if feared hazards

It is this process that accounts for the successful development of
commercial agriculture. In Zimbabwe, as a result of it, the industry as a
whole became a highly efficient machine that could be depended upon to
generate and sustain the vital flows of the country's agricultural

Zimbabwe's commercial farming industry should have been viewed as a
vitally important and delicately balanced system. If it had been so
viewed, more people would have appreciated that any steps taken to remove
components or disable its functioning mechanisms would quickly result in
hardships that would affect the whole country.

Zimbabwe's current predicament and its increasingly frightening prospects
are living proof of the fragility of the system and the business
relationships within it. The predicament is also proof of the need for
knowledge-intensive and capital-intensive agriculture.

Zimbabwe's population has increased dramatically in the past because of
the success of this industry and the growing population came to depend
upon its continued success many years ago. The current economic crisis is
because of the extremely damaging decision to deliberately close it down.

The authorities have taken aim at the heart of the intricate commercial
farming machine and deliberately thrown their heaviest spanners into the
works, completely overlooking the country's world-record-breaking
population growth during the past century.

Frequent claims are made that the government has travelled too far down
this land redistribution road to turn back, and therefore the restoration
of commercial agriculture to its former position cannot happen. However,
it is the financial survival of most of the resettlement farmers that is
not going to happen. The state planners do not appear to have factored in
extent to which subsidies are needed by small-scale grain farmers,
wherever they are, all over the world. The prospect of a developing
country successfully subsidising a large percentage of the population is
precisely nil. Zimbabwe therefore faces the near-certainty that most of
the resettled farmers will themselves abandon the land. The proof comes
from all over the world as well as from Zimbabwe's own experience: getting
a good return on expensive outlays is impossible on small-scale
operations. Centuries of experience has proved that only by enjoying
economies of scale can producers in highly competitive markets reach the
needed levels of efficiency.

Countries cannot side-step the basic issues. The value of what is produced
has to exceed the cost of the inputs that went into its production. If it
does not, a loss is incurred and the producer has been engaged in the
destruction of wealth, not the creation of wealth. Only very rich
countries can afford to fund such extravagance. In a developing country,
the inevitable result of efforts to sustain such conduct is severe
inflation and deepening poverty.

Zimbabwe's economy is in very serious trouble already and it is on a
course that can be guaranteed to take it into very much more. Only by
making some extremely urgent and imaginative changes to this course can
the country hope to support its population through the coming years. A
fundamental first step is to restore commercial agriculture.

Why is it that allowing small-scale farming to displace large-scale
commercial farming will be so damaging? Part of the answer lies in the
fact that farming is a business.  No reference need be made to race. The
real issue is the business environment, and one that delivers the strong
possibility of failure has displaced a business system that delivered the
much stronger possibility of good results.

Dispossessing the farmers, taking the land out of the market and
destroying its transferability as well as its collateral value did the
major damage to the business environment. From there, the damage has been
mainly consequential. Those to whom the land is allocated have no legally
protected security of tenure that could encourage investment and no access
to personal funding. But they face little threat of dispossession while
they remain loyal supporters of the ruling party. This political hold on
the land simply means that better farmers cannot displace them.

In contrast to the system in which the farmer's performance determines
whether or not he can meet his obligations, this patronage-based system
virtually guarantees mediocre results.

In the commercial farming system, the farmers are good because they have
to be. With constant pressure on them to repay loans and mortgages, they
work hard, study hard and leave as little to chance as they can. They
stand to lose everything if they fail.

A farmer who does fail is quickly displaced by the very demanding and very
unforgiving system. His land is placed back on the market and hopefully
the new buyer will have a better idea of what to do with it. The system
itself imposes the levels of competence and dedication needed to ensure
the farmer's success.

This can be all too easily characterised as an unfair and even racially-
motivated system that has been designed to keep out those variously
defined people who do not make the grade. Using such arguments to
discredit the very standards that make the system work, ruling party
politicians have realised that they can more easily retain power by
prohibiting the entry of such harsh ideas, using violent means if
necessary, and they can retain their supporters by dispensing fear and

Offering patronage in the form of something for nothing is always a
powerful tool, but for that idea to work the party needs land and other
resources to give away. It also needs to make the people so dependent on
the party's continuing patronage that they are cowed into submission by
the threat of its withdrawal.

Capturing land and businesses from private owners and handing them out
free to supporters meets the first of these, and the second is met by
destroying other sources of income. For this reason, the lost industrial
and commercial jobs are not defined as party failures. Affected workers
can try to win the favours of the patron by showing the necessary loyalty
and any that show hostility to government can be quickly shown that the
protection of the law can be denied them. Thus the price for showing
disloyalty can be immediately shown to be high.

These hidden layers of the purposes behind the policies expose the fallacy
in the ruling party's initial claim that the land redistribution programme
was to support agricultural reform. The entire exercise was purely about
politics, or more specifically the politics of patronage. The process
never had an agricultural dimension of any kind.

The targeted land was commercial agricultural land, but the purposes to
which most of the commercial land had been applied deserved to be
emulated, not reformed. And the only farmers who needed to be reformed
were those who were farming by obsolete or inappropriate methods,
suffering failing yields and causing land degradation -- the communal
farmers on communal farm land. A genuine land reform programme would have
identified the system as the principal point at issue. An examination of
the options would have shown that it is not the colour of the farmer, or
where the land is situated, but whether the system was driven by
collective ownership, or whether it relied on market-driven individual
freehold title that was backed by title deeds and legally supported
ownership rights.

Consider the differences between the farmers in East Germany and West
Germany before the Wall came down. People of the same race in the same
country were farming very comparable soils on either side of a political
divide. To the west, was one of the richest countries in Europe; to the
east, one of the poorest.  South Korea might be similarly compared to
North Korea.

The indigenous population of this country, now at about twelve million
people, is 25 times as big as it was about a century ago. This record rate
of increase was made possible and was sustained by the changing nature of
the country's economy. All over the world, industrialisation has permitted
the growth of prosperity as well as populations.

Having built up Zimbabwe's population with the support of more efficient
industrialised methods, the country has become dependent on sustaining
these methods if it is to sustain this population. And to remain
competitive in world markets, it has to keep on improving its performance,
simply because producers in dozens of other countries will never stop
trying to capture Zimbabwe's markets.

But instead, Zimbabwe has chosen to destroy its commercial farming
business sector and to put at risk thousands of other companies as well as
the jobs of perhaps half its working population. With them will go
businesses that earn more than half the country's foreign exchange and
provide government with more than half of its tax revenues.

In short, Zimbabwe is in the process of cutting its economy back to about
half its previous size. It will no longer be able to sustain twelve
million people at the previous average standard of living. Without the
support of the industries that will die, the economy will barely
accommodate six million. But the surplus six million has nowhere to go. So
the consequences for everybody in the country will be appalling.

This style of land tenure, amounting to State ownership and conditional
rights to cultivate, is the very antithesis of empowerment. It has
impoverished many countries in the past and it is in the process of
impoverishing Zimbabwe now.

With minor variations, it is the same system that has been in place in
Zimbabwe's communal areas. There, the chiefs and headmen allocate the
land. In the new resettlement areas the government-driven process is
somewhat less structured, but the same severe limitations apply, resulting
in the same poor results. The system itself imposes the limits on what can
be achieved.

If they do not soon change these destructive policies, Zimbabwe's
population should brace itself for the onslaught of waves of new evidence
as one entirely predictable failure follows another. Food shortages are
with us already. Hunger is growing worse by the day and showing every sign
of generating civil disturbances before long. The country's export
earnings are already down and will fall further as the volumes of our
principal exports continue declining.

As more commercial farms close, more of the businesses that supplied their
needs or depended upon their output will also shut down. Hundreds of
thousands of jobs in, manufacturing, retailing, transport, financial
services, construction, insurance services and engineering as well as the
professions will come to an end.

Looking at the implications of the Zanu PF policies, it is hard to imagine
that even the supposed direct beneficiaries of the land redistribution
policies would have supported them if they had realised the consequences.
When, in time to come, the people add up the costs in terms of the
millions of lost jobs, lost incomes, lost accommodation, lost schooling
and lost opportunities for the rest of their lives, the few genuine direct
beneficiaries of this rolling disaster will be very hard to find.

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Clive Kay

NEMESIS - The righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an
appropriate agent.

Fellow Zimbabweans,

There was once a dream called Zimbabwe, a country that was peaceful,
beautiful, prosperous and full of the most gentle and accommodating
citizens, irrespective of colour.  Now it is vastly different. We all know
what it has become - we have seen it crumble before our very eyes, yet only
decided to act assertively in the last four years.  That time has been full
of struggle, hardships and losses. But we have all learnt a great deal.  We
now know that there will never be a guarantee of security in Africa, unless
there is a credible government and opposition.  That politics is in fact
everything.  Too few people understand politics; it has become an offensive
word, synonymous with corruption and amoral behaviour.  However, politics
encompasses everything in a country from sport to the economy, to the way
we live our lives.  Therefore anyone who claims politics if for politicians
only, is making a grave mistake.  For evidence of this one only has to look
at our Zimbabwe, as one of many examples.  If the people have their finger
on the pulse and heartbeat of the politicians then it would make it
difficult for them to deviate from that which is in the best interest of
the people.  Politicians are (or should be) servants of the people.
Servant leaders elected on their merit.  The politicians are as much our
responsibility as we are theirs.  Accountability.

Zimbabwe has had a liberation war from colonialism.  Black Zimbabweans had
the opportunity to avenge their colonial masters of the past.  During that
war both black and white Zimbabweans paid dearly "for their sins of the
past".  In 1980 we then became collectively Zimbabweans (those who chose
not to, left) - committed to our new country, our country of peace and
hope.  I, my siblings and all our friends, of all ethnic groups, were the
"free borns" - the children born in our new land Zimbabwe.  Yet we have
been forsaken by our leaders and bombarded with racist rhetoric, inciting
ethnic and religious hatred.  Cronyism nepotism and violence has become our

Now the time has come for Zimbabweans to make a choice. Are we going to
realize our uniqueness as an African country? To realize the potential we
possess as a nation economically and humanly. Have we been through the
liberation struggle only to be shackled by the classical African
dictatorship?.  Have we not learnt from this experience?  Do we not want to
take this opportunity, that awaits us now, to become the leader of the
nations of Africa in every respect?  To prove to ourselves and to the rest
of the world that we, and Africa, are perfectly capable of representative
democracy, security and prosperity for all?  Mugabe has destroyed the
house, but the foundations are intact.  Those are too solid for even him to
destroy.  They were laid and set in freedom 23 years ago.

There are many Zimbabweans all over the world waiting to return with their
expertise.  All it needs is for us to believe that we are capable of making
the change and see the opportunity in store.  Together we must stand -
"pamwechete."  There has been loss of life, dignity, livelihoods,
property.  There has been such betrayal.  Yet with all that we have
survived.  After all we have been through and the realization of what we
can become, we should be inspired to get up and carry Zimbabwe over the
finish line.  Let us not allow another opportunity to pass us by.  Our
future generation will hold us accountable.  Our country is in its death
throes.  The time is now, the call will come.  When it does, let us give
one hundred per cent.  No less.

James Roche said " success, real success, in any endeavour demands more
from an individual than most people are willing to offer - not more than
they are capable of offering."
Zimbabwe's future, our destiny, our children's heritage depends on our
choice of action.  To actively deny and act in difference to what you truly
believe and know to be right and just, is a great sin.

God Speed Zimbabwe,


Letter 2: Rodney Brooker

Please publish the following in your JAG job opportunities.

Warden: Borradaile Trust Marondera.

The post of Warden at Borradaile Trust, Marondera has become vacant.  This
is a retirement complex with about 70 cottages for independent residents.
Two large establishments house about 60 semi-dependent residents and there
is a small hospital, called Borradaile House, for dependent residents.  In
the grounds is the separately administered Borradaile Hospital. The Warden
is provided with a house in Marondera.

Applications with C.V.s and two referees should reach The Administrator,
Borradaile Trust, P.B.3795, Marondera as soon as possible. In view of the
high cost of postage, the administrator only undertakes to reply to those
short-listed. Acknowledgements will be made to those providing e-mail

It will help us so much if you publish the above..thank you very much


Letter 3: J.L. Robinson

The Council,
Commercial Farmers' Union.

My dear Council,

Based on recent reports I have been advised that you as a Council have had
a change of heart in terms of standing up for farmers' rights in terms of
the Law, and also in terms of there perhaps being a problem with the Rule
of Law.

As a result of this possible change, I have had cause to approach the Vice
President (Regions) Mr. Mac Crawford in the physical absence of the
President of Matabeland, this week with a few queries on which I now seek
clarification with Council. The queries arose from the article in the Daily
News of 3rd March, 2003 by Mr. Freeth, regarding standing up for what is
right. I ask you as Council to please give these issues some serious
thought and debate on 25.3.2003.

1. Are you as Council prepared to attempt to do what is RIGHT regardless of
the caste of the prophet from whence idea or principle came? That is, are
you able to take a principle or suggestion from, for example, Mr. Freeth or
Mr. Goosen, or any other farmer, or employee, regardless of financial
status, farming status, religious belief, sex, colour or creed?

2. Does your Council consist of gentlemen, or ladies, big enough to accept
that at times they might make a mistake, and thereafter embrace a
Churchillian attitude - "When the facts change, I change my mind Sir. What
do you do?"

3. Can you as Council accept that you might now be considering following
the very principles and policy put forward by Mr. Freeth, that caused you
as Council to dismiss him in August last year?

4. Failure to understand the significance of this issue or the principle at
stake, more than likely indicates that Council has not been blessed with
many members that understand Mr. Churchill's attitude, and that they are
not big enough to instruct President Cloete and `Retired Director and
Consultant' Hasluck, to apologize to Mr. Freeth, and rescind the letter of

5. The Vice President advised me that this was not possible because Mr.
Freeth had "a higher agenda and had gone too far at the time." As a result
I am now at variance with Mr. Crawford, naturally.

6. The other query is to ask you as Council, if the CFU name is to be used
to stand up for farmers' rights and the Rule of Law? A little bit like
Lloyds, (for example) you are in fact the custodians of `the name of CFU.'
That is to say, is your behaviour maintaining the name, enhancing the name
or perhaps the reverse?

I look forward to a result on both issues (like one day cricket) at the end
of your one day Council meeting on 25.3.03.

                      Yours faithfully,
                             J.L. Robinson.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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JAG Sitrep March 14, 2003


Eviction Pressure mounted on a second farm yesterday mainly aimed at
eviction of farm employees and inciting them to demand their S16 packages
before eviction. Sixty to seventy settler employees, ZANU-PF youths, green
bombers and war veterans barricaded 15 commercial farmers in the homestead
together with 30 farm employees. Many of the farmers had come to the
assistance of the targeted farmer. ZRP eventually attended after the
situation had become serious and by late evening, the incident was defused
but not resolved. Farmers and their workers withdrew from the farm pending
attendance today of labour, union officials, the DA and the ZRP who will
attempt to resolve the issue.




JAG Hotlines:
(011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need advice,
    (011) 205 374
       (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
       (091) 317 264
    (011)207 860 we're here to help!
(011) 431 068

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Daily News

      Bulawayo residents walk as fuel shortage bites

      3/14/2003 4:02:09 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      AS THE shortage of fuel continues to bite, commuters in Bulawayo now
walk up to 15km to and from work everyday.

      The shortage of fuel has worsened over the past few weeks, forcing
many commuter operators to park their vehicles or spend days in fuel queues.

      An official at one filling station said: "We have had no deliveries
for the past week and I would be lying to say when we are likely to have
any. It's actually a pathetic situation but we just cannot help it."

      Some commuter omnibus operators have taken advantage of the situation
to charge passengers fares way above those gazetted by the government.

      "This is getting out of hand," said an angry Thabani Moyo of Cowdray
Park suburb, about 15km from the city centre. "How can such acts of daylight
robbery by commuter operators be condoned?"
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Daily News

      Coffee body accuses settlers of destroying plantations

      3/14/2003 4:44:38 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize in Mutare

      JULES Lang, the Coffee Growers' Association's chief executive, has
accused newly resettled farmers of damaging about 5 000 hectares of coffee
plantations worth about $2,5 billion.

      Lang said poor farming methods applied by the new farmers was largely
to blame for the loss of the crop. Much of the destroyed coffee was in
Mashonaland West province.

      Speaking at a workshop held in Mutare last week to formulate
strategies on combating a pest that wreaks havoc on the crop Lang said: "The
new farmers have destroyed coffee plantations mostly in Karoi, Tengwe,
Mhangura and Hurungwe in Mashonaland West."

      Lang said the new farmers neglected the crop and concentrated on
"traditional crops" such as maize.

      The other major problem, Lang said, was that the new farmers lacked
the technical skills to maintain the coffee crop. She said there was need to
invite the new farmers to workshops where they would be taught skills on how
to grow coffee.

      "They should be encouraged to learn new skills in managing the farms
on which they were resettled," she said.

      Zimbabwe is believed by numerous authorities to be producing about 0,2
percent of the world's coffee, with the domestic product ranking fifth in

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Daily News

      MDC supporters accused of attacking policeman

      3/14/2003 4:13:43 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      HARARE magistrate Judith Tsamba last week granted bail to 17 MDC
members who were arrested on Sunday in Mufakose after a rally addressed by
their leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

      They are alleged to have attacked and disarmed State security agents.
      The 17 suspects were remanded to 24 March on $5 000 bail each. The
magistrate ordered them to report once a week to their nearest police

      Simbarashe Muzenda represented the MDC supporters.
      The State, led by Mehluli Tshuma, had opposed the bail application.
      In granting bail, Tsamba said Tendai Mapuranga, the investigating
officer, failed to give specific reasons why the opposition's supporters
should be denied bail.

      Tsamba said: "I don't see sufficient grounds for the State to oppose
bail because the investigating officer is actually contradicting himself on
what he wrote on the State outline and what he is now telling the court."

      Muzenda said: "Granting bail to these people was absolutely not
prejudicial to the State. This is a clear case that is crying out for bail
because the grounds for denying bail are flimsy."
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Daily News

The Mole

      Affairs of the heart and Dlamini-Zuma

      3/14/2003 12:38:49 AM (GMT +2)

      Affairs of the heart, either sensational or intriguing, seem to always
feature prominently in the private lives of powerful women - from the Queen
of Sheba through to Cleopatra, Queen Victoria and Princess Diana.

      Nearer home the love life of the self-proclaimed Iron Lady of
Zimbabwean politics, Big Shuvai Mahofa, has constantly been a source of
juicy stories for the country's newspapers and created so much interest in
the woman among Zimbabweans that she has become a virtual celebrity in her
own right - if for nothing else but her romantic escapades.

      Although she has kept her surname from the first official marriage,
Shuvai has had a string of marriages some of which - those to Taderera and
Chatikobo, for instance - have been characterised by controversy bordering
on scandal.

      To her credit, the happy-go-lucky Shuvai has never tried to make a
fuss out of the somewhat unwholesome characterisation she is subjected to by
the media when reporting on her love life which doesn't seem anywhere near
the boring side.

      For the benefit of those who may have missed out on this one, the
latest Mahofa offering from the grapevine is that she has been smitten by a
dashing 30-plus young army officer who is always by her side whenever both
of them have time off from their work. That the young officer is a married
man does not seem to bother Mahofa too much as the two have reportedly been
spotted moving about openly together.

      To many Zimbabweans, it probably doesn't come as any surprise at all
that she doesn't care tuppence what society thinks about her getting into
what would normally be considered scandalous relationships.

      Apparently her affairs have the approval of the highest office in the
      In December 1988 or thereabouts, when senior Zanu PF officials took
the unusual move of voicing concern about her love life, President Mugabe
quickly doused the fire by telling the men who had raised the issue to shut
up since he happened to know that they all had girlfriends.

      But it would appear not everybody approves of Mahofa's somewhat
mindless romantic escapades, especially those women she would have
dispossessed of their husbands.
      It is understood the young army officer's wife is reported to have
caused a scene at Mahofa's Gutu residence late last year when she found out
that the deputy minister was going out with her husband. What wife worth the
title wouldn't?

      The Good Book tells us not judge so that we may in turn not also be
judged. Sounds both cowardly and hypocritical to me.

      Nevertheless, as a footnote to Mahofa's behaviour, it could fairly be
said that it is inappropriate, considering that, as the Deputy Minister of
Youth, Gender and Employment Creation, she is expected to be a good role
model for both women and young people.

      · Still on powerful women and their love lives, you will recall that
piece in this column last week about the amazingly illogical position taken
by the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
with regard to her government's blind support for the murderous Mugabe

      You will recall that, in response to a query by journalists at the
Press Club in Pretoria why her government did not publicly condemn Mugabe's
government for the mess it has made of Zimbabwe, she boastfully retorted:
      "The problem with you (the Press) is that you are waiting for only one
word - condemnation of Zimbabwe. It is not going to happen as long as this
government is in power."

      The sentiment expressed in this column then was that this was a very
strange and disturbing position to take for a government which has almost
first-hand knowledge of the harm caused to the one-time paradise by the
Mugabe regime.

      The mystery has now been solved. The Mole has learnt from very
reliable sources that this may all have something to do with the affairs of
the heart. It is understood that, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has for some
time now been separated from her husband from whom she will soon be
divorced, is now romantically linked to a high-ranking man in the Mugabe

      Nkosazana's alleged beau, who is a member of the Cabinet, is Mugabe's
chief adviser in matters of foreign policy.

      That would explain the South African lady minister's attitude towards
the crisis in Zimbabwe, which, to put it mildly, is completely divorced from
all dictates of reason. It is based purely on pillow talk which is heavily
influenced by her feelings towards her new love.

      She simply wouldn't do anything that offends her new-found companion -
a case of the biblical Samson and Delilah relation in reverse.

      By a process of simple deduction then, we can also see why President
Thabo Mbeki, most probably against his better judgment, is so strangely
reluctant to condemn his errant northern neighbour. He is most probably
following the advice of his chief foreign affairs adviser.

      To all intents and purposes, Mbeki seems to have unwittingly allowed
himself to be used in taking an official stand on Zimbabwe based on romantic

      It's the power of love.
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Zim Independent

Sandawana - Waiting for a miracle from Agribank
IS there an imminent reshuffle of the top brass at the Agricultural Bank of
Zimbabwe Ltd (Agribank)?

All is not well in the government-backed financial institution, judging by
events over the past week. Not that anything has been well in the first
place, just as is the case with the majority of enterprises where the state
has its fingers firmly in the pie.

Agribank was born out of the cash-strapped and scandal-ridden Agricultural
Finance Corporation (AFC) to pave way for a farmers' bank.

This was after political heavyweights and those with influence in political
circles had virtually brought the institution to its knees.

Money disappeared, loans were never repaid, lists of those who owed the
organisation millions vanished, and it soon became a loan outfit for all
those who were well connected.

It was therefore surprising last week when the Agribank boss was summoned by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to come to "head office" to explain why
his bank had not been turned into a "Land Bank", whatever that is!

The Agribank boss, obviously shaken and unaware of what was going on,
appeared on local television trying to explain what had been done years ago,
ie transforming his bank into a commercial entity. He said loads of
paperwork had been prepared for the central bank but had not been approved.

Small-scale farmers were then interviewed during the same programme
expressing their dissatisfaction in the way Agribank was being run and how
they were being sidelined.

Agribank is one of the institutions that have been severely affected by the
controversial land programme, better known as the "land grab programme".

Analysts say the success of the agrarian reforms is heavily dependent on a
clearly defined tenure system, adequate technical and financial support to
the new farmers and a more systematic countrywide infrastructure

Agribank, on the other hand, has "no money" to bail out farmers.

Several institutions earmarked for commercialisation still continue to milk
the fiscus at will. The list is long - Noczim, Zisco, NRZ and Zesa - to name
a few of the major culprits. Noczim has been allocated a percentage from
motorists to pay for corruption that was unearthed at the parastatal.

What is very worrying though is how the RBZ expects, within a week, Agribank
to go commercial!

Even if there are cases of miracles in this world, turning a loss-making
financial institution into a commercial entity within a week would certainly
go down in history as a world record.

Sandawana can only conclude that heavyweights are eyeing Agribank.

The minute the institution supposedly goes "commercial" they will appoint
their own blue-eyed boys to the helm, line up as usual for the "free funds"
promised in the form of farm loans and it will be business as usual!

Race for RBZ job hots up

The race for the position of governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
seems to be hotting up and major banking players are polishing up their act
to land the "lucrative" post.

Having served his two terms, the current boss Leonard Tsumba is winding up
operations at Samora Machel Avenue.

Sandawana understands that the top three candidates for the post are Jewel
Bank boss Gideon Gono, Finhold boss Elisha Mushayakarara, and Julius Makoni,
head of NMB Holdings Ltd.

The central bank post goes with all the privileges of a top government
official - travel to first world countries (foreign currency allowances),
mixing with top international executives (exchanging CVs) and mutual
back-scratching (special mention at rallies and dinners).

Sandawana takes a look at the candidates whose CVs have allegedly landed on
His Excellency's desk.

The top runner is Gono who has helped Zimbabwe secure various fuel deals at
a time when the country had virtually run out of the necessary foreign
currency to pay for the elusive commodity.

Gono has bent over backwards and travelled to various capitals of the world,
including Kuwait, to try and ensure that Zimbabwe's fuel pumps don't run

This has, however, not been helped by a government which has continued to
default on repayments resulting in suppliers stopping shipments.

Gono has an impressive CV as far as his banking career is concerned.

Under his leadership, the Jewel Bank rose from the ashes of the collapse of
the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).

However, analysts say this has been the result of regular government
support, especially the lucrative fuel contracts.

Gono gave shareholders a total dividend of 110 cents, up from 50 cents
issued during the previous year, an increase of 120%.

The Jewel Bank boss can easily qualify for the top central bank post because
influential individuals within government who rub shoulders with the
president on a daily basis hold him in high esteem.

Next in the front line, we understand, is Mushayakarara, the boss at
Zimbabwe Financial Holdings Ltd (Finhold), also a favourite of government.

Finhold has had its ups and downs during the past two years, but has managed
to play musical chairs with its top brass to try and weather the storm and
please shareholders.

Its banking division, Zimbank, has also had its market share kept at bay by
some management mishaps resulting in individuals conning the institution.

Mushayakarara is no stranger to government, having worked as its economic
architect when he was permamanent secretary in the Finance ministry.

He would be returning to the days when he handled all of government's
"cash-flow" and financial secrets.

His group's performance, judging by the results for the period to December
31, was not too bad either.

Sandawana is reliably informed that the third candidate is Makoni of NMB.

Makoni is a top banker who has had a stint with the Washington-based
International Monetary Fund (IMF) where he was one of the advisors on

Unlike his two "competitors" who have worked in commercial banks, Makoni
actually helped form the first commercial bank owned and managed by
"indigenous" Zimbabweans.

His group, which is listed on both the Zimbabwe and London Stock Exchanges,
has also performed extremely well.

However, Sandawana is informed that his "downfall" could be his government
"links" or lack of them.

The NMB boss is not a regular with the "team" and is considered "too

His bank's results point to a good player on the financial scene as his
group's total asset base increased by $3 750 million to $89 019 million as
at December 31 2002 from $85 269 million as at December 31 2001.

NMB's profit after tax shot up from $2,8 billion to $5,2 billion. The group
gave shareholders a final dividend of 560 cents per share, bringing the
total historical dividend for the year to 634 cents per share.

This was an increase of 482% from the position at December 31 2001.

None of the candidates will admit they have been given the nod for the job.
But Sandawana understands all three have been approached. Let's however wait
and see.
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Zim Independent

GMB loses US$20m in grain deal
Augustine Mukaro
THE cash-strapped Grain Marketing Board (GMB) could have been prejudiced of
over US$20 million paid to a South African company for maize imports which
were never delivered, the Zimbabwe Independent established this week.

Officials at the GMB said in February last year the parastatal awarded a
contract to Blazepoint Trading to import over 100 000 tonnes of maize.
Blazepoint Trading, a South African firm, allegedly failed to deliver the
maize despite being paid in full to cover the procurement expenses.

The landed price of maize at the time was US$200 per tonne, meaning the GMB
paid at least US$20 million for the 100 000 tonnes of maize.

Agriculture minister Joseph Made last year told reporters that South
Africa's Blazepoint Trading had been contracted to supply 100 000 tonnes and
that transport logistics were made to ensure the smooth movement of the

Highly-placed sources at GMB said the company was paid for the first
consignment and a deposit for two other orders to enable it to process the
import procedures. To date nothing has been delivered.

"Blazepoint has not delivered anything despite the payments," sources said.
"The GMB has since been informed that Blazepoint has gone into liquidation."

Sources said in November last year the GMB took Blazepoint to court for
breach of contract but nothing has materialised.

"As we speak, some members of the GMB taskforce are in South Africa trying
to negotiate with liquidators of Blazepoint to recover GMB money," an
official said.

"The acting audit manager and financial accountant, who were also part of
the delegation, returned to South Africa after compiling documents to enable
GMB to claim its money from the liquidators."

Officials at the GMB said Blazepoint went into liquidation soon after
receiving payment from the parastatal, raising questions about how the
company won the contract.

Sources said GMB officials were only shown silos of grain and told by word
of mouth the quantities held, after which Zimbabwe proceeded to pay

Sources said the Blazepoint contact person in Zimbabwe was GMB board
chairman Enock Kamushinda who is understood to have used his influence to
arm-twist the parastatal into paying the South African company deposits for
two other consignments before it had delivered the first one.

"Grain importation in the country has been politicised and is being done in
an ad-hoc manner, which explains why the contracts haven't been going to
tender since the beginning of grain imports in January 2002," a GMB source

Kamushinda had not responded to written questions from the Independent by
the time of going to press.

Blazepoint is understood to be a subsidiary of Blaze Holdings, based in Cape
Town, South Africa.

Efforts by the Independent to get comment from Blaze Holdings were fruitless
as their telephone lines were continuously engaged.
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Daily News

      Uproar over proposal to hike Mugabe's pension

      3/14/2003 4:14:09 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa

      THERE was heated debate in Parliament on Tuesday over a proposal to
increase President Mugabe's pension and other benefits by 100 percent after
he retires.

      Opposition Members of Parliament immediately attacked the Presidential
Pensions Amendment Bill saying it was uneconomic considering the crisis in
the country.
      They said the move was meant to create privileges for a few top
government officials in a society that cannot afford to meet the costs of
sustaining them.

      The MPs said Parliament should be concerned with curbing inflation and
increasing the revenue base.

      Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, brought the Bill to increase pensions and retirement benefits of
former presidents from 75 percent for a second reading, amid reports that
began to surface in January that senior Zanu PF officials were exploring
possible exit scenarios for Mugabe.

      He was speaking on behalf of July Moyo, the Minister of Labour, Public
Service and Social Welfare.
      Tendai Biti, the MP for Harare East remarked: "However, I am allowed
to think aloud and say, does this mean the President is thinking of

      "When I read this Bill I wondered as to who is the person who wrote
this Bill. Was it the President or the Minister of Labour?
      "The purpose of the proposed amendment is to hedge the pension of a
retired president to the salary of a sitting president. This defies all

      The average worker in Zimbabwe, Biti said, did not have that benefit.
      Biti said it was unfortunate that everybody's pension, except for the
beneficiaries of the Bill, was negatively affected by inflation currently
standing at 208 percent arising from the mismanagement of the economy.

      "What this Bill seeks to do is to protect the incumbent President
against his own role in the mismanagement of the economy," Biti said. "He is
not attacking the problems of inflation. To me he is the author of the
current economic mismanagement and this is unfair."

      The only reason the MDC was not objecting to the Bill was that they
hoped it was a clear indication that Mugabe wants to retire.
      "We will not stand in the way of encouraging him to retire," Biti
said, amidst laughter by his fellow legislators.

      Innocent Gonese, the MDC's chief whip, said the only positive thing in
the Bill was that it would encourage sitting presidents and vice-presidents
to retire.

      Paurina Mpariwa, the MP for Mufakose, said the idea of a pension was
noble but depended on who was going to benefit.

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Daily News

      Zvobgo blasts State corruption

      3/14/2003 4:31:39 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa

      EDDISON Zvobgo, the Member of Parliament for Masvingo South, this week
accused the government of condoning corruption, saying it was time to hunt
down those spreading the "Aids of corruption".

      Moving a motion in Parliament on Tuesday for the establishment of an
anti-corruption commission, he said government departments, politicians and
parastatals were riddled with corruption and it was time for the "bigger
hunt to commence".

      Warning that unbridled corruption would lead to the decay of the
economy and social fabric, the ruling Zanu PF MP said corruption had
permeated the institutions of government, parastatals and financial

      Zvobgo said: "Notwithstanding the economic difficulties that we have,
if you visit some parts of our major cities such as Harare, Bulawayo and
Gweru, and observe the buildings, the houses that are coming up - they are

      "They are clearly beyond their reach, beyond the means of those who
are constructing them."

      Kumbirai Kangai, the MP for Buhera South (Zanu PF), seconded the
      Paying tribute to the late Minister of Education, Edmund Garwe, for
resigning following the leaking of an examination paper by his daughter,
Zvobgo attacked the government's policy of sacking board members for
corruption when ministers, and not the board members, ran the parastatals.

      Witness Mangwende, the Minister of Transport and Communications, last
month summarily dissolved the National Railways of Zimbabwe board and took
over control of the parastatal.

      This came after one of the worst train accidents in the country, in
Dete near Hwange, in which more than 50 people were killed with 64 others

      Zvobgo said: "Corruption has rampaged through parastatals for almost a
decade and a half.

      "The cure has always been one: You sack the board and yet they do not
run the parastatal. The actual operatives and employees at the top level
remain, let alone the fact that we are yet to have leaders such as ministers
accepting responsibility and calling it a day, hence quitting because of the
scandals or corruption.

      "The more responsibility of what has gone wrong is accepted, the more
we will raise national consciousness about this scourge, this disease, this
'Aids' called corruption."
      On the chaotic land redistribution programme, Zvobgo said: "Some
people have taken advantage of the exercise to seize two, three, four, five

      Kangai said: "The motion before this House is long, long overdue. I do
not want to bore you with my experience. I went through the grill."

      He said Zimbabwe had the security apparatus capable of investigating
anything that happened in and outside the country and did not see why
corruption was continuing.
      Kangai was acquitted by the High Court last year of corruption charges
involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

      Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament, abruptly adjourned the
      He deferred debate after Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, moved for an adjournment after both ruling
Zanu PF and opposition MDC MPs continued to criticise the government for
failing to deal with corruption.

      This prompted Bulawayo South MP David Coltart (MDC) to ask the Speaker
to explain why he wanted to postpone the debate.

      "It is because there is no one who can relieve me in the House,"
Mnangagwa said, before shelving the motion to Wednesday.

      President Mugabe, addressing Parliament on 20 December 2001, said the
government remained committed to the eradication of corruption resulting in
the previous Parliament providing for the establishment of an
anti-corruption commission following the passage of necessary enabling

      "We are now into 2003," Zvobgo noted.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

War and peace
Iden Wetherell
MANY of our readers will be looking forward to the Harare International
Festival of the Arts (Hifa) next month. Over a period of just a few years
this event has become a showcase of top local and international talent.

In the midst of shortages and hardships it will represent a small ray of
cultural sunshine.

But I am becoming rather impatient with Hifa spokespersons saying they don't
want the festival to be politicised. This is a bit like saying they don't
want the Pope to be Catholic. Zimbabwe is a highly political space right
now. The government has politicised everything, including food relief to the
starving and the cricket World Cup.

Pro-government newspapers have been busy celebrating England's exclusion
from further contention in the World Cup as if this somehow represents a
victory over Tony Blair!

Harare, where Hifa is held, is solidly opposed to the Mugabe regime. The
people of the capital have expressed their views in a referendum, a general
election and a presidential poll. Zanu PF has no purchase here except where
it bribes, beats and intimidates voters.

We don't want to see Hifa organisers pretending that everything is normal -
that we can show the world how to party. This should not be some sort of
break from reality. If culture cannot be celebrated in a free and open way,
it should not be celebrated at all.

If Hifa is to succeed it must acknowledge the adversity Zimbabweans face at
every level. In other words there must be no self-censorship.

The cricket World Cup taught us that this regime will seize on any and every
event from sport to beauty pageants to suggest everything is normal. It is
not. And the Hifa organisers must not allow themselves to be led into making
naïve statements.

One of Hifa's key organisers in the past, Georgina Godwin, has been
threatened with arrest if she sets foot in this country. Her only offence
was to exercise her constitutional right to freedom of expression. The
government on the other hand has refused until this week to honour a court
judgement striking down ZBC's broadcasting monopoly. That is the "freedom"
that exists in Zimbabwe today.

We had Hifa chair Angeline Kamba recently saying security agencies had
assured the Hifa organisers of the safety of local and international

Are these the same agencies that have been arresting and beating the hell
out of civic supporters in recent weeks? The same people that have broken up
women's marches and arrested pastors? The goons who sang "Masuwa kurohwa
baba masuwa chose" when they rounded up churchmen?

Kamba is a thoughtful woman. If she wants to maintain the credibility of
Hifa she should avoid seeking any assurances from Mugabe's thugs, whatever
title they might be going under.

War in Iraq seems certain now and it could come as early as next week. I am
finding it difficult to take a firm view on the merits of American action
against Saddam Hussein. Of course war is horrible. It destroys everything in
its path including the weak and vulnerable. It is the easiest thing to
oppose war.

The Americans can be accused of hypocrisy in not upholding UN resolutions on
Israeli depredations. They are obviously concerned with the stability of oil

Let us not forget that the US and UK backed Iraq's war against Iran from
1980/88. Donald Rumsfeld presided over the reopening of the US embassy in
Baghdad in 1983.

"Dangerous fanatic" (Soyinka's words) or not, there is something unedifying
about the belligerence of President Bush and his single-minded advisors.
Their backgrounds in the oil business and corporate giants may be useful in
the field of domestic politics but international diplomacy requires more
subtle skills. The anti-war bloc France is currently cultivating is to some
extent the product of US mishandling - many countries don't want to be
railroaded into a conflict which could trigger bitter anti-Western sentiment
in the Middle East with ramifications for their own Moslem minorities.

On the other hand, what use is the UN if it can't enforce its resolutions?
The fate of the League of Nations in the 1930s, when the vain hope of
"collective security" and appeasement dominated the thinking of the
democracies, provides a salutary lesson to those who think it is best to do

The Americans point out that Europe never seems to be able to get its act
together. It couldn't even bring itself to act in Bosnia or against Serbian
attacks on ethnic Albanians on its own doorstep until the Americans gave a

Just in case you thought France and Russia were guided by high-minded
principles in the pursuit of peace, it is important to note that they too
are preoccupied with oil concessions the present Iraqi regime has dangled
before them.

We hear a lot about the fate of hospitals and sick children in the current
discourse. But how much better off the Iraqi people would be if Saddam had
devoted oil revenues to the health sector instead of stockpiling weapons and
building presidential palaces?

I was struck by the posters carried by the estimated one million anti-war
demonstrators in London last month. I didn't see one that was critical of
Saddam. Instead they were all targeted at Bush and Blair. When exiled Iraqi
students attempted to march in support of Bush/Blair they were dismissed by
old leftist Tony Benn as "CIA stooges".

I wonder what he thinks of the Kurds who succumbed to Saddam's chemical
warfare in 1991 or those Iraqis who have been tortured and executed for
opposing Saddam's regime.

I have been impressed by the passion and sincerity of exiled Iraqis I have
seen on TV arguing the case for regime change. While it is all too easy to
say "I'm for peace", how does the international community deal with vicious
tyrants who oppress their own people to remain in power? That is a problem
by no means confined to Iraq!
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