Bulawayo, 20th March 2006.
A political Party is very similar in structure and function to a tree.
The soil in which it is planted is the people of the country and its roots
are the structures it establishes to represent the interests of the
communities among which it functions. The stem of the tree is its leadership
and the branches represent the roots of the Party in the public eye - the
Congress, its main decision making organs and Executive.
There are a number of things about trees that we must bear in mind -
they can be killed by any number of things - termites getting at the roots,
storm damage, drought and simply old age. Pruning also often stimulates
them - many only bear fruit if they are pruned on a regular basis. But they
all need water, good soil and heat to thrive.
It's like that in Zimbabwe. Our political trees have grown up and
thrived for a while and then died. The political structures that dominated
in the Rhodesian era - the long period of government under the tutelage of
Godfrey Huggins, then the Rhodesian Front under Ian Smith. Zapu and then its
offshoot - Zanu and more recently the emergence and decline of Zanu PF.
My son has a huge Erythrina abyssinica in his garden that has suddenly
died. It showed no real sign of distress until a huge part of the tree
suddenly died and had to be cut down and then the whole tree followed. Zanu
PF is in the process of dying - its roots are shrinking, it is unable to get
its membership to renew their pledges of loyalty and the people have
withdrawn their support. You can fight this sort of thing, but the reality
is that there is not much you can do about it and when it happens - the
final fall is fast and total. Look at the fate of the Rhodesian Front and
Zapu, look at the fate of the old Nationalist Party in South Africa; they
virtually no longer exist yet at one time they were giants in the forest,
towering above the others.
In the case of the MDC we have had some storm damage. A wind blew up
from South Africa and ripped a large branch out of the side of the main stem
of the MDC tree. It has left an ugly scar and will take a long time to heal.
In fact it will probably affect the long-term shape of the tree and its
appearance. But the issue that confronts us in Zimbabwe and especially those
of us, who are in the opposition, is which section of the tree retained its
links with the roots of the MDC.
Well, both sections have had their Congress's and I think we have the
right now to say that the main stem of the Party and 95 per cent of its root
structure, were left standing with Morgan Tsvangirai. The branch that broke
ranks with Morgan over the Senate issue are in reality simply a broken
branch that now lies on the ground without sufficient root structure to
sustain its mass or deliver any fruit to its members. It will either die or
become firewood - like Zanu PF or it will simply lie there on the forest
floor a crippled and broken branch of the original MDC.
The MDC Congress this past weekend attracted nearly 20 000 delegates
and others who tried to secure accreditation to attend on Saturday and
Sunday. In the end, 15 000 delegates were accredited and when proceeding
opened on time on Saturday - the Chairman got up to speak at exactly 10.00
hours, the stadium was packed to the roof and the doors with an enthusiastic
crowd from every corner of the country. The 12 Provincial delegations sat in
blocks and it was an impressive sight to see the response when each was
asked to identify themselves.
They came on foot, by train and by bus and mini taxi. The great
majority were simple rural farmers and urban workers. Their over riding
concerns were to be there to show their continued support for the MDC and
its leadership under Morgan Tsvangirai. I was not invited to the Congress of
the break away faction (even though I was technically a member of their
National Executive and Council) but I played a small role in the Congress
held in Harare. What I saw and felt there was the spirit of the MDC -
vibrant, energetic and democratic - almost to a fault.
In an amazing way we were able to pay for Congress, we rented the
Stadium, brought in professional caterers (at Morgan's insistence) and were
able to accommodate people all over the City. On Sunday we got all the
Provincial Treasurers together and asked them how much money they needed to
get home - we then went to a location in the City where we had what money
was available and we were able to pay out 95 per cent of what was asked
for - astonishing when you know that we had no support from any major donors
and our State funding was arbitrarily handed over to the break away group in
time for their Congress.
We adopted the reports tabled at Congress - also a much-revised
constitution for the Party - an outstanding job done by a team under Tendi
Biti. We also adopted a revised policy statement and the report of the
disciplinary committee. The leaders of the break away group were expelled
from the MDC with Morgan saying that this was a great loss as these were
some of the key players in the formation of the Party and its many
On Sunday we carried out another accreditation process and then voted
for our leadership. The outcome was as follows: M Tsvangirai; President, T
Khupe; Vice President, I Matongo; Chairman, L Moyo; Vice Chairperson,
Secretary General; T Biti, Deputy; T Mashakada, Organising Secretary; E
Mudzuri, Deputy; D Komiche, Party Spokesperson; N Chamisa, Treasurer
General; R Bennett.
This is a strong team - disappointing that there is only one woman in
the line up - an ongoing problem in the MDC. We will try to correct that in
the rest of the Executive and National Council. But there are three
Matabeleland representatives - both the Chairpersons of Matabeleland South
and North were elected to national posts.
The President called for a winter of discontent and dissidence leading
to a new Constitution for the country and a new democratic beginning. The
Congress was the start of that process and we are now into the
implementation phase. I expect real action this time and there is, for the
first time, going to be a confrontation. I wish it were otherwise but we no
longer have any choice. Perhaps when we get to start pushing that old tree
called Zanu PF, we will find that it is so rotten underground that it just
falls over - we just have to watch out for collateral damage.
Reuters, 20 March
Harare - Zimbabwe police raided the provincial offices of a splinter faction
of the country's opposition party, looking for arms and subversive material,
a party official said on Monday. The raid in Zimbabwe's second city of
Bulawayo follows official allegations of plots against President Robert
Mugabe, whose 26-year rule is being challenged by the divided opposition.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has split into two
feuding groups over tactics against Mugabe. Founding leader Morgan
Tsvangirai called at the weekend for mass protests against the veteran
president. The official said the targeted office belonged to a faction led
by MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda and secretary-general Welshman Ncube.
It broke ranks with Tsvangirai and elected a former student activist, Arthur
Mutambara, as its leader. Police spent the night at the party's offices in
Bulawayo and mounted a search on Monday, Maxwell Zimuto, the faction's head
of information, told Reuters from the city. "I can confirm that police are
here as I speak ... they have a search warrant to look for arms of war and
any subversive material," Zimuto said. Police could not immediately comment
The opposition accuses Mugabe's government of using security laws to stamp
down on opponents trying to end his long rule since independence from
Britain in 1980. Early this month seven people, including an opposition
legislator, were charged with a plot to assassinate Mugabe and destabilise
the country, but the state dropped the charges against six of them last
week. The authorities said they had discovered an arms cache in the eastern
town of Mutare at the home of a former policeman in Rhodesia - Zimbabwe's
name before independence - which they said was to be used against senior
officials. Tsvangirai won re-election as head of his MDC faction on Sunday
and called in an address to 15,000 congress delegates for a "cold season of
peaceful democratic resistance" against Mugabe's rule. He said only
sustained mass protests could overcome what he called government brutality.
There has been no immediate government reaction to Tsvangirai's call, but
the authorities have routinely deployed security forces to crush political
Tue 21 March 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa has warned
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters that the government
will crush any mass protests against President Robert Mugabe.
Then tough-talking Mutasa - who two weeks ago warned that the
government may resort to physically eliminating opponents - said the
government was closely monitoring Tsvangirai after the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party leader last weekend told Zimbabweans to ready
themselves for popular protests to press the government to embrace
"We are watching them closely. We heard his (Tsvangirai) threats and
we hope they will just end as threats but if they start destroying things
then they will see us," Mutasa told ZimOnline adding that if Tsvangirai and
the MDC wanted war with the government, then it was more than ready for
"If they want a fight then we are more than ready to hit back harder,"
said Mutasa, who is probably the most powerful minister in Mugabe's Cabinet.
As security minister, Mutasa oversees the government's dreaded spy
Central Intelligence Organisation that is accused of terrorising the
opposition. He is also in charge of the government's chaotic land reforms
and food aid distribution.
Addressing the more than 15 000 delegates at the MDC's congress last
weekend, Tsvangirai said his party had lost faith in elections as a
democratic tool to change the government because Mugabe and his ruling ZANU
PF party always rig polls.
Tsvangirai said he was ready to lead Zimbabweans "from the front" in
mass protests against Mugabe's government until democracy was restored in
With its strong support in urban areas, the MDC is best placed to
organise streets protests against the government.
But political analysts say the MDC is at the moment too weakened to
confront the government and its army in the streets after the opposition
party split into two rival political parties.
Besides the Tsvangirai-led MDC - that is widely seen as the main rival
to Mugabe's ZANU PF party - there is another faction of the opposition party
that also calls itself the MDC and is led by former student activist Arthur
Calls in the past by Tsvangirai and his MDC for mass revolt have
fizzled out with only a handful of people heeding such calls while the army
and police have always been more than ready to prevent people from taking to
the streets against the government. But analysts and observers say
Zimbabwe - in the grip of its worst ever economic crisis that has seen
shortages of literally every basic survival commodity from fuel to food,
electricity and with inflation beyond 700 percent - may just be ripe for a
revolution. - ZimOnline.
Tue 21 March 2006
MASVINGO - Traditional healers in Zimbabwe's southern Masvingo
province have called on the government to allow them to visit public
hospitals to administer herbs to patients who are otherwise not getting much
help from the state institutions because of a shortage of medicines.
An acute foreign currency shortage has seen state hospitals without
essential medical drugs which are imported. In many cases, public hospitals
can only give patients ordinary pain killers and this when the HIV/AIDS
pandemic is wrecking havoc in the country, killing at least 2 000 people
"Our forefathers used to treat several ailments using traditional
medicine and we believe the same can be done today," said Daniel Dambakuwa,
the spokesman of the Masvingo chapter of the Zimbabwe National Traditional
Healers Association (ZINATHA).
Dambakuwa said his association had formally approached the Ministry of
Health, which runs public hospitals, to be allowed access to the health
facilities and were awaiting response from the ministry.
"Many people are dying because the country has run short of essential
drugs . we want to do this not for financial gain but to save human life,"
said the traditional healer.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa could not be immediately reached
for comment on the matter. But Parirenyatwa, himself a medical doctor, has
in the past castigated some members of ZINATHA for administering toxic and
untested substances to patients.
Although admitting traditional medicine could be helpful to
Zimbabweans especially in remote rural areas, Parirenyatwa however insists
that there is need for thorough research into the medicine before it could
be freely allowed in hospitals.
The Zimbabwe government has no foreign currency to import critically
needed medicines, fuel, electricity and food.
Critics blame the foreign currency and economic crisis on repression
and wrong economic policies by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU
PF party, in power since independence from Britain 25 years ago.
The veteran President denies the charge and instead blames Zimbabwe's
problems on economic sabotage by Western countries he says are out to fix
his government for seizing land from white farmers and giving it over to
landless blacks. - ZimOnline
Tue 21 March 2006
BULAWAYO - The leader of a breakaway faction of Zimbabwe's main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party Arthur Mutambara says
President Robert Mugabe's government must pay compensation to families of
people killed by the army in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces during
the early 80s.
At least 20 000 people, most of them innocent civilians, were killed
by the army's North Korean-trained 5th Brigade sent into Matabeleland and
Midlands to quell an armed rebellion in the two southern provinces against
The victims of the army campaign were mostly from the minority Ndebele
tribe that is the largest ethnic group in the two provinces and were accused
of backing the dissidents.
Addressing his party's supporters at White City stadium in Bulawayo at
the weekend, Mutambara said there was need for an apology for the
Matabeleland and Midlands killings also known as the Gukurahundi atrocities
after the codename the army gave its operation in the two provinces.
"There should be an apology for the Gukurahundi killings and that
should be followed by full compensation to all those who lost loved ones and
those orphaned during the period and all this will allow a process of
national healing," Mutambara said to thunderous applause from his audience
most of whom who lost relatives during the killings.
Mugabe, who later united with his political rivals in Matabeleland to
end the armed insurrection and the killings, has admitted the army crackdown
was wrong and called it "an act of madness".
But the veteran President, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces, has refused to take full and personal responsibility or to
apologise for the army killings. - ZimOnline
Tue 21 March 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe immigration officials at the weekend deported two
Netherlands Trade Union Federation officials who were visiting the country
to meet with their counterparts at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
ZCTU information officer Mlamuleli Sibanda said junior immigration
officials at Harare International Airport had initially permitted the Dutch
trade unionists to enter Zimbabwe but this was reversed by a senior official
who ordered that the foreign labour officials be detained while awaiting the
next flight out of Zimbabwe.
Sibanda said: "ZCTU is equally worried by the detention of the
Netherlands Trade Union officials because all immigration formalities had
been completed when they were approached by an immigration officer who
claimed to be in charge of the afternoon shift and gave his name as Charles
Dube. No reasons were given for their detention."
The ZCTU official told ZimOnline that the Dutch trade unionists were
later put on a British Airways flight to South Africa.
The Harare administration has since last year banned several
international trade union leaders from visiting Zimbabwe.
The government last year deported a delegation from the Congress of
South African Trade Unions who were in Zimbabwe to meet the ZCTU and to
assess conditions in the crisis-hit country. - ZimOnline
Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:31 PM GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has dramatically
raised the stakes by calling for mass protests against President Robert
Mugabe that could determine both his own and Zimbabwe's future, analysts
Tsvangirai, who was re-elected president of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) on Sunday, warned Mugabe, in power since
independence from Britain in 1980, that his long rule was coming to an end.
He urged Zimbabweans to save money and stock up food ahead of a "cold season
of peaceful democratic resistance."
He told cheering supporters that "the dictator must brace himself for a
long, bustling winter across the country."
Political analysts said Tsvangirai's tough statements raised not only his
profile as Mugabe's main challenger, but also the stakes on which he will be
judged in the coming months.
"Tsvangirai has set big targets, and if ... the MDC delivers on this
programme of sustained mass action Mugabe is going to feel the pressure,"
said Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of political pressure group National
Madhuku said he believed co-ordinated and peaceful demonstrations across
Zimbabwe could force Mugabe to agree to talks about the crisis in the
southern African country.
"If it happens, and I think it is possible, this is going to determine
Zimbabwe's political future in the next year or so," Madhuku added.
But John Makumbe, a political commentator and a critic of Mugabe, said
Tsvangirai could run into trouble as the government often uses tough
policing to keep the opposition in check.
"Mugabe and ZANU-PF are given to intransigence, so their initial reaction is
likely to be the use of force, intimidation and arrests," he said.
"Tsvangirai is talking about peaceful demonstrations but the government has
always responded with violence so obviously we may get into a period of
chaos," Makumbe added.
But if the protests turn out to be massive, he said the government may
accept demands including the drafting of a new constitution which the
opposition says is needed to guarantee free and fair elections.
ECONOMY INCREASES FRUSTRATION
Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by
Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police to crush street
protests, a crumbling economy has increased public frustration with the
The country is wrestling with shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency,
as well as with unemployment of over 70 percent and the highest inflation
rate in the world.
Tsvangirai -- a former trade union leader who has been at the helm of the
MDC since its formation six years ago -- is largely regarded as Mugabe's
But some analysts say the 54-year-old politician has been outflanked by
Mugabe, 82, whom he and the West accuses of rigging three major elections
since 2000 to remain in power.
Analysts say Tsvangirai has probably adopted his risky "mass action" drive
out of frustration with the electoral process and a judiciary system that
has not settled his poll challenges.
Mugabe, who co-led Zimbabwe's war for independence in the 1970s, holds
Tsvangirai in contempt, dismissing him as a "pathetic puppet" of former
colonial power Britain unfit to rule the country.
Leading political commentator Eldred Masunungure said Tsvangirai's political
reputation would be severely damaged if his protest plan fails to get off
"There is obvious frustration with the political and economic environment,
but such a programme will need good organisational skills, courage and
self-drive," he said.
"He has put his reputation on the line and it has to work because it could
damage his standing," he added.
Tsvangirai -- buoyed by a large turnout at the weekend congress of his MDC
faction -- spoke in confident terms about his plans to lead anti-government
"From today, fellow Zimbabweans, kindly save a penny and stock up where
possible," he said. "A storm is on the horizon."
March 20 2006 at 11:21AM
Harare - Zimbabwe is losing much of its staple maize to smuggling to
neighbouring countries, compounding five years of shortages in the former
breadbasket, the official Herald newspaper reported on Monday.
Once a net exporter of grain to southern Africa, Zimbabwe has suffered
food shortages as the farming sector has struggled with drought and
disruptions linked to President Robert Mugabe's controversial seizures of
white-owned farms for landless blacks.
Gershom Pasi, head of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, said smuggling
of maize was frustrating government efforts to feed the country.
"While our government has put in place initiatives to import enough
grain to feed the nation using the scarce foreign currency resources, a few
unscrupulous individuals who are bent on lining their own pockets are busy
smuggling maize-meal... into neighbouring countries," Pasi was quoted as
"One only has to cross our borders to see piles of Zimbabwean
maize-meal and other basic commodities in abundance yet our shops are
experiencing acute artificial shortages of some of these basic goods," he
The central bank says Zimbabwe imported $135-million of grain in 2005
to plug a food deficit that has left an estimated 4,3 million Zimbabweans in
need of food aid until at least the beginning of the April harvest.
Last Friday the Commercial Farmers' Union - whose members were
targeted in the government's drive to forcibly redistribute white-owned land
to blacks - said Zimbabwe expected another poor maize harvest of 795 000
tons against domestic needs of about 1,8 million tons.
The latest forecast from the United States Department of Agriculture's
(USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service sees a maize harvest this season of 900
000 tons, up from 550 000 last year but still well short of national needs.
Mugabe's government has not yet put out any crop forecasts for the
current November-April season, but last month state media said a dry spell
in various parts of the country was likely to reduce yields.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in
1980, denies critics' charges that his policies have wrecked the once
promising economy, and in turn accuses opponents of his land reforms of
sabotaging the economy.
(1) That the Party reaffirms its commitment to establishing democratic change in Zimbabwe through peaceful and democratic means.
(2) That the Party reaffirms its identity as a social democratic, social liberation movement whose core values are social justice, democracy, equality, transparency, liberty, freedom and accountability.
(3) Acknowledging the serious structural economic crisis, absence of jobs, high inflation, collapsed industrial and agricultural output, huge budget deficit and a serious macroeconomic crisis, it is resolved to comprehensively address the crisis through the party’s RESTART programme.
(4) Noting the subjective, chaotic, uneven and unequal land reform programme, it is resolved to deal with the land question once and for all through an independent Land Commission that will address the crisis on principles of need and ability, underpinned by compliance with the rule of law.
(5) Noting the high levels of HIV/Aids, the huge food deficit, the collapse of the public health and the public transport system, Congress resolves through the RESTART programme to comprehensively address the social crisis of the failed state.
(6) Acknowledging the criminalization, militarization, personalization and privatization of the dictatorial state, the corruption of the judiciary, the public services and all other arms of the State, Congress resolves to put the issue and demand for a new people-driven Constitution at the forefront of the struggle for change by the working people of Zimbabwe.
(7) Acknowledging the depth of the national crisis, and the need for a united and popular front, Congress resolves that the party will work with civic like minded civic and political organizations in pursuit of the agenda for change.
(8) Noting the complete failure of the electoral process in Zimbabwe and the futility of pursuing an exclusive electoral struggle, the party resolves to engage in peaceful democratic confrontation and resistance to the regime.
(9) Acknowledging the fragmented nature of the broad democratic movement, civic society, the churches and the opposition, Congress resolves to work for the unity of all genuine cadres to the struggle.
The National Chairman 19th March 2006
March 19, 2006
At the center of a debate in Zimbabwe is a memoir by Fay Chung, "Reliving
the Second Chimurenga," which draws on her memories of Zimbabwe's struggle
for liberation. To some, it is bold, candid and brave, to others,
inaccurate, judgmental of the opposition and uncritical of the present
political establishment in Zimbabwe.
In the book, Hung narrates her origins among the tiny Chinese minority in
Rhodesia, her early radicalization, her participation in the liberation
struggle and her tenure at the Zimbabwean Ministry of Education. She details
the role of education in the Zimbabwean refugee camps of Zambia and
Mozambique both in preparing for independence during the 1970's and in its
consolidation in the 1980's. Her book concludes with an assessment of events
until the end of 2004.
The most compelling sections of the memoir are not about education, a
portfolio Chung has long been associated with, but about the Zanu-PF's
formative years. It is awe striking to read descriptions of dissenting views
in the party and of how they were dealt with. Apparently, the author seemed
unfazed by the events and measured the responses as successes in terms of
Her account is not an unembellished apology for the ruling party. She can be
explicit and frank about the party's corruption, violence and misrule both
in and out of power. However, she is consistently dismissive of the
alternatives. This includes other possible leaders like Sithole and Joshua
Nkomo in the 1970's and the Movement for Democratic Change's more recent
challenge to one-party rule. Despite everything, she considers the recent
land seizures legitimate and rational in essentials (although poorly
executed), a return to the basic objectives of the liberation struggle.
The book has riled many Zimbabweans. Judging by the responses the book
attracted at its recent launch in Harare, readers are questioning some of
its details: that there was rampant homosexuality in the township in the
70's, that then ZANU leader Herbert Chitepo was an ally of Ian Smith (prime
minister of Rhodesia before 1980), and that there was a mass exodus of ZIPA
members to join ZANU during the détente period.
"I think there are some details and issues the book raises which lack facts
and are inaccurate," says Wilfred Mhanda, a war veteran. He is director of
the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform, which was formed by war vets in 2000 in
protest at the anarchy that accompanied the farm seizures.
Mhanda says the arrests of ZIPA members in Mozambique in 1977 were ordered
by Robert G. Mugabe, not by Josiah Tongogara as the book claims, when Mugabe
persuaded his host President Samora Machel that his own ZANLA commanders
were plotting against him.
Mhanda, a one-time ZANLA commander, spent six months in jail in Mozambique,
when he and 50 other commanders were arrested. He was later transferred to a
detention camp, where he spent another two years. The ZANLA commanders were
finally released after a representative of the British Labor Party took up
Margaret Dongo, a war veteran who later opposed Mugabe's rule, lauds Chung
efforts to publish a memoir that highlights details of the war.
The book is a wake-up call to us who have been on the front to correct our
history," says Dongo.
Chung avows that the drive to write the memoir was prompted by the fact that
no has dared to write about the history of the war, a fact that has only
left children today wondering what really happened during the liberation
struggle era. (A notable exception: "Echoing Silences," a novel by Alexander
Chung grew up in a Chinese family in what was then Rhodesia in the 1950's
and 60's. She studied education and literature, and became a lecturer at the
University of Zambia in the early 1970's. In Zambia, she joined the Zimbabwe
National Union (ZANU), and took part in the radicalization of the
nationalist uprising, which led to Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. In the
1980, she worked in various capacities in the Ministry of Education. She was
Chief of the Education Cluster at UNICEF 1993-98, and the first director of
the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa
Her memoirs give an inside view of the divisions within ZANU during the late
1970's. She witnessed the change of leadership from Sithole to Mugabe,
experienced the tensions between politicians and military leaders, as well
as the rise and fall of the vashandi movement, which tried to change the
direction of ZANU in a more socialist direction. She also reflects on the
on-going crisis in Zimbabwe. She regrets the violence of the past, but is
critical of the new democratic opposition and supports Robert Mugabe's
"Third Chimurenga" as a return to the objectives of land reform and economic
justice, which she sees as the "heart blood" of the liberation struggle.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
March 20, 2006
Posted to the web March 20, 2006
THE potential to make five to 10 times your investment in dollar terms on
the Zimbabwean stock market is a beguiling prospect for investors with an
enduring belief in the potential of SA's northern neighbour.
A key question -- other than when? -- is what changes are needed before
long-term possibilities become bankable profits. Won't it take years of help
on a massive scale from donors and international institutions? Perhaps
not -- if developments in East Africa are any guide to the huge strides that
become possible once deregulation sets in.
"We don't need the International Monetary Fund, thanks. We're in good
shape." That's been the message for some time from Kenya, a country that is
powering ahead along with neighbours Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
Fair and peaceful elections took place in December 2002 when President
Daniel arap Moi, in power since 1978, stood down. Chosen successor Uhuru
Kenyatta failed to win a mandate and Mwai Kibaki, leader of the opposition
grouping, the National Rainbow Coalition, became president on an
anticorruption and pro-reform ticket.
Moi began economic reform in the 1990s -- exchange controls went in 1995 --
but corruption and lack of transparency kept foreign money away. In the five
years to the end of 2002, the economy struggled to top 1% growth, incredibly
low for a developing country.
Today, the economy is pumping, with growth likely to exceed 5% in 2005, well
ahead of budget.
Tourist arr-ivals are up 31% year on year. Kenya Airways was privatised in
the mid-1990s when KLM took a stake in what used to be a small airline. Now
it has three brand new Boeing 777s, six 767s and 10 737s. The national
carrier flies all over Africa as well as to Turkey, the Middle East, India
and Asia, plus London and Amsterdam.
Expansion is imminent at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta Airport.
Tourists spur growth in beds, lodges, hotels and employment. The influx also
means more foreign exchange and foreign investment.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, together with Fairmont Hotels,
has just paid $35m for the Lonhro Hotels' portfolio in Kenya -- with its 439
rooms/tents, including the Norfolk Hotel, Mount Kenya Safari Lodge, Aberdare
Country Club and various safari lodges. A further $25m will be spent
refurbishing and rebranding the hotels.
In October, Kenya and Uganda effectively privatised their railways by
selling a 25-year concession to invest in and manage them.
The concession was won by a South African company, Rift Valley Railways,
which will provide new railway stock and infrastructure. In the next five
years, the company plans to spend $25m in Kenya and $15m in Uganda.
An estimated 6000 out of a workforce of 9000 will be retired early. The
World Bank will help finance the pensions and redundancy programme. Kenya
Railways' existing debt will be wiped out over 25 years by the con-cession
and World Bank payments.
The private sector is overjoyed at the prospect of transport cost savings
from efficient railways. Road infrastructure will also be saved from the
battering it takes as heavy trucks cart the likes of cement from Mombasa to
the Highlands and Uganda. The Port of Mombasa is also likely to be
privatised at some point. In Tanzania, Dar es Salaam harbour is now managed
by Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa, putting pressure on Kenya to sort out
Kenya's stronger-than-expected economic growth has resulted in tax revenues
exceeding budget by an estimated 30-billion Kenyan shillings this year, in
effect wiping out the government's planned fiscal deficit.
Inflation in September dropped to 4,3% thanks in part to the strength in a
Kenyan shilling that has risen from 77 to the US dollar at the beginning of
the year to 74 in November.
Since the 2002 elections, the stock market has performed strongly off a low
The blue-chip East African Breweries has risen six times in US dollar terms,
taking into account dividends, bonus issues and a rising share price. It is
now valued at $1,25bn.
Barclays Bank has a large presence in Kenya. With a price-to-earnings ratio
of around 12, it is valued at $680m. In contrast, Barclays Zim-babwe is
valued at $65m.
Bamburi Cement, majority owned by Lafarge and valued at $670m, is about to
significantly expand its plant. Current capacity is 2,5-million tons.
Lafarge's subsidiary in Zimbabwe, Circle Cement, has capacity of 450000 tons
and is valued at $10m.
Next March, the government will be selling 30% of the state power generating
business KenGen on to the exchange in a move which may absorb $120m from the
market. Government will use the funds raised to invest into geothermal
Any visitor to Kenya can sense the dynamism and feelings of optimism. Good
rains have ensured a large maize crop, so optimism extends to rural areas as
well as the cities.
In downtown Nairobi, the city council is cleaning the streets, repainting
the kerbs and encouraging property owners to smarten up their buildings.
Further afield, many Kenyan companies are looking to invest in Rwanda, which
hopes to join the East African Community next year. There is talk of a
common currency and more political integration. The Tanzanian economy is
growing at 7% and Uganda's at more than 6%.
The lessons of East Africa's success are plain to see -- even from Zimbabwe.
Legat is CE of Imara Asset Management Zimbabwe and lead fund manager of
Imara's African Opportunities investment fund.
By Ayanda Shezi
20 Mar 2006 at 11:29 AM EST
HARARE (Business Day) -- Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines, representing 200
mining houses in the country, said last week that the proposed amendments to
the Minerals and Mines Act would effectively kill off investment needed to
keep mines open.
This comes after news that the Zimbabwean government wants to take a 51%
stake in some of the mines, a move that the chamber said amounted to
nationalisation and a step backwards for mining.
The world's second-biggest platinum miner, Impala Platinum (Implats)
[JSE:IMPO], which has an 86.7% stake in Zimplats [ASX:ZIM], confirmed on
Friday that it had met Zimbabwean government officials last week.
The meeting, the company said in a statement, between Implats CEO Keith
Rumble and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and senior members of his
government, was to discuss the recently announced cabinet-approved draft
proposal relating to ownership of the Zimbabwean platinum industry.
The discussions were "open and frank" and the draft proposal was still in
"Investors will be forced to withhold capital expenditure for maintenance
and development work, partly because financial institutions will no longer
offer the investors foreign exchange loan facilities as the investors will
no longer have controlling interest," said a letter from the chamber to the
government. With only 49% of the shares paid for and without access to loan
funds, most mining companies would have insufficient capital to sustain
operations, the chamber said.
This month Mines Minister Amos Midzi rattled the industry when he announced
that Mugabe's cabinet had approved changes to the mining law "to indigenise
51% in some instances, of all foreign- owned companies".
The chamber said: "In instances such as Zambia and Tanzania, after embarking
on nationalisation policies and subsequent stagnation of the mining
industry, policies were reversed to make private investment the key to
exploration and mining investments without direct participation of
The changes were expected to be presented to parliament for final approval
before July, said Midzi.
The move to take control of the mines comes against the background of an
economic crisis that has left the government in a cash crunch as Zimbabweans
struggle with rising poverty, sky-high unem-ployment and severe shortages.
The mining sector is a key pillar of the Zimbabwean economy, earning $626
million last year, representing 44% of the country's total foreign currency
Shortly after news emerged about the proposal, Implats' chief financial
officer David Brown said its unit in the country, Zimplats Ltd, had a
special mining lease that he hoped would override any amended law.
Zimbabwe, holding the world's richest platinum deposits after South Africa,
is the main area of future growth for Implats.
Together, South Africa and Zimbabwe hold about 90% of the world's known
An analyst said yesterday that AngloPlat would feel the impact of the
proposal less severely than Implats, for example, as its platinum mine Unki
was still at the project stage and was expected to achieve its first
production only in 2008. With Reuters and Sapa
IFEX canada (International Freedom of Expression eXchange)
(MISA/IFEX) - The Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe's (ANZ) legal battle to
be granted an operating licence has taken a new twist, with the Minister of
Information Dr. Tichaona Jokonya now expected to decide the publishing
This comes in the wake of reports that the chairman of the
government-controlled Media and Information Commission (MIC), Dr. Tafataona
Mahoso, admitted that a High Court ruling barred the MIC from involvement in
the ANZ case.
On 8 February 2006, High Court judge Justice Rita Makarau ruled that Mahoso
was biased against ANZ, publishers of the banned "Daily News" and "Daily
News on Sunday". Makarau ruled that the MIC board's impartiality was tainted
by the proven bias of its chairman, barring all members of the MIC from
involvement in the consideration of ANZ's application.
The weekly "Financial Gazette" reported in its 16 March edition that Mahoso
had since conceded that the judgment barred them from determining the ANZ
application. This shifts the resolution of the matter to Minister Jokonya.
The minister, as the appointing authority, can appoint a special board to
determine the application or can instruct the MIC secretariat to issue a
certificate of registration.
The ANZ management has already written to the minister appealing for his
intervention. ANZ legal adviser Mordecai Mahlangu, however, expressed
disappointment that the minister had not yet responded to their letters of
appeal, written on 22 February and 13 March.
"We are distressed by this. We are all patriots and would like this matter
to be resolved in the best interests of the country," said Mahlangu.
IFEX canada (International Freedom of Expression eXchange)
(MISA/IFEX) - The Zimbabwean government has drafted a bill that would permit
the surveillance of telephone and e-mail communications while making it
compulsory for service providers to install the enabling equipment on behalf
of the state.
The proposed law, the Interception of Communications Bill 2006, seeks to
empower the chief of defence intelligence, the director-general of the
Central Intelligence Organisation, the Commissioner of Police and the
Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to intercept
telephonic, e-mail and cellphone messages.
The bill would also empower state agencies to open mail being conveyed
through the post and through licensed courier service providers.
This bill has been drafted despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2004 which
declared unconstitutional Sections 98 and 103 of the Posts and
Telecommunications (PTC) Act because they violated Section 20 of the
Constitution. Section 20 guarantees freedom of expression and freedom to
receive and impart ideas without interference.
The bill stipulates that operators of telecommunications services will be
compelled to install software and hardware to enable the interception and
storage of information, as directed by the state.
March 20, 2006.
By Andnetwork .com
ZIMBABWE will require a 70% weighted vote of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board to restore its voting rights and
eligibility to use resources of the fund, a senior IMF official revealed.
This is because it took a similar vote margin to suspend the country's
voting and related rights with the IMF, Thomas Dawson, the IMF external
relations director, said last week.
"It took a 70% weighted vote of the executive board to suspend the
voting rights. It similarly takes a 70% weighted vote of the executive board
to restore the voting rights," Dawson said.
State media reports last week charged that the United States and the
United Kingdom had abused their voting powers to "settle scores with
Zimbabwe" by maintaining sanctions on the country. Finance minister Herbert
Murerwa and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono attended the IMF executive
board meeting in Washington, DC.
Dawson said Zimbabwe had simply failed to garner enough votes to
restore its rights with the IMF in line with "various amendments in the
Articles of Agreement".
"There was no such 70% majority. That is the fact of what happened,
and I am sure we will continue to be in contact with the authorities in
Zimbabwe as they deal with a very difficult situation, and we think, you
know, it needs careful attention and some serious policy (decisions),"
Zimbabwe, which faced expulsion from the IMF due to accumulated
arrears, cleared its financial obligations to the IMF's General Resources
Account (GRA) in February, but still remained with arrears amounting to
US$119 million under a separate facility, the fund said in a statement
While the clearance of its arrears under the GRA facility removed the
basis for its compulsory withdrawal from the fund, Zimbabwe remained
suspended from exercising its voting rights as a member of the Bretton Woods
The executive board, which met on Wednesday last week to consider
Zimbabwe's cooperation with the fund on policies and payments, as well as
the remaining sanctions and remedial measures relating to its arrears, voted
to maintain the sanctions and the country's ineligibility to use IMF funds.
Zimbabwe had expected the suspensions to be lifted, creating an avenue
to secure lines of credit to support its precarious balance-of-payments
The IMF board declared in September 2001 that Zimbabwe was ineligible
to use the general resources of the IMF, and removed the country from a list
of countries eligible to borrow resources.
Source : The Zimbabwe Idependent
March 20, 2006
By albert mazhale
Beit-Bridge (AND) Zimbabwe`s Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi has
been forced out of Highway farm in Beit-Bridge after the Land Audit
committee exposed that he posessed more than one farm, in breach of
Governments' Land policy of 'one-man-one-farm'
The minister also owns the citrus-rich Nottingham Farm in the vast
terrains of the border town which produces oranges for export.
Highly-placed sources who confided in AND revealed that Mohadi had
registered the two properties under his name but used his wifes' national
identity number to acquire Highway farm.
This, he did to mislead Land officers into believing that there were
two different Kembo Mohadis, the sources said. However, the Land auditors
currently investigating multiple farm owners discovered the anomaly and
ordered the minister to surrender one of the properties. Mohadi opted to
stay at Nottingham were he is said to be making good business through the
sale of oranges. Contacted for comment the Beit-bridge legislator vehemently
denied ever owning two prooperties simulteneously.
In a related incident a deputy minister's son has also been kicked out
of a plot at Cleverland farm for under utilising it.
Leslie, son to Abedinico Ncube, deputy minister of labour and social
welfare is said to have never set foot on his land since acquiring it in
2001. President Robert Mugabe is on record criticising government officials
for multiple farm ownership. He has urged them to stick to the "one man-one
farm" policy. Once perceived as Africas' bread-basket, Zimbabwe is currently
reeling under severe food shortages resulting from recurrent droughts and
the government`s land acquisition that slashed commercial forming by over 50
March 20, 2006
By Nothando Zainab Migogo
Johannesburg (AND) With over 70% of the skilled and professional
labour-force out of the country, will Zimbabwe ever be able to rebuild
itself to its former glory?
The past decade has seen thousands of Zimbabweans migrating from their
country of birth, heading south, west and north of the country.
South to South Africa, north mainly to the United Kingdom and west to
The economic crisis in Zimbabwe, stemming from the complex and bizarre
political happenings that have characterized the country over the past
decade, has transformed what was once the economic and political shining
star of Southern Africa into a politically unstable, socially inept and
economically dead zone.
An estimated 70% of the economically active adult population has
emigrated from the country, leaving a severe vacuum in the worlds of
academia and business.
A sizeable portion of the population remaining in the country is
unemployed, relying sometimes solely on funds sent by relatives living
outside the country, medical care is unaffordable and the country's
exorbitant inflation figures have earned it a place in the 2006 Guinness
Book of World Records for having the worlds highest inflation rate.
With the majority of two whole generations out of the country,
Zimbabwe is a country consisting mainly of the very old and the very young,
most looking to daughters, sons, mother, fathers, brothers and sisters
living outside the country.
In a report entitled "Between a Rock and a Hard Place", compiled by
the Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project, a survey of 236 Zimbabweans living in
Gauteng, South Africa was conducted; with the average age of the respondents
199 or 84% of the respondents said that they were supporting between
one and fifteen people in Zimbabwe.
A study, undertaken by the Scientific and Industrial Research and
Development Centre (SIRDC), under contract from the National Economic and
Consultative Forum, concluded that the sectors most affected by the country's
brain drain were health and education, with most health professionals
heading for the United Kingdom.
According to the study, "An examination of the professions of those
who are leaving the country shows that a sizeable proportion of them are
doctors, teachers and nurses. In fact, the health care sector is the most
affected. Many are leaving because health care and education spending cuts
across the board have denied them a place to stay and work in Zimbabwe".
With no foreseeable improvement in the economic situation, the
question that remains to be answered is will the young (and not so young)
Zimbabwean professionals who have begun building their lives in other
countries, started families in those countries and have reconciled
themselves with their new identities and lifestyles ever return to fill the
void they left behind?
Will Zimbabweans, skilled or semi-skilled, automatically return to
Zimbabwe once there is political reform, a catalyst for economic redress, or
will they choose to stay in their "new" home countries?
In a survey by the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) of
skilled black Zimbabweans showed that 51% of those surveyed had the
intention of emigrating from Zimbabwe indefinitely or permanently.
This staggering figure raises the concern that the political and
economic crises in Zimbabwe has caused the more severe, long term crisis of
losing intellectual and professional talent forever.
How will Zimbabwe regain its former glory without any of the skilled
labour that it was once so famous for?
Whilst the brain drain continues keep the economy under chains and the
bad economy continues to chase away more professionals, Zimbabwe seems to
move further and further away from a workable solution.
And whilst the general sentiment had all along been that people would
not return "until things got better", its now seems that even if things
should get better, many may still not return.
New lifestyles, inter-marriage and establishment of secure communities
have reduced the burning desire for skilled Zimbabweans to return home. And
this is a crisis Zimbabwe is still yet to fully experience.