Thursday, March 23 2006 @ 03:04 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
Heavily armed police raided a hotel in Harare's southern suburb
of Mabelreign early morning Tuesday and severely assaulted the guests. The
uniformed forces arrived at the Feathers Hotel at around 04:00 claiming they
were searching for a fugitive armed robber. Without informing the
management, the police surrounded the hotel in military style and started
assaulting the staff members on duty, accusing them of housing the wanted
With the receptionist maintaining that she was unaware of the
suspected robber's presence, police then searched all the hotel rooms and
assaulted their occupants, including this journalist who had booked there
for the night. One of the attacked hotel guests who refused to be named
said: "I was sleeping with my wife in our room and the police used force to
open the door. They assaulted us without posing any questions. My wife was
left nude during the scuffle."
However, guests who had been turned out of their rooms by the
police and grouped in the hotel's corridors were saved from further beatings
when a sound emerged from one of the rooms in the first floor. When police
went to investigate, they found a woman sleeping in the room. She claimed
she was a prostitute who had been hired by "someone" for the night. She
claimed she did not know her lovebird who had disappeared whilst she was
Police officers at the scene suspected that the suspected robber
had jumped to the ground but, surprisingly, the suspect was not seen by any
of their colleagues who had surrounded the hotel. The hotel guests were then
paraded for identification. The wanted man's accomplice - who was arrested
in connection with a shooting incident - conducted the identification and
not any of the guests was positively identified.
Thursday, March 23 2006 @ 03:01 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
STATUTORY Reserve payments to the Reserve Bank ensured the money
market opened dry this week, with a $3.5 trillion deficit carrying over
yesterday, heightening fears of a catastrophic interest rate spike similar
to the 2003 disaster that put the skids under no less than 10 banking
institutions. With dealers forecasting further deficits ahead of Friday's
corporate tax payments, the interbank rate looks set to climb higher than
the current 700 percent, signalling doom for institutions funding short
positions with funds borrowed on the market. The central bank's overnight
accommodation rate currently stands at 750 percent.
"The question to be asked is what sort of asset would you be
funding through borrowing at 700 percent annum? This spell disaster for
anyone who is short at the moment," a Harare dealer said yesterday.
Financial industry sources have recently spoken, in hushed tones, of
bleeding banks with a foreboding reminiscent of a time recently gone by.
Shades of 2003?
The then newly appointed central bank governor Gideon Gono
pulled the rug from under several banks that had funded their short
positions through accessing the RBZ's accommodation window when he lifted
the lid on the key rate, which shot to as high as 1 000 percent in December
Several banks, which had acute asset-liability dislocations,
were left to twist in the air, triggering the country's worst banking crisis
that saw over 10 banks being put under the management of curators and
This year, Gono has adopted an aggressive interest rate policy
that has seen the key accommodation rate being adjusted in line with
The key accommodation rate, which stood at 95 percent in
February 2005, has risen to 750 percent as inflation soared to an all-time
high of 782 percent last month. The Reserve Bank has put a further squeeze
on the banks by tightening statutory reserve ratios to as much as 60
percent, meaning that of every dollar deposited, 60 cents have to be placed
with the central bank without earning interest. The central bank, which is
fighting a losing battle against inflation, believes this measure will help
stem the expansion of inflationary credit.
Thursday, March 23 2006 @ 03:02 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
In a bid to stem the financial hemorrhage, troubled national
airliner Air Zimbabwe (Airzim), has resorted to charging fares in U.S.
dollars beginning Monday this week, a move largely expected to help meet its
shooting forex-dominated operational costs. "Please be advised that
effective from March 20, 2006, all Air Zimbabwe fares will be denominated in
U.S. dollars For those paying in Zimbabwe dollars, the fares will be
converted at the Interbank mid-rate applicable on the day of the ticket
issues," the airline said in a statement.
While no reason for the change in the payment regime was given,
analysts have said that the move would allow the airline to try and meet in
expenses, 70 percent of which are in hard currency. Problems at Air Zimbabwe
have been caused by, among others, weak financial controls and governance
and persistent operation of unprofitable routes, the central bank has said.
As at October 2005, the airline posted a foreign debt amounting to US$19.65
The central bank has proposed a stabilization package for Air
Zimbabwe, including measures such as diversifying business, entering into
interline agreements with a view to expand its revenue base and ensuring
that revenues and expenses were properly accounted for. The perennial loss
making parastatal broke aviation records last year when it flew one
passenger to Dubai. Airzim has been reeling under profitability problems
since the turn off the millennium due to poor management synergy and failure
to realign itself with modern aviation technology and inability to cash on
viable routes due to the disastrous "Look East" policy that has forced it to
fly a size-able fleet to the uncompetitive Asian destinations.
Steven Price in Harare
March 23, 2006
The news that Matabeleland's leading club sides have turned their backs on
Zimbabwe Cricket leaves the board increasingly isolated, and makes this
week's decision by the ICC executive to keep backing Peter Chingoka even
It is now clear that the bulk of the country's players - those remaining who
have not already given up or moved on - have no faith in Chingoka's regime.
Much the same can be said for many stakeholders, and the recent purge of
those opposed to the board has left it increasingly short of people with
in-depth cricket experience.
Chingoka, although buoyed by ICC support, is increasingly looking like the
captain of a ghost ship. The national side is bereft of any players of
calibre, and although one or two of the youngsters show promise, one wonders
how long they will continue to persevere in the current climate. Even if
they stay, the side is, according to one senior administrator, not even
strong enough to take on any other Full Member country's 2nd XI.
What is most worrying, however, is that the domestic structure is now
rapidly crumbling. Despite all the troubles of recent years, until now it
has survived intact. But the standard of play in the recent Faithwear Cup,
the provincial one-day trophy, was dreadful - it wasn't until the sixth
match that any side topped 120 or any batsman scored a fifty.
More alarming was that the Logan Cup, the country's long-established
first-class tournament, was suspended at a few days' notice last month and
without any real explanation. One bullish comment from ZC indicated it would
be played later in the season, but that is now looking less and less likely
by the day. The national squad is away in the Caribbean in April and May,
and many of that side are heading on to England afterwards. It is dubious if
there is enough left behind to stage any kind of meaningful tournament.
The national selectors, headed by Bruce Makovah, the man who many blame for
triggering the dispute in Mashonaland, have to meet soon to pick a side to
tour West Indies. It is an unenviable task. Not only are they without the
bulk of their best talent - Under-19 captain Sean Williams is the latest to
turn his back on them - but they also have no form to base their choices on.
Since the dismal 2-2 series draw with Kenya, no meaningful matches have
taken place. Rarely can a selection panel have sat down with so little to go
on and so few to chose from.
While the ICC decided that all was well in Zimbabwe, those on the ground are
giving up the unequal struggle in increasing numbers. As they say, actions
speak far louder than words.
BY JILL BAKER
A choir sings - and we weep
"I would like to start a gospel choir" he said "and I hope you will help
manage us!" How could I resist!
He's a remarkable man whose name for obvious reasons I will not disclose -
but suffice to say he suffered some appalling treatment in Zimbabwe and
having been an unwilling 'guest' of the government during an unplanned
extended stay, he returned with obvious signs of the torture and
incarceration he had experienced, fresh to see. He then went up to teach
in a remote Aboriginal school, where as a black man he became an acceptable
and ultimately extraordinary role model to troubled and dysfunctional
teenagers. During his time he instilled strict discipline coupled with
warmth and fairness in a situation where all too often white Australians
were lax and over compensated for fear of being termed racist
Now he was ready to get a group together to sing their Christian hearts
out - Zimbabwe style! Their debut would be supporting a message I was to
give at the main World Day of Prayer service in Adelaide. It was to be an
ecumenical congregation made up of representatives of all Christian
churches, as well as government. In a matter of weeks, a wonderful choir
leader, aptly named Blessing, with a most beautiful voice, got the choir
singing as a co-ordinated and inspired whole. As Ishe Komborera, followed
by the Zulu words of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica, swelled out over the
congregation, I for one had to quickly swallow a huge up swelling lump in my
They sang magnificently. It had been difficult for the men to get time
off, but the nine women came - some of them straight off night duty - to
sing on this important occasion. Some were able to dress in what has
become the stylish print and matching headpiece of modern Zimbabwe. They
reached into everyone's heart that day. As the narrator said to them "you
have made our day!"
The choir now has its first major engagement - an important Christian
congress in Queensland in August. We are hoping for a really good cross
section of men and women to be able to get up there. For it is from tiny
seeds that great trees grow - and the potential for this tree if we produce
a well managed group, with a good repertoire of praise and worship songs is
almost too big to contemplate!
But first things first, and in order to be able to receive donations, which
the choir will need if it is to fulfil its potential - they needed to
affiliate with a registered charitable organisation. There were already
strong links to a group wanting to form a socially based support group for
Zimbabweans in South Australia and the Constitution has now been submitted
I attended a board meeting recently in an advisory capacity to help finalise
this constitution - and I was struck again and again by the fine people
those members of the board are. Intelligent, humourous, sensible - my
heart swelled yet again in sheer delight at the people our Zimbabwe has
produced - despite its decades of conflict and war and adversity. There
was certainly something we all did right.
Young kids were outside playing on climbing frames and sandpits in the
gardens - and on a couple of occasions, these youngsters appeared silently
in the adjacent room - fixing their respective father with a look, clearly
saying "I need to talk to you"
They waited patiently and when the moment was right that father went out to
them, or they came in quietly to whisper in his ear. A quick hug and off
they went - problem solved.
What great role models for many young Australian kids - most of whom are
both fascinated by, yet still wary of black people. I pray that the quiet
wisdom of their parents will be able to over-ride any troubling influences
their kids may come across in future. And this is why these support groups
are so desperately important. "No you are not going mad because things are
done so differently" - "the first couple of years are agonising" - "we'll
all get together and made sure we get through it" and hopefully "you'll
ultimately be so glad of the opportunities your new country has given you
and your family."
So through this terrible diaspora come these excellent people - to countries
all over the world . to countries all over an increasingly troubled world.
Perhaps this is what was intended all along - that the terrible price we
have all paid because we could not longer stay there, will be made perfect
in the good influences, the good citizenship, the kindliness and concern for
others that have become rare commodities in our materialistic western
Perhaps that is an idealistic hope - but on that Sunday afternoon last
week - it was completely realistic . and my hopes were high.
And so the Zimbabwe gospel choir is born - may it go from strength to
strength and bring great joy to the hearts of all who hear them sing, who
know their stories and who marvel at their tenacity, their ability to laugh
in desperate circumstances, and their determination to succeed despite all.
As the Zimbabwe Connection has fulfilled its major role and closes up in a
few weeks time - so the new is born, to support and encourage, to laugh and
to share experiences. It is OK to indulge yourself on occasions and feel
very proud of your people!
PRETORIA - The Zimbabwe Political Victims Association has castigated
celebrations for Human Rights Day in South Africa arguing that the SA
government has completely failed to respect their own laws in handling of
refugee and asylum matters.
"The SA government defies its own laws and United Nations Charter. The
United Nations stipulated 180 days for asylum seekers to have their cases
determined, but some go for years and refugee rights are not respected,"
said spokesperson Oliver Kubikwa.
He claimed that foreigners were badly treated and abused in South Africa by
general citizens and various government departments. Several thousand asylum
seekers from various African countries wait months to acquire an asylum
permit paper. Many of them end up being victimised, traumatised, arrested
and deported to the notorious Lindelea Refugee Holding Centre for
deportation under what many describe as the "legacy of apartheid".- CAJ News
MASVINGO - Traditional healers here have called on the government to allow
them to visit public hospitals to administer herbs to patients, as the state
institutions have run out of essential medical supplies, including the most
"Our forefathers used to treat several ailments using traditional medicine
and we believe the same can be done today," said Daniel Dambakuwa, the
the Masvingo chapter of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment. But in
the past he has castigated some members of ZINATHA for administering toxic
and untested substances. - Own correspondent
BULAWAYO - The leader of the breakaway faction of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara
says President Robert Mugabe's government must apologise and 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
Korean-trained 5th Brigade sent into Matabeleland and Midlands to quell an
armed rebellion in the two southern provinces against Mugabe's rule. -
HARARE - Details about the heavy involvement of the Zimbabwe's dreaded spy
agency into the discredited arms cache case have surfaced after the state
withdrew charges against opposition activists accused of plotting to kill
Prosecutors conceded in court that the state's case against the suspects
could not be sustained, and backed down from pressing charges under Section
10 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). The government had claimed
that the accused had conspired to possess weapons for the purposes of
banditry, insurgency, sabotage and terrorism. They were said to have
planned to spill oil on the road used by President Mugabe's motorcade so
that it could slip and be involved in an accident. Mugabe travels in a
customised bullet proof Mercedes Benz and travels with a large convoy
accompanied by heavy-duty motorcycles. The accusations were raised a few
days before the anti-senate faction held its own congress, and gave Morgan
Tsvangirai a fresh mandate to lead the party for the next five years.
The Minister of State Didymus Mutasa also threatened to eliminate the
suspects. But in court, the accusations failed to stick, prompting
prosecutors to withdraw the charges. Inquiries by Africa News Dimension
reveals even though it appeared that the state had no case against the
suspects, the CIO was determined to ensure that they were convicted of the
Legal experts close to the case said the arms cache discovery may have been
one of the many special projects by Mugabe's dreaded spy agency, determined
to put under lock and key critics to the regime that stands accused of
running down a once prosperous country. Several Zimbabweans have been
accused in the past of plotting to kill Mugabe, who accuses the west of
working towards effecting a regime change in Zimbabwe. And the involvement
of the CIO in the case became very apparent in court. Prosecutor Levison
Chikafu told the court that the CIO had taken some of the items that had
been illegally seized from one of the accused, Giles Mutsekwa, a defence
secretary for Tsvangirai's faction.
It also emerged that members of the spy agency didn't just keep the items
illegally confiscated from the suspects, they also took part in meetings
where prosecutors preparing for the case in an effort to influence its
outcome. They didn't attend these meetings as observers, but threatened
senior law officers from the Attorney General's office to go ahead with the
In one case noted by Justice Hungwe, Joseph Jagada and Florence Ziyambi,
senior officials from the AG's office had to make a hasty retreat to Harare
after being threatened by the members of the spy agency. "As a result of the
threats against the senior state counsel, the situation got tense. In fear
of their safety, both senior state counsel left for Harare," said Justice
Hungwe when he delivered his ruling ordering the detentions illegal.
In one instance, the AG, Sobusa Gula Ndebele, is reported to have ordered
his officers to discontinue the interviews after appreciating the gravity of
In yet another incident, the Judge noted: "The senior state counsel went
into conference with the security agencies. Mr (Lawrence) Chibwe (a defence
lawyer) says he later heard 1st respondent shout at counsel accusing them of
behaving as if they were defence counsel. The atmosphere was tense. No-one
shouted anything back at first respondent.
Later, according to Chibwe, state counsel emerged from this office appeared
shaken and subdued. He could not say anything further to them except to wish
the two travelling to Harare a safe journey. They all dispersed. Chikafu,
fearful of the threats offered by the enraged state agents did not sleep at
his usual place of abode that night." The unimpressed Zimbabwean judge
remarked about the way the case had been handled: "This behaviour deserves
the highest possible censure. It cannot be justified in a democratic
society... This is the type of conduct that brings the administration of
justice into disrepute." - AND Zimbabwe
By a Correspondent
HARARE - Perpetrators of injustice in post-independence Zimbabwe should face
trial and their victims, using evidence already collected by civic society,
be compensated, said most participants in a consultation on social justice
organised by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).
The aim of the Jan. 21-22 was to have an initial discussion on social
justice, what it means and how it could be achieved, and for the some 200
delegates from eight organisations to report back to their contacts, from
families to communities across the country. The final phases of the campaign
envisage launching a "Social Justice Plan for Zimbabwe locally, regionally
and internationally . and obtain commitment for delivery."
"Participants were invited to dream freely about the Zimbabwe they envisaged
for the future and, in many cases, these visions converged into a single
aspiration," WOZA said in a recently released report on the meeting. "It is
now necessary to continue the work of these initial discussions by
consulting further and wider on what Zimbabweans imagine as socially just
future could entail and how we can work together to achieve it."
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said in a presentation that one defence
for acts of civil disobedience, including peaceful demonstrations, was that
the Mugabe regime had ratified international human rights agreements,
including the African Charter, and this "meant that it wanted the citizens
of the country to enjoy those rights."
The lawyers said that although the present courts usually do not provide
remedies on human rights, and even if they do a politically partisan police
force often ignores the rulings, citizens should continue to resort to the
courts "because it is another way of highlighting the injustices of the
As well as urging that Zimbabwe leaders responsible for injustice since 1980
independence should face trial, delegates felt that "those who have amassed
wealth through government position should not be allowed to keep it .
assets, including foreign bank accounts, should be seized and returned to
Most participants also agreed that new constitution alone would not deliver
social justice. Among the other necessities are a change of government,
trustworthy and disciplined leadership and a "people-centred economic
As well as WOZA, representatives from the following organisations attended
the meeting: African Liberation Support Campaign, Bulawayo Agenda, Crisis
Coalition, General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe,
International Socialist Organisation, Uhuru Social Centre, and Women's
Information and Access Centre.
BULAWAYO - A senior police officer has been beaten up by his juniors,
according to a report in the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper. Assistant
Commissioner Mpumelelo Sunduza, handcuffed and beaten about the head with a
baton, it emerged during an urgent chamber application lodged with the High
Court here by two constables based at Matobo Police Station, who are seeking
an interdict from being tried under the police internal procedures.
Const Pearson Mawolera and Tendai Kachomba are arguing that if tried under
the police disciplinary system, they will not get a fair trial because the
hearing officer, who is supposed to handle the case, is junior to the
Sunduza made a report to the police against the two junior officers and he
was referred to the United Bulawayo Hospitals where he received treatment.
The court heard that Sunduza pulled out his firearm during the commotion.
In an affidavit sworn to by Const Mawolera, he states that Asst Comm Sunduza
had initially laid a criminal complaint against them for assault, but had
subsequently withdrawn the charge.
He added that to the best of his knowledge, in terms of the Police Act, a
member of the force could be tried in any four ways, namely by the High
Court, magistrates' courts, a board of officers or a single officer.
Justice Maphios Cheda granted interim relief, ordering that the respondents,
Commissioner of Police, Augustine Chihuri and the Minister of Home Affairs,
Kembo Mohadi, should not proceed with the trial until the finalisation of
the matter. Justice Cheda also ordered the junior officers not to resign or
purport to resign from the Police Force before the matter was finalised. -
The following tables show prices at two different northern suburbs supermarkets this week. Note the huge variance in some prices – notably tomatoes!
Mealie Meal - 5 kg
Lacto - 500 ml
Milk - 500 ml
Chicken - 1 kg
Braai Vors 400 grams
Rump Steak - 1 kg
Tomatoes - 1 kg
Mangoes - 1 kg
Lemons - 1 kg
Crisps small packet
Soya Mince - 500 grams
Kapenta dried - 750 grams
Cooking Oil - 750 ml
Colgate Toothpaste - 100 mls
Jik - 750 ml
Pronutro - 500 grams
Cerevita - 500 grams
A 4 exercise book
School T Shirt
Ladies 2nd hand Shirt - Fleat Market 550 000
6 (400g packet)
BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
LONDON - Any attempt to theorise about the embryonic Zimbabwean diaspora is
theorizing about race, ethnicity, gender and class. To leave one or the
other out is get an incomplete picture of this complex phenomenon. Yet in
recent research on diasporic Zimbabweans white Zimbabweans are conspicuously
absent, as if to suggest they are not Zimbabweans or were not part of the
recent wave of out-migration. Other piecemeal analysis of Zimbabweans abroad
tends to focus on the loss of skilled personnel, particularly health
professionals, making other categories of people invisible. This paper does
not claim comprehensive coverage of what is becoming a burgeoning object of
analysis, the Zimbabwean diaspora. Rather it sketches a comparative analysis
of the migration experiences of black and white Zimbabweans in the UK and
presents intuitions inferred from inductive reading of my own research.
The survey aimed to obtain information on the demographic profile of
respondents; their migration dynamics, issues of settlement and marginality,
gender and identity formation, political and social networks and how these
relate to Zimbabwe. The results are aimed to tell the migrant's story, their
feelings and thoughts, how they see life and what their opinions are.
From the survey data, it is clear that the worst economic crisis in Zimbabwe's
history and the deepening political calamity were seen by migrants as
legitimate grounds for seeking better life elsewhere. More than two thirds
of the respondents were male and most of the respondents are between 31-40
years of age (66%). More than half of the respondents 56% were from the
Shona ethnic group; 25% were Ndebele and 17% identified themselves as
English. A third of the respondents had been granted permanent residence
status. Most of respondents were skilled workers in Zimbabwe and had highly
paid jobs. Most of the respondents are doing jobs they have never being
trained before. Two-thirds of respondents said that they would like to
return to Zimbabwe and to live there at some point in the future when the
economic and political conditions have changed.
Examining the stages of migration, most black Zimbabweans had never been in
UK before, unlike white Zimbabweans who had visited relatives and friends
twice or more. Nearly all respondents acknowledged having a family or
friends at the time of migrating to the UK. Only 8% of the respondents are
undocumented migrants and this contrast sharply with my other research
findings that suggests that a number of Zimbabweans are living underground.
The low response rate from undocumented migrants can be explained in two
ways. Firstly, the majority of them struggle with life and having a computer
and setting up Internet connection can be regarded as an unnecessary
expense. Related to this point, is the general trend among undocumented
migrants of trying to be invisible and this means not passing one's identity
to organisations like BT or any Internet service providers. There is always
the suspicion that these companies might pass the details to the Home
Even though the survey failed to capture undocumented migrants, anecdotal
evidence suggests that most black Zimbabweans in the UK are undocumented
migrants having arrived in the UK as visitors, students, and political
refugees or on work permits. Most of these are working in the health sector
as care workers. On the other hand, the majority of white Zimbabweans either
came to the UK on the ancestral visa or as political refugees. The ancestral
visa would allow them to the right to live in the country for four years
without recourse to public funds and after which they can claim Indefinite
Leave to Remain.
Thus, while most black Zimbabweans worry about their immigration status,
what to do when the visa expires or how to remain invisible, this is less a
problem to white Zimbabweans. - Continued next week.
LONDON - On Wednesday 5 April the ZA will start hosting a new Advice Line.
Issues to be dealt with will include queries on individual asylum cases and
matters concerning welfare and support.
Two excellent lawyers from the College of Law have offered us their services
on a fortnightly basis, so every second Wednesday from 2pm to 5pm, they will
be at our offices answering queries on the telephone. On 5 April the lawyer
will be focusing on asylum case queries. On the 19 April, Support issues and
problems will be dealt with. The pilot scheme will run for 3 months and will
be followed by a review. Those who are interested in this advice line may
wish to phone the ZA office to register their interest and learn more about
the scheme. Contact us on 020 7549 0355.
Zimbabweans who have travelled to the UK on South African or Malawian
documents are strongly advised to sort out their nationality issue before
the authorities catch up with you. If the Home Office has already accepted
that you are a Zimbabwean national then you may not have a problem. If they
regard you as a South African or as a Malawian it would be sensible to take
all possible steps to prove your real nationality. Such steps would involve
getting legal representation; getting as much evidence as possible to prove
your identity in the form of Zimbabwean passport, birth certificate,
National Registration card, education certificates, etc. It is much easier
to do this when one is not in detention. We have had reports of SA document
holders being detained in the last week, and having a difficult time trying
to obtain legal help to prevent their removal.
Some callers at the ZA office recently have asked us if we provide
Certificates. They seem to believe that Certificates will help them to win
their appeals for asylum. We do not provide Certificates, and can only warn
people not to part with money for such items. They will not help win your
case which will be judged on its merits and the evidence you have put
forward to support your claim.
The IOM Enhanced Incentivisation Scheme has attracted a lot of interest.
Please note that the £3,000 package ONLY applies to people who claimed
asylum before 31 December 2005. We are interested in hearing from anyone who
has friends or relatives who may have chosen to return to Zimbabwe with the
help of the IOM from 2003 to the present.
A full account of the AA and LK proceedings can be found on the ZA website:
www.zimbabweassociation.org . We can be contacted at the office on 020 7549
0355 on Tuesdays and Thursdays (messages may be left on the answer machine
at other times), or by fax 020 7549 0356 or email:
Advice Line: Asylum queries - Wednesday 5 April, 2 - 5pm, Support
queries - Wednesday 19 April, 2 - 5pm
We are not surprised by Tafataona Mahoso's announcement that he has
recommended to the government that his Media and Information Commission
(MIC) should be allowed to extend its grip on media freedom in Zimbabwe by
regulating newspaper distributors, as well as publishers and journalists.
We believe this proposal is aimed specifically at The Zimbabwean, which has
been a thorn in his side ever since it was launched in February last year.
He has made his feelings well known through his abuse of the
state-controlled media, where he spews venom week after week against any
form of freedom of the press.
Even the Zimbabwean courts have had to admit that Mahoso cannot be trusted
to judge fairly when it comes to freedom of expression. This was proved
conclusively by the recent ANZ case, in which Judge Makarau forbade Mahoso's
entire Commission from anything to do with the application for a licence to
re-commence publication of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday.
Zimbabwe's diabolical anti-freedom of expression legislation - AIPAA - gives
Mahoso almost unlimited power to decide on the fate of individual newspapers
and journalists within the country. But does not extend - yet - to foreign
As a foreign news publication, therefore, we do have to not ask Mahoso for
permission to publish The Zimbabwean. Neither do we have to put up with his
interference, his censorship, nor publish his screeds of incoherent
vitriol - as local newspapers are forced to do.
This has obviously frustrated the destroyer of independent newspapers to the
point where he can no longer accept the situation. Hence his proposals to
government to extend his powers to encompass local distributors - under the
spurious conjecture that foreigners might use "unknown distributors to
circulate material hostile to the government on the eve of a major election".
Furthermore, Mahoso's behaviour regarding the media is notoriously
inconsistent. For example he closed down The Tribune and its sister
newspaper the Weekend Tribune, on the grounds that they did not inform him
of a change of ownership.
Meanwhile, the Financial Gazette changed hands early this year, when it was
taken over by the Central Intelligence Organisation. Mahoso's silence, in
deference to the men in dark glasses, was deafening!
By a Correspondent
HARARE - Like manna from heaven, the state-run media turned the alleged
discovery of an arms cache and coup plot in Manicaland into a frenzy, not
only convicting the accused, but also digging up old footage of the
Rhodesian army, Renamo and anything else to give the impression Zimbabwe was
under siege from ex-colonial forces.
The media watchdog, Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), in its report
covering March 6-12, described the coverage as showing "total disregard of
basic journalistic standards of accuracy, balance and fairness."
Nothing new in that. However, the subsequent dropping of charges against
almost all the accused, and a ruling by a judge on circuit in Mutare that
police and state security agents acted unlawfully, including bullying state
prosecutors, must have come as a blow to the regime's mouthpieces.
But that was later, and while it lasted ZBH and the state newspapers had a
field day. For example, all ZBH's stations claimed that Peter Hitschmann, at
whose home the so-called arms cache was allegedly found, was a former
Rhodesian solider, and all subsequent references centred on this colonial
link rather than his current status.
The privately run Studio 7, quoting the head of the Evangelical Fellowship
of Zimbabwe, the Rev. Trevor Manhanga, revealed that Hitschmann belonged to
the Zimbabwe police's special constabulary and, as well as being a
registered firearms dealer, routinely worked with the Mutare police to curb
MMPZ said that the other private media's coverage - apart from that in the
Mirror stable - was also "more informative, incisive and sober," adding:
"For instance, they reported lawyers, politicians and commentators
questioning the validity of the discovery and its timing."
However, while the going was good, the state media let rip. Issues raised in
ZTV reports included old favourites such as alleged attempts by ex-Rhodesian
security forces to kill Robert Mugabe; opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
allegedly threats to remove him violently from office; and the interception
of suspected mercenaries en route to Equatorial Guinea. The Herald carried a
massive picture of the alleged arms cache across almost its entire front
"All real and perceived enemies of the ruling party, ranging from the
shadowy Zimbabwe Freedom Movement (ZFM), allegedly led by Peter Tatchell, to
the opposition Renamo of Mozambique were retried from the archives, dusted
off and linked to Hitschmann's arms cache," said MMPZ.
No mention, of course, of the convenient discovery of other similar
intrigues which have been used to crush opposition, such as discrediting the
late Joshua Nkomo over arms in Matabeleland or blaming the Movement for
Democratic Change for the murder of war veteran Cain Nkala.
Only the Financial Gazette reported the continued official dithering over
the fate of the banned Daily News and its sister Sunday. In an about face,
the head of the regime's Media and Information Commission, Tafataona Mahoso,
announced he cannot rule on this. The newspapers' owners, Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe, are now battling to get a response from Information
Minister Tichaona Jokonya.
Commented the MMPZ: "While the authorities continue to dither and suffocate
ANZ's publications in their bureaucracy, Zimbabweans - who are subjected to
relentless propaganda from the dominant government-controlled media - remain
deprived of credible alternative sources of information which, in turn,
severely limits the capacity to be adequately informed."
HARARE - Zimbabwean journalists have welcomed plans for an independent media
Council whose objective is to improve the 'integrity and credibility of the
media profession in Zimbabwe'.
The Council's draft Code of Conduct has been drawn up after a series of
nationwide meetings led by the Zimbabwean Union of Journalists. Many in the
profession have committed themselves to 'self introspection of their conduct
and upholding the cardinal rules of the vocation'.
The council will be able to impose sanctions on any journalist found to be
deviating from the code, which will also impact on accountability to the
The draft code comes from a stipulation in the 2002 Banjul declaration on
the Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa, of which Zimbabwe is a
The Zimbabwean council hope that the body will 'strengthen the voice of the
media in Zimbabwe, defend media freedom and the right to expression.' - MISA
HARARE - Zimbabwe is set to resume ostrich and beef exports to the European
Union before the end of the year. According to the Principal Director of
Veterinary Services, Stuart Hargreaves, the government has implemented
measures to control bird flu and foot and mouth outbreaks to facilitate
Hargreaves said the government was expected to convince EU authorities on
measures being implemented to control outbreaks in the sector. He noted that
control measures had been implemented at ostrich farms in Umguza District in
Matabeleland North and in other parts of the country.
"We have improved the foot and mouth rehabilitation centre as well as fenced
off the Gonarezhou National Park. All the birds with positive anti-bodies
were moved to one farm and we are convinced the disease would be confined to
one farm. We have to be in a position to show that there has not been a
circulation of the virus for three months . before the end of the year, we
should have resumed exports," said Hargreaves.
Exports to the EU were suspended in 2004 following the outbreak of the foot
and mouth disease and recently later last year. According to international
regulations governing exports, a country is suspended for 24 months from the
last disease outbreak.
The country was last month allocated US$150,000 by the Food and Agricultural
Organisation (FAO) to put in place measures to control and the deadly H5NI
bird flu outbreaks.
But to date the country has only received US$33,000, which was used on
awareness campaigns and also the purchase of chemicals in the event of an
The country has been on a high alert since the outbreak of the deadly flu
virus in the continent, with the worst being reported in Nigeria.
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has also established a taskforce to
put in place measures for the early detection of the influenza virus. - CAJ
HARARE - Following marginal recoveries posted at the beginning of last week,
the rise in the statutory reserves to 60% of retail/call deposits and 45% of
wholesale deposits to be effected today turned the market bearish once
again. By Friday shortages were already being reported on the money market
as investors held onto their funds awaiting the acute shortages expected
this week - resulting from the shock emanating from an additional 5% of
deposits being taken up by the RBZ at 0%. However unlike a month ago when
the shortages left banks in a critical condition, we expect proper
anticipation could have resulted in a number of astute banks in a long
position. If this is the case only a fewer potion will be short and the rest
square and hence the market should not reach previous level of Z$6 trillion
down. The shortages are expected to last for a week at the most.
Meanwhile investors who are failing to pick up any direction and the RBZ's
intentions on the money market are placing a larger risk factor on the
Treasury Bills currently being issued. The possibility of all maturities in
May and beyond being rolled over into 2-year paper can no longer be ruled
While all this happens the stock market is expected to record further losses
early in the week before stabilising towards the end of the week as interest
rates begin to soften. Despite the impressive results being reported by some
companies the market has remained bearish with the total market
capitalisation falling to about $360 trillion from over half a quadrillion
dollars at the height of the bull run in January.
The market PE has also come down significantly from 68 to about 32 as a
result of falling prices and the results that have been announced. The "tail
continued to wag the dog" last week when the RBZ hiked the bank rate to 785%
(unsecured), in response to the February inflation statistics.
Yet another bloodbath was experienced with the declines outpacing the gains
by 41 to 19. Some technical analysts who use the ratio as an indicator say
that it signals an extended bear market.
The top gain of the week was CAPS, which advanced 47% to $2200 after taking
a dive in the prior week. The company is set to announce its results on the
28th and these fluctuations could be reactions by those who have privilege
information. The results were initially meant to be announced this week but
were deferred to next week for untold reasons.
TSL and its associate HUNYANI each put on 38% to $11,000. Apex regained lost
ground after putting on 27% to $1400 while CAIRNS advanced 19% to $9500. The
top loss of the week was WILLDALE, which slumped 37% to close the week at
$220. The stock had become overvalued during the bull run and had not yet
re-priced itself in light of the bear market.
According to our forecasts the stock is still relatively expensive on a
forward PE basis at the current price and thus investors should be cautious
of how they apply the "buying into weakness" strategy.
OK which has been very volatile in recent weeks plummeted 24% to $1900. The
exchange rate remained pegged at $99,201.58.