Mon 27 March 2006
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has gazetted a tough anti-terrorism
law imposing life imprisonment for people found guilty of participating or
aiding international terrorism.
The Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Bill published
in the Government Gazette last Friday also makes it an offence punishable by
up to 10 years in jail for anyone knowingly harbouring foreign terrorists.
Failure to report the presence of foreign terrorists within 72 hours
of becoming aware of their presence on Zimbabwean soil will attract a
five-year jail sentence, according to the proposed new law.
The draft law reads in part: "Any person who, whether or not he or she
is a member of a foreign and international terrorist organisation, engages
or participates in any foreign or international terrorist activity, shall be
guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for life.
''(It is an offence to) knowingly harbour or conceal a foreign or
international terrorist or fail to report such terrorist within 72 hours of
becoming aware of his or her presence in Zimbabwe.
"The maximum penalties for these offences will be a fine of level 14
or ten years imprisonment or both, in the case of harbouring or concealing a
foreign or international terrorist and a fine of level 10 or five years'
imprisonment or both for failing to report one or failing to disclose such a
terrorist's presence upon being questioned by an official."
The anti-terrorism Bill will now be tabled in Parliament for debate
and if passed will be forwarded to President Robert Mugabe for his signature
before it becomes effective legislation.
Zimbabwe does not face any known threat from international terrorism
networks but Mugabe's government has routinely accused former coloniser
Britain and her Western allies of "sabotaging and sponsoring terrorist
activities" against the southern African country's economic interests.
Harare also accuses London and Washington of financing the local
opposition and other groups to effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe,
raising fears it might use the anti-terrorism law to target local opponents
it accuses of working with its foreign enemies.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was not available to say when
exactly the Bill would be brought to Parliament or to respond to fears by
human rights activists that the proposed law could be used to clamp down on
A fortnight ago, government security agents said they had unearthed
weapons they said were to be used by the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party activists working with a shadowy Britain-based
group called the Zimbabwe Freedom Movement to kill Mugabe and overthrow the
Human rights activists had instantly dismissed the alleged coup plot
as a ploy by state agents to harass the MDC, while the state's case against
the opposition activists dramatically collapsed in court due to lack of
Other crimes under the draft anti-terrorism law are the supplying of
weapons to international terrorists which is punishable by life in jail.
Zimbabweans will also be jailed for life if found guilty of having
trained as an international terrorist or helped recruit people for such
training. - ZimOnline
Mon 27 March 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's main political opposition and National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic alliance on Sunday threatened to call
street protests and to go to court to stop the government from unilaterally
setting up a commission to monitor human rights in the country.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa at the weekend told the state-owned
Sunday Mail newspaper that President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet and his ruling
ZANU PF party had approved plans to amend the Constitution to facilitate the
setting up of a Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
Chinamasa said it was not necessary to consult the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party or civic society groups on the matter,
saying they could make their input once the Bill to amend the Constitution
was tabled in Parliament for debate.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said his group accepted the need for a
human rights commission but would not accept one imposed by Mugabe and ZANU
Madhuku, whose NCA brings together churches, women's groups, human and
civic rights groups, opposition political parties, the student and labour
movement, vowed to "take the state head-on over that matter, in the streets
and in the courts".
He added: "As NCA we want a human rights commission since there are
several unreported and unattended to human rights abuses (committed in
Zimbabwe) since 1980 but especially in the last six years. But the
commission we want is one which all people will claim ownership to, not this
one which Chinamasa and Mugabe are planning."
The spokesman of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC - seen as the main wing
of the divided opposition party - Nelson Chamisa, dismissed the
government-proposed human rights commission as a "smokescreen" to cover up
on the government's poor human rights record.
He said plans by the government to "again unilaterally" change the
Constitution justified last week's calls by Tsvangirai for mass protests to
demand a new and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe.
"It is ZANU PF that violates human rights so that party cannot be its
own prefect (by appointing commission)," said Chamisa. He added: "This
reinforces our call for planned protests to demand a new constitution. This
action by ZANU PF calls for a broad-coalition to be in the streets calling
for a people's constitution."
Tsvangirai urged Zimbabweans during last week's congress of his party
to engage in mass revolt against Mugabe and demand a new constitution that
could lead to free and fair elections.
But the government has warned Tsvangirai it will crush protests by his
supporters telling him that mass action would lead to bloodshed.
The Zimbabwe government routinely uses armed soldiers to stifle
opposition and dissent to its rule, a situation which saw the southern
African country earlier this month classified by the United States State
Department among the worst violators of human rights in the world.
Zimbabwe was the only African country ranked alongside North Korea,
Burma, Iran, Cuba, China and Belarus, considered to be nations where
political power is concentrated in the hands of rulers who are not
accountable for their actions.
In his interview with the Sunday Mail, Chinamasa said the creation of
a human rights commission was merely to keep pace with trends in the region
and not an admission that Zimbabwe had a human rights problem.
ZimOnline was unable to reach the Justice Minister for his reaction on
threats by the opposition and the NCA to call protests against plans by the
government to appoint the human rights commission without consulting all
stakeholders. - ZimOnline
Mon 27 March 2006
BULAWAYO - President Robert Mugabe's chief press secretary has ordered
a Zimbabwean state newspaper editor, Brezhnev Malaba, to submit a written
report over a story he published last week alleging that a senior government
official had been suspended for corruption, sources told ZimOnline
Charamba, who is also the permanent secretary in the information
ministry, instructed Malaba who edits the weekly Sunday News newspaper, to
submit the report this week and name the source of the story.
"Charamba has ordered Malaba to write a report over the source of the
story which turned out to be false. The fact that the story turned out to be
untrue means that action is likely to be taken against the editor," said a
senior Sunday News journalist, who did not want to be named for fear of
Charamba could not be reached for comment last night while Malaba's
mobile phone went unanswered.
The chief executive officer of Zimbabwe Newspapers, the
government-controlled company that publishes Sunday News, Justin Mutasa was
also not available for comment.
Ordinarily, Mutasa and not Charamba has final powers to act against
But the permanent secretary has often cracked the whip against state
media journalists he deems as failing to toe the line. Charamba is also
accused of interfering in editorial matters at the government-owned Zimbabwe
Last week, the Sunday News said four top officials in the Ministry of
Higher and Tertiary Education including the permanent secretary Washington
Mbizvo had been suspended by the Public Service Commission, facing charges
The story turned out to factually incorrect.
Four privately-owned newspapers, including the biggest daily, the
Daily News, have been banned in Zimbabwe over the past three years for
flouting the country's tough media laws. Zimbabwe's only two remaining daily
newspapers are both government-owned. - ZimOnline
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis had "passed
the point of no return" for recovery without basic internal reforms and
substantial international help, the U.S. ambassador said in an interview
Calls by President Robert Mugabe for improved relations and "bridge
building" with foreign nations so far had made no progress, Christopher Dell
was quoted as saying in the independent Standard newspaper.
"It is our hope that in the face of the massive crisis that it has brought
on itself, the government here will recognize that it needs to do more than
talk about bridge building," Dell was quoted as saying.
The U.S. was ready to help, but Zimbabwe made no move toward reforms or
dialogue, he said.
"It is really just a question of metaphors. There is no reality to that.
Empty words about dialogue are really of little interest," the ambassador
Dell said he had been denied access to government officials with whom the
U.S. has "a fundamental divergence of views" over the breakdown of the rule
of law and the government's disastrous economic policies that led to acute
shortages of gasoline, food and essential commodities and spurred
hyperinflation to above 780%, the highest rate in the world.
He said the abuse of property rights by seizures of land and other private
assets scared off investors and vital foreign financial assistance, though
the U.S. remained the largest humanitarian aid donor - $74 million last
Dell said in his 18 months in Zimbabwe, not a single U.S. investor had
approached his office for information on Zimbabwe's business prospects and
just 25 U.S. firms were still doing business in the country.
Much talk in Zimbabwe centered on when the country would finally collapse,
Dell told Maruziva.
"In this context, what is truly important...is the growing recognition that
Zimbabwe has already passed the point of no return in its ability to recover
from its crisis without substantial outside help," Dell said.
That help would depend on "very fundamental changes in the way the
government of Zimbabwe conducts itself and the policies it implements," he
There was no immediate response from the government on Dell's remarks.
In the past, Mugabe has frequently accused Western ambassadors of meddling
in the nation's internal affairs and denied the country cannot manage its
own homegrown recovery programs.
In November, Dell was summoned to the foreign ministry in Harare after
making equally outspoken criticisms of Zimbabwe's policies that he said
plunged the nation into poverty. The envoy was warned he could be expelled
Zimbabwe's economy has been in a free fall since Mugabe's government began
seizing thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to
blacks in 2000.
More than 3,000 people a week die of HIV/AIDS-related illnesses, while U.N.
agencies estimate that about four million people are in need of food.
Last year, some 700,000 people lost their homes or livelihoods in the
government's May-September "Operation Murambatsvina" - or "drive out
filth" - an often violent demolition campaign aimed at street vendors,
market stall holders and allegedly illegal housing.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
BY FOSTER DONGOZI
MILITARY unrest is reported to have rocked the headquarters of 2
Brigade in Harare last week when soldiers went on the rampage and sabotaged
the brigade's fleet of vehicles in protest at poor service conditions, The
As a result of the sabotage, operations were partially grounded
and would have left the country exposed in the event of an attack from
hostile forces, said military sources.
According to the sources, the underpaid soldiers allegedly
removed batteries from the brigade's vehicles including a bus and some Dong
Feng trucks imported from China.
The deputy commander of 2 Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Kalisto
Gwanetsa, requested The Standard to submit a list of written questions to
the brigade's offices in Cranborne.
"Usapinde mukati, ukapinda ndokugura musoro, (Leave your
questions at the gate. If you get inside the camp I will cut your head
off)," said Gwanetsa who claimed he was also a journalist.
Gwanetsa later said: "There is no story. I am training my
soldiers. I cannot divulge the nature of my training to you. Some of the
questions that you have asked are very sensitive. That is what the enemy is
waiting to hear ..."
Senior officers allegedly accused junior soldiers of stealing
the batteries, The Standard was told.
They immediately ordered that no juniors should leave the camp
until all the batteries had been recovered or replaced.
"The senior officers claim that if the junior soldiers leave
camp, this will give them an opportunity to go and cash in on the allegedly
stolen batteries," one source said.
Other reports indicate that the soldiers have been asked to
undertake menial tasks while the Special Investigations Branch of the
Military Police conducts investigations.
But junior soldiers have hit back saying only senior officers
had the means to remove batteries from the fleet.
"It is very simple. The senior officers are the ones who have A2
farms and those big batteries are ideal for use on many vehicles used on
farms," said one of the soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity. "No
ordinary soldier would be able to carry those big batteries out of the camp
that easily. But it would be very simple for a senior officer to drive out
of the camp with the battery in his car."
The soldiers said they were also angry that while the brigade
was not able to conduct normal military business because of an alleged
fuel shortage, senior army officers were able to attend to personal
business, including visiting their farms.
Over the years, soldiers have watched as their conditions of
service have continued to deteriorate.
Wages have been whittled down by inflation with security guards
last year earning more than some uniformed officers.
Soldiers say the army has been hit by desertions with several
deserters preferring to work as security guards in neighbouring countries
like Botswana and South Africa.
They claim they are now subjected to a miserable diet of beans
as the army cannot supply them with meat on a regular basis.
Some of them have resorted to armed robberies to make ends
meet.The army has also denied reports that soldiers have been sent on forced
leave because it cannot feed them.
By our staff
BULAWAYO - Former Matabeleland North Governor, Welshman Mabhena,
who was tipped for the vice-presidency of the anti-Senate faction of the
MDC, says he spurned the offer because he is against "politics of
His comments come against a backdrop of reports that civic
groups and MDC pro-Senate members in Bulawayo arm-twisted the veteran
nationalist out of the race.
Had the bid to woo Mabhena succeeded, Morgan Tsvangirai's
faction would have staged a coup over the pro-Senate faction led by Arthur
Mutambara because of his impeccable liberation struggle history and the
respect he commands nationally.
Mabhena told The Standard in an interview on Friday that he
never accepted the nomination, despite spirited efforts to bring him on
"I asked him (Tsvangirai) why the split, and whether their sense
of commitment is to the posts they were vying for or the people. I was later
to learn from the Press that I had been nominated for a post in the MDC,"
After Mabhena's rejection of the offer the faction offered him
another senior position, which he turned down.
"I did not agree with Morgan neither did I accept the
nominations. I also refused the post of senior political adviser. The true
fact is that I do not want to be involved in such type of politics that
border on factionalism," Mabhena said, adding that he was not even an MDC
In the meetings he had with Tsvangirai's delegation, Mabhena
says he tried unsuccessfully "to bring the two feuding factions together.as
the split is nonsensical". He said he doesn't support either of the
He added: "This is the reason why they are now speaking of
regionalism and tribalism in trying to justify their split. That is a Zanu
PF way of advancing its politics."
The MDC anti-Senate faction had also invited Mabhena to stand in
a bid to strengthen its following in Matabeleland.
An anti-Senate MDC insider said: "There was panic and disbelief
in the Mutambara faction when they heard that Tsvangirai and Mabhena were
talking. This was because Mabhena had the potential to influence supporters
in the region to follow him to the Tsvangirai faction."
BY GIBBS DUBE
BULAWAYO - A bitter property wrangle between Cabinet minister
Sithembiso Nyoni and a Bulawayo family has sucked in President Robert
Nyoni is reportedly refusing to hand over industrial equipment
to the Malikongwa family after a business deal collapsed.
The family went into partnership with Fashion Leathercraft,
owned by Nyoni's family in 1993.
Under the deal, the two families were to have equal shares, with
the Malikongwas providing machinery and the Nyonis providing cash.
The Malikongwa family sought Mugabe's intervention after Nyoni
allegedly refused to hand back the machinery following the collapse of the
A hearing chaired by Thenjiwe Lesabe, which Nyoni did not
attend, heard a family representative, Winnie Malikongwa, describing how
Nyoni and her husband, Peter, failed to honour their pledge to contribute
funds towards the venture in order for the Malikongwas to service their $250
000 loan sourced from UDC.
"The cash which was to be paid by the Nyoni family was to be
used to pay off the UDC loan. Due to failure to service the loan, the
Malikongwa family lost their household property and their house when the
messenger of court attached the property to recover the loan," she said.
The matter was then referred to Custom Kachambwa, then of the
Ministry of Justice, for finalisation.
In a letter dated 2 July 2004 addressed to the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, Kachambwa noted
".It has already been to the President's ears whom we understand has spoken
with Mrs Nyoni. We hear that Mrs Nyoni was advised/instructed to buy Mrs
Malikongwa a house and to return the equipment she is using."
But Nyoni hit back. On 16 July 2004 she wrote to Mugabe
protesting at the manner in which the matter was handled. She said the
hearing was a non-event.
Nyoni wrote: "I presume that it is under her delegated
authority and responsibility that (Oppah) Muchinguri (Zanu PF's secretary
for the Women's League) took Malikongwa's allegations against the Nyonis
straight to the President of the party and of the State ..."
Contacted for comment, Nyoni said: "As far as I am concerned
this is a closed matter because I delivered the machines a couple of months
ago to Bulawayo Governor Cain Mathema's office.
"I deserve to be listened to as I really have nothing to do with
that woman anymore as I indicated in that correspondence to the President."
In a letter to Mugabe, Winnie Malikongwa said Nyoni had
"hurriedly dumped two broken industrial machines at Mathema's office" but
retained four heavy-duty sewing machines and an assortment of other
BY FOSTER DONGOZI
WITH Zimbabwe's inflation officially pegged at 782% and
galloping towards four digits, citizens now carry large amounts of money as
the local currency becomes increasingly worthless.
Wallets, which have traditionally been used to carry bank notes,
have already ceased to be of much use except for carrying identity cards,
credit cards and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards.
Women buying handbags now opt for the bigger variety to enable
them to carry several kilogrammes of the Zimbabwe dollar now derisively
referred to as "stationery".
Zimbabwe's largest bank denomination, the temporary $50 000
bearer cheque cannot buy some newspapers and is just enough to buy official
propaganda publications in the Zimpapers stable which now cost $50 000 a
Even the Zanu PF propaganda mouth piece, The Voice is worth $50
000, meaning the largest denomination can only buy propaganda, which in
other discredited nations, comes free.
A postage stamp for a letter to any part of Zimbabwe costs $25
000 if the letter weighs less than 20g.
Students of history have read about the pre-Second World War
depressions which hit USA and Europe during which money was carried in
wheel-barrows and suitcases just to buy a single loaf of bread.
Zimbabwe is hurtling towards a similar situation as the economy
continues in its free fall.
Young socialites in Bulawayo and Harare fed up with having to
stuff their pockets with millions of Zimbabwe dollars now resort to using
their car boots as storage for the worthless bearer cheques.
At popular braai spots like Mereki in Harare and Mthwakazi just
outside Bulawayo, young men and women can be seen hauling out wads of bearer
cheques to buy drinks and braai meat.
Sifiso Dube, a Bulawayo resident, said he had long abandoned the
wallet in preference for the boot.
"The car boot is now much more convenient for me. When I want to
make any purchases like groceries, I cannot carry the money in a wallet or
my pockets. The boot is the best option because it means I don't have to
carry huge amounts on me and few thieves would suspect that I would be
carrying a lot of money in the boot."
Jimmy Murambiwa of Emerald Hill in Harare concurred.
"If I don't carry the money in a satchel, then the boot is the
next best option. If I carry the money in a bag, it would be easy for
thieves to see that I am carrying a lot of money."
A bank teller told The Standard last week that clients making
withdrawals from banks had become easy targets for thieves.
"When clients come into the bank to make withdrawals we always
ask them if they have brought any bags or big envelopes to carry the money.
If not, we always encourage them to go and look for big containers for
carrying their money away. Others actually bring suitcases and trunks to
carry the money. Unfortunately that places clients at the mercy of thieves."
The bank teller said thieves position themselves outside banks
in order to ambush clients who would have made huge withdrawals.
They stand out easily as they would be carrying bags or big
envelopes stuffed with money.
A client with one of the banks said the hyper-inflation now
exposed citizens to attacks by robbers.
"A lot of people are now moving around carrying satchels. That
is not a new fashion trend. Those are the new wallets and thieves are not
blind to that fact and that is why a lot of people are being mugged.
"The unfortunate thing is that this deterioration is going to be
with us for a long time. What this proves is that we no longer have an
economy, it has collapsed and that is why there is no order in the economy.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
FOR Sylvia Guhwa, a senior clerk with a government ministry in
central Harare, having lunch has become a luxury.
During the lunch hour, the mother of two kills time either
strolling in the park or reading a novel.
"I now skip lunch and then have a square meal with my family in
the evenings," says Guhwa as she cradles a novel.
Guhwa is one of thousands of Zimbabwean workers, mostly civil
servants, who are failing to make ends meet as the economic situation
continues to take a downward spiral.
On average, civil servants earn about $8 million a month, an
amount that is far below the poverty datum line (PDL).
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) a family of
six now requires at least $28 million a month to live a normal life.
Such an income means for most of the civil servants even if
their salaries are multiplied three times, they would still fall below the
official poverty datum line.
Salaries of most workers in Zimbabwe are being gobbled up by the
high prices of basic foodstuffs, accommodation and transport.
As inflation continues to shoot up, prices of basic commodities
and services are also expected to skyrocket. Workers' salaries have remained
Presently, inflation is at 782% and is expected to go beyond the
1 000 mark by mid-year, dashing hopes of any economic revival.
Landlords, taking advantage of the worsening accommodation
situation following the government's internationally condemned "Operation
Murambatsvina" last May, are increasing rentals monthly, further
impoverishing the already underpaid workers.
Renting a single room in Harare's high-density suburbs now costs
$3 million or more a month.
Independent economic analyst, John Robertson, estimates that 90%
of workers, the majority of them civil servants, were living below the PDL
in the country.
Presently, Zimbabwe has about a million people in formal
employment and 3 million workers in the informal sector, which was also
destroyed during the so-called clean-up exercise.
"Only 100 000 workers out of about a million people in formal
employment are earning over $28 million. The rest of the workers are living
miserable lives," Robertson said.
Formal employment shrunk drastically in the country following
the closure of companies due to unfavourable economic conditions generated
by the government's misrule.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Zimbabwe's economy
has shrunk by about 40% in the past five years.
"A shrinking economy breeds a shrinking workforce that is poorly
paid as the economy would not be performing," Robertson said.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions deputy secretary general,
Collin Gwiyo, said the union wanted the minimum wage to be pegged at $28
million to enable workers to afford basic necessities.
"Workers are digging a hole to cover another hole. They are
really suffering," Gwiyo said.
Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe director, John Mufukare,
said the $7 million non-taxable salary agreed on for the first quarter of
2006 was too low considering the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities.
He said employers were worried about the impoverishment of
workers. "As employers, we are committed to having a motivated workforce. It's
good business to pay your workers as much as you can afford because you reap
dividends in increased productivity," Mufukare said.
As a result of unsustainable salaries, the majority of workers
in the country are surviving on moonlighting to supplement their earnings.
Doctors working in the public sector have established private
surgeries; accountants do books for private firms, while journalists write
for foreign media organisations to supplement the meager earnings, eroded
heavily by inflation.
But for Guhwa and thousands of other civil servants, options for
moonlighting are limited. They just hope for a quick economic recovering
which, however, looks highly unlikely.
"Maybe things will be normal again and people like myself will
have lunch and be able to provide for their families", she said as she
licked her parched lips.
US Ambassador Christopher Dell (CD) spoke to Standard editor
Davison Maruziva (DM) for the first time since the diplomatic fallout
between Zimbabwe and the US last year.
DM: How many US firms are still operating in Zimbabwe and how
many have put plans on hold or say they would be happy to do business if the
CD: I will confess that my year and a half here have been quite
extraordinary in that I haven't had one US investor, potential US investor,
come to visit and to make enquiries about the usual kind of background
information they gather when doing due diligence about investing in a
Often times when you are ambassador, companies do come to you
and ask you for advice, assessment. I haven't had a single visit like that
in 18 months. To answer the other part of your question, there are still
about 25 American firms doing business in Zimbabwe either as subsidiaries of
American companies or more typically as representative offices of American
That number has shrunk significantly over the years in part due
to the relocation to post-apartheid South Africa when before 1994 many
companies had their southern African operations based here because they did
not want to be in South Africa, so that is not a reflection on Zimbabwe, of
course, but the changing regional context.
But you know what's striking is how few American companies are
here in what is potentially a very lucrative market and I have been doing
some research on hyper-inflation and one of the things that's striking is
that industrial output often collapses just prior to the onset of
hyper-inflation. There is a historical pattern. Hyper-inflation is
essentially a means of transferring wealth from the individual-held wealth
into the hands of the government.
And in that environment the industrial production collapses.
That historically classic pattern seems to be precisely what we are seeing
going on in Zimbabwe right now, whether you are talking about domestic
industrial output or even agricultural output or interesting a foreign
investor in coming to Zimbabwe, hyper-inflation is the result of government
policies. Hyper-inflation is typically the result of printing money.
That has contributed to this discouragement of interest in
Zimbabwe as has the government's assault upon the rule of law, growing
disrespect or lack of respect for rights of private property. These are all
things that any person, any business person who is thinking of an investment
in a given country looks at seriously before they risk their money in a
foreign environment. They are going to want to look at what is the
government's attitude towards private property, is the rule of law
effective, if there is a business dispute can one turn to the courts for
recourse? Is there respect for contracts? Or are contracts enforced by the
The lack of foreign investment in Zimbabwe is a direct
reflection on government policies which have sent strong signals to the
business community that the government does not respect private property,
does not respect the rule of law and these are the things that have
And now in this hyper-inflationary environment new investment is
far too risky. I don't think we are going to see a renewed interest in
Zimbabwe as a destination for foreign direct investment until there are
economic reforms, changed economic policies.
DM: Since your address at Africa University last year and the
incident at the Botanic Gardens, how do you characterise relations between
the US and Zimbabwe?
CD: Well we continue to maintain diplomatic relations, we
continue to maintain the niceties of diplomatic practice, we obviously still
have an embassy here and Zimbabwe maintains an embassy in Washington. But I
would have to say relations can only be characterised as strained. I think
we have a fundamental divergence of views about the way forward for
Zimbabwe. I have essentially been denied any access to government officials
and, for example, can only discuss overtures about so-called
"bridge-building" in this fashion, with you.
As I said earlier we remain engaged here. We continue to be the
largest provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe. Last year we
provided about US$74 million in foreign assistance.
We want to help. We want to be in a position to help. We remain
committed to helping the ordinary people of this country once again enjoy
the freedom and prosperity that used to be the hallmark of Zimbabwe. And it
is our hope that in the face of the massive crisis that it has brought upon
itself, the government here will recognise that it needs to do more than
talk about bridge building. It actually needs to begin taking concrete steps
that will lead to bridge building.
To use the bridge building metaphor, we certainly have the
cement and the steel stockpiled. We are ready to begin construction but you
know you have to build from both sides at the same time. And 'til we see the
government coming up with its own cement and steel and being prepared to
begin building the bridge from the other bank of the river it's really just
a question of metaphors. There is no reality to that.
It's certainly true that there is always going to be some
divergence of views among different countries, different nations, different
states. I think in the case of Zimbabwe what we have seen is in fact a
remarkable convergence of views over the last year or so: much less debate
about the broad international consensus and approach towards Zimbabwe
largely as a result of actions of this government - "Operation
Murambatsvina" certainly helped unite the international view that there was
a serious problem in Zimbabwe.
I think what we have seen over the past year has been a
significant shift in the attitude even within Africa towards Zimbabwe.
Countries that previously offered uncritical support for the regime are now
taking a second look and reconsidering their attitude.reconsidering what the
government here has done to its own people.
So, while there will never be unanimity amongst the
international community, I don't think that is to be expected or is even
required. What there is is a broad consensus that Zimbabwe is in desperate
trouble. Zimbabwe has brought this on itself largely due to the policies of
its own government and those policies need to begin to change in order for
the international community to make its contribution to the rebuilding and
restoration of Zimbabwe.
DM: Is there now a growing realisation on the part of the
government that it's time to begin to build those bridges you referred to
with the US? How does this manifest itself?
CD: That is a very interesting question, we have seen
periodically, efforts on the part of the government, about every six months
since I have been here, to somehow try and break out of the diplomatic
isolation in which the government's policies have put Zimbabwe.
Thus far, what I have seen there has been a lot of talk, a lot
of signals about a desire for better relationships but no concrete
manifestation of such a renewed desire on the part of the government to
improve the relations. Our position remains and has been very consistent. We
welcome dialogue, we welcome "bridge-building" if that's the term one wishes
to use but there has to be a dialogue founded, in the first instance, on
concrete measures on the part of the government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate
that it is ready to embrace reforms and a new way of doing business.
Real interest in bridge building on real reforms would be
welcome; diplomatic gambits designed simply to get the government out of a
tight corner of its own making are not.
Empty words about dialogue are really of little interest.
Concrete actions that manifest a new approach on the part of the government
would be extremely welcome and would be met by reciprocal actions on our
As the economy of Zimbabwe continues to melt down, as the
government policies have increased its international isolation, earning it
over the last year the condemnation of even the United Nations and the loss
of the previously unqualified support of old friends, as that isolation
grows it's only natural to expect the government to try and reach out and to
renew dialogue and again we would be very happy to see that happen provided
it is based upon a genuine commitment to change.
I think the most useful way to put this, in the context of the
current economic crisis in particular, is a very simple formula - rescue
requires reforms. Although there is much discussion in the country today
about when things will collapse, indeed, what "collapse" means in this
context, what is truly important with respect to the role of the
international community is the growing recognition that Zimbabwe has already
passed the point of no return in its ability to recover from its crisis
without substantial outside help. Zimbabwe will not be able to do it on its
If Zimbabwe expects the outside world to support its recovery
from the current economic crisis, that's going to have to entail very
fundamental changes in the way the government of Zimbabwe conducts itself
and the policies it implements.
By Our Staff
COMPANIES should brace themselves for a tough time ahead after
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe changed the playing rules on the money market,
analysts have said.
Analysts said last week that the increase in statutory reserve
payments and prolonged deficit on the money market would constrict the
lending market and reduce the profitability of the financial sector.
"The statutory reserve requirements continue to be a hurdle that
is reducing the market performance for the sector. An increase in the
statutory reserve ratios results in a decrease in the amount that banks have
at their disposal for lending and other investments," Interfin said in their
Most banks released good results with Kingdom Financial Holdings
Ltd (KFHL), posting an after tax profit of $199 billion in the financial
year ending 31 December 2005.
FBC Holdings also performed well with the bank releasing a
profit after tax of $562 billion in the year ending 31 December 2005.
But Interfin said last week that interest margins for banks had
been compromised by the tight liquidity conditions and predicted reduced
profits for the financial sector.
"It reduces the average return that is derived from every dollar
of deposits. At the same time, the average cost of most non-retail deposits
is currently high. Thus the move by the central bank to reduce money supply
through the increase in the statutory reserve requirement ratio impacts on
the profitability of the banking industry. The tight liquidity witnessed
over the current month has also impacted on some institutions and
compromised the interest margins."
Kingdom Bank CEO, Frank Kufa hinted at the bank's analyst
briefing a fortnight ago that they have reduced the number of loans.
and are not keen to lend to clients for fear that high interest
rates would deter them from honouring their debts.
Highveld analyst, Terrence Mazango said the central bank would
have to maintain the concessionary funding to allow increased productivity.
"Banks cannot sustain profits in a situation where they borrow
at 750 % from the RBZ and get an available asset at 500 % on the money
market. The net effect is the increase in the cost of lending to customers
and companies cannot borrow at lending rates of 500 % and expect to survive.
There is no way industry can stimulate growth when debts are doubling
because of interest rates. The concessionary funding cannot be discarded, it
shows the extent at which things are not well," Mazango said.
The RBZ is presently disbursing funds at a concessionary rate of
20 % to companies under the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement
EACH national event that has been celebrated in recent years has
seen hard-pressed people being coerced to contribute to the festivities.
It is time to take a second look.
Zimbabwe is in no better situation than it was this time last
This year's Independence celebrations require that we take
cognisance of the current hardships and where possible scale down on the
festivities. It would be insensitive to demand that the majority of the
people, who are either unemployed or struggling to put food on the table for
their traumatised families, contribute towards the festivities.
Sensitivity has never been one of the character traits of our
rulers. That is why we have one of them believing that she is entitled to
furnishings and curtains with a bill for $35 billion for an obscenely
opulent mansion when residents who were left homeless by an urban cleansing
exercise that united world opinion condemning Zimbabwe continue to live in
the open nearly a year after their trauma.
There are some well-meaning people both within the government
and the ruling party, but their silence has only helped to encourage the
mess to which this once promising nation has been reduced. It's time for
these good men and women to let their voices be heard and ensure Zimbabwe
begins to retreat from the precipice.
Those who feed from the Zanu PF trough are busy "fundraising"
for the Independence celebrations. The hardships the majority of Zimbabweans
endure are alien to them. Distressed companies and the majority of the
people who have been thrown out of their jobs will be approached for
contributions. Both the government and the ruling party are quick to forget
their lead role in company closures and unemployment. This year's
Independence anniversary celebrations will only serve to remind them of
missed opportunities and betrayed aspirations.
Anyone with the genuine interests of the people and this country
at heart would ensure that the Independence celebrations are low key in
recognition of the hardships being faced by the majority of Zimbabweans.
There will this year however be distortions whose outcome will
determine whether the activities will be peaceful or chaotic. Increasingly
more people are unable to afford proper meals and many will attend the
celebrations in the hope of feasting at State expense.
Depending on whether or not food will be provided, the
celebrations could turn out to be peaceful and successful or ugly as the
hungry people will feel betrayed. A large attendance will distort interest
in the event because for many the entertainment programme will provide a
brief escape from the daily hardships and challenges to provide for their
families. The large attendance could also be forced or in anticipation of a
Zimbabwe's parlous condition was accentuated by developments
last week: While the country is desperate to attract investors, neighbouring
South Africa was hosting a large delegation of Italian business people that
is going to inject R210 million into the economy. What the event served to
show was the extent to which Zimbabwe has become an unattractive investment
destination and the opportunities the country is losing.
sundayopinion by by Janah Ncube
THE poverty, so rife in Africa is a scourge that must motivate
every African woman and man to use every asset at their disposal to
obliterate it. We must shift from the indoctrination of seeing the things we
do not possess in light and in comparison to western societies.
We have time, skills and capacities, wealth in the natural
resources of our countries, determination, resilience, a conscience and a
history that reminds us what happens to a people who get swayed, deceived
and hypnotised by the magic of western inventions. History shows us that you
get exploited, cheated out of what is yours, prostituted by selling yourself
for a momentary illusion of wealth, power and superiority.
This is how our ancestors were tricked, this is how today's
warlords in many of our conflicts are persuaded to perpetuate conflict in
oil and mineral rich African territories and this is how some of our Heads
of State are deceived to misuse and misappropriate the wealth of our
countries at the expense of their populations.
We may have rid ourselves of colonial, racist, apartheid
political leadership, policies and programmes but their bitter legacy
continues to haunt our lives through the poison of poverty that blatantly
pervades our societies.
This is the same poison that has distorted our perception of our
African identity and the diminished value we have attached to it. The
indignity that poverty imputes in our lives has corroded for most of our
peoples a sense of humanness and has instead left an empty gulf of no self
worth that hinders them from seeing themselves living lives beyond the
gutters of lack they unfortunately find themselves in.
For those who may be fortunate enough not to find themselves
living in the shackles of poverty, we have grown so accustomed to it that it
does not bother us to see poverty all around us and we have become so self
centred we have no heart, conscious, time to pay attention to how much worse
it has become.
If we do take notice, the most we do is talk about it and
exclaim just how bad things have really become and revert back to our
hoodwinked lifestyles, glad to be blind to all else. Those of us who do
notice those who lack, we see them as lesser beings who are a bother, a
source of shame and embarrassment and do not recognise or grant them the
dignity of seeing another human being, a brother or a sister.
As Africans we have lost a sense of pride, of belonging to a
distinct race because our race has been put down so much by those who think
themselves better than us. This is a problem that women also face, a need to
disassociate with their gender especially among men because women have been
put down so much we almost want to apologise for being women.
This has been one of the tricks of those who justify and
perpetuate marginalisation and discrimination. They make you feel like there
is something wrong with those of your identity and only you are the
exception. The legacy of poverty can be over come if we first change the way
we see ourselves as a people in each other's eyes. If I can see myself in
the next African person regardless of their class, gender, nationality how I
value that person will change. This will win us the first victory of
Our streets should not be the toilets and bedrooms of our
children. Our government departments and civil service sector should not be
havens breeding corruption. Our skills should not be limited and exploited
in the informal sector because we are desperate to exchange them for money
and so will sell at the lowest price after much begging which borders on
emotional blackmail on the buyer.
We need to reclaim our human dignity regardless which side of
the border or the continent we find ourselves. We are Africans and we have a
right to be here. We deserve much more than what our history, culture,
traditions and western constructions have defined for us and burden us with.
We deserve good homes, adequate, available and affordable food, we have a
right to water and sanitation, we should be benefiting from the God given
wealth which bestows our continent.
I know that for most Zimbabweans it seems hard and irrelevant to
think beyond our own immediate problems. Everyone is just trying to make
ends meet and to stop and worry about the next person when trying to survive
seems improbable. Yet it is such limited thinking that has slowed down and
reversed any gains and development we ever attained. We have to see and
think beyond our own specific experiences if we are to conquer the evils of
poverty and their sources.
Most of Africa is in worse situations than we find ourselves in.
When things were good for us, we were too comfortable to notice or were busy
making jokes of them. Now things are bad, we are too busy surviving and
making jokes out of our misery.
The colonial borders which we inherited have created a false
sense of difference and brought indifference to our plight. I remember
growing up and made to understand that a Malawian or a Zambian was a
"lesser" person than a Zimbabwean.
No one ever really taught us that explicitly but as kids, we
knew it. Similarly, today Zimbabweans are treated with disdain in other
countries such as South Africa and Botswana just because we are perceived
poor and implicitly lesser. This is what breeds poverty.
The generation of my grandparents and that of my parents will be
remembered for confronting, fighting and conquering colonialism and
What will our generation be remembered for? I say may we be
remembered for hating and fighting poverty to the bitter end.
By Pedzisai Ruhanya
IN recent years, especially after Zanu PF imposed the concept of
executive presidency in Zimbabwe following the Constitutional Amendment
Number 7 of 1987 which saw the elevation of former Prime Minister Robert
Mugabe to the Executive President of Zimbabwe without a referendum and
subsequent election and the ditching of ceremonial president the late Canaan
Sodindo Banana, the concept of the sovereign will of Zimbabweans has been
endangered by an unaccountable and unrestrained executive branch of the
Given these circumstances, the executive branch of the State
because of its lack of accountability has created a monster that has
destroyed the democratic aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe as
prophesised by other founding fathers of the struggle for independence and
democracy such as the late Joshua Nkomo, Herbert Chitepo, Leopold Takawira
and Jason Ziyapapa Moyo. Their wish was not to create an all powerful
executive regime but a government that was accountable to the masses of
Zimbabweans who fought to liberate the country from the racist government of
The present set in Zimbabwe cannot produce an accountable
government because State power is vested in one centre that of the executive
arm of the government. Because the executive arm of the government has
assumed imperial power that is not accountable to other arms of the State
such the legislature, there have been unchecked executive abuses that have
led to the continuous erosion of democratic practices in Zimbabwe and the
creation of a de facto but not de jure military state.
The concept of sovereignty has been abused to mean the continued
rule of Zanu PF despite clear signs the citizens are fed up with the current
economic malaise affecting the country and it has been continuously invoked
against a legitimate opposition that also seeks to govern the country. My
understanding of sovereignty is that it belongs to the people and all the
powers and authority of government and its agencies come from the people. It
is thus clear that the government, its personnel and all its agencies are
servants of the people.
he problem that faces Zimbabwe is that its government seeks its
authority elsewhere other than the people. For instance, the word minister
means servant but in the case of Zimbabwe, the people are the servants of
the incumbent government. If there is any denial of this opinion, it would
be very difficult to explain the activities of say the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, in the
local government sector where he has been on the rampage firing elected
representatives of the people.
In a functional democracy, it is the people who are the masters
of those they elect to govern them. Under this understanding, the people or
the electorate are the sovereign in a civilised democracy where the rule of
law underpins the functions and administration of national and governmental
affairs. The concept of sovereignty should remain unqualified at all times.
It should not be defined to suit the needs of ruling elites at a particular
juncture in the historical development of a country such as Zimbabwe.
Political science scholars have argued that sovereignty as a
concept that underpins democratic governance is never transferable or
temporarily loaned to any person because they are elected to run the affairs
of the State. This is the sad situation that Zimbabwe finds itself under the
administration of Zanu PF. Sovereignty has been loaned to the leadership of
the party despite claims that they are elected by the people in a free and
fair election. The situation becomes even worse when the leadership of a
ruling elite loan that sovereignty to itself and does not indicate when it
intends to give it back to its owners - the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe
as sacrificed by those who perished in the bushes of Zambia, Tanzania and
Mozambique fighting for the sovereign will of the people to prevail over an
unrepentant fascist minority regime led by Smith and his former Rhodesian
A democratic and constitutional order should guide all those in
power to always conduct themselves with dignity and respect towards the
people, who elect them in power. Elected representatives in a functional
democracy should seek to serve the public as their primary function with the
idea that if that is not done, they can lose their positions in government.
But under a situation where elected officials are arrogant to the extent
that they cannot allow the democratic will of the people to prevail under
free and fair elections, it would be a farce to talk and later dream of the
Zimbabwe as a modern state needs to restore the sovereign will
of the people if it is to move forward economically and politically. The
current economic quagmire will be with us for a long time until the nation
changes its democratic conduct and gives back the people the sovereignty
that has been stolen by the ruling elite.
t is without doubt that there are many factors that help to
explain the existence or otherwise of a democratic culture in a particular
set up, Zimbabwe included. However, in the case of Zimbabwe, lack of
executive restraint has been one of those major factors. This explains why
during the Constitutional Commission hearings prior to the February 2000
referendum a lot of people called for the removal of a lot of executive
powers inherent in the current constitution.
Under the Zimbabwean Constitution, the President is not
answerable to anyone but himself. The president can make law thereby
single-handedly assuming the role of Parliament. This scenario in my view is
a fundamental violation of the sovereign will of the people of Zimbabwe who
elect people to make law, a function that can be done by one person under
the current constitutional regime.
One sad thing about the current constitutional regime is the
ability of the head of State under section 154 of the Electoral Act who is a
participant in an electoral process to make law relating to the same
including nullifying an electoral result. Such constitutional provisions are
clearly a negation of the sovereign will of those who participate in an
election and needs restraint through a constitutional overhaul to come up
with a decent constitutional regime that respects the sovereignty of the
people of Zimbabwe.
Lack of executive accountability appears to be one of the
critical features that are missing in Zimbabwe. It also this lack of
accountability that makes a developing democracy fail to respect human
rights and the sovereign will of the people.
It is without doubt that there is no regime that can claim to be
responsible in its conduct of State affairs without being accountable.
The real MDC, stand up and be counted
A lot of things in this world have been said and done in the
name of the "people" but who exactly are the "people" and who are not?
Once in a while we hear of the "people's power" and now the
debate in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) centres around who is
coming from the people Arthur Mutambara or Morgan Tsvangirai.
So who defines the "people" and who should speak for them? The
common sense view that has been presented by those who claim to champion the
"people's" cause is that the down-trodden or the less privileged and less
educated; in short those in the high-density areas such as Mbare, and
Mzilikazi and the rural people of Chomuruvate and Bulilima-Mangwe are "the
The only problem with this discursive strategy is essentialism,
which is the belief that people and/or phenomenon have properties that are
essential to what they are. The poor in this case will always be with us in
this understanding of the "people" being - the poor and the down-trodden,
but what happens when they move out up the social ladder like Arthur
Mutambara did and became a professor?
If Mutambara comes from the Mutambara area as we know him, with
years of experience among the people why should the last 15 years disqualify
him from being part of the people?
The point is not about where Mutambara was but rather what he
has brought for the people. It does not make sense to say that, because he
has been away he should go to the cell level of the party before he can be
allowed to contribute anything regardless of the wealth of experience he is
Is there a difference between a person speaking for the
"people", assuming for a minute that one actually does, and a person with
whom the "people" agree?
It is possible that people need leaders who can come up with
robust policies that they can understand. It is no longer helpful to have a
popularity contest measured by how many people attend rallies or congresses.
It is now a battle of ideas and the people can follow a person with ideas
that come through a qualitative debate.
This is where those who are not thought to be "people", the rich
and famous, may have some say, those with money and properties because they
are stake holders a well.
A country has more stake holders than the poor people, and
influence or power moves in all directions. In fact, even the poor people's
votes, hearts and minds are not a given, political parties have to fight for
them. In the end everyone matters - the rich and the poor.
When Zanu PF gives out land, and talks about the liberation
struggle some people naively think that it is not important but why should
your history not matter? People are not just about consumption and wealth,
they are also emotional beings. As some MDC people talk of scars post-2000
such an argument cannot survive the emotional test of the scars of the
The idea of a new Zimbabwe noble as it may appear has
connotations of cutting off from the past which was a people's struggle.
This view is not helped by people who refuse or feel offended to refer to
liberation struggle and acknowledge the heroes of that struggle.
Our heroes are not just dead people such as Tendai Biti were
quoted saying, they are founding fathers of our nation. Those in the UK and
US know too well that the so-called first world continue to honour their
heroes or founding fathers of their nations who lived centuries ago.
Every nation-state has its struggles and it is a product of
conflicts, myths and the values which have to inform their struggles as a
People are always embedded in their historical and cultural
context and the concept of a new Zimbabwe should be explained carefully to
the "people" especially as the other MDC group attended its congress last
weekend whose theme was, "Rallying People for a New Zimbabwe".
The people's identity is not only explained by where they live,
for people will always move socially or physically but they will remain
people. The politics of exclusion done in the name of the people will not
get us far as a nation. Mutambara and Tsvangirai now have to show the nation
their vision; Zanu PF has been on the scene for people to know what it
stands for but now that we have two MDCs, the people are waiting!
Mugabe, the liberator has lost plot
I WAS astounded when the February 2006 inflation figures
were released as 762% apparently the highest in the world. How does our
president and his lieutenants in Zanu PF feel to be presiding over the worst
peforming economy in the world? Does that not mean Zanu PF Government is
composed of the most incompetent economic managers in the world?
President Robert Mugabe must do a lot of soul-searching in
order to identify critical areas where he got the economic equation skewed.
One sure thing is if our President continues to pursue his present economic
policies, the much-talked about economic turnaround will remain a pipe
dream. Shouting himself hoarse about Tony Blair, George W Bush and the
imperialists will not translate into viable economic policies,.A man of
Mugabe's intelligence should have realised this.
It was heartbreaking when during an exclusive interview on
the eve of his 82nd birthday our President openly admitted to printing money
as an economic solution. That was a first for all the wrong reasons.
If my memory serves me well, the only other president in
Africa who thought printing money was a panacea to economic problems was Idi
Amin of Uganda in the 1970s. His policy was more paper means more money. We
can forgive Amin because he was intellectually challenged. Out President is
a trained economist. What has gone into his head?
If our president does not want to go down in history as
the worst leader to have graced mother earth, I offer the following few
* A liberator does not take away property rights
* A liberator does not appoint incompetent cronies and
soldiers to run parastatals
* A liberator does not fire elected councils and replaces
them with his friends and relatives constituted as commissions who do not
provide services to the people but loot rates
* A liberator does not deny his people a home-grown
* A liberator does not fear people he liberated to the
extent of moving around with a kilometer long motorcade of soldiers and
* A liberator forges friendships with the international
community for the economic interests of the nation.
If Zanu PF, our liberators, starts observing the above,
the nation will start moving towards prosperity.
State has unwittingly boosted Tsvangirai faction
ALTHOUGH the pro-Senate faction was supposed to emerge
from the "arms cache" discovery as the stronger of the two it might actually
emerge as the loser. The fact that most people believe this to be a
conspiracy against Morgan Tsvangirai, might actually lead to them regarding
him as a martyr.
Most Zimbabweans are now wondering why the government is
so afraid of the anti-Senate MDC to the extent of trying to "physically
eliminate" them as Didymus Mutasa threatened. This in itself is an
endorsement that Tsvangirai's MDC is the real MDC. It shows that they are
not worried about the Arthur Mutambara faction either because they are
colleagues or because they are aware that they have no following.
The pro-Senate's cause has been further weakened by the
recent utterances of its leader Mutambara who was quoted in the Press vowing
to destroy Tsvangirai. One wonders why Mutambara would be pre-occupied with
the destruction of Tsvangirai and not President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF
who have brought the country to its knees.
We expect such language from the likes of Joseph
Chinotimba or some such ignoramus. The "untainted" Mutambara has already
started setting conditions for Tsvangirai's "readmission" into the MDC and
even demanded that Tsvangirai repent.
It is obvious that such condescending sentiments are
unlikely to result in the reunification of the MDC. It is important to
remind Mutambara that he does not lead the MDC but only a breakaway splinter
whose legitimacy is in question.
In fact, the only "achievement" of the faction so far was
to lead the party to its first election loss in Bulawayo since 2000.
Whereas the MDC was entitled to receive funding under the
Political Parties Act, the disbursement of such monies to one faction was
meant to strengthen it at the expense of Tsvangirai's MDC.
The pro-Senate faction also received the proverbial kiss
of death when it was embraced by The Herald and The Sunday Mail. The fact
that The Sunday Mail chose to make headlines out of Mutambara's election as
head of a faction of the MDC ahead of Mugabe's birthday celebrations was
The recent election losses for both factions should really
be a wake up call for them. It will be interesting whether they will both
contest the vacant Budiriro parliamentary seat. If they choose to take this
dare-devil path then this could mark the end of opposition politics in
Zimbabwe. It is pertinent for both factions to either agree to an amicable
divorce or to risk becoming irrelevant in the not so distant future.
Ralph Shingai Paratema
Police behave as if immune to economic crisis
I am amazed by the way police look at the present
economic and unemployment crisis. The few people who are still lucky to hold
onto a regular job do their damned best to look after their jobs, but what
do the police do?
Every morning during peak hours police decide that
is the time to set up road blocks so that people do not get to work early
and it's not as if there are enough forms of transport around.
So the few still working are delayed and the few
remaining companies that still make the economy tick work fewer hours
because workers do not arrive at work on time - thanks to the police - so
whatever production they are involved in is reduced, negatively impacting on
Police will argue that it is important to conduct
the inspections of commuter buses, but these buses are on the road for the
rest of the day, why pick on the morning rush hours? There is need for the
police to manage their work with consideration. Times are hard; there is no
need to make them even harder. We hurt ourselves more when we should be
contributing to making the situation better.
And as if that is not enough the majority who are
out of employment try to eke out a living and the police are after them -
what do they expect these poor fellows to do in order to survive - steal?
It is as if the police are determined that more
people should be thrown out of jobs and once out of jobs they should not
have means of looking after themselves. Yet if people are allowed the
latitude to earn an honest living this reduces the crime rate.
Perhaps part of the agenda is to drive people out of
employment and once they are unemployed, they are driven out of the urban
areas because they cannot make an honest living, so presumably they go back
to the rural areas. This is a sinister strategy I expect from the ruling
party not from the police.
Are relatives of the police all employed and those
that are not are the officers able to adequately support them? Sometimes
police officers need to stop and reflect on these questions instead of
acting apparently without thinking.
It's the principal causing confusion at Harare
I CASTIGATE in the strongest terms the
confusion that has been brewed by the Harare Polytechnic administration
pertaining to the payment of top-up tuition fees.
Steven Raza, the Principal of Harare
Polytechnic and his subordinates have clearly displayed high levels of
organisational inefficiency. Recently, they distributed memos to students
indicating that they should have paid their tuition fees by 31 March 2006
and prior to that, their residence fees by 28 February.
Suddenly, they have changed that decision and
they are pestering students to pay immediately 50% of the tuition fees. They
did not address the students on this pertinent issue. Rather, they chose to
disburse some verbal instructions ordering students to immediately pay, an
act of which sounded more of a rumour until students were abruptly thrown
out of lecture rooms.
Why did Reza decide to display such a blatant
unprofessionalism. While it is the Ministry of the Higher and Tertiary
Education and Culture that hiked the fees, the principal should have made a
proposal to it that his students have to pay their fees at month end. The
same ministry should stop using college authorities to throw students out of
lessons. It should be made clear through the media that unpaid students
should stop attending lessons. If such a move is taken then college
authorities so such heartless.
Again, the principal, should have addressed
the entire college and explained his position concerning the issue. Students
supported by civil servants will never be able to raise such amounts unless
the government intervenes as it is almost doing at the University of
Finally, it's inevitable that our tuition fees
should be in tandem with the government loans, we are yet to be given. As
such the grants should be timeously disbursed to allow us to settle the war
the Ministry of Higher education is waging against us.
MP's jibe about Mugabe, so what?
AN MDC MP was recently arrested for making
remarks that were deemed to be undermining and insulting the authority of
the President. Mabvuku MP Timothy Mabhawu was arrested for rhetorically
asking some soldiers he had offered a lift why they were letting President
Mugabe continue to make them suffer. "Sei muchiregera Mugabe achikuregerai
muchitambura?" were his exact words, as reported in The Herald.
Perhaps the ungrateful soldiers, the
overzealous police and the responsible authorities need to be reminded that
almost everyone of us has said similar things before. Every time we go into
a shop and discover that we cannot buy even the very basics of life's
necessities. We silently say similar, if not worse, remarks.
If our soldiers can no longer afford their
own transport, and have to suffer the inconvenience and humiliation of
begging the public for help, it surely means things are not well, and
someone must be responsible. If someone can be arrested for merely pointing
out the suffering of the soldiers, what sentence befits the people who are
ultimately responsible for the suffering, not just of the soldiers, but of
all of us?
Under normal circumstances Mabhawu's remarks
would not be considered to be out of the ordinary as they have indeed become
part of our everyday lingua franca.
His were just teasing comments meant to
provoke a cheerful discussion to ease the stresses of a difficult life.
But following his arrest, we now think
Mabhawu is a legend, and that his heroic stunt will forever be recorded in
history as one of the few brave individuals who were persecuted for speaking
the plain truth.
Hudson Yemen Taivo
WHEN ZESA switches off power to residential
areas on weekends for as long as six to 12 hours and industries are not
operating, what happens to supplies that are normally consumed by industries
during week days?
The current load shedding has exposed the
inadequacy and failure of those entrusted with the task of generating and
distributing energy supplies in this country. There are reports of methane
gas reserves in Lupane, should this not be opened up to international
investors with knowledge of exploiting such resources so that the current
energy crisis is ameliorated?
What is the point of having bilateral
relations with countries, such as France and Iran or Kuwait when we do not
tap their knowledge, skills and expertise in the area of exploiting fossil
fuel for energy use?
Truth, only the truth
WE appreciate your role in Zimbabwe's media
fraternity. The truth must forever be presented as the truth and spicing it
is unfair in the eyes of your readers. We wish you eternity under the Zanu
Chickens come home to roost here
MUGABE and his Zanu PF cohorts may think
they can hide behind two-metre security walls in Borrowdale or where ever
but when the chickens come home to roost -- no one wil be spared.
Ask Kumbirai Kangai who nearly lost his
official Benz because his under-paid driver decided to supplement his pay!
Mail and Guardian
26 March 2006 11:53
Zimbabwe announced on Sunday that it would set up its own human
rights commission as part of its "quest to create a culture of human
rights", a state-owned weekly reported.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the Sunday Mail that the
Constitution would be amended to establish the Zimbabwe Human Rights
"The commission will have the mandate to receive, investigate
and redress any complaints relating to human rights," the weekly said.
"It will also have the responsibility to promote and protect
human rights as Zimbabwe continues its quest to creat a culture of human
rights," it added.
Chinamasa said the decision to create a human rights body came
after an influx of "manufactured" human rights abuses reports by
non-governmental organisations in the past six years.
"They [NGO's] manufacture and peddle false allegations and they
also recycle them," said Chinamasa, adding that these allegations were aimed
at attacking President Robert Mugabe's government.
Earlier this month the Southern African country's human rights
record was ranked amongst the worst in the world, according to the United
States State Department's annual Report on Human Rights Practices for 2005.
Zimbabwe was the only African country ranked alongside North
Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Iran, Cuba, China and Belarus, considered to be
nations where political power is concentrated in the hands of rulers who are
not accountable to their actions.
In its report on Zimbabwe, Washington cited the continued
muzzling of the privately owned press, government corruption, executive
influence and interference of the judiciary, life-threatening prison
conditions and politicisation of state apparatus.
Chinamasa said the establishment of the body was not an
admission that Zimbabwe had a human rights problem but that the country was
merely moving in line with trends in the region.
"In any case there is no country in the world where on a daily
basis there are no violations of human rights," Chinamasa said.
"So the commission will help to ferret these violations and
redress them. The commission will help to promote a human rights culture to
minimise occurences of human rights violations," he said. - Sapa-AFP
Mail and Guardian
March 26, 2006.
By Andnetwork .com
THE announcement by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB)
that auction floors are scheduled to open next month has seen grading of
tobacco intensifying in most farming areas as farmers anticipate better
prices this year.
A drive to some farms in Mashonaland West last week revealed that the
grading process was going on with some farmers already having bales ready
for the market.
At Chimusoro Farm in Darwendale workers could be seen pushing and
shoving each other getting their scales for grading.
"We are expected to grade 180kgs per person per day. So if one starts
as early as 6am, one has chances of finishing work early and do other things
later,'' said one worker Mrs Annie Matongorere.
At Pfopojena Farm in Mhondoro workers had already done more than 60
bales which are ready for the market.
The owner, Mr Aaron Kumbirai, said he would temporarily stop grading
after the 60 bales had gone to the floors, as he wanted to watch the prices
during the first sales.
"I am only sending these 60 bales as soon as the floors are open. If
the prices are good I will continue, otherwise I will have to wait until
September when prices get better," he said.
He said some farmers were reluctant to start grading as they feared
that early deliveries would fetch low prices as had been the case in
Farmers were last year disappointed when they delivered their crop
early only to fetch lower prices than those offered later in the marketing
"It was very disappointing that after farmers made early deliveries,
the foreign currency exchange rate was reviewed upwards resulting in the
early deliveries making losses. This year most farmers are sceptical on
early deliveries as they anticipate prices will increase around August to
September,'' he said.
A TIMB official said prices of tobacco could be low this season
considering that most farmers failed to get the right inputs.
In many cases farmers substituted chemicals and fertilisers after
failing to get the right chemicals.
"There was too much rain this season and most of the crop is of poor
quality due to leaching. As a result prices are likely to be low,'' he said.
He urged all farmers to renew their growers' numbers before floors
open as those who failed to do so would not be allowed to book their crop on
any auction floor.
He said that a fee of $500 000 is now required for registration up
from $25 000 last year while those who delay until floors open will pay $750
"No farmer will be allowed to use old growers' numbers as we have
developed a new system, which requires new numbers,'' said the official.
Tobacco Growers Trust (TGT) chairman Mr Wilfanos Mashingaidze said
farmers were still bitter on the issue of bonuses and incentives that were
promised but never came. He said there was a drop of tobacco growing this
season as most farmers were discouraged by low prices last year.
"The fact that those who sold their crop late got better prices will
see floors less busy on opening this season as farmers will wait to see how
prices will be improving,'' he said.
He said this season would see a drop of the crop to 50 million
kilogrammes from last season's total of 73,4 million kilogrammes, which
earned the country US$118 million.
Source : Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
March 26, 2006
By Andnetwork .com
BURST water pipes which have been releasing huge amounts of water near
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority's Highfield substation have caused
power outages in most parts of Harare's industrial areas.
The Highfield substation, which is the hub of electricity distribution
for Workington, Mbare, Willowvale, Ardbennie, Southerton and Highfield
areas, has been affected by the water that has been penetrating the cable
joints and causing power cuts. The substation is at the corner of Harare
Drive and Highfield Road.
Zesa engineering manager for Harare Mr Peter Nyandiya had to take a
number of company owners to the site last week for them to understand what
was really causing the power faults in the area.
He said more than 20 cables that are underground at that area have
been affected causing the power outages and reducing the productivity of
some industrial areas.
"Water has been going into the power substation and cables are just
blowing up. More than 20 cables have been exposed to the gushing water,"
said Mr Nyandiya.
As a result, Zesa has spent more than $500 million in replacing each
cable joint and kits.
"Our company is spending more than $500 million on every cable and
jointing kits," he said.
Zesa officials warned of intermittent power outages in the areas
affected until the City of Harare repaired the burst pipes.
City of Harare spokesperson Mr Madenyika Mangwenjere said he was not
aware that the burst pipes were affecting power transmission but promised to
investigate the matter.
"I am hearing it for the first time. We will, however, look into the
issue," he said.
Source : Zimabwe Sunday Mail
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-27
MDC pro-Senate leader Arthur Mutambara yesterday said he will remove
President Robert Mugabe from power before the 2008 presidential polls
through "democratic means."
Mutambara made the threat while addressing a rally attended by thousands of
opposition party supporters at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in St Mary's,
"If (President) Mugabe thinks we are soft and want elections only.then he is
lost. We are not afraid to stage protests to remove the president. We are
different from (Morgan) Tsvangirai who talks about Jambanja (protests)
without plan B," he said. "We are not able to wait until 2008. (President)
Mugabe and Zanu PF would be dragged from power through democratic means."
He claimed defeat was not part of the MDC agenda and hinted that if protests
failed, the faction would use other tactics, which he did not elaborate.
Last week, vice president Joseph Msika warned apposition parties against any
illegal means of assuming power.
"When President Mugabe is ready to go and rest, he will come to you (the
people). If you say no, he will continue in office," Msika was quoted
saying. Apart from Msika, Zanu PF secretary for information Nathan
Shamuyarira and political commissar Elliot Manyika warned the MDC against
engaging in violence to effect regime change.
On another issue, Mutambara stressed on the need for "a people driven
constitution" that would allow free and fair elections."
He accused Zanu PF of rigging elections in the past and vowed that would not
"If he (President Mugabe) rigs the elections, we are going to have plan B, C
and D. Elections were stolen in the past, but that won't happen again,"
He boasted his faction had the capacity to run the country and urged his
followers to entice the masses from both Zanu PF and the Tsvangirai camp to
join the pro-senate faction. "Go to Zanu PF. Go to Tsvangirai and bring
people to the party," he said.
He stressed any form of unity that might take place must be based on
Mutambara claimed the opposition party was entering Zimbabwean politics "on
the shoulders of heroes like Josiah Tongogara" and supported the land reform
"This is a new party with a new vision and direction. We are refocusing and
re-branding the party. We are for the land, how will we get support from the
rural areas when we do not support the land issue?" queried Mutambara.
The leadership of the faction that included its vice president Gibson
Sibanda, national chairman Gift Chimanikire, secretary general Welshman
Ncube, deputy secretary general Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, Job
Sikhala and other legislators, attended the rally.
A mob, that the pro-senate camp claimed belonged to the Tsvangirai faction
started singing and waving Dynamos FC flags when Mutambara started
addressing the gathering.
"They were thugs from the Tsvangirai camp that vainly tried to disrupt our
successful rally," claimed Sikhala. However, Nelson Chamisa, the
spokesperson for the Tsvangirai camp dismissed the accusations as unfounded.
He said: "How can we disrupt a rally that flopped. I passed through the area
where the rally was held and only a few people attended it."
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-27
FARMERS have been urged to form group-lending schemes to ensure
accountability and better organisation.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting for the agricultural sector organised by
the Zimbabwe Farmer's Union (ZFU) in collaboration with Agribank, the
Resident Minister of Harare Metropolitan Province, David Karimanzira, said
it was imperative on farmers to form syndicates.
"The need for farmers to form groups is paramount. Obviously, it is easier
for any organised group or association of farmers to access loans than it is
for individual farmers to do so," he said.
"Well organised farmer groups are in a better position to bargain for better
prices for their commodities and for the survival of agriculture as an
industry which is the major economic sector of this country."
He announced that his province had established a peri-urban agricultural
programme whose objective is to create a greenbelt in and around Harare's
It was also to ensure food security among the urban dwellers as well as to
supplement their incomes as households, the minister said, adding that this
land would be fully utilised for wheat, maize, horticulture and many other
Karimanzira said of the eight administrative districts in the province, six
of them had land or farms for the peri -urban agricultural programme.
He said they had been forced to reduce the allocation for each household
from two hectares to one because of the large number of applications for the
The resident minister announced that the government was working on the
provision of 99-year leases to all the model A2 farmers.
He expressed concern that farmers were not repaying loans, thereby reducing
the funds available for loans to other farmers.
"It is disheartening to note that many farmers have failed to live up to
their contractual obligations by failing to repay their loans on time,
thereby grounding the loan schemes run by Agribank and other banks," he
Addressing the same meeting, the ZFU vice president, Edward Raradza, said
the formation of group schemes would not only make it easier to access loans
and better bargains, but would also make it easier for officers from the
Agricultural Extension office, Arex, to train farmers on different
On the allegations that ZFU farmers were selling diesel allocated to them at
a cheaper rate by the government on the black market, Raradza said the
culprits were those who had taken land but were not genuine farmers.
He called on the government to take substantive action on those who had
multiple farms, adding that they were tired of hearing of endless land
audits"What are you doing with land audits? We have to be seen to be
serious. There is not enough being done," he said.
The chairman of the agricultural taskforce in Parliament, Walter Mzembi,
told the meeting that although the issue of tenure would be solved by the
99-year leases being processed by government, this would not be the only
criterion considered by banks before giving loans to farmers, but also the
viability of projects presented by farmers.
He urged farmers and farmers' unions to be to computerise and be able to
track their members.
The Agribank chief executive, Sam Malaba, said they would help capacitate
farmers financially or otherwise, and reiterated the call for farmers to
repay the loans to enable other farmers to access them.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-27
THE Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe is seeking to facilitate
participatory budgeting as a tool for development effectiveness and active
citizenship in local authorities.
The association, a grouping of all the 28 urban councils in the country, is
currently implementing a project to promote civic participation in selected
councils and would like to document best practices in civic participation.
Interested organisations and individuals have been invited to suggest best
approaches to be recommended for implementation in Kadoma, Kwekwe, Gweru,
Masvingo and Bulawayo by April 30.
Analysing the impact of the identified processes on service delivery and on
livelihoods of the citizenry and to provide gender disaggregated analysis of
the budget processes is one of the project's major terms of reference.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Non Governmental Organisation (Nango)
says participatory budgeting can be used as an effective tool for poverty
alleviation, adding that citizens should be actively involved in processes
that can transform their lives.
"Participatory budgeting is a key pillar of democracy, a tool to promote
development effectiveness," it said.
Nango said citizens had a right to participate in the process because they
knew the priority issues and would therefore be helpful in designing
relevant interventions. "They are accorded the opportunity to speak on the
form and nature of transformation they require and how it should come
about," it said.
The body is advocating for the promotion of citizen participation through
the Child Friendly National Budget Initiative.
Nine child-focused NGOs in Zimbabwe conceived the initiative, which seeks to
influence policies and legislation that favour child responsive budgeting.
"Experiences in Zimbabwe compared with developments in other parts of Africa
and other continents such as Latin America have provided pointers to some
necessary conditions for participatory budgeting to achieve intended
results," Nango said.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-27
THE price of clear beer has gone up yet again.
Alcohol consumers over the weekend expressed disbelief and discontent over
the new prices, which have come shortly after other successive increases
The new prices mean a 375mm bottle (pint) of clear beer now costs $80 000,
up from $50 000, while a 750 ml now costs $130 000, up from $90 000. Most
bottle stores effected the increases on Saturday, catching drinkers
The price of opaque beer was unchanged at $90 000. The beer price increases
occur within the inflationary environment obtaining in the country which has
seen prices of most basic commodities rising uncontrollably.A snap survey
conducted by The Daily Mirror showed that drinkers, due to the increases,
were becoming more inclined to the Eagle Lager brand, which is way cheaper
than the other brands.
A quart of Eagle Lager is priced below $100 000.The lager was launched late
last year and is brewed from largely indigenous ingredients.
Delta Corporation corporate affairs manager, George Mutendadzamera,
yesterday could not comment on the latest increases. Last month, beer
consumers boycotted an increase in opaque beer prices from $50 000 to $120
000, resulting in the price being slashed to $90 000.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-27
THE provision of decent and affordable housing is critical to attaining the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as set out by the United Nations (UN), a
UN Habitat International official has said.
The organisation's resident representative, David Kithakye, said this at the
weekend at a Shelter and Urban Upgrading workshop organised by a
non-governmental organisation, Practical Action.
He said due to urbanisation that has seen about 40 percent of the population
in Zimbabwe becoming resident in urban areas, push factors in rural areas
"According to the UN, homelessness is a definition of poverty and the
provision of shelter is strategic to achieving MDGs, especially goal number
one, which is about eradication of extreme poverty and hunger," said
He said poverty could not be eradicated without providing decent shelter for
the people in the wake of rapid urbanisation.
An official from the Harare City Housing Department said there was need to
consider densification and spearhead the construction of flats, as opposed
to single dwellings, to save land in the delivery of housing.
She said Harare was prioritising that to accommodate more people.
Cooperative housing schemes by residents were an alternative way of
expediting the housing delivery system, she said.
She added that upgrading existing houses was critical as it increased the
market value of such properties.
She also highlighted the need to develop peri-urban areas like Epworth and
Ruwa to alleviate housing problem in Harare, which has more than 100 000
people on the waiting list.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2006-Mar-27
GWANDA residents have threatened to stop taking part in the on-going public
works programme due to poor remuneration.
Investigations by The Daily Mirror revealed that most of the people involved
in the programme were the elderly.
The investigations also revealed that some of the people were single parents
looking after orphans whose parents succumbed to the deadly HIV and Aids
scourge. In an interview, the residents said that they could not continue
working on the programme while they were paid $60 000 a fortnight. "We have
been doing this (working under the programme) for the last three months. Our
allowance has been so pathetic that we are considering quitting because we
are working for a mere $60 000 for two weeks.
"We have done our best, but the city fathers are not even mindful of what we
do to keep this town clean. It has all
been promises and promises, but no action," said one of the residents. It
was also revealed that the residents had tried to push council into
increasing their payouts, but the municipality was also operating on a
"The council is willing to increase the money that we receive, but their
efforts are dampened by the fact that they also have their own problems in
terms of money. "We are told that they are applying to central government
for some money and we hope that the government will be sensitive to our
plight," the resident added.
Gwanda mayor, Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla, acknowledged that there were
complaints over the amount of money paid to the people on the programme,
adding that his council was doing all it could to deal with the crisis.
"We need more people in the public works programme. Our only hurdle is that
the money that is paid to these people is very little. No one can survive on
$60 000 and as a council we are doing all we can to make sure that the money
is increased," Mnkandla said.
He added that it was not the public works programme that only required
funding, but a host of other projects whose contribution to the municipality
was said to be critical.
"We need funds for a number of projects and once that is done, this town
will be different. We have as council approached the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) for funding of a number of programmes and we hope that we
will get a favorable response from the authorities at the central bank,"