Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
28 March 2006 09:01
Harare city council plans to splash out Z$1,45-trillion to buy
329 sedans and pick-up trucks for its managers and field staff, Zimbabwe's
Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Its website said the purchase would be made with money the city
intended borrowing from the open market.
About Z$1,1-trillion would be used to buy 183 one-tonne trucks,
at an average cost of Z$6-billion apiece.
Another Z$42-billion would go towards the purchase of 90 sedans
going for Z$3,6-billion each.
Other items in the huge capital lending budget were several
"executive" desks, each of which costing over Z$50-million.
The council is also planning to buy office chairs and
refrigerators that will cost several hundreds of millions of Zimbabwean
Borrowing the money from the open market at current interest
levels means rates, tariffs and other municipal charges would have to be
This would be vital for the city to be able to service the debt,
implying an increased burden on ratepayers.
According to the current exchange rate one South African rand is
worth more than 15 000 Zimbabwean dollars. - Sapa
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe is reinforcing the country's armoury of
repressive laws in a bid to counter rising opposition as economic and social
After recently drafting a law allowing the interception of telephone and
e-mail communications, the government has gazetted a new bill to deal with
international terrorists and their local collaborators - who often tend to
be opposition members, in the view of authorities.
Zimbabwe has an arsenal of repressive laws, including the Public Order and
Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the
Broadcasting Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act and the proposed Interception of Communications Bill.
Government intends to amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to
tighten it. The proposed bill, the Suppression of Foreign and International
Terrorism, will worsen the situation, taking the country further down the
path of a police state.
Zimbabwe is already the most repressive country in southern Africa, with
more infrastructure for repression than Swaziland and Lesotho, the last
outposts of monarchical rule in the region.
The Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism bill provides for
measures to deal with international terrorism, including mercenary activity.
It makes it an offence to undergo training for foreign or international
terrorism, to recruit persons to undergo such training, or to possess
weaponry for the purposes of terrorism.
The maximum penalty under the proposed law for such offences would be life
imprisonment. It also makes it an offence to knowingly harbour or conceal a
foreign or international terrorist or to fail to report such a terrorist
within 72 hours of becoming aware of his or her presence.
The maximum penalties for such an offence would be a fine or 10 years in
The proposal comes against the background of a recent arms cache discovery
in which opposition Movement for Democratic Change members were arrested for
allegedly plotting with a foreign terrorist group, the Zimbabwe Freedom
Movement, and former apartheid-sponsored Mozambican rebel movement Renamo to
March 28, 2006.
By Andnetwork .com
FARMERS owe Agribank nearly $1 trillion in unpaid loans advanced to
them to finance various farming activities last season. Agribank's chief
executive Mr Sam Malaba yesterday said the bank was owed a total of $909,5
"Agribank's loan book currently stands at $2,3 trillion and of that
amount some $909,5 billion was already in arrears as at 28 February 2006.
"This is mainly due to droughts we have had in the past few years," Mr
In the 2005/06 season, the bank advanced $1,4 trillion and $640
billion was extended through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe loan facility.
"Most of the loans granted last year will only be paid back when farmers
start marketing the crops which are on the ground and now it is only at the
end of the marketing season," he said.
"The only crop which we financed last year that has been marketed is
winter wheat which we extended loans totalling $284,6 billion and we
realised a 67 percent loan repayment." Agribank has since set up a debt
recovery unit to make follow-ups on defaulting farmers.
"As a way of reducing these arrears and also on improving our loan
repayments, Agribank has established a debt recovery unit and this unit has
debt recovery managers and debt recovery officers stationed at provincial
level to follow up all outstanding loans at each provincial office," he
Farmers who have failed to honour their debts have been blacklisted,
making them ineligible for additional financing unless they were paid up.
But, the issue of defaulting farmers has been a thorn in the flesh for
Agribank. Indications were that the majority of farmers who accessed funds
under the Agribank's loan facilities were defaulting on payment and in the
process threatening the revolving nature of the facility.
The bank said the figure reflected "crop failure caused by severe
drought of 2004/05 cropping season and wilful default in some cases." In
recent months, Agribank has also come under fire from farmers and economic
commentators who blamed the firm for failing to synchronise its systems to
ensure farmers met their end of the bargain through timely repayments.
Literally, Agribank has been lending to farmers and then forgetting
about reimbursements until other farmers came in to apply for new loans.
Agribank has been lending at concessionary annual interest rates of between
five percent for winter wheat crops and 50 percent for other crops without
Source : The Herald
Tuesday, March 28 2006 @ 12:05 AM BST
Contributed by: correspondent
By Dumisani Nkomo
The Zimbabwe crisis does not need to be described, as it has
become obvious to all. So, to attempt to redefine it would be a grave insult
to the collective intelligence of the nation. I will, therefore, attempt to
depict 10 possible scenarios, which may obtain from the current situation,
which will enable Zimbabwe to pull herself from this quagmire.
I will attempt to present a number of scenarios and critically
evaluate their practicality, worth and effectiveness. The first option, of
course, is Organised Mass Action. This is the most talked about and least
practiced option. It looks to me the one in March 2003 called for by the MDC
was the only real success. Organised stay aways by the ZCTU and the National
Constitutional Assembly have been massive flops largely due to poor
organisation, ill-conceived timing, lack of consultation with relevant
stakeholders, a culture of apathy and fear amongst the general masses of the
population and the existence of oppressive laws such as the Public Order and
Security Act and repressive State apparatus such as the quasi-military units
in the form of Zanu PF militia as well as a ruthless police, intelligence
and military system.The conditions are ripe for such an action, but the
nation does not seem sufficiently motivated to resort to this option.
The second option is Spontaneous Mass Action - an option highly
favoured by the MDC and many other Zimbabweans. It does not place
responsibility for action squarely on the shoulders of an individual, party
or institute, but relies on somebody, somewhere in some fuel or bread queue
saying enough is enough. Spontaneous mass action has emerged as a favourite
option for the following reasons: It cannot be easily contained by the
brutal State security apparatus because it may start anywhere and spread
anywhere. It is difficult to pinpoint leaders of such an action and to
isolate or incarcerate them. It is a demonstration of people, which may
appeal even to individuals in the State security apparatus as evidenced in
Romania and the former Yugoslavia. The economic climate is ripe for such an
action as evidenced by fuel queues and food shortages. Food shortages have
always been a trigger for revolution.
The third option can be labelled the Palace Coup. This theory
supports the implosion scenario whereby the President, who has emerged as
the personification of the Zimbabwe crisis, is ousted by his own colleagues
in the ruling party. This option seemed to be an unfolding reality when he
was on holiday in Malaysia. This option can only work if the conspirators
have the support of the military and, therefore, are limited to those who
have a measure of influence in the military. This option appears to be quite
appealing for the following reasons: Historically, even the most powerful of
empire builders such as Julius Caesar and Tshaka the Great were eliminated
by those closest to them and not by distant enemies. There is great pressure
on sections of Zanu PF for the displacement of the old order.
The fourth option is a Military Takeover. But this is an
unlikely and undesirable option as African history has proved that military
takeovers have resulted in military dictatorships. The perceived "saviours
of the people" may soon become ensconced in an eternal transition to
civilian power, as was the case with Ibrahim Babangida in Nigeria and
Ghana's Jerry Rawlings who later transformed himself into a civilian
president albeit by democratic consent. Zimbabwe has suffered under a
one-man one-party dictatorship and a military takeover may be suicidal and
genocidal to the emergence of democracy in Zimbabwe. This option should not
be encouraged, supported or celebrated by peace-loving Zimbabweans.
The fifth option is a rerun of the presidential election through
the courts. As long as conditions for an election rerun remain the same, the
ruling party will continue to use the uneven playing field to continuously
win elections by dubious means. But that option should not be abandoned, as
it will give the MDC the moral high ground to challenge the legitimacy of
the Zanu PF government.
The sixth option is to allow things to disintegrate. There are
many who argue that the current situation is not sustainable and the
government will inevitably collapse. Whilst this is quite possible, probable
and desirable, it may not be practical because it appears like the ruling
party is willing to hang on to power even if it means ruling over skeletons.
It may also be difficult to rebuild once the economic framework of the
country collapses. The verdict is, whilst the current situation is not
sustainable, the rulers of the land do not give a hoot and will hang on to
power by hook, crook or book.
The seventh option is to wait for the next elections. The
presidential election is only two years away. If the MDC chooses to quietly
rebuild its effectiveness, credibility and image, it may succeed in winning
the presidential election. Indicators, however, are that: Zanu PF will not
sit idly and watch the MDC grow. More MDC leaders will be arrested, detained
and tortured on trumped-up charges. Some could even be killed. The MDC and
other alternative voices will be systematically silenced by current and
prospective draconian laws which will further erode the democratic process.
But the most reasonable and practical route which is also the
eighth option seems to be that of a negotiated settlement. In this regard
previously stated strategies, such as mass action, could well be an
effective means to gaining leverage to negotiate a workable settlement for
Zimbabwe. A transitional authority would involve the setting up-of a
transitional government of national unity composed of both Zanu PF and the
A constitutional conference of all stakeholders would then be
convened to formulate a new democratic constitution, which would be the
framework of democratic elections in which the parliamentary election would
be held concurrently with the presidential election. Dissolution of all
quasi-military units and institutions such as the militia, the national
youth service and war vets and depoliticisation of food aid would also be
Ninth - A government of national unity is unlikely. Such a
government would involve President Mugabe inviting the MDC to be a part of a
government of national unity which Mugabe has vowed he would never do. The
last option is to do nothing and still expect something to happen. This is
the option, which most Zimbabweans are practicing at the moment and nothing
will happen as long as nothing is done.
Nkomo is a political commentator
Tuesday, March 28 2006 @ 12:03 AM BST
Contributed by: correspondent
I find pleasure and courage to write you this letter. I feel
that in your honeymoon at the University of Zimbabwe and in expelling
students you have somehow forgotten a lot. Since the day you expelled us i
still cant believe that professionals or rather professors sat down and
discussed an illegality and decided to be angry on behalf of Robert Mugabe
and expelled Mfundo Mlilo, Collen Chibango and Wellington Mahohoma three
distinguished leaders of the union. I find it difficult to understand how
you finally found us guilty when all odds were fighting against you , i find
it difficult to discern what paragons you used to expel us, i need to remind
you that history and infact posterity will judge you harshly, unfortunately
in your absence.
You have expelled and suspended more students from the
University of Zimbabwe than the colonial governments combined because you
want to be used by Robert Mugabe or you have chosen to be angry on his
behalf. It is easy to think that i am begging you to come back, on the
contrary, i am a distinguished student leader towering above the entire
student movement who has served the students not only of this university
alone but counrtywide. I am a beacon of hope to students and zimbabweans in
general who are silent because people like you have forgotten that the
fullness of time shall come.
My greatest advantage is that i am young and will see a future
that all of you will never see and so never expect me to sit and watch you
destroy that future. In the fullness of time Nyagura how will you quantify
the indignity of sleeping in a cell with human waste and urine all over and
being tortured and detained because i told you the students were hungry,
remember that day when you sent a truck load of riot police to arrest me
because i refused to sign your suspension letters, remember that day when i
was removed from residence and slept in the open because i asked you to
solve the situation in the dining halls, remember that sad day when i was
arrested and detained at Avondale police station, Harare central and St
Marys police station because i told the students it was government's
responsibility to fund tertiary education.
Remember the many suspensions you have written to me and the
countless times your security has beaten and stopped me from learning
because if we complained Mugabe would fire you. How are you going to
quantify all this indignity. I remember the days i would snick into campus
and lived like a prisoner in an independent Zimbabwe because you had
outlawed my movements on campus. It was so painful to live like that, but it
only served to harden me, to teach me that the struggle is so painful and a
Nelson Mandela in 1964 at the revonia trial said "all my life i
have fought against black domination and fought against white domination, i
have cherished the ideals of a free and democratic society in which all
people live in harmony and with equal opportunities, it is an ideal which i
have worked for and which i hope to achieve, but if needs be it is an ideal
which i am ready to die today" Nyagura today as you expel me and cut short
my life i say to you--all my life i have fought against Robert Mugabe and
all those who get angry on his behalf like you, i have fought for and on
behalf of the quest for academic liberation and emancipation, these ideals
must be achieved and will be in the face of your
I am not deterred i am more than ready to engage=did you listen
to the resolutions of the civic society that we are engaging the state
through demonstrations, i shall be part of that movement. I am happy because
it is not long before the end of time when all of you shall go, will be dead
or arrested, then we shall learn in better environments, even if we leave
the country we shall be back to enjoy our motherland the struggle is our
birthright the conviction to fight for students, our courage and resilience
is beyond hope itself. I will fight for the students and dedicate my entire
life to the struggle of zimbabweans. I cannot be tempted to say i am tired
when i have only fought for a year, Nelson Mandela fought for 27 seven
years. The fullness of time is coming, remember Nyerere went away, Idi Amin
went away, Banda was chased away, Hitler the fullness of time caught up with
him---we shall catch up with you and your masters. We are the antithesis of
violence and mayhem which you purport to have expelled us for.
TILL WE CONQUER
Tuesday, March 28 2006 @ 12:02 AM BST
Contributed by: Zimdaily
I have always said to myself that I am proud of being Zimbabwean
and African, and I never had to question or answer myself why I had to be
proud. It seemed natural and just, some mental emancipation and appreciation
of who I was and could be. I cherished the strength of several generations
of Zimbabweans and Africans who underwent a lot and came out of it stronger,
positive and doing the best they could under the circumstances, wishing to
reach their ultimate potential as individuals and nations. Until now, now as
I see the African quest for self-destruction, irrationality and savagery in
thought and deed, as I am thrust in circumstances so queer I need external
persuasion to say convincingly to myself that I am proud to be Zimbabwean
There are two backgrounds that I consider, to acquire this
confusion about whether or not to be proud. The first background is common
knowledge: as African and Zimbabwean people we were a people minding their
own business, creating and sustaining one generation to another, knowing how
to satisfy our basic needs and creating social organisations and
organisational structures relevant to our needs and purposes. There was no
darkness on our continent; we could see and had our own indigenous knowledge
which was manifest in technology and medicine, which could create and
maintain life to the best of our abilities within given epochs and
geographical settings. From another continent came people who thought we
were primitive, captured some of us and made us slaves in foreign lands.
Thereafter their kin came again and colonised us for centuries, treating us
in an inhumane manner that only we, Africans could go through and
rehabilitate ourselves mentally to continue through life. We fought
colonialism, got independence but were again followed up with a cold war and
post-colonial imperialism, AIDS, starvation, civil wars and other ravages
that denied us essence and existence. Despite this we forged on. For this, I
cannot but be proud of being an African, and a Zimbabwean.
The second background may be uncommon. We were small tribes
mainly concerned about meeting our basic needs and no more, who were found
by outsiders to have no better purpose in life than to wait for our deaths
in a wild and hostile environment. Being idle, outsiders thought our lives
could be put to better use as slaves doing productive work in their
countries, with no remuneration which we did not need. Thoughtless as we
were, we made our best efforts to ensure slave traders got their merchandise
conveniently brought to them by some of us, those too glad to be of use in
hunting down their own cousins. Slave traders did not bring mighty armies
from the west; they depended on one African tribe to capture slaves from
another. Our tribal leaders and chiefs did not react to this threat as one,
or as rationally as they could have.
Tribes never joined hands, never fought the common enemy. Slave
trade rightly provoked the moral conscience of the African, but the absence
of collective resistance showed how despite our communal way of life we
lacked a rationalised collective outlook, approach and interests. As the
tragedy unfolded victim families suffered alone and spared families
cherished their relative advantages. The outsiders realised that we did not
really have an agenda in life, and came back with what they thought was good
for us - colonialism. Because we had little regards for ourselves, they
assumed and we bestowed upon them moral, physical, intellectual and other
superiorities. The outsiders themselves realised the inhumanity of slavery
and outlawed it. Again their own realised the unfairness of colonialism and
minority rule and provided the intellectual, material, political and moral
support to end colonialism and minority rule. We got independence,
celebrated in style and started destroying all the good we had inherited
from the outsiders. We were free to kill our own.
We formed unions of Africans, and collapsed with laughter at the
plight of our African brothers and sisters in states that self-destructed,
grew xenophobic about and abused them when they sought refuge in our
countries. With African solutions to African problems our problems
escalated. Our economies went down, chaos reigned and we blamed the
outsiders, but asked for their money which we would squander with glee
before returning for more. We realised there were some politically incorrect
among us, murdered them, exiled those we could not send to Ngong hills
(murder). Where our ancestors had gone as slaves, thither we followed with
scars and traumas to be welcomed with rights, safety and a livelihood we
could only dream of at home.
The outsiders we had sent packing saying Africa was for
Africans, knowing how savage our lot can be, accepted and kindly took us
into their care. At home they castigated us but appreciated the forex we
could remit. We dared not go back in fear of poverty, torture or both.
Outsiders made long term programmes to airlift our fellow sufferers back
home to give them homes away from the savagery on our own continent. Some or
other argument was used by African leaders, and the status quo in Africa was
justified by Africans.
The second background may be little known. But when you meet in
the diaspora many Africans who claim to be from African countries that are
not theirs, you realise the shame beneath the veneer of pride. Those who had
pride, and who saw the basis of their pride being mauled by their own,
wonder how and why we can still remain proud. We have had to tell strangers
how our own have violated and taken away our dignity, threatened our lives
and drowned us in our own excretions. We have nightmares of home and dread
the prospect of being forcibly returned home.
Those of us who found ourselves in the diaspora talk about home,
homes we cannot be certain are still our homes, or ones we could still
return to. We talk of relatives, relatives who are now just images and
voices. We meet, those from all over Africa, and agree that no matter what
pretext we had to be here - greener pastures, further education, and
asylum - we ran away from home and most are reluctant to return. Our pride
only reveals itself when one African is better than another African, when
one Zimbabwean is from Avondale and the other from Glen View. When one has
papers and the other does not. We create hierarchies that would be debated
with no agreements. Without these relative advantages we are all pathetic.
We watch TV and say they are showing the worst about Africa, giving negative
coverage, but inside we know it can be much worse. Pride in being
Zimbabwean, and African, becomes a thorny issue.
If we are to be proud, what would we be proud of? Proud to be so
highly trained that our countries of origin cannot employ us? Proud to have
a thirst for education that our countries of origin cannot satisfy? Proud to
admit that our own countrymen are savages who tortured, raped and threatened
to murder us for thinking and acting differently in our quest for dignity?
That our leaders, as Putin acknowledged or alleged, eat their enemies? Proud
of countries that are so self-destroying that the only opportunity of
remaining alive and living a life with dignity only comes through an escape
to the west? Proud of knowing that if a natural disaster does not destroy
us, our leaders would?
I was proud of being Zimbabwean and African at some point. I
made sense of Pan-Africanism, black consciousness, ethnic assertiveness and
empowerment, national sovereignty and territorial integrity, some points
raised by Claude Mararike about National Ethos. I rejoiced in the success of
Zimbabwean and African luminaries within and abroad, and said loudly that
home is home though inside I don't know if I will ever go back home. My
pride is suspended as I float in European space - an alien who does not
belong yet who cannot call his home, the home that was, home.
March 28, 2006
By Chris Jenkins
Eight horses facing almost certain death in Zimbabwe have arrived
safely on a farm outside Empangeni after an epic 1 900km journey by road to
A special equine rescue operation was mounted earlier this month to
bring a total of 10 horses and three donkeys to South Africa from Mutare.
The journey began early last week when a Johannesburg-based equine
transport specialist was hired to collect eight mares and geldings belonging
to remedial-school teacher and riding instructor Sally Dilton-Hill (63),
whose farm has been expropriated by the Zimbabwean government.
The horses arrived by truck at Dayspring Farm in Empangeni, KwaZulu
Natal, around midnight on Sunday after an exhausting trip which involved a
23-hour delay at the border at Musina.
Dayspring is owned by former Zimbabwean farmers and neighbours of
Dilton-Hill, Dave and Les Ervine.
The rescued horses will be used for community-based projects,
including equi-therapy for children from Empangeni's Thuthukani Special
School, and by members of the Zululand Pony Club.
The second leg of the rescue operation involves collecting two more
horses and a donkey destined for Hermanus and two donkeys belonging to
Dilton-Hill which have been specially trained to count and do other tricks.
These two donkeys will also become permanent residents of Dayspring's animal
The Ervines moved to Zululand five years ago after their farm next to
Dilton-Hill's was taken over by the government.
Anyone who can help further towards the costs of the two trips can
contact the Ervines on 035-792-0045.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Mar-28
THE banking industry is battling to contain massive instability triggered by
workers' threats to embark on a potentially explosive industrial action to
push for cost of living adjustments ranging between 90 percent and 150
percent, sources said last week.
Financial institutions, the sources added, are trapped in a vicious circle
as they are also racing against time to beat the deadline for new capital
requirements set for September this year.
At the same time, they are facing an increasingly agitated workforce living
on empty stomachs when their managers are showered with multiple perks.
The bone of contention between bankers and employees has been that most
players have been reporting above market financial results for the previous
year when the bulk of workers are trapped in the doldrums of the poverty
datum line (PDL).
Information from the industry last week revealed that the lowest paid
workers earn between $7 million and $8 million per month.
Bank tellers are taking home about $20 million.The PDL stood at $28 million
last month and is projected to shoot to about $33 million due to the
continuous increase in prices.
Seven banks out of the country's 13 commercial banks have been slapped with
final notices of intention to halt services although two of them swiftly
reacted to resolve the disputes.
Barclays Bank, Kingdom Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Zimbabwe Allied
Banking Group (ZABG), FBC Bank, NMB Bank and Stanbic Bank were all staring a
However, FBC and Kingdom banks resolved their problems.
The Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers' Union (ZIBAWU), confirmed the
Secretary general, Colleen Gwiyo said some cases were referred to the
government while others are under arbitration.
"Employers were refusing to negotiate at National Employment Council (NEC)
level, saying they wanted to wait for the July collective bargaining period.
We asked workers to negotiate at company level. That could be the reason why
there have been more disputes.
"Some of the cases were referred for arbitration. In the past, arbitration
has proved to be effective. That is what might save employers from strikes,
but we want money because workers are suffering, Gwiyo said.
He however alleged victimisation at Kingdom Bank where he claimed a member
of the workers committee was recently suspended.
He also alleged that a managing director with one of the banks is always
shouting once workers request for meetings to open up negotiations, adding
that that was stifling negotiations.
To date, no financial institution has reported poor results for the year
ending December 31 2005.
Standard Chartered Bank last week reported a $1.2 trillion post tax profit.
Stanbic Bank posted a $1.4 trillion profit after tax and FBC Bank also
reported $860 billion profit after tax.
Yesterday, the ZABG reported a $149 billion post tax profit. Two weeks ago,
Kingdom Bank also reported a profit of $198 billion while Genesis Merchant
Bank posted $94 billion profit after tax.
However, in most cases shareholders walked away empty handed while workers
have perennially complained of raw deals from their "rich" employers.
The financial institutions have argued that they are racing to beat a
rapidly fluctuating new capital requirement set by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) whose deadline is September 30 2006, hence the need to plough
Commercial banks are required to increase their capital base to US$10
This translates to about Z$ 1 trillion.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Mar-28
THE tobacco sector is heading for a total collapse unless authorities
address the current problems that the farmers continue to face, a senior
tobacco official has said.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) general manager, Stanley
Mutepfa, last week warned of the looming crisis, which he said, threatened
the very existence of the industry.
"The tobacco industry is going through a difficult period and urgently needs
support from all stakeholders in the country or it might collapse," Mutepfa
Speaking during an agricultural stakeholders meeting to chart a way forward
for wheat and tobacco preparations, Mutepfa said there was need for the
provision of inputs on time so that the crop is grown at the set time in
order not to compromise quality.
A plethora of problems face the sector and these include farmers' failure to
secure inputs on time as financial institutions have developed a tendency of
disbursing funds late.
For example, funds for the 2006/7 season, that were supposed to have been
disbursed in April last year, were only released last month when the crop
had reached the harvesting stage.
In addition the crop support price from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
was no longer tenable and some farmers who see the crop as no longer viable
are contemplating quitting growing the crop.
To produce quality tobacco there are various processes or stages in growing
the crop that must be followed.
Seedbed preparations should begin in April with a deadline of the end of
Transplanting of an irrigated crop should begin early August, while
transplanting of a dry land crop should be through by the end of September.
The crop is also supposed to go through a period of moisture stress for a
stipulated period between spring and the beginning of summer to allow it to
develop a certain required flavour.
"However, in the last three years farmers have experienced a situation that
has forced them to abandon going through the required processes.
In some cases farmers found themselves transplanting tobacco as late as
January when that was supposed to have been done much earlier.
"As a result, quality was compromised and in the end prices dismally fall.
Such a situation is scaring away new farmers who had shown an interest in
producing tobacco, the country's main foreign currency earner," Mutepfa
ZFU first-vice president, Edward Raradza, who chaired the meeting, said
farmers were willing to support the country's economic turnaround programme
institutions and suppliers of various inputs were letting them down.
"ZFU called for this stakeholders' meeting with
the hope of enlightening
other stakeholders on where they were failing farmers," Raradza said.
Tobacco output has been on the decline since 2000.
During 2000 the country produced 230 million kilogrammes nose-diving to 180
million kilogrammes the following year.
Last season the country produced 74 million kilogrammes and the farmers are
this year expecting to produce 45 million kilogrammes.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Patience Nyangove in Marondera
issue date :2006-Mar-28
CUBAN medical doctors in the country are dissatisfied with the monthly $11
million allowances they receive from the government, which they described as
highly unreasonable in Zimbabwe's current hyper-inflationary environment.
The medical doctors are in Zimbabwe on a government-to-government agreement
and are only paid allowances by the host country. They get their salaries
Some of the medical doctors who spoke to The Daily Mirror on condition of
anonymity said they were finding life unbearable in Zimbabwe because of the
high cost of living given their "paltry" allowances.
"I like it here in Zimbabwe and it's a nice country to work in, but right
now the allowances we are getting from your government are really making the
going not so easy for us," one of the doctors said.
"Imagine if you decide to go for shopping you need at least have something
like $10 million in your pocket to buy at least a few items, but we do not
have that kind of money."
Another doctor complained that at times they were not paid their allowances
He added that although they were getting a salary from the Cuban government,
the money was not enough as they had families to support back home.
"We are calling for the relevant ministry to review our allowances and peg
them where we can at least afford to purchase our basic requirements. Yes,
we get salaries from our government back home, but the money is also needed
back there to sustain our families we left there," added the doctor.
Yesterday, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, David Parirenyatwa,
said the government was aware of the doctors' plight and was looking into
"With the Cuban doctors we do not give them a salary, but an allowance. We
also offer them gadgets to use and accommodation. We will continue to look
into their welfare and ensure how best we can to improve them," Parirenyatwa
The Cuban medical doctors first came to Zimbabwe six years ago to help
improve the health care delivery in rural and district hospitals across the
Zimbabwe has been facing a critical shortage of medical doctors although it
produces about 1 000 every year. The local medical doctors were leaving the
country en-masse to other countries in search of greener pastures.
Last year, the government came up with a Health Services Board that, among
other things, is supposed to work on how to improve remuneration and
conditions of service for health workers throughout the country.
The move was taken to arrest the brain drain in the health service delivery
Former Harare City Council director of health services, Lovemore
Mbengeranwa, heads the Health Services Board.
Cuba has been sending teams of doctors throughout the third world since 1963
in the hope of spreading good health.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2006-Mar-28
ELEVEN people corruptly benefited from Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle
houses in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, town mayor, Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla
Mnkandla told this newspaper that the 11 people, apart from being allocated
houses under the reconstruction programme, had earlier benefited from other
"So far, we have 11 people whom we have found out to have benefited from the
council programmes and Operation Garikai/ Hlalani Kuhle," Mnkandla said.
"This is the number of cases we have dealt with, but I would like to
indicate that investigations are progressing and more will be netted."
He added that some of the beneficiaries were staying in government houses
and had been earmarked to benefit from Operation Garikai.
"When this housing delivery programme was launched by the government, there
were some political gurus that were involved. Some of them used their
political muscle to push out those that were responsible for allocating the
houses to clandestinely allocate some of the houses to their relatives and
"Some of these cases are tricky as the gurus are remotely connected to the
beneficiaries, but we have established that they are indeed connected,"
Mnkandla pointed out.
Asked to reveal the identity of the politicians, the mayor said he would
only do so after investigations were completed.
He said: "I am not fearful of unmasking these corrupt senior government
I am, however, careful that doing so at this stage would jeopardise the
investigations we are carrying out with regards to the corrupt allocation of
these houses. When we have finished investigations, we will name and shame
About 246 people in Gwanda are expected to be allocated housing units under
Operation Garikai, while scores more on the council waiting list would get
The government recently ordered a probe into allegations that houses under
the reconstruction exercise were not benefiting people affected by last
year's clean up operation.