The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Makoni for finance post?

      5/20/2004 6:46:17 AM (GMT +2)

      Impeccable ZANU PF sources this week said that the former executive
secretary of the Southern African Development Community would be appointed
to the key post following the arrest of the incumbent, Chris Kuruneri, on
allegations of contravening the country's exchange control regulations.

      The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Herbert Murerwa, who
has had previous spells at the sensitive portfolio which has a precarious
tenure, replaced Kuruneri in an acting capacity.

      The sources said with President Robert Mugabe no longer spoilt for
choice, Makoni, the comeback-kid of Zimbabwean politics, was the most
credible choice whose vision would dovetail with the government's thrust to
put a fresh heart into the stricken economy.

      Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru, widely seen as the ZANU PF
kingmaker and whose opinion is reportedly considered "very" valuable in the
ruling party, refused to comment on what the sources said was Makoni's
imminent appointment.

      However, since Makoni is not a Member of Parliament, his appointment
could meet with some legal bottlenecks because President Mugabe has already
appointed the requisite non-constituency MPs.

      The sources, who claimed President Mugabe "was keen on recalling
Makoni", said that there were possible scenarios through which Makoni, a
compelling public speaker, could be brought back to the Cabinet.

      President Mugabe was likely to drop the beleaguered Kuruneri as
minister. He would then be replaced as MP by one of the incumbent
non-constituency members of Par liament who would contest the Mazowe West
seat. This would pave the way for Makoni.

      President Mugabe has the prerogative to appoint 10 chiefs, eight
governors and 12 non-constituency MPs.

      If appointed as minister, Makoni can only sit in the House for 90
days, after which he is supposed to be appointed a non-constituency MP.
Before he is appointed a non-constituency MP, he can only speak but would
have no vote in the House. But if Parliament was dissolved before Makoni's
three months expire, the sources said, he would remain minister until a new
Parliament is elected. Parliament, the sources said, was likely to be
dissolved between November and December ahead of the crucial 2005 election.

      Makoni, an academic who is understood to enjoy the confidence of
President Mugabe, was axed from the government in September 2002 amid
speculation that a powerful clique from Mashonaland West province was baying
for his blood because of differences over key fiscal and monetary policy
issues. Makoni believed that he should bring about key policy changes rather
than just a change in emphasis, a strategy vehemently opposed by some
members of the ruling party's politburo.

      This clique of ZANU PF political vultures that had been circling
finally pounced and instigated his ouster after Makoni became a scapegoat
for the exchange rate mayhem and devaluation-induced sensitive price
increases. This abruptly brought to an end one of the most remarkable
careers in the country's civil service.

      Although he faced a crisis of confidence from a section of influential
party members, ZANU PF views on Makoni however remained starkly divided, the
sources said. They said even the "Presidency was convinced that Makoni
should stay because of his pragmatic approach".

      "However at the end of the day it was those who did not agree with
Makoni that prevailed. But the President only allowed Makoni to go because
he has a duty to uphold the constitution of the party which requires him not
to dictate to his politburo colleagues. As you know, most of the Cabinet is
also mostly made up of members of the politburo," said a ZANU PF member who
did not want to be named.

      President Mugabe had previously voiced his opposition to the
devaluation of the dollar saying: "Devaluation is sinister and can only be
advocated by our saboteurs and enemies of this government. Support for the
productive sector, especially in agriculture, mining and tourism, coupled
with effective management and control of our financial resources, will be
the priority of my government. Devaluation is thus dead."

      Circumstances have taken a radical turn since Makoni's exit, with new
central bank governor Gideon Gono effectively devaluing the currency through
the introduction of managed foreign currency auctions.

      The dollar, which was pegged by the government at $824 to the United
States dollar in February 2003 is now trading at about $5 200 against
greenback at the auction rates.

      The current auction rate also being used as the benchmark for other
transactions, such as the calculation of customs rates and remittances by
non-resident Zimbabweans.

      The RBZ has also liberalised foreign currency transactions at banks, a
practice that was virtually criminalised under the stringent foreign
currency rules.

      "We saw it coming when he (Makoni) was appointed to probe party
companies," a party source said. "One is not appointed to such a task if he
is not trusted. Maybe there has been a change of heart on the part of his
detractors or they are running scared that he may expose them, hence they
are pushing for his reinstatement. He has worked well, before, but the
reason some party individuals were against him is that they were benefiting
from the collapse of the economy."

      ZANU PF's supreme decision making body, the Politburo, as part of its
anti corruption crusade, appointed a five member high-powered team to probe
financial operations of all its companies.

      The team led by Mashonaland East Governor and Resident Minister David
Karimanzira also includes Obert Mpofu, Bulawayo Governor and Resident
Minister, Solomon Mujuru, ZANU PF's kingmaker and former army commander,
Thoko Mathuthu, the deputy secretary for transport and welfare and Makoni.

      Another party source said: "The Gono and Makoni combination would be
explosive and the right way forward if we had to rid our economy of corrupt
elements. I also heard about the idea about two weeks ago, but brushed it
aside. But now it seems to have taken root and believe you me there's no
smoke without fire. It was inevitable that one day Makoni would either
bounce back or be considered to bounce back. He has held our economy in high
esteem in the past. He is the right man for the job."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Age

Rebels named in Zimbabwe squad
May 20, 2004 - 12:30PM

Five of Zimbabwe's white rebel cricketers have been named in an 18-man squad
to play Australia in the proposed first Test, scheduled to start on
However, whether the match is actually played remains in doubt as cricket's
powerbrokers will vote on the issue during a specially-convened meeting on

Zimbabwe's 15 rebels made themselves available for selection, but spokesman
Grant Flower said the group had given up hope of playing in the Test matches
as they were not physically and mentally prepared.

Flower said the group had made themselves available for the proposed one-day
matches, scheduled to start in June.

But it is understood Zimbabwe's selectors named five rebels in the squad for
the first Test despite their limited preparation.

It is understood the five are deposed captain Heath Streak, fellow
allrounder Andy Blignaut, batsmen Stuart Carlisle and Trevor Gripper and
offspinner Ray Price.

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) is yet to release the 18-man squad.

The long stand-off between the rebels and the ZCU - based on the players'
concerns with the union's selection policies - meant Zimbabwe fielded a
second-string side in the two Tests against Sri Lanka recently, and lost
both matches by an innings.
Those lopsided results prompted the International Cricket Council's to
organise a telephone hook-up of the presidents of the boards of the 10
Test-playing nations.

The presidents will vote on Friday whether the two Australia-Zimbabwe Tests
should be played, and whether they have Test status.

Zimbabwe's Test status, and whether it should be suspended while cricket in
the country is in disarray, was also likely to be discussed.

If the presidents vote in favour of stripping the matches of their Test
status, it is likely the Australian team will leave the country.

Seven of the 10 presidents need to agree for a motion to be carried.

The Australian and Zimbabwe squads will train on Friday despite the
uncertainty over the scheduled matches.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Telegraph

Zimbabwe 'rebels' refuse to move
By Simon Briggs
(Filed: 20/05/2004)

It was payback time for the Zimbabwe Cricket Union yesterday. Faced with a
hardening stance from the international cricket community, Zimbabwean
officials begged their 14 'rebel' white players to make themselves available
for Saturday's first Test against Australia. But the players refused.

In the long run, international sources believe the rebels' latest action is
likely to cost Zimbabwe their Test status. Although this is a high price for
the ZCU to pay, many observers feel it is also a fair price, given the way
board members have treated the white players over the eight weeks since
Heath Streak first questioned the ZCU's running of the game.
Tomorrow at 12.30pm, the directors of the International Cricket Council will
meet to vote by Teleconference on a motion to strip Zimbabwe's two-match
series against Australia of its Test status. If the vote is approved, as ICC
officials are quietly confident it will be, the Australian Test squad will
leave the country without further delay.

ICC members are due to convene in June for their regular board meeting. If
no solution to the dispute has arisen by then, Zimbabwe's Test status is
sure to be reviewed.

Zimbabwe's intransigence over the past few days has alienated many of their
former friends.

Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the Board of Cricket Control for India, has
been a staunch supporter of the ZCU and their chairman Peter Chingoka for a
number of years. However, even he has grown weary of the way ICC initiatives
have been disregarded.

The most visible example of this came on Tuesday when the ZCU board refused
to meet Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, despite the fact that
Chingoka had invited Speed to Harare for exactly that purpose.

There has been further frustration at the way ZCU officials have rejected
calls for them to step back and voluntarily postpone further Test series
until they have put their house in order. These concerns came to a head last
week when Sri Lanka's serene progress to a score of 713 for three in
Bulawayo was widely felt to have cast doubt on what ICC sources call "the
integrity of Test cricket".

The rebels have not totally ruled out a return to work; indeed, they have
made themselves available for the one-day internationals against Australia,
which start on June 6. However, they say they have been emotionally
exhausted by the dispute, which has also prevented them from practising, and
cannot be expected to turn out on Saturday against the best team in the

Last night the players were still waiting for the ZCU to respond to their
offer, but their expectations were not high.

Those at the England and Wales Cricket Board may be hoping that the whole
schemozzle could help them out of their own dilemma over whether to tour
Zimbabwe in October, but they are unlikely to get off scot-free. The
reciprocal tours arrangement means that, because Zimbabwe played one-day
internationals in England last summer, England are obliged to visit them in
turn, even if it is not to play Tests.

Match-fixing proceedings began in Nairobi yesterday against former Kenyan
captain Maurice Odumbe. Acting on allegations made by Odumbe's recently
estranged Canadian wife, Catherine, the ICC charged him with "inappropriate
contact with a bookmaker" and bringing the game into disrepute.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mid-Day, Mumbai

Time for ICC to shed 'toothless tiger' tag
   By: Clayton Murzello
   May 20, 2004


            The Zimbabwe crisis has pushed the Muttiah Muralitharan issue
down the ladder of topicality.

            The refusal of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union's board of directors
to meet ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, who flew down to Harare in the
hope of facilitating some problem-solving, has opened up a fair possibility
that the Australia vs Zimbabwe Tests will be stripped of Test status.

            Cynics will suggest that this spurt of interest from the ICC
cadre stems from the fact that Speed is an Australian.

            Be that as it may, the bosses of the sport cannot let Test
cricket to plumb the ridiculous depths like it did when Sri Lanka thrashed a
club class Zimbabwe team in Tests and one-dayers.

            For long, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been
called a toothless tiger.

            The recent flexing of muscles gives us some reason to believe
that the game's governing body wants to get rid of that tag for good.

            In the opinion of several pundits, there has been much dithering
in the handling of chuckers ever since Muttiah Muralitharan was "called" by
Darrell Hair in Melbourne 1995-96. Four seasons later, the ICC agreed to get
Shoaib Akhtar back despite being under a cloud.

            This led to the resignation of Bob Simpson, an integral part of
the illegal actions committee.

            Simpson has been scathing in his criticism on chucker tolerance.
While talking about the stigma a chucker has to live with, the Aussie said:

            "People said, 'if we no-ball him for throwing we'll destroy his
career.' Well, if he doesn't obey the laws of the game he shouldn't have a

            Muralitharan has said he will continue to bowl his 'doosra'
flying in the face of ICC recommendations.

            The ZCU brazenly act like autocratic czars despite the ICC's
pleas for mediation and compromise.

            Strong action by the ICC in both cases will ensure the
'toothless tiger'  tag is shed once and for all.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Bush Names Christopher Dell Ambassador to Zimbabwe

The White House (Washington, DC)

May 19, 2004
Posted to the web May 19, 2004

Washington, DC

Dell is career member of the Senior Foreign Service

The White House announced May 17 that President Bush has named Christopher
William Dell of New Jersey to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Republic of

The nomination has been sent to the Senate for confirmation.

Dell is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and is currently
serving as chief of mission in Luanda, Angola. He previously served as the
designated chief of mission to the U.S. mission in Pristina, Kosovo. Earlier
in his career, Dell served as deputy chief of mission in Bulgaria and in

Dell has earned degrees from Columbia University and from Oxford University.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Zanu PF loyalists threaten to kill Bennett

BENNETT: Has been banned from his constituency and told he will die if he returns

By Staff Reporters
Last updated: 05/20/2004 13:27:26
ZANU PF officials on Wednesday declared war on opposition Movement for Democratic Change legislator Roy Bennett as our readers hailed his bravery, a day after he decked two ministers in Parliament following racial slurs.

Bennett, the MP for Chimanimani has been threatened with his life if he sets foot in Chimanimani where his disputed farm is located.

Mike Madiro, Zanu PF’s Manicaland provincial chairman told thousands of ruling Zanu PF party loyalists in Mutare that Bennett should "never dare risk his life by coming here.

“Bennett has openly declared war against the province under which his constituency falls. As such we are going to retaliate by all possible means as a province. We no longer want him in the province," the Daily Mirror quoted Madiro as saying.

Bennett wrestled Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to the ground after he said the white MP was an "inheritor of looted wealth" and described his ancestors as "murderers". Bennett also appeared to fell Corruption minister Didymus Mutasa, but the 69 year old minister said: "On the camera, it appears as though I was beaten but in fact I fell down trying to avoid the blow. I gave him a severe kick on his chest."

Bennett refused to apologise on Wednesday. However, he said the scuffle in Parliament which is now being investigated by a committee was "nothing to be proud of". The committee to look at the incident comprises Labour Minister Paul Mangwana, Water Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru, Chief Jonathan Mangwende, Harare East MP Tendai Biti (MDC) and Bulawayo North MP Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC).

The MDC has refused to condemn Bennett alone, suggesting that he came under serious provocation from Chinamasa to act in the manner he did. The party’s spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi said “whilst the actions of Bennett are not to be condoned neither should the abusive, demeaning, hurtful, wicked, barbaric and provocative racial and personal slurs and insults hurled at Bennett by the Minister."

Our readers have also rallied to Bennett's defence. Our reader, Sandy Winters said: "Although we cannot condone Bennett's conduct, we can only begin to understand the fury and frustration that he was going through. How many thousands of Zimbabweans feel this anger towards the government, and and would love to lash out at someone in just this manner?"

Brighton Musonza, writing from the UK said: "Infact Roy Bennet has just thumped the Emperor himself because Chinamasa has no constituency, he is President Mugabe's appointee. I wish all Zimbabwean men were like this Roy Bennet."

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Chakaodza arrested

      Staff Reporter
      5/20/2004 6:48:26 AM (GMT +2)

      POLICE yesterday arrested the editor of The Standard newspaper,
Bornwell Chakaodza, and reporter Valentine Maponga over an article published
in last week's edition headlined "Family of slain mine boss blames
government officials".

      The story claimed that the family of slain Bindura Nickel Corporation
boss Leonard Chimimba, shot dead at his Borrowdale home 10 days ago, blamed
unnamed government officials for the tragedy.

      The Standard's assistant editor, David Masunda, confirmed the pair had
been arrested, but charges were yet to be preferred against them.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Lupane win edges ZANU PF towards two-thirds majority

      Njabulo Ncube
      5/20/2004 6:53:05 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - As the ruling ZANU PF inches closer to a two-thirds
majority in Parliament after its weekend victory in a by-election in Lupane,
analysts say the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
may be destined for political oblivion unless a miracle happens in next year
's general election.

      Its performance has raised questions on whether the MDC, which has
lost more seats than it has won in by-elections held in its strongholds
since 2002, is "ready for burial" as predicted by President Robert Mugabe at
a recent ZANU PF function.

      Or are the political misfortunes being suffered by the party a bad
patch set to pass as Zimbabwe gears for the March 2005 parliamentary polls?

      These and other questions emerged this week as Martin Khumalo, the
ZANU PF candidate in Lupane, shrugged off a fierce challenge from Njabuliso
Mguni of the MDC to boost the fortunes of the ruling party ahead of next
year's crucial plebiscite.

      Analysts and political commentators who spoke to The Financial Gazette
were unanimous the ruling party deserved victory in Lupane largely because
of its past performances in by-elections held since 2002, many of which the
party overwhelmingly won against the opposition.

      They said voters in Lupane had been guided by voting trends witnessed
in other by-elections held since the watershed June 2000 parliamentary poll.

      They also warned that the MDC's losses since 2002 and the alleged
discord in its ranks did not augur well for a party challenging a predatory
regime such as that of ZANU PF.

      "The opposition is dead and buried," ZANU PF deputy political
commissar Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told The Financial Gazette.

      "There is now no opposition to talk about in Matabeleland. People have
voted for development. They have seen that ZANU PF is the light for their
upliftment, not the MDC. We are on track to reverse the gains of the MDC in
the whole country, " said a visibly ecstatic Ndlovu.

      The win, in which Khumalo garnered 10 069 votes against Mguni's
      9 186, handed ZANU PF its third parliamentary seat out of 22
constituencies in Matabeleland since the historic 2000 parliamentary vote
when the MDC routed the governing party in the region, condemning several
top ruling party officials to the political wilderness.

      In that poll, which nearly ended ZANU PF's monopoly on power since
independence from Britain in1980, President Mugabe's party only managed to
retain Beitbridge, won by current Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi.

      ZANU PF's Andrew Langa, now Deputy Minister of Transport and
Communications, later won Insiza constituency after the death of Joe Ndlovu
of the MDC following a car crash in 2003.

      The Lupane seat, now number three for ZANU PF in the restive
Matabeleland region, fell vacant in February this year following the death
of MDC's David Mpala.

      MDC officials say the ruling party is using unorthodox methods to win
by-elections in its desperate bid to capture the two-thirds majority in
Parliament that will allow it to change the constitution to suit its needs.

      "We have done our homework. But as we celebrate, there is so much work
to be done in the area if you really scrutinise the voting figures, " said

      About 40 percent of the 48 134 registered voters cast their votes in
the by-election, held on Saturday and Sunday. There were 389 spoiled papers.

      "It was a close victory. Many people did not vote. There are certain
issues that were raised during our campaign as ZANU PF and we have to
address these if we are to overwhelmingly perform in the area," added

      MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi alleged the election had not been
free and fair, pointing at the violence and alleged harassment of his party'
s members before the poll.

      Nyathi dismissed suggestions by ZANU PF officials and other analysts
that the labour-backed opposition movement was destined for the political
dustbin come March 2005.

      "It is rubbish to wish the MDC away. It is nonsensical," said Nyathi.

      "Look at the numbers . . . do not mind the fraud which surely took
place. How do you bury 9 000 people that voted in Lupane? If they (the
government) were to agree to the 15 electoral demands, the situation will be
different in March 2005," he said, referring to demands the MDC has made for
a free and fair election in Zimbabwe next year.

      Nyathi said the ZANU PF victory marked yet another cruel nail for
democracy in Zimbabwe.

      "We salute the 9 000 people that braved all manner of harassment to
come and vote in Lupane. There are a lot of people with every reason not to
vote for ZANU PF in Lupane but were enticed with food, in addition to a dose
of harassment and violence," Nyathi added.

      Heneri Dzinotiweyi, a political commentator who teaches mathematics at
the University of Zimbabwe, said the apathy displayed in Lupane was a great
cause for concern for the opposition. He said the MDC should immediately put
its house in order and map out strategies on how it can coax voters to turn
out in large numbers for future polls.

      "There are many in Lupane that are opposed to ZANU PF rule but these
are the same people that did not come out to vote," said Dzinotiweyi, adding
that the opposition had a mammoth task on its hands to mobilise voters and
rekindle its glory of 2000.

      "The opposition seems to be detached from these people that are not
even bothering to come to vote. This is a big blow. The opposition needs
highly motivating factors to get these reluctant people to come out and vote
for it," he said.

      Paul Siwela, president of the fringe opposition ZAPU, described ZANU
PF's victory as "hollow" and disappointing for opposition politics in

      "We would have expected the MDC to win. We are very disappointed, but
this is a shallow victory.

      "ZANU PF is going to spin the Lupane victory to mislead the
international community that it is popular yet the truth of the matter is
that the party is very unpopular but is using all sorts of state machinery
and a propaganda blitz to deny the people (the chance) to freely choose
their own leaders," he said.

      Siwela, who participated in the disputed 2002 presidential poll and
fared very badly, said the electorate now appeared to be afraid to vote for
opposition candidates because of heightening political oppression.

      Nyathi of the MDC added: "It is a severe attack on democracy what
happened in Lupane . . . where MDC supporters were denied food, the right to
attend meetings of their choice, the right to choose a candidate of their
choice. You cannot develop a country with the fear such as we witnessed in

      ZANU PF officials in Matabeleland vehemently deny that their party
used unorthodox means, among them the manipulation of the voters' roll, to
cruise to victory.

      "They (MDC) are already trying to find an excuse for their poor
showing. We won cleanly and fairly. We are going to do the same in 2005,"
said Obert Mpofu, the governor for Matabeleland North, who has publicly
declared his interest to wrest Bubi-Umguza constituency from Jacob Thabane
of the MDC.

      Max Mkandla, a war veteran and president of the War Liberators Forum
Peace Initiative, warned ZANU PF against underrating the MDC in 2005.

      "It would be political suicide. We are aware of a number of
irregularities that took place in Lupane but ZANU PF will ignore the MDC at
its own peril," said Mkandla, who monitored the weekend poll.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Mugabe defends Paradza trial

      Staff Reporter
      5/20/2004 6:50:55 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has said he acted constitutionally when he
appointed a three-member tribunal to investigate suspended High Court judge
Justice Benjamin Paradza, who is facing allegations of misconduct.

      Last month, the Zimbabwean leader appointed Justices Dennis Konani
Chirwa of Zambia, John Mroso of Tanzania and Isaac Mtambo of Malawi to probe
charges levelled against Justice Paradza that he attempted to defeat the
course of justice when he telephoned a colleague in Bulawayo to release the
passport of Russell Labuschagne.

      Labuschagne was in remand prison at the time on a murder charge after
he allegedly killed a fisherman he found poaching fish at his Binga camp.

      He has since been convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

      Justice Paradza has challenged the selection of the tribunal by
President Mugabe, saying under the Constitution of Zimbabwe, such a panel
did not have extra-territorial jurisdiction.

      Responding to an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by Justice
Paradza's lawyer Jonathan Samkange, President Mugabe said he had powers in
terms of Section 87 of the Constitution to appoint members of the tribunal
to be selected from three categories in sub-section (4).

      "I indeed appointed the tribunal inquiring into the applicant's
conduct," the 80-year-old leader, at the helm of the country since 1980,

      "In terms of Section 31H of the Constitution, I can act through my
Cabinet, my vice presidents, my ministers and deputy ministers in carrying
out functions conferred upon me by the Constitution
      . . . I do understand what applicant is trying to impute when he says
they are not answerable and that they do not have extra-territorial
jurisdiction in terms of the Constitution."

      The President added: "The word select as used in Section 87(4) only
confers upon myself the right to choose from categories listed under Section
87(4). I have the discretion to choose from any of the said categories . . .
I decided to select from outside Zimbabwe. I, choosing from outside the
country, cannot be expected to globe-trot and just appoint. The process done
here cannot be faulted."

      He said he acted accordingly and that Paradza was "trying to choose
his own members of the tribunal, which is contrary to the laws of this

      In the appeal by Paradza, Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, was cited as the fourth respondent while
President Mugabe was the fifth.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Chombo appeals to Supreme Court

      Staff Reporter
      5/20/2004 6:49:22 AM (GMT +2)

      LOCAL Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius
Chombo has appealed to the Supreme Court against a High Court judgment
compelling him to release a report by a government-appointed team led by
Jameson Kurasha.

      Chombo appointed Kurasha's team solely to probe Mudzuri's style of
management, but after a court challenge by the former mayor's lawyers, the
High Court ordered that the panel had no jurisdiction to probe him alone,
but the council as a whole.

      Kurasha completed his probe and handed over the findings to Chombo,
who then appointed another team, this time led by Harare lawyer Johannes
Tomana, to conduct an inquiry into charges levelled against Mudzuri by the
Kurasha report.

      Both the Kurasha and Tomana reports were kept under wraps by the
government until a recent High Court ruling compelling Chombo to release the
documents, which Mudzuri wants to use in his fight for reinstatement.

      The Tomana report was eventually released, but Chombo has vehemently
refused to let go of the Kurasha findings, raising fears that it could
contain highly damaging evidence and prove wrong the minister's decision to
fire the mayor.

      In his appeal, Chombo said: "The judge erred and misdirected himself
in directing the appellant to furnish the respondent with record of
proceedings, report and recommendations of the Kurasha committee."

      "The Tomana committee had no sight of it in arriving at its own
verdict and recommendations," Chombo, through his lawyers Mandiza and
Company, said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Mudzuri wins order to get damning reports

      Acting News Editor
      5/20/2004 6:48:58 AM (GMT +2)

      ONE of the two long-awaited reports by teams appointed to investigate
charges levelled against beleaguered former executive mayor of Harare Elias
Mudzuri has finally been released following a High Court Order compelling
the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to do

      The damning 29-page report was compiled by Harare lawyer Johannes
Tomana. It formed the basis for Mudzuri's ultimate dismissal from Town

      Mudzuri is however still fighting to get an earlier report compiled by
another team led by Jameson Kurasha to defend himself.

      His lawyers, Kantor and Immerman, have since filed an urgent chamber
application in the High Court for the release of the closely guarded Kurasha
report - which observers say may be damaging against the Local Government
Ministry. The Kurasha committee was the first to investigate Mudzuri.

      Tomana's committee found Mudzuri not suitable to continue in the
mayor's office, arguing that the evidence it had gathered fell short of the
reasonable expectations of the ratepayers.

      Mudzuri and his attorney Beatrice Mtetwa refused to participate in the
Tomana inquiry after the committee said it was not privy to the Kurasha
report. The former mayor had requested the closely-guarded Kurasha report as
a pre-condition for him to participate in the proceedings.

      However, the committee proceeded with the hearing without Mudzuri and
called in seven witnesses including the embattled public relations officer
Leslie Gwindi, director of health Lovemore Mbengeranwa, town clerk Nomutsa
Chideya, stores controller and buyer Murerwa, chief accountant Kwenda, the
chief water engineer and the senior accountant.

      The witnesses, including 732 contract workers, had either been
suspended or dismissed on various allegations by Mudzuri as part of his
mop-up plan since assuming office on a Movement for Democratic Change

      "It is alleged that the actions (by Mudzuri) were arbitrary and
irregular. In effect, these actions are alleged to have caused diminished
capacity of council to deliver essential services," the Tomana report

      "More particular, it is said notwithstanding the Minister's directive
in terms of Section 313 of the Urban Councils Act
      . . . to reverse such decisions, the Mayor refused or failed to comply
with such directives."

      The report said failure by Mudzuri to comply with ministerial
directives constituted gross misconduct and abuse of authority on his part.

      In his evidence against the mayor, Gwindi said he took his dismissal
with humility "for sanity to prevail" but felt very violated.

      Gwindi, who was suspended for a year before he bounced back after
Mudzuri was fired last month, said his position was critical to the
council's image.

      He said upon his return, he found chaos in the public relations
department as staff were not well-coordinated, resulting in bad publicity
for the council.

      In addition, he said, tarrifs were being hiked without explanation to
the public and the former mayor bulldozed the decision-making process.

      According to the Tomana report, Chideya, who signed Gwindi's dismissal
letter, was very emphatic that notwithstanding the appearance of his
signature, it was the mayor who had indicated that he was uncomfortable with
a ZANU PF public relations officer.

      Chideya, who also bounced back to Town House after Mudzuri was
suspended, said the former mayor undermined his office and dealt with staff
directly, bypassing the town clerk.

      Mbengeranwa said he was dismissed without being afforded a chance to

      He was reinstatetd by a Supreme Court ruling.

      Acting Harare mayor Sekesai Makwavarara also testified against
Mbenge-ranwa's suspension, saying the council casually agreed to suspend

      "The dismissal of Mbengeranwa on trumped-up charges was at the
specific instance of the executive mayor," the report concluded.

      The report said Chideya, who was fired for alleged incompetence in
October 2002 but bounced back through the Local Government Board, had been
dismissed without legal basis, but on personal dislike.

      On the termination of employment of the 732 contract workers, the
report said the action had been arbitrary, inconsiderate and contrary to
ministerial directives.

      Mudzuri was accused of manipulating tender procedures after he
insisted that existing tenders should not be renewed but that new players
should be given a chance to bid.

      He was also blamed for the general mismanagement of council affairs,
including erratic water supplies in various parts of the capital, charges he
vehemently denied.

      "It is the committee's unanimous recommendation in the circumstances
that the Honourable Minister should recommend the dismissal of Engineer
Elias Mudzuri as Mayor of the City of Harare," the Tomana report

      President Robert Mugabe then fired Mudzuri from office.

      Mtetwa said she would use both the Kurasha and Tomana reports to
challenge her client's dismissal.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Chinamasa pulling wool over world's eyes

      Brian Mangwende
      5/20/2004 6:52:23 AM (GMT +2)

      WITH the euphoria touched off by what then appeared to be prospects
for a negotiated settlement to Zimbabwe's crisis having lapsed into
scepticism, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has provoked the ire of
political observers by claiming that the country's two main political
parties are engaged in informal dialogue.

      Chinamasa told Parliament that the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were engaged in informal talks to break
the political impasse.

      The statement comes at a time when Zimbabweans, who had initially
thrown their weight behind the stalled talks, had long given up and resigned
to the fact that the political parties were not interested in dialogue.

      They had hoped that breaking the political impasse would, to a certain
extent, help the country tackle the increasingly complex and lengthy
economic crisis.

      "I can confirm that internal dialogue is taking place and when this is
concluded, parties involved will be in a position to report to their
respective parties," Chinamasa told Parliament last week to the surprise of
all and sundry, who felt that this was a dead issue.

      Lovemore Madhuku, a political analyst and chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), which is pushing for a radical change in the
country's constitution, said: "The climate for talks is not conducive. There
is a climate of intolerance from both sides, but especially from ZANU PF.

      "But if the MDC were involved in any talks, be they informal or
formal, the nation would like to know what is being discussed. At this
stage, the MDC must realise that ZANU PF does not respect them. ZANU PF has
refused to amend the electoral laws to create a conducive electoral

      Madhuku, a known sympathiser of the opposition MDC, added: "What
purpose will the talks serve if the playing field is uneven? In fact, ZANU
PF has tightened the laws and it would be stupid for the MDC to seriously
think that ZANU PF wants to talk to them.

      "However, for Chinamasa to say that informal talks are underway, then
there must be someone in the MDC he is talking to who is out of touch with
reality. Those in the MDC talking to Chinamasa do not have their priorities
in order."

      Chinamasa's utterances come as the June 2004 deadline set by South
African President Thabo Mbeki for the resumption of dialogue draws near.

      President Mbeki, who is viewed as the only leader in the region with a
realistic chance to persuade his counterpart, President Robert Mugabe, to
step aside and allow for a new political dispensation, promised the world
that dialogue between the two parties would have resumed by June.

      The talks were scuttled about two years ago after sticking points
emerged over the agenda. Ever since, efforts by church leaders to bring the
two political parties back to the negotiating table hit a snag after the
ruling party suspected the clerics of being sympathetic towards the MDC.

      Although it is agreed that President Mbeki has both diplomatic and
economic clout to influence political developments in Zimbabwe, it is feared
that he could have put his reputation and credibility on the line by
promising that the aborted talks would resume in June.

      This is because it is now increasingly clear that the concerned
parties, particularly ZANU PF, are not interested in the talks.

      The observers said that given the time it had taken to bring the
parties back to the negotiating table, it was clear that the politicians now
had their eyes on the 2005 parliamentary elections.

      It is against this background that Chinamasa's statement is widely
seen as a way of salvaging President Mbeki's credibility by raising false
hopes about a negotiated settlement that will never be.

      Another political analyst, Alois Masepe, said it was too late to talk
of talks about talks unless the dialogue was based on exploratory
negotiations that would lay the foundation for the post-2005 parliamentary

      "It's too late in the day to talk about talks," Masepe said. "As far
as the current situation is concerned, there is no basis for talks because
parliamentary elections are just around the corner and the term of offices
of those in the august house will soon be terminated. So what talks are they
talking about?

      "One should not read too much into what Chinamasa said because it's
just another attempt to be seen as trying to break the ice and the current
political impasse if the MDC should participate in the polls," he said.

      "Mugabe will still remain President of the country after the
parliamentary election. He will ask (MDC leader Morgan) Tsvangirai whether
he recognises him as the legitimate leader and Tsvangirai will have to
answer positively otherwise there is no basis for talks," he added.

      A commentator who did not want to be named said ZANU PF was not
sincere and Chinamasa was blatantly lying to the world.

      "They (ZANU PF) are going to continue to create an impression that
they are for dialogue when in fact they are not," he said.

      "I would not be surprised if they staged a mock forum for talks to
hoodwink the international community that they (ZANU PF) were sincere about

      "Mugabe said he was going to step down in 2008 from a stolen election,
so what is there to talk about? ZANU PF is just trying to keep out as much
heat as they can from the SADC (Southern African Development Community)
region and give false impressions that they are trying to bring back sanity
in the country," he added.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Inflation slow-down to come under strain

      Nelson Banya
      5/20/2004 6:49:53 AM (GMT +2)

      THE 78.7 percentage point reduction in the year-on-year rate of
inflation recorded in April has been greeted with growing optimism which,
however, is tinged with caution due to what economists indicate are
underlying factors likely to bid up the rate, going forward.

      Annualised inflation slowed down from 583.7 percent in March to 505
percent in April largely due to a marked decline in aggregate demand which
has seen both the food and non-food components of inflation subsiding,
coupled with exchange rate stability and the attenuation of speculative
conduct in the market.

      The month-on-month inflation rate, which was virtually at a standstill
between February and March, also shed 1.1 percentage points to 4.8 percent.

      However, all this notwithstanding, fears about inflationary pressures
are not receding. This is mainly because developments that have taken place
since the latter half of April following the review of the monetary policy
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), as well as other developments on the
pricing front, suggest that inflationary pressure has risen. This could slow
down the decline in the average increases in prices of goods and services.

      The local unit has weakened considerably against all the major
currencies following the monetary policy review, which brought with it a new
$5 200/US$ benchmark for foreign exchange. The dollar is now trading at
levels above $5 300 to the greenback, against $4 600 the week before the
policy review.

      This translates to a 15 percent decline in the value of the local
currency, which will be taken into consideration in the computation of the
May figure.

      The Central Statistical Office (CSO) compiles data collected before
the 15th of each month.

      Bread prices have also gone up significantly in the period following
the compilation, as have public transport fares.

      The government has also announced new producer prices for maize,
although millers will apparently be subsidised by the Grain Marketing Board

      Finhold group principal economist Best Doroh said while the rate of
inflation had declined significantly in the past three months, underlying
pressures would reduce the rate of decline, going forward.

      "It is most likely that the exchange rate will slow down the decline.
A lot of companies import critical components and the weakening of the
dollar will be reflected in non-food inflation.

      "There is also the money supply issue arising from concessionary
finance and then the wages, although these are likely to have an impact in
the last quarter, as wages are typically adjusted in July," Doroh said.

      Money market shortages, which have also contributed to staunching
consumption, have turned into huge surpluses in recent weeks, a phenomenon
followed by the reduction in the cost of funds, evidenced by slashing in
lending rates by lending institutions from previously punitive levels of
above 400 percent to an average 300 percent.

      Another Harare-based economist said the exchange rate would play a
critical role in the inflation equation.

      "The pressures are quite heavy, the exchange rate is being pushed by
demand and will soon break through to $6 000 against the (United States)

      "However, if it is indeed true that we are in for a bumper harvest,
then food inflation might go lower, but then that won't come about soon," he

      Food prices accounted for 199 percentage points, while non-food items
weighed in with 306 percentage points to the annualised inflation figure of
505 percent in April.

      The RBZ has forecast an annual inflation rate in the range between 170
percent and 200 percent by year-end.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Listen to your neighbours, Zim urged

May 21 2004 at 06:06AM


Maputo - Britain's minister for Africa on Thursday urged Zimbabwe's autocratic leader to listen to his neighbors, whom he said were suffering the consequences of the country's spiraling decline.

President Robert Mugabe "doesn't listen very much to what Britain has to say," Chris Mullin said on a two-day visit to Mozambique. "I think he must listen to what other African countries and other African leaders have to say."

Zimbabwe's often-violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks has plunged the country into political and economic chaos. Mugabe's government is also cracking down on dissent, arresting political opponents, shutting down the only independent daily newspaper and packing the courts with sympathetic judges.

While African leaders have drawn criticism for not being outspoken about the abuses, he said many were privately unhappy about the harmful effects on their economies. Thousands of refugees have also spilled into neighboring countries.

"I think people should be asking themselves why a country which was once the bread basket of southern Africa and one of the most prosperous and developed countries... has been reduced to ruins in such a short period," Mullin said after a meeting with Mozambique Prime Minister Luisa Diogo.

Mullin arrived in Mozambique on Thursday for meetings with political leaders on the country's upcoming elections. He also plans to visit development projects supported by Britain.

Mullin's four-day African trip also included a stop in South Africa, where he met with the two deputy foreign ministers and civil society leaders.

Among the issues discussed were the establishment of a new international commission aiming to tackle Africa's woes, including poverty, conflict and HIV/Aids. British Prime Minister Tony Blair launched the Commission for Africa in February, and it held its first meeting in London earlier this month. - Sapa-AP

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim demo turns violent

May 21 2004 at 06:06AM

Harare - Supporters of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe smashed up the entrance of the opposition's headquarters on Thursday during a protest sparked by a scuffle between lawmakers over the seizure of white-owned farms, witnesses said.

Roy Bennett of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) knocked Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to the floor in parliament on Tuesday in a dispute over the seizure of his farm as part of government policy to redistribute land to blacks.

On Thursday riot police, some accompanied by dogs, cordoned off the entrance to the MDC's offices, holding back about 2 000 angry supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party who sang revolutionary songs and waved placards denouncing Bennett.

The building's glass entrance lay smashed, and witnesses said the crowd had earlier tried to force their way inside.

'The MDC is based on the desire to commit violence and to get to power through violence'
The MDC has apologised for Tuesday's incident, but said Bennett responded to extreme provocation and racial slurs.

"Bennett should be expelled from parliament and country" read one placard, while another said "Bennett's head now".

Earlier the crowd held a protest outside parliament, two streets away from the MDC offices, and were addressed by the capital's provincial governor Witness Mangwende, a member of Mugabe's ruling party.

"The MDC is based on the desire to commit violence and to get to power through violence," Mangwende later told journalists at the scene. "We don't want to see Bennett in Harare in (Bennett's home city) Mutare, in Zimbabwe for that matter."

Parliament has set up a committee to look into Tuesday's incident and Bennett could be suspended from the house or fined if found guilty of contempt.

Formed in 1999, the MDC came close to winning nearly half the 120 contested seats in 2000 parliamentary polls held against the background of an economic crisis widely blamed on government mismanagement. The opposition says it would have won were it not for a violent ZANU-PF campaign against its supporters.

Several Western countries agree with the opposition's claim that Mugabe fraudulently won another six-year term as president in 2002. But Mugabe, who dismisses the MDC as a puppet of his Western opponents, insists he won fairly.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily news - Sunday Times - South Africa

White Zimbabwean told to leave the country

Friday May 21, 2004 06:44 - (SA)
HARARE - Supporters of Zimbabwe's ruling party staged a protest outside parliament demanding that a white opposition lawmaker be thrown out of the country for attacking the justice minister.

Harare's newly appointed governor Witness Mangwende told some 3,000 protesters that Roy Bennett, one of three white lawmakers in the 150-member parliament, was not welcome in the capital anymore.

"If we see him walking the streets of Harare, we will revenge," Mangwende warned.

Bennett, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) shoved Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to the ground on Tuesday, angered by what he later described as racist attacks during a heated debate in the house.

Bennett charged at the justice minister in parliament after he declared: "Bennett has never forgiven this government for seeking to redistribute the land. He forgets that his forefathers were thieves".

The justice minister said that Bennett, who was expropriated from his farm under Zimbabwe's controversial land reform program, would not be allowed back to his property.

"I want to warn him that we have taken over Charleswood and he must not set his foot on that ground," Chinamasa said, referring to the Bennett farm.

The lunchtime demonstration outside parliament appeared to have been sanctioned by police, despite the normal legal requirement of a four-day notice.

"The dishonourable Bennett should leave Zimbabwe. He should never set his foot in this house," an official from the governing Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party, Winston Dzawo, told the protesters.

The protesters waved placards that read "Expel Bennett from parliament and the country" and "No room for barbarism in Zimbabwe."

"We want Bennett to be arrested for beating up a minister," a spokesman for the demonstrators, Peter Hlongwane, said. "If he's tired of living in Zimbabwe, he should go to Britain."

They later staged another protest outside the offices of the MDC where, according to a witness, they hurled rocks and shattered the glass doors.

On Thursday a specially-convened parliamentary disciplinary committee that was to hear Bennett's case was postponed, according to an official.

Bennett was not present in parliament on Thursday.


Mugabe militia riot after MPs' brawl

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Friday May 21, 2004
The Guardian

Youth militia of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party went on the rampage in Harare yesterday, smashing windows and destroying property at the offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The youths also blockaded an entrance to parliament and threatened to kill a white MP who, in a fit of anger, had thrown the justice minister to the ground earlier in the week.

Riot police who arrived took no action against the Zanu-PF youths, but instead arrested four MDC members for unspecified reasons, according to the opposition party.

The furore began on Tuesday when the justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said the forefathers of an MDC MP, Roy Bennett, were "thieves and murderers".

An enraged Mr Bennett charged through the aisles of the parliament's debating chamber, grabbed Mr Chinamasa, shook him and threw him to the floor. Other Zanu-PF MPs jumped up and attacked Mr Bennett until order was restored. One cabinet minister, Eliott Manyika, allegedly pulled out a gun.

Mr Mugabe's ruling party has been quick to seize on the incident and use it to stir up sentiments against white Zimbabweans and the opposition.

In the eastern border city of Mutare, near Mr Bennett's constituency, hundreds of Zanu-PF demonstrators forced eight white-owned businesses to close, local residents said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Australia in Zimbabwe 2004

All eyes turn to Zimbabwe

Wisden Cricinfo staff

May 21, 2004

The fate of Zimbabwean cricket will be decided when the ICC and its members teleconference at 12:30 BST to vote on whether the Test series against Australia should be scrapped. Should the vote go against Zimbabwe - a distinct possibility - it would strengthen England's case to not tour the country, and could have a political fallout as well. Meanwhile, the ABC Sport website has reported that the Zimbabwe Cricket Union is understood to have proposed scrapping the Test series, a claim which could not be immediately verified.

The teleconferenced vote could be the first step taken towards relegating Zimbabwe from the Test level, a decision that is likely to be made in June. But today the ICC needs seven of 10 votes to cancel the series - a move that has found more and more supporters as the crisis has unfolded.

In an interview with Channel 4, Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, said that if the ZCU's deadlock with the rebel players was not broken by Friday afternoon, he and Ehsan Mani would recommend the matches against Australia be stripped of their Test status. Under mounting pressure, the ZCU selected five of the rebels for the Test series, but the players pulled out because of a lack of match fitness, and were also wary of being used as political pawns.

Speed's comments came after the ZCU snubbed the ICC's efforts to negotiate between the board and the 15 rebels, who were originally sacked for demanding qualified selectors. The replacement team, headed by Tatenda Taibu, were brutalised by a Sri Lankan team that itself was soundly beaten by Australia a few months ago.

The Australians, who arrived in Zimbabwe less than a week ago, had been quiet about the issue for a while but, in recent times, have been more vocal about the wisdom in playing a weakened team, and have indicated that they would prefer to leave Zimbabwe.

It's likely that they'll have their wish by the end of the conference call, as the impasse shows no signs of being resolved. It could, of course, all come to a happy ending with Heath Streak and the rebels being reinstated but, for now, it remains a mirage.

© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Last Update: Friday, May 21, 2004. 10:47am (AEST)

Call to oust Zimbabwe law-maker

Supporters of Zimbabwe's ruling party have staged a protest outside Parliament, demanding that a white opposition law-maker be thrown out of the country for attacking the Justice Minister.

Harare's newly appointed Governor, Witness Mangwende, told some 3,000 protesters that Roy Bennett, one of three white law-makers in the 150-member Parliament, was not welcome in the capital anymore.

Mr Bennett, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, shoved Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to the ground, angered by what he later described as racist attacks during a heated debate in the house.

A disciplinary hearing has been postponed.


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zesa makes US$10m pay-out

By Farai Mabeza
The Herald

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has paid at least US$10 million to its regional suppliers since January and has made an undertaking to pay off the outstanding US$56 million before the end of this year.

The power utility’s corporate affairs manager, Mr Obert Nyatanga, said his company was now accessing foreign currency through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, an arrangement which he said had helped Zesa meet some of its obligations.

He said this when he was addressing business people yesterday at a seminar organised jointly with the Harare branch of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce to discuss the issue of tariffs and power provision.

Mozambique’s HCB is now owed US$22 million, down from US$29,6 million, while another supplier from the same country, EDM, is yet to be paid US$9,5 million.

Eskom of South Africa is owed US$16 million.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Snel and the Zambia Electricity Supply Company are owed US$5 million and US$3,5 million respectively.

"We hope to have liquidated the whole debt by December this year," said Mr Nyatanga.

Zesa is currently operating a pre-payment system with its suppliers.

"We are now paying in advance because of the problems we have had in the past and this adds a lot of pressure on our resources," Mr Nyatanga said.

During the period between December 2003 and February 2004, Zesa was billing exporters in US dollars and is currently owed US$4,3 million by some of its customers.

These arrears could not be settled in Zimbabwean dollars following the removal of the foreign currency payment system.

Other non-exporting customers owe the power utility $58,8 billion, funds which could also be used to clear its regional debt.

On the rural electrification project, which has drawn criticism from some stakeholders, Mr Nyatanga said the provision of electricity in the rural areas would enable the people, especially the resettled farmers, to undertake economic activities which, in turn, would earn Zesa and the country valuable cash both in foreign and local currency.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

New listings on bourse slim

CHANCES of possible new listings on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange remain slim as long as widespread pessimism by investors, which has so far characterised trading on the local bourse for the better part of the year, continues.

The stock market ended the first quarter on a depressed note, falling short of analysts’ predictions as the benchmark industrial index dipped by 12 percent to close around 336 000 points as of March 31 2004.

Investment analysts had forecast a modest recovery of the equities market with the main industrial index stabilising between 400 000 and 450 000 points after plunging to new record lows at the beginning of the year.

However, the equities market, which was characterised by uncertainty for most of the third quarter last year over implications of the fiscal budget and the new monetary policy, has continued to decline with the main industrial index reaching low levels of below 320 000 points.

Market watchers this week attributed the depression on the stock market to a number of factors, among them the financial services sector chaos, which saw at least three financial institutions being placed under a curator by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

They added that the equities has also been affected by negative investor perception on financial counters which were largely responsible for driving the main index to record high levels of about 728 000 points last August.

The pattern is forecast to continue drifting sideways in the short-term with money market interest rates dictating the pace on the domestic bourse.

"Chances of new players are virtually nil at the moment. As long as interest rates continue on a free fall, it remains cheaper for investors to seek funds from the money market,’’ said an analyst.

Companies usually pursue listing on the local bourse to secure additional finance from the sale of shares.

The funds could be for expansion purposes or for the need to acquire new technology to enhance operations.

Last year, brick moulding concern, Willdale listed on the local bourse during the first quarter.

The decision was propelled by the need to raise additional capital while simultaneously widening the shareholder base.

Another advantage of listing is the fact that it comes with additional responsibility since directors will have to be accountable to shareholders, and authorities governing the bourse would also place the company under firm scrutiny.

The country’s largest cellular phone handsets retailer Cellular Systems also listed early last year.

However, so far the country’s oldest funeral company, Doves Funeral Service, is the only company that has announced plans for possible listing on the local bourse through a reverse listing with another insurance company.

Doves has already appointed Renaissance Merchant Bank as its financial advisors on the listing process.

The identity of Doves’ possible partner has been a secret with officials maintaining that it was premature to do so since negotiations were still going on.

Analysts said the Doves partner could be any of the insurance firms listed on the local bourse such as Southern Africa Reinsurance Company, Zimbabwe Reinsurance Holdings Limited, Nicoz-Diamond and Fidelity Life, among others.

A reverse takeover is when a company buys out a larger company. The companies involved could either be privately owned or publicly owned.

The number of companies on the local bourse continues to fall and indications are that the free fall will continue unless investor confidence is restored.

Back to the Top
Back to Index