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MDC natinal council decision on the Senate election proposal

12 October 2005




The MDC National Council met today in Harare to consider the party’s position in the proposed Senate elections.


After intense debate and discussion, whereupon the guiding question was whether we compromise with or take on the Zanu PF dictatorship in the ongoing struggle for democratic change, the council resolved to stay out of the Zanu PF Senate project.


You will recall that when we decided to contest the Parliamentary election in March this year, we informed the nation that, notwithstanding our serious reservations, we were going ahead but with a heavy heart, under protest.


Our reasons were well grounded. Zanu PF had subverted the spirit of Mauritius and adopted selective aspects of the SADC principles governing the conduct of democratic elections as stipulated by the region.


To this date, nothing has changed. The electoral management system in Zimbabwe is still a recipe for political disasters. The system breeds illegitimate outcomes and provide for a pre-determined result.


Further, Council noted with dismay that the Senate project is fundamentally flawed in that it does not attend to the demands for a comprehensive resolution of the national crisis.


The national crisis is deepening every day, compounding the humanitarian emergencies in our midst and prolonging the suffering of the Zimbabwean people, needlessly. The establishment of a Senate fails to address the people’s basic needs.


The Senate idea is an expensive project we can ill-afford at a time when millions face starvation; when millions live in a shrinking economy and a hyper inflationary climate; when millions are out of work; when millions yearn for support against the HIV/Aids pandemic.


As a serious political party, we felt that a compromise at this stage runs against our contract with the people. A compromise with the dictatorship has the effect of confusing our original promise, our message to the people. We strongly believe that the nation needs new Zimbabwe and a new beginning, given the amount of damage before us.


Given our experience in the past six years, Council reaffirmed the party’s new thrust to turn the corner, to draw a line in the sand and to chart a new direction against the dictatorship. We are engaged in a full scale organizational programme to build people power and confidence to take on Zanu PF and the regime.


We shall mount a national crusade against the Senate election as part of a comprehensive mission and a campaign for a people-driven, publicly endorsed national Constitution.


Further, our party structures shall soon review and debate our presence in Parliament, in local government and in future elections to assess the impact and political necessity of such presence in line with the new thrust of building democratic resistance.


Morgan Tsvangirai


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Zimbabwe blasts "willing buyer, willing seller" land reform

People's Daily


    Zimbabwean Vice President Joseph Msika Wednesday defended the
country's land redistribution, saying land reforms in Africa can never be
successfully if conducted on a "willing buyer, willing seller" basis.

      Speaking to journalists after meeting Namibian Minister of Lands and
Resettlements, Jerry Ekandjo on Wednesday, Msika said the process had proved
to be a failure where it had been tried.

      "My discovery is that they (Namibia) have realized that the willing
buyer willing seller is a non starter and they are looking for other ways to
redistribute the land," he said.

      Namibia and South Africa have been conducting land reform under the
"willing buyer, willing seller" principle, but have been considering other
means lately due to slow process.

      "We have tried it here but it failed and I do not see it succeeding in
Namibia, South Africa or anywhere in the world," Msika said.

      He said he briefed the Namibian minister on how the Zimbabwean
government had conducted its land reform program. Zimbabwe's land reform
have angered western countries such as Britain, and incurred international
pressure and western sanction.

      Although the country's political and economic situation was different
and not applicable to Namibia, Msika said, the Namibians could take a cue
from Zimbabwe's experience.

      Meanwhile, Minister Ekandjo said land was central to every African

      Gaining economic independence was Africa's second struggle after
attaining political independence, and this could be achieved if land was in
the hands of its rightful owners, he said.

      "Land is a central issue. Every African needs to own a piece of land,"
he said.

      Source: Xinhua

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Foreign NGOs sometimes seen as the enemy

Cape Times

      'Aid organisations should hand over to communities'

      October 13, 2005

      By Cris Chinaka

      Harare: The most cautious discuss politics in whispers, watching
nervously over their shoulders.

      It is a reflex that has become second nature for many working with
international non-government organisations in Africa - a way of surviving in
political environments where they are sometimes seen as the enemy.

      Thousands of NGOs operate across Africa, promoting health, education
and food provision and tackling an Aids pandemic ravaging the world's
poorest continent.

      Yet some African governments have accused Western-backed NGOs of being
closely aligned to the governments that fund them.

      " ... some governments regard them as part and parcel of Western
powers they have problems with," said Andrew Mudehwe of Zimbabwe's National
Association of NGOs.

      "NGOs here are treated with suspicion," he said. Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe has led an assault on NGOs with a draft law tightening
registration and barring foreign funding for NGOs with political and human
rights programmes.

      Critics say the government used the bill as a psychological weapon but
was prevented from closing some organisations by a deepening economic

      Mugabe has not signed or implemented the draft law since it was passed
almost a year ago, but activists say it has already crippled many NGOs.

      "The whole drive of having such a law has left a pervasive sense of
fear and paralysis in some organisations, but there are others who see the
new environment as a challenge to be overcome," said Professor Brian
Raftopoulos of the University of Zimbabwe's Institute of Development

      Mugabe says Zimbabwe has been targeted by foreign
      opponents of his nationalistic policies, led by former colonial ruler
Britain. He says most of Africa is firmly on his side.

      He has accused Western-funded NGOs and charity organisations of siding
with their home governments and Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in a drive to oust him.

      "Zimbabwean politics is difficult to follow.
      "They want help but they want everything on their terms," a top
official with a Western aid organisation said.

      "The government is paranoid, so fear-ridden that it must watch its own
shadow with great suspicion ... That paranoia has become infectious because
in some of our offices, people discuss Zimbabwean politics in whispers to
avoid feeding the suspicion NGOs are out here to take out the government."
      Zimbabwe has resisted calls to make a formal appeal for food aid for
an estimated four million people facing shortages, saying it will rely on
its own efforts despite its failing economy.

      Mugabe says those who want to help are welcome, but "we are not going
to beg".

     The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is helping to feed some 1.1 million

      But in a move illustrating tensions with the aid community, the UN is
sending a top aid official to Harare to smooth differences with Mugabe over
a stalled $30 million humanitarian relief programme it offered after the
government demolished thousands of shacks and squatter settlements this

      Mugabe, whose latest political battle cry is "Zimbabwe will never be a
colony again" has vowed to reject any assistance that compromises Zimbabwe's
sovereignty, saying regularly: "They can keep their 30 pieces of silver."

      Zimbabwe is just one of several African governments which see NGOs as
Trojan horses for Western governments.

      In Sudan's troubled Darfur region foreign aid agencies have accused
officials of denying access to the hardest hit areas.

      In the past year, Sudan has tried to expel Save The Children UK's
country director, accusing the British aid agency of breaching Sudanese law
and interfering in domestic affairs.

      It has also sent a letter of warning to British charity Oxfam and
arrested two Médecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) workers over
a report on rape in Darfur.

      Sudan later dropped charges of spying against the pair, but in August
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir issued a temporary decree that aid workers
say severely restricts their activities.

      "It essentially undermines everything we've tried to do, it creates a
virtual state of emergency and gives the government control over everything
we do," said Wendy Fenton, former head of Save The Children in Sudan.

      Aid workers say the law reflects the government's fear charities will
uncover human rights abuses - a view supported by Arnold Tsunga,
co-ordinator of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

      "I don't believe these organisations are married to their governments,
but African countries tend to be very sensitive to outside criticism," he

      In Eritrea, the government issued a proclamation in May, requiring
international NGOs to register on an annual basis, have a minimum $2m at
their disposal in Eritrea and pay tax on imports of items for relief aid,
including food.

      In July, the government asked the US Agency for International
Development to stop its operations, saying it was uncomfortable with the
agency's activities in a country heavily dependent on food aid.

      Tsunga said African governments having problems with charity
organisations are mostly those accused of human rights abuses.

     - Reuters

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Zimbabwean Asylum Decision

Press Release
12th October 2005

The decision (Country Guidance Report on Zimbabwe) of the asylum and immigration tribunal which held a three-day hearing last week on whether it is safe to return failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers is expected at 11 am on Friday, 14th October. 
This is a crucial decision for Zimbabwean exiles faced with being sent back to a country where human rights are flouted.  The Home Secretary has suspended deportations pending this case.
Media enquiries may be directed to the Zimbabwe Association, which has been closely involved in the case.  They can speak authoritatively themselves or put you in touch with others, including people affected by the tribunal decision.
The Zimbabwe Association was formed in October 2001 to help Zimbabwean asylum seekers and since then has worked tirelessly to help Zimbabweans get the right legal representation and help and advice with their asylum cases.
Contact Details for the Zimbabwe Association
Tel: 020 7549 0355 (Tuesday and Thursday)
Chair: Patson Muzuwa: 07908 066 923
Co-ordinator: Sarah Harland: 07985 037 198
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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UCB help out Zimbabweans

The Mercury

      October 13, 2005

      Johannesburg: Zimbabweans Tatenda Taibu and Andy Blignaut will play
for South African franchises this season, the United Cricket Board (UCB)
said yesterday.

      Zimbabwe captain Taibu will play for the Cape Town-based Cobras, while
all-rounder Blignaut will turn out for the Highveld Lions.

      "We don't have any international cricket until we go to the West
Indies in April next year and we need to play at a decent level to keep our
skills up where they need to be," Blignaut said from Harare.

      The chief executive of the UCB, Gerald Majola, said his board was
committed to assisting South Africa's northern neighbours "in this time of
reformation for Zimbabwe cricket".

     Majola said Blignaut and Taibu would be classified as international
players with their new SA franchise teams.

      Zimbabwe are ranked ninth out of 10 teams in both Test cricket and
one-day internationals.

      They have lost nine of 10 Test matches and drawn the other one since
many of their experienced players were fired in a dispute with the board
that started in April last year.

      Several players have returned to the ranks, but Zimbabwe's results
have remained poor.

      - Reuters

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Zanu PF members jostle for senatorial seats in Kadoma

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Pamenus Tuso
issue date :2005-Oct-13

JOSTLING for Senatorial seats has started in earnest in Kadoma constituency
with aspirants reportedly perfecting their slogans and political skills
ahead of the November 26 elections.
Highly-placed ruling Zanu PF sources in Mashonaland West told The Daily
Mirror yesterday that five ambitious candidates in the constituency have
thrown their names into the ring.
They said the candidates had already forwarded their CVs to the provincial
executive committee for consideration.
The sources named the five aspirants as Kadoma Rural district council
chairperson Shepherd Makwavarara, National Assembly member Elijah Mangozho,
a Sanyati councillor only identified as Mai Chaderopa, former Central
Committee member and war veteran Ishmael Mutema and Jimayi Mudwuuri, who was
the Zanu PF losing candidate in this year's parliamentary elections.
The candidates have started vigorous campaigns in a bid to represent the
electorate in the reintroduced upper House.
John Mafa, Mashonaland West Zanu PF provincial chairperson, yesterday said
his executive had invited CVs from interested candidates.
"I have been in Harare since Monday this week, but I think their CVs and
details are already with our Chinhoyi office because we have invited them to
send their CVs.
 "Better phone the office, they will give you the details you want," Mafa
A person who said she was secretary in the ruling party office in Kadoma who
picked up the phone said she was not allowed to speak to the press.
"Mutema and Mudwuuri had their chance and they squandered it. These two
gentlemen were rejected by the Kadoma electorate and there is no way they
can represent the people," a source said.
Mutema had a short stint in Parliament in 2003 when he beat Editor Matamisa
of the MDC in a by-election following the death of former constituency
legislator Austin Mupandawana.
Mutema later lost to Mudwuuri in this year's Zanu PF primaries to choose
candidates to represent the party in the March 31 general polls.
Jimayi went on to contest the parliamentary elections and lost to Matamisa.
Yesterday, Mutema confirmed that he had forwarded his papers alongside those
of Mangozho, Makwavarara and Chaderopa to the provincial office in Chinhoyi
on Friday.
"CV yangu yakatsvukira shamwari (my CV is good my friend). I fought for the
liberation of this country and I have worked in government for years. I hope
I am the best for the party," said Mutema.
One candidate will represent the province, which is divided into five
senatorial constituencies, in each constituency.  The five constituencies
are Kadoma, Chegutu, Chinhoyi, Kariba and Makonde.
Zanu PF national political commissar Elliot Manyika was recently quoted in
the local press as saying that the party had broken away with tradition.
Instead of holding primaries this time around, candidates would be elected
by consensus at district and provincial levels and the names of winners
submitted to the national elections directorate.
The politburo has the final say on the cadres to stand for the party in the
Senate race on November 26.

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Langa case: More evidence presented

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Nkululeko Sibanda in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Oct-13

FURTHER evidence to buttress damning allegations that Insiza legislator
Andrew Langa opened fire on an MDC supporter during the 2002 by-election was
presented to the Bulawayo Electoral Court yesterday.
Former MDC Insiza constituency election manager Charles Mpofu, told the
court that Langa, the deputy minister of environment and tourism,  had
indeed shot the opposition party activist Darlington Kudenga.  Petitioner
Siyabonga Malandu Ncube said this was meant to prove that the electorate in
the constituency was subjected to threats of being shot and killed by Langa,
the respondent.
In the petition, Ncube argues that the people of Insiza voted out of their
conscience as the legislator had threatened them with bloody violence.
This, Ncube further claimed, had had a bearing on the outcome of the poll he
lost to Langa in the March 31 general elections this year.
It is also Ncube's contention that the violence that characterized the 2002
by-election in the constituency was similar to that allegedly orchestrated
by Langa during the 2005 elections.
Testifying yesterday, Mpofu concurred with Kudenga that the deputy minister
opened fire on them while at Filabusi Police Station. They had gone there to
report that the MDC's election campaign material had been seized at gunpoint
by suspected Zanu PF supporters. He said that it was after Langa had arrived
at the police station that there was commotion superseded by the shooting.
"The incident happened in 2002.
 "I cannot remember some
of the things, but I can remember that the noise that we
heard while in the police station began after Langa arrived at the station.
We heard some shouting outside and as we went out to investigate, we saw him
(Langa) holding the gun and pointing at our direction.
 "As we tried to get back into the charge office, Langa then opened fire on
us, thereby hitting Kudenga on the back," Mpofu said.
 Mpofu, a former deputy mayor of Bulawayo, also said: "Some of my relatives
ran away from Filabusi during the 2005 elections because of violence by Zanu
PF supporters.
 "It is the same kind of hooliganism that they experienced in 2002 and by
the same people," Mpofu added. Langa's lawyer, Masimba Munjanja, argued that
his client had shot at Kudenga in self-defence after Kudenga and other MDC
supporters tried to attack the deputy minister at his homestead.
"I put it to you (Mpofu) that the wound sustained by Kudenga was sustained
during an attack on the
respondent at his homestead, an incident where you, as the campaign team
manager, was also present. You wanted to attack the respondent during the
night and that is why he had to open fire to defend himself," Munjanja said.
     In response, Mpofu said there was no way they would attack Langa as
their mission was to campaign for their candidate. "That is rather a blue
lie that you are trying to tell.
"Our main aim of going to Insiza was mainly to campaign for votes and not to
attack people. The truth of the matter is that Kudenga was shot at by Langa
at Filabusi police station," a visibly angry Mpofu retorted.
Munjanja claimed that the MDC campaign team had not reported the case to the
police because they were the ones who had wronged and were afraid that they
would be arrested for violence.
"I put it to you that you did not report the shooting incident to the police
because you were the ones who were wrong in that you attacked the respondent
at night at his homestead," Munjanja said.
"You feared that the police were going to arrest you for that," he added.
Responding, Mpofu said it was illogical to report a shooting incident that
took place at the police station in full view of members of the police.
The petition hearing continues today with judgment expected before tomorrow
when  all election petitions will be finalised.

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Zimbabwe to outlaw occupation of state land

Business Day

Posted to the web on: 13 October 2005



HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government will outlaw occupation of
state land after reports of fresh farm seizures in eastern Zimbabwe, Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in remarks broadcast today.

Mugabe signed constitutional changes into law last month effectively
nationalising all white-owned farms that had been seized by his government
over the last six years.

In remarks broadcast on state television, Chinamasa said he would present a
law in the coming weeks outlawing the occupation of state-owned farms.

"The constitutional amendment provides that an act of parliament can provide
for any occupation of state land (to be) a criminal offence, so the piece of
legislation that I will bring will make that clear," he said.

Chinamasa was not immediately available to comment on whether the law would
be extended to privately owned farmland.

There have been reports in recent weeks of fresh invasions of some remaining
white-owned farms in the eastern districts of the country.

Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono has denounced the new invasions, branding
the invaders "criminals" and warning their actions may hurt Zimbabwe's
already struggling economy - though it is unclear whether his view
represents that of the government.

Critics say land expropriations are partly responsible for waning commercial
agriculture and food shortages since 2001, as new black farmers battle to
raise production amid a lack of funding, agricultural inputs and commercial
farming skills.

Mugabe has defended farm seizures as necessary to correct colonial
imbalances that left 70% of the richest land in the hands of a few white

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Knives drawn for Charamba



      Felix Njini
      10/13/2005 8:34:50 AM (GMT +2)

      ZANU PF stalwarts are baying for government spokesperson George
Charamba's blood as the fall-out from last week's publication of startling
revelations of the state security agency's involvement in Operation
Murambatsvina looks set to claim editorial scalps at the state-controlled

      Ruling party insiders said a barrage of allegations have been levelled
against Charamba and senior editors at The Herald because of an article
published in the daily a fortnight ago which revealed that the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) masterminded the widely condemned operation
to forestall a potential wave of nationwide protests triggered by a
deteriorating economic environment in the aftermath of yet another disputed
      The article, written by pro-ZANU PF New African editor Baffour Ankomah
for the London-based magazine's October edition, was reproduced in The
Herald last week.
      Stoking the fires following the spectacular faux pas, former
information minister Jonathan Moyo suggested that the article was "planted"
in The Herald, adding that there was no way the article would have found its
way into the paper without the blessing of the information ministry.
      "It is a shock that the public media could carry such blatant and
spiteful claims, which are totally unhelpful to our government and country,"
charged the Voice, the ruling ZANU PF's official weekly.
      "No need to say that the article in The Herald was a direct assault on
our government and our intelligence system, for it gives the impression that
the operation was nothing but an act of consolidating power.
      "This issue needs serious interrogation for it touches on our raw
nerve, our soul and our survival as nation . . . It is ludicrous and highly
deceitful that those tasked with the duty of defending the government are
seen in acts of clear complicity in denigrating our intelligence and in turn
smear a government operation aimed at giving decent life to our people,"
thundered the Voice.
      The attack from the ruling party's mouthpiece is yet another eruption
of a simmering dispute between the ZANU PF information department, headed by
Nathan Shamuyarira, and Charamba's information ministry.
      Sources said Shamuyarira - who oversees the editorial direction of the
Voice - and Charamba are battling for control of the state media. Both
Charamba and Shamuyarira have, however, denied reports of a feud, believed
to have its roots in Moyo's days, when the former department of information
and publicity frequently humiliated Shamuyarira and the rest of the ZANU PF
old guard.
      Going by the Voice comment, the ZANU PF information department is
openly agitating for the party and the CIO to mete out instant punishment to
Charamba and "his sympathisers" at The Herald.
      "The time has come for the party to weed itself (sic) of elements who
shout loudest but have clearly devious agendas that run opposite to those
that they are supposed to stand for," charged the Voice.
      The paper's editor, Lovemore Mataire, has previously accused
presidential spokesperson Charamba of being a "British double agent".

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ZANU PF summons industry bosses



      Rangarirai Mberi
      10/13/2005 8:35:26 AM (GMT +2)

      ZANU PF summoned about 40 top business executives to a heated meeting
last week and blamed them for Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis, warning
against public criticism of government policies.

      Sources privy to the highly charged indaba held at Munhumutapa
Building - which also houses President Robert Mugabe's office - revealed
that Elliot Manyika, the ZANU PF political commissar, accused the business
sector of sabotaging the economy. He, however, stopped short of admitting
ZANU PF's mismanagement.
      But after accusing industry of destroying the economy, Manyika stunned
the executives by pleading with them to "put their shoulders to the wheel"
and help stop further decline, a source said.
      The business leaders, frantically trying to keep their companies
afloat, however reportedly responded to Manyika's accusations by blaming
ZANU PF's populist policies for the state of Zimbabwe's economy, now in its
sixth straight year of recession.
      After running down parastatals, ZANU PF was told, government was now
threatening the viability of industry through price controls, red tape and
contradictions on key policy.
      The meeting was convened by Florence Makombe, a director in the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade. Patison Sithole, president of
the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and Luxon Zembe, head of the
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, led the business executives to the
meeting, our sources say.
      Phineas Chihota, the ZANU PF legislator for Seke and deputy Industry
and International Trade Minister, and the ministry's permanent secretary
Christian Katsande, accompanied Manyika.
      "Manyika was told that industry has lost serious money because of
government's constant blundering," said one source.
      The timing of the meeting, held only weeks ahead of the Senate
elections, raised eyebrows among some sceptical executives, it is
understood. Industrialists suspect that it might have been meant to coerce
them to fund ZANU PF's election campaign.
      Last week's meeting once again reveals the rift between government and
business, which is set to widen as the economy slides further into the abyss
with little concrete action from government to stop the decline.
      ZANU PF has previously accused industry of giving financial support to
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, and blamed businesses for
hoarding basic foodstuffs to whip up emotions and cause an uprising against
President Mugabe's government.
      The meeting came as two key companies announced closures of crucial
operations, developments that are likely to raise tempers within industry.
      Dunlop Tyres, the country's largest tyre maker, closed down last week,
citing shortages of foreign currency. National Foods has also raised the red
flag, warning it will shut down its main flour mills in Harare and Bulawayo
after they ran out of wheat.
      At last week's meeting, Manyika stuck to the ZANU PF refrain that
"detractors" of the land reform programme were sabotaging the economy.
      While declining debate on land reform, Manyika reportedly asked the
executives to "come up with ideas on how to improve agricultural
      "His message was basically that the party made enemies from the 1st
Chimurenga to the 3rd Chimurenga and hence the country was now under siege,"
said the source, adding Manyika had warned industry against criticising
government policy in public.
      Manyika said with 70 percent of the companies listed on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange now in the hands of blacks through various empowerment deals,
it was "payback time" for the companies, suggesting they should now support

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Govt battles to feed hungry nation



      Njabulo Ncube
      10/13/2005 8:42:17 AM (GMT +2)

      Majority face starvation as staple maize runs out

      A WHOLE age seems to have passed since President Robert Mugabe told
the world that aid agencies - mainly from the much-reviled west - should not
"foist food on us," asking: "do you want us to choke?" as the government
rebuffed the international community over suggestions the southern African
nation urgently needed food aid to feed its people.

      But with stark indications that the government needs to urgently step
up efforts to provide relief to more than 2.2 million Zimbabweans - about
one in every five people - and avert a full-blown crisis, many would envy
the President, if only they could eat his words in his stead.
      The government had initially estimated a bumper harvest of 2.4 million
tonnes of grain but official statistics indicate he had been misled by his
bungling officials as the country only harvested between 500 000 and 800 000
tonnes. Government critics blame the poor harvest not only on the drought
but poor planning and resource allocation for agriculture.
      This, the critics argue, had further been compounded by a harsh
economic environment, which this week saw inflation spiralling to 359
percent from 265 percent last month.
      The government, alarmed that the majority of the country's population
of about 12.5 million would not be able to feed itself in the next eight
months until the next harvest, has been shocked by the stark realisation it
urgently needed to import about 150 000 tonnes of grain per month to cover a
grain deficit of 1.8 million tonnes arising from the drought.
      Statistics indicate the government has so far only imported about 480
000 tonnes of maize between April and September this year, which independent
food security experts say is only enough to last three months. The experts
say the country would need to import about 1.2 million tonnes between now
and the next harvest in May to avert hunger not only in perennially
drought-prone rural areas but also in towns where supermarket shelves have
been emptied of the staple maize.
      Just last week the government admitted that it urgently needed to
import 220 000 tonnes of grain to feed at least 2.2 million destitute in the
books of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
      Independent food security experts this week spoke of a looming
catastrophe in the country if the government dilly-dallied in mopping up
scarce foreign currency to feed not only the 2.2 million in its books but
about 11 million of the population presently battling to buy maize meal, the
staple diet of the 12.5 million population.
      They said the Zimbabwe dollar, which has fallen off the cliff, would
not help matters in the next eight months with about US$240 million needed
to import grain.
      "With the dollar falling everyday, it is proving difficult for the
regime to mop up foreign currency to acquire grain, say from South Africa,"
said Renson Gasela, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman for
agriculture and resettlement. "It is clear to all those who care to listen
that hunger is going to stalk us for a very long time. The figure for people
in need of food assistance now includes almost the whole country. It is now
estimated at 11 million of the total population because the majority of the
people are battling to acquire the staple diet," said Gasela.
      He added: "It costs the country about US$200 to land a tonne of grain
from South Africa per month. So from now to the next harvest time in May, we
need to import 1.2 million tonnes for the next eight months to cover the
country's grain deficit. This translates to about US$240 million in simple
mathematics. If the rains fail and there is lack of pasture I predict a
serious further devastation of livestock.
      The government seems unconcerned about livestock which is also
suffering as much as people and in urgent need of stockfeed."
      The government's widely condemned Operation Murambatsvina/Restore
Order, which the United Nations special envoy's report revealed had left 700
000 people homeless and 2.4 million without means to generate income for
their livelihoods, had contributed towards the surge in the number of people
in need of food relief.
      Other independent food experts said the continued devaluation of the
Zimbabwe dollar against major currencies, especially the greenback, which
this Monday touched $100 000 on the parallel market, would see the price of
the staple grain, already short in supermarkets, being revised upwards
frequently and rendering the commodity unaffordable to most households.

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Bulawayo blasts ministries



      Charles Rukuni
      10/13/2005 8:43:26 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The city council here has blasted two government
ministries, its parent ministry and that of Water Resources, for sitting on
council proposals while at the same time accusing the local authority,
through the state media, of failing to deliver services.

      Councillors expressed their disappointment with the Ministry of Local
Government after the town clerk had revealed that the ministry had misplaced
the council's application for a review of parking regulations.
      The council resolved to introduce by-laws that would enable it to
clamp and tow away vehicles that were violating its parking laws on April 7
last year. The proposed changes were advertised on June 18 and 21 and were
submitted to the ministry on August 13 2004.
      According to the latest council minutes, the municipality had made
several follow-ups on February 4 this year as well as on May 18 but it was
only on June 16 that it was asked to resubmit its proposals because the
"original documents could not be located".
      Though the council resubmitted the proposals on August 4 "as a matter
of urgency" nothing has been done up to now.
      The council is proposing an increase in clamping and unclamping fees
from $20 000 to $1 million. Those who damage the wheel clamps will be
charged $500 000, up from $63 000 while motorists would have to fork out
$1.5 million if their vehicles are towed away. The council will also charge
storage fees of $1 million per day for light vehicles and $2 million a day
for heavy vehicles.
      Clr Cornelius Ncengani complained that the council could not continue
to be castigated for failing to deliver services when the government itself
was losing documents aimed at earning the council revenue.
      He said to make matters worse the government was not paying its debt
to the council yet it expected the same council to continue delivering
      Government departments owed the council $76 billion at the end of
June. The current debt was only $13 billion while $62.9 billion was overdue.
Residents owed the council $134 billion, $62.6 billion of which was current.
      The executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, the main target of the local
daily, said the "whole house" shared Clr Ncengani's views.
      The Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Water Resources came
under attack for sitting on the council's application to be declared a water
shortage area. The council made its application in August.
      The declaration of the city as a water shortage area would enable
council to commandeer all available water in and around the city for its
      Bulawayo introduced water rationing in July but suburbs on higher
ground have been experiencing intermittent water shortages since then
because they are fed by gravity.

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Teachers in dilemma over govt jail threats



      Njabulo Ncube
      10/13/2005 8:37:01 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S teachers unions, under immense pressure from members to
coax the government to review their salaries and other conditions of
service, are in a quandary whether to embark on industrial action or not,
amid revelations that the government is threatening to jail architects of
any strike action in the public sector.

      Representatives of teachers' unions told The Financial Gazette
yesterday that the government was pushing for the swift passage of the new
Labour Act which makes it next to impossible for unions to organise strikes.
      Sources said some government officials were in fact using some clauses
in the Labour Bill to dissuade union leaders in the public sector from
contemplating industrial action in protest against poor remuneration and
conditions of service.
      The sources said Education, Sport and Culure minister, Aeneas
Chigwedere at one time threatened union members with lengthy sentences if
they disrupted classes when they approached him to review their salaries.
      Chigwedere was not available for comment yesterday as his mobile phone
constantly went on voicemail.
      MacDonald Mangauzani, the national treasurer of the Progressive
Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) confirmed that teachers were terrified of
engaging in industrial action after being threatened with imprisonment by
government officials.
      Mangauzani, whose union is known for its combative approach to
teachers' welfare, said consultative meetings held over the weekend by his
union in seven provinces of the country heard of the poor quality of
teachers' lives.
      "The teachers' situation is pathetic but people are afraid to take the
government head on due to its paranoia when cornered," said Mangauzani.
"People have been threatened with incarceration but we have devised other
means to put pressure on the government to improve the salaries of
teachers," he said.
      The lowest paid teacher earns a gross salary of $2.07 million while
the highest paid grosses $4.325 million. The lowest paid teacher gets a
transport allowance of $600 000 while the highest paid gets $1.2 million.
      Mangauzani said PTUZ union members had agreed at the weekend that the
present salaries for teachers was enough to allow them to work for only 35
hours per month while the transport allowance was only enough for 13 days a
      "As a measure to put pressure on the employer, we have resolved that
if the money runs out, they should stop going to work unless the school
offers them transport," said PTUZ. The union leader said teachers were
agitating for the government to implement a cost of living adjustment before
December as well as increase transport allowances.
      "We want the lowest paid teacher to at least gross $15 million. If all
these demands are not met, I can't rule out industrial action during the
examinations period in November," said Mangauzani.

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Shock new rate hike



      Rangarirai Mberi
      10/13/2005 8:38:39 AM (GMT +2)

      THE RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe has lifted the bank rate by a record 125
percentage points to 405 percent, in a robust reaction to depressing new
inflation data released Monday.

      Rates on unsecured lending rose to 415 percent from 290 percent, as
central bank chief Gideon Gono effected his broadest rate hike since taking
office in 2003. The increase had been expected earlier, but its size
suggests there might have been some debate at central bank over the likely
impact it will have on industry and the markets.
      Inflation surged 94.7 percentage points to 359.8 percent in September,
the Central Statistical Office said this week. Month-on-month inflation came
in at 33.3 percent.
      Central bank is now expected to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar at its
official foreign currency auction today. Most economists had forecast the
dollar to be devalued from the current $26 003 to around $34 000 on the US
dollar, the devaluation tracking the month-on-month number. However, given
yesterday's broader than anticipated hike, the devaluation may also come in
much bigger that those market forecasts.
      The September inflation figure fell within the 340-380 percent range
of economists' forecasts reported by The Financial Gazette last week. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF) said last week it sees inflation ending
the year at 400 percent. But local economists and analysts are even more
pessimistic, with one telling this paper yesterday that he believes the
January 2004 high of 623 percent may well be exceeded in December.
      However, the majority of forecasts for December range between 550
percent and 600 percent, although the size of the September jump would
suggest those figures might be conservative. A leading brokerage is
forecasting October inflation at 445 percent, November at 467 percent and
December at 512 percent.
      State media reported this week that RBZ has revised upwards its
December inflation target to 260 percent from the previous 80 percent. Gono
also told The Herald that he plans "a battery" of measures to subdue
inflation when he presents his next policy statement, whose date is yet to
be announced.
      RBZ has been using rates as its main weapon against surging inflation,
resulting in the key bank rate rising to current levels from 90 percent in
January. However, economists have cautioned authorities against
over-reliance on rate hikes, arguing that high rates have the double effect
of suppressing speculative borrowing - as intended by central bank - but
also bleeding industry.
      The latest move on rates will see bank lending rising over the coming
weeks to levels last seen in the liquidity crunch of late 2003 and early
2004. Then, interbank rates approached 1000 percent after central bank cut
banks off from cheap bridging funds.

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What on earth is Charamba's problem?



      Mavis Makuni
      10/13/2005 8:40:30 AM (GMT +2)

      The Secretary for Information and Publicity, George Charamba made a
curious statement in the October 8 issue of The Herald in which he attacked
The Financial Gazette and another business weekly for a story they had
published a few days earlier about the government's Operation Restore Order/

      The thrust of the story, in which both papers quoted the state daily,
The Herald, was that the widely condemned clean-up exercise was the
brainchild of the Central Intelligence Organisation and was hurriedly
embarked on in a bid to pre-empt a suspected Ukraine-style revolution
following the March 31 parliamentary elections.
      The Herald's story, published on October 4, was a re-print of a piece
by the editor of the London-based New African Magazine, Baffour Ankomah, who
was in a delegation of foreign journalists who were recently taken on a
government media facility tour of Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle. When
these media tours were undertaken, the hype was that these "friendly
journalists" would at last tell the story about the clean-up exercise
objectively and truthfully.
      Charamba's attack on the two newspapers therefore seems to suggest
that Ankomah has failed to deliver the goods as expected if his description
of events has ruffled the permanent secretary's feathers as much as his
fulsome tirade suggests. The trouble, however, is that Charamba has chosen
to throw the brickbats in the wrong direction.
      "Government finds quite fatuous attempts by some sections of the media
to read its policies and decisions from an editorial of a private magazine",
said Charamba, who stressed that Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle was
achieving the twin goals of providing decent accommodation and ridding urban
centres of criminal elements.
      He went to great lengths to explain that the decision to embark on the
clean-up exercise had been communicated to all stakeholders and had been
adequately debated in parliament. "The government of Zimbabwe speaks for
itself as indeed it did on this matter and does on all other matters,"
Charamba added rather unnecessarily.
      While it can be appreciated that his position as a government
propagandist obliged him to come up with a diversionary spin following the
publication of the rather unflattering Ankomah piece, he misdirected his
rancour by scapegoating The Financial Gazette and the other business weekly.
      In a bid to undertake urgent damage control, Charamba has unfairly
cast these papers as the culprits responsible for Ankomah's findings and
conclusions on Murambatsvina and Garikai. He said: "It is therefore
regrettable that these sections of the media, inspired or reinforced by this
fringe politician, have vainly sought to damn the government on such
frivolous grounds."
      This statement exposes the inherent bias government spin doctors seem
to have against private newspapers. It is a breathtaking example of double
standards for Charamba to slam the private press for a feature that first
appeared in The Herald. It is neither fair nor professional for the
permanent secretary to rap the private papers for a story they followed up
days after its original publication in the state daily.
      Why was The Herald not accused of the same machinations that are being
attributed to the private papers? Even Charamba himself cannot deny the
absurdity of describing the publication of exactly the same story as 'a
clear abuse of journalism' on the part of the private press while it is OK
for the state media to do so.
      To add insult to injury, Charamba makes the tenuous allegation that
the private papers have "vainly sought to damn the government on such
frivolous grounds" because they are under the spell of a "fringe politician"
he did not name. It is hard to understand why Charamba should go to such
lengths to concoct unsubstantiated conspiracy theories when the person he
should blast for any 'damning' revelations is the author of the original
story, Baffour Ankomah.
      After his story went into the public domain following its publication
in New African Magazine and The Herald, there was absolutely nothing wrong
with other publications using it as long as they gave proper attribution.
Consequently, there was no need whatsoever for the permanent secretary to
create such a storm in a tea cup over reference to the story in the private
papers unless it is a smokescreen for something more serious behind the
      An observer can certainly be excused for detecting an element of
confusing doublespeak in Charamba's outburst. While attacking the two
weeklies for picking up the New Africa Magazine/Herald story, he also
acknowledges that news organisations are free to interpret information at
their disposal as they see fit.
      "Equally, decisions by any editor to rerun any editorial matter from
any source, cannot be a concern of the government of Zimbabwe, let alone any
sound basis for incriminating it," Charamba declared.
      Now, considering that this is exactly what the editors of the two
papers being crucified for the Ankomah story did, the question to ask is
what on earth is Charamba's problem?

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Mugabe's defiance lends credence to IMF claims



      Rangarirai Mberi
      10/13/2005 8:41:27 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's defiant pledge to hand out $6 million each
to liberation war collaborators has given added weight to the reasons why
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) thinks the Zimbabwe economy is facing
further decline.

      Government announc-ed last week that those detained and imprisoned
during the liberation war would each get $6 million grants, and be given
access to cheap loans and other welfare benefits.
      The payouts are an apparent attempt by President Mugabe to raise new
foot soldiers among the war collaborators, now that he can no longer rely on
restive and divided war veterans for the same grit they gave to ZANU PF
after they received their own $50 000 gratuities in 1997.
      Although reports suggest the war collaborators and former detainees
number about 6 000, the total to benefit will likely surge following the
announcement. In 1997, the number of people claiming to have fought in the
war swelled dramatically from around 30 000 to well over 50 000 within weeks
of the veterans' association successfully wringing cash out of government
through a series of aggressive public protests.
      The payments were not provided for either in the full year budget or
the supplementary budget announced by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa in
August. In that supplementary budget, Murerwa had in fact shown a resolve to
cut spending by not allocating any more resources to government ministries.
      Last week's report from the IMF was mostly bleak, but crucially
revealed Zimbabwe in fact still has friends on the IMF board, who believe
that the fund should resume technical assistance to the country in order to
nurture it to recovery.
      "A number of directors suggested that the Fund could consider resuming
technical assistance to Zimbabwe to facilitate strengthening of policies and
cooperation with the Fund," the report said.
      But because of its latest act of appeasement, Zimbabwe may fail to
capitalise on what sympathy remains on the board when its membership next
comes up for review in March.
      Economic consultant John Robertson said the critical IMF report showed
the Fund was unlikely to reward Zimbabwe for its unexpected repayments with
fresh financial aid.
      "The IMF is still very critical of our overall performance and with
very good reason, because we are still behaving badly," Robertson told
Reuters. "The message from the IMF is that you don't become eligible to
borrow new money - which could be what the government is trying to do -
simply by making payments that should have been made five years ago."
      The searing IMF report has angered government supporters, who have
suggested in a flurry of angry news articles that Zimbabwe never should have
been put up for IMF expulsion because it was not the worst defaulter. Sudan,
Somalia and Liberia - which owe more than Zimbabwe does - should have got
similar treatment, the pro-government commentators say.
      But by placing Zimbabwe on the same level with the three war-ravaged
economies, the pro-government commentators are unwittingly exposing the
derelict state of the economy, whose 30 percent decline over the past five
years is unprecedented for a country in peacetime, according to the World
      The IMF warned last Tuesday that Zimbabwe's economic problems would
worsen unless bold measures were taken, including improved governance, to
restore investor confidence.
      "While welcoming recent measures, (IMF directors) noted that current
policies fall short of what is needed to address the deteriorating economic
situation. There is a significant risk that unless strong macroeconomic
policies are implemented urgently, economic conditions - particularly
inflation - will deteriorate even further."
      The IMF sees negative GDP growth of seven percent this year, worse
than its estimate of four percent last year and much weaker than official
forecasts of two percent. The IMF is also predicting inflation to end the
year at 400 percent, which now looks conservative after new statistics this
week showed annual inflation rising to nearly 360 percent in September.
      The IMF urged Zimbabwe to initiate what it called "decisive action"
without delay on a range of issues. These included further deregulation to
allow market forces to determine the currency, tougher action against
corruption and civil service reforms, among other demands.

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ATMs not for ailing economies



      Charles Rukuni
      10/13/2005 8:42:48 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - If it were a riddle, it would go something like this. "When
does a person suddenly become seven people without using any magic wand?"
      The answer would be: "When one wants to withdraw $5 million from an
automatic teller machine (ATM)."

      Though the man who invented the modern-day ATM, Don Wetzel, came up
with the idea while waiting in line at a Dallas Bank way back in 1968,
queues are the order of the day at most ATMs in Zimbabwe.
      While queues are usually unbearable during the last two weeks of the
month, they now seem to have become routine as the purchasing power of the
local currency has plummeted, with bread costing $25 000 a loaf and some
people, including students, coughing up $60 000 a day on transport alone.
      To make matters worse, most commercial banks now insist that people
intending to withdraw small amounts, which is anything up to $5 million,
should use an ATM and not bank tellers. If they do, they are charged a
      While ATMs should normally be faster than human beings since there is
no chit-chat, most of the machines are down, half the time. Some will only
be giving account balances but not dispensing cash.
      At the few that are working, the number of people in the queue can be
misleading because if they all want to withdraw more than $1 million they
have to make multiple transactions.
      And it looks like there is no immediate solution, as the present crop
of ATMs was obviously not meant for distressed economies like Zimbabwe.
      Frank Read, director of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, said the
current crop of ATMs can only dispense 40 notes at a time. With the highest
denomination being $20 000, one can only withdraw a maximum of $800 000 per
      While some banks have daily limits of $5 million, one has to make
seven transactions to withdraw that amount. And they are taken as such,
which means one is charged stamp duty seven times.
      According to Read, however, though charges for ATM transactions and
over the counter withdrawals differ from bank to bank, it is generally
cheaper to use an ATM.
      While the inventors of the ATM wanted to provide a 24-hour service,
and most notices at local ATMs claim this, very few dispense cash throughout
the day. This has led to speculation that the country does not have enough
cash. But Read says there is no cash shortage in the country.
      "There is no cash shortage in Zimbabwe," Read said. "There is a high
demand for cash transactions in the economy especially at month-ends. Banks
have responded by restocking the ATMs frequently."
      Demand for local currency has soared because of the rapid decline in
its value. The highest denomination, $20 000, which in most currencies
should be able to meet one's daily needs, is not even enough to buy a loaf
of bread.
      According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, an average family now
needs $9.7 million a month for its basic needs. This translates to an
average of $322 000 a day.
      Any housewife will, however, tell you that $300 000 will not take you
anywhere. The CCZ basket is too conservative. For example, it assumes that a
family of six only has to consume only 8kg of meat a month and use four
tablets of bath soap.
      Demand for cash is likely to soar as inflation continues to escalate,
putting more pressure on ATMs. It reached a new high of 360 percent last
month and is likely to rise further because of the falling dollar,
especially in view of the pending Senate elections which are likely to see
government pumping out more money than was budgeted for.
      The only limitation to the demand for cash is that most Zimbabweans do
not have it. Some workers are still earning less than $1 million a month
while the average wage is reported to be about $3 million a month.

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Voice of reason




     10/13/2005 9:11:36 AM (GMT +2)

      THE near-term prospects for the Zimbabwean economy, which to all
intents and purposes is gasping for air at the very deep end, are bleak.

      This is the verdict of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which
once again recently gave Zimbabwe a six-month reprieve when it decided
against slamming the door on the country.
      Inevitably, this observation will stir controversy or worse still,
political ridicule especially from self-serving politicians in government
who view the Bretton Woods institution as a self-appointed international
central bank or a powerful political institution imbued with missionary zeal
for fiscal rectitude.
      Yet all the IMF, whose key members the government accuses of seeking
regime change in Zimbabwe, is saying is that the danger warning signs are
flashing. The country is sailing a little too close to the wind as the
economy faces the spectre of an all-time high contraction of seven percent.
This means that the government should move with lightning speed to initiate
a series of reforms to deal with its difficulties and forestall what seems
an imminent economic collapse. This entails treading a new path of economic
austerity measures, which of course might not be politically expedient. In
short, the Fund's message is that there is no alternative to urgent,
far-reaching reforms to revive the sickly economy crippled by negative
growth and an unemployment rate of over 70 percent.
      We feel that it would be futile and unwise for government, known for
its Band-Aid approach to serious national issues, to ignore or dismiss these
observations simply because they are coming from an institution with which
it is embroiled in a long-drawn diplomatic standoff over policy issues.
      The fact is that the international monetarists have pointed out issues
that must be faced head-on to put a fresh heart into the enfeebled economy.
The Fund is only alerting Zimbabwe to something over which government has
chosen to adopt the escapist head-in-the-sand ostrich mentality - the
classic warning signs of economic collapse. Among other things, the IMF also
emphasised the need for government to rein in its profligacy by cutting down
on its wasteful pork-barrel projects used to ingratiate the ruling ZANU PF
with what it considers to be strategic political groupings.
      Unfortunately, that is all the Fund can do - forewarn and advise.
Contrary to the erroneous picture painted by the scapegoating local
politicians who usually object to ideas only when other people have them,
the IMF does not force economic reforms down the throats of its members. It
is in no position for example to force a member to spend more on schools or
hospitals and less on buying military aircraft and ostentatious German car
models or constructing grandiose ministerial palaces. The specifics of any
economic reform programme adopted by any member are the respective members'.
      And therein lies the problem because that set-up does not inspire much
hope for Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government is best known for costly policy
reversals. A case in point is the stop-go implementation of economic reforms
since 1980. Since independence, the erstwhile regional breadbasket has come
up with no less than six major economic reform programmes, which translates
to an average of an economic reform programme every four years! At best
these blueprints were tucked in piece-meal and at worst they just remained
nothing more than paper reforms because they never took that giant leap to
implementation. This hurt the economy.
      Zimbabweans also need no reminding of the unfolding tragedy in the
parastatal sector where the goal posts have been moved too far, too many
times as regards the sell-off of the state assets. Initially there was talk
of full-scale privatisation. Then there was commercialisation. This was
overtaken by a wish for corporatisation - a Chinese halfway house between
rigid state control and private ownership. And before anybody could say
Ziscosteel there was yet another volte-face. The government announced at the
end of last year that it was no longer interested in the partial disposal of
the parastatals, a decision for which it gave hardly convincing reasons.
      All this because the country's leaders have not mustered the political
will to implement economic reforms to their full expression for fear of
mainly imagined political backlash. Admittedly the devil with economic
austerity measures is usually in the implementation process. But that should
neither be an excuse nor justification for government's expensive policy
      Any tough choices made, especially belt-tightening austerity economic
measures, are bound to spark off criticism. Be that is it may, criticism
that comes as result of an unwavering desire to achieve greater good, should
not weaken the government's resolve to reverse the economy's faltering
fortunes. If anything, such criticism would have been a litmus test for the
government's maturity, conviction and commitment to its vision, if only it
had pressed ahead with the reforms. Unfortunately it failed the test and the
economy took a turn for the worse. The country is now paying the price.
Which is why Zimbabweans are sceptical whether government will now bite the
bullet to soothe the economy's festering sore?

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...and now to the NOTEBOOK



     10/13/2005 9:20:51 AM (GMT +2)

      TWO years ago, CZ was in Maputo, Mozambique, as one of the many
plenipotentiaries attending the second Africa Union summit.

      And he observed one thing. Their currency, the Meticais was trading
somewhere in the neighbourhood of 24 000 to the US dollar. Our exchange rate
at that time was 824 to the US dollar. Fine and dandy.
      This week CZ, just a little over two years later, was in Maputo again.
First and most importantly, to try and wheedle a loan from these friendly
neighbours of ours in case the British and Americans play tricks with our
South African loan. Secondly, to finalise the Solidarity Bash due to take
place in Mutare any day from now.
      And he again observed something. The Mozambican Meticais is now
trading at 25 100 to the greenback. And our own ZimDollar is exchanging for
anything between 26 000 to 100 000 to the greenback depending on the
seller's level of patriotism. Can one patriotic mathematician please
calculate for us how much our good currency has depreciated? From $824 to
$100 000 to the US dollar.
      Isn't is high time Tony Blair and George Bush are arraigned before the
International Court of Justice for this obvious crime?
      If nothing can be done, we will ask - through our biras - our good
ancestral spirits to intervene!
      Pazva ndizvo!
      SO Cde Simon Pazvakavambwa was right after all? Otherwise where is the
grain that Joseph Made, Webster Shamu, Edna Madzongwe, Samuel Muvuti and
such other truth evaders have been saying is available in large quantities?
      Pazvakavambwa recently warned that in three weeks' time Zimbabwe would
run out of maize, and exactly three week's later, the country ran out of the
commodity . . . and in between senior government and ZANU PF heavyweights
have been making a lot of noise about the abundance of the commodity. Where
is it now?
      Last week it took CZ four days to get a 10 kg bag of maize meal at $84
000, yet some criminals think they are drawing salaries from Treasury to lie
to the public!
      If this country had just half a dozen honest civil servants like
Pazvakavambwa, we would be much better off!
      Still on maize, get this one. Our national brother-in-law, outgoing
Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika is in trouble. Big trouble and a half.
This time not about the impeachment motion or the resignation of ministers
from his cabinet, but from starving Malawians who are accusing him of taking
their maize and sending it to Harare. Harare, yes! His opponents at the
weekend accused the not-so-handsome brother of feeding his in-laws at their
expense. Hopefully they have palpable evidence to prove this, because every
other ordinary Zimbo is scouring everywhere for this precious commodity.
      LAST week our one and only ZTV were on the moon over the recent
results of a ZAMPS media survey which showed that their viewership had grown
by a miniscule four percent. You never saw such joy . . . like a famished
old, sick and blind tortoise that has bumped on a rotting mushroom. The
ZAMPS results were headline news and the entire newsroom went into a
scrimmage as reporters, including even the chief reporter, tried to outdo
each other in covering this wonderful piece of news. Even Cde George
Charamba, the Great Uncle's spokesperson who also trebles up as the (Mis)
Information ministry perm-sec and a senior Herald columnist, queued up to
have their say on how useful and relevant our one and only broadcaster is.
      Wait until the results by the same ZAMPS people show that the
viewer-ship of the broadcaster has dropped . . . they will be insulted all
the way to hell, and can even be linked to the British and Americans good
and proper!
      Curiously, nothing was said about the advantages of this business
called self-competition.
      Not much different from saying GMB and NOCZIM are the best players in
their respective areas of business!
      Murimi wanhasi, Up the Hill, African Movie (repeat), Heyday (repeat),
Kabanana (re-repeat), Chimurenga Files (re-re-repeat)! My foot! May Saint
Donan please save us from this curse!
      CZ's most favourite programmes on the staid public broadcaster include
Toringepi?, Snake World, and Media Watch among the whole caboodle that
constitute the effective cocktail of drugs for anyone unlucky to be
suffering from insomnia!
      CZ Ministries?
      DID you know that one sector that is booming at this time when all
hope seems to have been lost is the church industry? You didn't? Now you
know, and don't say you weren't told because if you miss the gravy train you
will only have yourself and your grandmother to blame. Right now CZ is
seriously considering the possibility of going into the church business. Who
is he to resist the temptation of amassing jaw-dropping riches when everyone
in the whole country is starving?
      From the information he is getting, it seems like he could make good
lucre for himself and his whole clan within the shortest possible time
imaginable because this is the sector where all the money has drifted to.
      Criminals worse than CZ can ever hope to be in three lifetimes are
making real money in this industry. Real money. From the market research
that CZ has punctiliously carried out in Zimbabwe and in the southern
African region, he has come to the informed conclusion that this business is
a cool meal ticket for life. One fellow in Malawi is now a proud owner of an
executive jet courtesy of this business. So who is CZ to be left out?
      "Evangelist CZ and Mrs CZ of the God-inspired CZ Ministries
International are inviting you to a prayer and healing meeting at the HICC
this Sunday. Bring the sick, the afflicted, the blind, the deaf, the poor,
the lazy, the dull, the barren and the greedy. They shall all be healed.
Time is 10:00 hours until 16:00 hours. Admission is FREE! Come and be free!"
      Survivors' gala?
      CAN someone please confirm this piece of rumour that is reaching CZ.
CZ is reliably informed that because of the way things have gone in the
country, the authorities are considering throwing a gala for those amadoda
sibili who will still be in Harare by year end. And this one will be called
Survivors' Gala!

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Zim, SA relations in perspective (Part 5)



     10/13/2005 9:22:48 AM (GMT +2)

      SINCE the beginning of this series responses continue to come from
various quarters of the world and critical issues continue to be raised.

      If I were to respond to all the issues I will spend the whole of next
month writing about the same topic but I need to move to other issues
although some said they don't mind even if I get to part 20! I can surely
exceed that but as a consultant I am learning to be economical with
information otherwise I will starve! Selfishness? May be, may be not. Well,
I will consider a bonus of an additional part next week that is if I manage
to persuade my editor to conspire in my lie that this was going to be the
final part.
      Having said all that I have said in this series, the then question
arises as to whether present day South Africa's strategy and tactics on the
Zimbabwean question and, therefore, for regional hegemony form a seamless
web of diabolically clever Machiavellian (or Kissingeresque) cunning; a
wandering minstrel show lurching from one piece of crisis management to
another; or a mass of internal contradictions and insoluble conflicts among
SA objectives. The answer is probably none of the above by itself, but some
of each combined.
      An official of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in South
Africa e-mailed me and expressed concern that I have been "too hard" on them
by suggesting that present day SA still thrive on merchantilist strategies
in trade and commerce and that it has got an imperial disposition in the
region. A working board member from the Southern and East African Trade
Institute informed me that some of the issues I discussed in this series
were raised in multilateral trade negotiations with SA two weeks ago and the
SA representative frothed at the mouth denying issue, with little success in
convincing other delegates.
      Various regional organisations and institutes, (including officials
from private regional companies), that deal with trade and commerce, or have
an interest in these areas, testified that they find SA, especially its
transnationals' "stamina" in trade negotiations quite quizzical. One
Zimbabwean in the UK, a Mr Dube, correctly noted that South Africa's
enterprise regional policy is largely influenced by an economically powerful
white minority, many of whom are the "remnants of apartheid", and questioned
the ability and capacity of the SA government (at least at the present
moment), even if it may have the wish and political will, to restructure the
regional economy in a way that will benefit all countries. This is exactly
the heart of the matter and these issues must be conceptualised within
regional economic dynamics.
      Until and unless southern Africa as a whole takes serious steps in
restructuring the lopsided inherited political economy, it will always be in
contradiction with itself and with its peoples. That is why President
Mugabe, despite increasing domestic dissent and an increasingly repressive
domestic policy, has been able to carve out a niche of supporters and
sympathisers for himself in the region and beyond, because his controversial
agrarian revolution is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as dismantling an
exploitative regional political economy. That also explains why many African
intellectuals and academics often end up in an uncomfortable position where
they appear like Mugabe apologists when they are dealing with their
counterparts from the west.
      The inherited economic and industrial structure in Zimbabwe was
dominated by transnational corporate entities designed to meet the demand of
a narrow high-income elite as an extension of their more basic industrial
plant in SA and/or their home countries. This bequeathed on southern African
industries a highly dualistic pattern. The spurt of economic growth in
peripheral Southern Rhodesia after UDI was severely limited by fundamental
contradictions. Only the handful of white settlers and transnational
corporate investors benefited significantly. Transnationals operating from
their South African headquarters continued to reap profits from their
control of finance and trade. This orientation, and the dependence on
transnational corporations, led to growing capital intensity despite high
      The greatest weakness in the "development" fostered by transnational
corporate investment in both Southern Rhodesia and SA was precisely its
foundation: the exclusion of the majority of the population, the Africans,
from participation except as low-cost labor. By the mid-'70s, the
contradictions inherent in this pattern of growth could no longer be glossed
over. They were aggravated by and contributed to the general crisis that
spread from the developed capitalist countries to settle on southern Africa.
For most blacks, excluded from political power, conditions worsened. Wages,
in real terms, stagnated or even fell. Overcrowding, hunger and disease
      So, in Zimbabwe as in South Africa itself and the whole Southern
African region, the white minority in collaboration with transnational
corporations, employed racism to mask its use of state power to shape a
regional political economic structure to squeeze the last penny of profit
out of the vast majority of the black population. Manufacturing aimed at the
luxury white market, the military and export, although the hoped-for foreign
markets never opened up.
      In southern Africa and throughout the continent, transnational trading
corporations controlled foreign and internal wholesale trade. They fostered
the export of crude materials to associated factories in "traditional
markets" back home, or in regional bases in SA. They squandered hard-earned
foreign exchange to import luxuries and semi-luxuries, or materials for
local assembly for the wealthy few who could afford them. Transnational
corporate control of the banks and financial institutions formed a key link
in fostering foreign control of African political economies.
      It fostered monetary and credit policies enhancing the profitability
of the production of the above goods for the high income groups. The banks
granted credit primarily for the big mining firms and agribusiness, the
settler estates and trading firms. They typically turned down requests by
African peasants, and made few loans to develop the truncated manufacturing
sector. So, in Africa as a whole, uncontrolled transnational corporate
investment in industry, designed to maximise short term profits, led to
production of the wrong goods for the wrong consumers in the wrong places.
Although significant moves have been made since independence in the region,
the kind of institutional changes required to transform the inherited
distorted political economies of Southern Africa are immensely complex and
      Clearly, only fundamentally restructuring inherited politico-economic
institutions can enable southern African states to meet the pressing needs
of their impoverished populations. Without this transformation, expanded
transnational corporate investment will merely reinforce external dependence
and impoverishment. Domestic investments, too, when not directed to changing
inherited, distorted resource and institutional patterns, will especially
deepen disproportions in the national economies, binding them tighter into
relations of unequal exchange in the world capitalist commercial system.
      While major steps have been taken to address these colonial imbalances
in southern Africa, the problems encountered in this regard seem to have
shattered the people's initial impetus and cohesion. As a result, the
evidence is that, in many countries, a "bureaucratic bourgeois"- civil
servants, managers of state corporations, the politicians themselves- had
been able to increase their control of the state machinery and subvert the
process of change to their own ends.
      If the ultimate goal is to "restructure" economies, elements of the
ruling classes and of basic national economic interests will be challenged
at some point. At present, Southern Africa is still haunted by the spectre
of a resurgent racism. Moreover, the spectre of a "second scramble" for
Africa still hovers over us because southern Africa is still high on the
list of international shoppers.
      To deal with this situation, SADC will have to make hard choices about
production, not simply to promote full capacity of existing industries, and
the concept of sovereignty will have to be progressively eroded in the
      As things stand, certain decisions that have ripple effects to the
whole region still continue to be taken solely at the national level. For
the region to ameliorate the vagaries of the international crisis, such
national decisions should more regularly and fully include coordinated
consideration of the regional context. If not then SADC will remain quite
vulnerable to outside forces since it has also not signed an investment code
for the region.
      Until a uniform code is signed, international capital can play one
economy against the others; but to sign one code would mean far greater
economic congruence than SADC can envisage at present.
      You can see that some are for NEPAD while others are looking east!
There is urgent need to devise sustainable plans for regional
self-financing. The strategy of international capital is no longer to divide
and rule, but to re-group and dominate. One ardent critic of the old SADCC's
dependence on western capital stated that "SADDC is only coordination of
donors, for donors".
      Any serious efforts to restructure southern African economies for the
benefit of its peoples can not be dissociated from democracy and good
governance. Real, democratic participation in and control of national
administration by the mass of workers and peasants has to be continuously
expanded and deepened. The education and involvement of the masses of the
people in the complex process of restructuring critical and national
institutions is an imposing task. Disengaging those institutions from
domination by transnational corporate interests to facilitate balanced
development is by no means simple.
      It requires new skills and approaches at all levels, from involving
workers on the shop floor in decisions to dealing with complex transnational
corporate managerial issues, technologies and marketing structures.
      Sustained creation of new institutions to ensure growing popular
participation at all levels of the state structures remains crucial to avoid
the recurrent emergence of a new political-managerial elite which can
manipulate state machinery to benefit themselves in cahoots with
transnational corporations.
      Only the full participation of an increasingly educated and
politically conscious working population can ensure the realisation of
economic plans taking advantage of every potential opportunity for
self-reliant nationwide development.
      The development and implementation of a regional economic strategy
require regional cooperation involving major changes to the inherited
regional political economy which currently enable South Africa and allied
transnational corporations to shape the economic development perspectives of
southern Africa.
      lIsaya M. Sithole is a lawyer, independent political consultant as
well as a human, civil and political rights activist. He can be contacted

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Mining sector on slippery slope: chief



     10/13/2005 8:53:01 AM (GMT +2)

      THE mining sector has been experiencing difficulties over the past
five years due to foreign currency shortages, incoherent government policies
and the general lack of investment.

      Felix Njini, The Financial Gazette Chief Business Reporter, spoke to
Chamber of Mines president Jack Murehwa to get an overview of the state of
the industry, which is the country's largest contributor to gross domestic
product and a key foreign exchange earner.

      Financial Gazette (FG): Where does capacity utilisation stand in the
mining sector?
      Jack Murehwa (JM): Capacity utilisation within the mining sector
varies from mine to mine. In general, however, capacity utilisation over the
last few months has declined as a result of shortages of mining inputs,
particularly fuel, imported spares and chemicals. This has led to increased
plant and equipment downtimes, which could have been avoided had the inputs
been available. As you are aware, these inputs have to be imported and
producers cannot access adequate foreign currency to meet operational
      FG: Apart from the widely publicised problems affecting the mining
sector such as foreign currency shortages and high labour costs, what other
problems are constraining production in the sector?
      JM: The high cost of mining inputs - whether locally manufactured or
imported - is a major challenge being faced by the mining industry. As you
may be aware, mineral producers are price takers; they do not determine the
price of their own products.
      In this regard, producers have to ensure that they produce minerals at
a cost well below the price of these minerals. Under the current economic
environment this is proving to be a major challenge. Hence, the call we
always make to the relevant authorities to work on the fundamentals that
bring about inflation and to ensure that a viable exchange rate is in place
at all times. The other challenge being faced is that of attracting and
retaining skills. Loss of skills to competitors within Zimbabwe is no longer
the issue.
      The skilled personnel are leaving our industry for opportunities in
the region and abroad. The AIDS problem is also not helping the situation.
      FG: What has been the level of investment, i.e. in exploration,
capitalisation and research in the sector and has this impacted on
employment in the mining sector in any way?
      JM: Investment in exploration has been very low over the last few
years. Investment in exploration requires confidence in the future of the
sector and competitive returns by companies operating locally.
      Unfortunately, the confidence required has been declining and the
mining industry has been living from hand to mouth in the recent past,
leaving little or no resources to plough into exploration and development.
Foreign Direct Investor interest on the other hand has been low in
      The same goes for capitalisation of ongoing projects. Mines need the
funds to re-capitalise from either equity or facilities arranged with local
and/or foreign banks. Borrowing locally is difficult with the prohibitive
interests. Sourcing funds externally is also difficult due to the perceived
high risk. The benefits of re-capitalisation can be witnessed from the
efforts in coal mining supported by the central bank, which has seen
increases in the production of coal.
      Then, the existence and the growth of the platinum and precious stones
sectors, attributable to the ability of the sectors to raise resources
externally, are other positive examples. We wish to witness more projects of
this nature throughout the industry so that we can retain and generate more
      FG: Can you please respond to reports that the mining industry is
operating on obsolete equipment due to lack of re-capitalisation?
      JM: For most mines, the need to purchase modern equipment to improve
on productivity is real. Some operations, particularly non-exporting mines,
desperately need new pieces of equipment. Some mines have managed with their
meagre resources to purchase or rebuild some equipment.
      FG: Which mining companies have closed during the past five years and
which ones are threatened with closure and what are the reasons for closure,
if any?
      JM: Several mines have closed since 2000, mostly gold mines. Some of
the mines managed to re-open albeit at production levels below that recorded
before the closure.
      Marginal and near marginal operations are challenged by the huge costs
of production. It is therefore important that issues of inflation and a
viable exchange rate continue to be carefully thought out to ensure the
continued viability of these operations.
      FG: What are the projected earnings from the mining sector for 2005?
      JM: We would rather not discuss such figures through the press.
      FG: Can you please give us a breakdown of expected output from the
gold mining sector and earnings?
      JM: According to current production data, the gold mining sector is
projected to produce 14 800kg in 2005 compared to 21 330 kg produced last
year. Realisations to the industry are a function of the exchange rate and
the gold spot price.
      FG: Is the mining sector going to benefit from the surge in the
international prices of the precious metals?
      JM: The gold mining sector in Zimbabwe is not benefiting from the
current upsurge in the international gold prices. In simple terms and by
deduction, the cost of inputs into the sector seems to be priced at exchange
rates considerably higher than the auction rate. This goes for fuel, spares
and chemicals. With revenue pegged on the auction rate, the returns margins
are seriously squeezed.
      FG: Please explain, in percentage terms, the increase in production
costs for gold producers and how this is impacting on revenue?
      JM: Over the last 6 to 9 months the situation has been highly
volatile. The relationship of the cost centres has been shifting
significantly. We will need to conduct a survey to be able to provide an
accurate picture of the situation as it stands now. What is apparent is the
increase in cost of production, which has been at levels above inflation.
      FG: Has the Chamber seen the proposed new Mines and Minerals Act,
which we understand would be tabled before Parliament in the coming months?
      JM: We are aware that the government is working on revising the Mines
and Minerals Act and we are in discussions on the matter. It will not be
proper for the Chamber to comment on the process before finality.
      FG: What is the Chamber's position on the new mining law, especially
on the hazy empowerment proposal?
      JM: As yet, there is no new mining law.
      It is unfair to say that the empowerment proposal is hazy. Such
comments should only come when the proposals have been put on the table. For
now, all we are aware of is that the subject is being debated in government

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Natfoods to close milling plants



      Chris Muronzi
      10/13/2005 8:44:10 AM (GMT +2)

      THE milling industry is virtually grinding to a halt owing to erratic
wheat supplies, with the Zimbabwe Stock Excha-nge-listed National Foods
(Natfoods) threatening to shut down two of its major milling plants whose
wheat supplies have been exhausted.

      In a letter to the Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and
International Trade, retired Colonel Christian Katsande, Natfoods painted a
grim picture of the future of its flour milling plants dotted around the
      Industry sources said the entire flour milling industry might have to
close shop, putting scores of jobs on the line.
      Survival is now pinned on the next harvest at the end of this month.
      Zimbabwe needs 350 000 metric tonnes of wheat each year, but output
has slumped because of high production costs and the effects of government's
often chaotic land reform.
      "National Foods is currently milling 400 tonnes of wheat per day, and
we will have run out of wheat by lunch time on Saturday (8 October 2005). We
have no further sales orders from GMB (the Grain Marketing Board) and
therefore, both our Harare and Bulawayo mills will be closed from Monday 10
October 2005 until we receive further wheat allocations," read part of the
letter signed by John Pilgrim, Natfoods' finance director, and Mike Yeatman,
the company's sales, marketing and distribution director.
      Colonel Katsande could not be contacted for comment at the time of
going to print. Sources however, said the GMB has been directed to attend to
the situation at Natfoods as a matter of urgency.
      As of October 5, the Harare flour mill had 1 090 tonnes of
GMB-supplied wheat in its silos with 379 tonnes still to be collected from
the grain monopoly. The outstanding tonnage only equates to a day's
      The Bulawayo mill had been closed for the past three months.
      Zimbabwe is facing an acute shortage of wheat owing to drought and the
land reform exercise, which was launched in 2000 by veterans of the war of
      The exercise, which has adversely affected Zimbabwe's agricultural
production, saw over 5 000 white commercial farmers being booted off their
farms at the height of the land seizures.

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RBZ gives Hwange Colliery forex boost



      Audrey Chitsika
      10/13/2005 8:48:48 AM (GMT +2)

      COAL producer Hwange Colliery Company (HCC) has accessed a US$4
million loan from the central bank to acquire critical spares and guarantee
future production.

      The country's sole producer of coal said the delivery of the spares
secured under the US$4 million facility has started, adding that this should
improve equipment availability and production.
      "To mitigate logistical challenges, the company benefited from
interventions from the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) in terms of working
capital support," HCC said in a statement.
      HCC also signed a contract for the supply of opencast mining
equipment, which should arrive in the country soon after all the conditions
have been met.
      The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed group is also finalising a loan
agreement for the financing of the 3 Main Underground Mine and Opencast Mine
while talks are still underway to consider the recapitalisation of the
      HCC is currently courting major investors to endorse a bumper $2
trillion rights issue.
      After the recapitalisation, the company's production is expected to
increase to 6 million tonnes per annum, compared to 3.7 million tonnes
achieved last year.
      Fuel shortages and lack of funds saw the company experiencing
challenges on the transportation of coal and coke by both road and rail to
the market.
      HCC said there has been an increase in coal deliveries to Hwange Power
Station from 878 424 tonnes recorded last year to 1 038 870 tonnes.
      "The increase in deliveries was due to the production mix that was
geared at supplying adequate coal stocks for electricity generation," said
the company, adding the demand for coal and coke products should remain firm
in both the domestic and export markets.
      Recently, HCC and the National Railways of Zimbabwe entered into a
joint venture aimed at maintaining adequate levels of coal and coke.

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Dictators' callous view of human life must be rejected



     10/13/2005 9:13:02 AM (GMT +2)

      ARE there any circumstances under which it is ever justified for the
leader of a country to abandon his role as protector of the population and
resort to torture, mass killings, ethnic cleansing, genocide or some such
other horrific atrocity against his own people?

      I ask the question because Gift Nyoka of New Marlborough in Harare,
whose letter (which I had prior sight of) is published on the Readers' Forum
page in this issue of The Financial Gazette, seems to think so. He takes me
to task for a feature I wrote in the September 29 to October 5 issue of this
paper about the trial of deposed Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein later this
      Nyoka's views make an interesting study in the phenomenon known as
selective perception. He censures me for 'accusing' Saddam of abuses such as
the gassing of the Kurds and the demolition of entire towns and draining of
marshland to suppress a Shiite rebellion when it is crystal clear that I am
not the one making these charges against the deposed tyrant. These are
documented facts in the public domain which any journalist or writer can
quote as background information to amplify an article. It would be a
different matter if the letter writer were arguing that the deposed dictator
was being falsely accused of these crimes and abuses.
      The statement, "Makuni went to town about how Saddam Hussein is going
to face up to a dozen trials on genocide, crimes against humanity and other
atrocities committed by his regime . . ." further demonstrates how seriously
Nyoka's need to defend the indefensible has compromised his ability to look
at facts objectively. Once again, it is not Mavis Makuni saying from the top
of her head that Saddam Hussein is facing such a grave situation. That is
the reality as explained by Laith Kubba, spokesman for the transitional
government in Iraq who I quoted verbatim in my article.
      Whether Nyoka likes it or not, Saddam Hussein committed these terrible
atrocities against his own people and taking umbrage at anyone who refers to
them is similar to shooting a messenger because he or she bears bad news.
The Iraqi issue is so complex that literally, there can be as many angles as
writers tackling different aspects. The issues he raised, such as the
Iraq/Iran war, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, terrorism, US hypocrisy on
nuclear arms and abuses committed by George Bush are valid, but these were
not the topics I was looking at. My article was about Saddam's impending
trial and its impact. Nyoka must accept that the trial is going ahead
despite all the other issues he raises, which have been exhaustively
analysed in different media.
      The main thrust of Nyoka's complaint seems to be that by being obliged
to stand trial, Saddam Hussein is getting a raw deal because he was being
funded by the United States of America when he committed the array of
atrocities he must now answer for. In other words, this correspondent seems
to be suggesting that because he enjoyed American support at some point
during his brutal rule, the former dictator's defence during his forthcoming
trial should be: 'somebody made me do it!' This would hark back to the trial
of Nazi officers at Nuremberg in 1945 when they pleaded: "We were following
orders" about their role in the holocaust during which six million Jews
      The question Nyoka does not seem keen to confront is whether '
following orders' or succumbing to the divide and rule tactics of powerful
nations for financial gain is a valid and acceptable defence for culprits
responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands or millions of innocent
      Saddam Hussein may have received material support from the US during
the cold war between the West and the former communist bloc, but no one
ordered him to butcher his own people. And even if he had been ordered to do
so, I would still ask what kind of leader succumbs to that kind of pressure.
This definitely is not the calibre of leader needed in the developing world
or anywhere else.
      After Joseph Stalin's gruesome purges of the 1930s in the former
Soviet Union during which an estimated 20 million people were killed, the
holocaust in Hitler's Germany and genocide committed in various countries,
including Rwanda and Sudan in Africa, it is time for the world to say 'no'
to this kind of brutality. The only way to get the message across to
ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and other tyrants that their callous
view of human life is abhorrent to the rest of humanity is to make sure that
they are brought to justice.
      The trial of the former Iraqi strongman is therefore important in that
it will give the people of his country and the world at large an opportunity
to hear from the horse's mouth the explanation for his unfathomable cruelty
and lack of compassion for his own people.
      Man is a free agent with a conscience and freedom to choose between
right and wrong. People with hearts of stone like Saddam Hussein who have no
qualms about torturing, maiming, killing and pauperising their own people,
cannot be let off the hook for the reasons suggested by Nyoka.
      I find it hard to believe that he wants the world to feel sorry for
Saddam Hussein for having sold his country and people out by agreeing to be
used by the US during the cold war. Rather than being a mitigating factor in
the current situation, this actually increases his culpability because it
shows a lack of spine and moral fibre.
      Through trials like Saddam's, the world must register its rejection of
the ethos of the expendability of human life which characterises the brutal
rule of dictators throughout the world. Killing innocent people is
indefensible under any circumstances and must be rejected by all men and
women of conscience throughout the world.

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