"What do you mean you have got
nothing to declare? Mabhegi ese aya akazara chii?" came the nasty enquiry by
the customs attendant on my arrival at the Harare
This broke my relaxed unassuming reverie for
it interrupted my concentration as I tried to admire the now bigger and
a little more modern airport facilities.
is still on the small side but definitely a very big improvement. I dared to
steal back into my thoughts. But it wasn't long before another sharp and very
unrelenting inquiry broke into my peace once more. "Ndati, you have to go to
the line remavisitors iro!"
"But we are not visitors,"
matter-of-factly retorted my law-abiding, public-appeasing, patient and
usually very tolerant husband. "We are returning residents and this is the
line we should join . . ."
"Mandinzwa here imi? Ndati,
this is the line we want you to join," the customs dragon lady
bellowed, unashamedly pointing to a sign which boldly
Like lambs to the slaughter we
complied. What else could you do? You wanna know what else isn't
over until the dragon lady says it is. This was just but
Welcome back home
After you have been away from home for a long
time and feelings of longing and nostalgia have been your constant
companion particularly in the face of some anti-foreign feelings in a foreign
country, before you know it, you put on rose coloured glasses and start
to romanticise about home and to idealise the
Gone from your memories are the harsh
realities, unpleasant practicalities and bitter experiences and yes,
including those at the hands of customs goalkeepers.
As my sister Mai Kuda says, "Chete kana kaakare, zvinhu zvinokanganikwa."
True indeed. Very true.
For this is exactly what
happened. Having been away from home for a while, all I held onto and
subconsciously chose to remember about home as I navigated
the once unknown land of America, were the supportive
networks by kin with and for kin extended and
The somewhat intrusive, nosy but nevertheless
concerned inquiries by "vakadzi vemumaraini" (women of
the neighbourhood). All of which make the cushioning
fabric of our culture where folks generally extend themselves the extra mile
Forgotten were the other side of the coin -
the nastiness by local authorities, the punitive and
altogether unforgiving rules and regulations lacing all
facets of existence in the country. The unfairnesses, the informalities and
gross irregularities characteristic of our beloved yet abhorred Third
Perhaps this is how our psyches
protect us from unpleasantness, maybe some type of "selective retention".
(Note to self: might have to check with Freud and see
how he breaks that down for us mere mortals.)
mortals indeed! That is exactly how I felt as my husband, son and I watched
ourselves hand over our immediate fate on a platter to the dragons of
customs, trying eagerly to neither ruffle any feathers nor step on any
We felt so vulnerable and very insecure. Scared
even. But should it be so? Should home-coming be characterised by such
feelings? But then again who do you ask and who would answer? On the one hand
there were the larger than life queens of doom (there were no male attendants
on this unlucky morning). And on the other hand there were some loitering
elements in that part of the airport which we couldn't make out whether they
were there to help us or help themselves to our hard-earned possessions of
many been-to years.
Perhaps folks should be
clearly identified so everything is on the up and up so no
one can suspect another person of something they are not
After reading so many press reports about
how petty crime, like hunger, is rampant in the beloved country - honestly
it's never immediately apparent who you can trust from innocent bystanders,
to the customs dragons and even up to the election candidates. Just who do
This question has apparently underlined
and punctuated many a different situation for us since landing in the
"beloved" country at the "beloved" airport where the "beloathed" customs
agents were the first determinants of our
Nevertheless as we inched the visitors line at
the arrival check point where my husband and I were wondering
to ourselves how much of our stuff we would have to
part with, pay for, or get confiscated, our quiet reveries were once
again pierced through by another apparently been-to fellow ahead of us who
was going through what we would go through when our turn
came. "Ndizvo zvinonetsera kumba izvozvi,"(That's the
hassle of coming back home) he lamented loudly. "Totiwo tiuye kumba
motiomesera so. Mungade kundibhadharisa zvinhu
zvekutumidzirwa nevamwe here?" (We decide to come back home and you make life
difficult for us . You want me to pay for things that have been sent to me
from other people?)
My sentiments exactly! As
opinionated as I am, I felt compelled to join in this chorus and share
sentiments with a similarly "tormented" and "harangued"
returning son of the soil. But I dared not lest I be further punished for
"speaking out" and "expressing" my disapproval and
discontent. This was home, I had to remember that. Not America - the land of
the free . This was home where opinions are not always welcome, a place where
"kafira mukati" (suffering meekly) is widely
Complain and raise hell as he did, the
fellow in front of us finally had to succumb because out at the entry points,
the customs dragons rule and it isn't over until they say it
When our turn finally did come, we spent a good
hour and a half as the dragons got into every nook and cranny of our
"Tinoda kuona zvacho zvamavigira vanhu.
Handiti mune hama? Ndezvipi zvamavavigira? (We want to see that which you
brought for your relatives. Isn't you have relative? What have youbrought
them?) the dragon allocated to us bellowed.
point I found myself trying to remember why in the first place I thought it
had been a good idea to bring gifts for folks. The dragon lady
seemed to imply it wasn't.
wait a minute - who the hell is the customs dragon lady in the grand scheme
After all was said and done and the dragon
lady found she had nothing on us and that indeed after all
that time and the hassle, we really didn't owe them
anything she resorted to the one last thing.
we will have to hold your computer here while we determine the price and
while you guys contact our town office and get some
clearance," she said without looking back.
the computer which after the clearance and everything it came out once more
that we really didn't owe them anything at
But guess what, it really isn't over until the
customs dragon says it is. We ended up not paying
anything for customs duty but instead we had to pay storage for the time they
had kept the computer while they gave us the run around.
That's home for you. Home sweet home? I
don't think so.
Maggie Mzumara is a local media
specialist, social commentator and entrepreneur. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
††††† Crocodiles feast on DRC war ††††† 10/17/02
2:02:30 AM (GMT +2)
††††† WHEN the Zimbabwe National Army went into the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1997 to save the government of the
late President Laurent Kabila from being overthrown by Tutsi rebels, many
Zimbabweans, including those in the leadership, thought it would be a brief
and experimental expedition to flush out the enemy.
††††† In fact,
many thought the venture to secure Kinshasa would not last more than a month
and would be a good exercise for the rusty Zimbabwean army.
Retired army general Solomon Mujuru, who has vast military experience, was
one of the few to express his reservations about the idea, warning that the
DRC venture would not be an easy ride.
††††† A number of conservative
army officials concurred, but unfortunately their advice and expertise was
not taken into account. This was because the opinion of 'crocodiles' close to
President Robert Mugabe prevailed.
††††† Who can begrudge the crocodiles
who had the foresight and shrewdness to see the opportunities that could be
exploited using the war in the diamond-rich Congo?
crocodiles were indeed spoiling for a kill in the Congo and did not want to
hear anything that could come between them and making a fortune of a
††††† It was a God-sent opportunity and the war venture had to
be executed at whatever cost.
††††† What was supposed to be a
month-long exercise then turned into a five-year battle. What many
Zimbabweans are still asking is: at what cost did the country participate in
the war and what was the benefit?
††††† When Zimbabwean troops were being
dispatched to Kinshasa, Mugabe gave a simple, plain and banal reason for the
country's involvement in the conflict: Zimbabwe was going to the DRC to
restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the people of the
††††† He neglected to tell us the cost and benefits of the DRC war
to the people of Zimbabwe.
††††† Do we Zimbabweans eat the territorial
integrity and sovereignty of the DRC if we are to go by his
††††† The crocodiles in our political leadership however saw
fortune, fortune and more fortune to be made from the war. In their wisdom,
they did not leave anything to chance.
††††† But if the truth were to
be told, ordinary Zimbabweans have benefited absolutely nothing from that
††††† In fact, the war marked the start of Zimbabwe's sharp decline,
from the once "Great Zimbabwe to the Zimbabwe ruins", as a local
political analyst eloquently put it two weeks ago. It marked Zimbabwe's
††††† Foreign currency resources were ploughed into
a war effort from which Zimbabwe was recouping absolutely
††††† It is not surprising then that we do not have the hard
currency needed to purchase fuel and maize to feed millions of starving
††††† Unfortunately, while the country is bleeding
economically because of the war, the crocodiles, also known as the
"untouchables" in our political hierarchy, are enjoying the loot from the DRC
war with much abandon.
††††† As a country, Zimbabwe is owed over $100
billion for the war effort in the DRC and it is obvious nothing substantial
has been recovered.
††††† The sabotage caused to Zimbabwe's economy and
its people by the DRC must, in time, be probed and the crocodiles who
benefited held accountable in future when a responsible government comes to
††††† We were told that timber logging and diamond concessions had
been made available to the government of Zimbabwe by its DRC counterpart in
exchange for its support, but the country has seen none of these
††††† All that is there for everyone to see is that Zimbabwe's
crocodiles are feasting on the proceeds of the DRC war.
††††† It is
actually becoming increasingly clear that the war effort was not owned by
Zimbabweans collectively, it was a money-spinning project for
††††† One would be forgiven for asking why we have
been bogged down in the DRC for the past five years if it had become clear
that the war was all but draining our resources, including human
††††† The answer is this: once the crocodiles saw that they could
make a fortune in the confused war situation, they decided the war could
be prolonged until 'amen'.
††††† In their heart of hearts, they are
even cursing the ceasefire between the warring parties are holding because it
is thwarting the exploitation of opportunities to loot to increase their
††††† I personally believe in retribution and that any
future government in Zimbabwe should charge the crocodiles with crimes of war
- that is if these untouchables are still alive when meaningful political and
economic change comes.
††††† Mbeki in two-pronged thrust to end Zim crisis
By Abel Mutsakani News Editor ††††† 10/17/02 7:22:21 AM (GMT +2)
AFTER failing to talk President Robert Mugabe off his controversial policies,
South African President Thabo Mbeki appears to have adopted a two-pronged
approach: refraining from chastising the Zimbabwean leader publicly but
piling pressure privately on him to change.
††††† Analysts this week said
just as Mbeki's previous quiet diplomacy disappointed, Pretoria's change of
tactics on Harare was bound to yield little, if any, fruit.
Mbeki, presiding over southern Africa's biggest economy, will have to use
Pretoria's huge financial muscle to arm-twist Mugabe - one of Africa's last
remaining Big Men - to change his policies that have angered the world and
tarnished the region in the eyes of international investors and
††††† "It will not work. They have said it themselves that he
(Mugabe) will not listen," South Africa Institute for International Affairs
(SAIIA) senior researcher on Africa Ross Herbert told the Financial Gazette
††††† Herbert spoke as Mbeki revealed in an interview with a
South African newspaper this week that a ministerial delegation from the
regional Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) would visit Harare for
talks with Mugabe and other stakeholders on how to resolve the country's
††††† Mugabe thrust Zimbabwe into its worst crisis
since independence from Britain in 1980 because of his policy of seizing land
from white farmers without paying for it and then redistributing it mostly to
††††† The international community has also been angered
by a presidential election held in March this year which most countries and
Zimbabwe's main opposition say Mugabe stole through violence and
††††† The 15-nation European Union (EU), the United States, New
Zealand, Canada, Switzerland and Australia have imposed targeted sanctions on
Mugabe and his top officials over their policies which they say have
fuelled lawlessness in the country.
††††† The 54-nation Commonwealth
has partially suspended Zimbabwe by prohibiting the southern African nation
from its councils.
††††† The regional SADC, in an unprecedented move,
barred Mugabe during its annual summit held in the Angolan capital Luanda two
weeks ago from becoming deputy chairman of the organisation.
Most analysts say the SADC step did not only send a clear message to Mugabe
that the region was unhappy with his policies but also helped stoke pressure
††††† The analysts said regional superpower South Africa
played a more than simple role in bringing SADC to refuse Mugabe the post
which could have seen him assuming the chairmanship in 12 months'
††††† Barely a week after the Luanda summit, Mbeki dispatched his
Foreign Minister Nkosazana Zuma to Harare for talks with Mugabe.
Harare paraded Zuma's visit as an ordinary consultation
between brother-African governments but observers say much more was at
††††† Neuma Grobbelaar, another SAIIA analyst, said: "Clearly
behind the scenes quite a lot of pressure is being put on the Zimbabwean
††††† She said declarations by Mbeki earlier this week that
South Africa will continue to pursue negotiations to resolve the Zimbabwe
crisis and that Harare should not be singled out for punishment were merely
part of his new twin-approach to the crisis.
††††† "The official
position is to keep the door open, to tell the world that negotiation is the
only way out, but certainly pressure is building up," Grobbelaar
††††† Regional allies Botswana and Mauritius have in the past
few weeks also spoken out loudly against Mugabe's policies which they see as
affecting the SADC region. They attacked his land grab and clampdown on the
media and political opponents.
††††† Pressure from within the region,
whose support has kept a hard cash-strapped Harare government afloat, as well
as swelling domestic anger against Mugabe could leave him no option but to
change his policies, Grobbelaar said.
††††† But Herbert said the
latest moves by Pretoria to push Mugabe to change his policies would achieve
little chiefly because Mbeki himself appeared only concerned with appeasing
certain quarters who are critical of his handling of Zimbabwe rather than
helping end the crisis engulfing the country.
††††† "When South Africa
says it is not prepared to use military force against Harare, it also means
that it is not prepared to apply economic sanctions," Herbert
††††† Harare would not last long against sanctions by Pretoria,
which supplies oil and electricity to Zimbabwe on credit and whose ports
receive food aid for seven million Zimbabweans, or half the population, who
are facing starvation.
††††† Herbert said: "South African policy on
Zimbabwe is not driven by a desire to sort out the problem; it is a reaction,
an attempt to avoid criticism by certain quarters."
††††† He said
moves in the past few weeks by Mbeki to try to put pressure on Mugabe were
also largely because of pressure Mbeki himself was getting from South African
business to get tough with Zimbabwe.
Andrew Meldrum in Harare Thursday
October 17, 2002 The Guardian
The Zimbabwe government has banned Oxfam
and Save the Children from distributing urgently needed food aid, UN
officials confirmed yesterday. Despite reports that people are dying of
starvation, President Robert Mugabe's government has refused to allow the two
charities to deliver food supplied by the UN World Food Programme
The government also told Save the Children to stop distributing
its own food to people in the Binga district of western Zimbabwe. Hospital
officials in Binga have confirmed that 29 people have died in recent months
"This is political obstruction of desperately
needed food aid at a crucial point. If people do not get food now, many will
die," said Tony Hall, the US representative to the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation, after a three-day tour of Zimbabwe.
officials confirmed to me that they will not allow those non-governmental
organisations to distribute food aid for political reasons, because the
government views them as loyal to the opposition party. I said that is
unacceptable. They are major international organisations with
fine reputations for non-partisan activity."
Mr Hall also said that he
had "credible reports" that the Mugabe regime was "using state-owned food as
a political weapon to punish communities suspected of supporting the
opposition. I heard it over and over again, particularly about the Binga
Binga, on Lake Kariba, is one of Zimbabwe's poorest areas and it
has voted consistently for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). Last month, it was the only rural area won by the MDC in local council
The WFP has asked the government to reconsider its
"By December, we estimate that 6.7 million Zimbabweans will be in
need of food aid, but so far we only have food for 3.9 million," said a UN
The European Union has promised 32m euros (£20m) for food
relief to the WFP effort in Zimbabwe, bringing pledges up to 37% of what is
"Food is coming in but it is not coming in fast enough," said Mr
Hall, who monitors food distribution efforts all over the world. "Within two
months many more people will be hungry. We are looking at the possibility of
major famine, major death. And yet the government is still obstructing
food deliveries. I don't know why they are doing it at this point. They
are hurting their own people."
Ten other aid bodies have government
accreditation to distribute WFP food. They are: Catholic Relief Services;
Goal; Concern; Lutheran World Federation; Care International; Helpage; Plan
International; Christian Care; World Vision; and Orap, a Zimbabwean group
founded by a current cabinet minister.
Rory Carroll Thursday October
17, 2002 The Guardian
The six countries worst affected by southern
Africa's food crisis have tried in vain to form a united front on whether to
accept genetically modified relief food, a debate which is already affecting
the region's 14 million hungry people. Logistics in several countries have
been disrupted as a result of Zambia's decision to refuse the GM maize even
when it is milled, a hardline stance approved by those who fear that the
technology will take root as a result of the crisis.
Swaziland have made no formal stand on GM, and the modified seeds donated by
the US and other countries can be freely distributed there.
Malawi and Mozambique will accept the maize only if it is first milled into
flour, preventing farmers from planting the seeds and potentially
cross-pollinating other crops.
GM maize destined for Malawi is stuck at
the port of Nacala in Mozambique because Malawi cannot afford the milling.
Thousands of tonnes are also sitting idle at the South African port of
Durban, due to red tape.
Aid workers say it is inevitable that the
logistics of milling hundreds of thousands of tonnes of maize will create
bottlenecks in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
GM maize that had been
earmarked for Zambia before its ban was announced has been redirected, and
Zimbabwe has agreed to swap unmodified for modified.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) wants a unified front to smooth
relief operations. Each country is entitled to decide its own policy, but the
bloc is expected to push for a consensus on accepting milled
'Persistent concerns have been raised over the safety of GM maize
and this has seriously jeopardised the delivery of food to vulnerable
people,' said Ana Dias Lourenco, the chair of SADC's ministerial council.
††††† By Nqobile
Nyathi Assistant Editor ††††† 10/17/02 7:20:25 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE is heading for a summer of discontent as the impact of
the government's economic mismanagement begins to manifest itself in
industrial unrest that will further damage a sinking economy already in a
third year of recession.
††††† Economic analysts this week warned that
industrial strikes that rocked Zimbabwe's public sector in the second half of
this year were only the beginning of a wave of labour unrest likely to sweep
through the country in the next few months.
††††† A bleak Christmas
and New Year period beckons, they said.
††††† Since July - when most
workers are awarded cost-of-living pay increases - doctors, city council
workers, paramedical staff as well as engineers from the country's national
airline Air Zimbabwe have downed tools demanding sharply higher salaries to
compensate for galloping inflation.
††††† Last week, school teachers
nationwide and lecturers of the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) also went on
strike to press for better wages and working conditions.
Although government officials have dismissed some of the industrial action as
the work of the opposition, analysts say the truth is that the government is
only reaping the bitter harvest of its own economic bungling.
what is going on is a symptom of the inability of the government to govern
effectively," UZ political science lecturer Elphas Mukonoweshuro told the
††††† "It's up to the government to govern effectively
or announce to the nation that it has failed to govern. If it doesn't, the
situation will go from bad to worse.
††††† "There will be a lot of
unrest as people fail to meet their individual commitments and this will only
result in instability from which no one can benefit."
powerful labour watchdog, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, has already
warned of "spontaneous reaction" by workers to the harsh economic
††††† Analysts this week said further labour turmoil was
inevitable as the distortions and hardships caused by the government's
mismanagement of the economy became unsustainable.
††††† The major
impetus for the strikes is soaring inflation, which has eroded wages, making
it impossible for many workers to make ends meet.
††††† "As long as
inflation remains high, then this problem (of unrest) will persist," First
Mutual Life fund manager Nyasha Chasakara said.
††††† "Invariably when
wages are not catching up with inflation, people won't be able to make ends
††††† A commercial bank analyst said: "This is really just the
beginning. We haven't really seen workers in the private sector coming on
board but it's only a matter of time.
††††† "There's no way we can
avoid it given the way things are shaping up. On the one hand, you have price
controls and food shortages forcing people to queue to buy the most basic
essentials, which more often than not are unavailable. When they are, they
are being sold at exorbitant prices.
††††† "Then you have people outside
the country just buying up everything in sight because of the distortions in
the economy, and pushing up prices. It's all fuelling inflation, which is
raising the cost of living.
††††† "People can't cope, they want more
money and if they can't get it, they will go on strike. What it is really is
the chickens coming home to roost for the government because all this can be
laid at its door."
††††† According to official statistics, Zimbabwe's
year-on-year inflation rose to a record high of 135.1 percent in August. But
analysts fear that this is not a true reflection of conditions on the ground,
where price controls and food shortages are pushing up the cost of basic
††††† State-imposed price controls and food shortages caused
by drought and the government's controversial land reforms have spawned a
thriving black market in basic foodstuffs, lifting the prices of these by
more than threefold in the past year alone.
††††† Prices are expected
to rise further in the next few weeks following a 25 percent devaluation of
exchange rates on the parallel market for foreign currency.
of Zimbabwe's forex transactions are conducted on the black market because of
a severe hard cash crisis and because the government refuses to devalue the
Zimbabwe dollar from $55 against the United States dollar, even though it has
allowed nine other devaluations of the dollar to meet the interests of
††††† Opposition Movement for Democratic Change
economic committee member Eddie Cross said: "The US dollar is now up to $900,
the rand is over $80 and the pound is about $1 200 (following last week's
††††† Cross, a Bulawayo-based industrialist, added: "It
has been like that for about 10 days now and the business community here is
starting to adjust its prices accordingly. That will have serious
implications and knock-on effects on inflation."
currency dealers said rates on the parallel market were likely to devalue
further because of increased capital flight and because more speculators are
likely to invest in the foreign currency market, further putting upward
pressure on the cost of living.
††††† They said an increasing number of
Zimbabweans were leaving the country, selling their assets and converting
them into forex, while some companies uncertain about their future in
Zimbabwe were also doing the same.
††††† A rising number of workers were
also using their earnings and other assets to invest in forex.
Economic consultant John Robertson said: "What has become common now is that
people want to cash in their assets and use their Zimbabwe dollars to go
shopping for foreign currency. I'm sure people have little shoe boxes full of
US dollars stashed away."
††††† This is increasing demand for hard
currency and depreciating the Zimbabwe dollar, forcing up commodity prices
††††† The crisis has been compounded by economic refugees,
said to be sending at least 20 million pounds into Zimbabwe every month,
which is driving up asset prices.
††††† "If you look at the (high)
prices being asked for houses now, they are the kind of prices that were
being asked for commercial buildings at the beginning of the year," Chasakara
††††† "This is making life difficult for people who are earning
Zimbabwe dollars and it pushes up costs for companies as people ask for
††††† The analysts said with most Zimbabwean firms
already struggling to remain in business because of the economic crisis, many
workers would be forced to resort to industrial action to press for higher
wages that companies could not afford.
††††† This would hit the
economy through lost production. Increased production costs would force more
firms to downsize and even shut down.
††††† "A lot of companies which
export and can trade in foreign currency will be able to afford these wage
increases and workers in these companies will probably be egging on others to
strike," Robertson said.
††††† "But those companies that have no exports
and depend on importing raw materials for production will be in trouble. We
are working ourselves into a corner where there won't be an easy escape
without a lot of pain to everyone. We need to desperately change our policies
so that we don't get in any deeper than we already are."
Mukonoweshuro added: "What is happening in this country requires a joint
national effort. The government must make an appeal to various sectors of
society to bring about a broad national solution to issues that
are confronting the nation.
††††† "The hardheadedness that the
government is demonstrating is not good for the people of Zimbabwe and that
kind of approach to problem-solving is not likely to help anyone. It's time
the government shows some maturity."
Reporter ††††† 10/17/02 7:19:09 AM (GMT +2)
††††† ONLY 600 white
commercial farmers out of a total of 4 500 have been left farming in Zimbabwe
after the government's controversial fast-track land reforms, the Commercial
Farmers' Union (CFU) said this week.
††††† CFU deputy director Gerry
Grant said 90 percent of the farmers had been evicted from their properties
by the government since the start of the often violent reforms in June
††††† "Only about 600 farmers are on the ground after the rest have
been driven out," he told the Financial Gazette. "In fact, many of those
evicted are frantically looking for alternative accommodation in
††††† According to farming industry officials, over 400 farmers
have left Zimbabwe permanently and more than 3 200 have migrated into towns
††††† About 600 farmers occasionally visit their
properties if the security situation permits but are unable to farm because
of serious disruptions to their work by ruling ZANU PF supporters who occupy
most of the farms.
††††† Zimbabwe's commercial farm production is valued
at $69 billion, representing 14 percent of the country's Gross Domestic
††††† If 90 percent of farmers stop production, as they
have now, about $62 billion will be lost, representing 12.7 percent of
††††† Commercial agriculture contributed US$765 million in exports
last year, or 38 percent of Zimbabwe's total exports. Zimbabwe stands to
lose US$689 million if 90 percent of the commercial farmers cease
††††† Grant said court orders barring some farmers from
being evicted from their properties had become irrelevant because the orders
were being ignored by the government's land committees overseeing the
allocation of land to newly resettled black farmers.
††††† This was
also despite a High Court interim ruling in Bulawayo last Friday by Judge
Misheck Cheda ordering police in Matabeleland provinces to stop evicting any
farmers until the administrative court had confirmed the government's
acquisition of farms and the evictions had been served properly.
The order also states that any farmer being unlawfully evicted from his farm
should be permitted to stay on the property.
††††† The government,
which has refused to pay compensation for the farms it is seizing, gave the
farmers up to mid-August this year to leave their properties or be evicted.
Many are challenging the legality of the order on constitutional
††††† President Robert Mugabe, the architect of the reforms,
told Southern Africa Development leaders in Angola two weeks ago that no
farmer would be left without land.
††††† Commercial farmers employ
about 300 000 workers, with an annual wage of $15.1 billion. The closure of
90 percent of the farming sector will result in a loss of $13.6 billion in
wages for the farm workers, most of whom have been left out of the land
††††† The land chaos has triggered
Zimbabwe's worst food crisis, which has left more than seven million people,
or half the population, in need of imported emergency food aid.
It will cut output next year of the staple maize, soya beans and tobacco,
deepening the country's economic crisis that is shown out by shortages of
virtually all essentials.
††††† Soya bean production from the
commercial sector in the 2003 season is projected at 60 000 tonnes, down from
170 000 tonnes. The output of tobacco, the single biggest earner of
critically short foreign exchange, is expect to touch a record low of 60
million kilogrammes versus this season's 170 million
††††† Maize output, which fell by 60 percent this season
partly as a result of drought, is seen collapsing further because the new
black farmers do not have farm inputs.
††††† By Joseph
Ngwawi Business News Editor ††††† 10/17/02 7:17:54 AM (GMT +2)
PRICES of new motor vehicles in Zimbabwe have gone up by more than
174 percent since February as punitive duty imposed by the government
earlier this year on imported goods it considers to be a luxury begins to
bite the country's car industry.
††††† Figures released by Willowvale
Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI) yesterday show that although the prices of new
imported Japanese vehicles have remained static since the beginning of the
year, the local currency cost of cars has almost trebled in the seven months
to September 2002.
††††† The cost of a brand new Mazda 323 Familia
vehicle has remained at 1.13 million yen between February and September while
that for a Mazda 626 model has been fixed at 1.66 million yen during the past
††††† However local charges over and above the actual cost
price of the vehicle have shot up by between 32 and 54 percent since the
beginning of the year.
††††† A brand new Mazda 323 Familia vehicle now
costs up to $9 million, depending on where the customer buys the foreign
currency, up from around $3 million in February 2002.
††††† The price
of a brand new Mazda 626 has leapt from around $5 million in February to more
than $13 million last month.
††††† The WMMI figures show that if the
Japanese yen were readily available and were converted at the official
exchange rate, the brand new Mazda 323 Familia and Mazda 626 would cost $2.9
million and $3.4 million respectively, including local handling
††††† But due to the hard cash crisis afflicting Zimbabwe, the
bulk of the transactions are made in US dollars, which are largely available
on the parallel market.
††††† WMMI and Quest Motor Corporation are the
only two vehicle assemblers in Zimbabwe. It was not possible this week to get
comment from Quest.
††††† WMMI chief executive Ben Kumalo said the
vehicle prices quoted by the company now largely depended on where customers
got their foreign currency and at what rate.
††††† Zimbabwe has two
exchange rates - one for the official interbank market and the other for the
††††† The trade-weighted US dollar is presently trading
at up to 1 000 Zimbabwe dollars on the parallel market compared to 55 local
dollars on the official market. The bulk of the hard cash in the country is
traded on the parallel market, where speculators say they get the proper
value of the overvalued Zimbabwe dollar.
††††† "The rise in prices is
triggered by the exchange rate on the parallel market between the Zimbabwe
dollar and the Japanese yen and US dollar," Kumalo said.
has drastically slashed production during the past few years, citing
viability problems caused by shortages of hard cash.
††††† The firm,
which at its peak produced 1 000 cars a month, has temporarily closed its
Harare plant on at least two occasions in the past three years as the foreign
currency shortages made it impossible to import vehicle kits.
Kumalo said the WMMI's viability was on a knife-edge but that the vehicle
assembler would continue production on a survival mode until the economy
emerges from the doldrums.
††††† "We produce and sell about 140 vehicles
a month. This is not an optimal level as WMMI has the capacity to produce 800
vehicles a month on a single shift," he said.
attributed the sharp rise in vehicle prices to the move by former finance
minister Simba Makoni to introduce a separate and more punitive exchange rate
on imported luxury goods including cars, as well as the shortage of foreign
currency which has severely constrained WMMI's capacity to
††††† Makoni hiked the exchange rate on luxury goods from the
official 55 Zimbabwe dollars to the American greenback to 300 local dollars
against the US unit.
††††† This increased import duties on motor
vehicles and other goods regarded as luxuries by the government, which spiked
pressure on the prices of the affected products.
††††† "The shortage
of foreign currency and the higher exchange rate have also meant that some
customers who have foreign currency are now importing kits and having the
vehicles assembled locally in order to avoid paying duty," independent
economist John Robertson said.
††††† The sharp increase in prices of new
vehicles has also trickled down to the second-hand market, where prices have
gone up by more than 200 percent since the start of the year.
For example, the price of a 1995 Mazda 323 has increased from about $800 000
in January 2002 to more than $2 million now.
††††† ZANU PF panics over failure to secure adequate food
††††† Staff Reporter ††††† 10/17/02 7:02:23 AM (GMT
††††† THE ruling ZANU PF is panicking over its failure to import
adequate food to feed seven million hungry Zimbabweans, or half the
population, party insiders said this week.
††††† Zimbabwe is expected
to be reliant on food handouts for the next two years if the country's
2002/2003 rainy season is poor and because of the decimation of the
commercial farming sector.
††††† ZANU PF officials this week said the
government was so apprehensive about the threat of famine that weather
experts from the Department of Meteorological Services were being summoned to
weekly cabinet meetings to provide rainfall forecasts.
††††† The new
rainy season begins next month and preliminary forecasts from the weather
experts say normal rainfall can be expected in the first half of the season,
with the remainder, which starts in January, being marked by a dry
††††† Evidence of an emerging El Nino, a weather phenomenon
associated with floods in parts of the world and dry spells in southern
Africa, has also raised fears of a new drought in the sub-continent already
devastated by last season's drought.
††††† Official sources say the
looming famine, caused by a combination of the drought and controversial
agrarian reforms that have undermined food output in the commercial farming
sector, also took centre stage at a meeting held between ZANU PF
parliamentarians and President Robert Mugabe in Harare last
††††† Parliament's Speaker and ZANU PF secretary for administration
Emmerson Mnangagwa chaired the caucus meeting.
††††† The legislators
demanded to know from Mugabe the exact situation regarding food imports,
stressing that a large number of people were starving countrywide because
they could not buy food.
††††† The MPs urged immediate action to avert a
humanitarian crisis in the country.
††††† "There was real concern and
panic in the manner the issue of hunger was put across to President Robert
Mugabe by the parliamentarians," a ZANU PF MP who attended the caucus told
the Financial Gazette this week.
††††† "Mugabe was told point-blank that
the level of hunger countrywide has reached desperate proportions and the
government has to devise urgent means to avert a humanitarian crisis," the MP
††††† Party insiders say the ZANU PF lawmakers warned that the
hunger, which is forcing villagers to eat tree roots and wild fruit, would
exacerbate the political crisis in Zimbabwe if not addressed
††††† The legislators also wanted to know how much food aid the
country had received, saying its impact was not being felt in the needy
††††† They also asked for information on the government's short
and long-term strategies in alleviating the food crisis.
Official sources said Mugabe referred the matter to State Security Minister
Nicholas Goche, who chairs a national task force on grain imports.
Goche outlined the government's efforts as well as constrains it was facing
in importing grain, including logistical problems and, critically, severe
foreign currency shortages.
††††† The government needs more than US$300
million to import 1.2 million tonnes of food, mostly the staple maize, to
last Zimbabwe to the next harvest in April.
††††† So far it has
secured 335 000 tonnes of food imports, while donors have chipped in with an
additional 71 000 tonnes.
††††† Mudede ordered to move ballot papers to Harare
Staff Reporter ††††† 10/17/02 7:14:21 AM (GMT +2)
††††† THE High Court
in Harare yesterday ordered Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede to move to
Harare all ballot papers used in the disputed March presidential elections
for safe keeping.
††††† Justice Lavender Makoni ruled that Mudede and his
subordinates should make arrangements to move all the ballot papers from the
country's 120 constituencies to one place but still keep them
††††† This follows an urgent court application last week by
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), for an order seeking the safe keeping of the ballot papers, which he
could use in his election petition against President Robert Mugabe to
prove allegations of massive electoral fraud.
††††† "It is ordered
that all constituency registrars in Zimbabwe shall preserve in separate
sealed packets all counted and rejected ballot papers, together with
counterfoils and voters' rolls used in all polling stations in Zimbabwe
during the said presidential election held on March 9-11 2002," Justice
Makoni's interim order said.
††††† "And the respondent (Mudede) shall
ensure that the said constituency registrars shall transmit the same (ballots
papers) to him forthwith for him to hold in his safe custody."
Last month Mudede failed to get court permission to destroy the ballot papers
when he wanted to use the same boxes in the local government elections held
late last month.
††††† The court only allowed him to use the boxes but
not to tamper with the March ballots.
††††† Fearing that the papers
could be tampered with since they were no longer in sealed boxes, Tsvangirai
applied to the court for an order that compels Mudede to bring the papers to
one secure place.
††††† Yesterday's ruling, which Mudede might challenge,
means that he will have to move the ballot papers to a safe place where they
cannot be tampered with.
††††† Mudede had argued that because of
logistical and financial constraints, it would be difficult to move the
ballot papers to one place as demanded by the opposition leader.
The MDC argued that it was prepared to help the registrar-general keep the
voting materials safely and help ease the reported logistical and financial
††††† Tsvangirai is challenging Mugabe's re-election, citing
massive rigging by government and ruling ZANU PF officials and widespread
violence and intimidation against his followers by ZANU PF militia, war
veterans and party members in the run-up to the vote.
††††† ZANU PF official named in MDC man's
††††† 10/17/02 7:11:10 AM (GMT +2)
††††† BULAWAYO -
Andrew Langa, the ruling ZANU PF party's candidate in the Insiza by-election,
and his election agent Patrick Hove have been implicated in a shooting
incident involving an opposition MDC activist in Matabeleland South, it was
††††† Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general
who is also party spokesman, named Darlington Kadengu as the opposition
party's cadre shot on Tueday night by either the ZANU PF candidate or his
††††† Kadengu's condition was not known by last night.
The Insiza by-election is scheduled for October 26 and 27.
said Kadengu was shot near the spinal cord in what he described as a
††††† "Either Langa or his election agent (Patrick
Hove), who were both armed, fired shots at the MDC team, seriously injuring
Darlington Kadengu," he charged.
††††† Alfred Zwenyika, the police
spokesman for Matabeleland South, confirmed that a shooting incident took
place in Filabusi.
††††† Zwenyika however said he could not comment on
allegations that the shooting happened inside the Filabusi Police
††††† He promised to come back to this reporter with fuller
details by 5 pm yesterday but had not done so up to the time of going to
print last night.
††††† Wayne Bvudzijena, the chief police spokesman,
said he was on leave and could not comment. "In fact, I have not heard of the
shooting. I am hearing it from you," he said.
††††† Ncube said 12 of
his party's supporters who were with Kadengu were subsequently arrested and
detained after the shooting.
††††† Among those arrested is Charles Mpofu,
the MDC's outspoken Bulawayo councillor who is the opposition's campaign
manager in the Insiza by-election.
††††† "The party has sent lawyers
to Filabusi to represent the victims attacked by ZANU PF thugs who have now
been arrested by the partisan police which continues to drag the name of the
Zimbabwe Republic Police into disrepute," Ncube said.
attention is being sought for the injured person."
††††† Langa could not
be reached for comment. An official manning the ZANU PF Filabusi office said
Langa was out campaigning.
††††† A senior ZANU PF member in Matabeleland
South, who asked not to be named, said the MDC activists had provoked Langa
by visiting his home at night in search of materials seized by ZANU PF
militia at a roadblock in the constituency earlier on Tuesday.
"It was self defence, nothing else," the official said.
from the MDC tried to break into his house and one of them was shot. In any
case, why are they out here campaigning when they know we
††††† Siyabonga Malandu Ncube, the MDC's candidate in
the election who claims to have witnessed the shooting inside the police
station, denied that his supporters were to blame for the violence in the
usually quiet rural constituency.
††††† Instead he alleged that police
denied him permission to ferry Kadengu to hospital, a charge that could not
be confirmed with the police.
††††† Narrating the incident, Malandu Ncube
said Langa and Hove confronted the MDC team at the police station when the
team went to make a report about the campaign material and $1.2 million which
had been seized by ZANU PF supporters at an illegal roadblock.
"Kadengu was shot inside the police office. Both Langa and Patrick were
armed. It is one of them who shot our man," said Malandu Ncube.
one point before the shooting, a police officer had a tussle with Langa over
the gun as Langa was visibly agitated."
††††† The MDC aspiring legislator
for Insiza said police allowed Langa and Hove to go free despite the shooting
under their noise.
††††† "We are appalled by the behaviour of the police.
These two men should be locked up until the matter is concluded. It goes to
show that ZANU PF is a violent party," he added.
††††† Welshman Ncube
said: "At Filabusi police camp, there was a bunch of ZANU PF youths who tore
up MDC posters and other materials.
††††† "When the MDC team tried to
protect themselves from the onslaught, the ZANU PF candidate and his election
agent arrived. Either Langa or his election agent, who were both armed, fired
the shots at the MDC team, injuring Darlington."
††††† Should the MDC continue to contest elections?
Charles Mangongera ††††† 10/17/02 2:53:35 AM (GMT +2)
just-ended rural district council elections in which the ruling ZANU PF won a
majority of the seats using violence and intimidation once again confirm an
ugly fact of the Zimbabwean polity.
††††† That ZANU PF has instituted
violence as a permanent feature of its political survival strategy, and
unless something miraculous happens this will remain a sad aspect of
Zimbabwean electoral politics.
††††† The question that some are asking is
whether the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) should continue to contest
these elections given that they are not bringing the desired change. The
argument that has come from those of this kind of thinking is that what the
MDC is doing by contesting elections is simply legitimising an otherwise
††††† The elections have also exposed people to
violence as many have lost their loved ones in the process, thousands have
been forced to flee their homes and villages while many have had their homes
and belongings burnt.
††††† The argument seems to be that the MDC should
just let ZANU PF enjoy political power without any contest because the ruling
party hates to be challenged and it will do anything if
††††† Without a doubt all the elections that have occurred in
Zimbabwe after the emergence of the MDC on the political scene have been
flawed and have flouted all basic tenets of free and fair
††††† The 2000 general election in which the opposition
brought to a virtual standstill ZANU PF's unchallenged majority in parliament
was marred by political violence. Many were killed in the run-up to the
election and also in the immediate post-election period.
highly prized 2002 Presidential Election was also characterised by political
violence and intimidation and again many lost their lives at the hands of
ZANU PF militia and bogus war veterans.
††††† The result of the election
has been rejected by the opposition and many other observer missions who
argue that President Mugabe did not win the election because it failed to
satisfy the minimum conditions for a free and fair election. The controversy
surrounding the election has put President Mugabe's legitimacy under scrutiny
and this has deepened the unfolding crisis in the hunger-stricken
††††† The mayoral elections have also been held under
environments of fear and intimidation although the MDC has won a majority of
them which are Harare, Chitungwiza, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Chegutu and lost only
one in Kadoma.
††††† ZANU PF has also retained seats in by-elections
that have been held under conditions of violence and intimidation. One of
these is Chikomba, home of the late notorious Chenjerai Hunzvi who is
arguably the architect of the wave of violence that Zimbabwe has seen since
††††† Other areas that have experinced violence in
by-election campaigns are Marondera West, Bindura, Makoni West, Bikita West,
and most recently Hurungwe West.
††††† The recently held council
elections were held under an unfair and unleveled playing ground as the MDC
had most of its candidates intimidated at the nomination courts. Even those
that successfully confirmed their nomination could not campaign freely
because they were threatened with death and in some cases were forced to flee
for their lives.
††††† Moreover all these elections have been held under
a voters register that is in shambles. In the 2002 Presidential Election for
instance, the MDC successfully petitioned the Registrar General to avail a
copy of the register to them but up to now he has not complied with the
††††† Should the MDC therefore continue to participate in the
electoral process if it is not bringing them the desired results? I argue
that they should.
††††† Firstly it must be acknowledged that the MDC
is the biggest opposition political party to emerge on the Zimbabwean
political scene following more than two decades of a de facto one party state
dominated by ZANU PF. It is the first party to command a significant number
of seats that have denied ZANU PF a two-thirds majority in the parliament.
All this was achieved through an election, albeit under the most difficult of
††††† I argue that one of the fundamental functions of an
opposition in a democracy is to safeguard the institutions of democratic
governance and my contention is that the MDC has done that by taking part in
elections and winning a significant number of seats. They have made
parliament a house for debating issues and not a dosing chamber that it had
††††† One of the fundamental contributions that the MDC has made
by contesting elections, regardless of the results, is to expose ZANU PF's
evil machinations in the political game. Not only ZANU PF but also all
the institutions that have a role to play in the electoral process.
The Registrar General's office's partisanship has been exposed.
The credibility of the Electoral Supervisory Commission has been put on the
line. The partiality of the judicial system in dealing with
electoral petitions has also been exposed. This is for the good of our
emerging democracy. They have made it difficult for ZANU PF to maintain
its authoritarian grip.
††††† One can see it in the anger of some ZANU
PF officials, including the President when they make comments about the MDC
or Morgan Tsvangirai. This is as it should be. In political science it is
called raising the cost of maintaining an authoritarian regime - that is the
role of an opposition.
††††† ZANU PF has always won elections by hook and
crook ever since the party came to power at independence in 1980. Those who
failed to see that then failed for looking. We see it even more today because
the MDC is a bigger party than those that were participating then and it is
because our eyes are wide open now.
††††† My contention is that by
continuing to participate in the electoral process the MDC is upping the
stakes for ZANU PF. Even if the results are culminating in court cases, the
effect is that they are keeping ZANU PF on its feet and this is how it should
be in an emerging democracy.
††††† Even if every right thinking
Zimbabwean knows that ZANU PF will use violence in any election, it is
imperative to contest that election as it exposes the perpetrators of
violence and the people are seeing this.
††††† Even those in the rural
areas are aware of ZANU PF's attempt to privatise political space in this
country and they are getting tired of it. What ZANU PF is essentially doing
by undermining the electoral process is setting a time bomb for itself. The
people will get fed up of the electoral process and the situation will
††††† Those that assume that ZANU PF has only been violent
because of elections are fundamentally wrong. The party will continue to be
violent as long as the MDC is in existence, elections or no elections. ZANU
PF's struggle is not just to win elections but also to stifle any form
††††† The attempt to decimate the media is not an
electoral strategy. It is part of a grand plan to silence all dissenting
voices. The Public Order and Security Act was not designed primarily to win
elections but to ensure the privatisation of political space in this
††††† My argument is not that the MDC has done a good job in
dealing with the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. All I am saying is that
they should not give up on their right to contest elections. There are plenty
of other strategies that the MDC could consider in dealing with the ZANU PF
regime but the party should continue to take part in elections.
lCharles Mangongera is researcher with a Harare-based institute. He can be
contacted at email@example.com
AUSTRALIA this week joined a gathering international crusade against an
isolated Zimbabwe government, ratcheting up pressure on President
Robert Mugabe to see reason and step back from policies that have ruined
††††† Predictably though, the government merely laughed off the
latest international smart sanctions slapped on its members, branding them
as racist and ineffective.
††††† Indeed Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge
used his response on the sanctions to launch a scathing attack on the
policies of the Australian government, which he accused of waging genocide
against its minority Aborigines.
††††† "Zimbabwe has nothing to learn
from Australia on the subject of human rights and good governance," Mudenge
declared, dismissing the sanctions that are designed to be a symbolic show of
the world's displeasure over the government's lawlessness.
Mudenge and his Cabinet colleagues would gloat over the travel ban imposed on
them, plus a freeze on their overseas assets, came as
††††† This is because the government wants to give an
impression that the sanctions are not working and that, even if they were, it
would not care less.
††††† The government took the same self-serving
stance in celebrating its empty victories at both Abuja One and Two, at the
World Earth Summit in Johannesburg and at the recent meeting of the United
Nations' General Assembly.
††††† But the truth is that the sanctions
are indeed biting, shown out only this week by the barring from entry into
the United Kingdom of Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, one of the
government's chief hawks.
††††† God knows what Chombo or any member of
the government could have possibly wanted in London which, according to
Harare, must be shunned because it is the author of all evil machinations
against a revolutionary Zimbabwe!
††††† With Australia's imposition of
sanctions - other countries will follow suit soon - the international siege
is tightening on the government and the so-called "war" Cabinet and its
cronies will soon find to their grief that they are nothing but international
††††† Indeed with Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis set
to worsen, it is possible that government members could eventually find
themselves being declared international criminals who have to face a tribunal
to answer for their crimes.
††††† Instead of retreating from Stone Age
tactics of brutally crushing true democratic dissent, the government wants to
give Zimbabweans a false impression that all is well, using its dominant
††††† But the reality on the ground in Zimbabwe,
where seething anger and harrowing hunger can no longer be hidden even from a
child, and the increasingly strident actions of the international community
expose the government's self-delusional tactics whose failure is
††††† It is clear, as we have stated before, that the
government has decided to go down fighting by taking the battle to the wire.
No thought is ever given to the effects of this battle on the lives of
long-suffering Zimbabweans and the future of the country.
other words, the means of staying in power at any cost justify
††††† The time is coming however when Zimbabweans will have
to ask themselves: what price should we pay for our freedom?
end with a sobering thought: isn't it ironic that an independent Zimbabwe has
come full circle to be in the same pariah status of what was then white
minority-ruled Rhodesia, whose leaders were also banned and shunned by the
††††† Then and now, the only reason why the
government had global sanctions slapped on it is that a small group of people
refused to hand over power peacefully to those preferred by the
††††† History indeed has a curious way of repeating itself!
Reporter ††††† 10/17/02 7:13:40 AM (GMT +2)
††††† A DEAL for Zimbabwe
to export 5 000 tonnes of deboned beef to Libya has yet to be realised six
months after it was signed. Speculation this week suggested that Zimbabwe's
fixed exchange rate and stringent conditions about the type of cattle
slaughtered may have emerged as snags.
††††† Representatives of Farirayi
Quality Food, the Zimbabwean company involved in the deal, yesterday said
exports would begin in the "next few days", but sources maintained that
serious constraints still stood in the way.
††††† The agreement was
reached in early April and was supposed to result in Zimbabwe exporting 5 000
tonnes, although government officials indicated they were negotiating for the
quota to be increased to 12 000.
††††† In May, Farirayi Quality Foods
announced that a team of Libyan experts had arrived in Harare to monitor the
slaughter of cattle as well as the storage and packing of meat to ensure that
these procedures complied with Halaal or Islamic law, but no shipments have
††††† Sources this week said stringent conditions set by the
Libyans about the type of cattle to be slaughtered for export may have
affected implementation of the deal and could cause problems in future if
the agreement went ahead.
††††† "This thing has been dragging on for
some time and Farirayi Foods may be having difficulties finding suitable
cattle for that market," one source told the Financial Gazette.
"You have to understand that the commercial beef herd is in the process of
††††† According to industry, Zimbabwe's commercial beef
herd has dropped 70 percent from 1.3 million in December 2001 to around 400
000 because of the government's controversial land reforms.
sources said the Libyans had specified that they would only import beef from
steers and not female cows and from cattle that was traceable through a
system introduced by local cattle producers.
††††† "That was introduced
for the European market and we haven't been in Europe since August last year,
since the foot-and-mouth outbreak led to the suspension of exports," one
††††† "The cost of tagging cattle is quite high and when
people see there is no benefit to it and they are being forced off their land
and have to slaughter their cattle for the local market, they simply think
'what the hell is the use of tagging cattle?'"
††††† The source said
even if the Libyan deal was to go ahead, the rapid destocking of the
commercial beef herd in Zimbabwe would still be a problem because communal
cattle was not of the same quality and would not meet the Libyans'
††††† The sources said the export pact may also have been
affected by Zimbabwe's fixed exchange rate, which has been pegged at $55 to
the United States dollar for more than two years.
Zimbabwe is importing fuel from Libya at the official exchange rate, sources
said Zimbabwean officials had specified a rate closer to that on the parallel
market for hard currency during negotiations for the beef export deal, which
Tripoli is resisting.
††††† The Zimbabwe dollar has been trading at
around $700 to one American dollar on the black market but has risen to
between $900 and $1 000.
††††† Farirayi Quality Foods head John Mapondera
however yesterday denied the allegations, saying proper mechanisms had to be
put in place before the deal was implemented.
††††† "These things
don't happen overnight, everything has to be in place," he told the Financial
Gazette. "These allegations are news to me."
††††† Although he said beef
exports would begin in the "next few days", he could not say exactly when the
shipments would start.
††††† There was no comment from the Libyan embassy
in Harare, where officials advised this newspaper to call back after a week
because they had no details on the deal.
††††† Police barred from evicting CFU members from
††††† Staff Reporter ††††† 10/17/02 7:12:37 AM (GMT
††††† BULAWAYO - The Bulawayo High Court has issued a provisional
order barring the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) from evicting Commercial
Farmers' Union (CFU) members from their properties in
††††† Justice Maphios Cheda granted the interim relief
order last Friday following an urgent application by 75 members of the CFU's
Matabeleland branch who are opposed to forcible farm evictions by the
††††† The CFU members say the evictions are unlawful because some
of the white farmers removed from their farms in Matabeleland have not been
issued with eviction notices.
††††† By Thursday last week, the police
had allegedly forcibly evicted about 90 percent of white farmers in the
††††† Albert Mandizha, the officer commanding Matabeleland
North, and the officer commanding for Matabeleland South, Casper Khumalo, are
the first and second respondents respectively in the court case.
Part of Cheda's interim order reads: "Pending the determination of this
matter, the applicant is granted the following relief: that the ZRP be and is
hereby interdicted from evicting the farmer from his farm until such time the
Administrative Court has confirmed the acquisition and there is a lawful
court order evicting the said farmer.
††††† "That any farmer unlawfully
evicted from his farm be and is hereby permitted to return to the said farm
and that the first and second respondent are thereby ordered to ensure that
the farmer is restored to his farm."
††††† The High Court gave the two
most senior police officers in Matabeleland 10 days to file opposing papers
if they wished to contest the order.
††††† It could not be ascertained
this week from police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena if the ZRP would contest the
issue in court.
††††† Mac Crawford, the head of the CFU's Matabeleland
branch, said the provisional order offered farmers a temporary reprieve,
adding: "We are in the process of returning to our properties. We hope the
ZRP will abide by the interim relief granted."
††††† Meanwhile the
High Court in Harare yesterday nullified 11 more eviction orders issued to
white commercial farmers.
††††† Justice Sandra Mungwira issued consent
orders nullifying the eviction notices because they were not properly
††††† More than 500 of the 2 900 commercial farmers issued with
these eviction orders have successfully challenged their validity.
††††† Mat water pipeline in limbo as Malaysians return
††††† 10/17/02 7:19:41 AM (GMT +2)
††††† BULAWAYO - The
construction of the water pipeline from the Zambezi River to semi-arid
Matabeleland remains in limbo after Malaysians contracted to build the first
phase of the project - the Gwayi-Shangani Dam - disappeared from the site six
††††† Investigations by the Financial Gazette show that the
Bulawayo City Council, the designated implementer of the scheme costing
billions of dollars, has been left in the dark on how the project should
††††† Bulawayo municipal officials say details of the funding of
the entire scheme are sketchy and that Dumiso Dabengwa, the chairman of the
project, is running it as a one-man show. Dabengwa, a former government
minister, has denied the charge.
††††† Information with this newspaper
shows that efforts by council officials, including mayor Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube, to meet the Malaysian investors who are said to be interested
in funding the project have failed.
††††† It is now clear that not much
work has taken place in starting to build the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, the first
phase of the water pipeline that is meant to irrigate perennially parched
Matabeleland and turn it into a greenbelt.
††††† Ndabeni-Ncube said
this week his council was very disappointed by the information blackout
regarding the project, especially on the specifics of its
††††† He confirmed that the Malaysian engineers, said to
be on site in Gwayi, had long gone back home and had only visited the area to
tour the proposed dam site.
††††† "As far as council is concerned, the
project is at a standstill and might not even be implemented," Ndabeni-Ncube
told the Financial Gazette.
††††† "We are being kept in the dark but we
find this strange because we are supposed to be the project's major
stakeholder. As the main customer, in terms of utilising the water, if ever
the project comes to fruition, we expected the Malaysians to pay us a
courtesy call and not just to read in the Press about their
††††† "The long and short of it is that the project has not
started. How many times have we heard that the project is starting soon and
that the Malaysians have already cleared the site of the dam? The project is
a disappointment to the council."
††††† But Dabengwa said the project
was very much alive, pointing out that a road was being built from the main
Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway to the dam's site.
††††† "Why worry?
The project is very much on," he said. "I don't want to dwell much on it now.
I will tell you when the time comes."
††††† He said Malaysian financiers
had shown interest in bankrolling the entire scheme but declined to say when
they would be coming back to build the dam.
††††† Ndabeni-Ncube said:
"If the Malaysians have committed themselves to the project, I sincerely
think that as the major stakeholder we should be having correspondence to
that effect, but we don't have it.
††††† "We wish the project to start
and succeed but the information that we have points to the contrary. The
project might never be implemented. Most of what we read in the Press about
the project is verbal and it all comes from the chairman
††††† By Sydney Masamvu
Political Editor ††††† 10/17/02 6:52:50 AM (GMT +2)
Zimbabwean diplomat Tichaona Jokonya this week emerged as the leading
contender for the top job at the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), the
country's premier spy agency.
††††† The CIO's deputy director-general,
retired brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe, is also in the running for the post for
which outsiders are being considered to try to overhaul an agency long torn
by factionalism and is seen lacking professionalism and
††††† Fears have also been raised that most of the spy
agency's senior officers are involved in shady deals and are also being used
by influential ruling ZANU PF politicians against their rivals.
The post of CIO director-general became vacant when Elisha Muzonzini was
recently re-assigned to head Zimbabwe's embassy in Kenya in a move insiders
see as a demotion.
††††† It was not possible yesterday to establish why
Muzonzoni, a former high-ranking officer in the army, had been relegated to a
††††† State Security Minister Nicholas Goche, who
runs the CIO, was said to be out of his Harare office and therefore not
††††† But sources say ruling party politicians have been
lobbying in the past two weeks to have their "own men" placed at the helm of
the CIO, which won acclaim for its work against South Africa's
destabilisation efforts of neighbouring black nations in the 1980s but is
notorious for gross human rights violations back home.
††††† ZANU PF
insiders say attempts are being made to entice Jokonya, until two weeks ago
Zimbabwe's ambassador at the United Nations, to take up the top job at the
††††† Jokonya, who is retiring, is said to have indicated in
private that he wants to lecture at the University of Zimbabwe after retiring
from government service.
††††† "Contacts are being made at a high
level to convince Jokonya to take up the job," a ZANU PF member of its
supreme Politburo organ told the Financial Gazette this week.
"In the coming days, we will see how it shapes up, but his name is being
actively considered. If we fail to convince him to take up the job, then
Bonyongwe will be elevated. But he (Jokonya) has emerged as
††††† Jokonya has for the past 10 years been
Zimbabwe's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva and New
††††† Before his UN appointments, he was the permanent secretary in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Zimbabwe's permanent representative to
the then Organisation of African Unity between 1983 and 1988.
Jokonya comes from Chikomba in Mashonaland East, home to several officials
with a grip on the reins of Zimbabwe's government.
††††† These include
President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace, influential chief Cabinet secretary
Charles Utete and retired army general Solomon Mujuru.
masterminded the appointments of former army officers Muzonzini and Bonyongwe
to the CIO several years ago.
††††† Sources say President Mugabe is keen
to place a mature individual at the helm of the CIO to instil discipline and
boost the spy agency's effectiveness.
††††† The head of the agency is
appointed by Mugabe and reports directly to him, although at times he goes
through the minister of security, a post presently held by
††††† According to the sources, the CIO has lately been blamed for
failing to produce incisive reports on the operations of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change and Western diplomats based in
††††† Intelligence sources say Mugabe has been worried about
the inconsistencies in some reports issued by the spy agency, which have led
to suspicion of possible infiltration by the opposition and foreign
CNN 3 women journalists honored for courage Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Posted: 6:14 PM EDT (2214 GMT)
†††††††††††† ††††††††††† From
left, Kathy Gannon, Anna Politkovskaya and Sandra Nyaira celebrate before
accepting their awards.† --------------------------------------------------------------------------
NEW YORK (AP) -- Three reporters who have faced threats, warfare
and lawsuits in the quest for news were recognized Wednesday with the
International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism Awards.
Kathy Gannon, Anna Politkovskaya and Sandra Nyaira were honored at a
ceremony that also featured Mariane Pearl, the widow of Daniel Pearl, a Wall
Street Journal reporter kidnapped and killed in January while doing
investigative work in Pakistan.
"Journalism is the best way to change
the world nowadays because journalists are the only ones who see with their own
eyes what is really going on in the world," said Pearl, a free-lance journalist
and guest at the ceremony, as she cradled her son, Adam.
The baby was
born a few months after her husband's death.
The awards, given out in a
ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, recognize women who have risked their
lives to report about war and repression.
"We have the responsibility to
ensure that we report the news as fully and accurately as we can," Judy Woodruff
of CNN said in introducing the recipients. "These women of courage each made it
their personal mission to take on this fight ... without regard to their own
††††††††††††††††† "We have the responsibility to
ensure that we report the news as fully and accurately as we can. These women of
courage each made it their personal mission to take on this fight ... without
regard to their own physical safety." ††††††††††††††††† - CNN's Judy
Woodruff †††††††††† ††††††††††††† †††† Gannon has covered
Afghanistan and Pakistan for The Associated Press since 1988. She was in
Afghanistan on September 11 and wrote about the Taliban's reaction to the
attacks. Ejected with other foreign reporters, she returned twice after the
American bombing campaign began. On October 25, she was the sole Western
reporter allowed into Kabul.
Politkovskaya is a reporter for the Moscow,
Russia-based independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose reporting on the war in
Chechnya has earned her threats from both the Russian government and the Chechen
Nyaira is political editor of The Daily News in Harare,
Zimbabwe. She was arrested and charged with "criminal defamation" in April 2001
because she wrote articles accusing President Robert Mugabe of corruption. The
case has not been settled.
The foundation also awarded Washington Post
columnist Mary McGrory its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Women's Media Foundation was founded in 1990 to advance the role of women in the
media throughout the world.
Farmers today continued to evacuate farms
on the back of the national task force directive.† Doubles Draper and her
daughter Lee Cary were severely assaulted in their homestead last night by a
gang of 8 to 9 who arrived at the homestead with one of their A2 settlers a
Mr. Barire who transported them in his own vehicle.† The other A2 settler
Pastor Alwin Bizure who has moved into the homestead cottage could also be
I would just like to express my appreciation for the work you are
doing, I think the letter from A.I. and Ally is spot on. You guys must
have some sort of plan for membership.
Kind regards Dom
MESSAGE NO 2
Your letter from Ally
I find the statement "Don't listen to all the negative minded
people (if they're unhappy they should have left for NZ, U.K. etc ages ago
and tell them that)", somewhat nasty and extremely unnecessary.
people have left Zimbabwe for all kinds of reasons and that is their right
and whilst Ally may not enjoy their opinion before and after they leave she
should at least be prepared to listen to what they have to say with an open
I and my family have been away for nearly a year and during that
time have done my best to promote Zimbabwe and the problems facing my
wife's family who have just lost their farm to the thugs that rule. I
presume that Ally and family are still able to farm?
Its a great shame
that Ally should suggest that those who choose to express an opinion contrary
to hers and even decide to leave should be told "Go we don't need you
anyway".† The inability to live with differing ideas and freedom of speech is
exactly what the Mugabe gang are guilty of and Ally is unfortunately
suggesting the same practice.
____________________________________________________ Justice for
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Took a load of† empties back to Coke
from the store, 60 cases of empties came to $160,000.† The must have
increased incredibly since we bought them. Our pick up truck is now worth $10
million.† But a dozen eggs costs $450. Bread is short and when you can buy it
it costs $130 a loaf. There is no maize, little oil, no sugar and salt is