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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz - Comment

      No to tyranny

      10/24/02 8:07:24 AM (GMT +2)

      ONCE again the government of Zimbabwe has demonstrated that it won't
spare any measures to achieve its selfish ends and maintain its stranglehold
on power, whatever the cost to the nation.

      Predictably, the ruling ZANU PF has drawn every weapon in its vast
arsenal to stamp its authority and bend the nation to its will, seemingly
without any thought to the consequences of its actions.

      Faced with a nationwide teachers' strike, itself the result of its own
economic bungling, the government has opted for its usual heavy fist instead
of attempting to improve the lot of Zimbabwe's long-suffering educators.

      With the heavy-handed arrogance that has become synonymous with the
ruling party, striking teachers have been threatened with the loss of jobs
that are precious in these hard times, and their leader subjected to arrest
and torture in an attempt to kill the industrial action by crushing its

      But teachers have said enough is enough and vowed to stand firm in an
impasse that jeopardises the academic future of thousands of school
children, many of who are in the middle of examinations that will determine
the course of their lives.

      Ahead of this weekend's parliamentary by-election in Insiza, the
well-oiled machinery of terror is already grinding its way through this
bewildered rural area, where a win for ZANU PF must be secured at all costs.

      Victory here has become a matter of pride for the ruling party, still
sore about being booted out of the area in the 2000 parliamentary elections.

      For ZANU PF, the end justifies the means, hence the foiled attempts to
use international food aid to pervert the outcome of the Insiza poll.

      The World Food Programme's suspension of humanitarian aid in Insiza is
shaming proof at last of the government's perfidy, backing reports that ZANU
PF has been using food aid as a political weapon against the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

      Worse still, the government has condemned scores of people to certain
death by banning United Kingdom-based humanitarian agencies Oxfam and Save
the Children from distributing urgently needed food aid in drought-stricken
rural areas.

      All because the organisations are seen as loyal to the opposition.

      Zimbabweans can no longer labour under the illusion that the so-called
people's party has any intention of putting the citizens of this country
first in anything.

      The government will sacrifice anyone and anything, except its own
wellbeing and interests, to stay in power. It has become a rapacious monster
feeding on its children.

      It doesn't care that close to seven million Zimbabweans could die if
emergency food aid doesn't reach them or that thousands of young people,
already facing an uncertain future, will be hurt by a continuing standoff
between itself and teachers.

      None of this matters to ZANU PF, except insofar as it might affect its
ability to remain in control.

      The question is: how much longer will Zimbabweans continue to allow
this uncaring regime to ride roughshod over them? How much longer will they
turn a blind eye to their own emasculation and destruction?

      Only when the people of this country decide enough is enough can they
reclaim their power and bend the government to THEIR will.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Farm Invasions And Security Report
Friday 25 October 2002


This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.



Mutare - On 18.10.02, a farm owner's son arranged with the DA, Lands Committee and police to remove the family belongings from the farm.  Due to a misunderstanding the son was detained in the garden for several hours before the situation was resolved.

Nyazura - The farmers are planting tobacco crops.  About 60 ml of rain fell on the evening of 24.10.02.

Middle Save - There is no farming taking place as the farmers are awaiting court dates

Mazowe/Concession - there are six members out of 45 farming, of which most are tentative.    All of these have been forced to downsize except two, but that is likely too.  Makalanga Farm is the only unlisted farm and the owners are pressurised to move off despite having completed LA1 forms and having offered one farm to Government.  The only farms secure in the area at the moment ironically belong to foreign nationals. 

No report received.

Chinhoyi - A farmer had a settler and his wife jump in front of his combine whilst combining his wheat, and then accuse the farmer of wanting to run them over.  Another farmer had 10% of his barley burnt because the settlers are claiming compensation for maize that was eaten by the farmer's cattle last year.

Trelawney/Darwendale - 30% of farmers left in the area, with 20% growing crops, with the reason given that finance is not coming forward. Theft is a huge problem.  Lorries coming in with armed people and stealing anything they can find, especially electrical and irrigation equipment. On Rukobo Farm, people killed a guard dog and three guards are missing.

Karoi - Wajetsi Farm had an assessor who lives in Karoi come out to assess a wheat claim for the woman owner and to collect two cupboards.  The owner had just finished dosing the sheep and went up to the house, where they heard a commotion outside the security gate and were told by the assistant manager the "war vets" were having a meeting outside the security gates.  A few minutes later the assistant manager came running to the front door of the main house, urging them to lock the doors of the house as the "war vets" had climbed over the locked security gate and wanted to force their way into the house.  The "war vets" assaulted the two people who had been helping dose the sheep and threatened to beat up the women who were helping tidy the garden. They also threatened to rape the assistant mangers wife. Over the next four hours they were hammering on the burglar bars of the office and lounge windows threatening to break in.  They also started a fire on the lawn near the hous
 e. They verbally abused the occupants of the house, some threatening to slit the owner's throat.  The main spokesman of the "war vets" at this scene had harassed and verbally abused the owner last month at her shop in Karoi, continuously demanding the keys for her house, only leaving when she threatened to call the police.  At 12.00 pm two police details arrived to defuse the situation.  The occupants of the house were allowed to leave, and as they were leaving the verbal assault from the "war vets" continued with one of the women attempting to assault the owner with a large stick. 

Ayrshire - 12 farmers left.  Morale is low.  There is on-going interference by settlers.  The Kaduna Farm owner reports at 0530 hours on his route to the lands with his irrigation men to lay sprinklers into the spray lines he stopped to caution the settlers' sub-chief and chairman - Sunny Malakalaka and Wilbert Dzuda - to not burn the wheat straw stover where his cattle were grazing, and that he needed the moss for his tea trees.  They refused to comply, threatened to beat him up or burn his tractor if he tried to stop them burning the wheat straw.  During his irrigation task he was able to drive in pursuit of both settlers who appeared intent to burn the wheat straw whilst the cows and calves were in the land and was fortunate to get photographic evidence of this arson of the wheat stover.  He called his irrigation men to assist him to get the cattle out before they were burnt but one calf died in the fire.


No report received.

Masvingo East and Central - farmer A was told to remove all his livestock, poultry and small hectarage of wheat and Potatoes with immediate affect. He reported this threat to the DA Masvingo and to the Police who said they would react immediately. After three days only the Police have responded and told him the problem is now resolved. Settlers have moved into the owners homestead. The owner's 101 head of cattle were been pushed on to the neighbour's farm. He was told he is not allowed to plant any maize. The settlers entering the property have also set up roadblocks.  Farmer B is also experiencing problems from the settlers on his property. He reported this to the DA and the Police and is still waiting for them to respond. A roadblock has been set up on the Chidza Road.

Chiredzi - Reports have been received that a new wave of Section 8 orders are being delivered to members. These are not the seven-day Section 8 Orders.

Gutu / Chatsworth - Farmer C reports a further eight dairy cows were stolen over the last week.

Save Conservancy - Continued poaching and snaring.

Mwenezi - farmer D was ordered by the settlers to remove his 400 head of cattle from the farm, and his only working borehole is now unable to sustain the extra demand of settlers' livestock and human demands for water. The water held in reserve will be depleted within a day or two. Offers to open up another borehole in return for grazing for his cattle has been denied. The DA does not appear to be asserting his authority and the owner has been unable to contact him for two days now. The situation is tense and the owner has not returned to live at his farm.   At Farm E, the settlers, who have forced their way into the house, evicted the owner from his only home. They are demanding he pays them rent for his remaining livestock. His cattle are unable to move off the farm due to the Foot and Mouth Disease quarantine. He was only issued with a Section 8 notice a few days ago. On Friday (19.10.02) evening the DA Mwenezi visited Farm F to enquire why the owner had not yet moved off
 his property. This is contradiction of the message, which he had passed through the Officer in Charge the previous day. Agritex teams have visited four farms writing up each farm's moveable assets, saying it would be an advantage for the owner to allow them to do so.  On Farm G, settlers have burnt out certain paddocks.  Farm H has continued snaring, cutting of fences and theft of fencing. More settlers and communal cattle have moved on to this property.

No report received.

No report received.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                               Visit the CFU Website
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      25 Oct 2002 19:10
      Zimbabwe vote tests opposition grip on stronghold


      HARARE, Oct 25 (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party
squares off against Zimbabwe's main opposition at the weekend in a
by-election many will take as an indicator of the ruling party's success in
conquering opposition strongholds.

      Mugabe's party says it is confident of reclaiming the southwestern
district of Insiza, saying the electorate has become disillusioned with the
Movement for Democratic Change, which it accuses of serving the interests of
minority whites.

      But the MDC, which held the seat until the death in August of its
legislator, says the election will be unfair.

      Many nations criticised polls that won Mugabe re-election to a fifth
term in office in March, and said his mandate was invalid.

      "We will definitely win this election. I am sure we cannot be beaten
by an imperialist-sponsored party," Vice President Joseph Msika said in
remarks carried by state media during a campaign rally on Thursday.

      The MDC charges that the government has tilted the playing field in
ZANU-PF's favour by making sure the ballot process does not guarantee
secrecy, and that troops have been deployed in order to intimidate locals.

      The opposition accuses the government of moving soldiers to Insiza in
what it says is an intimidating reminder for villagers of a 1980's army
clampdown on rebels, in which rights groups say at least 20,000 civilians
died in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

      Last month, Mugabe's party won most seats in rural council elections,
sealing its grip on its traditional rural power base.

      Mugabe says the MDC is a puppet of Western nations led by former
colonial ruler Britain which want to see him ousted from power in
retaliation for his controversial seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.

Zim Independent

MDC candidate flees Insiza
Loughty Dube
THE Movement for Democratic Change candidate in this weekend's by-election
in Insiza, Siyabonga Malandu Ncube, has been forced to flee the constituency
after suspected Zanu PF supporters fired gunshots at the vehicle he was
travelling in on Tuesday afternoon, forcing him to seek refuge in Bulawayo.

The attack on Ncube was the second in a week following the stoning of his
car outside Filabusi police station on Sunday by Zanu PF militias.

"It is clear that the shooting inci-dent was an attempt on my life. I have
been forced to flee the constituency," said Ncube in an interview with the
Zimbabwe Independent.

Violence and terror have engulfed Insiza of late, with reports of the police
having sealed off the constituency to opposition officials ahead of this
weekend's by-election. The Zanu PF leadership has flocked to Insiza en

Cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo, Ignatius Chombo, Joseph Made, Nicholas
Goche, Sithembiso Nyoni, Kembo Mohadi, Amos Midzi and provincial governors
Elliot Manyika and Orbert Mpofu, Josiah Hungwe and Cephas Msipa have
descended on Insiza to campaign for Zanu PF in a fashion reminiscent of the
Bikita West by-election campaign.

Ncube's flight has meanwhile dealt a severe blow to the opposition MDC
following the barring of the party's election campaign manager, Charles
Mpofu, from Insiza on allegations of having incited violence.

This is the second shooting incident in a week in Insiza after the Zanu PF
candidate Andrew Langa shot and injured an MDC activist Darlington Kadengu,
from within a police station.

Ministers Moyo and Manyika are camped at Filabusi police station from where
they are directing all Zanu PF operations in the constituency.

Former dissidents including the notorious Gayigusu, Thambolenyoka and Khiwa,
have also arrived in Insiza where they are leading a violent campaign to
drum up support for Langa.

The Zanu PF militia are camped in all wards in the constituency and the army
has also been deployed to the area.

Ncube said trouble started when he was returning to Insiza from Gwanda,
where he had gone for refuelling with an MDC convoy.

"We were stopped at a roadblock and after searching our cars, the police
told us that I would not be allowed into Insiza anymore and ordered us to
return to where we were coming from.

"We were forced to go to West Nicholson police station where the officer in
charge phoned Gwanda and was told that the instruction to bar me from the
constituency had come from the top," said Ncube.

He said after a long delay, the police finally wrote a note allowing the MDC
team to pass through the roadblock.

"However, when we passed Dzive shopping centre, Zanu PF supporters who were
at the business centre jumped into a truck and together with a police
Defender truck which we suspect was from the CIO, pursued us and forced us
to stop.

"When we got out of the vehicles, Zanu PF youths started stoning the cars
and then one of the people in the Defender fired five shots at my car
forcing us to flee at high speed with the truck and the Defender in hot
pursuit," Ncube said.

Commenting on new developments, the MDC director of elections, Paul Themba
Nyathi, said: "The police claim to have received instructions not to allow
MDC vehicles into the constituency but to give Zanu PF unlimited access.

"They have been randomly arresting our supporters and activists on flimsy
charges of violence while the real culprits are being protected by the
police," Nyathi said.

A total of 23 MDC activists, including Mpofu, have been arrested in Insiza
in the last two weeks alone.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Report slams resettlement in wildlife conservancies
Vincent Kahiya
THE parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines, Energy and Environment has
said government should suspend resettlement in conservancies until there is
a proper framework that ensures sustainability.

In a damning report, the committee said resettlement of people in
conservancies under the fast-track agrarian reform programme was contrary to
wildlife principles and a hindrance to tourism.

"There is massive destruction of trees and killing of animals," the
committee said.

"It will take hundreds of years to replace these valuable natural resources.

"Consequently, the natural heritage that used to provide foreign currency
through various tourist activities would be lost for ever thus depriving
future generations of a source of revenue," it said.

The committee chaired by Joel Gabbuza (Binga) last month visited Victoria
Falls and Hwange tourist areas to assess the problems being faced by the
hospitality industry.

The committee's report said there was nothing in the resettlement of people
in conservancies to back up Matabeleland North governor Orbert Mpofu's
suggestion that conservancies would be maintained as private entities.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism on the other hand has said game
farms would be leased to rural district councils.

The committee observed that new plot owners in the conservancies were not
geared for the safari business required and had opted for farming which was,
however, unsuitable for the dry and hot area.

"Your committee was greatly concerned that there will be no meaningful
hunting business this year and consequently, the country will be prejudiced
of the much-needed foreign currency," it said.

The committee observed that the people resettled in the Gwayi Valley
conservancy in the Hwange district lacked basic infrastructure.

"There is no school and about 258 children were reportedly not going to
school," the committee said.

"There are no shops, clinics or clean water. People are sharing the same
open water ponds with animals and this could pose a health hazard.

"About 200 head of cattle was brought into the conservancy and 90% of them
have perished due to lack of dipping and veterinary service support," the
committee said.

The committee said tourism in the area was also being affected by high
tariffs charged by the Department of National Parks for tourists wishing to
view the Victoria Falls.

It cost US$20 for a foreign tourist to enter the Rain Forest at the Falls on
the Zimbabwean side while Zambia charges US$10.

The committee also noted that the visa fees regime in Zimbabwe was higher
than that of neighbouring Botswana, Zambia and Namibia.

This, the committee said, had discouraged tourists from embarking on their
day trips from Victoria Falls to Chobe in Botswana, or Livingstone in Zambia
as this would require a multiple visa.

"Not only is the visa much more expensive, it is difficult to secure," the
committee said.

The report said Air Zimbabwe fares had become more expensive than the
tariffs of other regional players.

"As a result, Zambia is now gaining more ground over Zimbabwe in terms of
market-share though the latter has more to attract than the former," said
the committee.

It said Zimbabwe did not have an adequate aviation infrastructure that could
support increased tourism.

"The services being offered by Air Zimbabwe are viewed as unsatisfactory.
There were notable cases of cancellations of flights with passengers not
being informed in time. Thus the monopoly enjoyed by the parastatal has
negatively impacted on air services," the committee said.

The committee recommended the setting up of an inter-ministerial team to
formulate a tourism plan. It said the Ministry of Environment and Tourism
should formulate legislation which would accord the ministry full control
over conservancies.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zim holding up park project
Blessing Zuylu
ZIMBABWE'S partners in the much-awaited Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier
National Park (GKG) are growing impatient with Harare's ongoing land reform
disruptions which are threatening plans to see the project launched, the
Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

South Africa and Mozambique, Zimbabwe's partners, are said to be calling for
Zimbabwe to be excluded from the scheme as it was holding the others up.
Officials in the project diplomatically evaded questions on whether the
errant nation will be expelled but agreed that Gonarezhou was the project's
major obstacle.

Piet Theron, the project international co-ordinator, admitted in an
interview with the Independent yesterday that Gonarezhou remained the
sticking point.

"The treaty does not allow settlers into Gonarezhou and it is something that
Zimbabwe through the National Parks department has to resolve," said Theron.

"If settlers continue to flock into the park Zimbabwe is likely to remain
disengaged from the other two countries," he said.

Zimbabwe is the only country that is not directly linked to both Gaza and
Kruger. A corridor will have to be created through the Sengwe communal area
to connect Gonarezhou with Kruger, Theron said.

But he remained confident that the project would proceed as planned.

"We have established an International Joint Management Board," he said.

"We have also come up with the International Regional Tourism Committee,
which focuses on the region as a whole. The ministerial committee which
involves ministers of the three countries and their advisors is now
functioning and all that is left are the signatures of the respective

The ambitious project is set to cover an area of close to 3,6 million
hectares. Once implemented, it is expected to trigger the recovery of
Zimbabwe's tourism sector, which has been hard hit by the political turmoil
and the controversial land reform exercise. Tourists have been flocking to o
ther regional countries, notably Zambia which enjoyed a new lease of life
following the problems in Zimbabwe.

Regional countries have suffered from the Zimbabwe contagion, with Botswana
officials openly complaining to their Zimbabwean counterparts that the
seemingly endless land crisis was affecting their tourism industry.

An official in the Department of Parks said politicians hoping to curry
favour with the people were creating problems for the nation and the region.

"The politicians have always been assuring us that they are going to deal
with the problem and evict the illegal settlers," said the official.

"The situation on the ground has not improved and this is all a political
gimmick. The other countries that are part of the initiative are fast losing
patience with this failure to act timeously and more people are now being
encouraged to invade Gonarezhou."

The official said South Africa and Mozambique were worried that the project
would fall through as the area had also been hard hit by foot-and-mouth

"The Department of Parks and Wildlife is understaffed and as such cannot
contain the outbreak of the disease. Donors - especially those from the
Nordic countries - who have been funding most of our programmes have since
pulled out and the effects are now being felt," said the official.

Parks officers said the foot-and-mouth outbreak was prone to spread fast in
the Beitbridge area since the pegging of land was being done in areas close
to the Gonarezhou National Park.

More than 2 000 permanent structures have been built in the park, more than
double the 750 families originally allocated land.

Brigadier Walter Kanhanga, National Parks acting director, referred all
questions to Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema who was said to
be in India. An official in the ministry said their hands were tied and they
were powerless to act.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

WFP battles to expand relief activities
Dumisani Muleya
THE World Food Programme (WFP) is battling to expand its food relief
activities as starvation spreads across the country.

WFP spokesman Luis Clemens said his organisation, which has since February
distributed 64 500 metric tonnes of food aid, was stepping up efforts to
cover other hunger-stricken areas where the food crisis has of late been

"We are working flat out to prevent famine. By the end of the month we
should have moved from 20 to 28 districts. We want to distribute about 30
000 tonnes of food this month," Clemens said. "We are trying to feed
everyone who is hungry and we want to reach about 3,9 million people by
March or April next year."

At least six million people - about half of Zimbabwe's population - would be
surviving on food handouts next year. Government has however banned some
British donor agencies from distributing food for political reasons.

Zimbabwe is currently gripped by serious starvation caused by government's
corrosive land reforms and drought. About 13 million are facing famine in
the region.

Clemens' comments came as United States ambassador to the United

Nations food agencies, Tony Hall, warned it could be too late to prevent a
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. Hall told the WFP executive board the local
emergency was getting worse and ominous.

"People will die and Zimbabwe is headed for famine," he said. "I'm not sure
we can stop it."

In its Online report on Zimbabwe, the WFP, which last week suspended food
distribution in Insiza after Zanu PF supporters attacked relief workers
during their campaign for tomorrow's parliamentary by-election, said
government's outdated policies were hindering food aid mobilisation.

"An immediate and severe food crisis continues to worsen in Zimbabwe where
the cereal deficit is expected to be 1 869 000 metric tonnes," it said.

"The government's inability to buy and import sufficient grain, a ban on
private-sector commercial grain imports and price controls have drained the
country of food stocks."

The WFP said drought and chaotic land reforms were at the epicentre of the
food crisis.

"At the same time, failure of the rainfalls in January and February 2002
decimated communal-sector crop production and a 'fast-track' land reform
programme led to a collapse of the commercial agricultural sector."

The WFP said it was estimated that cereal production had so far fallen by
57% from last year's harvest.

"Grain is simply not available for sale to most people and black market
prices are beyond the reach of many," it said. "Devaluation of the Zimbabwe
dollar is rampant at 120% per annum. Food security is further undermined by
extremely high rates of HIV/Aids prevalence, which affects approximately 25%
of the adult population."

A policy shift by government, WFP said, was necessary to assuage the
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to:
Open Letter Forum <>


Dear Fellow-Zimbabweans,

I find it deeply saddening to see the verbal conflict taking place on
this forum and between the different factions that have developed. It is
saddening, not only because the conflict is between old friends and
colleagues, but also because each of us has been victimised by the same
ruthless and unprincipled adversary and because that adversary is
enjoying enormous satisfaction from its success in getting us at each
other's throats.

When this whole saga started, none of us could have known that the
ultimate objective was to dispossess all white farmers of their land.
Different approaches taken at various points along this progression of
events would not have altered the objective.

Whatever beliefs any of us might have once held that more compliant and
conciliatory attitudes would have saved farmers from dispossession have
been dashed by our having to witness the most accommodating of the
country's farmers being deprived of everything.

And if our beliefs were that recourse to law and property rights, even
our constitutional rights, would provide protection, we have all watched
helplessly while the entire legal, judicial and constitutional landscape
has been hideously remodelled to facilitate dispossession.

None of our needs or hopes are going to be met if we use up all our
energies to fight each other, specially as the fight is being promoted
by the most enthusiastic spectator. We all know who should be the target
of our anger and our most determined efforts.

We all know -- now -- that nobody from outside Zimbabwe is going to come
to our rescue and we all know that the means being adopted to produce
next year's crops are going to fail dismally. Our biggest ally is the
incredible inadequacy of government's own plans, as its impending and
inevitable failure will do more to undermine its position than anything
we can physically do right now.

But right now we should be working hard to retain the integrity of the
country's most important industry by finding reasons why farmers should
form a united team that can learn again the skills to work as a team.
This nightmare will end, sooner or later, and the right people with the
right skills will be needed to pick up the pieces.

Please start now to rebuild the bridges that have been knocked down
between you. Your concerted efforts on behalf of the real Zimbabwe we
all love will be needed sooner than you think!

With best wishes

John Robertson


If Mr Hasluck hasn't realised his bypass of reality, perhaps he should
read this.

Zim Independent - Comment

Time the CFU woke up to the national mood IF any doubts remained that
the Commercial Farmers Union was a confused and misdirected body events
this week will have removed them.

Firstly President Thabo Mbe-ki, desperately seeking to be let off the
hook of responsibility for the Zimbabwe crisis, was thrown a lifeline by
CFU directors who he said had urged him to oppose sanctions.

Coming from a group supposedly hostile to President Mugabe's land grab,
this was unexpected manna from heaven for the South African leader which
he used to justify his do-nothing policy. The land issue was entirely a
matter between Britain and Zimbabwe he claimed ignoring the implications
for the region of violence and lawlessness across the Limpopo.

Then CFU director David Hasluck, addressing a delega-tion of African
American politicians brought here at taxpayers' expense to eulogise the
Mugabe regime and camouflage its appalling human rights record, blamed
the Blair government for its failure to pay compensation.

"The British government has absolutely rejected that there will be
compensation for land based on our history," Hasluck claimed.

The government already has a lengthy list of apologists. Why Hasluck
thinks it needs another one is anybody's guess. But the CFU has a record
of being unable to adopt clear and principled positions on the land
question, preferring instead to cultivate politicians and then claim
they don't want to involve themselves in politics. That they are unable
to see the connection between politics and economic policies or
understand the basic right of all Zimbabweans to participate in the
political process speaks volumes of their civic failings.

Hasluck knows perfectly well that Britain has pledged £36 million for
land reform. The EU, the United States, and other donors are prepared to
pitch in. But they won't fund a violent campaign of land theft that
sabotages production, places land in the hands of President Mugabe's
cronies, and compounds poverty.

The "historical background" that Hasluck claims Tony Blair is ignoring
includes £44 million lost before 1993 on acquired land that now lies
barren or is occupied by chefs.

What does Hasluck think he is doing repeating Mugabe's facile mantras
for the benefit of African American politicians who are being paid to
pretend that the murder of farmers and opposition supporters, the
impunity granted to their killers, the outright theft of land in clear
contempt of legal procedures, and the eviction of tens of thousands of
workers, is part of an historic process aimed at empowering the masses?

The masses of course face starvation as a result. The reason Justice for
Agriculture broke away from the CFU was because the CFU was unable to
stand up for the legal rights of its members, choosing instead to put
together deals with a lawless regime. As a result solemn undertakings
given by the most senior people in government to farmers' leaders where
offers had been made of land, resources and training, were abandoned
without compunction. The CFU has nothing to show for its unprincipled
collaboration with an avaricious political class.

If the visiting American delegation noticed nothing else, it must surely
have been Mugabe's open contempt for the people of Zimbabwe's cities.
Because they are sceptical of his claims to be leading a genuine rural
revolution they are dismissed as "cosmopolitan wage-earners" whose
future doesn't matter.

Nothing could more clearly expose Mugabe's pretensions to be a national
leader. Railing at the forces of change from the isolation of Zimbabwe
House, Mugabe denounced urban workers, falsely claiming the MDC wanted
to be included in his government.

Nobody in their right mind would want to be contaminated by contact with
his toxic regime.

Hasluck and CFU president Colin Cloete who accompanied him at the
meeting need to get a life. The people of Zimbabwe in every democratic
test have rejected Mugabe's damaging land seizures and said instead they
want a coherent programme of land reform that guarantees productivity
and alleviates poverty, the position spelt out by donors and the UNDP at
the Harare land conference of 1998.

Instead of pandering to a repressive regime in the hope of securing
respite for themselves the CFU leaders should listen to the people and
for once do the right thing. That means at the very least not repeating
foolish remarks that expose a complete ignorance of the popular mood.


"Why use the Courts in a country where justice has been perverted", runs
the argument.  "We will be steam rollered" say the faint hearted.

This has been the CFU line since certainly March 21st 2001 when there
was a special congress at Art farm and the Courts were abandoned.  It
has also been the view of far too many people who believe that
"remaining quiet"or "appeasing the agressor" will result in them being
left alone. For the town people and civil society who are taking this
line - read on.

The facts speak for themselves.  On March 21st 2001 the sizeable
majority of farmers were still farming and still in their homes.  In
October 2002 the vast majority of farmers are not farming and not in
their homes.  If a chef covets your property it doesn't matter what
dialogue you have had.  If you're on the wrong side of the law you get
arrested.  The tragedy is that the CFU and the ZTA have completely
failed in their duty to bring their membership to be on the right side
of the law.  "Appease the agressor" has been the advice: Fill in LA3
forms.  Go down to maximum farm size.  Give away "surplus" land.
Cultivate relationships of dialogue.  Make deals.

A deal is an arrangement between two parties, which should be beneficial
to both.  Every day, as business people, we make deals, and so long as
the agreements are watertight and the people that we make deals with are
honourable, the deals are mutually beneficial.  There is nothing wrong
with a deal in itself.  A deal that is not watertight, and a deal with
dishonourable people where one party is giving out of fear and the other
party is taking out of greed is not a deal, it is appeasement.

Appeasement has never worked.  Many people offered land for the land
reform programme in good faith, but the authorities have not honoured
their side of the deal.  No farmers have been protected from receiving
Section 5 notices and Section 8 orders, except on racial grounds.  A
number of farmers did offer their full landholdings at the beginning of
the exercise, but some of them have still not received a single dollar
of compensation despite not having had an income for over two years.

On a larger scale, other deals have been brokered.  It started with the
"team Zimbabwe"deal in 1998 with Nick Swanepoel as a direct result of
the November 1997 listings of farms.  The deals progressed after the
land invasions of February 2000 until the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement
initiative got going in March 2001 where the land task force, led by
Nick Swanepoel, called for 20 farms per province so that the situation
could be sorted out once and for all.  Farms were duly offered at our
request and by October 2000, just from Chegutu and Kadoma districts, we
had offered 23 farms through this initiative.  This did not take the
heat off in any way, and every single one of those farmers that did
offer are in a precarious financial position as a direct result of

By March 2001 there was another call by Nick Swanepoel, this time
through the National Economic Consultative Forum in an advert in the
newspaper, for us to accept the 5 million hectare acquisition programme
and organise free inputs and free tillage.  Bredenkamp was also very
involved in this programme.  At the special Congress on March 21st 2001,
the Z.J.R.I was initiated and a million hectares of land was offered to
Government after another call from ourselves.  Government stalled by
saying that they wanted to see each of the individual farm names.  After
some debate this was also eventually given to them, and Government forms
were filled in. It did not take the heat off in any way at all.  In the
build-up to the Presidential campaign our free tillage and inputs were
used as good propaganda for the party's land programme, in ceremonies
around each of the provinces.  None of the free inputs and tillage was
used to good effect, to my knowlege, in production terms.

It was at this stage that the "Abuja Agreement" was brokered and all
sorts of principles were set forward between the various heads of state
and Nigeria.  In the grand scheme of things this was the deal of all
deals to ensure that sanity prevailed.  But of course there was no
intention of keeping to the Abuja deal, and it was broken the very next

Through the early stages of 2002 various things happened to clean up the
image of the CFU leadership, as far as the party was concerned.  The
most obvious was the closure of "The Farmer" magazine, which was the
mouthpiece of the farmers and which in its editorials did not have much
time for the people that were involved with the stealing of properties,
closing down of production, beating and murdering of the membership and
their workforces, and the like.  It was closed down supposedly for
financial reasons, but it happened without the readership even knowing
about it and without an appeal going out to the readership.

Other appeasement initiatives also started to take place, including a
move to reduce the CFU sit-reps so that the world did not hear about our
problems anymore, re-structuring the union so that the P.R. officer was
not involved any longer and then putting the P.R. officer in a position
where press statments were going out without her knowledge, so that
professionally she had no choice but to resign.  And then a very direct
move to go against the advice of all the mainstream lawyers, because
seeking justice through the Courts for being illegally stopped from
farming and living in one's home might be deemed "confrontational".

In amongst this the outgoing ZTA president told us that if we did not
offer land we should pack our bags and go.  In a statement made by the
CFU president in a series of meetings around the country, we were also
told to offer more land.

Clearly there was another deal in the offing.  Swanepoel was again in
and out of the CFU building on numerous ocassions, and Colin Cloete was
seen in meetings with Bredenkamp trying to get dialogue going.  Strong
rumours even abounded that Bredenkamp, Swanepoel, Cloete and Hughes went
to Mozambique to see President Chissano, but CFU President's Council did
not meet for a few months, and all these things were taking place in
secret, behind closed doors in a world of smoke and mirrors and
deception.  What the deal is remains to be seen.  One can rest assured
that under the present dispensation the deal will not be honoured.  It
is merely another "red herring" to prevent farming leadership from
exposing the evil through the courts and the press.

Which brings us back to the courts again.  "Why use the Courts in a
country were justice has been perverted?" There are a number of
compelling reasons, I believe:

1.  The first reason to use the courts is because the courts are about
the law and the law is about the truth and the truth is based on the
christian values of what is right and what is wrong.  It is the right
thing to do to seek what is right over what is wrong.  If we do not seek
justice where there is injustice we must also share part responsibility
in perverting justice.

2.  The Court system is able to expose what is wrong in an unambiguous
clinical fashion that stands over time bringing eventual accountability
to those that have done wrong, either as law enforcement agents or as
the judiciary or indeed as the people involved in the stealing, wanton
destruction and even murder in Zimbabwe.

3.  Our constitution protects the right to own land and to work it and
to have feedom of speech and association.  If we do not challenge the
areas, through the courts, where the law is being violated, either
through unconstitutional laws being put into place, or through the law
enforecement agencies failing in their duties, we will have no leg to
stand on in the future when the day of accountability comes, and we come
to claim back what is lawfully ours.

4.  Until we have exhausted the routes through our own courts in seeking
justice we have no right to go to higher courts like the International
Criminal Court.

5.  The Internatioal Courts are mechanisms to cut off the financial life
blood of the individuals and the machine that is fuelling Zimbabwe's

6.  Without the courts we will merely move further out into the mire of
patronage, corruption and lawlessness which has been responsible for
bringing so much destruction, misery and hunger to this troubled
continent.  People that bow to the system of patronage, corruption and
lawlessness are responsible for fuelling the fire of further patronage,
corruption and lawlessness, which in the end only leads to anarchy and
starvation.  No business, whether in town or outside town will survive
under such circumstances.

The time has come to do and to seek what is right.  Those that, in
desperation, are trying to make their deals because they are slaves to
their assets can only end up the poorer for them morally and materially.
The ultimate aim of communism and all totaliarism is absolute fear which
leads to absolute compliance.  It is in the compliance of the oppressed
that the oppressor gains its strength.  If we do not seek what is good
and true and right, and then focus on it absolutely and actively pursue
it, what is good and true and right will never be achieved.

How long is it going to be before we stare truth in the face and grasp
truth with both hands and hold on to it without fear?  Jesus Christ
declared himself to be "the truth".  Truth seemingly temporarily
defeated will always be stronger than evil seemingly triumphant.  The
truth needs you!  You need it!  Don't be frightened.

Ben Freeth


Justice for Agriculture.

Dear Sir,

Please would JAG accept my sincere apologies for being seen to associate
with an incoherent gentleman, writing in poor taste, with poor grammar
and a poor command of the English language. I cannot apologize for being
hysterical, or being a `gentleman whose sanity is in serious doubt' -
this is correct, and watching Our President and Director preside over
the dissolution of The Commercial Farmers Union is definitely
aggravating both conditions further.

For those good people who have kindly identified my dubious sanity, I
thank them profusely, and pray that they read two articles, neither of
which I had anything to do with.

1.  The United Nations Security Council document.

2.  Mr. Ben Freeth's open letter to Our Director, asking "where is the
money coming from?"

I challenge them and any serious adult, juvenile or child, with an
honest and open mind to remain calm and sane, having read these two
articles, and simultaneously considered the suicidal policy of Our Union
Dictatorship(see Independent Comment 18.10.2002.) Perhaps clarity of
vision can only be achieved with simplicity and insanity, whilst greed
and egocentricity go hand in hand with complicity. "Join the boys and
share the spoils."

Yours sincerely,

Insane Gentleman.


Dear Sirs

I have recently been reading the various emails that have been
circulated regarding the current situation in Zimbabwe, and in
particular concerns about the manner in which farming community leaders
have been and are dealing with the crisis.  I see that nearly five years
on, the one element that would have perhaps aided in bringing back some
sagacity and order to the nightmare of a situation that everyone is
experiencing has been shattered by the powers that be.  That would be
unity.  Divide and rule was and still is governing the future of life in
this stricken country.  I would like to share with you basic human
rights as set out by the European Convention on Human Rights - this
being an international treaty operating under the Council of Europe.

    The right to life

    The right not to be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading
    treatment or punishment

    The right not to be held in slavery or be required to perform forced

    The right to liberty and security of person

    The right to a fair trial

    The right not to be punished without lawful authority

    The right to respect for private and family life

    The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

    The right to freedom of expression

    The right to freedom of assembly and association

    The right to marry

    The right to an effective remedy

    The prohibition of discrimination in the enjoyment of Convention rights

    The right to peaceful enjoyment of property

    The right to education

    The right to free elections

    The abolition of the death penalty

Reading through this list, I certainly cannot find a great number of
rights that a person living in Zimbabwe enjoys.  It is not difficult to
see why it is so difficult for anyone to make any significant headway
into the dense forest of madness.  However, it is better to have tried
and failed, tried again harder and failed harder - than to have done
NOTHING.  Saying and doing are two very different things.

Although a great deal of dialogue has taken place, it may be argued that
in many cases no sign of action at grassroots level has been evident,
people who care greatly have done what they believed the best they could
in that regard, at that time and under those circumstances.  They and
their families and friends have suffered mentally, physically and
emotionally as a result of all this supposed `inaction'.  Undeniably, so
have millions of Zimbabweans, black and white.  Those who have stood up
to be counted, those who have taken serious actions to put across their
point of view - to make the civilised world listen to what is happening
- have suffered greatly.  They have lost their homes, their means of
support, their families, their lives.  They have lost their dignity.
They are losing hope.  Have they lost their spirit?  Amidst all the
chaos, there isn't a unified approach for anyone to take in dealing with
the matter.  How could there be one right way?  Everyone points out how
many wrong ways have been taken, how many wrong decisions made, how many
wrong things said - but faced with those conditions, which are ever
worsening - how can any mortal do any better?  If there is no completely
right way, how would anyone know that all others are wrong?

It cannot be denied that each area and individual has to cope with
vastly differing scenarios on a day to day basis.  I salute all who have
stayed to fight for what they believe in, for what should be their basic
rights.  I salute all those who have tried, in no matter how small a
way, to make a difference, to bring this nightmare to an end, to bring
relief to this frightened child in its darkest hour.  Nobody can know
what the dawn will bring nor which is the best way to spend the hours to
sunrise. Simply remember those who have brought some comfort through the
long night and who have done their best to prevent the situation from
turning into a monumental bloodbath.

Whilst I might be thousands of miles away, the distance does not make it
any easier to apply objectivity to the situation.  It is true that I am
not there experiencing the violence and brutality that has become our
nation, but I haven't been away that long to have forgotten what it was
like.  Everyday I see the press reports, and the only advantage of the
great distance between me and Zimbabwe is the fact that I don't have to
read or believe what is written or reported.  The distance allows me to
`hide' from some of the harsh facts, however emotive they might be.
However, the distance has advantages.  It reminds me of what happens in
everyday life in a `normal' society, a society that upholds the rule of
law where men have rights.  It reminds me of the despair that I felt
seeing and experiencing the turmoil that has ripped my country apart.
It reminds me of how tired and depressed I became, and reminds me of how
many others are still tired and depressed, but who continue to fight in
some way to bring some modicum of stability into the economic and social
spheres of everyone's lives.

Every day, I hear how more and more people are having to leave their
homeland, and sadly, how many more have no choice but to stay and be
stampeded in food queues.  What once was, is disintegrating due to lack
of unity - is it too late to save some crumbs before the circling
vultures home in once and for all?  You might argue that the farming
leadership has failed, but can you prove to me how those who have broken
away have succeeded?  The widening schism is gaining more and more
ground, and certainly you can understand that this will encompass
everyone in the same dark hole?  Whose fault is it really?  Human nature
automatically tries to place the blame on someone else, it always has
and probably always will.  All I ask is that you take the time to think
about how the various people have done their best to help the in this
crisis, and perhaps even to thank them for their efforts, even if they
have borne no delectable fruits.

Yours faithfully

Louise Tree

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
To subscribe/unsubscribe: Please write to
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Police, MDC youths clash at Jongwe's home
Blessing Zulu
AS a South African pathologist was conducting an autopsy on the late
Kuwadzana MP Learnmore Jongwe at Harare Hospital yesterday afternoon,
members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police clashed with Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) youths and mourners at the late legislator's Ridgeview home.

The police reprimanded MDC legislators Paul Madzore of Glen View, Trudy
Stevenson of Harare North and Fidelis Mhashu of Chitungwiza for failing to
control the youths who were incensed by the conduct of the police.

Jongwe's mother, Emilia, threatened to throw herself into a fire where food
was being prepared when the police started harassing mourners and
brandishing guns.

She was only restrained by Jongwe's brother, Simon.

"Why should they continue to harass me when I am grieving like this?"

Emilia asked. "Surely these people are shameless. When my son died they did
not even bother to inform me and they even have the temerity to come and
harass friends who are mourning him," she said.

The police were led by Assistant Inspector Dowa of the CID's Law and Order

When reporters from the Zimbabwe Independent and Daily News arrived at the
scene, police officers threatened to arrest and shoot them should they write
anything they did not approve of.

"If you write anything about what has transpired here I will not hesitate to
arrest you and shoot you afterwards," said a visibly angry officer. About 30
police officers came to the house in a police Defender and two Mazda B1800

Simon Jongwe said the police officers were not very clear about what they
wanted. "Initially they said they wanted to search the house for two murder
suspects from Buhera," said Simon.

The police did not specify which murder case they were investigating.

The MDC hired a South African pathologist from Durban to carry out an
independent autopsy owing to the mysterious circumstances in which the
legislator died in a cell on Tuesday morning.

He had been in prison since July on allegations of stabbing his wife,
Rutendo (23).

Police Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the police had turned
down suggestions by the MDC to have the autopsy done by an independent

The police initially wanted to carry out the post-mortem on Wednesday at
Harare Central Hospital but postponed it to allow the family to engage an
independent expert to witness the process.

Bvudzijena confirmed that they had carried out the autopsy in the presence
of family representatives.

"The family seconded Bryant Elliot and Dr Charles Gwatidzo," said

He said the government was the first to carry out the autopsy in the morning
at Harare Central Hospital.

"The post-mortem by government pathologist Dr Mapunda began at 8.45 am and
the doctor has taken the samples for further analysis at the government
laboratory," said Bvudzijena.

From ZWNEWS, 25 October

Pathologists’ reports awaited

The results of two postmortem examinations on the body of Learnmore Jongwe are awaited in Zimbabwe, amid deep controversy regarding the cause of the death of the opposition MP in his prison cell. Jongwe was reported to have been found dead early last Tuesday morning. He was in prison awaiting trial over the fatal stabbing of his wife, which he admitted, but which he said was committed in a fit of jealous rage.

His family were granted permission to appoint an independent pathologist to attend the official postmortem scheduled for 8:00 am Thursday morning. As all available Zimbabwean pathologists also conduct government business, the family engaged the services of a South African pathologist, who was only able to travel to Zimbabwe from Durban on Thursday afternoon. The family asked for the postmortem to be delayed until his arrival, but the Zimbabwean authorities refused, and the official postmortem began as scheduled this morning. A lawyer and general practitioner appointed by the family attended.

The pathologist who conducted the official examination on Thursday morning was unable to state the cause of Jongwe’s death, and is awaiting histological reports from laboratory tests. The authorities produced in evidence two towels, carrying a white and a brown substance, and a tablet, details of which are unclear. Lawyers for the family are still waiting for details of the precise location of Jongwe’s death, and have yet to be given access to it, or to any of the prisoners who were reported to have been sharing the same prison cell with Jongwe. The family-appointed pathologist examined the body on Thursday afternoon, and tissue samples were taken.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Opportunity for South Africa to do the right thing
THE announcement last Thursday that South Africa would seek to engage a
broad spectrum of Zimbabweans in a bid to resolve this country's pressing
problems should provide grounds for optimism.

"We must act on the Zimbabwe crisis to change it," President Thabo Mbeki
told parliament in Cape Town.

"We will work with the government, we will work with the opposition, we will
work with the Zimbabwe business community, we will work with the commercial
farmers to assist in the change."

Mbeki's aides said he would be reviving the binational commission between
the two countries andwould himself visit Zimbabwe aspart of a Sadc
fact-finding team.

So why hasn't there been a rush of enthusiasm surrounding these

Mbeki is himself partly responsible for this. His policy on Zimbabwe has
been as muddled as his views on HIV. Instead of adopting a firm principled
stand that matched South Africa's own commitment to human rights and an
ethical foreign policy, he pretended that South Africa had been asked to
invade Zimbabwe, thus enabling him to respond that he would do no such

There has also been criticism in South African official circles of
"megaphone diplomacy", something else they eschew.

Again, it is an illusion. South Africa has simply been asked to stand up for
what is right - something Mbeki appears to have difficulty doing for fear of
alienating old-style nationalist hardliners among his own followers.

Doing the right thing is the test all African leaders face under Nepad - the
New Partnership for Africa's Development - pioneered by Mbeki himself. His
advisors have been pointing to the way Pakistan has been indulged by the
West and ask why Zimbabwe should be a litmus test for them. "Because it is
in your own backyard", is the obvious answer. If Mbeki cannot solve an
elementary test of governance in his own region, what hope is there for
Nepad succeeding elsewhere?

His proposed engagement with Zimbabwean civil society should be used as an
opportunity to acquaint him and his ministers with certain realities they
have been studiously ignoring. Many of those responsible for murdering
political opponents over the last two years continue to walk free including,
most notoriously, an employee of the President's Office. Those who bombed
the Daily News' printing press in January 2001 have yet to be apprehended.
An editor was this week arrested under the Public Order and Security Act
(Posa) for reporting a case of torture - cited in a court hearing - which
the police claim could undermine the public's confidence in the police.

There have been numerous reported cases of torture of individuals detained
by police over the past few months supported by expert evidence. As far as
we know there has been no attempt to launch an inquiry by Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri who heads the regional organisation of police chiefs. In
the circumstances, it could well be argued that the behaviour of the police
in disregarding the rights of detainees and failing to investigate cases of
alleged torture by police officers is calculated to undermine public
confidence in the police, a confidence which has already been damaged by
unprofessional and partisan statements by Chihuri and his spokesmen.

The courts have also had their independence undermined by political
interference and an anxiety by some judges to accommodate the claims of the
state, even when they are manifestly untenable. Instead of upholding the
rights of applicants to their liberty, judges have allowed the state to fish
for a case that often never surfaces.

There can be little doubt that the courts, the opposition, civil society and
the media are the targets of a concerted campaign by the state to not simply
curtail but terminate liberties granted under the constitution. This
includes new legislation, amendments to existing legislation, and
extra-legislative action against individuals exercising their rights to
criticise and oppose the regime.

As lawyer and civil rights activist Brian Kagoro pointed out in this paper
last week, Zanu PF is criminalising democrats. They are using the same
tactics that Ian Smith used against them and the same language calling the
opposition "terrorists" and "enemies of the state".

"A prison will soon be a place where big criminals keep democrats," Kagoro
said. "Smith failed in the end and Zanu PF is only demonstrating that they
are poor students of history."

South African commentators have described Posa and Aippa as worse than
apartheid laws. Mbeki and his advisors should be made aware of that.
Zimbabweans assisted South Africa's struggle for freedom in the 1980s. The
last thing they want to hear are ministers like Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
acting as apologists for a repressive regime on this side of the Limpopo.
There are enough of those already!

Which is why the inter-party talks the South Africans and Nigerians have
been touting since the presidential poll are a non-starter. Zimbabweans want
a level political playing field. They want an end to impunity for criminals.
They want an end to draconian laws that impair their freedoms. They should
not have to negotiate for those things. And they should not be asked to
legitimise Zanu PF by providing it with a negotiating forum which Mbeki and
Olusegun Obasanjo will then hold out to the world as a sensitive process
that would be undermined by further sanctions.

So Mbeki's promise to engage all facets of Zimbabwean society is welcome.
But it should not be used as a rescue mission for Mugabe's delinquent
regime, nor should it camouflage the human rights abuses that are taking
place here every day.

There is still an opportunity here for South Africa, after two-and-a-half
years of confused diplomacy and unconscionable indulgence of a brutal
dictatorship, to actually get it right.

Have they ever stopped to think in all this how they will want future
generations of Zimbabweans - as distinct from Mugabe's followers - to
remember their contribution in this our time of need?


      Mbeki plots Mugabe exit

      By Abel Mutsakani, News Editor & Sydney Masamvu, Political Editor
      10/24/02 8:35:51 AM (GMT +2)

      SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki has crafted a compromise deal to
break the political impasse in Zimbabwe, which will allow President Robert
Mugabe to make a smooth exit from office or be ostracised by his regional

      Diplomatic sources say South Africa has secretly crafted "a compromise
plan" for the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), which will eventually allow Mugabe to leave politics.

      Among other conditions, the deal will require the Zimbabwean
government to drop charges of treason faced by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
while the opposition party will in turn be asked to withdraw the court case
in which it is challenging the re-election of Mugabe in March.

      Tsvangirai is due to stand trial in two weeks over charges that he and
MDC legislators Renson Gasela and Welshman Ncube plotted to kill Mugabe with
the help of a Canadian company, Dickens and Madson.

      "There is a fresh effort by Mbeki to try and find a negotiated
solution to the Zimbabwe crisis by bringing ZANU PF and MDC together in
government," said a source who spoke on condition he was not named.

      He told the Financial Gazette: "This will eventually lead to an
election that can be accepted by Zimbabweans and the international
community. The plan Mbeki is offering will be presented especially to Mugabe
as the last chance to find a comfortable exit or he will be left to his

      Mbeki is proposing a government of national unity in which the ruling
ZANU PF will have majority representation and facilitate transition and the
holding of elections in three years' time.

      The deal will entail a constitutional amendment, which will see the
life of parliament running concurrently with that of the presidency. Under
the plan, Mugabe will only step down in 2005 when parliamentary and
presidential elections will be held at the same time.

      Tsvangirai this week said he was not aware of Mbeki's new plan on
Zimbabwe, but that his party was open to dialogue as long as it would lead
to a return to legitimacy.

      Tsvangirai and his MDC have refused to recognise Mugabe's
controversial victory in a presidential ballot in March this year, which
they say he won through fraud and violence.

      Spokesmen for the Zimbabwean and South African governments could not
be reached for comment on the matter.

      But Mugabe and most of his top officials have in the past few weeks
castigated the option of setting up a government of national unity with the
MDC, which South Africa has been lobbying for since the outcome of the
disputed presidential election.

      Britain and the United States of America have in the past indicated
they might support a government of national unity in Zimbabwe as a way of
ensuring stability in the southern African nation.

      The sources said Mbeki was expected in Harare in the next few weeks to
consult with Tsvangirai, Mugabe and other stakeholders on the how to resolve
the country's deepening crisis.

      South Africa's Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Zuma visited Harare
two weeks ago for talks with Mugabe.

      Earlier efforts by South Africa to broker talks between ZANU PF and
the MDC collapsed over differences on items on the agenda, critically the
issue of the controversial presidential election.

      Diplomatic sources said if Mugabe did not come on board this time, he
could lose the support of the region, which has been crucial to keeping his
regime on its feet in the last three years.

      They said if he accepted Mbeki's "compromise plan", which is currently
being sold to the international community, its implementation would be
spearheaded by United Nations' Secretary General Kofi Annan.

      But Mbeki, whose country has the financial muscle to influence change
in Zimbabwe, would be the ultimate guarantor of the scheme.

      Addressing the South African parliament last week, Mbeki promised to
become directly involved in resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe.

      He however stated that his country would not be dragooned to overthrow
Mugabe, saying his government would work with the Mugabe regime, the
opposition, the business community and commercial farmers.

      Mbeki has previously shied away from any unilateral intervention in
Zimbabwe but the sources say Mbeki is now adopting a more hands on policy on
the country, which has become an economic albatross around southern Africa's

      As part of his active engagement on Harare, Mbeki has promised to
revive a stalled bilateral ministerial commission and to visit Harare soon
as part of a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) fact-finding

      Instability in Zimbabwe has damaged foreign investor confidence in the
region, contributing to a dramatic fall in the value of the South African

      In the toughest signal yet that Mugabe has lost regional support, the
14-nation SADC refused three weeks ago to allow Mugabe his turn to become
deputy chairman of the regional body, a move that would have seen him taking
over the chairmanship in 12 months.

The Herald (govt paper)

Fingaz report on President's ouster 'criminal'

Herald Reporter
THE Government has described as criminal, an allegation by the Financial
Gazette that President Mbeki of South Africa was plotting an
unconstitutional ouster of President Mugabe.

The allegation was very serious and smacked of unlawful and treasonous
conduct harmful to Zimbabwe's national interest in terms of its good
relations with South Africa, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo said yesterday.

It was also detrimental to Zimbabwe's national security and the stability of
the country's constitutional democracy.

"The false front page story in today's Financial Gazette claiming that South
African President Thabo Mbeki is plotting an unconstitutional exit of
Presi-dent Mugabe is a sickening example of the kind of diplomatic rubbish
that can only originate from incompetent and now very desperate British
intelligence operatives run by the likes of Brian Donnelly, the British High
Commis-sioner in Harare whose futile efforts to meddle in Zimbabwean
national politics are now a matter of public record.

"It is obvious that the purpose of the British propaganda behind the
preposterous story, is to dupe Zimbabweans, particularly Insiza voters, by
giving them the false impression that the crumbling MDC, which is facing yet
another electoral defeat in this weekend's by-election in Insiza, still has
political life when it is now politically dead."

Without naming its sources, the Fingaz alleged that Mr Mbeki had crafted a
compromise deal "to break the political impasse in Zimbabwe" which will
allow President Mugabe to make "a smooth exit from office or be ostracised
by his regional allies".

Prof Moyo said it was bad enough that British intelligence operatives
continued to hide under diplomatic and media cover in their evil deeds aimed
at subverting the will of Zimbabweans by undermining the Government.

But what was worse and thoroughly nauseating was the "shameless assistance
that the same British operatives were getting from sell-out Zimbabwean
journalists like the Financial Gazette's Abel Mutsakani whose association
with opposition politics and anti-Zimbabwean conduct was self evident".

"Legal questions must necessarily be raised as to whether Mutsakani, his
editor and publisher, had any factual and lawful reasons to believe the
manifestly British-sponsored propaganda or, alternatively, why they
knowingly or recklessly published a patently false article whose contents
lacked even the most rudimentary elements of a factual story," said the

Prof Moyo said it was pathetic that the Financial Gazette's "rubbish" about
a so-called government of national unity between Zanu-PF and the treacherous
MDC was a word for regurgitation of groundless allegations by Baroness Amos
in the British House of Commons last week when she was reading from an
anti-Zimbabwean document prepared by British intelligence operatives and
currently circulating in diplomatic circles and among British-paid
anti-Zimbabwe journalists.

"While there is no sane person who thinks that there is anyone in South
Africa or elsewhere who would be so naïve as to believe naked British
propaganda of the kind splashed in today's Financial Gazette, the
politically insane among us should know in no uncertain terms that the
Zanu-PF Government is a product of real and historic national unity with its
roots firmly sunk on Zimbabwean soil.

"Therefore British sponsored desperate talk about so-called unity between
Zanu-PF and the perfidious MDC created and funded by Tony Blair's Labour
Party, is a complete waste of time because that kind of false unity will
never happen in Zimbabwe," he said.

Just last month, the minister said, Zimbabweans overwhelmingly voted for
Zanu-PF in the local government elections, giving the ruling party control
of 58 districts out of 59.

"Only a British charlatan or a foolish British puppet would ignore this
stark reality and conclude that Zimbabweans need a government of national un
ity. What unity? Those whose insanity has led them to dream of a Zanu-PF-MDC
government of so-called national unity should get real and return to sanity
by perishing the mad thought once and for all," said Prof Moyo.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Life under Mugabe's 'Al Qaeda' regime

      Sydney Masamvu
      10/24/02 8:37:08 AM (GMT +2)

      ALL over the country, in both urban and rural areas, starving
Zimbabweans are searching for that elusive staple foodstuff mealie-meal.
There's hardly a conversation these days during which people don't ask each
other where maize meal is to be found or discuss Zimbabwe's chances for a
normal rainy season.

      A life of shortages of essentially all basic commodities has become
the norm in the past two years under Zimbabwe's "Al Qaeda regime" as it
battles to stay in power.

      The needs of ordinary people have been thrust to the back burner as
ruling party politicians battle for survival at the expense of the wellbeing
of the economy

      Zimbabweans are now scavenging for basic food commodities on a daily
basis in order to feed themselves and their families.

      The problem is compounded by a regime whose uppermost thought is to
stay in power just a day longer and at whatever cost.

      All the populist policies being pursued by President Robert Mugabe are
for the sake of power. To people like Mugabe and his network, there is
nothing wrong in Zimbabwe except for the alleged interference of British
Prime Minister Tony Blair and the weather.

      That inflation is at 139.9 percent, unemployment at over 70 percent
and the Zimbabwe dollar is trading 10 times below its official rate on the
black market are not seen as signs that something is seriously wrong in the

      Neither is the fact that close to seven million people are in need of
food aid, there is zero donor assistance and investor confidence is at rock

      It's no wonder the economy of the country depends for its survival on
the operations of the parallel market.

      No one cares anymore that things should be done right. The economy has
been terrorised left, right and centre by the present regime.

      Zimbabwe has become a looters' paradise, guaranteeing survival only
for Mugabe's bootlickers and sycophants.

      That is life under Mugabe's "Al Qaeda" regime, where the majority of
people have literally been turned into scavengers.

      Zimbabweans from all walks of life have been turned into refugees
doing menial jobs in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Mozambique.

      I sometimes wonder why Zimbabweans persist in complaining about their
suffering when they know the source of the problem. They keep asking when
all the suffering will end and what we should do about it.

      God forbid that Zimbabweans insist on keeping their arms folded in the
hope they will wake up tomorrow to find all the suffering gone.

      Unless and until Zimbabweans take charge and take full responsibility
for their lives, the suffering caused by Mugabe, a mere mortal, will

      When we reach a point where we all understand that Mugabe is not
superhuman or a super-Zimbabwean, that will be the time when we will be able
to solve the problems in our country.

      There is absolutely nothing special about Mugabe and there is nothing
he does that any Zimbabwean of average intelligence can't do.

      Mugabe is not more Zimbabwean than you and me. Mugabe is not Zimbabwe
and Zimbabwe is not Mugabe.

      Unless and until we understand that, we are doomed in our struggle to
create a just Zimbabwe free from internal bondage.

      You do not need to have gone to war to know that a country needs to
have enough foreign currency and be able to feed its people. In actual fact,
I argue that the country would be better off being led by a person who has a
standard six certificate than an individual who has six degrees but has
achieved nothing except ruin and poverty for his people.

      At the height of the conflict in Afghanistan, American President
George Bush warned that his government would not rest until the Al Qaeda and
the Taliban were smoked out of their caves.

      This indeed is a lesson to all people the world over who have to deal
with their own Talibans and Al Qaedas, who come in different forms, shapes
and sizes.

      For Zimbabweans, the challenge and the task has never been any
clearer - to smoke out from their comfort zones our very own Al Qaeda, who
have caused untold suffering to the people of this once great nation.

      We are running out of time.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Forex Rates

            Botswana pula          8.79 130/150
            Euro         54.08              --
            Japanese yen          0.44              --
            South African rand         5.27           80/90
            British pound        85.59         1200/1400
            United States dollar        55.00   800/1000


      Zimbabwe dollar to hit 1 500 against US unit

      Joseph Ngwawi
      10/24/02 7:56:52 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe dollar is expected to further depreciate by more than 30
percent on the parallel market for foreign currency and hit 1 500 against
the American greenback by the end of the year, analysts said this week.

      The analysts say further depreciation will be driven by the drying up
of key tobacco earnings and the absence of donor inflows, which will dent
the prospects of exchange rate stability.

      The local unit is presently trading at about $1 000 to the US dollar
on the unofficial market compared to just $55 against the American currency
on the official interbank market.

      Market watchers this week said the drought, which has necessitated
food imports this year, as well as mounting expenditure on utilities such as
fuel, power and telecommunication would worsen pressure on the exchange rate
in the coming months following the closure of the tobacco auction floors.

      "We therefore expect a year-end parallel market exchange rate position
of 1 500 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar unless the 2003 national budget
comes up with appropriate measures that can improve the supply response of
the economy in the medium term as well as trigger inflows," said Intermarket
Holdings Limited in a commentary on the economy.

      The Zimbabwe dollar/British pound sterling exchange rate, which is
currently pegged at about
      1 700 on the parallel market, is also expected to hit 2 000 by the end
of the year.

      Tobacco is Zimbabwe's premier export crop, which rakes in about a
third of the country's annual foreign currency receipts.

      The tobacco selling season is expected to close at the end of this
month, a development seen worsening the country's hard cash crisis and
widening the gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates.

      Said Zimbabwe Financial Holdings: "Pressure will continue to mount on
the exchange rate in view of the continued sluggish performance of the
country's exports, high demand for imports and the continued prevalence of
low money market rates."

      Import demand traditionally peaks around December when most
manufacturing firms restock their factories.

      The analysts however noted that the supply of foreign currency could
drastically improve around Christmas time when non-resident Zimbabweans
return to the country for the holiday.

      "But that will also coincide with the period when most companies stock
up for the coming year and therefore demand for foreign currency will be
high," said a currency dealer with a commercial bank.

      Pressure on the local dollar is also expected to come from Zimbabwe's
runaway inflation, which is seen ending the year at around 160 percent.

      The country's annualised inflation was pegged at 139.9 percent in
September 2002.

      "Zimbabwe's inflation, currently above 100 percent for the 10th month,
implies a significant loss of regional export competitiveness in the wake of
an overvalued currency," said Intermarket.

      The analysts warned that while the official exchange rate remained
pegged at 55 Zimbabwe dollars to the American greenback, inflation
differentials with trading partners had widened since the beginning of the

      Annualised inflation averages less than 15 percent for Zimbabwe's
neighbours in the 14-member Southern Africa Development Community and is
even lower for trading partners such as Britain and Germany.

      Meanwhile, Zimba-bwe's stock market is seen trading sideways in the
coming fortnight awaiting signals from the 2003 national budget due to be
presented by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa on November 14.

      The local share bourse is also expected to take a cue from the outcome
of the $60 billion agricultural bonds to be floated by the government in the
next few weeks.

      The volume and value of shares traded on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
dropped 35 and 19.8 percent respectively last week as investors retreated
ahead of the budget.

      "Speculation on the two appears to be the major force behind the
lacklustre market trading pattern," said Sagit Stockbrokers.

      A consortium of local financial institutions led by Syfrets Corporate
and Merchant Bank is still to announce the coupon and other details, raising
doubts in the market about the attractiveness of the three-year bonds to be
used to finance activity by new farmers resettled under the government land
reform programme.

      An earlier bond flotation last month that sought to raise $30 billion
flopped because of the low interest rates offered.

      Money market dealers this week forecast that the market, which has
experienced shortages during the past few weeks, would remain short in the
medium-term due to the anticipated huge demand for funds to finance grain
imports and fund the 310 000-plus new farmers allocated plots by the

      "We expect the shortages to continue for the foreseeable future, most
probably until early next year," one dealer said.

  25/10/2002 18:28  - (SA)

Zim dollar dives on black market

Lucia Mutikani

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's dollar has plunged on the black market, shedding a
quarter of its value against the greenback in the past week, analysts said,
but the government has again ruled out a devaluation of the currency.

The state-owned Herald newspaper on Friday said Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa had told a pre-budget seminar that the unit - pegged at 55 to the US
dollar since November 2000 - would not be devalued.

The dollar has depreciated to around 1 350 against the US unit on the black
market from 1 000 at the end of last week. Against the pound it is trading
around 2 025 and between 130 and 135 to the rand.

During the controversial presidential poll in which President Robert Mugabe
secured another six-year term of office, the rand was trading around 300 in
the parallel market.

According to the Herald, the government would instead pursue other
strategies to bring "sanity" in the foreign exchange market, such as greater
use of export incentives.

"I am not convinced that devaluation under these circumstances and in this
kind of environment will translate into supply responses," said Murerwa.

"Of course, we will need to have the right exchange rate so that the economy
can perform. But doing this now would have adverse effects, particularly in
an environment of poor supply and negative market sentiment," he said.

Traders said the rapid movements, after months of relative stability, had
been triggered by perceptions that the Reserve Bank was unable to control
the parallel market after several probes failed to yield results.

Dry period

Activity in the black market had quietened in the last four months following
the government's criticism of the finance ministry and the central bank,
which was interpreted as a sign that the state intended to tighten exchange

Moves in June by the Reserve Bank to investigate banks for their alleged
involvement in the parallel market saw the dollar appreciate to 650 from 850
to the US unit.

"It seems that the Reserve Bank is actually not making any headway and the
banks have discounted the Reserve Bank's ability to contain or check the
parallel market," said Witness Chinyama, an economist in Harare.

Zimbabwe is mired in its worst economic crisis since independence from
Britain 22 years ago, blamed on mismanagement by Mugabe's government.

The crisis began in February 2000, when pro-government militants, led by
veterans of the 1970s liberation war started invading white-owned commercial

Mugabe's government has said it wants to correct imbalances in land
ownership created by British colonialism, but the country is now facing a
severe food shortage caused by the disruptions to farming, coupled with

The economy, in its fourth year of recession, has lost a third of its jobs
in the last 18 months. Inflation topped 139.9% in the year to September,
after registering 135.1% in August.

"It's a 'do nothing' strategy... traditionally October and November is a dry
period, we are going to see the rates go even higher until the tobacco
auction session starts next year," said a trader who declined to be named.

Zimbabwe has been without International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid since 1999
when the IMF and several Western donors suspended help mainly over policy
differences with Mugabe's government.

"For forex inflows to improve, the export sector must be promoted through a
devaluation, we need to re-engage the IMF and bring back foreign direct
investment," said Chinyama.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Tobacco sales to drop by seven mln kgs

      Staff Reporter
      10/24/02 8:53:51 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S 2002 tobacco sales will fall seven million kilogrammes
short of the 170 million kgs forecast at the beginning of the marketing
season because of the disruption of work on commercial farms in August,
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association president Duncan Millar said this week.

      When the tobacco marketing season began at the end of April, growers
expected to sell 170 million kgs of the golden leaf, but Millar said when
selling ends next week, only 163 million kgs would have been sold.

      He said tobacco growers lost part of their crop when they were given
up to August 10 2002 to vacate their farms under the government's
controversial drive to seize land from white farmers for redistribution to

      Some of the white farmers still grading tobacco on farms at the time
had to be given special clearance by district administrators and government
land committees to continue with their work.

      Millar said up to 10 million kgs of tobacco was lost in that period,
during which more than 300 white farmers were arrested for defying the
government's eviction orders.

      Commercial farmers produce about 90 percent of the tobacco crop.

      "We are going to get about 160 to 163 million kilogrammes by the end
of the season and then I guess there will be a mop up sale for one or two
remaining farmers," Millar told the Financial Gazette. However, Tobacco
Industry and Marketing Board general manager Stanley Mutepfa was more
optimistic, saying Zimbabwe was on course to sell more than 170 million kg
when the floors close next week.

      "We are essentially on course to meet our forecast of 170 million kg
and so far 152.1 million kg has been sold," said Mutepfa.

      Zimbabwe has so far generated more than US$300 million from the sale
of 152.1 million kg of tobacco, but analysts say the hard cash raised from
the sale of the golden leaf will not alleviate the country's severe foreign
exchange shortages.

      The forex raised from tobacco sales so far is far less than the over
US$700 million required this year to fund Zimbabwe's fuel, electricity and
food imports to feed close to seven million people facing starvation because
of food shortages caused by drought and the government's agrarian reforms.

      Most of the US$300 million has already been used to pay for fuel,
electricity and food imports.

      The hard cash squeeze is expected to worsen next year if Zimbabwe's
tobacco output declines as forecast by some industry players. Output is
expected to drop 50 percent from this year's figures because of the
disruption caused to agricultural activity by the land reform programme.

      Meanwhile, six officials from bodies representing Zimbabwe's tobacco
growers left for Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesday to attend the International
Tobacco Growers' Conference.

      The meeting will focus on controls on tobacco production proposed by
the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is worried about the impact of
smoking on health.

      If the WHO's proposals are adopted by the international community and
the anti-smoking lobby reduces tobacco and cigarette sales, growers in the
developing world - including in Zimbabwe where tobacco is the largest single
foreign exchange earner - will be the hardest hit.

      Millar said the conference would also touch on child labour in the
industry. He said Malawi had two years ago been found guilty of using child
labour in tobacco production and Zimbabwe feared this could also tarnish its

      "Malawi was found to be using child labour in tobacco production and
we want to make our position clear on the issue because we do not want to be
painted with the same brush," Millar said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Political change must parallel fiscal reforms

      Keron Shumba
      10/24/02 8:41:18 AM (GMT +2)

      Editor-in-chief Francis Mdlongwa's "Beyond the siege'' editorial in
the latest Zimbabwe Top Companies Survey edition rightly sums it all:
Zimbabwe's leaders across the political divide owe it to the country to find
a workable formula.

      It is very interesting and encouraging that the Top Companies Survey,
a premier publication of the leading financial weekly, the Financial
Gazette, reveals that there has been some outstanding performance by quite a
number of Zimbabwean companies, although undoubtedly working in a hostile
economic environment.

      With the latest inflation figures almost reaching a record high of 140
percent, perhaps unprecedented in the history of the country, rapidly
falling foreign currency reserves, coupled with declining investor
confidence and non-impressive performance by other economic indicators, it
is only fair that we find people proposing solutions that seek to prop up
the economy starting from where we are, going upwards than the other way

      Mdlongwa calls for the nation to come up with an 'emergency economic
recovery plan' that seeks to trim public expenditure, while offering
incentives to the productive sector, hopefully to help facilitate foreign
currency inflows. Be that as it may, he hopes the political dust hovering
over the nation should first settle.

      It is true that the political environment in the country since the
March Presidential elections has never been stable. We have seen the
two-mega political parties, Zanu PF and the MDC half-heartedly talking about
a government of national unity, which never was. We also saw promises of co
operation in Parliament, which in fact got translated into squabbles,
near-fist fights and at times boycotting parliamentary sessions altogether.

      The truth is that the current political situation is not healthy for
the supposed creation of a viable economic environment for both government
and business to prosper.

      Now, the question is, should we wait for the enactment of a viable
political landscape to come up with a viable economic blueprint that will
heal the nation's economic ills? Should we wait for that landscape in order
to come up with proactive measures to combat the looming starvation the
nation is facing? Should we wait for the same scenario in order to start
adopting many economic reform strategies long placed on shelves or being
currently proposed?

      My opinion is that, adjustment in the political scenario, if needed,
should go in parallel with an agreed economic reform process.

      To date, the nation has seen a number of economic reform programmes
formulated to address economic ills that emerged as a result of implementing
the Bretton Woods reform prescriptions.

      Notably, the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) and the
Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (ZIMPREST) can
arguably be said to have brought more misery than the expected outcomes.

      The consequences of implementing the above have seen rising
unemployment rates, rising inflation, creation of monopolies thereby
defeating the whole expectations of a perfectly competitive market models
and other problems. Gains in the form of developing a resilient financial
services sector should however not be overlooked.

      However, in an attempt by the government to reverse these social ills,
it came up with its so-called homegrown solutions. Remarkably, of these is
the Millennium Economic Recovery Plan (MERP).

      The government continuously tried other options, which became sector
centred. For example, the Tourism Economic Recovery Plan and the recently
introduced Agrarian led Economic Reform Programme.

      Enter negative publicity. It has now suddenly become very difficult
for the government to see the fruits of its policies largely because of the
negative image that has been built abroad. Who does that and for which
purpose becomes anathema. Bad international image has actually facilitated
the following:

        a.. A sharp decline in foreign capital inflows

        b.. Reluctance by the donor community to continue supporting various

        c.. Enhanced shortages of foreign currency as the local productive
sector become incapacitated to export.

        d.. Institutionalisation of the parallel foreign currency market
capitalising on the official foreign currency shortages.

        e.. Fuel crisis

        It is therefore in light of the need to ignore the political divide
that the nation should rally behind one another in order to prop up existing
economic programmes.

        For Zimbabwe, despite all these problems, hope is being slowly
built. Some recent trends pointing towards that desire can be traced.

        f.. The recent international conferences in the form of that of
sustainable development held in South Africa and the United Nations
conference held in New York have given the nation the opportunity to clear
its image before other world leaders.

        g.. The announcement by South African President Thabo Mbeki that he
would not be party to the marginalisation of Zimbabwe by the West could also
have an impact. Certainly he risks surmountable criticism by the flamboyant
nation's powerful corporate community.

        h.. The recently ended CZI congress did reveal that although
strategies for economic recovery are plenty , there is indeed lack of
confidence, political will on the part of the government and deficiencies in
proactive public-private sector cooperation in implementing economic reform

        In other words, it strengthened the notion that economic blueprints
will remain gathering dust on boardroom shelves unless co-operation by
various stakeholders in implementing these reforms is realised.

        i.. The promise by the Minister of Finance, Dr Herbert Murerwa, at
the CZI congress that a comprehensive export incentive package is being
worked on for inclusion in the 2003 budget is good news for the ailing
export sector, only if it is going to be real.

        j.. The recent indication by Seed-Co, Delta Corporation, CFI
Holdings and other corporate entities to inject a multi-billion dollar
package to support and sustain the ongoing land reform programme is yet
another good example of the desire to prop up the ailing economy despite
mixed feelings about the land reform programme especially in private sector

        k.. Keron Shumba is a Harare-based political commentator.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Murerwa faces tough juggling act

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business Reporter
      10/24/02 8:43:40 AM (GMT +2)

      FINANCE Minister Herbert Murerwa is between a rock and a hard place as
he prepares a budget that should rein in government spending while giving
direction to the country's long rudderless economy.

      Economic analysts and business executives this week said Murerwa, who
will present the 2003 budget on November 14, was under the spotlight more
than any other finance minister since independence in 1980.

      He faces the mammoth task of drafting a blueprint that will end the
uncertainty surrounding Zimbabwe's economy by proposing sustainable measures
to end three years of recession.

      "People will be looking for direction," industrialist Danny Meyer told
the Financial Gazette. "Since Murerwa is part of the "war Cabinet", he
should be able to fight the economic war.

      "He has to spell the direction to remove the uncertainty and pull the
rabbit out of the hat, but we don't know which rabbit he will pull out of
that hat."

      But even as parliamentarians attended a pre-budget meeting this week,
business leaders were sceptical that stakeholders' suggestions would be
taken into account in preparing the budget, or that Murerwa had the
political clout to push through measures that would prove unpopular with the
ruling ZANU PF.

      Top among these is slashing government spending and punishing errant
ministries for budget overruns, one of the chief causes of Zimbabwe's
economic crisis.

      Indications are that the government, facing competing demands on the
fiscus, is unlikely to bite the bullet and sate its appetite for spending,
which has fuelled inflation and a ballooning domestic debt.

      Commentators said Murerwa - who bounced back as finance minister in an
August reshuffle that ushered in President Robert Mugabe's "war Cabinet" to
battle Zimbabwe's economic crisis - was unlikely to take stern measures to
enforce fiscal discipline.

      Murerwa, who was finance minister until 2000, also did not distinguish
himself in his first stint and business leaders said he was a caretaker
rather than an innovator who would bring about change.

      But analysts said while the finance minister had to appease his
political colleagues, he also faced clamours from industry and ordinary
Zimbabweans to turn around the country's economy.

      Zimbabwe is faced with food shortages and price controls on basic
commodities that have forced inflation up to a record high of 139.9 percent,
while foreign currency shortages continue to threaten the survival of local

      Company closures have forced at least 100 000 workers onto the streets
in the past two years in a country where unemployment is said to be more
than 70 percent.

      The government's rampant spending, worsened by the need to import food
to feed close to seven million people facing starvation because of drought
and a chaotic land reform programme, is expected to widen a budget deficit
estimated at $138.3 billion in 2002.

      Financial analyst Nyasha Chasakara said while Murerwa had already
hinted at his intention to fight inflation, he could not afford to increase
taxes, especially for individuals who are already overtaxed and whose
incomes are being steadily eroded by the consumer price index.

      He said the finance minister's only option was to widen Zimbabwe's tax
base, which could lead to the speedy implementation of the long awaited
value added tax.

      "One can only hope that the minister has the political will and
support to carry out a task that will most certainly bring unbearable pain
on everyone," Chasakara said.

      "For inflation to be reduced, the minister will have to work on the
supply side of the economy more than demand. It will be difficult to
increase taxes for individuals in order to close the budget deficit but more
importantly, the government may not afford to tax workers more when their
salaries are being eroded by inflation."

      Bulawayo industrialist Eddie Cross said Murerwa also had to spell out
the government's position regarding the disposal of loss-making parastatals,
which continue to drain resources from the national fiscus.

      He said the disposal of state entities, towards which the government
has shown little enthusiasm in the last few years, should be expedited in
the next budget to allow the channelling of resources where they are most

      The government last year generated $7.1 billion from the disposal of
parastatals against a target of $22 billion. Analysts said it was unlikely
this year's target of $40.9 billion would be achieved either.

      The analysts said aggressive measures would also be required to pluck
the country's export sector out of its present state of decline.

      Exports have fallen 30 percent since 1996 and are expected to decline
further because of the government's controversial agrarian reforms, which
have forced at least 90 percent of Zimbabwe's commercial farmers to cease

      Commentators said the 2003 budget would bring little change unless the
government overhauled such ruinous policies.

      They said a return to the rule of law and market driven policies would
attract international assistance, which would curb the government's over
reliance on the domestic financial sector.

      The government's domestic debt stands at more than $323 billion and it
will shortly enter the market to raise $60 billion to fund black farmers
resettled under its land reform programme.

      Experts pointed out that the government's continued borrowing from the
local market was crowding out the private sector, accelerating economic

      "The government has to change its policies to remove its bad
international image," said consultant economist John Robertson. "If we are
to get anything from the international community, we need to be more
deserving. Otherwise, we will not get anything and we will be in a bind."


      IMF freeze numbs Zimbabwe economy

      By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
      10/24/02 8:44:20 AM (GMT +2)

      THREE years after President Robert Mugabe told the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) to "shut up" and leave Zimbabwe alone to resolve its own
problems, the country's economy has reached breaking point because of the
government's crisis management.

      This week marked the third year since the IMF pulled the plug on
Zimbabwe after unsuccessfully trying to coax the Harare authorities to
devalue the local currency and pull out of the then year-old conflict in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

      But Mugabe, who has during the past two years blamed the deteriorating
economic crisis at home on the West, immediately blasted the Bretton Woods
institution, arguing that Zimbabwe had the muscle to climb out of its woes
without the Fund's assistance.

      During a visit to France to attend the 30th general assembly of the
United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in October
1999, the Zimbabwean leader boasted that his economy would not collapse
after the pullout of the IMF and other multilateral institutions.

      But analysts this week said the southern African economy, once touted
as one of the strongest on the continent, had now reached breaking point
after three years of crisis management.

      "The situation is considerably worse now than it was then, especially
if one looks at inflation, the exchange rate, interest rates, the
destruction of commercial agriculture and the exodus of skilled labour to
other countries in the region and overseas," said consultant economist John

      More than 90 percent of the country's prime agricultural land has been
compulsorily acquired under the government's chaotic land reform programme,
a development expected to severely affect the supply of raw materials to
other economic sectors.

      For instance, agriculture accounts for at least 60 percent of the inpu
ts used in manufacturing.

      The tourism sector, seen by some analysts as key to Zimbabwe's
economic recovery, has also been severely affected by problems in
agriculture, where hundreds of people have been killed or injured in more
than two years of state-sponsored violence.

      In addition, the country's annualised inflation has soared from 70.4
percent in October 1999 to 139.9 percent in September 2002, while acute
shortages of foreign currency have forced the government to abandon a
floating exchange rate in favour of a fixed regime.

      Despite widening inflation differentials between Zimbabwe and its
major trading partners, the key United States dollar exchange rate has been
fixed at 55 Zimbabwe dollars for the past 24 months.

      The idea has been to contain escalating prices of basic commodities
and lessen the burden on the fiscus and consumers of the attendant increases
in the cost of importing fuel and power.

      Mugabe has vetoed calls to adjust the value of the local unit, in July
branding his former finance minister Simba Makoni a saboteur for advocating
the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

      But hard currency shortages have spawned a thriving parallel market
where rapid depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar has pushed up the cost of
living despite the maintenance of a fixed exchange rate.

      "The absence of IMF or multilateral support during the past three
years has dealt the foreign exchange market a severe blow," said an analyst
with a Harare-based stockbroking firm.

      "We foresee worse problems in the coming year unless concrete steps
are taken to normalise relations with the Fund and other bodies."

      The analysts warned that a crippling drought that had necessitated
food imports, as well as mounting expenditure on utilities such as fuel,
power and telecommunications would worsen pressure on the exchange rate
after the closure at the end of this month of the tobacco auction floors.

      Tobacco is Zimbabwe's premier export crop, which rakes in about a
third of the country's annual foreign currency receipts. Output of the
golden leaf is expected to fall at least 50 percent next year because of
instability in the agricultural sector.

      This will further slash the country's exports, which have already
dropped more than 30 percent since 1996.

      Said Zimbabwe Financial Holdings: "Pressure will continue to mount on
the exchange rate in view of the continued sluggish performance of the
country's exports, high demand for imports and the continued prevalence of
low money market rates."

      The Zimbabwe dollar is presently trading at around $1 000 to the US
dollar on the parallel market and is expected to end 2002 at $1 500. The
Zimbabwe dollar/British pound rate, which has fallen from $900 to $1 700 in
the past two weeks, is forecast to hit 2 000 by the end of the year.

      Analysts said this would worsen the lot of ordinary Zimbabweans unless
the government puts aside its crisis management and acted to resolve the
economy's underlying problems, especially fiscal indiscipline.

      "Zimbabwean authorities have to date reacted to economic crises by
introducing 'control economic' policies which have failed to address the
underlying problems," said Robert Still, the chairman of Zimbabwe Platinum
Limited, one of the country's largest mining firms.

      Commentators said the Zimbabwean government had to adopt policies that
would enable it to reestablish relations with the IMF, the World Bank and
other international organisations that have withdrawn balance of payments

      The World Bank this week gave an indication of the measures Harare
would have to take to end its estrangement from international institutions.

      Zimbabwean born World Bank vice president for Africa Callisto Madavo
said: "I do not see the World Bank returning to Zimbabwe until we have
substantive changes, until there is a restoration of the rule of law and
until we see a respect for property rights.

      "The World Bank supports policies that are conducive to investment and
wealth creation, and without the rule of law, attracting investment is not
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      ZANU PF militants threaten Binga council chief with death

      Staff Reporter
      10/24/02 8:38:46 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Binga rural district council chief executive officer
Shadreck Mudimba yesterday said he was living in fear for his life after
being threatened with death by alleged ZANU PF militants who accuse him of
supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      Mudimba, who earlier this year was chased from his office on several
occasions by suspected ZANU PF militants, told the Financial Gazette he had
reported the latest threat on his life to a police inspector Fereme who is
in charge at Binga police station.

      "I have lodged a report with the police," Mudimba said.

      But the spokesman for police in Matabeleland North province,
Mthokozisi Manzini-Moyo, told this newspaper that no such report had been
lodged with the law enforcement agency.

      Self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s war of liberation and
pro-ZANU PF mobs have wreaked havoc in Matabeleland, forcing district
administrators, teachers and other civil servants they accuse of backing the
MDC out of the province.

      None of the pro-government mobs have been jailed for their illegal

      Sources in Binga said the pro-ruling party militants had warned
Mudimba he would be killed if he allowed rural district councillors who are
members of the MDC to use council facilities.

      "They want him out of Binga district. They have told him not to let
the MDC councillors enter the rural district council offices," said a
source, who spoke on condition he was not named.

      The MDC won 16 of the 20 contested wards in last month's rural
district elections, a move that has not gone down well with ruling party
supporters. A number of MDC winning candidates have been assaulted and
forced to flee their homes by ZANU PF supporters not happy with the outcome
of the rural district council elections.

      ZANU PF and government officials blame their loss in Binga to
non-governmental organisations operating in the area, which they accuse of
helping to campaign for the MDC.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Mugabe 'trial' begins today

      10/24/02 8:36:33 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEAN civic groups and opposition political parties will today
begin a two-week mock public trial of President Robert Mugabe whose verdict
is expected to spark countrywide mass protests.

      The President is being charged in the mock trial with allegations
ranging from sanctioning state-sponsored violence to genocide.

      Civic groups involved in the mock trial include the country's labour
watchdog, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, as well as students'
organisations and the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

      Organisers of the trial said four Zimbabwean opposition political
parties had also endorsed the action.

      Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) national youth
chairman Nelson Chamisa told journalists in Harare yesterday that the mock
trial had been prompted by the realisation that Mugabe would never be tried
in Zimbabwe's courts.

      The independence of the country's judiciary has been questioned
following the appointment of officials loyal to the ruling ZANU PF and the
exodus of judges seen by the government as racist and as undermining the
powers of the Presidency.

      The mock trial is expected to mark the beginning of mass protests
against Mugabe, whose controversial March election victory is being
challenged in court by the MDC.

      "This moral trial in which we are going to indict Mugabe was a
realisation that justice no longer exists in our courts," Chamisa told
journalists in Harare yesterday. He added: "The trial is to resolve the
perpetual state of tyranny perpetrated by Mugabe's illegal regime and start
the ball rolling in raising the people's political consciousness.

      "The idea is to deal with the current paralysis that has gripped the
nation and the verdict of the trial should spark mass protests until we
reach a situation where Mugabe's regime accepts the people's demands."

      Chamisa said Mugabe would be tried for mortgaging the country to the
Libyans by bartering choice investments in the country for fuel, denying the
country a new constitution and alleged electoral fraud.

      Also included in the charges is victimisation of journalists,
patronisation of the judiciary, impoverishment of students and workers,
displacement of farm workers and the curtailment of academic freedom.

      NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the coalition of civic groups and
opposition political parties would put mass pressure on the government to
ensure that Mugabe's regime yielded to the nation's demands.

      The demands centre on the drafting of a new constitution and the
installation of a legitimate government after a rerun of the presidential

      The president of the Democratic Party, Wurayayi Zembe, who also
represents all opposition political parties in the NCA, said the trial was a
political tool the coalition had decided to use because it would assist the
process of restoring a legitimate government to the country.

      - Staff Reporter
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Nervous Banks to Fund White Farmers

Financial Gazette (Harare)

October 24, 2002
Posted to the web October 24, 2002

Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN banks have agreed to finance commercial farmers for the 2002/2003
agricultural season, but will only lend to those whose properties are not
threatened with seizure under the government's agrarian reforms, Commercial
Farmers' Union (CFU) president Colin Cloete said this week.

He said local financial institutions had agreed to fund those white-owned
properties that had not been issued with government eviction notices or
farmers who had successfully contested acquisition of their farms in the
Administrative Court.

Cloete said between 600 and 1 000 of Zimbabwe's 4 500 commercial farmers
were still working on their farms countrywide, adding that the figures
continued to change as some farmers successfully contested the acquisitions
of their properties while others were forcibly removed by militant
government supporters.

Because of the sharp drop in the number of commercial farmers still working
in Zimbabwe, bank lending to the agricultural sector is also expected to
fall significantly during the upcoming farming season.

Some industry officials say commercial farmers' borrowings for the 2002/2003
season will amount to less than $4 billion, compared to between $15 billion
and $18 billion made available by banks last year.

The CFU president said there had been fears that banks would not lend to
farmers during the 2002/2003 farming season because the government continued
to press ahead with evictions of white farmers and the resettlement of
landless blacks.

Cloete said banks had been non-committal about financing commercial farmers
last month, but had indicated two weeks ago that they would only lend to
farm owners that had not received orders under section five and eight of the
Land Acquisition Act.

A section five order is a notice of the government's intention to acquire a
property, while a section eight order is an acquisition notice that gives a
farmer 90 days to vacate a property to facilitate resettlement.

"Banks were non committal a month ago but now they are saying they will lend
only to farmers without section five and eight notices," Cloete told the
Financial Gazette.

"But banks are still very nervous. Farmers cannot secure loans with the
eviction orders in place."

He said because of the decline in the number of commercial farmers, output
in the agricultural sector, the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy, would be
drastically reduced next year.

The government's agrarian reforms are said to have already slashed food
production by more than 60 percent, contributing to food shortages that have
left close to seven million Zimbabweans in need of humanitarian assistance.

Most of the resettled farmers the government says will boost agricultural
output have not received inputs and few have begun preparing for the rainy
season, which begins next month.

"It is too early to say how much production will decline by, but it would be
very severe, I am absolutely sure about that," Cloete said.


      Displaced farmers owe NSSA $387.6m

      Staff Reporter
      10/24/02 8:41:33 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has since August
been prejudiced of at least $387.6 million in unremitted pension
contributions from the commercial farming sector, where 90 percent of farms
have ceased operations because of the government's land reform programme, it
was learnt this week.

      Figures from the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) show that the
parastatal will continue to lose at least $129.2 million a month in
unremitted agricultural pensions.

      More than 4 000 of Zimbabwe's 4 500 white farmers have been issued
with eviction notices under section eight of the Land Acquisition Act,
requiring them to cease farming and vacate their properties within three

      Most of the notices expired in August, causing further instability in
the commercial farming sector, which employed about 350 000 workers.

      According to the CFU statistics, Zimbabwe's farm workers and their
employers contributed about $143.5 million a month to NSSA before the
upheavals in the agricultural sector.

      Workers contribute $210 each and employers a similar amount for each
employee towards pensions that are administered by NSSA.

      The amount contributed towards farm workers' social security has
fallen by at least 90 percent because of the government's controversial
agrarian reforms, said a CFU official who declined to be named.

      He told the Financial Gazette: "Since 90 percent of the farm workers
are no longer employed, NSSA is prejudiced of the same percentage in terms
of the contributions it used to get from the farm worker."

      This means that since August, NSSA has lost at least $387.6 million
from the commercial farming sector.

      Acting NSSA general manager Arnold Takawira however said it was
difficult to ascertain exactly how much the commercial farmers owed NSSA
because some of them claimed to have stopped farming while in fact they were
still working.

      "It is our mandate to always track down people who fail to remit funds
to NSSA and for the commercial farmers, some of them had not been responding
to letters we send them, while others are saying they have ceased operations
when in fact they are still farming," he said.

      Takawira said NSSA had dispatched inspectors to make physical checks
on commercial farmers who had been affected by the land reform programme.
Those not remitting workers' contributions while their farms were still
operational would be prosecuted, he said.

      Parliament last month passed the NSSA Amendment Act, which will make
it easier for the social security organisation to conduct such exercises.

      The legislation seeks to enhance revenue collection from non-compliant
companies by allowing NSSA to appoint inspectors who will be allowed to make
their own estimates of outstanding amounts from defaulting firms.

      It is however still awaiting President Robert Mugabe's signature to
make it into law
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Copenhagen Post

Mugabe's man and Red Cross money

      24. oktober 2002 Print Article  (IE & NS 4+)


The Danish Red Cross has been accused of 'extreme naiveté' for transferring
charity money to a sister organisation, the Zimbabwean Red Cross, which is
run by one of dictator Robert Mugabe's governmental ministers.

As an integral member of Robert Mugabe's inner circle, Swithun Mombeshora is
allegedly part of a corrupt government that has been accused of
indiscriminately murdering white farmers, inciting political violence and
violating human rights throughout the country. However, alongside his job as
Minister, Mombeshora also holds another influential position - President of
Zimbabwe's Red Cross, a branch of an international organisation founded on
impartiality and independence. The Danish Red Cross is now being criticised
by opposition parties in Zimbabwe for allowing Mombeshora to administrate
hundreds of thousands of kroner donated by charitable Danes.

Although Mombeshora's own constituency in Zimbabwe is a 'no-go' area because
of political violence, the Red Cross's general secretary in this country,
Jørgen Poulsen, said he had no reason to believe that

Mombeshara didn't share Red Cross principles 100%. 'We have investigated
this man on many occasions during the 17 years he has been President of the
Red Cross, and on no occasion has he been found to mix politics with his
work for us,' said Poulsen - a statement strongly disputed by Paul Themba
Nyathi, spokesman for the opposition MDC party.

'That is naiveté of the worst kind,' says Nyathi. 'How can Mombeshora be
neutral when he participates in daily government meetings planning violence
and repression? I have never once heard him reject the violence that plagues
our country'.

According to Nyathi, Mugabe's party has on many occasions forced the Red
Cross to deny aid to members of the opposition.

Because of Momeshora's double role, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
has forbidden Red Cross to distribute Danida aid in Zimbabwe, forcing the
organisation to use funds from nationwide collections.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Sekeramayi dismisses plunder report
Dumisani Muleya
DEFENCE minister Sydney Sekeramayi has strenuously denied a United Nations
(UN) report which accuses him and others of plundering the mineral resources
of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In an interview on Wednesday, Sekeremayi dismissed as baseless UN assertions
that Zimbabwean politicians and generals were part of avaricious "elite
networks" of civil, military and government power-brokers geared towards
looting the DRC's resources.
"That report was fabricated by the British to tarnish our image," Sekeramayi
said. "It is full of British propaganda and exhibits their desperation.
Certainly, it is the height of stupidity."
The report linked 54 individuals from all over the world to the pillaging,
including Defence Forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe and Speaker of
Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as well as many companies. Zvinavashe leapt
to his defence claiming the report was "meaningless". Mnangagwa, who faces
other sleaze allegations, has not yet commented.
Sekeremayi denied having written a memo to President Robert Mugabe proposing
the formation of a private military company to safeguard Zimbabwe's
commercial interests in the DRC after the withdrawal of its forces.
"It's really stupid because how can I write a memo and copy it to myself.
That is what the report says," he said. "If there is something which I want
to discuss with the president, I don't have to write a memo. I just go to
see him," he said.
Zimbabwe, which has several military companies for the exploitation of DRC
diamonds and other minerals, was accused of commercialising its army to
promote the business interests of top politicians and military officers.
Since the release of the report, there has been a flurry of denials by those
implicated in the looting.
South African diamond dealer Niko Shefer, whom the Zimbabwe Independent
recently suggested would feature in UN investigations, also denied
Like multimillionaire John Bredenkamp, whom the report also links to the
DRC, Shefer is connected to government officials and the military.

ABC News

Congo Urges U.N. to Help End Plunder
Congo Urges U.N. Security Council to Help End Exploitation of Country's

The Associated Press

      UNITED NATIONS Oct. 25 - Congo's foreign minister urged the U.N.
Security Council to help end the massive exploitation of his country's
riches, but he opposed any financial restrictions on Congolese citizens and
companies a U.N.-appointed panel says are reaping illegal profits.

      Calling the theft of Congo's natural resources "one of the greatest
plunderings that the African continent has ever seen," Foreign Minister
Leonard She Okitundu thanked the panel Thursday for highlighting the link
between the illegal exploitation of the country's wealth and "the pursuit of
armed aggression."

      But he said it was wrong for the panel to equate Congo, a victim of
aggression, with Uganda and Rwanda, which attacked his country and still
have troops on Congolese soil. Okitundu said Congo's ally, Zimbabwe, whose
soldiers "have paid the price of blood in order to have the Democratic
Republic of Congo live," also should not be treated like "the armed

      Okitundu was responding to Monday's U.N. report accusing criminal
groups linked to the armies of Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Congo of
plundering Congo's riches. The report also called on the Security Council to
impose financial restrictions on 29 companies and 54 individuals.

      Among those on the list was the minister of the presidency of Congo,
Augustin Matumba Mwanke.

      Even though troops from Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe are withdrawing
from Congo under recent peace agreements, the panel said the groups have
made elaborate arrangements to continue exploiting billions of dollars worth
of diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, timber and coltan, an excellent conductor
used in the high-tech, communications and aerospace industries.

      The panel's chairman, Ambassador Mahmoud Kassem of Egypt, introduced
the report at Thursday's open council meeting with a warning that "success
on the political and military front will ultimately prove unsustainable if
the economic issues that contribute to prolonging armed conflict are not

      He urged the council to take "decisive action" to consolidate peace
and rebuild the region's economies.

      During the past four years, Kassem said, three distinct groups have
carved out separate spheres of economic control in different areas of Congo
extending "far beyond precious natural resources to encompass territory,
fiscal revenues and trade in general."

      One is controlled by the Rwandan army, one by the Ugandan army, and
one by the Kinshasa government, backed by the Zimbabwe military, he said.

      "Their exploitation activities involve highly organized and documented
systems of embezzlement, tax fraud, extortion, kickbacks and false
invoicing. They also include the asset stripping of state companies and
secret profit-sharing agreements," Kassem said.

      With growing international pressure for the withdrawal of foreign
forces from Congo, he said, the networks have adopted new tactics to
maintain their economic grip. Those include using paramilitary groups and
military-backed companies with civilian faces, and integrating foreign
soldiers into rebel armies and local defense forces.

      Kassem reiterated the panel's call for the council to adopt economic
incentives as a "peace dividend" to encourage governments to abide by the
peace accords. He also encouraged such disincentives as travel bans,
freezing assets, and phased cuts in foreign aid to curb the criminal
exploitation of Congo's resources.

      Congo's Okitundu urged the council to accelerate the deployment of
U.N. peacekeeping troops to speed the departure of all foreign troops and
stop the pillaging of Congo's resources. Until foreign troops withdraw, it
would be "a terrible precedent" to give their countries economic aid, he

      Council members asked for more time to study the report.

      Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Harare Becomes DRC 'Blood Diamonds' Centre

Financial Gazette (Harare)

October 24, 2002
Posted to the web October 24, 2002

Staff Reporter

HARARE has become a trading centre for "blood diamonds" stolen from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and a conduit for criminal groups to
launder money earned from theft of Congo resources, according to a United
Nations (UN) report released this week.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) troops have allegedly been used as bandit
soldiers to provide security to shady companies and groups plundering the
Congo, which in turn have paid huge sums in bribes and kickbacks to some
senior Zimbabwean government officials and ZDF commanders.

ZDF troops - deployed in the DRC by President Robert Mugabe in August 1999
to help Kinshasa repel an armed rebellion - have also been used to instigate
instability in the DRC to facilitate the looting of diamonds and other
minerals undetected.

The UN report, which also accuses senior DRC, Rwandan and Ugandan government
and army officials of stealing from the Congo, names Speaker of Zimbabwe's
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa as the key Zimbabwean behind the plundering of
the Congo.

ZDF commander Vitalis Zvinavashe, Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Perence
Shiri as well as top-ranking army and Zimbabwe government intelligence
officials have also played a key role in plundering the war-torn DRC.

Mnangagwa, widely regarded as Mugabe's preferred choice of successor, this
week refused to comment on the charges levelled against him by the UN

Mnangagwa, who has in the past denied links to shady deals in the DRC, said
he would only comment on the UN report after reading it.

Zvinavashe, who is Zimbabwe's top military commander, dismissed the UN
report as meaningless, castigating it as the work of groups that were
opposed to Zimbabwe's involvement in the DRC in the first place.

Zimbabwe's representative to the UN headquarters in New York, Tichaona
Jokonya, is said to have already registered Harare's displeasure with the

The UN investigators said a network of Zimbabweans led by Mnangagwa had
turned Harare "into a significant illicit diamond trading centre".

A string of contracts signed between the DRC government and several
companies, some owned by private groups and some by the ZDF, had seen at
least US$5 billion being transferred from the Congolese nation to
Zimbabwean, Congolese and private investors, with no compensation or benefit
to the DRC government.

"These transactions, which are controlled through secret contracts and
offshore private companies, amount to multi-billion-dollar corporate theft
of the country's mineral assets," the UN investigators said in the report,
expected to be debated by the world body today.

They added: "Some 30 businessmen, politicians and military officers are the
main beneficiaries of the arrangements."

The UN panel has recommended travel bans, freezing of personal and financial
assets and other sanctions against the companies and individuals it names in
its report

The UN said Zimbabwean soldiers had organised and facilitated the high-level
theft of diamonds, citing one diamond field where the Zimbabweans would
allow criminals to dig diamonds in exchange for bribes.

The UN said: "Three theft rings operate in the MIBA compound known as the
polygone. The first of these rings was organised and operated by 48
Zimbabwean soldiers who had been stationed at five different locations
throughout the large mining site.

"Zimbabwe military personnel allow groups of people to enter the polygone
and dig for diamonds and in exchange receives compensation in the form of
money and diamonds."

The UN said in an attempt to perpetuate chaos and allow the continuation of
theft of diamonds and other precious minerals resources, the "Zimbabwe
Defence Forces have fuelled instability by supporting armed groups opposing
Rwanda and Uganda".

Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia sent troops to the DRC at the request of that
country's late president Laurent Kabila to support him against armed rebels
backed by the Ugandan and Rwandan armies.

Namibia and Angola have so far not been linked to the plunder of DRC

Zimbabwean taxpayers have not benefited from the DRC conflict, with Kinshasa
said to owe Harare more than $100 billion in outstanding payments for the
services of the ZDF.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent  - Eric Bloch Column

Zim's love/hate relationship with IMF
EVER since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discontinued its funding
support of Zimbabwe, it has been a pronounced target for scathing verbal
attacks by the Zimbabwean governmental hierarchy, its bellicose media which
unhesitatingly abuses the fundamental precepts of journalistic ethic in
order to satisfy its masters, and those duped by such attacks into believing
that the IMF is all that its loud-mouthed critics allege it to be.

Almost immediately after Zimbabwe's Independence, the IMF was forthcoming
with considerable financial assistance for the young, new State that had a
desperate need to develop its infrastructure, rebuild and grow the economy
and source volumes of imports of capital and consumable goods.

Much of the funding flowed from the IMF and, possibly of greater importance,
the fact that Zimbabwe had a credible status with the IMF assuring it of
public and private sector loan funding from international monetary
organisations, and of vast aid from donor states.

Concurrently, the IMF, the World Bank and others, responding to requests
from Zimbabwe, gave advice as to how Zimbabwe could most advantageously and
expeditiously develop and strengthen its economy.

Zimbabwe proved itself very willing to accept those advices - when they
accorded with the desires of Zimbabwe's government - and especially so when
they were accompanied with monetary largesse.

Thus, when the IMF advised Zimbabwe on a programme for economic structural
adjustment, and provided much funding to facilitate and support the
programme, Zimbabwe readily implemented those facets of the programme (which
became known as Esap) which appealed to it, but either ignored the elements
of the programme which were counter to the ideologies, economic perceptions
and misconceptions, and the vested interests of those in power in Zimbabwe,
or at best implemented the measures half-heartedly.

As a result, the first three years of Esap were a marked non-event,
compounded by adverse climatic conditions. Belatedly, in 1994, the programme
was pursued with somewhat greater commitment and vigour, resulting in some
significant economic advances over the following three years.

However, the liberalised, deregulated economy did not conform with the
political and other aspirations of Zimbabwe's masters.

Esap represented freedom for the economy, but a straitjacket for the

Eventually the authorities could bear the constraints no more. They burst
through the shackles that Esap represented to them (but not to the economy),
and progressively reversed all that Esap had achieved.

As the economic gains were increasingly reversed, as economic decline
accelerated, it was necessary to divert any possible criticism and blame,
and rapidly the IMF became a target. After all, Esap was founded upon
economic policies strongly advocated by the IMF, and it was essential for
the populace to be misled into believing that the economic recession was the
fault of Esap, which the state had therefore discontinued, in the alleged
best interest of Zimbabwe and its people.

In castigating Esap, instead of itself, government successfully convinced
many that the ills of the economy were not due to fault on its part, but to
that programme which it alleged had been imposed upon Zimbabwe by the IMF.

And then, the economy continued to worsen, despite repeated assurances by
government that its actions would soon restore well-being (after all, was it
not that "economy is the land, and land is the economy"?).

More and more victims to be the brunt of governmental verbal assault had to
be identified as the culprits for Zimbabwe's woes. Hence Britain in general
and Tony Blair in particular, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the
European Union, whites, commercial farmers, industrialists, political
opponents and numerous others were repeatedly accused of conspiring to bring
Zimbabwe's economy to its knees. But throughout, the IMF was identified as a
key villain, and more intensively so once it ceased to provide Zimbabwe of
critically needed foreign exchange.

The fact that Zimbabwe was in default in servicing prior debt was not
considered by government to be of significance. Zimbabwe is now indebted to
the IMF for US$153,4 million (which, at official exchange rates, amounts to
approximately $8,4 billion and, at prevailing parallel market rates, to
about $153 billion).

As recently as eight days ago, a state controlled daily newspaper was
emblazoned with a headline pronouncing: "IMF, donors destroying democracy in
Third World". This form of crass attack upon the IMF has become an almost
daily diatribe of vitriol.

In practice, it invariably is a matter of "the pot calling the kettle
black". It was President Franklin D Roosevelt who, in an address to the
United States Congress in 1941, suggested that the pillars of democracy are
four freedoms. "The first is freedom of speech and expression .... The
second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way ... The
third is freedom from want ..... The fourth is freedom from fear ....".

Of these four freedoms, only the second prevails in Zimbabwe. Freedom of
speech only exists selectively, government having enacted draconian
legislation to curb free speech, unless such speech is acceptable to, or
emanates from, government and the ruling party.

The third freedom, being from want, is almost non-existent in Zimbabwe, with
more than 80% living in abject poverty. Millions are experiencing the pangs
of hunger.

Many are the sufferers of malnutrition. The causes are incontrovertibly the
reversal of the economic policies which stimulated the economy's recovery
and growth from 1994 to 1997, that reversal being at the instance of
government, and the disastrous mismanagement of Zimbabwe's immense
agricultural resource by an ill-conceived, grossly inept and markedly
unjust, agrarian reform programme, also at the instance of government,
whereas a viable, practical, beneficial, internationally-supported agrarian
programme could readily have been pursued, except that such a programme was
not politically palatable to the ruling party.

And the fourth freedom is also almost non-existent in the Zimbabwe of the
21st Century. Fear abounds. Fear of starvation, fear of the alleged
guardians of law and order, fear of other arms of government such as the
CIO, fear of war veterans, and fear of many others who are clearly immune to
the prescriptions of law!

So, far from the IMF destroying democracy, it is the actions of some of
those in power in the Third World, and certainly so in Zimbabwe. (The latest
example of erosion of democracy by the state is the contemplated legislation
that executive mayors not be elected by those they are to serve, but be
appointed by Government!)

Amazingly, however, on the same day as that attack upon the IMF was printed,
the Minister of Finance and Economic Development reportedly stated, in an
interview with an an independent newspaper, that a "task force" is drawing
up a macro-economic policy to be presented to the IMF and that talks with
the IMF will be opened as soon as that policy framework is complete.

He is quoted as saying that "we are cognisant of the fact that we cannot go
it alone without international partners" and that "Zimbabwe still values its
IMF membership".

He acknowledged that the IMF recently signalled that it was prepared to bail
out Zimbabwe from its economic quagmire, although he also said that
"government wants first to steer the economy to a sustainable path before
seeking assistance from the IMF".

These statements fly in the face of oft-repeated contentions by many in high
office in Zimbabwe that "Zimbabwe can go it alone - Zimbabwe does not need
the IMF or anyone else".

Perhaps belatedly an element of reality is setting in and eclipsing the
delusions that Zimbabwe does not need others, save perhaps for those who are
allegedly its friends, but whose friendship is linked to their own
enrichment at Zimbabwe's expense. The minister's statements, deserving of
much commendation and very courageous in the context of being the opposite
to the enunciation of others in authority, are the first, very tentative,
indications of a possible transformation of Zimbabwean attitude to the IMF
and, therefore, to restoration of a constructive economic environment.
Back to the Top
Back to Index