October 28 2005 at 04:17AM
Johannesburg - The Zimbabwean government does not intend chasing all
white farmers out of the country, Zimbabwe's Herald Online reported on
It quoted vice-president Joseph Msika as saying: "Our policy is not to
drive all whites out of their farms."
The policy of "one-man one-farm" should not be used against legally
settled productive white commercial farmers, he told a farmers union
congress in Bulawayo.
"We have situations, like the one in Esigodini, where some
ex-combatants are unilaterally trying to push out some white farmers
producing tomatoes in Esigodini for sale here in Bulawayo," Msika said.
"That is not our policy."
It was unfortunate that the social and economic justice programme was
being wrongly interpreted by some people to justify displacing white
"What I know about the land reform programme is that it says, if a
white commercial farmer has five farms, then we take four so that he remains
with one," Msika said.
"If again that one farm is too big we then apply the concept of
maximum farm sizes and we take a portion of the farm and leave him with the
right-sized portion. The intention is not to grab everything."
Both new farmers and the white commercial farmers should work together
to achieve food security in the country.
"The whites used us during the colonial era. We should also use them
this time around. One obviously cannot just wake up a good farmer, you need
to learn," Msika said. - Sapa
October 28 2005 at 05:52AM
By Cris Chinaka
Harare - Zimbabweans are using mobile phones to spice up their lives
with a bit of humour and take their minds off the daily grind of life in the
shattered economy, scrounging for scant food and fuel.
Behind the veil of a state dominated media, packed with official lines
on the problems facing the southern African country which leave no room for
lighthearted tales, Zimbabwe's urban population is resorting to the Internet
and short message services via cellphones to spread some laughter.
At least once a day, a cellphone user is likely to receive a humorous
SMS, ranging from a dirty joke to a tickle about the lives of Zimbabwe's
One joke which has circulated at fuel queues among motorists
struggling with shortages and buying the scarce commodity at exorbitant
black market rates is an invitation to make haste to a fuel garage which
supposedly has copious amounts of the commodity.
"Do you need petrol or diesel? No queue and take some containers if
you wish. COST is pump price," the message begins, leaving the desperate
motorist almost stunned with relief. But of course there is a catch, as the
SMS continues: "RUSH now and see a guy called Al Sayid at Number 13 Shaduuf
Road, Tripoli, Libya."
Libya had been Zimbabwe's largest fuel supplier before it cut off the
deal three years ago after Mugabe's government failed to pay its bills.
And then there is the greeting message designed to poke fun at the
harried motorist with an empty fuel tank: "Greetings from the proud owner of
50 litres of fuel."
A large chunk of the jokes are brimming with sexual innuendo.
In one such tale, a shopper walks out of a leading Harare supermarket
and stuffs his hand down the front of his pants, prompting the female
security guard at the exit to ask what he has slipped into his trousers.
Irritated, the man shoots back, "Are you trying to tell me this shop
now sells penises?"
Zimbabwe's political leaders are frequently the butt of some of the
jokes, but people rarely spread these outside their trusted circle of
friends and family for fear of landing in jail for breaching tough security
Mugabe, 81, and in power since Zimbabwe won independence from Britain
in 1980, approved the punitive legislation three years ago in the face of
serious political challenges and an economic crisis many blame on government
Scores of people have been hauled before the courts on charges of
contravening the laws, which include a ban on political rallies without
police permission and insulting or undermining the authority of the
president, an offence punishable by a fine or a jail term of up to a year.
Sat 29 October 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe was this week thrown back into the dark ages when
authorities in the town of Shamva north-east of Harare started removing
garbage using donkey and ox-drawn carts as a crunch fuel crisis continues to
Zimbabwe has experienced intermittent fuel shortages for the past
six-years, precipitated by the country's worst economic crisis that has
spawned critical shortages of foreign currency needed to pay for oil
The chief executive officer of Shamva town council, Sydney Chiwara,
said yesterday fuel shortages had forced authorities to suspend the use of
tractors and trucks used to remove garbage from the town's Nyaradzo
Chiwara said the latest move was the only available option for the
council as it battles to avert a health disaster.
"We have been having a problem of diesel and this is a stop-gap
measure which we have taken to prevent a health hazard," he told ZimOnline
by phone from the district council about 90km from the capital Harare.
"We are hoping that we will get diesel soon but in the meantime the
donkey and ox-drawn cart have come in handy. We do not have any other
Donkey and ox-drawn cart owners in the district have become instant
millionaires as the council pays up to keep the garbage off the street. But
residents of Nyaradzo complained on state television on Thursday that the
new transport system had its own shortcomings, such as donkey and cattle
dung strewn all over the suburb.
Fuel shortages have resulted in urban suburbs going for weeks with
uncollected garbage, which health experts say will result in a serious
health crisis if it continues into the rainy season, expected to begin
In September, Harare town clerk Nomusa Chideya told a parliamentary
portfolio committee that the city had been forced to purchase fuel on the
black market after failing to get allocation from the government.
Although other officials have not publicly commented on where they are
getting fuel, most are getting it from the black market at no less than $100
000 a litre to keep their vehicle fleet on the road.
But Shamva has become the first council in the country to improvise
using donkey and ox-drawn carts to remove garbage, something that may have
been unthinkable to many Zimbabweans. - ZimOnline
Sat 29 October 2005
BOCHA - Visiting Bocha rural district, more than 200km south-east of
Harare, one would be forgiven for thinking that mourners at a funeral wake
in one of the villages here are on some kind of competition to see who among
them cooks the best.
Soon after the burial of James Mushipe, the mourners troop back to the
home of the deceased to have lunch. Each mourner takes out a packet of food
that they have brought along. But this is no competition to see who prepares
the best food. Instead this is testimony of hunger stalking Zimbabwe.
"It's a sign of the times," said Norman, the sombre-faced elder
brother to the late Mushipe. "This is a new tradition brought about by
increasing hunger and shortage of food. So, people are now required to bring
their own food whenever they attend funerals," he added.
Bring-your-own-bottle or food parties are as common in Zimbabwe as
everywhere else. But the long held tradition was that at funerals the family
of the deceased must fend for relatives and friends gathered to comfort and
help them through their proverbial moment of need.
The community would chip in with contributions of small portions of
food, traditional beer or even utensils to be used to cook and serve food to
the mourners but it remained the responsibility of the deceased's family to
Not anymore, as Zimbabwe grapples a severe economic recession that set
in after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) withdrew financial assistance
in 1999 and gathered momentum after President Robert Mugabe launched his
controversial farm seizure programme a year later.
Mugabe's chaotic and often violent seizure of productive land from
white farmers for redistribution to landless blacks destabilised the
mainstay agricultural sector, causing a 60 percent drop in food production.
Zimbabwe, once a regional bread basket, has avoided starvation for the
last five years only because international relief groups have chipped in
with food handouts. And more than one million tonnes of food aid are
urgently required or an estimated third of the country's 12 million people
could starve between now and the next harvests that begin around March/April
2006, according to World Food Programme (WFP) figures.
But it is not only food that is in critical short supply. Fuel,
electricity, essential medical drugs and just about every other basic
survival commodity is in critical short supply, this at a time a burgeoning
HIV/AIDS crisis is ravaging the country, killing at least 3 000 people every
Philemon Mugano, a member of the Bocha rural district council,
describes how the worsening crisis has forced even this most conservative
community here to review tradition in order to keep with the hard times.
He said: "People are dying every day because of HIV/AIDS. Coupled with
the fact that virtually everyone here is starving with no form of food
support either from the government or (international) donors, it had become
a nightmare for bereaving families to feed all the mourners.
"Hence we now require everyone to bring their own meal provisions for
the duration of the bereavement."
Mugabe, who until just before last March's disputed parliamentary
election, denied Zimbabwe faced food shortages, has barred international
food aid groups from assisting starving people accusing them of using food
aid to try and win support for the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party.
The WFP and other non-governmental organisations are allowed to feed
only special groups such as orphans, people living with HIV/AIDS and the
elderly. Unconfirmed reports suggest Mugabe will only open up the country
to internal food agencies after a senate election scheduled for November 26.
But Mugano said many in his area could not wait until end of next
month before they can get food aid, adding that the "Bring-your-on-food"
funeral wakes should be enough evidence of how desperate the situation had
"It might seem like a joke to some, when we say there is hunger here,"
the councillor said. He added: "But the truth my brother is that we have
reached a point beyond which there could be total disaster. For example, in
my ward alone I have in the last month witnessed at least three deaths
because of hunger-related illnesses."
Former University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor and leading social
scientist Gordon Chavhunduka, concurred with the councillor, saying only the
most desperate of situations could see people requiring mourners to carry
along their own food.
He said: "Circumstances, such as the one Zimbabwe finds itself in,
force many to abandon cultural norms for survival. All this is happening
because of starvation even if our political leaders don't want to take
necessary steps to ensure people are assisted with food."
Defending his government's decision to bar food agencies, Mugabe told
journalists on the sidelines of the United Nations summit last month that no
one was starving in Zimbabwe saying the country had heaps of potatoes and
rice which people could turn to but only that they did not prefer them.
Asked to comment on Mugabe's rice and potato claim, 57-year old Tsitsi
Katuzure would not in the first place believe the President could have said
such a thing. She said: "You people are lying against our President because
only a mad man can claim that we are starving here simply because we think
potatoes and rice do not taste nice." - ZimOnline
Sat 29 October 2005
HARARE - A government minister this week seized one of the country's
largest citrus fruit estates near Chegutu town after forcing out the white
owner as senior government and security officials step up a fresh round of
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga grabbed the prime Lions
Vlei farm near Chegutu, about 60km south-west of Harare throwing out
hundreds of farm workers and putting in jeopardy a Z$7 billion (about US$120
000) fruit export project that was being implemented at the farm with help
from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Matonga, like all other senior government officials who own at least a
farm seized from whites, already owns Mupandaguta farm in Banket district,
north of Harare. The deputy minister, who is said to have seized the farm
with help from the police, was not available for comment on the matter last
But the displaced farmer, Tom Beattie, told ZimOnline that Matonga
pitched up at the farm last Sunday and declared himself the new owner,
telling Beattie to leave immediately.
When Beattie demanded to see an official letter from the government
authorising Matonga to take over the farm, the minister is said to have said
no letter was necessary since the farm was "state land".
Beattie, who is now staying at his son's home after being thrown off
his farm, said: "He (Matonga) came and broke the security locks on the gate,
started removing the furniture from the house of which the police were even
assisting. This is very bad . . . we had secured a loan to do granadillas
for export worth more than $7 billion."
Farm evictions have intensified ahead of the rainy season expected to
begin anytime soon, this despite statements by Vice President Joseph Msika
and RBZ governor Gideon Gono that the government would not allow the few
remaining white farmers to be removed from the land.
The largely white-member Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) early this
month said a number of white commercial farmers countrywide were being
ordered to cease farming by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ruling
ZANU PF party.
About 25 commercial farmers were evicted in the prime farming district
of Makoni in the past four weeks while farm invasions continue to be
reported in the south-eastern Chipinge farming district.
The government has since 2000 forced off the land about 90 percent of
Zimbabwe's large-scale producing white commercial farmers to pave way for
landless black villagers.
But the country has suffered severe food shortages as a result because
the government did not give the black farmers inputs or skills training to
maintain production on the former white farms.
An estimated four million people or a third of the 12 million
Zimbabweans urgently require more than a million tonnes of food aid or they
will starve. - ZimOnline
Sat 29 October 2005
JOHANNESBURG - Inmates who died at the government's Lindela
Repatriation Centre outside Johannesburg could have been saved if the centre
had adequate health facilities, South African Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula said on Friday.
Scores of Zimbabweans as well as illegal immigrants from other
countries are held at Lindela at any given time. There have been numerous
complaints of beatings and ill-treatment of inmates at the centre.
Mapisa-Nqakula, who was speaking at the release of a report of the
findings of an inquiry into deaths at Lindela she ordered last August, said
many of those who had died at the centre had suffered from diseases such as
meningitis which she said the centre did not have the capacity to treat.
The Home Affairs Minister said she ordered the inquiry after "we
observed a disturbing trend in the frequency of these deaths, particularly
during the months preceding the establishment of the independent committee."
There were nine deaths at Lindela this year, and 43 more at the nearby
Leratong Hospital - to which the repatriation centre refers inmates
considered more seriously ill, the report revealed.
Among those who died were two Zimbabweans, Mcabangeleni Mlambo, 22,
and Alice Tshumba who died in July at Lindela and Leratong Hospital
Mlambo died after having bled from the nose and vomited blood. The
nursing sister's report stated he had "flu and conjunctivitis".
Tshumba who was seven-and-a-half months pregnant died at Leratong
hospital after being referred there from Lindela. A post mortem stated that
her death was consistent with gastro-enteritis and pulmonary oedema (fluid
in the lungs).
The government committee recommended that the capacity of the medical
care facility at Lindela be addressed through the provision of adequate
infrastructure and human resources.
It also recommended continuous training of Lindela's clinic staff in
emergency medical care, mental health and tropical medicine - in particular
the management of HIV/Aids, TB and malaria - and protocols in the outbreak
of infectious diseases such as meningococcal meningitis, typhoid and
It was also recommended that detainees be screened for medical
conditions on their arrival at the centre.
The committee was chaired by retired Methodist Church minister Rev
Otto Mbangula, and included Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Dr Hashim Moomal
who is a retired pathologist and an expert in post mortem analysis. -
Sat 29 October 2005
HARARE - The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government is planning to blow
US$18.5 million on the African Cup of Nations finals in 2010 if it wins the
right to host the continental soccer showcase.
According to the official hosting project proposal titled "Bringing
the beautiful game to a beautiful country" which has already been submitted
to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) which is in charge of running
football on the continent, the total expenditure is billed to come to US$18
The document, which was compiled by a nine-member bidding committee,
was accompanied by a letter written by Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa)
chairman Rafiq Khan and Education, Sport and Culture Minister Aeneas
According to the project proposal, the government proposed to book 30
people from each of the participating teams in economy class while the CAF
president, honorary president and the two vice-presidents will travel first
Participating team players will be given a daily indemnity of USD$100
while match officials will pocket USD$200 per match.
On hotel accommodation, Zimbabwe has budgeted US$970 000 while
transport costs are pegged at a massive US$864 000. The CAF congress will
chew a massive US$425 000 while printing costs are set to blow US$4.3
The Zimbabwe authorities will also splash a massive US$300 000 during
the opening and closing ceremonies for the tournament, while medals and
match equipment will chew a staggering US$650 000 and US$500 000
Algeria, Senegal, Mozambique, Zambia and Morocco are also seeking to
host the 2010 soccer tournament. CAF is expected to announce the winner next
In 2000, Zimbabwe lost the right to host the soccer finals after Zifa
failed to secure government backing on the project. The tournament was later
jointly hosted by Ghana and Nigeria.
Zimbabwe is going through a severe economic recession which has seen
the country battle a severe fuel crisis because there is no foreign currency
to import the commodity. - ZimOnline
October 28, 2005
Posted to the web October 28, 2005
Home Affairs has confirmed that visa requirements with Zimbabwe are still in
The department says it has not scrapped visa requirements for Zimbabweans
traveling on ordinary passports into South Africa for holiday, business and
In a statement the department has also reminded all airlines, travel agents
and travelers to take note of the decision.
The department says it had to clarify the situation after "misleading" media
reports that South Africa and Zimbabwe had agreed to scrap Visa between the
"We would like to add, however, that Government officials, including Police
on cross border investigations are exempt from South African visa
requirements," said the department.
The department has advised the media to seek clarity from the department
through correct channels before publishing information that will cause
confusion among people.
October 28 2005 at 02:46AM
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will spearhead his party's
campaign in the opposition stronghold of Matabeleland ahead of next month's
controversial senate elections, state television reported on Thursday.
In an apparent bid to make the most out of a split in the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) about whether or not to participate in
the poll, a senior ruling party official said the campaign will be centred
on the second city of Bulawayo.
"This campaign will be led by the presidium, as led by the president,
his excellency Comrade R G Mugabe," said Elliot Manyika, the national
secretary for the commissariat in the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union
Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).
"He'll go together with the presidium and the rest of the central
committee members and politburo members into the field to campaign for our
candidates," he said.
Bulawayo and the two Matabeleland provinces are traditional MDC
strongholds. But bitter infighting in recent weeks has threatened to tear
apart the six-year old party.
On Monday, 26 MDC candidates, including 15 from Matabeleland and
Bulawayo, registered to contest the senate election, defying opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai who had said the party would boycott the poll.
Opposition supporters in Matabeleland appear keen to prevent Zanu-PF
from gaining a foothold in their region.
On Wednesday Tsvangirai told reporters here that his party was working
to resolve its differences to "replace the Mugabe dictatorship". - Sapa-dpa
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/29/2005 03:42:09
A ONE-TIME Zimbabwean diplomat and high-ranking member of Zimbabwe's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the United Kingdom was
beginning a two-and-half year jail term on Friday.
Oswald Ndanga, 63, of Wodecroft Road, Luton, was reprimanded by a judge for
running a con where he pretended to be a lawyer and immigration consultant.
Ndanga has served as Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and was
appointed the country's ambassador to the then Soviet Union, now Russia.
He resurfaced in 2000 when he stood in a by-election in the Chikomba
district on behalf of the MDC. He lost out to the ruling Zanu PF's candidate
amid claims of voter intimidation and rigging. He is also the MDC's district
chairman in Luton.
He offered advice to his countrymen who were seeking asylum and others who
wanted to stay in the country for a fee.
But Luton Crown Court heard that he did very little to follow up the
Ndanga had pleaded guilty to eight charges of obtaining property by
deception, one of providing immigration advice or services without
qualification and one of fraudulent trading.
Prosecutor Stuart Alford said Ndanga had claimed on business cards that he
was a lawyer whereas he had only completed one year of a three year law
Several cases where Zimbabwean people seeking immigration services had been
conned by him were outlined in court. It also heard he had been serving a
community punishment order for eleven identical offences in 2001 and 2002.
Rasib Ghaffar, defending, said: "By using the terms on his business card he
meant that his client would have access to lawyers."
He added Ndanga thought he had an agreement with a proper firm of
immigration advisors which covered him.
Sentencing him, Judge John Bevan said: "You are a liar when you call
yourself a solicitor and you are a good old fashioned confidence trickster."
He said Ndanga would serve half his 27-months sentence and then be released
on licence. He was also banned from being involved with any company for 10
By Tichaona Sibanda
28 October 2005
Robert Mugabe is reported to have authorised a restructuring of the
police force that will see Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and other
senior officers leaving the force to be replaced by a "new breed of trusted
ZimOnline on Friday quoted authoritative sources who said the changes
in the police force, which were initially earmarked to take place last
month, were part of a wider re-organisation of the top brass in the security
forces by Mugabe. The ultimate aim is to place the forces in the hands of
trusted loyalists before Mugabe retires, supposedly in 2008.
According to the sources Chihuri was supposed to be replaced by Mugabe's
nephew Innocent Matibiri when his term expired last September. This could
not happen because Mugabe had, until a few weeks ago, not given his final
approval to the restructuring plan.
Chihuri will be forced to go since his rank will be phased out. Some
of his deputies and senior officers, whom the President is suspicious of,
will be forced to leave as well. "A new breed of trusted police officers
will be installed," said a source who did not want to be named.
Chihuri, who was part of a group of fighters that unsuccessfully
rebelled against Mugabe during Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence, is
still Police Commissioner after his term was extended.
Former Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Chawora, speaking in London,
said the proposed changes don't necessarily mean who ever takes over would
be obliged to protect Mugabe from prosecution.
' There is a unique system in the uniformed forces where officers are
bound to be loyal to the serving government. It would be foolhardy for
Mugabe to presume that his loyalists will be able to defend some of his
actions when he retires,' said Chawora.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
28 October 2005
The President of the Zimbabwe National Association of Students Unions,
Washington Katema says the level of victimization of student's countrywide
has reached alarming levels. The University of Zimbabwe is reported to have
suspended Student Executive Council members following allegations they
incited a rebellion over a directive by authorities for students to pay for
hostel refurbishments. In a bizarre move the University wants students to
sign letters agreeing to them paying Z$150,000 each for the repainting and
repair of hostel facilities on campus.
The directive has been met with extreme anger by the students who are
already receiving meagre allowances as it is. Students in hostel receive
Z$1,1 million while those non-residents get Z$1,9 million grants. Protests
from student leaders to the Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura, have only
attracted the suspension of Collen Chibanga and Mfundo Mlilo, the Vice
President and Secretary General respectively. The Vice Chancellor says they
are suspended until a disciplinary committee hears their case.
Last Wednesday disturbances broke out on campus, with riot police
besieging the campus and randomly beating up students. At Bindura University
a student leader was also expelled on various spurious allegations. In
Masvingo students are being forced to join governments housing PR stunt,
'Operation Garikai' as part of their attachment. At the Harare Polytechnic a
dean of students was recently suspended for trying to poison a group of
student leaders by pouring acid onto their sheets and food in the hostels. A
separate incident also saw the President of the University of Zimbabwe
Students Council expelled for allegedly cheating on his exams.
At the Midlands State University, Ornwell Marasha, another student
leader was expelled 3 weeks before he could complete his 3-year degree
programme. He was accused of leading the production of a politically
motivated video on campus, which allegedly brought the University into
'disrepute'. ZINASU President Katema says students in the whole country were
being subjected to unbelievable levels of harassment and intimidation.
Suspensions and expulsions had now become a way of life for every student.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The Herald (Harare)
October 28, 2005
Posted to the web October 28, 2005
THE CMED reportedly squandered more than $2 billion the Ministry of Mines
and Mining Development had paid for the purchase of 15 new vehicles last
This has resulted in vehicle assembling firm Willowvale Mazda Motor
Industries (WMMI) failing to deliver the 15 vehicles, worth over $2 billion,
to the ministry since last year.
Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Mr Thabani Ndlovu yesterday said
the ministry had paid the full price to WMMI through the CMED for the
purchase of the vehicles that had not been delivered in full up to now.
Mr Ndlovu told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, Environment
and Tourism that only five vehicles were delivered to the ministry and
efforts to get the 10 others had so far been fruitless.
"We are concerned that the ministry has been prejudiced because we could
have had the vehicles a year ago, but up to now CMED has not delivered
them," he said.
Mr Ndlovu said his ministry was in desperate need of the vehicles and there
were fears that the vehicles could have been distributed to other
"At the time, the vehicles cost $150 million each and that amount was paid
for by the ministry in full," he said.
The secretary said as a result of the ministry's desperate situation, it had
since approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to provide at least US$180 000
to buy vehicles.
"CMED got the money from the ministry to purchase the vehicles and they did
not deliver, so they might have given someone else. I think that's more than
corruption. The department must pay up and deliver the vehicles," said Gokwe
South Member of Parliament Cde Jason Machaya (Zanu-PF), a member of the
Querying why ministry officials had not confronted CMED over the issue
Bikita West MP Cde Claudius Makova (Zanu-PF), another member of the
committee, said they should be more serious.
He said ministry officials and the responsible CMED personnel should be
summoned to appear before the committee urgently to explain what happened to
Mr Ndlovu, however, said the other major constraint faced by his ministry
was that last year's budget of $81 billion was cut by $24 billion.
The chopped-off portion, he said, was, among other needs, supposed to
finance the monitoring of mines to establish whether they were smuggling
minerals out of the country.
"A number of mines have so far been closed for flouting regulations," he
Another member of the committee, Guruve South MP Cde Edward
Chindori-Chininga (Zanu-PF) asked the officials to comment on reports that
precious minerals like gold and platinum were being smuggled out of the
Confirming that there had been such reports, which he described as
worrisome, Mr Ndlovu said that was the reason why the ministry had deployed
its personnel in different parts of the country to monitor the situation.
"We want to plug that hole before everything is out. Zimra (the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority) has purchased scanners, which can see through cargo
leaving the country at the borders," said the secretary.
He said although the ministry had been allocated a fuel allocation of about
600 000 litres per month, it had not been getting that amount of late.
He said the ministry had only 50 percent of the required staff and most
people who applied for jobs in the ministry did not take up the posts
because of poor remuneration.
Mr Ndlovu also told the committee that the ministry was resuscitating mines
that were closed between 2002 and last year and said the diamond mine in
Beitbridge would be opening soon.
Acting chief Government mining engineer Mr Charles Tahwa also told the
committee that as a result of scarce resources, safety in the country's
mines had been compromised with at least 27 people having lost their lives
at registered mines so far this year.
He said the figure could actually be higher if unregistered mines were
Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:51 PM GMT
By Nita Bhalla
PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Southern and east African countries lose billions of
dollars every year to drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and
mineral smuggling, severely hampering development, an expert said on Friday.
A lack of data makes it difficult to quantify exactly how much is lost, said
Charles Goredema, senior research fellow at the influential Institute for
Security Studies in South Africa.
"In South Africa alone, 80 million rand is lost annually so we are talking
in the multibillion-dollar range being lost in the region every year," he
said in an interview with Reuters.
More than 500 million people live in southern and eastern Africa -- which
comprise more than half of the continent's 53 countries -- and the majority
live on less than a dollar a day.
Though both regions are relatively stable, grinding poverty and weak
policing create an environment in which crime flourishes.
"The loss of money through these crimes is a serious issue for the region
because the money is lost by countries which can least afford to be without
those kinds of resources," he said.
Goredema says the smuggling of gold and diamonds means tax is not being
paid, resulting in revenue losses for governments to fund health, housing
Analysts say criminal activity, like armed robbery and car theft, increases
the cost of securing and insuring property, adversely impacting economies
where social services are not well developed.
Although the extent of revenue loss and crime types varies across the
region, Goredema says countries like Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) face the biggest problem with the smuggling of gold and
Others lose money to diamond, cobalt and zinc smuggling, he said.
Recent seizures of several tonnes of narcotics worth millions of dollars in
Kenya and South Africa show that Africa is increasingly becoming a hub for
Mauritius, Botswana and South Africa have the best laws in the region to
tackle financial crimes and smuggling, but many other are lacking such laws
and sometimes, even the agencies to enforce them.
And those that have agencies often find that they have no backing from their
governments, leading to ineffectiveness, he said.
The problem is especially acute with anti-corruption bodies, which have to
depend on the very governments they investigate for funding, leaving them
open to sabotage.
"And then there is the whole question of autonomy, most anti-corruption
agencies are not independent," he said.
Many anti-corruption laws do not obligate people to explain wealth which is
disproportionate to their income, or to declare their assets if they are in
positions that can be abused, he said.
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Monday October 17th – Sunday October 23rd 2005
Weekly Media Update 2005-40
1. GENERAL COMMENT
2. THE MDC SPLIT AND SENATORIAL ELECTIONS
3. THE MONETARY POLICY
1. General comment
THE media’s failure to inform the public of important developments has again been exposed by their “no-memory” coverage of news; in this case their failure to follow up on the trial of 44 journalists from the banned Daily News accused of practicing without licences, an offence that attracts a maximum jail sentence of two years under Zimbabwe’s repressive media laws.
As this report was being compiled, the international journalists’ watchdog organisation, Reporters Sans Frontiers, revealed (25/10) that the State had apparently “abandoned the prosecution” of the journalists after court officials failed to turn up for their trial on October 12th.
According to the international journalists’ watchdog, the Daily News staffers and their lawyer went to the court “but none of the court officials including the judge in charge of the case knew about the hearing”. It quoted an official from the paper’s publishers, the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, saying the authorities were “too embarrassed to proceed with the prosecution” after the acquittal of the first Daily News journalist to be tried on the same charge, Kelvin Jakachira, and had therefore decided to “let the case slowly die a natural death”.
SW Radio Africa (26/10) picked up the story the following day while the rest of the media missed it. The fact that only the niche market radio station reported the matter clearly shows the adverse effects of repressive media laws, which have severely eroded media diversity, leaving the partisan government controlled media the dominant sources of information.
Instead of heeding calls to democratise the country’s media environment, The Zimbabwean (21/10) revealed that the authorities were instead employing unorthodox means to further choke the free flow of information. The London-based weekly reported an unnamed “intelligence source” alleging that government was “using sophisticated satellite equipment purchased from China” to jam broadcasts by the small independent radio station, Voice of the People. MMPZ’s own efforts to monitor the station’s signal over the past three weeks have been frustrated by a steady droning interference.
SW Radio Africa, which was forced to change its broadcasting frequencies in the run-up to the March parliamentary election due to jamming, first reported the issue about two months ago. MMPZ condemns these attempts to starve the nation of alternative sources of information as desperate acts of people frightened of the truth.
2. The MDC split and Senatorial elections
THE government media continued with their narrow and biased interpretation of the divisions rocking the MDC over participation in the November 26 Senate elections during the week. Almost all 53 stories these media carried (government Press  and ZBH ) on the matter, used the decision by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to overrule his party’s National Executive Council’s 33:31 vote favouring participation in the election to launch a personal attack on him, saying he was undemocratic and dictatorial.
They simplistically attributed the rift in the opposition to his actions without giving a holistic picture of the problems bedeviling the opposition party. Neither did they critically examine the underlying implications of such divisions on the party’s survival and indeed the country’s struggle for democracy. Rather, Radio Zimbabwe and ZTV (18/10, 8pm) and Power FM (19/10, 8pm) merely castigated Tsvangirai for “failing” to “uphold the principles of democracy, which the party claims to champion” by his rejection of the decision by his party’s executive council.
ZTV recruited ZANU PF apologists Media and Information Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso and Herald reporter Caesar Zvayi, who attacked the opposition as “immature”. Although ZTV reported in the same bulletin that members of the public had expressed “mixed feelings” over Tsvangirai’s decision to boycott the polls, only two of the 15 selected individuals supported the opposition leader, while the rest denounced him for allegedly breaching his party’s constitution and “pleasing his masters”, an expression that clearly exposed the sources of their information. But how exactly Tsvangirai was pandering to the whims of his perceived ‘masters’ was not explained.
ZBH’s anti-Tsvangirai coverage was reflected in its sourcing pattern. For example, 16 of the 21 MDC voices quoted on ZBH supported the party’s participation, while only five supported Tsvangirai. In addition, all alternative voices and most of the selected individuals sourced for comment maligned the opposition leader. (See Fig1.)
Fig 1 Voice distribution on ZBH
Zanu PFMDCGovtAlternativePoliceZECOrdinary people
The government papers adopted a similar trend.
They turned their coverage of the MDC conflict into a personal attack on Tsvangirai, describing him, for example, as a “fake democrat” and a “political nobody” (The Herald 18/10) while reporting approvingly of the MDC’s pro-participation faction led by Welshman Ncube, whom The Sunday Mail (23/10) portrayed as “the cool politician” and “the real deal”.
The Herald (22/10) took its anti-Tsvangirai crusade to wildly propagandist extremes in its front page article People vs Tsvangirai. The inflammatory commentary portrayed Tsvangirai as a national villain who had not only wreaked untold suffering on the nation but his party as well. It cited “analysts” calling for the MDC leader to “be made accountable for the crimes he has committed” against Zimbabweans. However, not a single analyst was identified or quoted directly saying these things.
Instead, The Herald quoted Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga urging Zimbabweans to “organise a mass action against Mr Tsvangirai” whose “disregard of the law is legendary”, adding, “most of the challenges that we (Zimbabweans) are facing can be traced to his recklessness”.
The paper’s determination to condemn Tsvangirai as a political outcast was reinforced by its publication of a close-up picture of the opposition leader’s face plastered with eight newsflashes of his alleged crimes against the nation. Notably, most of the alleged crimes had either been dismissed by the courts or were largely untested.
This campaign against the MDC leader resulted in the government papers failing to investigate the circumstances in which Tsvangirai is said to have breached his party’s constitution, threatened his rivals or issued his boycott call. For example, The Herald and Chronicle (20/10) never verified the MDC leader’s claims that the NEC’s decision to participate in the Senate election was influenced by vote-buying by members of the party’s “top six”. They only appeared to be interested in celebrating the party’s conflict by amplifying any criticism that Tsvangirai’s rivals aimed at him.
Although the government Press carried more MDC voices than any other, (Fig 2) these were mostly from the group advocating participation in the Senate election.
Fig 2. Voice distribution in the government Press
MDC Zanu PF GovtZECAlternative
While the in-fighting in the MDC presented the government media with a glorious opportunity to denigrate Tsvangirai and his party, they carried 34 stories (government Press  and ZBH ) that presented a sanitized picture of ZANU PF’s preparations for the poll.
In contrast, the private media adopted a generally professional approach in the 47 stories (private Press , Studio 7  and SW Radio Africa ) they carried on the damaging divisions within the MDC. These media gave both MDC factions an opportunity to articulate their positions. Thus, the pro-participation group’s argument that the MDC should not surrender political space to Zanu PF by boycotting the poll and Tsvangirai’s contention that contesting the poll was useless as Zimbabwe’s electoral laws “breed illegitimate outcomes” were reasonably projected. For example, while SW Radio Africa (18/10) quoted Tsvangirai claiming that he had overturned the NEC’s vote in accordance with the “mandate given to him by Congress”, the next night the station reported MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda giving a different position. Sibanda accused his boss of “breaching party laws and misrepresenting facts”.
The Financial Gazette (20/10), which alone carried seven stories on the matter, revealed in two stories that the rift in the MDC was more than just a fight over the Senate elections. It depicted the current rift as emanating from a year-long power struggle for control of the party between the two factions ahead of the party’s congress next year.
The story cited a Press statement apparently issued by MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda, linking Tsvangirai’s “wilful” violation of the MDC’s constitution to previous acts of violence against senior national and provincial leaders by party youths.
Tsvangirai’s spokesman William Bango dismissed the statement saying it was likely a fraud since “another person other than Mr Sibanda himself” had signed it.
In addition, it cited unnamed MDC insiders chronicling more conspiracies on the alleged origins of the power struggle between Tsvangirai and his rivals.
The Gazette also provided an illuminating account of what transpired during the MDC’s NEC meeting itself. It reported Tsvangirai as having been press-ganged by his lieutenants to conduct a vote on the matter, a development the opposition leader interpreted as meant to “sabotage” and “humiliate” him.
The Standard (23/10) carried three opinion pieces calling on the MDC to boycott the election, saying it should find other democratic means of bringing about change. Earlier, the Zimbabwe Independent (21/10) questioned Tsvangirai’s boycott calls, saying: “What is there to lose in the Senate poll that the MDC has not already lost in the lower chamber (Parliament)?”
Figs 3 and 4 show the voice distribution in the private media.
Fig 3. Sourcing pattern of the private Press
Zanu PFMDCAlternativeZECGovtOther oppositionUnnamed
Fig 4. Voice distribution on private radio stations
Zanu PFMDCForeign AlternativeZECOrdinary people
Notably, both sections of the media failed to independently verify the constitution of the opposition party and establish the fundamental authority of the MDC.
The media also hardly carried helpful information on the electoral authorities’ election preparations. For example, ZBH merely carried 23 stories that passively rehashed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announcement that it had embarked on voter education campaigns. As a result, there was inadequate information on constituency boundaries, timeframes and measurable outputs of the voter education exercise, and inspection of the voters’ roll.
The dismal manner in which the government media covered this critical component of the poll was best captured by The Herald (22/10), which failed to seek clarity on the impartiality and mandate of the ZEC’s National Logistics Committee, which includes Public Commission Chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa (chair), Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and at least five secretaries of government ministries such as secretary for Information, George Charamba.
Although the private media also failed to report meaningfully on the administration of the election, Studio 7 (18/10) and SW Radio Africa (21/10) quoted Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove accusing the authorities of gerrymandering in order to neutralise MDC strongholds. He alleged on SW Radio Africa that the poll “has already (been) rigged” because Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa “simply came up with the amalgamation of various constituencies” and “more often than not” diluted urban seats with “rural constituencies”.
The government media ignored the issue.
3. The Monetary Policy
THE government media’s amnesia in handling pertinent national policy issues was clearly illustrated by their supine coverage of the monetary policy review statement from Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono during the week.
These media simply celebrated the statement without relating it to Gono’s previous monetary policy pronouncements. For example, none of the 30 stories the official Press (12) and ZBH (18) carried on the matter viewed Gono’s decision to relinquish government control of the exchange rate and allow market forces to determine the value of the local currency as a major policy shift considering he has steadfastly refused to do so in the past.
Neither did these media try to link this development with IMF demands to allow the market to determine the value of the local dollar. Nor did they see Gono’s drastic revision of his inflation target of 80 % by year-end to between 280 and 300 % as a clear admission of failed economic policies. There was also no analysis on the effects of raising interest rates from about 200% to more than 400% on industry’s viability.
Instead, ZTV (20/10, 8pm) simply rehashed highlights of Gono’s statements and celebrated the new foreign currency exchange policy saying the move would “improve foreign currency inflows” without explaining how.
The Herald (21/10) followed suit. It passively noted that the introduction of the interbank market exchange rate “will pave way for efficient allocation of resources in the foreign currency market …at the same time improving exporters’ viability and luring foreign exchange into the official system”.
And instead of seeking diverse opinion on the subject, the paper simply restricted itself to sourcing comments from pro-government analysts, who praised the purported benefits of the dollar’s effective devaluation, although the word “devaluation” was pointedly missing from government media reports.
None of the media asked policymakers and commentators why it had been necessary to impose such heavy controls on the dollar’s value for so long, if allowing the dollar to find its own value was the solution to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. The inflationary effect of the devaluation and its impact on the soaring cost of living was also never touched.
To lend the monetary policy international approval, ZTV (21/10, 8pm) and Power FM (22/10, 8pm) claimed that the “diplomatic community” had also “thrown its weight behind economic recovery measures outlined by central bank governor” saying “whilst Zimbabwe has received widespread negative publicity on issues pertaining to both economic and political issues, the situation on the ground reflects a better Zimbabwe with a better future”.
None of the ambassadors were quoted saying this.
It was against this blind endorsement of Gono’s policies that the government media suffocated the governor’s plans to introduce a new currency by March next year, a move usually taken by countries with failed economies. The government media’s pathetically inadequate coverage exposed their reliance on official sources and alternative voices that merely echoed government sentiment, as illustrated by the sourcing pattern of the official Press. See Fig 4.
Fig 4 Voice distribution in the government Press
Alternative ProfessionalBusiness Govt
Most of the 15 stories the private Press carried on Gono’s new monetary policy were sceptical about its ability to turn around the economy. The Zimbabwe Independent (21/10) especially, believed that despite the IMF’s predictions of a bleak economic future, Gono had still “not come up with a viable reconstruction model but clung to the failed plan”, a situation that boded ill for the economy.
It noted that the governor’s plans to introduce a new currency, his revision of inflation targets and the dumping of foreign currency auctions for a floating system was actually an admission of his failed monetary policies.
The Standard (23/10) noted that Gono implored government not to condone more land invasions if his efforts to win the war against inflation was to be won. Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa carried three stories that also questioned the effectiveness of Gono’s policies.
The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message. For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at http://www.mmpz.org.zw
PRETORIA, South Africa, Oct. 28--Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Hamid Moayer
and Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Mubengegwei Simbarashe in a meeting on
Thursday discussed matters of bilateral concern.
At the meeting, Moayer referred to cooperation between the two countries in
the international assemblies and bilateral agreements and declared Iran's
interest in establishing a joint commission.
The foreign ministers of the two countries will preside over the commission,
which is to discuss cooperation in various fields including trade, defense,
information and publicity, roads and transportation, telecommunications as
well as promotion of sciences and technology.
Expressing the interest of Iranian companies in investing in Zimbabwe's
various economic fields, the diplomat called for guarantees and facilities
required for the presence of Iranian enterprises in Zimbabwe.
For his part, Mubengegwi appreciated Iran's contribution to various economic
projects in that country, calling for close
collaboration, particularly in extraction and exploitation of mines in
The foreign minister pointed to his country's economic problems and said,
"Given that Zimbabwe's debts to the International Monetary Fund will soon be
due, the country is now in critical financial condition."