election re-run Dumisani Muleya PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has
promised an election re-run if he loses the legal challenge lodged by
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to his disputed March poll win, Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo has said.
Obasanjo told journalists last week
in Abuja after meeting with other troika members South African President
Thabo Mbeki and Australian premier John Howard that Harare had undertaken to
re-run the poll if Mugabe's victory was invalidated.
March.the opposition (Movement for Democratic Change) has gone to court to
challenge the election (outcome), I am told," he said.
government has said if the challenge of the election result in the court is
upheld they will call for another election. If, however, the challenge is not
upheld then they will expect the opposition to recognise the government that
comes out of that election."
However, Mugabe, who claimed victory
after the profoundly-flawed March poll, has ruled out a re-run in statements
designed for the domestic market.
Obasanjo said reconciliation talks
between the ruling Zanu PF and MDC would resume after the court battle. His
remarks followed the meeting in which he and Mbeki blocked Howard's bid to
have Zimbabwe fully suspended from the Commonwealth.
suspended from the club's political councils in March for a year after the
Commonwealth observer team found evidence of blatant
Howard, who chaired the meeting, said Obasanjo and
Mbeki gave Mugabe a six-month grace period to fully comply with Commonwealth
demands to restore democratic legitimacy, while he insisted on immediate
"There was a difference of opinion," Howard said. "My view
is very clear. I think we should have suspended Zimbabwe forthwith. My two
colleagues are of the opinion that the progress of Zimbabwe should continue
to be monitored over the next six months."
disagreement, troika leaders agreed Mugabe, who angrily boycotted the meeting
claiming an unprocedural invitation by Canberra, has so far failed to meet
his side of the bargain.
Obasanjo admitted there has not been a
"noticeable or sufficiently noticeable" improvement in the situation since
March. He said he believed "President Mugabe should be co-operating with the
Commonwealth on the issues that we have raised" and "I believe he
Asked whether he thought the crisis was deepening, Obasanjo
said: "Well, it depends which way you look at it." He said litigation against
Mugabe, for instance, was an improvement because it averted civil
On the land issue, Obasanjo said Mugabe told him during the Earth
Summit in Johannesburg the crisis was "virtually over".
no one was in a position to say whether or not Mugabe would comply in the
next six months.
"As you know there is none of us here who can speak
on behalf of President Mugabe," he said. "So it's difficult to answer the
question how confident we are (that he would respond
Meanwhile, Australian officials have pointed out that
the text of Howard's invitation to Mugabe to attend the Abuja meeting was
first cleared by Mbeki and Obasanjo. It was submitted to Mugabe's chief of
protocol in the normal way. It was not put on the Internet or faxed, they
point out in response to offical claims in
Fuel crisis to
spread countrywide Barnabas Thondhlana ZIMBABWE'S fuel crisis is
expected to spread to the south of the country as financing agreements signed
with suppliers in South Africa come to an end.
Fuel industry sources said
this week Zimbabwe had a US$20 million facility with Sasol and Engen to
supply mainly the south and central parts of the country. Already US$10
million has been exhausted and the remainder will only last about 10
"Fuel purchasing company Petronas, which has been delivering
Sasol and Engen fuel to Zimbabwe under the facility, will cease doing so as
soon as the deal expires," said an industry source. "The likelihood of it
being renewed is minimal as government does not have the money." Only four
shipments are left.
The source said there was an immediate need to
address the ongoing fuel shortages as failure to do so would see Zimbabwe
slipping back to the days when fuel queues were the order of the
"The current crop of leadership in the Energy ministry has
failed to contain the crisis and looks incapable of doing so," the source
The current shortages are likely to persist as there is no
prospect of foreign exchange reserves improving.
Harare has for
the last two weeks been surviving on a US$10 million fuel financing facility
sourced from the Afroxim Bank. The facility, organised by Trust Bank and the
Merchant Bank of Central Africa, was sufficient to keep the city supplied for
a week. The fuel was sourced from the Independent Petroleum Group's stocks at
Noczim's Mabvuku storage tanks where IPG has over 100 million litres of
"A new facility of around US$60 million needs to be
quickly negotiated if the situation is to be brought under control," said the
The US$360 million Libyan fuel deal is yet to see a
drop of petrol being delivered to the country. The Libyans have called in
their US$63 million debt and have said delivery would only be effected if
government made an effort to pay up.
Land seizures cost
Zesa $12b Augustine Mukaro/Blessing Zulu THE Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (Zesa) will lose at least $12 billion in revenue this year
alone as the effects of the chaotic land reform programme remove power and
service users in commercial agriculture.
Documents to hand show that the
4 000 farmers forced to leave their properties or who have stop-ped
production pending departure were paying on average a total of $1 billion in
Zesa bills every month.
Sources at the power utility said the
parastatal is projected to incur the worst losses in its history this
"Zesa suffered a $1 billion loss in the year 2000 and that was
understood to be the worst compared to 1995's $100 million loss," sources
"The loss of farmers as a revenue base will undoubtedly
negatively impact on Zesa's delivery capacity and debt
The $12 billion shortfall contributes a significant
percentage of the parastatal's annual turnover.
The power utility
is struggling to service its debt to neighbouring countries from whom it
imports power for distribution to local consumers.
Mozambican power-company Cahora Bassa over US$40 million and DRC's Snel more
than US$2 million. It also owes Eskom of South Africa over US$40 million.
Cahora Bassa has threatened to disconnect Zimbabwe if the debt is not
The withdrawal of funding by the World Bank, the European
Investment Bank, and the African Development Bank last year worsened Zesa's
The billion-dollar loss came to light when management
wrote a memo dated July 18 to workers who were demanding a cost-of-living
"The need for a cost-of-living adjustment is
acknowledged," the memo said. "The financial position is currently not strong
in view of a loss of $1 billion as at May 2002."
Collin Cloete who has only 80 hectares of irrigable land, said when operating
at full capacity he paid on average $0,5 million every
MDC petitions govt
on violence Blessing Zulu MOVEMENT for Democratic Change MPs have
petitioned the government over the increasing cases of violence, lawlessness,
abuse and torture by members of the police and the ruling Zanu PF
The petition was addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and the Minister of Home
Affairs, Kembo Mohadi.
MDC chief whip and MP for Mutare Central
Innocent Gonese told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that they had handed
in the petition.
"We handed the petition to the Speaker in
Parliament," said Gonese. "We then went to the Police General Headquarters to
hand one to Chihuri but were asked to hand it to the Minister of Home Affairs
instead. Mohadi refused to take the petition arguing we could not meet him
without an appointment. We left the petition with his
In the petition, the MDC said it was alarmed by the
complacency of the state in dealing with lawlessness in the
The party said the police had allowed "violence,
lawlessness, abuse and torture to pervade the country, with the active and
passive support of the state which had completely failed to fulfil its
constitutional obligation of protecting each and every Zimbabwean without
regard to political affiliation from violence, abuse and
The petition also took exception to the selective
application of the law.
"We are alarmed that the Zanu PF government
has promoted lawlessness, the abuse and misuse of the rule of law, the
systematic politically motivated arrests of members of the opposition, the
severe torture of those placed in police and Central Intelligence
Organisation custody and the increasing incidents of indiscriminate beatings
and assaults on members of the opposition by the army or persons dressed in
army uniform," the petition said.
deaths now over 150 Augustine Mukaro THE death toll of victims of
political violence has risen to 151 since 2000, the latest Human Rights Forum
The latest victim is Nikoniari Chibvamudeve who was killed
in Hurungwe two weeks ago as the ruling Zanu PF party supporters stepped-up
violence and intimidation during local government polls.
to the report, "Political Violence", 58 of the recorded deaths occurred this
year. Just before the March presidential election the figure stood at 132
while 19 others died in post-election violence.
has continued to prevail in all parts of the country," the report says. Some
of the violence was allegedly perpetrated by uniformed details, with the
greatest prevalence being reported in Manicaland.
reportedly been spearheading violence in Manicaland. Examples include the 10
soldiers who severely assaulted bus conductors at Nyakamete and others who
assaulted guards at Charleswood Farm.
"Specifically, in Chimanimani
CIO agents, police officers and soldiers are meting out a reign of terror,
assaulting civilians with baton sticks, sjamboks, booted feet and open
hands," the report said.
"Victims of violence are allegedly being
taken to prison cells in the area, which the victims claim now serve as
Reports of political violence against teachers have
been recorded in eight of the 10 provinces in the country with Bulawayo and
Harare being the exceptions.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum
report documents 238 individual cases of abuses against teachers by Zanu PF
"Since January 2001 violence on teachers witnessed the
closure of 30 schools," the report says.
"Most of the closures
were due to teachers fleeing violence perpetrated against them and
subsequently refusing to go back until their safety is guaranteed against the
marauding war veterans and Zanu PF supporters."
The forum said apart from
school closures, other abuses suffered by teachers included abduction,
unlawful arrest and detention, death threats and displacement from work
"Pepertrators would go to schools where targeted individuals
taught and then physically remove them from their places of employment or
just ordered the transfer of teachers they suspected to be opposition
supporters," the report said.
Teachers were also threatened with
either job loss or personal injury if it was established that they supported
"At the highest level, this was done by the Minister
of Foreign Affairs Stan Mudenge, but it was also done by 'war veterans' in
Chimanimani, Bikita West, Masvingo Central, Mberengwa West and Zaka East,"
the report said.
Some teachers were forced to flee their places of
work as their schools were used as bases by Zanu PF militia for the torture
of opposition members or as re-education centres and generally springboards
from which they carried out political
Govt moves against
farmers Loughty Dube THE government's National Land Taskforce has
set today (Friday) as the last day for commercial farmers served with Section
8 eviction notices, but who are still contesting the orders in the courts, to
vacate their properties, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
close to the task force said the process was expected to be finalised by
today when district land committees throughout the country were expected to
report back on the forced removal of the remaining white commercial
The sources said the decision to drive out the farmers was
reached at a meeting convened in Bulawayo this week and attended by National
Task Force members, district administrators and the Matabeleland Land
"The police will this week accompany the land committee
members throughout the province to ensure that the farmers move off their
farms and make way for resettled farmers," said the source.
is despite the fact that some of the white commercial farmers are still
contesting the acquisitions in the courts while others are still negotiating
The government on May 10 issued more than 2 500
white commercial farmers with Section 8 orders to vacate their properties but
the majority have contested the orders in court while the rest have been
forcibly driven off the land by government militias or powerful
The two Matabeleland provinces have about 500 farmers
sitting on Section 8 orders that expired on August 10.
chairman of the Commercial Farmers Union in Matabeleland, Mac Crawford, told
the Independent that his association was aware of the visit to farms by the
land committee and said the committee members, accompanied by the police have
been to most parts of Matabeleland where farmers were told that they had only
an hour to vacate their farms.
"They have been to Figtree,
Nyamandlovu and Kezi where they have been ordering the farmers to pack their
belongings and leave their properties within the hour," said
The sources said the police in the province would enforce
the orders of the land committees during the exercise.
government has so far acquired 11 million hectares of land and is
still appropriating more farms for its controversial land reform
The sources said the three-day exercise will see all
farmers issued with Section 8 orders vacating their farms before the National
Land Taskforce moved the exercise to other provinces.
minister Joseph Made last week warned government would no longer entertain
white commercial farmers who wanted to negotiate with the government over
Government fails to
account for millions lent to businessmen Vincent Kahiya BILLIONS
of dollars might have been siphoned from state coffers as government has
failed to account for money advanced to businessmen for projects under the
Commodity Import Programme and other facilities set up to revive the
Official sources this week said the government has over the past
five years failed to account for the funds advanced to certain business
people to promote exports and to help them import key
The sources said there were fears that the funds were
not used for their intended purposes but by speculators on the foreign
currency parallel market.
Some of the money has been laundered and
ended up on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, said a source.
in the wake of the tabling of the Comptroller and Auditor-General Eric
Harid's report this week which chronicled increased incidents of
fiscal delinquency by the Zanu PF government which exceeded its borrowing
limit by 77,5% in 1999.
The report said there were no returns for
advances from the National Development Fund amounting to $366,63 million and
an unexplained amount of $1,3 billion due to the Exchequer.
main object of the fund is to account for the receipt of foreign aid
for national development projects. The Auditor-General said the
fund, administered by the Ministry of Finance, was unable to deal with
"An amount of $45 million owed by 29 private
companies which benefited from the Commodity Import Facility may not be
recovered as some of the amounts are being disputed by the debtors," the
"Included in the figure of debtors is an amount of
$25,41 million owed by Packaging Systems, that is to say 56% of the
The report said disbursement of the
Industrial Rehabilitation Loan Facility was poorly managed as records were
not updated for audit. The value of the loans disbursed could thus not be
Official sources said the biggest threat to the
government coffers was the poorly-staffed office of the Accountant-General in
the Ministry of Finance. The sources said there were no real qualified
personnel to handle huge sums of money, which resulted in abuse of the
"The Central Payments Office is like a bank managed by clerks
and without any form of security," said a former employee of the
The stop-payment system has virtually collapsed as
evidenced by the Comptroller and Auditors-General's report.
the second year running, the advances account that was operated by
the Financial Administration section (of the Finance ministry) had no
written instructions governing the conduct of business and control of public
funds," the report said.
"It would appear that the account was
introduced to circumvent the controls around the stop payment system and it
was improperly used to meet expenditure for ministries of Foreign Affairs,
Transport and Energy, Finance and Home Affairs," the report
The report also took a swipe at the Ministry of Defence's
"There was a tendency to procure from
middlemen instead of from manufacturers and wholesalers.
quoted by the commodity brokers were in some cases much more than those
offered by manufacturers and wholesalers.
"The reason given for
buying from the commodity brokers was that most reputable companies did not
accept government requisitions because of delays in payment," Harid said in
"I observed that the commodity brokers were apparently
paid faster than reputable companies."
State moves to
restore order on farms Dumisani Muleya AS President Robert Mugabe
continues to come under heavy international pressure to halt chaotic land
reforms, government is moving to clean up its act and re-establish order on
Vice-President Simon Muzenda issued a directive after meeting
ministers involved in the land reform programme on September 11 ordering that
all activities on the farms which contravened official policy should
Muzenda was acting president at the time while Mugabe was in
Libya on an official visit and later in New York attending the United Nations
The ministers who attended the special meeting
included those of Agriculture, Local Government, Rural Resources and Water
Development, Defence, Home Affairs, State Security and the newly-established
Land Reform Programme.
Muzenda's co-vice-president, Jose-ph Msika,
who is also chair of the national land acquisition committee, was tasked to
spearhead the land reform face-lift and report to cabinet.
note copied to all diplomatic missions and international
organisations accredited to Harare, Muzenda said he had issued a directive
that "any action on the ground that is not consistent with our policy and
laws be discontinued forthwith.
"No-one," he instructed, "should
take any action that contradicts our policy and laws and embarrasses His
Excellency the President who has received international acclaim as a champion
of social equity and justice."
The land reform process has been
characterised by violence, a breakdown in the rule of law, and impunity for
individuals involved in wrong-doing.
Government in the past refused to
intervene to stop the mayhem claiming landless peasants were "demonstrating"
for land. But it later transpired that authorities had instigated the farm
invasions and then jumped on the bandwagon of
Muzenda claimed the landredistribution has been
under-taken "within our policyframework which emphasises social equity
andempowerment of the indige-nous (people) without necessarily depriving
those white commercial farmers who want to continue to farm".
said the resettlement programme was done with-in "the framework of our laws
and statutes, however imperfect some of them may be".
repeatedly said no commercial farmer would go without land. But over 1 000
single farm-owners have so far been dispossessed of both compensation and the
prospect of alternative farms.
No-one so far has been arrested and
successfully prosecuted for killing or perpetrating egregious human rights
abuses in the name of the agrarian revolution despite the fact some of the
offenders are well-known.
Observers said this week the circulation of
Muzenda's statement to diplomats reflected official sensitivity to views
expressed by Mugabe's allies, particularly the South Africans, that land
reform must be conducted within the framework of the law.
week Botswana's ruling party compared Zimbabwe's land reform process to a
runaway vehicle where the driver had lost
ZIMBABWE was yesterday replaced as deputy
chair of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in what
diplomats said was a sign of the region's displeasure with President Robert
Zimbabwe's role as acting deputy chair of the regional
body had been expected to be formalised yesterday at Sadc's annual summit in
That would have made Harare the scheduled venue for next
year's meeting. Instead, Zimbabwe was replaced as deputy chair by Tanzania
and the 2003 gathering will be in its capital Dar es Salaam.
whole reorganisation of the Sadc bureau was unscheduled and is meant to send
a message to Zimbabwe that the region values peace, security, stability and
respect for greater democratisation," said a diplomat who asked not to be
Mugabe's land policies and his controversial re-election in
March were not on the official agenda of this year's summit, which ended
But during the two-day gathering in Luanda, several leaders
called for improved governance to lure foreign investment and spur economic
growth in the region.
"The heads of state and government did not
have to discuss Zimbabwe's land reform directly. Their actions sent the right
signal," another diplomat said.
In Harare, Zimbabwe's state-owned
Herald newspaper said the country had decided not to take over as deputy
chair of the Sadc in order to concentrate on its land reforms.
observers saw this as a face-saving formula. Clearly, Sadc leaders do not
want Zimbabwe's crisis to overshadow every meeting - which was likely
if Mugabe is the host.
Meanwhile, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has urged the international community to step up
diplomatic pressure on Harare.
MDC foreign affairs spokesman Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu said the international community should adopt further
hard-hitting measures to isolate President Mugabe's regime and force it to
He said European Union and United States smart sanctions
against Harare officials should be rigorously enforced to galvanise Mugabe
into action. - Reuter/Staff Writer.
EU to decide on
fate of Zimbabwe's beef quota Augustine Mukaro ZIMBABWE's
European Union beef quota remains suspended with EU member countries deciding
on Zimbabwe's fate at the Copenhagen meeting scheduled for early next
EU/Zimbabwe office press and information officer, Josiah Kusena,
said the EU beef quota would be reinstated only after Zimbabwe had put its
house in order and an EU team of experts recommended the
"The beef quota remains suspended until an EU
delegation comes to the country to assess the situation," Kusena
"The delegation will only come at the invitation of the
Department of Veterinary Services after getting a directive from
Diplomatic sources said there was no way the beef quota
would be reviewed if the Zimbabwe government continued to violate its
international obligations under the Cotonou Agreement signed in
"Zimbabwe failed to prevent the on-going political violence and
to respect the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law
especially in the chaotic land invasions and run-up to the March presidential
election," a diplomatic source said.
Zimbabwe's beef exports were
suspended last year following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease
The same source said the FMD outbreak in August last year was
a direct result of farm invasions.
"Farm invasions resulted in
uncontrolled movement of animals, both wildlife and domestic," the source
"With the present political strategy it is impossible to see
how the veterinarians will ever be able to convince the EU or other foreign
buyers that there is effective FMD control in Zimbabwe."
source said as the barometer of FMD control, the disease control rules of the
Save Conservancy have been blatantly flouted.
With the destruction of
the extensive perimeter fence and illegal movement of communal cattle, which
are regularly mixing and drinking with buffalo, FMD has now broken out in
communal areas on either side of the conservancy.
The new farmers are
also transporting cattle and livestock from
isolated than ever Mthulisi Mathuthu/Blessing Zulu
Robert Mugabe's continued intransigence in the face of international opinion
has done nothing to solve his key problem - isolation.
Mugabe has claimed
victory over the "white Commonwealth" after the stalled Abuja talks in
Nigeria last month, coming hard on the heels of his bluster at the Earth
Summit in Johannesburg.
But far from rescuing him from the hole he has
dug for himself, he now appears more cut off than ever.
already caught up in a dilemma where he has to strike a balance between his
continued undemocratic hold on power characterised by political gangsterism
and the reform needed to forestall further censure.
But analysts say
Mugabe's boycotting of the Abuja meeting and the subsequent diplomatic noise
he made celebrating his grace period have galvanised international opinion
Abuja has actually encouraged the countries opposed to his
hold on power to tighten the sanctions regime.
On the local front, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party says it will step up efforts
to engage African leaders to make them appreciate Mugabe's lawless
The opposition says it hopes to convince the African leaders
that Mugabe was directly responsible for the collapse of the MDC/Zanu PF
Crisis Zimbabwe's Brian Raftopoulos said despite Mugabe's
authoritarian hold on Zanu PF, the subdued discontent over his policies was
already showing and he would soon be under pressure to contain
"At the moment there is tension within Zanu PF on changing strategy
for a way forward to stop fighting with everybody and go on to debate the
issues," said Raftopoulos.
"The problem is that there are some
hardliners who want the status quo to prevail," he said. "They are running
out of alternatives as the economic situation is getting worse. There are no
resources for the land reform programme and there is need for some form of
re-engagement," he said, adding that soon Mugabe's followers would refuse to
suffer personal humiliation on behalf of their master.
main threat comes mainly from outside - especially from
Already the Australians, who until Abuja had managed to keep
out of public exchanges with Mugabe, have announced they will be taking
measures to deter him from further cocking a snook at democratic principles.
Above all, they may be forced to flex their economic muscle, they
Mugabe's Trade minister Samuel Mumbengegwi faced a protest last
week at the European Parliament in an incident seen as the acceleration of
isolationist pressure from the European Union as co-president of the EU/ACP
joint assembly, Glenys Kinnock, called for sterner measures against
More seriously, Mugabe faces being condemned to the
same level of perception as that occupied by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as
has been evidenced by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair's continued
attempts to lump the two together.
"Mugabe is living dangerously and
will do so for some time because he faces the prospects of really stepping on
the toes of the Americans," a Nigerian political commentator, Oduche Ezikolo
told the Herald Tribune after Abuja.
"He has already done so with the
British but must play his game neatly to avoid public brawls with
Regionally, Mugabe's long time associate and president of
Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, will be exerting more pressure on him to reform.
Obasanjo is taking flak from the West for letting his friend off the hook in
"Apart from the West, more pressure will certainly come from
Obasanjo and his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, because they don't
want to be seen to be protecting Mugabe," said Brian Kagoro, an activist with
He, however, said Zimbabwe was also a beneficiary of
internal contradictions in South Africa and Nigeria.
faced with an election and the worst thing he would want to give the
opposition is ammunition to call him an errand boy for the West," said
"Mbeki on the other hand, after the Earth Summit, is under
pressure from the so-called land-hungry people and Democratic Alliance leader
Tony Leon who is calling for tough action against Mugabe. Mbeki does not want
to be seen to be agreeing with Leon," he said.
Analysts say comments
by former US president Bill Clinton that Mugabe had become a burden for the
whole of Africa was a "sad reality" which could also help mobilise a fair
amount of African opinion against him, especially in west Africa.
Mugabe, who of late has been boasting of his co-operative African brethren,
was already burdened by his lone posturing and had reached a stage where he
was no longer comfortable with being seen as "a caricature of what the West
thinks about African leaders".
Already there has been pressure from some
EU quarters to punish the Sadc leaders for treating their Zimbabwean
counterpart with kid gloves, by cancelling the Copenhagen November
Pressure is mounting on Mugabe from his Sadc allies
as they are giving warning shots to Harare to reform.
Setting the tone
was Mauritian Foreign minister Anil Gayan at the Southern African ministers'
meeting in Luanda this week signalling that Mugabe was gradually undermining
Sadc as a whole.
"Clearly we have to resolve the governance issues in the
region," said Gayan. "We cannot be punished for the mistakes of one country -
"We shall be asking that they shape up."
say, given the nature of his retributive politics, Mugabe was set to
liquidate the farmers, MDC and the NGOs in direct violation of the Harare
Declaration and last year's Abuja Agreement.
Raftopoulos said Mugabe
would eventually plunge headlong into more trouble because by the very nature
of his politics, it would be difficult for him to avoid condemnation by
Analysts say Mugabe will finally choose the worst
path than reform because there were hardly any incentives for him to
"What incentives are there for him if he is not expelled?" asked
"There is nothing to suggest that he will squirm from the shame
of being expelled. For Mugabe the Commonwealth holds no terrors as there are
no sanctions under the club. There is only a symbolic expulsion. This
though does not mean countries like South Africa will stop trading with him
and the relationship with other countries within Africa and Asia will
continue as normal," he said.
But given his fear of dire consequences,
as evidenced by the celebrations in Harare after the troika spared him,
Mugabe will also step up his blame game and try to fuel division within the
Commonwealth along racial lines in an attempt to hedge himself from trouble.
But he could fail to find shoppers for his idea. Many west African,
Caribbean, and Pacific countries think as Britain and Australia
Australian Prime Minister John Howard is certainly not intimidated.
He said the Commonwealth was able to deal with such gamesmanship.
think the Commonwealth has gone through difficulties like this before
and survived and I think it will in future," he
Broadening and deepening ownership THE
resonance of the indige-nisation rallying call has gathered pace
with government's so-called Third Chimurenga and there is evidence now that
the corporate landscape is changing quickly.
Zimsun and now Interfresh
are two companies where there has been a rapid change of share ownership and
there is no doubt more to come. A low-interest-rate environment makes it easy
to borrow vast sums of money to buy assets that should hold their value as
inflation erodes the monetary value of the funds lent. Simply put, if you
borrow money at 30% when the inflation rate is 120%, the cash lent would have
lost three-quarters of its value, but the asset base should retain its
Contrary to Zanu PF propaganda, whites do not "own" public
companies. Yes, the percentage of white management does not reflect the
racial make-up of the country, but public companies are owned by
shareholders. Around 80% of the ZSE is owned by pension funds and insurance
companies, of which the near total majority of beneficiaries are
The mistake must not be made that these companies are just passing
into black hands; rather the transfer of share ownership will allow the
new owners greater sway in the running of companies, and, in Zimsun's case,
the indigenisation of management.
What new management must realise is
that their new constituency is the shareholders and they cannot treat
companies as their own private piggy banks. The market will quickly punish
any new owner for destroying shareholders' wealth, either through bad
management, or awarding themselves unacceptable perks.
The market has
given Saviour Kasukuwere's move into Interfresh the thumbs up. The share
price has risen over 30% as the market views this as a way to solving the
impasse over corporate land. The market will deliver more gains and make
Kasukuwere even richer if he shows pragmatism and nuance. At $2,70 a year
ago, current management has already presided over a massive increase in
How this changing corporate landscape turns out
remains to be seen. There can be no excuses for failure if a profitable
company is taken over and driven into the ground. Success should be measured
by creating shareholder wealth and having a productive workforce, rather than
the size of the car you drive around.
Undoubtedly what we really want
is for more people to share in the country's wealth. The poor feel
increasingly marginalised. One of the government's best - if largely maligned
- moves was to create NSSA, because this ensures that, at least through
another mechanism, the workers in this country share in some of the
In a country where there is little point keeping money in the
bank, there needs to be greater education when it comes to investment, and
banks and brokers have a duty to help people invest in assets and stocks that
will at least retain their value in real terms.
It is morally
imperative that the country's assets are not concentrated in the hands of the
few, and black entrepreneurs should be aware that this should not end up
being a transfer of wealth from one elite to another. When building a new
house or buying a posh car, the elite should ask themselves if this is the
right thing to do? Could they do something to improve the lot of ordinary
people? Sadly though, most are unlikely to.
Rich Zimbabweans have less
reason to feel embittered. They have education and options the majority
don't. And let's not forget that many created their wealth from political
patronage and voted for the government that has got us into the current
The nation must share in these assets, and recently
indigenised companies would be well advised to set up share ownership schemes
and profit incentives for workers to set a precedent for good corporate
governance. If they do not, they might find they have little sympathy in the
nation when the anger boils over.
Jocelyn Chiwenga's taste for
pork LAST week details were published in the local Press of a court
case in which Roger Staunton, a director of Shepherd Hall Farm, described his
attempt to seek the intervention of Vice-President Joseph Msika after Jocelyn
Chiwenga, wife of the army commander, and others forcibly took over his $1
billion property although they had only been allocated a portion of
Not all the details cited in the case have been published. Chiwenga
heads a Zanu PF organisation called Heritage-Zimbabwe. We publish her
documented remarks below to show exactly what sort of heritage she
In his founding affidavit, Staunton recalled how Chiwenga had
driven onto the property with several armed guards. Staunton says he offered
his hand in greeting but was told by Chiwenga that she had no intention of
shaking hands with "a white pig". She said she "had not tasted white blood
since 1980 and missed the experience and that she needed just the slightest
excuse to kill somebody".
According to Staunton's affidavit "she
ordered one of her guards to 'kill the white bastards', and the guard closest
to me cocked his weapon and pointed it at me in a menacing
Chiwenga, it is alleged, stated that she had now taken over as
owner of all the equipment, plant and machinery, vehicles, tractors, houses
and the roses, as well as all the vegetables.
Chiwenga and the other
respondents who include her husband are said to have reneged on their offer
of compensation on the grounds Staunton's company had "made enough profits
over the years using the land stolen from them".
When Staunton later
warned Chiwenga that the press was onto the story she is alleged to have said
that she was "filthy rich" in her own right and that she would sue any paper
that printed the story "and that she would end up even more filthy rich". She
claimed she was the "new Ambuya Nehanda", according to the
Another court document refers to the "combination of force,
threats of violence and false pretences" used by the respondents.
respondents have broken the law at will and have in the process
helped themselves to assets which they have not worked for," the affidavit
states. "They have taken advantage of the absence of the rule of law to
displace the applicant from (his) sole livelihood."
In a phone
conversation with Chiwenga, Staunton was accused of "going behind the backs"
of the respondents in seeking Msika's intervention. Chiwenga said Msika was
"incapable of having her and fellow respondents removed from the farm", court
"She then said that the Vice-President had phoned the
general (her husband) on the issue and that he did not have 'the balls' to
phone her direct."
Temporary court orders have been made against Chiwenga
and her partners, preventing them from benefiting any further from the farm's
produce. They have reportedly already received $80 million for flowers and
vegetables sold from the farm.
Readers will be able to draw their own
conclusions on the sort of people benefiting from land reform. As for not
tasting white blood since 1980, we gather Chiwenga has close ties to Denmark.
More on this next week.
'Polls end peacefully - No deaths, injuries
recorded," the Herald announced on Monday. It wasn't true of course. There
were reports of violence and widespread intimidation. But it is interesting
that a claim of "no deaths" in a Zimbabwean election is now headline
One of the penalties of being a reporter with the government media
is having to follow ministers around the country reporting their absurd
comments, even where they have absolutely no news value. We had the example
of Information minister Jonathan Moyo last week who, attending a prize-giving
ceremony at Msengezi High School in Mashonaland West, told his audience that
the British and Americans would never be part of the solution to Africa's
problems. The Sunday Mail reported the speech in loving detail.
are no successful European experiments in Africa," Moyo declared. Zimbabwe on
the other hand had taken the lead in showing the world that home-grown
solutions were best.
One must assume Mashonaland West has been unaffected
by the famine now afflicting other parts of the country. That is a direct
product of Moyo's "home-grown" solutions. So is the unemployment that has
followed the collapse of downstream industries in the agricultural sector.
Then of course there are the retrenchments at Ziana and ZBC because the
minister failed to get his maths right - or was unable to match promises with
The pupils of Msengezi High School should learn a lesson from
this: famine, destitution and unemployment are the result of economically
illiterate individuals with big heads and big mouths abusing the media in
order to mislead the public. Meanwhile, the British and Americans are having
to feed over half the population. The situation is so bad that the country -
alone in the region - faces its third year of GDP shrinkage next year. That
is Zanu PF's legacy to us. That is the price of its Third
So much for "home-grown" solutions. There is nothing growing
Another economically illiterate minister was raving about
"saboteurs and enemies of the state" last week. Home Affairs minister Kembo
Mohadi was addressing police graduates at a passing out parade. He said
unscrupulous business people were hoarding basic commodities which they later
sold above stipulated prices.
No, you don't say! And where are these
unscrupulous business people to be found do you suppose? On the streets of
Harare doing a thriving trade we gather.
Because it can come as no
surprise that where a government controls prices but stokes inflation by
failing to contain its fiscal incontinence, it is very likely that
distortions will arise. Most obviously shortages will occur and profiteers
will be quick to move in.
In Zimbabwe we have a reckless populist regime
courting public favour by holding down prices while borrowing and spending as
if there is no tomorrow.
This inflationary climate is no place to do
business. The costs of inputs soar. Companies are prevented from making a
profit and therefore go to the wall which boosts unemployment. It is bad news
Mohadi attacked the independent media claiming it targeted the
private lives of high-ranking government officials. He accused the Press of
projecting a "dark picture" of the country, saying there could be no worse
abuse of freedom of expression.
There is actually a far worse abuse.
Feeding impressionable young police officers this kind of junk. We have no
idea which people he thinks the private Press have targeted. But we are
certainly interested in those who have become very rich very quickly while
holding positions of public trust. Perhaps he has a few examples in
As for the "hate campaign" he alleges is being waged, perhaps he
didn't hear the disgraceful remarks made by President Mugabe at Harare
airport on his return from Johannesburg recently when he targeted two elected
MPs. Or any other speech he has made recently for that matter which is filled
with his customary bile. Can you imagine the repercussions if Morgan
Tsvangirai boasted of his degrees in violence?
Instead of poisoning
their minds with Zanu PF's discredited theories, Mohadi should have
instructed the police officers on the importance for the country 's
reputation of acting professionally and in a non-partisan way when dealing
with members of the public who have rights laid down by law - as distinct
from those defined by ministers. The arrest of a former judge who had proved
a thorn in ministers' sides did more to "darken" the picture of this country
than electoral manipulation and land theft put together.
We were at least
pleased to have Mohadi's confession that there had been "ugly scenes of
terrorism since the commencement of our land reforms in 2000". Will those
responsible be prosecuted, starting at the top?
passing out parade, Security minister Nicholas Goche said the birth of
"obscene, unprincipled, directionless and unpatriotic political parties with
a high affinity for violence" required vigilance. The minister should think
before speaking. There will be many within Zanu PF who will be highly
offended by such remarks.
'Professor' Tafataona Mahoso, head of the Media
Commission, has a reputation for eschewing the self-indulgent habits of
Zimbabwe's bourgeoisie who drive around in their large cars contributing to
the greenhouse effect and consuming valuable fossil fuels. He was known to
take commuter omnibus rides to and from his workplace at the Polytech rather
than driving there in comfort.
But all that has changed. Muckraker
gathers he was spotted in the back of a cream Mazda 626 last week. All right,
he wasn't sprawled across the back seat behaving like a chef. In fact he was
squeezed up in a corner pretending hard not to be there, reading an
independent weekly paper. But this is obviously one of the perks of being
head of the Media Commission. It also of course follows hard on the heels of
the unfortunate incident when Mahoso was mugged walking back from State House
one evening. He is evidently now regarded as a valuable commodity by the
Certainly, we have noticed in recent months a more
stridently partisan tone to his Sunday Mail articles. This, for instance:
"Those who know history remember that a leader does not speak with the
frankness, common sense, inspiration and power of the kind demonstrated by
President Mugabe unless he too is inspired by the core values and aspirations
of his people. The two speeches (in Johannesburg and New York) created a
panic because they revealed that Zimbabwe has long life after Cde Mugabe, not
just in Tamandayi, Muzarabani, Hurungwe and Gokwe, but also in Soweto,
Alexandria (sic), Harlem, Chicago and Atlanta."
Yuk! Is a 626 really
In the same grovelling piece Mahoso took a pot shot at this
paper saying a "long" article by Tom Henshaw - who Mahoso called "Henslaw" -
recently was aimed at the "destruction of the public morale of the African
Henshaw will be flattered to know that he is held responsible
for such a monumental project. But why Mahoso should deem an 800-word piece
"long" when his own tome this week extended to several thousand unedited
words is difficult to fathom.
On September 22 the School Development
Committee of Langham Girls' High School at Mvurwi took out a large
advertisement in the Sunday Mail to repudiate a story carried in the Herald
and on ZBC about girls from the school being treated at Howard Hospital after
suffering from diarrhoea. There was no case of diarrhoea at the school, the
committee pointed out. The doctor who attended to the girls has confirmed
"It was further established that the children were photographed
without their consent or that of the school authorities. The children
were photographed while waiting to be collected by the school bus," the
committee chairman, T Mbiriyakura, pointed out. "One of the students was
actually asleep when this happened.
"We also noted that the
journalists did not bother to visit the school to establish the nature and
extent of the alleged problem or verify the facts with the school
Mbiriyakura said the Herald and ZBC stories were "not only
false but mischievous", causing alarm and despondency among parents and the
school community. He condemned what he called "this irresponsible
"We trust that the ZRP will act against this barbaric act in
terms of the law. Our children deserve protection from this abuse by
journalists," Mbiriyakura said.
Have the police acted in response to
this complaint? And what does the 626 professor think about
Torture on increase Iden Wetherell A NUMBER
of reports of individuals being tortured or otherwise abused while in police
custody have been carried in the press recently.
These follow the fanfare
given to a code of conduct for regional police chiefs adopted at their
meeting at the Victoria Falls last month.
It is worth recalling here
exactly what the code states: "In the performance of their duties police
officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold
human rights for all persons . No police officer shall inflict, instigate or
tolerate any act or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
to any person. They are required to ensure protection of health of persons in
their custody and secure medical attention where needed."
Tuesday opposition MP Roy Bennett, his bodyguard and a South African national
were released on bail two days after being arrested, reportedly by the
Bennett's lawyer Arnold Tsunga said Bennett's security aide,
Mike Magwaza, was subjected to "prolonged assault" by CIO
"Witnesses said Magwaza was assaulted almost immediately after he
was taken into custody," reports said.
Bennett was unhurt, while
South African Stuart Gervin had been "slapped around".
were arrested on Sunday at a roadblock in Bennett's constituency of
Chimanimani on allegations of taking photographs of a polling booth.
But Bennett has now been charged with contravening the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act by filming food distribution.
recently declared that Bennett and fellow MDC MP David Coltart "belong in
Bennett's lawyers say they had difficulty establishing the
whereabouts of their client because the police would not disclose where he
was being held.
The other case reported this week involves Tawanda
(Tom) Spicer (18) who is an MDC youth activist. Tom was arrested last
Thursday with some friends in Mabvuku. According to his mother, the prominent
film-maker Edwina Spicer, they spent that night in Braeside police station.
The next day their lawyer, Romualdo Mavedzenge of Atherstone & Cook,
spent the entire day trying to see them. According to Edwina, Braeside police
said they were at Central, and Central said they'd been taken back to
She saw four of those arrested (Cosmas and Barnabas Ndira,
Reuben Tichareva and Tendayi Mlauzi) at 8.30pm on Friday. They said they had
been assaulted. No-one knew where Tom was.
"On Saturday we
discovered that he had spent the night in Mbare (Matapi) cells. We were
allowed access to him at around 10am on Saturday morning. We discovered that
he had been in Central all day Friday and had been severely tortured for a
period of about four hours in the afternoon," Edwina
Reports that Tom and the four other MDC youths were
tortured, based on statements by their lawyers and Tom's parents, have been
carried by a number of newspapers and news agencies including the Independent
Group, the Guardian, News24 and the Voice of America.
hearing on Monday when they were released on bail, Mavedzenge told magistrate
Elizabeth Negonde that "there are reports of assault and physical abuse
against my clients". However, he said he would not deal with the issue in the
magistrate's court as it was already part of an application to the High
In his affidavit to the High Court, Mavedzenge says when he
saw the youths "it was apparent (they) had been subjected to some form of
physical torture or assault while in police custody. (Reuben Tichareva,
Barnabas Ndira, and Tendayi Mlauzi) had swellings and lacerations on their
bodies, considerable difficulty in walking, swellings under their feet and
wrists and were generally unwell and looked disoriented. These applicants
confirmed having been seriously assaulted by between six and eight persons
who they suspect are police officers. They reported having been refused any
medical attention subsequently."
When Mavedzenge saw Tom Spicer
last Saturday morning he observed that "he appeared to have sustained more
serious injuries than the other four applicants. He had swellings in the
wrists, mouth, left eye and soles. There were lacerations on his back and he
had difficulty focusing on objects with both eyes. He reported being
assaulted initially together with the other applicants and later separately
through being subject to electrode shocks on the right ear. He had difficulty
walking and was in obvious pain."
Mavedzenge then described in his
affidavit the refusal of police officers involved in the investigation to
allow medical treatment of the youths. He also recounts how one officer
threatened to assault one of his clients in his presence.
assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesperson, issued a
statement saying that Tom Spicer had appeared in court on Monday but "the
allegations that he was tortured were not raised in court". When told that
they had in fact been brought up, he was reported to have said: "We will
await directives and certainly investigate this matter."
In 2000, the
High Court ordered police to investigate the torture of local journalists
Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto. No action has been taken to date.
claims of torture and beatings in the latest cases would point to more than a
deterioration of human rights observance within the police force. They appear
to form part of a campaign of systematic repression and brutality that has
characterised government's response to dissent.
What is also
disturbing in the affidavit the youths' lawyers submitted to the High Court
this week is the reported refusal by senior police officers to allow any form
of medical treatment to the detainees. This represents a clear violation of
the terms of the code adopted by the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs
Cooperation Organisation (Sarpcco), which Commissioner Augustine Chihuri was
elected to head at the Victoria Falls meeting.
Sarpcco comes under
the auspices of Interpol.
If in the cases cited above it is shown
that the police acted in clear violation of the new code of conduct, it would
call into question the ZRP's commitment to that code and damage the
credibility of Sarpcco itself.