The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Bid to break deadlock in Zim

Published:Oct 05, 2008

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was locked in a meeting yesterday with
Movement for Democratic Change leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara, in a desperate attempt to save a precarious power-sharing

Mugabe and Tsvangirai last met on Tuesday, but failed to agree on the
division of the 31 ministerial posts amid revelations that the Zimbabwean
president wanted all 15 key ministries. Under the power-sharing agreement,
brokered by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, Zanu-PF is entitled
to 15 cabinet posts, the MDC 13 and Arthur Mutambara, of the other MDC
faction, three.

But Mugabe, thought to be under pressure from his security chiefs and other
Zanu-PF bigwigs, who fear being accused of crimes against humanity and
corruption, has been reluctant to give the MDC key ministries such as home
affairs, local government, defence, agriculture, economic affairs, youth
affairs and women affairs.

During the meeting, which kicked off at Zimbabwe House at 10am yesterday, it
emerged that Zanu-PF had agreed to give the finance portfolio to Tsvangirai.
Zanu-PF insiders claimed this was strategic because it wants the opposition
to source money from international donors and to campaign for the lifting of

But Tsvangirai was refusing to accept the finance portfolio without other
key ministries such as economic affairs and agriculture, MDC insiders told
the Sunday Times yesterday morning.

"They are negotiating to try and break the impasse over the allocation of
ministries," said a Tsvangirai confidante outside State House.

A Zanu-PF official said: "Tsvangirai must be reasonable. As it is, he is the
most powerful prime minister in the whole of Africa."

Mugabe spokesman George Charamba, writing in his weekly column in The Herald
yesterday, confirmed the make-or-break meeting. "Let them take what is on
offer when they meet the president today for another round of talks," he
said. - Sunday Times Foreign Desk

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe on the brink of new crisis as food runs out

As President Mugabe and opposition MDC leaders wrangle over cabinet
appointments, millions face starvation in a catastrophe created by economic
chaos and the dramatic collapse of commercial farms
Alex Duval Smith in Chegutu, Zimbabwe
The Observer,
Sunday October 5 2008

Six months after the elections, Zimbabwe still lacks a functioning
government and is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Following the worst wheat harvest since the independence war, bread has run
out and sugar supplies are set to follow. USAid, the American government
humanitarian agency, is warning that the country could run out of the maize,
the staple food, by next month. Farming officials say the government's
stated aim of producing maize on 500,000 hectares this season is

'We are in serious trouble,' said Jabulani Gwaringa, of the Zimbabwe
Farmers' Union (ZFU), which represents small-scale operators. 'There is no
seed, fertiliser and crop chemicals on the market. Banks are not offering
farmers any credit. In July we had produced about 25,000 metric tons of seed
maize. We are down to 9,000 because farmers opted to eat their hybrid seed
or sell it to millers.'

One European diplomat said: 'We are already hearing isolated reports of
child deaths from hunger.' In the poorest provinces, such as Matabeleland
North, subsistence farmers have begun bartering their livestock for maize:
one cow buys six buckets of maize, while four live chickens or a goat buy
one bucket.

President Robert Mugabe is still locked in negotiations with opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai to try to break the deadlock over cabinet posts
which is threatening a crucial power-sharing deal. However, the state of the
agricultural sector is forming an increasingly alarming backdrop to the
talks, which have gone on almost since the disputed elections were held on
29 March.

Since Mugabe let his so-called war veterans loose on the mainly white-owned
commercial farms in 2000, the government claims to have resettled six
million poor blacks on the land. The figure is impossible to verify, but the
most obvious outcome has been the collapse of the agriculture sector. In
1998 production of tobacco, flowers, maize and other vegetables yielded 18
per cent of GDP and 45 per cent of foreign currency earnings. Since Mugabe
launched his land acquisition offensive, the number of commercial farmers
has dwindled from 4,500 to less than 800.

While evicted commercial farmers are looking to the future power-sharing
government to allow them back onto their properties, the issue is still in
the balance. In a little-noticed concession to Zanu-PF, the 15 September
agreement underlines the 'irreversibility' of 'the compulsory acquisition
and redistribution of land ... since 2000' and agrees that Britain will pay

The MDC has claimed that it accepted the 'irreversibility' clause by
insisting on a land audit which will define what belongs to whom. The
problem still has not been resolved, raising questions as to whether
commercial farmers will return and reinvest in Zimbabwe.

Trevor Gifford, the Commercial Farmers' Union president, told The Observer
that even an international effort over the next six weeks would not be
enough to save the coming season. 'It might be possible to raise enough
maize seed for 360,000 hectares - which is a third of the maize area that
was planted in 2000 - but we will never get enough fertiliser because there
is a world shortage and the price has tripled. It is already clear that
Zimbabwe will need food aid for the next 18 months at least.'

The World Food Programme has been feeding Zimbabweans since 2002 and expects
to have to help up to 5.4 million people - out of an estimated total
population of 8-9 million - between now and the next harvest in April 2009.
USAid's Famine Early Warning Systems Network has said Zimbabwe needs to
import more that 700,000 tons of cereals by then.

As farmworkers, Joyce, her husband Innocent, and their eight children used
to belong to a class of people who knew that, despite earning low wages,
they would never starve in southern Africa's breadbasket. They are
overlooked for foreign food aid because they live on farms, rather than in
villages. But their situation is dire.

'We do not have corn every day - only from time to time. For us, even when
there are vegetables, if we do not have maize meal it's like we didn't eat
at all,' said Innocent. 'We cannot grow anything because the electric motor
was stolen in the "jambanja" (attack) so we cannot irrigate.'

The 'jambanja' happened on 6 May after District Administrator Mike Mariga
arrived with a group of armed men to take over their employers' farm. 'They
began by beating us,' said Innocent, 'to force us to go and get our
employer's gun. When we refused, they threatened to harm our 12-year-old
son.' Their white employers - who sustained serious injuries - moved to
Harare after the attack. 'They bring us wages and, usually, 50kg of maize
meal. But last month they came without maize because they could not find
any,' said Innocent, 56.

The Tembos' employers are among 77 farmers who have been targeted for attack
since they joined an international court action against the government's
land acquisition programme. Later this month the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) tribunal in Windhoek, Namibia, is expected to find in the
farmers' favour, potentially opening the door to sanctions against Zimbabwe
from neighbouring countries.

In daily propaganda broadcasts, the government blames international
sanctions for all Zimbabwe's woes and trumpets its efforts to help communal
farmers by giving them implements, tractors, scotch-carts (trailers), fuel,
seed and fertiliser ahead of the rainy season, due to begin next month.

'We do not know what we will eat when we have finished the corn you see
here. Even if we had seed to plant, what is the point? There would be
nothing to eat until February or March next year,' said Innocent.

*Some names have been changed.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New Hyperinflation Index (HHIZ) Puts Zimbabwe Inflation at 531 Billion Percent


Steve H. Hanke*
Professor of Applied Economics
The Johns Hopkins University
Senior Fellow
The Cato Institute

Zimbabwe is the first country in the 21st century to hyperinflate. In February 2007, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate topped 50% per month, the minimum rate required to qualify as a hyperinflation (50% per month is equal to a 12,875% per year). Since then, inflation has soared.   

The last official inflation data were released for June and are hopelessly outdated.  The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been even less forthcoming with money supply data: the most recent money supply figures are ancient history—January 2008. 

Absent current official money supply and inflation data, it is difficult to quantify the depth and breadth of the still-growing crisis in Zimbabwe.  To overcome this problem, Cato Senior Fellow Steve Hanke has developed the Hanke Hyperinflation Index for Zimbabwe (HHIZ).  This new metric is derived from market-based price data and is presented in the accompanying table for the January 2007 to present period.  As of 26 September 2008, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate was 531 billion percent. 

The HHIZ will be updated weekly and available on the Cato Institute’s web site.

*Steve H. Hanke is one of the world’s leading experts on exchange-rate regimes.  He has played a prominent role in designing and implementing monetary reforms that have stopped very high or hyperinflations in eight countries.

Hanke Hyperinflation Index for Zimbabwe (HHIZ)
Date HHIZ Monthly Inflation Rate Annual Inflation Rate
5-Jan-07 1.00 13.30%  
2-Feb-07 1.78 78.20%  
2-Mar-07 3.13 75.90%  
30-Mar-07 7.43 137.00%  
27-Apr-07 6.39 -14.10%  
24-May-07 13.10 105.00%  
22-Jun-07 57.30 337.00%  
20-Jul-07 48.80 -14.90%  
17-Aug-07 49.00 0.569%  
14-Sep-07 104.00 113.00%  
12-Oct-07 279.00 167.00%  
9-Nov-07 829.00 197.00%  
7-Dec-07 1,460.00 75.70%  
28-Dec-07 2,010.00 61.50% 215,000%
4-Jan-08 2,260.00 54.90%  
1-Feb-08 2,310.00 2.21%  
29-Feb-08 8,290.00 260.00%  
28-Mar-08 17,700.00 114.00%  
25-Apr-08 57,600.00 225.00%  
23-May-08 220,000.00 282.00%  
20-Jun-08 10,800,000.00 4,840.00%  
26-Jun-08 23,800,000.00 5,300.00% 41,500,000%
18-Jul-08 123,000,000.00 1,030.00%  
25-Jul-08 158,000,000.00 565.00%  
1-Aug-08 192,000,000.00 288.00%  
8-Aug-08 306,000,000.00 273.00%  
15-Aug-08 507,000,000.00 313.00%  
22-Aug-08 1,620,000,000.00 925.00%  
29-Aug-08 6,350,000,000.00 3,210.00%  
5-Sep-08 23,400,000,000.00 7,540.00%  
12-Sep-08 73,000,000,000.00 14,300.00%  
19-Sep-08 238,000,000,000.00 14,600.00%  
26-Sep-08 897,000,000,000.00 14,000.00% 531,000,000,000%

Sources: Imara Asset Management Zimbabwe and author’s calculations.
1. Numbers are reported with three significant figures.
2. The HHIZ is reported on the last trading day of the week. 
3. The monthly inflation rate is HHIZ(t)/HHIZ(t-4) - 1 and the annual inflation rate is HHIZ(t)/HHIZ(t-52) - 1.
4. Prof. Steve H. Hanke would like to thank Alex Kwok for his research assistance on this project. 
5. Prof. Hanke can be reached at his Johns Hopkins University office: (410) 516-7183 or 


"Zimbabwe: From Hyperinflation to Growth," by Steve H. Hanke, Development Policy Analysis no. 6, June 25, 2008.

"A Decade of Suffering in Zimbabwe: Economic Collapse and Political Repression under Robert Mugabe," by David Coltart, Development Policy Analysis no. 5, March 24, 2008.

"The Loss of Property Rights and the Collapse of Zimbabwe," by Craig J. Richardson, Cato Journal Vol. 25 No. 3, Fall 2005.

Longer Articles

"How to Kill Zimbabwe's Hyperinflation," by Steve H Hanke, Global Dialogue, August 2008.

"Botswana and Zimbabwe: A Tale of Two Countries," by Marian L. Tupy, The American, May 14, 2008.

"Mugabe Is the Mobutu of Our Time," by Marian L. Tupy, Spectator, March 18, 2008.

"How the Loss of Property Rights Caused Zimbabwe's Collapse," by Craig Richardson, Economic Development Bulletin no. 4, November 14, 2005.


"Hyperinflation: Mugabe Versus Milosevic," by Steve H. Hanke, Globe Asia, August 2008.

"Kill Central Bank to Fix Inflation in Zimbabwe," by Steve H. Hanke, The Times, July 13, 2008.

"The Aid Africa Can't Afford," by Edward N. Luttwak and Marian L. Tupy, Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2008.

"The Spiral of Zimbabwe," by Marian L. Tupy, New York Sun, June 23, 2008.

"Mugabe's Best Friend," by Marian L. Tupy,, April 10, 2007.

"The Long Fall of Robert G. Mugabe," by Marian L. Tupy, The New Republic (Online), March 28, 2008.

"Peace Won't Come to Zimbabwe," by Marian L. Tupy and David Coltart, The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2008.

"New Hope for Zimbabwe," by Tom Woods, Roger Bate and Marian L. Tupy, Washington Times, February 6, 2008.

"Free Banking for Zimbabwe," by Steve H. Hanke, Globe Asia, December 2007.

"Mugabe's Apologists," by Marian L. Tupy, Wall Street Journal Europe, December 11, 2007.

"Hyperinflation," by Steve H. Hanke, Forbes, May 17, 2007.

"The World’s Greatest Unreported Hyperinflation," by Steve H. Hanke, Globe Asia, May 2007.

"A Four-Step Recovery Plan for Zimbabwe," by Marian L. Tupy,, April 17, 2007.

"Bureaucratic Heart of Darkness," by Marian L. Tupy, Washington Times, April 16, 2006.

"Mugabe Should Heed the Warnings of Hayek," by Marian L. Tupy, Financial Times, July 27, 2005.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hope Rekindled As Leaders Talk

Saturday, 04 October 2008 20:41

FINAL agreement on the allocation of ministries in an all-inclusive
government could be reached as early as today (Sunday), The Standard can

The leaders of three political parties to an agreement brokered last
month by former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, met yesterday to
resolve differences over who should be in charge of which government

President Robert Mugabe met MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and
Professor Arthur Mutambara yesterday morning at State House in Harare and
spent two hours trying to overcome the hurdle that has stalled announcement
of a Cabinet. It appears the obstacles are over who should get the
ministries of Home Affairs and Finance.

The Standard understands that stalling over surrendering the two key
ministries to Tsvangirai's formation was founded on "baseless fears",
attributed to hawks within Zanu PF. In an unwritten clause of the 1987 Unity
Accord, Zanu PF and PF Zapu agreed that the Home Affairs should go to a
member of the former PF Zapu.

Tsvangirai and Mutambara, it is understood, first met at Tsvangirai's
Strathaven residence in Harare before the meeting with Mugabe yesterday. And
after State House the two leaders went back to Strathaven to compare notes.

"There is determination on the part of the three leaders to bring
closure and finality," a source close to the leaders said yesterday. "If
there is goodwill we will see agreement. Morgan wants to see the agreement

This view was shared by Western diplomats, who told The Standard last
week they believed Tsvangirai was "very disappointed" by the delay in
agreeing on government ministries.

"Morgan wants this agreement to work because the people are suffering.
He wants something positive for the people of Zimbabwe."

It is precisely because of Tsvangirai's ability to connect with
Western governments and international financial institutions that it is
being argued he should get the Ministry of Finance, expected to be critical
in unlocking international aid inflows to Zimbabwe.

The sources close to the three leaders told The Standard that it was
expected the technical teams would be meeting the rest of yesterday in order
to clear the remaining obstacles, ahead of another meeting of the leaders

Asked what the technical teams were expected to focus on, the source
said they were expected to look at the "policy documents", without

If as planned, they overcome the remaining obstacles on the two
ministries, President Mugabe can be expected to announce who has got what
ministries. The three parties can then go ahead and appoint their people to
head the ministries allocated to them. Soon after that Constitutional
Amendment 19 would then be passed by Parliament, giving legal effect to the

Although the three leaders signed a power-sharing agreement on
September 15, haggling over who should control the strategic government
ministries of finance, local government, home affairs, foreign affairs and
lands had threatened relevance of the deal.

Although Mugabe declared on Monday, on his arrival from the United
Nations General Assembly, that an all-inclusive government would be formed
by yesterday, clashes over which party would take charge of the key
ministries had led to calls for Tsvangirai to pull out of the talks because
it was beginning to appear there was nothing in the deal for him.

The US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee told The Standard on Friday
that the international community is going to take a "very careful look" at
any government in Zimbabwe before there is any re-engagement, particularly
in the area of development assistance.

"That is not only us, but all the donor nations. The delay in forming
a government is making Zimbabweans pay dearly," he said. "The people of
Zimbabwe are suffering and if you do not have an agreement (on sharing
government ministries) the people will continue to suffer."

Under the South African-brokered deal, Mugabe will remain as head of
state after nearly three decades in power while Tsvangirai is to take up a
new post of Prime Minister and Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister.

By Vusumuzi Sifile & Davison Maruziva

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cracks Widen In Zanu PF As Ex-Zapu Agitates For Split

Saturday, 04 October 2008 20:36

Zanu PF's top provincial structures have demanded an emergency PF Zapu
conference to review the 1987 Unity Accord in the clearest sign yet that the
ruling party could be headed for a split.
The simmering factionalism in the ruling party, which began surfacing
in 1999 following the death of Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, fuelled by
claims of marginalisation against Matabeleland, have intensified following
the signing of the historic power-sharing deal between Zanu PF and the MDC.

Former PF Zapu officials in Zanu PF claim they were not consulted on
the deal amid fears President Robert Mugabe will not accommodate them in the
proposed all-inclusive government.

According to minutes of Zanu PF's Bulawayo provincial co-ordinating
committee meeting held on September 13, a resolution was passed demanding
the convening of the conference after it was agreed the accord had "not
benefited the region".

The provincial co-ordinating committee is made up of members of the
politburo, central committee, the National Consultative Assembly (NCA) and
the provincial executive.

"The meeting resolved that the 1987 Unity Accord between PF Zapu and
Zanu PF has not benefited the people of this region," read the minutes,
certified as authentic by several ruling party sources.

"Zapu is a revolutionary party that waged its armed struggle against
white supremacy through its armed wing (and) it has lost its identity.

"This cannot be let to happen forever." The meeting was held a day
after Vice-President Joseph Msika complained that former Home Affairs
minister Dumiso Dabengwa, who is leading the calls for PF Zapu's revival was
being sidelined in the ruling party.

He reportedly said Dabengwa was an "authentic" PF Zapu cadre.

"The meeting was briefed by central committee members who had held a
meeting on the previous day (September 12) with VP J W Msika," read the
minutes. "One of the issues discussed was the restructuring exercise
conducted by workers of the party from headquarters.the manner it was
conducted in was not in line with party regulations."

The other issues raised, the minutes added, were concerns over the
lack of adherence to the spirit of the 1987 Unity Accord where members of PF
Zapu were not given "due and fair recognition".

Some of the examples where the officials felt they were being treated
unfairly included the delays in conferring hero status on former senior PF
Zapu officials such as Swazini Ndlovu, Masala Sibanda and Isaac Nyathi "yet
it did not take long for people like Border Gezi and others from Zanu to be

They also complain that Misheck Chinamasa, who died last month "was a
true national hero, more than many lying at the National Heroes' Acre (yet
he) was only declared a provincial hero".

The meeting also complained about the alleged unfair distribution of
resources, lack of progress in erecting a statue in Nkomo's memory and the
neglect of Ekusileni Hospital.

The specialist hospital, a brainchild of the late Vice-President is
slowly turning into a white elephant, nine years after its construction
because of lack of equipment.

The delays in returning PF Zapu properties seized by the government in
1982, the failure to compensate victims of Gukurahundi and the "unfair"
distribution of land in the region were also cited as some of the signs that
the accord had failed.

Zanu PF commissar, Elliot Manyika was still putting on a brave face on
Thursday saying reports that PF Zapu members were disgruntled were false.

By Kholwani Nyathi

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo Fights Mutare Council

Saturday, 04 October 2008 20:35
The Minister of Local Government, Public Service and Urban
Development, Ignatious Chombo, has threatened the mayor of Mutare, Brian
James, with dismissal for refusing to install losing Zanu PF stalwarts as
special interest councillors, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has

The MDC said Chombo, who is also Zanu PF MP for Zvimba North, phoned
James on Tuesday, threatening to dismiss him together with other 11
democratically elected councillors if they did not install known Zanu PF
stalwarts, Esau Mupfumi and Misheck Mugadza as councillors.

Chombo could not be reached for comment on the allegation.

Mugadza is the former chairman of the Mutare Council Commission while
Mupfumi, a well-known businessman, is a member of Zanu PF's central

The Mutare Mayor said the MDC refused to swear in the pair because
Chombo was imposing them as special interest councillors when they did not
bring in any special expertise or add value to the council.

"Chombo continues to meddle with council decisions in most cities and
towns yet he is not a Cabinet minister. There is no legitimate government in
Zimbabwe at the moment and the nation is eagerly awaiting the conclusion of
inter-party talks so that an inclusive government can begin to respond to
the needs of the people," the MDC said in a statement.

The party accused Chombo of abusing his former position by appointing
Zanu PF losing candidates in the last election as "special councillors" to
subvert the will of the people who voted for the MDC.

"By appointing these Zanu PF losing candidates as special councillors,
Chombo is declaring war on democracy, the people of Zimbabwe, the spirit of
togetherness and the MoU signed by the three parties. He cannot be allowed
to do that," the MDC said.

For nearly a decade now, the MDC has been in control of all major
urban local authorities but Chombo has tried to neutralise MDC's influence
by appointing commissions to run the affairs of local authorities.

The party said Zanu PF was "using a dubious quota system" to bring in
"special" councillors, especially its losing candidates, which in most cases
have enabled them to reverse the MDC's majority in most rural council

"We cannot allow democracy to be subverted at this stage. In March,
the people of Zimbabwe voted for what they believe in. Chombo cannot
unilaterally reverse what the people want. The MDC calls upon the people of
Zimbabwe to reject and resist Chombo's manoeuvres," the MDC said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Teachers' Unions Write-off 2008 As Academic Year

Saturday, 04 October 2008 20:33
THE country's two main teachers' unions - the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) -
have called for the "complete scrapping off of 2008 from the academic year
because it was a wasted year".

Among other things, they want all pupils to repeat their grades next
year, as they did not learn anything meaningful this year.

For the first time since their formation, the two organisations on
Friday held joint commemorations of World Teachers' Day, and collectively
condemned the government's continued neglect of the plight of teachers. The
event is celebrated worldwide on October 5, but the two organisations
decided to hold it two days earlier.

The PTUZ and Zimta have all along rivalled each other, and would
negotiate separately for teachers' working conditions. But on Friday the two
unions announced they were now joining forces for teacher emancipation.
Modalities of the unity were however still being discussed. They also
jointly condemned violence against teachers in the run-up to the disputed
one-man presidential election run-off.

"Our coming together must herald a new beginning. Time has come for
teachers to bury our differences," said PTUZ Secretary General Raymond
Majongwe, deviating from a statement he was reading.

Supporting the call that all students should repeat in the next
academic year, Majongwe said: "It is our well considered view that the 2008
school academic year for primary and secondary education should be set aside
and that the 2008 examinations should be cancelled. After setting aside the
academic year, all students should repeat their current grades."

This, he said, would effectively mean there is no intake for Grade 1,
Form 1 and Lower Sixth.

ZIMTA President, Tendai Chikowore said there was need for teachers to
"stand up and speak out in order to support those policies which promote the
attainment of quality public education".

"As educators, we lament the general declining standards in the
provision of quality public education," said Chikowore. "In return for our
valued labour, we deserve to be paid salaries commensurate in value to our
work. If that does not happen, we will be left with no option but to use our
most effective measures to induce some quicker response from the employer to
pay us adequate remuneration."

The deteriorating standards at institutions of higher learning, she
said, was also compounding the crisis at schools.

"We note, with concern, the falling standards in the preparations of
teachers in a situation where there is a critical shortage of qualified
lecturers in most teacher training colleges and universities, and where the
teaching practice supervisory structure has broken down due to lack of
experienced teachers in our schools."

Chikowore called on the "relevant authorities to bring perpetrators of
political violence to book". She said this would boost teachers' confidence.

Giving a solidarity message at the commemorations, Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Secretary General Wellington Chibebe said the
"government has deliberately destroyed the teaching profession".

"Yesteryear teachers were part of the middle class, but today they
occupy the lowest position on the radar. You have allowed yourselves to be
abused," Chibebe told the teachers.

The Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe (CACLAZ) commended the
two unions for working hard despite "the continuous deterioration of the
teachers' conditions of service over the last few years".

In a statement, CACLAZ said: "These circumstances have regrettably
reversed the gains made so far in the education sector which at one time was
the envy of many people the world over. At the end of the day the parents,
children and the teachers themselves have been robbed of a golden
opportunity to reach out to their collective dreams and it is now quite
doubtful whether we are ever going to achieve MDG 2 by 2015."

Most teachers have not been reporting for duty since the beginning of
the third term last month. Among other things, they are demanding a salary
of US$1 200. Many teachers have resorted to holding private lessons for a
fee for the same pupils they are supposed to teach at schools. The
government, despite not doing much to address the plight of teachers, has
ironically lambasted teachers for the practice.

By Vusumuzi Sifile

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cloud Over State Varsities

Saturday, 04 October 2008 20:31
THE crisis at state universities has reached unprecedented levels with
all major centres of learning failing to open for the first semester of the
2008/2009 academic year.

The Standard has so far confirmed that the University of Zimbabwe
(UZ), National University of Science and Technology (Nust), Midlands State
University (MSU) and Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) have
indefinitely deferred opening for the new semester, initially supposed to
resume in August. None of the institutions have indicated when they will

In a statement on September 30, MSU Registrar G T Gurira said they had
"officially opened on the 29th of September 2008 but unfortunately lectures
could not commence because of an unofficial withdrawal of labour by members
of the teaching staff". The UZ issued a similar statement.

"The University of Zimbabwe wishes to advise all new and returning
students that commencement of lectures for the first semester of 2008/2009
will be advised in due time.

Meanwhile registration is still in progress," reads an unsigned
statement published on the institution's website.

At Nust, students who had turned up for the new semester were turned
back until further notice.

Munetsi Ruzivo, the Secretary-General of the Association of University
Teachers (AUT) yesterday said they were "now worried what is happening".

"We are meeting on Tuesday to map a way forward. We really wonder if
we are to open, and how that will be done," said Ruzivo. "It is really
mind-boggling to think the university would open."

President of the Zimbabwe State University Lecturers' Association,
Government Phiri, said their last engagement with the authorities ended in

"Right now there's no teaching going on at universities because of
many problems, with the major one being staff salaries, which are too low to
even to last three days. For us to teach, we need to be paid. Lecturers just
cannot report for duty, this is different from a strike," Phiri said.

Phiri said they wanted the least paid university lecturer to take home
US$2 500 a month, which he said was the average in Southern Africa.

Zimbabwe National Students' Union (Zinasu) president, Clever Bere,
said students were most affected by the situation at state universities.

He said they would join forces with lecturers in taking the government
and university administration to task.

"The few lecturers that remain at universities are not motivated; they
are getting the lowest salaries in the world. They are there physically but
in spirit they are not there," Bere said. "We expect our universities to be
like other universities."

In addition, students have to grapple with the perennial challenges of
accommodation, stationery and food shortages.

"In Chinhoyi, for example, we have about 4 000 students sharing 24
computers. At the UZ, all students in the Department of Psychology share one
textbook, a 1950 edition. In the Faculty of Law they use a course outline of

The Standard could not independently verify Bere's claims.

By Vusumuzi Sifile

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Outrage As Cash Queues Get Longer

Saturday, 04 October 2008 20:08
THEY say the early bird catches the fattest worm, but for many
depositors, trying to withdraw their hard-earned money has become a

Despite making it to the bank as early as 6am, 30-year-old Mollyn
Munda's hopes of getting money were receding. Other early birds had arrived
at the bank before her and she was number
3 478.

"I have been in the queue since 6am, hoping to get my money early, but
it seems, it will take more days for the queues to end," she said.

At ATMs in First Street, the queue tells a picture of people who are
"waiting for God".

Yesterday morning saw the longest queues the city's dwellers have ever
woken up to. Queues stretched for hundreds of metres and banking
institutions were swamped. Almost a week after introduction of the new $10
000 and $20 000 notes, the situation appeared to have spun out of control
and there were many angry and frustrated depositors.

Apart from having to wait for hours to withdraw money from banks,
depositors were seeing red at the charges banks were levying depositors.
These ranged from $10 000 to $15 000 levied for each transaction. The
charges were gobbling up depositors' balances.

In some cases banks were allowing withdrawals of $10 000 or $20 000.
If a person had less than $10 000 in their account, they were unable to
withdraw, or if a person wanted to withdraw $17 000, they were told they
could only access $10 000.

John Mangudya, president of the Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe last
week said the bank charges had been necessitated by two developments - the
inflationary environment and because banks were now paying their salaries on
a weekly basis.

At times the money runs out but the people are patient, not by design.
They need the money to buy basic goods.

"I will wait until I get my money," said a man who identified himself
as Baba Mike.

The above scenario illustrates the hardships Zimbabweans are enduring
in order to access their hard-earned money at the banks, notwithstanding
Monday's upward review of the maximum cash withdrawal limits. But depositors
have found another obstacle in the way to accessing their money from banks:
extortionate bank charges.

On Monday the central bank increased the withdrawal limits to $20 000.
In addition, it introduced higher denomination notes - $10 000 and $20 000
in a bid to quell the cash crisis running for the third successive month
since a German company, Giesecke & Devrient, stopped supplying to Zimbabwe
paper bank notes.

Many had hoped that Monday's review of the withdrawal limits and the
new notes would bring back some cheers on the faces but Munda is devastated.

"I need money to buy groceries and I was hoping that if I got $20 000,
I will be able to buy at least cooking oil," she said.

But while banks had to wait until in the afternoon to get their
allocations from the central bank, the new notes were already on the streets
on Monday morning.

Parallel market dealers were awash with cash mopping up the foreign

"We now know who is feeding money to the parallel market," said an
irate account holder at the ZABG Samora Machel branch.

Another one said: "The central bank has been denying that it is buying
foreign currency on the parallel market. Where is the money held by the
runners coming from?"

In one queue at Karigamombe, people debated the rationale behind
putting out notes without security features. The new $20 000 note does not
have an RBZ watermark found on all notes, raising fears that the market
could be flooded with counterfeit notes.

"This money was printed on bond paper," one irate depositor said.
"Where else in the world have you ever seen notes which look as if they have
been in circulation for the past 10 years? This money already appears as if
it has been there from the beginning of the world," an elderly woman

Anyone who has managed to withdraw the money will face another hurdle:
the rising prices of basic goods and services.

In the past week, prices have shot up beyond the reach of many, piling
pressure on the already battered citizens. Cooking oil which was being sold
at $5 000 a two-litre two weeks ago recorded a 400% increase to $25 000 on
Friday. A bar of washing soap was going for $7 000 on Friday, up from $1 000
the previous week.

A one-way trip to town which cost $700 on Tuesday had lept to $3 000
on Friday.

Analysts say only a political settlement will resolve the country's
problems. Despite signing a power sharing deal, the three political
parties - Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC-M are bogged down in the allotment of
Cabinet ministries.

Cash transactions have attracted lower prices as compared to cheques
and point of sales transactions, increasing demand for cash.

More than a week ago four depositors sought an order declaring cash
withdrawal limits illegal.

The four- Rodgers Chigwededza, Tinashe Gotora, Jackson Mabota and
Precious Mwateyeni - filed papers in the High Court seeking an order
allowing them to get their cash on demand, as is the practice world over.

They argued withdrawal limits violated their constitutional rights and
also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Alec Muchadehama, the lawyer for the four said the crux of the order
sought by his clients was to have the withdrawal limits declared unlawful.

The applicants seek, as a matter of urgency, an order that nullifies
RBZ governor Gideon Gono's limits and at the same time stop him from
imposing new limits on their bank withdrawals.

The applicants also want the order to remain in force notwithstanding
the noting of an appeal.

"Respondents cannot just impose withdrawal limits which are not based
on any sound or rational economic considerations. I submit therefore that
the imposing of such withdrawal limits by the Respondents be declared
unlawful. I further submit that the limits are a blatant infringement of
applicants' various constitutional rights," said one of the applicants.

He identified these as the right to life, protection against cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to be heard before
administrative actions are taken.

By Ndamu Sandu & John Mokwetsi

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

CARE International Workers Down Tools

Saturday, 04 October 2008 19:48
Workers at Care International, one of the few non-governmental
organisations that provide food aid to starving villagers, last week downed
tools following a tax dispute with their employers.

The development came at a time the organisation was about to resume
its operations following the lifting of the ban on NGOs. Starving villagers
in the province had pinned their hopes on the organisation after government
failed to feed them.

The workers went on strike demanding an immediate end to being taxed
47% on their salaries, which are paid in foreign currency saying the
practice was illegal.

Employees who spoke to The Standard said the strike would continue
until their demands were met. They are also demanding that Care
International pay them back all the money the workers were taxed over the
past months.

"We went on strike after we had a dispute with the company. The
company was taxing us 47% and we learnt that it was illegal and engaged our
lawyers and successfully won the case at the labour court, but they are
still reluctant to refund us and want to continue taxing us," said a worker,
who declined to be named.

The workers said the organisation had been instructed by the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (Zimra) to tax the workers 47% of their salaries. The
government later reversed the instruction.

They said they were supposed to start distributing food to villagers
"anytime soon" after the completion of an assessment of the number of people
in need of food aid.

Scores of villagers in Masvingo are surviving on wild fruits such as
chakata and matamba because they have run out of both maize and maize-meal.

Care International country director, Stephen Gwayne Vaughan, confirmed
the workers were engaged in job action.

"Some workers have engaged in job action. They are disputing the tax
bracket system that was enforced by Zimra but we are engaging them to find a
solution because we were only complying with the laws of the country,"
Vaughan said.

Workers vowed not go back to work until they got their money back.

"We won't go back to work until they pay us back and stop taxing us.
It is just too much because 47% is close to half of our salaries. We cannot
continue to operate like that," said another worker who preferred anonymity
for fear of victimisation.

Care International assists drought-ravaged villagers with basic food
commodities such as maize meal, cooking oil and beans among other things.

Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of the southern African region, is
facing a serious food crisis. The Famine Early Warning System Network has
said while the food shortages were being experienced countrywide, the
situation had been most severe in the semi-arid areas of Matabeleland.

Presently, indications are that more than 5 million people urgently
need food assistance and the number could increase in the coming months as
more families run out of food.

By Godfrey Mutimba

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Councillors Snub Chombo

Saturday, 04 October 2008 19:47
Councillors have rebuffed attempts by Local Government, Public Works
and Urban Development minister, Ignatious Chombo (pictured) to draft failed
Zanu PF candidates into the opposition MDC-controlled council.

The appointment of Zanu PF officials Tadubana Tshuma, Emmanuel
Kanjoma, David Ndlovu, Tryphine Nhliziyo, Dennis Ndlovu and Abednigo Nyathi,
as special interests councillors has already sparked a High Court challenge
by a concerned resident.

The opposition to the government appointed councillors stems from
claims that all of them were former ruling party councillors, who lost
several bids to bounce back into council since the MDC started posing a
serious threat to Zanu PF.

Council's general purposes' committee has to approve the appointments
that also include those of city businessmen, Omega Sibanda and Ernest

Last week the issue was withdrawn from the agenda of a full council
meeting, further delaying their swearing-in so they could start working.

This was after councillors indicated that they were not willing to
endorse Chombo's choice of the officials who are supposed to represent the
interests of special groups.

"Councillor (Phineas) Ndlovu pointed out that some of the nominees had
unsuccessfully contested in the harmonised March elections either as
aspiring councillors or senators and were sponsored by one political party,"
read a council report.

"In view of this, there was no evidence of any special interest they
represented unless perhaps the Minister clarified this."

The councillors were also incensed that the appointment of failed
council candidates would create parallel structures in the affected wards.

Council resolved to demand an explanation from Chombo on the criteria
used to select the councillors before they could be sworn in.

"No profiles of the nominees were submitted to council and in view of
this, the proposal was not acceptable," the report added. "The least the
Minister could have done was to consult council as regards 'gaps' which
could be filled by appointed councillors."

There was no Zanu PF councillor elected in Bulawayo's 29 wards as they
all went to the two formations of the MDC.

The appointment of special interest councillors was necessitated by
the amendment of the Urban Councils' Act early this year. Chombo could not
be reached for comment.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Call For More Journalism Training

Saturday, 04 October 2008 19:44
ZIMBABWE'S journalists need reorientation through refresher courses,
workshops and exchange programmes in an effort to rebuild the media, judges
at a recent edition of the National Journalistic and Media Awards (NJAMA)

Comprising media academics and practitioners, the team of seven judges
said the quality of a number of stories submitted for the competition was
quite disturbing.

"We are fully aware that journalists can no longer survive on their
salaries," the judges said in a report. "Unfortunately, this has forced most
journalists to contribute their best stories to online publications as a way
of raising extra income for survival. . . The situation has resulted in a
marked decline in concentration, interest and enthusiasm by the journalists,
thus compromising on the quality of stories the media in Zimbabwe is

They said among others, newsrooms tended to concentrate on political
developments towards the build up to the historic 2008 elections, resulting
in very little or poor coverage in other equally important areas.

They said the recommendation to revamp the media was in line with the
theme of NJAMA 2008 - National Healing and Supporting Democracy in Zimbabwe
The Role The Media Can Play.

The judges said they were concerned about the relatively low number of
entries, particularly from the electronic media and community newspapers,
resulting in a high number of categories without winners.

In the 31 electronic media categories, judges said they received about
20 entries and managed to find 14 winners, leaving 17 categories without

"The situation was even more worrisome at the ZBC, the sole
broadcaster (and) we understand this was due to a variety of challenges,"
they said. "Judges are aware that some bulletins are not recorded for
archival purposes due to a shortage of resources such as tapes and

Bulletins that include radio and TV morning news, midday news and
nhau/ indaba, they said, did not have archival material, resulting in the
lack of submissions for the competition. The judges said some of the few
entries from the ZBC did not have sound and had very poor picture quality.

They however commended ZBC for good working relationships with some
independent production houses saying these had a key role in the future of
broadcasting in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the same event, recently elected Speaker of the Lower
House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo said as the country embarks on the process
of healing, the media's role should be to help the public to appreciate the
contents of the historic agreement among the three major political parties
and on national healing, to ensure ownership of the agreement and the
healing process by the people.

"(The media) must always seek to protect the public interest and serve
as a link between the inclusive government and the people," he said.
"Government interference should be discouraged to ensure impartial and
accurate reporting, while the media must afford its readers an opportunity
to criticise it when necessary."

He expressed concern over some sections of the public media which he
said continued to report negatively about the opposition despite the signing
of a political agreement by the three main political parties.

"It is indisputable that the public media has the public service
responsibility of taking a leading role in the healing of our nation," he
said. "It is against this background that I call upon the independent and
public media to have a paradigm shift in order to play a positive role in
this process."

By Jennifer Dube

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC Legislator Takes Council To Court

Saturday, 04 October 2008 19:43
AN MDC legislator has filed a High Court application demanding that
the Chitungwiza Town Council reverses its plan to build houses on land
earmarked for schools and recreational facilities, saying the development
could cause an outbreak of cholera and other diseases linked to

MDC legislator for Chitungwiza, Collen Gwiyo and the Zengeza
Ratepayers' Association filed the application last week arguing that
alteration of land use was illegal.

They said altering the land use in order to build houses would expose
them to health hazards and burden the already strained ablution facilities.

The applicants are demanding that the alteration of the existing local
plan be declared invalid for procedural irregularity.

Mayor of Chitungwiza Israel Marange, who was elected into office on an
MDC ticket, the Municipality of Chitungwiza and the director of housing are
cited as respondents.

"It is common cause that the water reticulation system in Chitungwiza
is overwhelmed and will be for the foreseeable future. There is currently an
outbreak of cholera as a result," Gwiyo said. "It does not make sense
therefore to further burden the system by closing open space and putting up
more residential stands for obvious reasons."

At least 16 people have succumbed to cholera in Harare and Chitungwiza
since last month. The cholera outbreak has been attributed to the ongoing
water shortages, which has forced residents to resort to fetching drinking
water from unprotected wells.

The residents are represented by Watson Muchengeti of Matimba and
Muchengeti legal practitioners.

The action comes after the Chitungwiza Municipality ignored a letter
from the residents' lawyers demanding the reversal of land use.

On September 5, Muchengeti wrote: "We are instructed to demand, as we
hereby do that within five (days) of receipt of this letter, you give an
undertaking that the stands in question will not be re-designated until
proper channels are followed and our clients are afforded opportunity to
raise their objections in terms of the relevant Act, failing which we shall
institute the appropriate action at your cost."

In August the residents petitioned Chitungwiza Municipality and
Marange accusing council officials of corruption. The petition was also
copied to the Minister of Local Government Public Works and National
Housing, Ignatious Chombo.

"You should not forget that you are there to serve the community not a
few greedy people who are misleading you by plundering every open space
building 'fake' schools. No to corruption - tinoti pasi nehuworu," reads the
petition, which is an annex to the application.

Chombo could not immediately available for comment.

By Caiphas Chimhete

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No Hope For Zim With Gono's Policies

Saturday, 04 October 2008 19:34
ZIMBABWE needs to allow the national budget to fund all activities and
stop money printing if the country is to chart an economic recovery path, a
document by a United Nations agency shows.

The Comprehensive Economic Recovery in Zimbabwe document, undertaken
by a team of eminent economists in the country for the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) said the immediate priority is to terminate all
quasi-fiscal operations and incorporate them into the national budget.

"There is broad, though not complete, agreement that, because Zimbabwe's
hyper-inflation is directly attributable to fiscal expansion and reckless
credit creation by the central bank, the starting point for a stabilization
programme must be a combination of fiscal retrenchment and monetary
constraint," it said.

In the absence of balance of payment support from multilateral
institutions, Zimbabwe has been funding its budget since the late 90s. As
revenue dwindles due to the harsh economic conditions, expenditure has
recorded an upward trend as government failed to live within its means. This
has necessitated the need for supplementary budgets which are usually 10
times larger than the original budget as inflationary pressures take their

UNDP said all quasi-fiscal activities of the central bank should be

"The immediate priority is to terminate all quasi-fiscal operations
and incorporate them into the national budget, as was tried in 2007 but
abandoned in the 2008 budget," it said.

It said that at the outset of the stabilisation programme expenditures
currently undertaken by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), including
lending, interest and exchange-rate subsidies, must either be discontinued
or financed by transparent transfers from budget account.

However the report doubted the sincerity of the government in ending
quasi-fiscal activities.

"Although the immediate cessation of all quasi-fiscal operations by
the RBZ ought to be the top priority in a stabilization programme, the
Government of Zimbabwe Short-Term Economic Stabilization Programme (July
2008) makes no reference to QFA operations," it said.

In the near-term, the report said, the main spending cuts will have to
come from the quasi-fiscal "budget" with potentially severe knock-on effects
in agriculture, parastatals, general government spending, importers and the
financial sector.

"However, the IMF suggestion that there is scope for a substantial
reduction in the public sector wage bill needs to be treated cautiously,
given the security and crime risks inherent in sudden reductions in military
spending and the heavy costs of terminal benefits, early retirement packages
and retraining and re-skilling programmes," it said.

The UNDP document, which comes after the political parties agreed to a
power sharing deal paving the way for the formation of an inclusive
government, will be met with resistance from the government that has
benefitted from quasi-fiscal activities. Attempts to cease quasi-fiscal
activities have been met with rebuke from political leaders. Announcing the
2007 National Budget, then Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said all
quasi-fiscal activities would be accommodated in the budget.

Murerwa said then: "In this regard, combating inflation will require
the phasing out of all quasi-fiscal operations and adequately providing
resources for prioritised expenditures within the Budget."

This was met with rebuke from President Robert Mugabe, who said the
Treasury was practising bookish economics.

"They have this word they like using; 'quasi, quasi, quasi'. But I
tell them that this is expenditure that we need," President Mugabe said.

"We are under sanctions and there is no room for the type of bookish
economics we have at the Ministry of Finance."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Minister claims Zim Education Standards Improving

Saturday, 04 October 2008 19:31
ZIMBABWE'S education standards have not been any worse despite a
plethora of problems bedevilling the sector, outgoing finance minister
Samuel Mumbengegwi last week said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Central Statistical Office (CSO)
workshop, Mumbengegwi said if anything, the standards have improved and
among other indicators is an increased participation of girls.

"I have heard people saying the standards have deteriorated but that
has not been proven yet," he said. "The problem is that in a scenario where
there are challenges like the ones we are facing as a country, people are
quick to draw conclusions."

Mumbengegwi's comments come at a time when two of the country's
universities are failing to open for the 2008/09 academic year.

While the University of Zimbabwe has remained closed since the
academic year started in August, Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) has
reportedly notified students that the opening of the year's first semester,
which was scheduled to start last Monday, has been postponed to a later date
due to acute water problems, food procurement challenges and staff

Harare Polytechnic students reportedly rioted last Wednesday after
being served with plain sadza for dinner at their canteen, following weeks
of salt and cooking oil-free cabbage as their relish.

The rioting students were also irked by the fact that 184 of their
colleagues who inhabit one of the institution's six hostels are being forced
to use only one toilet as all the others are not functioning.

There have been reports that many schools are also facing similar
problems, with some teachers supplementing their salaries through charging
their students exorbitant amounts for "extra lessons". It is said that some
teachers no longer conduct formal lessons and ask students to pay them as
much as $1 000 daily to conduct lessons. Those without the money go without
lessons. Some of the teachers reportedly demand bus fare from the students.

"Those who do that are rotten eggs", Mumbengegwi said. "Teachers are
given transport allowance and saying it is not enough is no good enough a
reason, nothing is ever enough . . .Those who work in town are provided with
properly priced buses to come to work".

But a few days before the CSO workshop, the government aligned
Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) had taken an unprecedented move,
accusing government of under financing and under resourcing the education
system leading to demotivation and brain drain.

"Whereas the Zimbabwe government is a signatory to the Dakar
Declaration of 2000, which seeks to achieve Education for All (EFA) by 2015,
mid-way that timeline, the (EFA) goals are seriously lagging behind and the
achievement of the goal is undermined by remuneration policies, which
relegate the teaching professionals to the inferior General Key Scale",
Zimta said in a statement.

Mumbengegwi was discussing the workshop's theme "Measuring Progress
Towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)".

MDGs are global commitments to improve life for all in the world and
they range from halving extreme poverty to putting all children into primary
school and stemming the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and AIDS by

On health, the outgoing minister said things have never been fine in
the health sector the world over.

"Places like the UK are worse in that respect although they do not
have sanctions against them like us here", he said. "I know of friends who
were studying in the UK and would come back home for medication".

He said Zimbabwe boasted of good skill in both the educational and
health sector hence the media's daily headlines of brain drain.

"I think the media should start looking at this issue (brain drain)
positively", he said. "Our people are going out there because they are on
demand....they possess good skill that is why they are needed across the

Giving a testimony about using CSO's updated Zimbabwe Statistics
Database (Zimdat) for 2008, Fred Ndlovu of the Zimbabwe Local Government
Association (ZILGA) said local authorities should help spearhead MDGs.

"When the MDGs were set in the United Nations, we had achieved some of
them as a country", he said." But in the past 10 years or so, we had some of
them reversed and as local authorities, we have a mandate of putting the
country back on track of sustainable development".

Zimbabwe has in the past 10 years been saddled by economic crises
which many say seriously undermined the majority's standards of living.

By Jennifer Dube

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zambian Firm Caught Up In Mawere Saga

Saturday, 04 October 2008 19:29
ZAMBIAN firm, TAP Building Products Limited (TAP) paid up US$700 000
to service providers for the period it was erroneously put under the
administration of AMG Global chief Arafas Gwaradzimba, it emerged last week.

The payments were made to AMG; lawyers Mulenga Mundashi and Co; and
auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

But there is no evidence of receipts and invoices on some of the
payments, raising fears that the Zambian firm could have paid for fictitious

Gwaradzimba assumed control of TAP in 2006 after the Zambian High
Court had ruled that by virtue of the expropriation decrees promulgated by
President Robert Mugabe in September 2004. TAP, a company wholly owned by
Africa Resources Limited is an associate company of SMM Holdings and deemed
to be under reconstruction and therefore under his control.

Gwaradzimba had been appointed SMM Holdings administrator pursuant to
the operation of the controversial legislation that permitted the Government
to take over the control and management of Mutumwa Mawere's companies
without the involvement of the judiciary.

Investigations by this paper showed that TAP is not an associate of
SMM Holdings meaning that AMG's appointment as administrators of the Zambian
company was erroneous.

An associate is a company in which a group of companies has a
substantial stake, but not outright control. This usually means more than
20% but less than 50%.

A share certificate shows that TAP shareholders, as at December 31,
2005 were Africa Resources Limited (ARL) and Africa Construction Limited
(ACL) with 5% and 95% respectively. ARL and ACL are incorporated under the
laws of the British Virgin Island.

After the January 30, 2006 High Court of Zambia ruling, Gwaradzimba
dissolved the board and appointed a new one.

But in August, the Supreme Court of Zambia ruled reconstruction laws
used to take over the running of companies owned by businessman Mawere could
not be used in Zambia as it was a sovereign state with its own laws. The
court ruled that for a company to be put under reconstruction, it had to be
insolvent. If the company is insolvent it will be put under a
Receiver/Manager under the Zambian laws, the court ruled.

Documents in possession of Standardbusiness show that although AMG had
received K 1 210 404 914 (US$345 829.98) for the period it was in charge,
the firm had not provided invoices and receipts for certain payments made to
them and TAP was battling to get the invoices and receipts.

"We have not received invoices for payments with respect for cheque
numbers 6801, 801657 and 801917. As for receipts, we have again not received
receipts for cheques 6801, 801657, 802048, 803184 and 803154," wrote Ezra
Chisenga Financial and Market Analyst manager.

He said that efforts to get the receipts from AMG proved futile and
had been one of the reasons for the delay in completion of the exercise.

"We will continue to pursue AMG Global to give us those documents,"
Chisenga said.

Mulenga Mundashi & Co. were paid US$127 346.10 in four installments
for services rendered. The four payments were: US$60 000; US$26 934; US$37
346.10; and US$3 066.

"Mulenga Mundashi & Co. has confirmed that no receipt was made for the
final payment of US$3 066.00. However they have confirmed receipt by
providing a deposit slip which copy is also included in the bound volume,"
Chisenga said.

The seven board members appointed by Gwaradzimba - David Phiri,
Lawrence Sikutwe, Oliver Mtasa, Peter Moyo, Chilufya Mbalashi, Edwin Manikai
and Chirandu Dhlembeu - gobbled up US$111 679.11 in board fees. TAP Zambia
also footed the bill for the board members' accommodation and meals. The
three Zambians on the board - Phiri, Sikutwe and Mbalashi - did not benefit
from the facility. Instead the four Zimbabwean board members - Manikai,
Dhlembeu, Moyo and Mtasa were flown to Zambia and had their accommodation
catered for by the Zambian firm.

Mtasa attended the March 22, 2007 board meeting before he was
appointed a board member in May 2007.

Gwaradzimba did not see anomaly in Moyo attending the meeting telling
this paper last week that he was replacing Mtasa who had left the

Papers seen by this paper show that Gwaradzimba and Wesley Sibanda, a
top official at AMG were added to the list of beneficiaries to bring the
total amount spent on board members to US$25 639.27 in air tickets and

PricewaterhouseCoopers got US$ 89 594.29 for statutory audits
performed on TAP from 2005 to 2007.

Gwaradzimba said AMG had provided all the invoices and receipts.

"There is nothing like that," he said, "It is Mutumwa Mawere saying

Told that papers from TAP clearly show that there were payments
without invoices and receipts, Gwaradzimba disagreed: "That is not true. I
am sure TAP would not do that. They would have communicated to us."

Asked whether their payment will not be affected by the Supreme Court
ruling overruling an earlier judgment, Gwaradzimba said their action was
guided by the High Court ruling which had said that TAP was an associate
company of SMM Holdings.

But he told Standardbusiness the August Supreme Court of Zambia ruling
declared null and void the board he had appointed for TAP "and Mawere can
appoint his board members".

Mawere last week said that Gwaradzimba should not have gotten any fees
as he was not appointed administrator of TAP.

"The Supreme Court ruling to the extent that it declared the
application of the Zimbabwean law on whose basis Gwaradzimba was appointed
invalid, makes all actions, benefits, and rights arising from the
enforcement of such order null and void," he said.

"You cannot claim to benefit from a law that has been declared to be

By Ndamu Sandu

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Search For A Pragmatic Foreign Policy

Saturday, 04 October 2008 18:37
THE former US president, Jimmy Carter, once walked out of a reception
after the then Zimbabwean foreign minister, Witness Mangwende, made one of
those ghastly gaffes which sets guests wondering if someone has imbibed too
much of the nectar of illusory joy.

A few months ago, a senior foreign ministry dignitary gate-crashed a
US ambassador's reception.

After the outgoing envoy had made his speech, the foreign affairs
dignitary took over, to spew such vitriol against the US, he was greeted
with boos, sniggers and guffaws.

After a senior United Nations envoy visited the country to probe the
handling of the blood-stained Operation Murambatsvina in 2005, she made a
scathing report on the hell Robert Mugabe's regime had visited upon its
already harassed underclass.

The government reacted with customary venom, disregarding the envoy's
identity, not only an African, but a Tanzanian. She would be last person to
badmouth a government with which her country has enjoyed the closest
relations, dating back to the days of the struggle.

In general, since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the
Soviet Union, Zimbabwe's foreign policy has been in something of a muddle.
From being a surrogate of the two communist giants, the USSR and China, it
took time for the government to identify its real new friends and enemies.

But the muddle was not quickly resolved, for it had been almost cast
in stone by the original partners in government, Zanu PF and PF-Zapu,
protégés of the two socialist giants, respectively.

Today, the foreign policy remains mired in vague commitments to a hazy
form of democracy and even fuzzier commitment to an adherence to human
rights principles.

Yet Mugabe routinely goes to New York for the UN General Assembly
session and almost inevitably rubbishes the world body for being so
dominated by the West.

This time, he made a point of thanking his government's two mentors
for sinking an attempt to have the UN institute sanctions against his regime
for a whole litany of violations.

That must be considered Mugabe's last hurrah for few people would be
able to hold down their food if he were to attend the 2009 General Assembly
and subject us to the same diatribe on the UN's lack of democratic

Needless to say, coming from a Zanu PF leader, such criticism is
almost bizarre. Since 2000, scores of Zimbabweans have been killed as they
try to assert their rights as citizens of a free country. Most have been
killed by agents of the government, whose campaign to silence them is
anchored on "bashing".

A new government must establish a new foreign policy, not the Stone
Age variety of Zanu PF.

But, happily for us, the UN, which celebrates its 63rd anniversary
this month, has survived more robust threats than Zanu PF's. What is very
significant is that the UN has continued to score victories in spite of the
predominance in its Security Council of the West.

The only Arab secretary-general in its history, the Egyptian Boutros
Boutros Ghali had his second term vetoed by the US, after he had finished
the first in 1996. Another African, the Ghanaian Kofi Annan, served from
1997 to 2006.

The UN has done sterling work in ameliorating people's lives since its
founding in 1945. Its agencies continue to provide vital aid to
underprivileged people, often burdened with corrupt and uncaring
governments, as in Zimbabwe.

Calls for the reform of the Security Council are justified. The
membership of the UN is now weighed very heavily in favour of the
underdeveloped countries. So far, the response to their appeals for Security
Council seats for an African, a South American and an additional Asian one
has been positive.

Among the likely African representatives are South Africa and Nigeria.
India is obviously in line for the additional Asian seat. All the present
permanent members of the Security Council - China, Russia, Britain, the US
and France - have not opposed the increase in the numbers.

What may be debated is the depth of the reforms.

By Bill Saidi

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Deal Stalled As Mugabe Eyes Next Elections

Saturday, 04 October 2008 18:29
ZANU PF already has its eye on the next elections. This explains its
refusal to give up the ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, Local
Government, Foreign Affairs and Lands.

For Zanu PF to stand any chance - in a free and fair poll - of
reversing its disastrous performance during the March 29 harmonised
elections, it must be in control of those five key ministries.

Retaining the Ministry of Home Affairs would be a critical component
of its winning strategy in that the police could be counted on to ensure
they conduct themselves in the manner they did during the March and June
polls, when ruling party supporters and militias could convene meetings and
rallies at will, while the MDC found all manner of obstacles put in their

Refusal by the police to prosecute ruling-party perpetrators was
crucial in ensuring the outcome Zanu PF achieved in the June 27 presidential
election run-off. Without police condonation, the party would have met a
disastrous Waterloo.

Keeping the Ministry of Finance is important because Zanu PF will have
its campaign funded through the Reserve Bank's quasi-fiscal activities in
addition to the subvention under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

The decision announced last week by the Reserve Bank that it would be
forming a subsidiary company which would specialise in offering affordable
and reliable public transport forms part of a broader strategy to try and
win back the electorate, by charging 70% less than Zupco. Commuter fares
have become a significant cost for the majority of the travelling public and
displeasure at the prohibitive cost of travel contributed to Zanu PF's loss
in March.

It would be a boon for commuters if only this latest scheme could
work, but like the fuel scheme, the agricultural inputs, Zupco and Bacossi,
the government has a record of abandoning them even before the ink on the
documents has dried.

The Local Government ministry is important because the government and
Zanu PF would like to continue to employ the twin strategy of dispensing
favours to pliant traditional leaders on the one hand, while on the other it
can resort to intimidation and threats against villagers, who will be
expected to plead illiteracy so Zanu PF political commissars can "assist"
them to vote. This is a strategy that has helped Zanu PF win remote rural

The Minister of Local Government, Ignatious Chombo, is already being
accused of meddling in the affairs of MDC-controlled local authorities. Zanu
PF's campaign for the next election has already been activated.

The Ministry of Lands is crucial because it will ensure that
multiple-farm owners get to keep their many farms and therefore mortgaging
the owners to Zanu PF, while their farm workers can always be threatened to
vote in a way that produces a pre-determined outcome. There were similar
scenes of retribution in the farming communities in Mashonaland Central,
East and West after the March 29 harmonised elections.

In this era of targeted sanctions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has
played an invaluable role in taking care of the external affairs of Zanu PF,
its senior officials and government ministers and functionaries by
concealing the movement of their assets and resources.

Zanu PF is acutely aware that the MDC will claim credit for any
economic turnaround and by relinquishing the five ministries it would have
surrendered vital instruments of power thus signing a warrant for it to be
consigned to the dustbin of political obscurity.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Standard Letters

Cartoon On Chinese Was Racist
Saturday, 04 October 2008 18:53
YOUR issue of September 21, 2008 published a cartoon by Nutshell on
the comment page. It showed four people of Asian appearance in what was
intended to be traditional Chinese dress. Beneath the drawing were the
words: "Beware of Chinese bearing gifts."

Comment page cartoons are meant to lend graphic emphasis to issues of
the day. I was puzzled because the cartoon bore no reference to anything
written in the paper, or indeed to anything current in a week of momentous

Nor do I understand why the artist chose the subject, or why you, the
editor, should have thought it worthwhile publishing.

What is clear, however, is that the artist was exhorting us to "beware
of Chinese", and that the cartoon gave vent to a form of racist prejudice
relatively commonplace in Zimbabwe against people of Chinese origin. Racism
is the ascription of negative attributes of an individual to an entire race.
It is illogical, deeply offensive, hurtful and makes the victims of slurs
such as yours, published in a national newspaper, fearful for their safety
and that of their families.

Your newspaper declares that it stands for the values of tolerance,
fairness and non-discrimination. In the political climate in which we live
now, the liberty of people from repression, racist abuse and hate speech
needs defending more than ever.

The agreement signed on September 15 by Messers Morgan Tsvangirai,
Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara has a section (7.1.d) on "national
healing" which states that the proposed new government "will strive to
create an environment of tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans and that
all citizens are treated with dignity and decency, irrespective of age,
gender, race, ethnicity, place of origin or political affiliation (sic)."

The paragraph seems to have slipped you by.

This country has a noxious history of racist and political prejudice
since its founding over a century ago and has continued in varying forms
until today. The targets have shifted through black, Ndebele, white, Indian
and Muslim, among others. Now you are adding Chinese members of our society
to the stocks of racist villification.

Shame on you.

Jan Raath


Editor responds: On page 4 of the same issue we published the
following story: Recall as China's milk scandal widens: Shanghai - China
ordered widespread checks on dairy products and a recall of tainted items as
a scandal that began with powdered baby formula and spread to milk sparked
an outcry from China's trading partners. Malaysia joined neighbouring
Singapore in banning Chinese milk imports while a dairy company in Japan
pulled Chinese products from supermarkets shelves following a similar move
in Hong Kong, after products were found contaminated with potentially deadly
melamine. - Reuters.

Zinwa, A Costly National Disgrace
Saturday, 04 October 2008 18:51
It started off as just another idea of how to keep power in their
hands, so it was decided that a new parastatal would be established.

To achieve this, the requirements would include, new premises with
plush offices fully equipped with many computers, photocopiers, telephones
and furniture. Next would be to fill these new offices with staff whose only
qualifications would be loyalty to the party.

All these newly employed people now require some form of transport, so
a fleet of brand new vehicles ranging from luxury 4x4s to double cabs to
pick-ups to large lorries and buses is purchased using more of the country's
scare foreign currency.

Thus we witness the birth of Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(Zinwa), who since their take-over of the urban water supplies have done
nothing at all to improve the lot of the people. In fact, they must be held
totally responsible for the shocking state of affairs that currently exists
and for the deaths of all those who have so far succumbed to the cholera
outbreak in Chitungwiza.

The bottom line is that Zinwa is a national disgrace and those in
charge should be made accountable for their incompetence.

Weary Tax payer


Herald Columnist, Manheru, Inciting Violence
Saturday, 04 October 2008 18:50
NATHANIEL Manheru's statement on inciting violence if there is a land
audit is very worrying especially when every Zimbabwean is trying to move
the country forward following the signing of the political agreement.

His statement on Saturday September 20, 2008 suggests that there would
be bloodshed if the commitment by Zanu PF and the MDC to remove corrupt
multiple farm holders is implemented.

Manheru is using his influence as a senior civil servant to abuse the
public media.

The outgoing information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu has urged the
public media
to report responsibly in light of the signing of the agreement to form
an inclusive government.

However, Manheru seems not to care about these new developments and
instead goes on threatening that there would be a blood bath if the land
audit was carried out.

How can he, as someone who is also a beneficiary of the land reform
programme, be against an independent land audit that will put an end to the
land issue once and for all?

Is he scared because he is one of those Zanu PF bigwigs who have
multiple farms?

Even senior Zanu PF officials such as its leader Robert Mugabe and
Patrick Chinamasa have said that although the land redistribution exercise
is "irreversible", anyone who holds multiple farms would have to lose,
because the policy that should be implemented is one-person, one-farm.

Manheru's comments on violence are very disturbing as they come at a
time when the country has just come out of a very trying time when more than
130 people were killed, thousands injured and more than 120 000 displaced
during the run-up to the June 27 presidential election run-off.
People's wounds and memories of the violence are still fresh and yet
Manheru makes public statements that fan violence.

Agrippa Zvomuya


Impervious Anachronism Is Zanu PF's Undoing
Saturday, 04 October 2008 18:48
WHAT'S the difference between the Zimbabwean and the American
elections? The question made me sit up because I wasn't really listening to
this guy, until now.

When you understand the problem, you are likely to come up with an
effective and sustainable solution, because you can attack the source of it
and possibly prevent it from happening again.

Let me explain. If you are the central bank chief and you think the
problem of inflation is caused by too much money in people's hands, your
solution is to limit cash withdrawals. If you are a leader of a revolution
and the problem is landholding, your solution is to grab it from those who
have too much of it and give it to those who have not. And when you are in
charge of commerce in a village and you have a problem of high prices, you
think the solution is to introduce price controls. It is important to
understand the problem than to know the solution.

In Africa, someone should hold a certain office because of what they
did in the past. Agricultural policies and education syllabuses are all
about the past. Contrary, young white Americans see a future in a black
man - Barack Obama, and they are voting for him. They have seen how their
grandfathers made enemies in the Middle East and how their brothers were
maimed in sham wars, and they are saying it is enough. He is promising the
future they want.

I am not denigrating history here. We should all know where we came
from, but when the past is more important than the future, we may as well
give up. Someone said the problem with Africa is that the liberation
struggles took all the energy and focus out of us, such that we had no
future plan after winning them. We are still celebrating independence. I
agree with him.

An old woman asked us when this independence thing is going to be over
so her sons can go to the white man's house and get jobs and feed the
children. It made me cringe! If I may ask, who said we are independent

Here we even had to squabble for Cabinet positions after a landmark
agreement. The fight has nothing to do with the future, it's because
everybody wants to be a minister now, even those who have been ministers for
28 years and have nothing to show for it. We have elections in 2013, if the
talks deal stands. Everyone between 18 and 33 then, a large chunk of the
population if you consider our life expectancy, will be born-frees. If you
want to test how disinterested this generation is in history, just approach
a group and introduce chimurenga as a topic and see the response you get.
Swiftly change the subject and talk about an upcoming Aids cure. See the
difference for yourself.

Elections are about the future, about change, yet we seem to think
they are about what happened in 1975. This is why Morgan Tsvangirai, an
ordinary labour activist, was made a world hero by Zanu PF.

I still argue that if Zanu PF had treated Tsvangirai the way they
treat Isabel Madangure, Langton Towungana or Daniel Shumba, he would not be
known much outside Sadc. But we found a whole government devoting all its
free time on the radio, TV, in newspapers and rallies to denigrating one
man. The effect was instantaneous. People who don't even know where Zimbabwe
is on the map know Morgan.

I once heard that attempting to silence a man may be the greatest
honour you can bestow on him, because in doing so you are acknowledging his
superiority over you. Now thanks to Zanu PF, Tsvangirai's CV looks ok. He
can include arbitrary arrests, detention without trial, banned from meeting
supporters, treason charges, denied one man one vote through stolen
elections, etc on his "struggle CV". It now looks very similar to Mugabe's.
It was all because Morgan is not part of the past.

Every generation has to decide its own destiny. Let us decide ours,
but our future should be informed by common sense.

"Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is
the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's
character and patriotism. The times are too serious, the stakes are too high
for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no
party"- Barack Obama.

Davy Saruchera


Back to the Top
Back to Index